Intrinsic Rewards: What They Are and Why They’re Important

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By Indeed Editorial Team

Extrinsic rewards (benefits, bonuses, etc) are not the only way to motivate employees, and at times, can demotivate your workers. LuciditySBM

If you’re a manager, it’s likely keeping your employees motivated is among your top concerns. This is especially true in competitive industries, like sales and technology, and those where people have to do a lot of routine tasks, like manufacturing or office administration. Understanding intrinsic rewards is tantamount to driving results. In this article, we define intrinsic rewards and explain their role in creating an effective workplace to learn and grow by offering intrinsic rewards examples.

What are intrinsic rewards?

There are two broad categories of rewards that managers might keep in their toolkit to increase motivation among team members; these are extrinsic and intrinsic rewards.

Extrinsic rewards are ones that you’re more likely to notice in the workplace because they include tangible rewards, like a monetary bonus or an extra day off of work. Intrinsic rewards are harder to identify because they vary from person to person, and they aren’t tangible. Intrinsic rewards include things like a sense of pride, personal fulfillment from completion of an activity, gaining a new skill and feeling like an important part of a team.

Why are intrinsic rewards important?

Intrinsic rewards are intangible, psychological rewards that you get from a job well done. These vary from person to person and include things like a sense of pride, personal fulfillment from completing an activity, gaining a new skill and feeling like an important part of a team.

Intrinsic rewards examples in the workplace

Below are some intrinsic rewards that may impact your workforce. Fostering these activities and feelings in the work environment could help your team grow and thrive:

  • Completing meaningful tasks
  • Letting employees be selective
  • Gaining a sense of competence
  • Making noticeable progress
  • Feeling inspired to be more responsible
  • Being an important part of an organization or team
  • Feeling accomplished
  • Mastery of knowledge or a skill
  • Feeling pride 

Completing tasks that are meaningful

When employees complete meaningful tasks, that could provide an intrinsic reward. Managers can take advantage of this reward by talking to employees to determine what they think are the most important parts of their job and helping them structure their day around tasks that give them a feeling of purpose.

Example: “Shelly works as a shift manager in retail, and feels like the most meaningful part of her job is training employees. Shelly’s manager decides to include Shelly in training planning sessions going forward. As a result, Shelly is motivated to be the best retail manager because she is doing something she finds personally rewarding.”

Letting employees be selective

Some employees feel rewarded when they get to make choices throughout the day and structure their own workday. Giving employees some freedom to prioritize their own tasks and complete them as they see fit could be an intrinsic motivator for your team.

Example: “As a media producer, Carson knows that every day he is responsible for certain tasks that go into creating the daily news. Carson feels rewarded when his employer lets him choose how to structure his day, as long as all his tasks are completed successfully. Carson’s employer recognizes this trait in Carson and embraces it by making sure Carson has the freedom to schedule his day, provided the news is produced efficiently.”

Gaining a sense of competence

When employees feel like they are doing a good job, that can be a reward in itself. If your employees are tasked with completing complex tasks, simply doing those tasks over and over again until they feel comfortable and confident in their abilities offers intrinsic reward opportunities.

Example: “Minerva is a chemical engineer who studies metal alloys. She started using a new piece of equipment that posed a new challenge, but as she became more comfortable with the equipment and her competence grew, she felt rewarded. Minerva’s employer could keep Minerva motivated by letting her be the person who learns new equipment and processes, then teaches them to the team.”

Making noticeable progress

When people can see their progress, they are more likely to receive intrinsic rewards from it. As a manager, you can create an environment where people can see progress and learn from mistakes to reap the benefit of motivation.

Example: “Henry is a personal trainer. He asks his clients to take before and after photos. Henry has worked with dozens of clients at the gym that employs him. When he’s feeling like he needs some motivation, he looks at the wall that shows all of the before and after photos and feels motivated to continue doing his good work. His motivation comes from the sense of accomplishment he feels when he sees the good work he has done.”

Feeling inspired to be more responsible

Earning increased responsibility is a way some employers show a job well done. When people feel inspired to take on more responsibility, they may get a greater sense of accomplishment even though their role hasn’t changed too much. 

Example: “Martha is a cashier at the grocery store. She feels rewarded when she gets there early and her supervisor lets her clock in to help with daily sandwich prep at the deli counter. Martha’s intrinsic motivation is that she’s learning a new skill and developing at work. Martha’s employers could take that as a sign that Martha is ready to develop, and they could give her more responsibilities.”

Being an important part of an organization or team

Feeling like your role is an important part of the team or organization you work within offers intrinsic rewards that could motivate employees to do more and stay focused. That’s because being recognized by your team members as playing a vital role feels good.

Example: “Hadley is a project manager in a DevOps workforce. Today, Hadley is starting his first sprint. As scrum master, he will play an important role in keeping the team on track to meet goals. This makes Hadley feel important, accomplished and recognized for his good work.”

Feeling accomplished

There are several ways that employees might gain a sense of accomplishment at work. This could be learning a new skill, completing an objective, working on a project or being recognized as an important contributor, to name a few. 

Example: “Melanie is a writer. She recently increased her writing speed to 500 words in 30 minutes and feels a sense of accomplishment that motivates her to do more. Her motivator is that she sees measurable improvement. Melanie could bolster her writing business by tracking her progress and relishing in small milestones.”

Mastery of knowledge or a skill

Gaining knowledge of a new skill provides intrinsic benefits that could result in greater motivation. This one is relatively simple for employers to set up to reap the benefit of motivated employees by offering training and opportunities for employees to gain new skills. This could be in the form of online courses, on-the-job cross-training between roles or group retreats geared at education.

Example: “Percy is an accounting specialist. He has the opportunity to train with the company’s controller to learn new skills. This makes Percy feel motivated to continue to do great work in accounting, because he wants to build a career in the field and getting special attention from the controller feels like a step in the right direction.”

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Feeling pride in what you do

Taking pride in your work can offer intrinsic rewards. Achieving a sense of pride from having others admire your work can have the same effect. When people feel like they’ve accomplished something substantial, they are likely to feel proud. Managers can use extrinsic motivators like words of affirmation to inspire this intrinsic motivator in their employees.

Example: “Velma is a house painter. She completed the trim of a house in bright white. Her supervisor said, “You did a really great job, Velma. Keep it up,” and she felt a strong sense of pride in her paint job. That feeling of pride motivates Velma to keep doing good work. She especially appreciates words of affirmation because they make her feel accomplished.”

Levels of intrinsic rewards 

Studies suggest people experience intrinsic rewards in different levels that correspond with things like mood and how people feel about work:

High engagement

Some people will experience high engagement with intrinsic rewards. These people are highly motivated to succeed by internal factors. They feel energized and positive when intrinsic rewards manifest in the workplace.

Mid-range engagement

Many people find themselves engaging with intrinsic rewards at a moderate level. For example, you might feel like you’ve made progress at your job, but not developed your skills enough to get a promotion. The skill development you did do may feel satisfying and meaningful, though you know you aren’t where you need to be yet.

