5 practical tips for paying off your business debt

In a recent Wave survey, 60% of respondents expressed fear or uncertainty about their business’ future. Many business owners have unwillingly taken on debt to stay afloat during COVID-19, and aren’t comfortable having it hang around.


If being in the red makes you nervous about the future, these five practical tips for paying off your business debt will help get your business back on solid ground.

Tip 1: Create a budget

If it’s been a while since you’ve looked at your budget, it’s time to create a new one more accurately reflecting your business finances. Here’s how to do it in six steps:

Step 1: Set up your budget. SCORE, a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), has some premade templates. Relevant ones include the Break-Even Analysis and 12-Month Profit and Loss Projection.

Step 2: Determine revenue from all sources. This can be done by examining all of your income streams.

Step 3: Subtract fixed costs from your revenue. These are expenses that don’t change from month-to-month, like your rent, payroll, and insurance.

Step 4: Decide on variable costs. These expenses vary based on how you use products and services, such as office supplies, utilities, and marketing spending.

Step 5: Save for lean months. Building an emergency fund with budgeted monthly contributions ensures cash flow during slow business seasons.

Step 6: Calculate your profits and losses. This is the easy part. Wave’s 100% free bookkeeping feature with automatic transaction importing can do all the math for you. It can also easily generate insightful reports to help compare spending for all the figures you need.

Tip 2: Restructure your debt

If you buy large volumes of supplies from vendors, they may be willing to bring down minimum monthly payments, allow longer repayment terms, or lower interest rates to keep your business.

Lenders might be willing to do the same with your business and credit card loans if you reach out to your issuer and discuss your situation. The pandemic has made many lenders more flexible.

Refinancing a single loan or consolidating multiple ones for a lower interest rate are also popular debt restructuring options. Consolidation has the added benefit of combining various loans into one monthly payment. Loan refinancing and consolidation are available at banks, credit unions, and the SBA.

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Tip 3: Minimize your spending

Minimizing your spending is a multi-pronged approach that can include a number of actions.

Sticking to your budget

The downfall of many budgeting systems is they’re a hassle to maintain. But Wave’s bookkeeping feature eliminates the need for entering transactions manually and lets you use your phone to scan receipts.

Understanding your costs

Wave’s bookkeeping also lets you categorize your expenses and compare different periods to see where you’re spending more than in previous years. You can then work on reducing costs to fit within budgetary constraints.

Cutting costs

Audit your fixed and variable expenses to find areas of improvement. You can usually cut costs by:

  • Reducing discretionary income for things like supplies, office parties, and technology purchases
  • Changing vendors and contractors to more affordable ones
  • Eliminating marketing methods with low returns
  • Renting out unused office space

Subscription and service fees can also drain your account. We’ve recently introduced Wave Money, a business banking solution for single-owner businesses that will let you manage your money for free. That means no monthly or transaction fees, account minimums, or withdrawal fees from network ATMs. In the meantime, you can use our free accounting software.

Tip 4: Increase your income

Paying off business debt is a lot easier when there’s more money coming in. Below are some ideas to boost your earnings.

Diversify your offerings

What other related services can you offer clients to provide more value and make your business a one-stop shop? The more of their needs you fulfill, the more valuable you’ll be. Graphic designers, for instance, can partner with web developers for a functional and beautiful website for clients.

Raise your prices

Raising prices is something many are hard-pressed to do for fear of customer backlash. But customers can be surprisingly understanding when they’re told about price increases in advance and provided a quick explanation of why, such as supply cost increases. Another option is to raise prices only for new clients.

Liquidate your assets

Inventory, equipment, and supplies with a thick layer of dust only tie up your business’ money. Selling them off means extra cash and additional warehouse space for more needed items.

Find alternative passive income strategies

Passive income can turn into a hands-off way to earn money after some upfront work. Courses, pre-made offerings like website themes and templates, blogging, and opting for royalties instead of a one-time fee are all passive income ideas.

Reevaluate your margins

Analyzing seasonal cost fluctuations and patterns lets you see how your expenses change throughout the year. That data can help you see marketplace trends, allowing you to adjust your prices accordingly.

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Tip 5: Create a debt payoff plan

You can chip away at debts with one of these two strategies:

Profit percent: Determine how much of your profits will go toward additional debt payments (e.g.5% or 10%).

