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Small Business

 

Small Business: Affordable Health Benefits Key Concern

Health care benefits have become more expensive in recent years, which puts them out of reach for many Americans. Of the more than 45 million Americans who are uninsured, nearly 60 percent are employed by small businesses.

Small Business: Affordable Health Benefits Key Concern

Health care benefits have become more expensive in recent years, which puts them out of reach for many Americans. Of the more than 45 million Americans who are uninsured, nearly 60 percent are employed by small businesses.

According to a recent survey commissioned by Aflac of 501 small-business owners, many understand the role of a good benefits package in the hiring process.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents reported that they are concerned about their company's ability to provide a benefits package that will attract and retain employees.

Half of those surveyed agreed that they cannot attract and retain top-quality employees without offering competitive health benefits. However, small-business owners also acknowledged that providing benefits presented certain financial issues as well. The survey found:

* Nearly half reported that increasing health care costs have negatively impacted their employees' wages.

* Six in 10 respondents agreed that "it is important to financially help employees with health challenges and medical emergencies."

* Forty-two percent of those surveyed agreed that annual increases in health benefits have made them decrease their offerings.

In feedback from small business owners, Aflac also found that many of them assumed that coverage was available only to large corporations. As a result, the insurer launched a new nationwide radio campaign focused on letting growing companies know that Aflac may provide an affordable solution to enhancing employee benefit offerings.

"At Aflac, we recognize that small business owners wear many hats, including the responsibility of making quality insurance benefits available to their employees," said Paul S. Amos II, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Aflac. "However, with rising health care expenses, many small business owners struggle to afford the cost of insurance while maintaining and recruiting a quality workforce.

"Because small businesses are more susceptible to premium increases, it is critical that they are well-informed of the numerous health benefit options available. Aflac offers a wide variety of policies with no direct cost to employers, since most of the policies are individually issued and paid."

 

Small business and Golf.

Business is like a golf course. One person businesses need to improve their stroke play skills.

small business, txtmssnger, Business Plan, business

Golf courses vary. Some are magnificent landscapes, some are undulating links on cliff tops and some are an expanse of mixed grasses, with bushes and trees, just like business environments. How would you describe your trading conditions in golf course terms?

As a small business owner, let’s pretend you are the golfer, playing a round in your niche market (your golf course). You start at the clubhouse with your Business Plan, Marketing Plan and Operational Plan. A few competitors, wearing designer clothes, arrive in expensive vehicles and park. These are just diversions.

As you approach the tee-off for the First Hole, you notice other golfers dotted around your market. As you struggle to stand your golf bag upright and remove the large wood you notice an electric buggy nearby. “Must update my business tools,” you murmur.

The small business must have goals. You’ll know how many actions in your Operational Cycle. Your business places an advertisement, sends a brochure, processes an order, banks the money, delivers the goods and initiates the customer care plan. In this example, there are just six processes on your course.

After your first tee-off, your next actions follow the previous until you reach the Sixth Green. Should any stroke become jaded, your game plan hits you with increasing overheads. You need different skills with every stroke.

Do you go over the clump of trees, unsighted, or do you play to where you see the ground conditions? Placing advertisements in a new media is like going over the trees, you're not too sure of the outcome, whereas choosing to encourage existing customers to increase their spending or to repeat another purchase is definitely on the fairway.

Your literature must feature your skills and knowledge and how effectively you play this course, not highlight all the challenging hazards.

Don’t be indecisive about which club to use. Record important information on your score card before moving to your next Green.

Your USP is to deliver throughout the course. You’ll benefit from upgrading old equipment but you’ll play more effectively when you’ve regular access to the Club Professional, however briefly.

Playing golf alone is not recommended, so one person businesses must talk with an understanding partner. It regenerates your business thinking on the key issues and helps you to solve problems.

There is a concept that new knowledge must be verbalised to another before an individual links it into memory. That’s why talking sparks new ideas.

Don’t blame the course designers, the weather conditions, your old clubs or your state of mind if your game is not as good as your competitors. Be positive, improve your knowledge and skills of the game and be aware of what other golfers are finding effective.

At the end of each round, look at your scorecard. Identify where you could improve. If you just improve 5% of your stroke play each week, within 20 weeks your business has changed.