Low engagement

People who experience low engagement with intrinsic rewards at work are less likely to be satisfied with their job and may struggle to find meaning in their tasks and duties.

How to create high engagement at work

To create a work culture of high engagement, you should:

1. Create engagement purposefully

Intrinsic rewards are abstract, and that can pose challenges when communicating them to the people who are supposed to develop programs that appeal to intrinsic motivations. For example, simply talking with a company’s HR department and asking them to develop an intrinsic rewards program may not be the right solution because of the complex nature of intrinsic rewards.

A better solution is to ensure that intrinsic motivators are a part of the company’s culture and values. That may take new training initiatives, manager or corporate retreats, motivational speeches, deploying new management styles and more. Consider what motivators are important to your employees and how to purposefully make them an engaging part of the corporate culture.

2. Focus on your mid-range engagers

Once you’ve established a company culture where intrinsic rewards are prioritized, HR can develop a measurable program that employees are likely to understand. A good group to focus on is the mid-range engagers. For one, there tends to be more of them than outlying categories, so you have the opportunity to move a larger group toward intrinsic rewards. Second, they represent a group that’s already somewhat engaged, so they may be more receptive to intrinsic rewards than lower engagement groups.

3. Think about change management

Make an entire culture shift and implementing new intrinsic reward programs at the same time is a lot of change for any organization. Look to large organizations that have made similar cultural shifts to understand the best change management practices for your company.

From https://www.indeed.com and modified by LuciditySBM

Money Saving Tips and Ideas for Small Businesses

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Annie Mueller Partner, Mueller Creative, LLC

Sure, theoretical advice is nice, but when you’re struggling to keep your business going, you want real help from people who’ve lived through the same situations. I’ve collected 27 money-saving tips from real small businesses that are succeeding in a tough economy. Real people, real businesses and real ideas to help you cut costs, lower your overhead, and still reach your target market and build your business.

1. Cut traditional advertising in favor of low-cost alternatives.

This is a popular move for small businesses and thanks to the many options in internet marketing and advertising, it’s possible to cut traditional advertising costs and still reach customers. Marissa K. Haynes of Wealth Management Group of NA, LLC recommends public relations as a much cheaper and more effective form of advertising. Haynes and her colleagues have used their expertise to be featured as credible sources in publications and media outlets.

John Boyd, CEO of cloud-based Meeting Wave, chose to stop paying for advertising and focus on inbound marketing. Shai Atanelov, CEO of BigTimeWireless, cut down even on paid internet advertising (such as Google Adwords) and focused on getting results by using SEO techniques within the company website and creating YouTube videos, a move which garnered over 700,000 views and a boost in traffic to the website.

2. Get sponsors for events.

Events can be huge draws for both old and new customers, and many businesses rely on regular events, from galas to seminars, to expand their customer base. Haynes recommends getting sponsors who will help carry the expense of events in exchange for some form of advertising within the event. It’s usually a good trade for both the small business hosting the event and the sponsor paying for expenses, if the two are in related areas.

3. Outsource, outsource, outsource.

Employees are essential to getting work done, but employee costs—from salaries to office space to insurance—can be the biggest chunk of a small business’s budget. Georgette Pascale, owner of PR Firm Pascale Communications, chooses to keep her full-time staff to a minimum and outsources work to independent contractors for the work that her staff cannot cover as needed.

Deborah Sweeney, CEO of My Corporation Business Services, Inc., uses the same method by hiring consultants as needed; Sweeney maintains that she can not only negotiate a lower rate with consultants, but that her business benefits from their more varied experience in their fields of expertise.

4. Negotiate with vendors.

What you’ve been paying your vendors does not have to be the final word on what you continue paying. Ultimately, vendors want to stay in business too, and they’re dealing with a tough economy just as you are. Many are often willing to negotiate lower prices rather than lose a regular customer. Ian Aronovich, of GovernmentAuctions.org, shares that his firm was able to negotiate better prices on everything from office supplies to the phone bill. You certainly won’t lose anything by trying, and you may find yourself able to shave several hundred dollars off your monthly operating costs.

5. Think beyond the cash box.

When that cash supply gets low, as it tends to do in small businesses, don’t close the door on getting what you need. Pascale recommends the age-old practice of bartering. She used bartering successfully by offering her own PR services in exchange for work by an interior design firm when she needed an office redesign. As with the vendor negotiation, the worst answer you can get is a simple no, and you might be surprised by how quickly you’ll hear a yes.

6. Live in the cloud.

Frugal marketing advice gurus will give you a cloud-based solution before you even finish asking your question, but real small-business owners recommend the same strategy. Boyd, of Meeting Wave, avoids the cost of expensive hardware and uses cloud-based services to host data. Bibby Gignilliat, founder of San Francisco-based Parties That Cook opts for cloud-based software, “such as Salesforce, PayCycle and Staffmate where we pay per annual user, rather than needing to purchase and maintain expensive software in-house.”

7. Cut extraneous employee expenses, not employees.

Aronovich says that his business used to provide free lunches to in-house staff, until 2009, that is, when the economy forced them to rethink their expenditures. Though neither the company nor the employees wanted to give up the perk, it was a better choice financially for them to offer a simple bagel breakfast on Fridays, save the money spent on the free lunches, and thus be able to keep their employees working rather than laying them off.

8. Embrace telecommuting.

Telecommuting isn’t possible for all businesses, or for all employees within a business, but when it is, it can be a huge money-saver. Pascale’s business was founded as an all-virtual agency. Keeping things virtual allows small businesses such as Pascale’s to avoid the expense of office space and the ongoing operating costs that come with it, and focus on producing work at minimum overhead. If you’re not able to convert your entire staff to a telecommuting situation, find a way to convert at least some of them.

9. Go green to save green.

Going green is not only a great PR move, it’s also a smart financial move, according to Shel Horowitz, author of Guerilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet. Horowitz recommends simple moves such as keeping equipment on a power strip and turning it off when not in use, or replacing your existing printer with one that prints on both sides of the paper, thus reducing paper waste and cost. Since the object of many environmentally friendly changes is to save energy, and you have to pay for the energy your business uses, if you can reduce energy use you will also be reducing your costs.

10. Hire smart, inexperienced people.

Experience isn’t everything, and it costs more. Next time you put up a job ad, eliminate the line that says, “Must have X years of experience,” and replace it with “Recent graduates welcome to apply.” Sweeney used this approach and hired developers who were fresh out of graduate school, gaining a monetary advantage by providing an entry-level salary and, she says, benefiting by having employees who are “up-to-date on the latest technology…often more nimble and eager to learn.”

11. Clarify your policy on giving.

Rather than cutting out all charitable contributions, spend 20 minutes putting together a policy that will clarify your procedures and limits. This is especially helpful if you’re in a food-based business, which can be overwhelmed by requests for “food donations” for fund-raising events, or if your business deals in other goods which charitable organizations need. Tracy Kellner of Provenance Food, a Chicago-based business, found this approach the best way to deal with the frequent requests she had to spend time answering. Instead of using her own time to respond, Kellner created a very specific policy, made it available via e-mail or as a physical document, and instructed her employees to hand it out to anyone seeking donations.