Set amount: Choose a fixed amount to apply toward a specific debt, no matter what goes on with your business finances. If you find there’s never enough money left over at the end of the month for debt payments, this can be a good option to ensure you’re always making progress on bills.

The amount of money you decide to put towards paying off your debt can be added to your budget. You can hold yourself more accountable by making weekly bill payments rather than a lump sum at the end of the month.

Business Benefits of Doing a Management Programme

No business can succeed without reliable and meaningful management. This management involves planning, execution, control, measuring, organising, improving, and delegating – all the activities that encompass the running of an organisation. Even though management roles and responsibilities vary significantly, depending on the function of the manager, the main objective is always the same: to develop and sustain a successful and profitable business.


Quality management programmes give managers a useful and practical overview of the realities of business, and provides useful industry insights to candidates. With the constant rate of change and development in businesses, gaining a competitive advantage means an investment in management. Aside from the personal wins of development and learning, here are the business benefits of investing in management training:

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Take a look below at 10 top benefits of ongoing staff development:

  • Keep up with industry changes
    Industries are constantly changing and so it is important for a business to develop to avoid being left behind. It’s also important to make sure your business is complying with any industry regulations, which can be achieved through ongoing training, making sure your staff’s skills and knowledge are up-to-date.
  • Be in touch with all the latest technology developments
    New technology is being developed all the time and so it is not sufficient to run a one-off training session. Regular training needs to take place to ensure that staff are using all the latest technology comfortably and to its full potential. This can be achieved through implementing a customised staff IT training program, and by integrating employee training with IT support.
  • Stay ahead of competitors
    Standing still can kill your business, so by making sure your staff are constantly advancing, you will continue to move forward are remain competitive within the marketplace.
  • Be able to see weaknesses and skill gaps
    With regular training, a business can more easily identify any gaps in the market and skill gaps within the existing workforce. By identifying these gaps early, there is time to train staff in these required areas so they can fulfil the role effectively.
  • Maintain knowledge and skill
    Although one off training may be provided to new starters, or other employees, it’s important that training schemes are put in place to help develop skills throughout their job. To retain knowledge, skills need to be practiced and refreshed on a regular basis so elements aren’t forgotten.
  • Advance employee skills
    Once a business has spent money on providing basic level skills, these can easily be built upon and improved to provide much more benefit to the business. Staff that know more can bring more to the table, and your business will reap the rewards.
  • Provide an incentive to learn
    If training is provided as part of a longer development pathway, employees will have much more incentive to learn, participate in the session and put their new skills into practice.
  • Increase job satisfaction levels
    Through continued investment from the business, staff can have a much higher sense of job satisfaction, which can improve their motivation towards their work. This reduces employee turnover and increases productivity, which directly improves the profitability. It also prevents competitors from taking away your best employees by offering training incentives.
  • Provide internal promotion opportunities
    Employing new staff involves high recruitment costs and hiring fees. However, with ongoing training, your existing staff can become more eligible for internal promotions. Unlike new staff, you can guarantee they have a complete knowledge of your business, the correct skill set and are people that you know and trust.
  • Attract new talent
    All businesses want to have the best employees and so with ongoing training, this will not only mean better staff retention, but the business may also attract better talent from the start, as this gives the business a good image and is a key feature many people look for within their job search.

As you can see, ongoing training is important not just to employee development, but it also affects the success of your business.

Many businesses are now starting to see the importance of training and investing in their staff, with Forbes reporting company spending is on the rise, with $130 Billion USD spent worldwide in 2013. However, training should not be seen as a one-off exception, but as a regular necessity, to help fill skill gaps and keep the business moving forward successfully.

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Just like any other business investment though, there needs to be an organised plan put into place. This will help to provide more structure and allow employees to know what to expect. Therefore, before jumping into finding training providers, it’s important to step back and think about a few key areas:

  • Skills – Make sure you take your time to find out what skills your staff would like to develop and why, as well as working out where you want to be in the industry and what skills are needed to get you there. Any training you provide should be transferable and relevant to your employee’s current job, to keep them engaged in the overall process.
  • Frequency – You should also consider the frequency of training, to achieve the medium and long-term improvements. It is a careful balance, to make sure there is enough training, but not too much that staff lose interest or struggle to keep up with their daily work tasks.
  • Delivery – You should also look at the many different types of training that are available, to decide what is best for your specific business. As well as one-to-one training, you could also have group sessions, or eLearning which is now a very popular route and requires less time away from the business.

