Summer is upon us already. School is out, the weather is getting warmer, the sunshine is beautiful and the pool, golf course, or vacation (or any combination of those) are calling your name. How is anyone supposed to stay productive throughout the summer with so many fun possibilities waiting to be had? Here are just a few basic tips to help keep you on track during the summer months.
- Make lists and prioritize them- Remember to tend to the most pressing items first so you don’t have to worry about them later (or before it’s too late).
- Set goals weekly and monthly- similar to to-do lists but a bit loftier than your normal daily task list. What goals can you make for yourself to keep your eyes focused on something greater throughout the week or month? Don’t fall into the summer slump and just aim for the status quo.
- Make time to do fun things, even if that means you have to put it on the calendar. Carve out a special time during the week for extracurricular activities (pool, golf, trip, etc.) and plan your work week accordingly. Maybe for some that looks like working ahead or working harder/longer hours during the week to have a work-free weekend or working a half day during the week.
- Don’t fill up your weekend with household chores. Try to schedule these chores during the week, or have a set and limited time during the weekend to work on them. Filling up your free time with household chores is a sure-fire way to kill your motivation during the week! Get out and enjoy the weather while it lasts and save time for having a bit of fun.
Hopefully these basic tips will help to motivate you and keep you on track this summer! Let us know how we can help your small business at the Buttonwood Business Center this summer!
I recently just completed staining my deck. I have never stained a deck, but I have lots of experience with wood working projects, including painting and staining, and I thought, “how hard could this really be” and “It won’t take me that long. I could get it done in one day.”
After a cumulative of almost 18 hours over the course of 3 days, I’ve nearly completed the deck. During those many hours filled with solitude, quiet, and time to think, I began questioning whether this deck staining project was truly worth my time and if I was really saving that much money by doing it myself.
Many entrepreneurs and small business owners find themselves in very similar situations. You may be asking yourself whether all of those tedious home maintenance projects are worth your time, or you could be asking that of yourself when it comes to answering the phones, scheduling your customers, processing orders, marketing, doing your taxes, and the list goes on.
In the end, every single entrepreneur out there really needs to think hard about how much their time is worth. Are you more valuable gaining customers and completing customer related tasks than you are answering the phone?
Just as an example, let’s say you are an attorney trying to build a clientele. Do you get the most out of your time doing attorney tasks (say valuing your time at $300 per hour) or doing secretarial work like answering the phone and scheduling clients (say time valued at $10 per hour)? The clear answer would be that you make the most of your time doing what you are trained to do!
Don’t fall into the trap thinking that you can save money by doing everything yourself. In the long run, hiring people to help you answer the phones, aid you with your marketing campaign or website upkeep, or doing your taxes will free up your time to do what you do best- pour your time and energy into the foundation of your business so that you can grow and become profitable.
The Buttonwood Business Center can help you get the most of your time by taking care of some of the details of running a business so that you don’t have to. You can focus on doing what you do best! Our dedicated secretary can answer your phone calls and greet your clients. Don’t worry about paying multiple utility bills for internet, phone, and custodial services. We take care of it all. Would you consider letting us help you get the most of your time?
Whether you work from home, or have a designated office space outside of your home, it can be hard to stay focused and productive throughout the work day. Here are just a few tips we wanted to share with you to help you maximize your productivity!
1. Drink some coffee or tea in the morning- A little caffeine before lunch will help you wake up, stay alert, and increase your ability to focus. Don’t drink too much though! Four or more cups of coffee can have the opposite effect, making you jittery and scatterbrained, and even be a source for an upset stomach.
2. Turn off your social media notifications on your computer or mobile device- there’s no easier way to get distracted from your work day than to be bombarded by notifications from social media. Removing your notifications will also help reduce the temptation to waste time browsing on those same sites. Designate a time before or after work to catch up on your social media updates.
3. Set aside specific times in your day to open and answer email- Like social media, email can also provide a constant stream of incoming notifications that can distract you from other areas of work. If your emails typically aren’t pressing, commit to checking your inbox every half hour, hour, or two hours depending on your job or type of work. Otherwise you may find yourself answering emails all day!