12. Negotiate with your landlord.

Joellen Sommer, a financial expert, suggests renegotiating a lease to save on costs. Gignilliat of Parties That Cook did just that and was able to save on one of the biggest expenses small businesses face. If prime retail space is important for your business, start asking about a better deal and cut down on that budget-buster.

13. Cut down on employee time.

Sommer also finds that her clients can cut many employees down to a four-day work week, which often works better for employees as well as business owners. A four-day work week means increased savings in utility and operating costs, as well as a lower salary cost for the business as a whole.

14. Practice guerilla marketing.

Guerilla marketing can not only get your business noticed, it can also save your business money. Nina Cunningham of Liberty Tax Service points to their practice of using “Lady Liberty costume wavers” and on-the-street entertainment. They’ve been using these techniques since 1997, says Cunningham, and find that “for every two hours we have a waver, we get a customer.”

15. Keep your meetings lean.

On-site meetings can be expensive in terms of travel and hosting costs, and even virtual meetings cost you in terms of billable hours or salary costs. If employees are sitting in a meeting, rather than producing work or getting new clients, you’re losing money. You can’t eliminate meetings altogether, but you can learn from David Lanagan, founder of SMB Communications. Lanagan recommends, first, that you limit the people who are required to participate in meetings. “By keeping client meetings to the lowest head-count possible,” Lanagan says, “[I] ensure that my employees’ time is well spent and that the associated costs are low.”

16. Save on shipping.

Jessie Connors, CEO of luxury e-tailer Peppermint Park, notes that her shipping manager constantly checks and compares prices on shipping, negotiates better terms and makes sure that they save every penny they can. As Connor states, “If we save a few pennies in shipping on each product the savings falls to the bottom line and can add up to become big money.”

17. Cut down on maintenance.

Do you really need a daily cleaning service at the office? Sommer recommends reviewing ongoing maintenance costs such as these, and cutting back wherever possible. Employees can empty their own trash. A cleaning service can come in weekly instead of daily. Reduce the frequency of maintenance costs, and you can save money without reducing the maintenance or necessary service items completely.

18. Get interns.

Gignilliat found marketing interns from local schools for help with building the business’s social media program. “They blogged, tweeted and posted to Facebook regularly,” says Gignilliat, “which helped us improve our search engine optimization and get more business.” And using interns rather than full-time employees cuts way back on expenses, from salaries to benefits to office space. Combine this strategy with telecommuting and you’ll be able to get a lot of work done for a fraction of the cost.

19. Review all expenses, even the little ones.

It’s just smart business practice, but it’s often overlooked until tough economic times force you into it. Aronovich remembers that, in 2009, they analyzed all company expenses to cut anything unnecessary. Small cuts in ongoing expenses can add up to large savings over the long term. Review everything that isn’t providing a ROI, cut back to the bare minimum and completely eliminate anything extraneous.

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20. Find a cheaper way.

You can often find a cheaper way to provide the same employee perks, as in the case of Gignilliat, who cut out the $900-per-year water cooler expense and replaced it with a filtered water pitcher. From $900 to $30 is a significant savings, and if you can accomplish that sort of financial savvy in more than one area, you can turn your business into a lean, profit-generating machine.

21. Buy in bulk.

Gignilliat’s company switched to shopping the cheapest deals on office supplies such as inkjet cartridges, and purchasing from bulk warehouses or online suppliers to save money on both the product cost and the shipping cost. Analyze your ongoing expenses and pinpoint the ones that are purchased randomly or at middle-man suppliers. Check into bulk buying and see if you can’t save a significant amount on those frequent-use items.

22. Use open-source software.

Software, from the basic to the complex, is essential on some level in every business. Before you spend hundreds on software purchases or updates, check into the free open-source alternatives. Boyd’s company used open-source software to build their online product, and you can find open-source software for everything from photo editing to invoicing to accounting, project management, and document creation.

23. Do some old-school marketing.

Rhondalynn Korolak, managing director of Imagineering Unlimited, finds that the simple, old-fashioned practice of sending a handwritten thank you note to customers can have a huge return. Korolak has found that this practice alone “can lift sales by 10-20 percent,” making it a definite worthwhile investment of five minutes of time and the cost of a stamp.

24. Create partnerships for marketing.

Boyd advocates creating partnerships with other startups to cut costs and increase reach on promotional efforts. Alicia Vargo, CEO of luxury lingerie store Pampered Passions, concurs: “We have given up the print and radio advertising and focused on related alliances, for example bridal shops, post mastectomy businesses, photographers, hospitals and plastic surgeons. These are related areas for us. The organic partnerships far outweigh an ad or a radio promotion.”

25. Simplify your distribution process.

Atanelov allowed a financial crunch to lead to a complete overhaul of the business’ distribution system, eliminating the practice of warehousing and shipping their own inventory and turning to suppliers instead to “create a drop shipping partnership with them.” Says Atanelov, “Our supplier would ship directly to our customers for us… [they] agreed to do this on the condition that we bring in enough orders.”

Look at the distribution process in your own business and find ways to simplify or eliminate the processes involved. Focus your business and your employees on their strengths, and negotiate smart agreements to keep your business moving forward.

26. Know your customer.

This simple advice from Allen Ash of Almar Sales Co, a family business founded in 1965, is perhaps the most applicable. Think of it in terms of your particular business. If you know your customers well enough to know where they actually go online, then you can focus your online marketing efforts there instead of spreading your resources out over a whole arena of internet options.

If you know what your customers like, how they respond, what they want and what they’ll spend, you eliminate all the other options from your budget. Eliminating useless options means the money you do spend is more focused and will garner a better response, so you’re not only saving money initially, but you’ll be producing more profit from what you do put forth.

27. Reward your profit-makers.

It may seem a little backwards, but spending to save does make sense in some cases. Korolak recommends taking the proactive approach of rewarding profitable behavior from both your employees and your customers. What does that look like? For Conners, it means making little gestures, like an occasional free lunch or treat, to boost employee morale and keep the work environment positive.

It could also mean offering bonuses to employees who meet certain requirements for sales or productions, and offering deeper discounts or value-added packages to your most loyal customers. If you’re spending a little money on the people who do the best work for you, or purchase the most product from you, you’re simply investing in a relationship that will ultimately bring more profit to your business.

From: americanexpress.com

How Businesses Can Hedge Against Increasing Inflation

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by Service2Client

Inflation is on the rise. According to a recent Economic News Release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Producer Price Index for final demand grew by 1 percent in March. February saw “final demand prices” grow by 0.5 percent; and January’s final demand prices increased by 1.3.

According to BLS, the Producer Price Index (PPI) consists of many indicators and evaluates the mean difference over a period of time for the “selling prices received by domestic producers of goods and services.” In other words, PPI is a way to gauge how much manufacturers and similar businesses face in increased costs due to inflation.