Is your organisation having trouble with staff retention, onboarding or skills development? Get in touch with Saxons Learning Solutions to discuss your technical training needs, or Saxons Training Facilities to discover Australia’s premier training venues.

To Help Your Business Use Slack More Productively

In a time where the Internet and technology have found ways to connect us seamlessly and instantly, business communication has become easier than ever before. From anywhere in the world, small businesses, startups, and large corporations alike have found ways to utilize the Internet for maximum productivity, using applications and platforms like Trello, Hive and Skype to get the job done quickly and easily. One popular app that has made its way to plenty of companies is Slack, which BetaNews reports has over 10 million daily active users along with 85,000 paid customers—and for good reason.


Companies use it as a hub for notifications, calendar reminders, project development, and uploading files—all of which increases workplace productivity. But how do they do this? And how can you take advantage of Slack to boost your efficiency and productivity? You can get started with this as soon as now, as we’re going to outline 4 tips you can follow to make your Slack channel (and your business!) more productive.

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Set up Slack channels for more organization

The best thing about Slack is that you can have as many channels as you want, and for any purpose. These channels serve as group chats, and can include (and exclude) anyone in your workspace. For instance, you can have a channel solely for file sharing, another one for discussions on a particular project, and even one for random conversations. You can also name these whatever you want so that employees can take one glance and know its purpose.

Use Slack bots to automate tasks

Once you’ve settled into Slack, automate tasks with the range of bots Slack and other developers have to offer. An article by HP on ‘Great Slack Bots for Small Businesses’ recommends Attendance Bot, which is a great bot for shift management. It can keep track of sick days, vacation leaves, and even track time or shifts. Aside from this, there are bots for all purposes—IT support, scheduling meetings, and even team building, it’s all a matter of finding the best one for your business.

Leverage app integrations

If you’re using other apps outside of Slack to collaborate with your team, you can connect them to Slack. Apps such as Trello and Google Drive can be integrated within your channels, so that you don’t have to keep switching in and out of Slack. Simply click your team name in the left-hand corner, then choose “Apps & Integrations.” Make sure that you have the permission to do so, as only team owners and administrators can limit who can add apps to the team’s workspace.

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Silence notifications

A basic, yet sometimes necessary tip that digital consultant John Boitnott recommends is to silence notifications from channels, users, or everyone when you need it. Being the team owner can get a little hectic—especially if you’re part of all the channels. Not to mention, all the push notifications coming in can distract you from your work, which will definitely be counterproductive. That said, you can mute notifications from certain channels or users. You’ll still see how many new messages there are in your sidebar, but at least you won’t have to suffer from the classic Slack notification every few seconds anymore.

In a nutshell

At its core, Slack is a messaging app meant to improve workplace communication and reduce the emails sent, and while it still serves this purpose, Slack can do far more, according to SmallBiz Club’s article on ‘Top 5 Business Communication Tools in the Modern Workplace’. By using Slack strategically and taking advantage of all it has to offer in terms of bots, app integrations, and features, your business’ communication and productivity will improve in no time.

Five things to consider when naming your business

Entrepreneurs who are fresh out of the gate with their business idea naming frequently ask my firm for advice about their branding: their corporate identity, logo and, of course, what to call their new venture.


Many of the considerations and concerns are universal, so here are a few of the basic facets that we convey (and addressed ourselves in naming our own shop, Clout) when the time comes to name your venture.

1. Shut up and say something

First and foremost, keep in mind that you are naming a business: This is a company and not your baby. As you begin to list out possible names, you must start by taking your train of thought forwards and backwards through their meaning. Ask “I want my name to say Y about my company,” and “Y would have these connotations.”

Test them out among those around you, anonymously online, with street-level strangers. The world is your focus group.

When all else fails, hit them over the head with wording that is to the point and easy for your market to find you with. At some point, you have to stop deliberating and just be out with it.