4. Exercise regularly- Did you know that regular exercise can increase your ability to focus? Not only is exercise great for your heart and waistline, it helps to keep you more alert, sharp, and it even increases your memory and boosts your mood. What a bang for your buck! See this article for a bit more information on this tip- http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/train-your-brain-with-exercise
5. Make a to-do list and prioritize- To-do lists help you stay focused on the things that matter and they will keep you from forgetting all of the tasks you may need to complete. They will also help you with your time-management.
What other tips do you have to stay focused in your work space?
Did you know that there was a recent survey conducted on how small businesses in Columbia, MO conduct their marketing efforts? It may provide you some great insight to see what others are doing in Columbia and how it works for them.
Here is the full report from the survey: http://columbiabusinesstimes.com/25107/2015/01/25/columbia-business-marketing-health-report/
It is great to see that more and more businesses have a website, but there are still many to jump on the bandwagon. It is also interesting that the survey found that blogging for business is a growing trend. There are so many ways that you can use a blog for your business that can be helpful in generating leads- directly or indirectly. If you aren’t blogging for your business, it’s worth considering.
From looking at this survey, what can you start doing or do differently for your marketing goals in 2015?
Are you a small business owner looking for office space to rent in Columbia, MO? You have come to the right place! The Buttonwood Business Center has many advantages over traditional office space. Here are just a few examples:
1. Your monthly rent agreement is all-inclusive. You don’t have to worry about scheduling or contracting separate providers for your internet, paper shredding, custodial services, or telephone answering service. You may find an office to have “cheaper” rent, but by the time you add all the amenities and must haves, it ends up being far more expensive.
2. Use our receptionist as your own. Save money on overhead by using our receptionist to answer your telephone calls in your company name. You get all the benefits of having a receptionist without worrying about doing your own hiring, payroll, or providing benefits.
3. Have access to meeting rooms or conference rooms when you need to meet with clients or colleagues. You don’t have to worry about providing your own professional meeting room equipment or technology for presentations. We already have you covered!
4. We can grow with your small business. If you need more than one office, we may just be able to accommodate another office for you, depending on our vacancies.
5. We have free and plentiful parking. Take the hassle of parking out of the equation by not having to worry about paying for the meter or running late because you couldn’t find a nearby place to park.
These are just a few reasons why the Buttonwood Business Center provides an advantage in office space for rent in Columbia. Would you come take a tour? Call us today at 573-886-8900 or inquire right here on our website.
The Buttonwood Business Center is proud to announce that we are sponsoring Aidan Moore in the “It Takes a Heart to be a Hero” Campaign!
Below, Aidan shares his involvement in the campaign:
“I’m joining millions of others to help save lives with the American Heart Association!
At my school, I’m learning how I can help make a difference by raising lifesaving donations to help kids with heart disease. I’m also learning about my own heart, and how to keep it healthy. And I’m getting active!
I’m excited about raising money for other kids – kids with hearts that don’t exactly work right and to help fund new medicines and treatments to be discovered.
Please help me make a difference! Thank you!”
We are excited to help raise awareness for heart disease through Aidan.
Does heart disease run in your family? Though genetics can play a major role in this prevalent disease, lifestyle choices are also a key factor! What you consume and how active you are plays a very large role in your risk for heart complications or similar lifestyle related diseases.
You may be thinking to yourself, how does nutrition and exercise relate to business? Well actually, it can be very impactful on your business and career. Choices you make now in your eating habits and activity level can determine your ability (or inability) to run your business in the future. Will you take the challenge of taking care of yourself so that you can be a part of your business for many years to come? As a small business owner, you may often find yourself sacrificing time for yourself to pour into building your business. But you may find that eating well and exercising will give you more energy to run your small business.
Don’t let poor nutrition, lack of activity, and the onset of heart disease be a barrier to being successful in your business or career!
Being an entrepreneur or a small business owner can be challenging. Not only can it be long hours, but you are exposed to so many different aspects of business- loans, legal issues, tax issues, marketing, etc.- that sometimes it is hard to know even where to start. In fact, it’s overwhelming to think about all the ingredients that go into making a successful business.
The good news is that there is an abundance of online resources ready for you to use. Here we have just a few listed that can help you in a number of different ways and save you time.
1. Entrepreneur.com – A great place to start that is loaded with all kinds of advice from how to write a business plan, to giving you daily tips and motivation from those who have already been there.