This inflation gauge takes a broad survey of approximately 10,000 unique manufactured items and the amount of inflation businesses face. The BLS’ PPI measure looks at items produced by fisheries, food growers, miners, manufacturers, etc. It also includes 72 percent of production of the service sector, as the 2007 Economic Census found.

Hedging with Futures

One way to reduce risk is by hedging. A popular example is with futures contracts. Much like buying an insurance policy, futures contracts can reduce the impact of a negative event, such as a spike in commodity prices.

If a company is worried about the price of oil for their planes or coffee for their cafes, they can enter into a futures contract to buy a designated quantity of that particular commodity at an agreed-upon price, with the ability to exercise it on or before the expiration date.

With a futures contract, a company can better plan its budget based on the contract’s parameters and the cost of the contract. If the price of the commodity rises in the future due to increased demand or limited supplies, the business can save money by taking delivery of the particular commodity at the originally agreed upon price through the futures contract.

Since the goal of hedging is to protect against losses, it’s important to weigh the cost of the futures contract. If the price of the commodity falls for the above-mentioned futures contract example, the company would still be forced to buy the commodity at the contract’s price, which would be a poor investment. If, however, it sells the futures contract before its expiration to avoid receiving the physical commodity at a poor price, that would lead to a loss. Having a contingency plan to reduce losses in futures contracts is always a good part of a hedging strategy.

Negotiate with Suppliers

Much like businesses enter into specified timeframes with suppliers, companies can do the same with their purchased supplies to provide more predictable prices. When the PPI measurement is used, the purchasing company can contract with its supplier to settle on the initial product’s price, and how price fluctuations will be determined going forward. Since the PPI is released monthly, the price can adjust accordingly (decrease or increase, depending on the PPI) for the supplier and purchasing company. It can be re-evaluated every three, six or 12 months, for example.

While there’s no predicting the future and if and how much commodity prices may rise and impact businesses, the more tools that businesses have to mitigate increased costs, the more likely they are to survive rising inflation.

Source: https://bookkeepingplano.com/how-businesses-can-hedge-against-increasing-inflation/

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Hedging, securing future contracts with suppliers now, is a great way for small businesses to protect themselves against the rising cost of inflation. Not only do they guarantee a future lower price if prices continue to rise, but they can take much of the guess work out of forecasting and thus, increase budgeting accuracy. LuciditySBM

WHAT BARTER IS & HOW IT CAN BE USEFUL TO YOUR BUSINESS

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When greenbacks are no longer welcomed, bartering may be a viable alternative to digital currency – SH

By: Eric J. Nisall

WHAT IS BARTER?

Barter is simply the trading with no cash involvement.

It can be goods, services, or any combination of the two.

Have a look at the exact definition:

There is no set pattern or rule as to what can be traded for what, aside from those goods and services which are deemed illegal.

To promote it, and make it easier for people to interact, barter networks were established.

These systems enable trading to be taken to a new level by offering “barter credits” which are used like cash within that specific network.

We’ll look at how all of that works next.

BARTER NETWORKS

People's hands offering to barter corn, grains and coffee for bottled water in a barter network.
Barter networks make it easy to find people with whom to trade your services, and it’s even easier when they come to you!

As mentioned earlier, there are barter networks that use their own “currency” to facilitate commerce.

For each transaction you make within the barter network, you would get “credits” which you can then bank and use at a later time on any other products or services.

These barter networks make trading more accessible as you wouldn’t have to find a partner directly, which will help expand your business.

You just need to get used to not using traditional financial institutions in these types of transactions.

For example:

You join a barter network to provide and purchase goods or services.

If you are a web designer, for example, you can design a site for an architect and get paid in barter credit.

You may not have any use for an architect’s services, but rather have a need for business cards.

You can then take your credits and hire a printer within the barter network to make your cards and pay them with the credits you earned from doing work for the architect.

Or, you can just keep those credits in your account until the time comes when you need something from anyone else within the barter network.

In the traditional barter system, you would be forced to search for a trade partner who has what you need and needs what you provide.

This method is easier than direct trade since you can acquire new customers who might not have anything you need in return.

These networks generally charge a monthly fee, plus commissions per transaction to support the network.

Companies like Itex, a publicly traded barter network, use those fees to support their communities by hosting websites that provide classified ads, member directories and profiles, account information, and other benefits that vary based on the different networks.

Plus with barter networks, worrying about collecting receivables is greatly reduced as many of the networks give you online transaction-processing built-in.

As far as bookkeeping goes, you record your transactions the same way you would cash transactions, except with a different account for your credits as opposed to a regular cash account.

There really should be no learning curve–or just a small one–and you can essentially hit the ground running.

HOW YOU CAN BENEFIT FROM BARTERING

There are a number of reasons you may want to consider getting into bartering:

  • Due to the fact that there is no cash involvement, practically any business can participate in a trade.  This is especially helpful to a small and/or new small business where cash-flow tends to be a big concern.
  • Any combination of things can be traded: accounting services for web design; printing services for cleaning services or repairs; advertising for legal services.  There is no limit to what you can trade for.
  • The accounting and tax treatments are exactly the same as if you were using cash: all sales are taxable income and the same rules apply for deducting expenses (although the valuation is different which we’ll address a bit later).
  • Without the need for access to large amounts of capital or credit, your business may be able to develop and grow more quickly.
  • There are people in all sorts of businesses looking to trade a variety of goods and services, so your options are not limited.
  • A way to reach a potentially untapped source of customers and generate word of mouth publicity that can spread to cash customers in the future.
  • Trades may lead to future cash transactions or may be used to entice customers into cash transactions.
  • You would conserve your cash for use on expansion such as hiring employees or use on expenses that cannot be traded for such as utility bills, business licenses, and self-employment taxes.
  • It provides a way to sell off excess or slow-moving inventory when traditional marketing/sales methods have failed
  • Some companies even use barter systems & credits to run payroll (don’t ask how employees want it, but I’ve seen it before!)

I’m sure other people can add to this list, but this is just what my experience has been.https://751449d3e9006a11f3941e450f6ac9a6.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

DRAWBACKS OF BARTER

Woman sitting on a couch at a party between two couples being a 5th wheel, symbolizing barter difficulties.
Unfortunately, barter is like dating as you won’t always find someone to partner with and it can feel disappointing.

Just like with anything in life, it’s not all positive with the barter system.

Unfortunately, there are drawbacks as well.

One of the biggest issues I ran into was the fact that I had little need for other people’s services or goods.

My business is pretty streamlined since I work out of my home and I’m 99.9% paperless.

That means I don’t need to trade for rent or office supplies or any other general office-related stuff.

I also have people that I use and trust for the services I actually do need so I already outsource business tasks like website maintenance or graphic design that are above my pay grade which eliminated those things.

So what happens when you have a bunch of “money” in your trade account and you can’t find someone to use it on?

I can tell you firsthand what happens:

YOU LOSE IT!

And it sucks, but I got lucky that I only dabbled so it wasn’t a huge loss.

Obviously, if you’re doing straight trades and not going through a network, then you aren’t going to “lose” anything, you’ll simply have a hard time finding trading partners.