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2. Be unique but not esoteric

When being creative, decide how committed you are to using your surname (i.e. “Eastman”) versus a coined word (i.e. “Kodak”) versus existing words (i.e. “Film Company”) or a combination of all three. In all cases, it must be easy for everyone to identify, remember, pronounce and verbally convey.

When George Eastman and his mother coined “Kodak” as a brand name, they did so because (beyond his appreciation of it’s timbre) it achieved three of his most important criteria: it was short; it was almost impossible to mispronounce; and, it was something that he could have absolute ownership of.

When coining a word, always keep word of mouth in mind: How will your name be conveyed on the radio? (Google is a coined, phonetic interpretation of “googol” that people obviously took to with ease).

Avoid obscurity and being pedantic: If using a motif that’s particular to your industry, avoid using terms and jargon that would be foreign to outsiders (unless you are operating strictly business-to-business in an esoteric field).

3. Own it

Beyond knowing if you can legally proceed with your business name (in your given industry and/or jurisdiction), you need to determine if you can have “ownership” of it in your market. How tough a war will you have to wage in search engines to rank first for your business name? How hard will you need to fight for word of mouth and the like?

If you’re confident that you can use a business name to stake your ground, and to become a recognizable business (and that you are not flagrantly infringing on anyone or copying a competitor), add the name to your shortlist.

Avoid treading on an existing business name: Even if your product or service is geared to bolster or involve an existing brand, you may seem like you are riding coat-tails and could open yourself up to litigation. Think about how your company name will be used when it hits the streets: Will your market refer to you by part of or all of the company name? Will they use an acronym? What kind of nicknames, positive or otherwise, might emerge?

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4. Scalability

We often tell new entrepreneurs not to neglect thinking of the scalability of their new company name (both literally and figuratively when it comes time to see it print, on swag, etc.). When choosing your new business name, you have to envision it in the present and future and in all of its forms: short, long, colloquial and the like alongside changes in the industry.

Will adding a noun to your business name really help you now (or hinder you later if you can’t easily change it or rebrand)? What happens when you expand markets, products, and territories? There’s a bit of an art and science here in not limiting yourself to one area if you foresee growth. For example, would Apple have chosen “Apple Computer” as their name had they foreseen becoming a large consumer and telephony electronics manufacturer?

5. Timelessness vs. Trendiness

It is very tempting for start-ups to hone in on buzzwords and memes. However, buzzwords can become passé as quickly as they become popular and using them can backfire painfully fast. What you think of as hip could quickly turn cheesy with your market if you’re trying too hard.

As Joselynn Maas aptly put it in her post about creating a logo for a small business, the best brands are those that can stand the test of time. Her example of Coca-Cola is perfect: great evidence of this is in seeing the consistency of their trademarks on the sides of stores in photos taken during the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

And, while it’s also in vogue to misspell words (especially to exploit web domains such as “.ie,” “.ly” or “.ee,”), doing so increases your risk of losing prospects in their search for you. If you go this route, be prepared to commit to concerted marketing and web efforts to detour your audience to your website, phonebook listing or the like.