2. Sba.gov – Filled with tons of resources, sba.gov will help educate you on the basics of starting a business, learn about business financing, and even provide online courses you can take that covers all aspects of small business.
3. Small Business & Technology Development Centers – (find yours by state) offers loads of online resources, but if you are lucky enough to have a center in your city, it is a great place to go for personal help with launching a small business.
4. Hootsuite.com – Depending on what plan you choose, it is a free (or inexpensive) way to manage all of your business’ social media profiles in one place. It will save you tons of time with the ability to schedule posts and sharing your business information.
5. IRS.gov – The IRS website has a multitude of information for anything related to your small business taxes.
Did you know that 97% of today’s consumers search online for products and services? That is an outstanding statistic! What’s equally mind blowing is that only 50% of small businesses at best actually have a website. Wow. For those small businesses out there that don’t have a website, you’re missing out on a huge part of the market!
Maybe you’re a small consulting firm where you get most of your business from word of mouth. You may not see the importance of a website. But think of websites in this light- people use websites to gain information and to consider all possibilities when making a purchase or some other big decision- like who they want as an attorney, or who they want to do their taxes. Though potential costumers and clients may not purchase something directly from your website, they will use your website and the information you put on there as a way to “date” your business and see whether or not they want to inquire further or follow through to purchase your product or service.
We live in a day and age where we’re all about convenience and instant gratification. We want information at the click of a button, not after dialing up a few numbers and waiting for someone to give us the information we want. People want to glean information easily and instantly at the push of a button to see if your business product or service is a worthy candidate for money well spent.
If 97% of consumers use the web to search for products and services, give your business a better chance of increasing sales by creating a website and providing the consumer with the basic information they want to hear.
(Statistic found on sba.gov- https://www.sba.gov/blogs/getting-your-small-business-website-right)
As an aspiring entrepreneur, one might turn to entrepreneurial and how-to books to do research and figure out just how crazy you might be to start your own business.
It’s funny that I should mention being crazy because there is a book called You Need To Be A Little Crazy: The truth about starting and growing your business by Barry J. Moltz. One of the book’s main beginning arguments was that if you are looking to make lots of money in your start-up business, you may be better off getting a job instead. In the author’s mind, starting your own business does not necessarily mean you’re going to rake in the dough. And I would have to agree with that depending on what market you’re looking to enter. But as I began thinking about this by weighing in with my own experiences, I began to doubt the author’s opinion to a larger degree.
I flipped to the front of the book and sure enough, this book was published in 2003, right around the downturn of the economy. This author was writing, just 12 years ago, how you had a better chance at success if you got a job with an established company where you could work your way up the ladder and receive a dependable pay check. But those days have been gone for the last 10 years. If you have been a recent graduate, you will know what I’m talking about. For the last 10 (+/-) years, it has been hard for most graduates to find a well paying job right off the bat. In many cases, graduates are over-qualified for the jobs they are working.
I imagine that if this book were rewritten to take into account today’s economy and job market, it would probably argue the opposite: you may just have a better chance at making something of yourself or of your career if you take a risk and go out on your own. Obviously there are many hurdles to overcome with starting a business, raising capital to name a big one. But if you hit your business venture at the right time, in the right market niche, with lots of determination, you may just have a chance.
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”– Theodore Roosevelt
Did you know the Saturday after Black Friday is Small Business Saturday? Small Business Saturday was created only 4 years ago to honor, celebrate, and support small businesses around days that mainly benefit “big box retail,” i.e. Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Small businesses are essential to the economy of our nation. In fact, here is an article from Forbes Magazine outlining some important statistics for small business. To name just a few from Forbes: “There are almost 28 million small businesses in the U.S.” “50% of the working population works in small business.” “Small businesses have generated over 65% of the net new jobs since 1995.” Those statistics are astounding! Who knows what our nation’s economy would be like without small business.
We, at the Buttonwood Business Center, wanted to take the time just to thank you for being a small business. We know it’s not an easy road to start a business and we truly admire your courage, motivation, and determination to step out of the box.
Even though you may not be in the retail industry, think of Small Business Saturday as a day where we can celebrate you, the small business owner. We appreciate you! Don’t forget to take the opportunity to support other small businesses on Small Business Saturday in your local area.