If you are on a network, you have to pay a cash monthly fee as well as a percentage of your transactions.

For some people that may be a bit too much, particularly if you aren’t active and keep losing that cash each month for essentially no return.https://751449d3e9006a11f3941e450f6ac9a6.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

BARTERING AND INCOME TAXES

Black male hands holding broken pencil with tax form 1040 for bartering income
Income taxes are always a confusing issue, just don’t forget that barter transactions are taxable transactions, too!

As always, when the topic turns to your taxes please, please, please check with a qualified tax accountant!

Bartering is no different than any other manner of accepting revenue.

You still are required to include any “income” you make via bartering with your reportable income.

When using a network, that’s really easy because each “trade dollar” is the equivalent of a US dollar which makes tracking easy.

You even get the benefit of deducting the costs of doing business such as the network dues and fees they take out as well as the cost you incur in the normal operation of your business.

When you trade outside of a network, one-for-one (or group trades), it becomes a little more difficult–but not impossible.

Just because you are “trading” that doesn’t mean:

  1. You don’t have to report the income, and
  2. It’s always an equal value

You always have to report income, even non-cash.

And you may also have to be paying self-employment tax each quarter.

But for straight barter trades it’s…well… backward.

You see, you have to report the value of the services you receive as your income:

Bartering is an exchange of property or services. You must include in your income, at the time received, the FMV of property or services you receive in bartering.

IRS Publication 525 – Taxable & Nontaxable Income

The reason why you report the value of the other good/service is because your income is based on what you receive in exchange for it.

Generally, that comes in the form of money–so when bartering, you replace the dollars with the value of the good or service received.

Now, let’s assume the client is an attorney, and instead of money, they represent you in a case about a breach of contract. The total value of the representation ends up being $5,000 worth of time. In this case, you would recognize $5,000 as income since that is what you received in exchange for your services.

Let’s say you are a photographer. You receive $1,000 to shoot a wedding. Because you received $1,000 in return for your service you report $1,000 as income.

You simply replace the cash consideration with the value of the good or service you receive to determine the amount of income you must recognize from bartering.

This is something that a lot of people who write on the topic DO NOT KNOW OR FAIL TO EXPLAIN.

WRAPPING UP

Now you know a bit more about the world of barter –and probably a lot more than most of what can be found online will tell you!

What you do with that info is totally up to you.

If you think you use it to add yet another way to sell your goods/services, great!

If you think it’s a good way for you to get goods/services while you use your cash to reinvest in your business, awesome!

Even if you decide not to get involved, at least you can now make that decision based on complete information!

from: https://www.ericnisall.com/barter/

Could the “Witch Wound” be Holding you Back in Business?

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By Sheila Kadeer

I Have been working with female entrepreneurs for a long time now, helping them to clear their path to success and build a sustainable business. In every single case, there has been one constant hurdle they have had to overcome, and even more so if they are a spiritual entrepreneur.

The Witch Wound.

This is not something you will find in any conventional business course. If I knew about this at the start of my journey, I could have saved myself a lot of time and money.

This wound is held in the collective consciousness from the times of the witch trials. Wise women, healers, shamans, midwives and intuitives were persecuted and even killed for their gifts and beliefs. Women were becoming way too powerful, and the patriarchy needed to remain in control, and so the witch trials were born. The time of the witch trials spanned from the 14th to 18th centuries and it is estimated between 40,000 and 100,000 people were killed worldwide!

Imagine being put to death, shamed, tortured all for being a strong and intuitive woman and being seen by society as:

  • Too weird
  • Too outspoken
  • Too different

Let’s think about the consequences of this. FEAR. Fear would have been rife at this time in history.

This fear is stored in our DNA and handed down from our ancestors who lived through these times. This fear plays out through the ancestral line, and has been doing so for a long time.

Fast forward to modern day entrepreneurship and this collective wounding shows up as:

  1. Fear of being seen. How many times have you held your finger over the go-live button and broken out in a cold sweat? I see so many females holding themselves back in business because of this fear. This is actually a fear that will keep you invisible and stop you from getting your gifts out into the world.
  2. Comparing yourself to others. You end up looking at everyone else and thinking they are better than you. Stalking other coaches and then feeling like an imposter or a fraud. This comes from those memories of lifetimes where others feared you for your witchcraft, and friends and family would turn you in to save themselves from persecution. This fear of being a fraud will lead to you undervaluing your services.
  3. People pleasing. Not wanting to draw attention to yourself because, on a deeper level, you remember making a scene led to your downfall. This will stop you from making that post just in case you rock the boat. Better to stay in the shadows.
  4. Not expressing yourself fully. Problems with your throat area and speaking your truth. You just won’t write the post that will move your business forward. You won’t talk about what you do confidently.
  5. Fear of authority and getting into trouble. Of course, this comes from the witch trials as well, but this will stop you from putting contracts in place, keeping on top of your finances. All these will keep your business small and end up costing you because you don’t have the legal contracts in place to deal with any potential client problems.

It is my firm belief that past life and ancestral healing have a part to play in driving your business forward.

I remember working with a client who was not earning the money she wanted, clients were treating her with disrespect, cancelling at short notice, and she was constantly chasing her tail. We went back under hypnosis to a past life and discovered she was a witch. She had been murdered but the villagers. She saw the villagers back then, who were her clients in this life. We did some healing work around this and she was then able to put some boundaries in place in this life.

The result was clients paying on time, more new clients and money flowing with ease, plus a healed relationship with a parent as an added bonus. She was also able to stick to her boundaries without caving in, as she had done previously.

This may not be for everyone, but for myself and my clients, clearing this wound has been an absolute game-changer.

As I look back at my corporate career, I can see how it was playing out there too. That fear of speaking out in meetings, outshining my colleagues and watching people get trodden on as someone else was striving for that next promotion.

Even though I left that toxic environment for the bright lights of entrepreneurship, little did I know the “witch wound” was something I needed to clear for me.

Now I share who I am and what I do with a sense of pride and I am thankful I do not need to hide anymore.

from: brainzmagazine.com

5 Independence Day Marketing Ideas That Go Hand-in-Hand with Small Business Branding

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By Casea Peterson

Independence Day is an ideal holiday for small businesses to leverage from a marketing standpoint. The holiday promotes a sense of community and local pride which enables small businesses to pivot their marketing campaigns toward promoting on a more local level through community outreach and people-to-people interactions. Building credibility and authenticity in person and through user-generated content (UGC) is a powerful way to promote your brand and define your core values.

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Customer Pride

Small businesses can benefit from showcasing their customer pride with a visual timeline of meaningful, relevant UGC across the history of their brand. Emphasizing the heritage and core values of your brand will show authenticity to your audience of current and potential consumers. Not to mention, a timeline of user content will express credibility and gratitude for their business over the years.

A great way to generate leads from this type of promotion is to ask current consumers to share their own content representing your products or services while sporting Independence Day colors. Up to date consumer images of your product in action is up to seven times more trustworthy than advertising images on social media. Your audience will likely be inspired to see a community they are already a part of and participate in adding more UGC to your brand’s history.