Developing Mobile Apps For Business Processes

In 2018 alone, the mobile industry generated more than 1 trillion dollars globally. This sector allows companies to make good business decisions and make the operation transparent.
Does your brand want to continue investing in the mobile sector in 2020? Maybe you should know the trends to follow:
Android is still the mobile operating system leader
Google’s operating system is still the fastest-growing, compared to its rival iOS. In 2019, three times more apps were created on the platform than those developed for its Apple counterpart. This is much clearer in the gaming ecosystem, where there are four times more new proposals in the Play Store than in its competitor. The apple brand only dominates in Utilities.
There are five categories of universal appeal
If your brand wants to develop an app and plans to reach as many people as possible, it is important to know which categories are equally popular on Android and iOS. Games are the most downloaded type of program on smartphones, although Google’s operating system has a very clear advantage. However, in topics such as Finance, Health and wellness, Travel and Sports, the downloads in the Play Store and the App Store are almost identical.
iOS is the platform to generate money on mobile apps
Perhaps Android solutions are more numerous and generally more downloaded by users. However, the goose that lays golden eggs is still Apple’s operating system. In 2019, although Android is vastly larger, most of the revenue comes from the App Store. There are three categories that stand out in terms of collection: Entertainment, Videogames (almost the same on both platforms), and Social.
The shared economy is still popular
When companies like Uber and Airbnb took on enormous relevance in 2017, this segment of the mobile industry grew like foam. It is expected that the download figure will continue to rise in 2020. So if a brand wants to debut in the mobile environment, it could bet on a business model that relies on this type of commercial offer to grow.
Google and Facebook still dominate mobile marketing
Again, with no surprise to anyone, the two largest advertising companies worldwide are accounting for the bulk of mobile advertiser spending. They both occupy virtually equal parts of the industry, about a third each, with Mark Zuckerberg’s company a bit ahead. However, the programmatic technique could be a major rival, as it now has an enviable 12 percent of the pie.
It is easier to convince for a subscription than of a mobile purchase
Interestingly, people are less and less willing to make purchases within mobile apps. For 2018, the action that generated the most interaction among users, with a 7.2 percent rate, was the direct purchase of the programs in the Play Store and the App Store. However, by 2020 it is expected to drop to 2.3 percent, just above the rate for in-app acquisitions. Subscriptions, on the other hand, will rise to 4.8.
Advantages of integrating business apps for your business
Technology and electronics are making inroads in our lives by leaps and bounds to such an extent that we can no longer conceive of our day-to-day life without gadgets, connections, and so on, even at work. And this is not a negative thing. Business apps are all positive things.
The advantages of integrating business apps for your business are many and varied, allowing you to improve and be efficient in all aspects.
Why integrate a business app into your business?
Surely this question has been in your head for a long time, that’s why you are reading this post. If so, perfect, because what we are going to tell you is just that, the advantages of integrating business apps for your business.
Immediate management

The usual thing, at least in quality business management apps, is that they allow you to have remote and immediate control of the tasks that are your responsibility.
Improves coordination
Having all the information on products or services, clients, and work teams means that all tasks can be coordinated effectively, improving productivity by optimizing all processes.
Tracking of processes
As head or section manager, you can do complete and real-time monitoring of the activity of your workers, making sure that everything is carried out in the most correct and effective way. This is one of the best advantages of integrating business apps for your business without a doubt.
Management improvement
Many of the steps taken in the app development companies can be carried out more efficiently from the app. For example, security, data privacy, expenses, and all accounting processes.
The news
This implies that any novelty is reflected instantly. Therefore, we are also aware of incidents and can resolve them as soon as possible.
Automation of processes
Surely there are some processes in your company that can be automated thanks to the use of an application.
In this way, you are saving time, energy, and money, in addition to being able to offer that time to a worker to take a break or simply get on with another task that requires their abilities and skills. This is a great advantage of the integration of apps business for your business.
New functions
The sector increases and improves significantly every day, creating more and more very useful functionalities that may or may not be included in the company’s application you choose for your business.

5 ways small business can compete with bigger firms

Gone are the days when small businesses couldn’t compete with bigger companies. Technological advances have helped to even out the playing field, but there are inherent advantages to being the little guy.


Here are five ways your small business can compete with larger companies, and sometimes come out ahead.

1. Be nimble

Sure, bigger companies have a larger staff and more resources. But that can also add layers of bureaucracy to their infrastructure. The more vice-presidents and managers you have, the longer it usually takes to create, develop, approve and implement change. As a smaller firm, you have fewer internal hurdles to clear when implementing changes. You can also respond to customer queries or complaints faster because there are fewer people in your company who have to meet, discuss and approve how to reply to such client feedback. According to a study by QMS, smaller companies are actually more efficient, productive and cost-effective than large ones.

One tool your SMB can employ to make its collaboration and innovation process even more efficient is social Intranet. It takes the old-school corporate Intranet model (let’s all just list our company events, birthdays and human resource forms on one internal site) and updates it using today’s social networking approach, so employees can truly contribute creative ideas and content (including video, Web links and photos) from anywhere in real time.

2. Get personal

What sets many SMBs apart from large companies is their ability to build personal relationships with customers and suppliers. If you know many of those players by name and have an ongoing relationship with them, nurture it. You can do it in little ways: mention them in your company’s blog, write a client case involving them and post it on your Web site, ask them to take part in a roundtable on improving customer service and products at your firm. You can even publicly acknowledge their personal or corporate milestones (anniversaries, contract wins, awards, etc.) on social media. There’s evidence that when it comes to forging business and sales with other SMBs, personal contacts still make a difference.