Written by Mike Lindley

Mike holds an Advanced Professional Diploma in Business Innovation. He is the first person in the UK to complete the Edward de Bono Thinking Course with WHC College. Subscribe to launch of new newsletter.<a href=”http://www.txtmssnger-small-business-web-hosting.com/perpetualprofits/index.html>Show me</a>

 

Small Business Building - 7 Tips To Reconcile Dreams With Reality

One of the themes that run through my teleclass, Believe! How to Work With Your Beliefs to Grow a Prosperous and Meaningful Business, is the tension between the creative power of thought and resource-depleting habits of wishful thinking. I offer the following 7 Reality Checks to help you reconcile your dreams with reality so that you can build your dream into a thriving business.

small business, small business building, dream, wishful thinking, reality

One of the themes that run through my teleclass, Believe! How to Work With Your Beliefs to Grow a Prosperous and Meaningful Business, is the tension between the creative power of thought and resource-depleting habits of wishful thinking. I offer the following 7 Reality Checks to help you reconcile your dreams with reality so that you can build your dream into a thriving business.

1. In spite of your best intentions you will make mistakes. To the best of your ability, which may sometimes be slim, welcome these occasions as an opportunity to let go of perfectionism. Pause to review your offer to your clients. Are you positioning yourself as a know-it-all or as a responsive partner and learner? Are you putting yourself on a pedestal? Reflect on the distinctions among honesty, reliability, and perfection. Meditate on the difference between apology and accountability. Muse on the difference between significance and integrity.

2. Things go "wrong." I put "wrong" in quotes because stumbling blocks teach me things I need to know in order to serve and thrive. Hey, I'd rather learn without failing too, but however the lesson happens, there you are. Every time you look with humility and trust for your personal lesson, you are helping to create the possible dream. (Note: Sometimes the lesson is simply to let go of your idea of what should have happened. Lessons are not code for "There's something wrong with you.")

3. Not everyone wants or needs what you have. That's good news because odds are that you can't respond to every one anyway. Cultivate the courage, integrity, and clarity to listen deeply to prospective clients and decline to work with those whom you are not ideally suited to serve. Ask questions, especially scary ones (Can you afford this? Do you have any reservations? What will it take for this to be a good investment for you?). Ask first; sell later. Actually, when you do this, the selling takes care of itself. That's the premise behind coach Kendall SummerHawk's tape series, What to Say When You Hate to Sell.

4. Humbly welcome opportunities to profit. I did not have Kendall's tapes in mind when I wrote the item above, but they are a perfect fit, so I was happy to include the link to her work (in the article version placed on my site.). Will I profit if you buy them? Yes, I'll earn a 20% commission on every sale from that link.

5. Customers have bad days, too. Some times they're going to take it out on you. That doesn't mean you have to slink home licking your wounds, nor does it you get to strike back. It certainly doesn't mean you have to accept abuse. When you feel unfairly used, take a few deep breaths, notice what you wish were different, and remember that we're all human. Maybe it's time to do some boundary maintenance. Are you pretending that you need to please everyone or that everyone needs to like you in order for you to thrive? Look to yourself, not because you are to blame, but because you are the only one whose behavior you can manage. (Customers are always right where they are.)

6. Sometimes whole systems go wrong or you find out too late that a new project was not quite ready for prime time. (Just ask me.) At times like this you get to practice being available and responsive to customer needs while also taking care of yourself. Sometimes you won't (yet) know how to solve or resolve the problem and you may resent the time you're using to reassure clients instead of getting things on track. BREATHE. Learn to say, "I don't know and I do care and I will get back to you as soon as I can." Practice saying it with dignity, conviction, and patience. Take some time to wonder what you would need to believe in order for all of this to feel right and true.

7. Owning a business can be isolating. Many entrepreneurs are natural soloists. That doesn't mean we don't need or want support, though we may be the last to realize it. Spend some time wondering why other people might want you to thrive. Let your imagination run free as you speculate on what kinds of collaboration could work for you. Turn your complaints about networking into dreams of your ideal support system. What would your business look and feel like if you knew you did not have to have it all together because there was lots of help at hand?

The secrets to creating the possible dream are all related to accepting what is, which includes accepting the support that is everywhere around you and accepting your own desire to build a business that adds real value in the world and allows you to thrive. Some days it will be easier than others to believe that reality and your dream can co-exist. But if you persist with humility, passion, and trust, your dream will teach you how it wants to be made real. I know because my own dream teaches me every day.




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