Stand Out at Local Independence Day Events

Show up to every community event that celebrates Independence Day in your area and, if possible, snag a booth! Having your top products and helpful staff on site will give new and potential consumers a chance to interact face to face with your brand. By participating in the celebration of a national holiday while also giving away freebies to promote your brand, you’ll find many consumers will appreciate your effort to be a part of the community and create stronger bonds with those that shop locally.

If you manage to snag a booth at a local event be sure to leverage part of that space as an interactive area where consumers can snap selfies or record their experience and then share it online to their friends (think dunk tank). These fun but supportive engagements in person can drive leads and new followers online in a big way.

If you can’t find a booth or something that allows you to get face to face with people outside of the store you should consider creating an interactive map of Independence Day events in your area. These kinds of efforts on your brands part show that you’re paying attention to the community and that you care about helping out locals whether they are already consumers or not.

Make sure your booth and freebies are branded well and include a hashtag making it easy to share and participate online and off. And don’t forget, you should document the entire holiday experience as well, not just your consumers. Show pictures of your booth, your store if you decorate it, or your employees decked out in patriotic gear.

Photo by Sharefaith on Pexels.com

Give Back to Veterans

The holiday is, after all, about gratitude, so show how thankful you are by offering an even bigger discount to veterans and to anyone who posts a photo or tweets thanks to veterans or military service members while showcasing your product or service, or with a branded hashtag.

Show your gratitude this Independence Day by offering special deals and discounts to veterans and those who currently serve in the military. To push this concept further, your business can run a promotion available to all of your consumers asking for photos or videos of them expressing their own gratitude for the veterans and military members in their life.

Those who included the branded hashtag can either be submitted into a drawing or given a discount code or coupon for their next purchase. Don’t forget, you should get as many of your employees as possible to share their own posts of gratitude to emphasize your brand’s national support this Independence Day.

Free Giveaways with Incentive to Post Later

When you attend events, add a hashtag or contest info to products you give away that entice the consumer to follow through and share their experience of in-person interaction with your business in order to get an online discount or to be submitted for a contest. A selfie booth, or even a patriotic themed photo booth with hats and party favors, is a great way to welcome new consumers in, let them have fun taking photos, and answer their questions about your services face to face.

To promote your in-person campaign online, you can host a selfie or photo contest on Instagram where the winner of the day’s event gets a special surprise gift from your store. Celebrating is meant to be fun and memorable, so make sure you find creative ways to showcase your products while emphasizing the fun and enjoyment of the freedoms we have.

If your products can be used in a patriotic way or have patriotic colors, encourage consumers to snap photos of themselves with your products by allowing any image with that particular hashtag to be submitted for an online contest.

Unboxing Videos

Unboxing videos are an excellent way to prompt consumers to share their personal experience of your product with their friends and family.

Prompt users at checkout to complete an unboxing video for added discounts on their next purchase or to be submitted into a sale event. The popularity of video is still on the rise so any way you can prompt your online consumers into sharing their experience and reaction (hopefully positive) to your products is a plus.

To give this type of campaign a patriotic twist, you can only offer the unboxing contest with products that are red, white, and blue, or Independence Day themed. Make sure the packaging also rings true to the holiday theme and put a little extra love into the box, like a freebie or handwritten note, that will catch the consumer by surprise and stand out to the viewers.

The easiest way to develop an unboxing trend or contest is to offer discounts to those who participate and to encourage users at checkout to take advantage of the discounts made available if an unboxing video is made and a branded hashtag is included.

The best way to celebrate Independence Day this year is to engage with your customers on a personal level, not just through a massive contest online. Get boots on the ground and go to where a majority of your consumers are. Celebrate with them, engage with them, learn more about them, and most of all have fun being grateful with them. Your brand will be remembered by those who experience meaningful, face to face interactions with it and if they remember your brand and love your products, they will undoubtedly become lifelong advocates who share your business with their own friends and family.

From: woobox.com

To Market Successfully, Your Customer Can’t Be ‘Everyone

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By Business.com member

Who should you really be marketing to?

  • All businesses need a targeted marketing strategy to succeed.
  • Understanding your customer is only the first step.
  • You must define your niche and target those specific customers. 

Every business needs a marketing strategy. At its core, marketing is about promoting your business. It is what and how you talk about your products and services to get people to buy them.

No, your target market is not “everyone”

Think about the sneaker business. It’s a pretty wide market. Practically everyone needs a pair, right? But the most successful sneaker companies know better; they focus on very specific targets.

Take a look at Nike‘s website. It’s all about fitness, sports and winning. Converse, on the other hand, is about making a personal identity statement. Converse’s Google ad says, “Shoes are Boring. Sneakers are Iconic.” Who would have thought they’d make Chuck Taylor All Stars with a studded collar? Even if nearly everyone needs sneakers, these companies help us know exactly which sneaker fits our personal needs, whether we are super competitive or ultrafashionable.

What is a target market?

One of the keys to learning how to target your customers is to determine who they are. Figure out your niche; you cannot be everything to everyone. When you determine your target market, you can employ strategies to attract their attention and convert them to customers.

You can also use social media and other marketing channels more effectively when you know which outlets attract your specific customer base. Use research and analytics to determine this. Each social media platform captures its own analytics, so use that information to your advantage.

Also use data to learn about and target your customers based on characteristics such as location, language and interests. 

Know your competition; find out what your competitors are doing and what they are offering. You may be able to offer something better. If you can, find out as much about their customers as you can.

Also, make sure your business has its own values, and stick to those ideals. Be clear about the value that your company and products can provide to your customers. Whatever you claim, make sure you adhere to it.

Target a very specific market

No matter what product you sell or what service you deliver, more targeted marketing gives you a better return. Targeting a specific audience gets you in front of potential customers more often, with messages that touch them emotionally. If you try to be everything to everyone, your message becomes vague and less impactful.

“The more you can define not only the demographics – like age, gender and household income – but also the type of person (psychographics), including attitudes, tendencies and preferences, the more you can directly speak to your audience,” branding expert Todd Friedman wrote. “Owning a specific market’s mind share is the key.”

Photo by Kei Scampa on Pexels.com

Who is your “ideal” customer?

Here are two methods for identifying your target market.

  1. Create a fictional buyer. In the past 10 years, it has been trendy to create “buyer personas.” A buyer persona is a character who represents your target customer or client. Creating a fictional person named Suzie or Sammy, for example, with specific wants, needs and desires makes it easier to design marketing campaigns that these ideal customers will respond to. They’re typically created using a great deal of research and data about current customers. Some companies find this process valuable. But it costs time and money, which you may not have.
  2. Think about your best clients, most profitable customers or most reliable donors.

Ask yourself the following:

  • Who has bought before and returned to buy again?
  • Which clients have been the most profitable or referred their friends?
  • Which donors have given when you really needed them to and brought others to the table?

Now, look at these people and figure out who they are, so you can find more customers like them.

  • Are they male or female? How old are they? Are they married or single?
  • How educated are they? What do they do for a living?
  • What’s their outlook on life? Are they optimistic? Realistic?
  • Where do they get their news? What do they do for fun? What do they care about?
  • Why do they do business with you? How would they describe your company?

from: businessnewsdaily.com

How to Gain Respect from Employees: Leadership Tips for Managers

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By Freshbooks

Leaders don’t automatically gain respect from their employees; they need to earn respect by demonstrating that they value employees and prioritize their growth. Managers can earn more respect by improving their communication with employees and explaining important decisions. Gaining the respect of employees is important for management, because it improves workplace morale and can provide greater motivation among workers to be productive.

These topics will show you how to gain respect from employees and foster a better work environment:

How Do You Gain Respect from Employees?

Managers can gain the respect of employees by standing up for their best interests and offering strong, professional leadership. Here are 10 tips on how to gain respect from employees:

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GIVE RESPECT

If you want your direct reports to respect you, it’s important that you first show them the respect they deserve. Treat all your workers fairly and demonstrate that you value them with your words and actions. Listen to their concerns and do your best to address them. Communicate clearly with your employees and explain important decisions to them. If you treat your staff members well, they will likely reciprocate the respect you show them.

SHOW YOUR WORK ETHIC

It’s important that good managers lead by example. Demonstrate through your work ethic and contributions that you’re a reliable member of the team worthy of your employees’ trust. Provide the lead on projects when appropriate and be sure you’re not pushing your workload onto employees.

BE CONSISTENT

Consistency is key among strong, respected leaders. You should be consistent in your leadership approach and your expectations of people, so they always understand what’s expected of them. If your leadership style changes from time to time — if, for example, you give your employees freedom to make decisions with a hands-off approach, but suddenly micromanage a new project — they’ll be confused and unsure of what you need from them. Being consistent builds trusts and helps earn the respect of your team.

BE A FIRM LEADER

Managers who are pushovers with their workers don’t gain the respect of employees. Make decisions and stick to them if you feel it’s the right choice, even if it’s not popular with everyone. If you decide you need to change course in order to improve your approach, you’re free to change your mind, just be sure you’re doing it because it’s what’s best for the business and the team, not because it’s a more popular choice with employees.

ADMIT YOUR WRONGDOINGS

Leaders are human and just like your employees, you’ll make mistakes from time to time. It’s important that you own up to your wrongdoings and show your employees through example how to bounce back from a mistake. Always do everything you can to fix your errors and don’t be afraid to ask for help correcting a mistake. Your workers will notice and respect you for it.

SEEK OUT NEW OPINIONS

You hired your employees for a reason, so be respectful of their opinions and open to their suggestions on new ways of doing things. Being open to new opinions shows that you’re flexible and committed to following the best ideas, not just the ones you come up with yourself.

RECOGNIZE SUCCESSES

You can earn the respect of employees by rewarding them for their accomplishments. Find out how each employee likes to be recognized, whether it’s public praise or a private congratulations. Rewarding employees in the way they wish to be recognized demonstrates you care for them and creates a supportive work environment.

SEEK OUT FEEDBACK

To get respect, don’t assume employees will come to you when they have feedback about your leadership or criticisms of the company culture. Schedule regular check-ins with employees where they’re free to discuss how things are going. Ask specific questions that address your management and accept any criticism in a positive, thoughtful manner.

DON’T MICROMANAGE

Tell your employees what work has to be done and set clear deadlines for completion, but don’t tell them how to do their jobs. Delegating tasks and trusting your employees to complete them is key to gaining the respect of your workers. Let them know you’re available if they have any issues or want to talk through a project, but don’t micromanage how they approach their work.

HAVE THEIR BACKS

Stick up for your employees and show that you have their backs. If an issue comes up with a project, you should shoulder the blame for the problem as the boss, rather than passing the blame off on your workers. On the flipside, if you receive praise and rewards from upper management for a successful project, make sure to spread the praise around and publicly recognize the role your employees played in the success.

How Do You Get Your Employees to Like You?

It’s natural for leaders to want to be liked by their direct reports. Follow these five easy tips to get your employees to like you:

  1. Listen to your team members and take their opinions into consideration to make them feel valued and show that they can always come to you.
  2. Set clear expectations so workers know exactly what they need to do and can be more productive in their tasks.
  3. Don’t break your word by failing to follow through on promises you make, whether it’s a small matter like providing feedback on work by a certain day or a larger concern, like promising a pay raise to an employee.
  4. Be constructive with your feedback to help your workers grow and improve in their jobs, rather than making them feel bad about their weaknesses.
  5. Ask for feedback on your performance and leadership skills from employees, to show that you care about their opinions and are willing to grow as a manager to better support your workers.
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How Do You Build Trust with a New Employee?

When a new employee joins your team, you want to demonstrate that you’re a capable and fair leader to build trust with the new team member. Here are five tips for building trust with a new employee:

CREATE A PERSONAL CONNECTION

Get to know your new employee on a personal level to help build trust and respect. Ask them about their personal interests and hobbies outside of work and remember the details they give so you can ask more about it in the future. Show that you’re interested in them on a personal level so they trust you and see that they’re valued.

BE TRANSPARENT

Be truthful with new employees about the challenges and opportunities within the company. Give them a clear picture of what they can expect in the future and what’s expected of them in their new role. When you make important decisions that affect them, explain the reasons behind your choices.

OFFER ENCOURAGEMENT

Starting a new job can be stressful and raise insecurities in a new employee. Offer encouragement and constructive feedback to new team members early on so they can gain confidence and a better understanding of how to successfully complete their job duties.

DON’T PICK FAVORITES

It’s important that you don’t play favorites in the office among your team members. If you show the same level of support to all your employees and are fair in how you dish out assignments and perks, a new team member will start to trust and respect you sooner when they see they’re on a level playing field with their coworkers.

SEEK OUT FEEDBACK

Check in with a new employee regularly to get feedback on your leadership and the company culture. Make sure the employee understands their role within the team and has all the resources and support needed to successfully execute their work.

from: freshbooks.com

10 Spring Cleaning Ideas for Your Business

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By Square

Small businesses, it’s time to step into spring. Friday officially marks the start of the season, and with it, a great opportunity to dust off your business. Where to start? Some ideas:

1. Deep clean your books

Your head is probably in taxes right now. If the whole process is proving to be a huge nightmare, you need to get your accounting more organized. Connecting your Square account to solutions like Xero or TaxJar will help you streamline many aspects of your bookkeeping. The more automatic your processes, the more likely things will stay in order.

2. Spiff up your website

A great website is not only your digital calling card, it can also help you grow your brand. Make sure your website is SEO optimized — meaning you’ve done everything you can to help it show up in search engines. A blog is a great place to jumpstart this effort. Need ideas? Check out our roundup of Square sellers who have killer posts.

3. Set up new ways to sell

Dragging your feet on setting up an online store? It’s now easier than ever if you’re a Square seller. We’ve just integrated with e-commerce platforms Bigcommerce and Weebly so stores in the U.S. and Canada can start selling online with Square in just a few minutes.

4. Pour over your data

Your Square Dashboard is a treasure trove of powerful information, right at your fingertips. Familiarizing yourself with your data will help you run your business as efficiently as possible. Here are five ways Square Analytics can inform smart business decisions.

5. Closely examine staffing

Scheduling employees can feel like a game of Tetris — if you’re not fast and efficient, it becomes a mess. Square data can help you on this front, too. Take a look at your historical sales information by day, week, and month. This will help you figure out when to staff up for busy times and staff down for lulls — which will save you time and money.

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6. Plan ahead for the holidays

Mother’s Day and graduation are on the horizon. Do you have the things people will want for these occasions? Gift cards are a no-brainer here. Order customizable ones from Square and start to display them prominently. Then people will know you have them when they need them.

7. Get rid of all that paper

Paperless is the way to go. And a good place to start limiting your usage is with Square Invoices. Not only does Square’s digital invoicing help you get paid faster, it does a solid for the environment. For a nudge, here are some scary stats on the environmental impact of paper receipts.

Get Started With Square Invoices

Send online invoices from anywhere to get paid fast.Send Invoices with Square

8. Optimize your shipping

Is your shipping area maximized for efficiency? Read this checklist to find out. And to help you optimize the fulfillment process through batch label creation and connections to top shipping carriers, hook up your Square account to ShipStation.

9. Empty your inbox

We know this one is painful. But clean inbox, clean mind. Sit down for a couple of hours and go through all your email, making sure you don’t have any outstanding ones from customers. (And while you’re at it, brush up on best practices for emailing customers.)

10. Do some actual cleaning

It wouldn’t be spring cleaning without an actual scrub-down of your space. Consider making this an event for your staff — probably with drinks.

We hope these tips set you up for continued success this year. When things run efficiently, it means more time for you to focus on growing your business.

For more tips and advice on how to run and grow your business, sign up for Town Square News, our monthly newsletter.

from: squareup.com

Six Reasons Why You Should Beat Enemies with Kindness

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By Anan Tello

Many self-help and mindfulness articles try to convince us that if someone were mean or hostile to us, there must have been some kind of miscommunication because ‘no one is evil.’ 

We also read cliché statements like, “There are no bad people, but people who do bad things” and “they must have been hurt”. Some even have the guts to suggest you must have done something wrong. 

I personally prefer articles that say, “It isn’t about you; it’s about them.”

Let’s admit it; some people are bad seeds and human devils that come in different species. They thrive on other people’s suffering and feed off their pain. 

Nevertheless, that should not be the rule but the exception. When people are hurt, they hurt others, and there will be a long, unbreakable cycle of hurt people hurting other people. Violence begets violence, cruelty breeds more cruelty and negativity is contagious. 

But what if we stepped back for a second and decided to master our minds, own our emotions and take control of our lives? What if we decided to respond to cruelty with kindness?

Imagine you are among mean classmates or coworkers. I know the easiest thing to do is to be meaner and show them who’s the boss, but the easiest solutions are not always the best. 

You might think kindness is a sign of weakness but, in fact, kindness only empowers you. Kindness in the face of cruelty requires so much willpower, patience and strength.

Sometimes it is best to be kind to those who wronged you, whether their reason was maliciousness, fear, pain or miscommunication… and the following are six pros of doing so.

1. Helps you avoid unnecessary battles and even turn an enemy into a friend.

Don’t underestimate the power of kindness. Your kindness in the face of those who did you wrong may make them have second thoughts about being enemies with you. It may also awaken their conscience and make them refrain from further hurting you.

Being enemies with certain people might be tempting sometimes, and the battles get better but trust me; it’ll only drain your energy with time because not every battle is worth fighting. 

When you allow yourself to get dragged into unnecessary battles and win at the end, it might feel good at first, but then you’ll find out it wasn’t worth your time and effort.

Kindness is contagious and reduces emotional distance between people, which is why we like those who are kind to us. 

Therefore, when you respond with kindness, those who did you wrong may soon become your biggest allies.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

2. It is a way of being proactive, not reactive.

By responding to cruelty with kindness, you tell your enemies you will not allow them to have power over you.

Those who are unkind to you most likely want to create tension. They expect you to either respond in a similar manner or shy away from dealing with them.

By being kind, you make a strong statement that you will not allow anyone to dictate you how to feel or how to react, and that your actions are your choices and not anyone else’s.

3. It means you are actually winning the battle.

Some people are rude because as long as you’re classy, they cannot beat you. They want to drag you to their level and beat you with experience.

My mom always says that if you want to beat rude people, wear a smile, be kind, never respond to their rudeness with rudeness and be patient. At the end, you will defeat them. 

Now my mom isn’t the Buddha, but her strategy actually works most of the time, especially when you’re someone who isn’t experienced in scheming.

Your kindness in the face of others’ cruelty will kill them. You will smile as you watch them eat their hearts out. 

For instance, if your coworkers wanted to prove to your boss that you are hostile to them, they won’t get what they want. To their dismay, you will be using their demeanor to prove to your boss that their accusations are false and that there might be some kind of conspiracy against you—if I may call it so—because you’re the angel who treats everyone with compassion.

Make them fall into the pit they dug for you.

4. It attracts more kindness and fights their negative energy.

Kindness is a virtue, and most, if not all, of us have read stories about how good people got rewarded at the end.

It’s a way of emitting positive energy, and the more genuine your kindness is, the stronger your energy gets, which will conquer the negative energy released by cruel actions. 

Moreover, the kinder you are, the stronger the aura surrounding your body will get, and therefore will protect you from the negative energy trying to get you and turn your life into hell.  

By being kind, you attract more kindness into your life. Always remember that you attract the kind of energy you emit, so don’t allow anyone to turn you into a source of negative energy.

5. It is a sign you took responsibility for your feelings and owned them.

When you are kind to others, you tap into something deep and profound inside you, which says, “This is how I choose to feel, this is what I choose to be and this is who I really am. No one has the power to change me.”

Your feelings should be your choice and not others’. You shouldn’t allow others to decide whether you will now feel bitter or happy. A classmate was, say, jealous of your achievements, and so s/he said something really vicious to you in order to make you feel bad about yourself when you should be feeling proud and content, but who said they were unbeatable wizards? Your feelings are yours, and so you must choose whether you want to give others the power to make you feel bad about yourself, or just laugh in their faces and walk away like a champion.

Believe it or not; mean people are among the unhappiest. So if you choose to face meanness with meanness, you are simply choosing to be unhappy, which was a choice not fully made by you, but provoked by those who treated you wrong.

6. It is the most decent way to get back at those who treated you callously.

Yes, you are actually getting back at those mean gossip girls who spread rumors about you by smiling in their faces every morning and wishing them a nice day.

For all the reasons mentioned above, you are defeating and even getting back at those who wronged you by being so kind to them because the best revenge is living happily.

You are telling them they did not hurt you, you are undefeatable, you are not a quitter, they mean nothing to you and your days are relatively as smooth as they usually are.

If those who mistreated you were evil, you are actually killing them with the kindness you radiate.

from: linkedin.com