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3. Be social

Social media and blogs have given small businesses the opportunity to market themselves to a massive audience of potential clients, and it seems to be working. Last year’s Social Media Marketing Industry Report found that SMBs benefit more than bigger firms from using social media when it comes to making sales, generating leads and partnerships, increasing site traffic, subscriptions and overall marketplace exposure, and cutting marketing costs. It’s not always easy to manage a social media strategy when you’re a SMB but there are technology tools to use and organizational steps to take so it’s a little easier these days.

4. Tell your own story

Break out of the traditional marketing and publicity box of simply issuing a press release that shills your latest product and recounts why it’s so amazing. Those formulaic quotes don’t sound real, and thousands of other companies are doing the same thing every day. But only you can tell the unique story of your business: how you started and grew your business as well as all the personal bumps you encountered along the way. A 2010 study by the University of Chicago found that products marketed using “brand biographies” highlighting passionate entrepreneurs overcoming the odds were chosen 71 per cent of the time over products that weren’t promoted that way. Just think of all the category killers whose branding is strengthened by their leaders’ back stories. There’s a reason The Social Network drew in millions of moviegoers with the story of Mark Zuckerberg. It’s the same reason they’re making a biopic about Apple’s Steve Jobs as we speak. People love to hear personal stories.

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5. Use tech

Okay, we’ve already mentioned a few ways your SMB can harness technology to compete with the big guys. And there are many online tools out there that can help small businesses run more efficiently and effectively. But since it’s impossible to ignore the big players, why not take advantage of the fact that most of them are now launching their own services targeted to SMBs? Corporate giants like IBMRogers CommunicationsDell Inc. and Research In Motion Ltd. are all vying for your SMB budget dollars with products and services that, ironically, might just help you compete with companies as big as them. Whether it’s cloud storage or Web marketing, they’ve all got something designed (and priced) just for companies your size.

Effective Team Building for Successful Organization

Times have changed and unlike the earlier times when a small-scale entrepreneur was able to build an empire single-handedly. In today’s business scenario, the environment has become so complex and competitive, that it is not easy to achieve success on your own.


The business environment is in a continuous state of turmoil, and achievement of tasks depends more and more on the outputs of teams rather than efforts of a single person and there the term Team comes in existence.

What is Team?

A team is group of small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach for which they are mutually accountable. ( Definition by Katzenbach and Smith – 1993 ). Different definitions are coined by many people for Team. But the purpose behind forming team remains same to achieve common objective.

There are some important aspects of successful teams as follows.

Aspects of the Team Building

To build an efficient Team, approach has to be dynamic and adaptive in this competitive world. However, there are certain aspects of team-building to be followed by the members in order to achieve the end target.

  1. Team should be small in number. Small group is able to deliver better results. If team is say fifty people then it is good to divide it into sub-teams as probability of such bigger team to give better output is less if compared to team of 5-10 people whose probability of successfully sorting out their individual, hierarchical and functional differences, and work towards a common goal, and also be accountable for the results.
  2. To succeed as a team, the team should have appropriate mix of skills and traits. If the team has people with homogeneous skills then it won’t be very effective to accomplish their set goals and objectives. On other hand if team has skills and traits more than what are needed for requirements then it may cause unnecessary disruptions which can affects results. We can explain this aspect by giving example of maintenance team in industry. Such team should consists of different people with different skill sets like mechanical, electrical, civil, information technology. It would become difficult if such team has people with similar skill sets.So there are basically three categories of team skills:
    1. Technical abilities or expertise needed for the task
    2. Problem-solving and decision-making skills
    3. Interpersonal skills
  3. Team should set their goals on the basis of requirements placed on them by the organization. This helps the team to define their boundaries and scope of their job.
  4. Team should take common approach to achieve common goal set.
  5. Team’s mutual accountability is the most important aspect of this approach. Mutual understanding is important in team members to work in coordination with each other to target common objective.

As we already know team is group of people with complementary skills who work together to achieve common goals. So it is important for team members to communicate with each other to and keep learning from each other eventually maximizing their strengths and weaknesses. However there are certain principles of team building.

Principles of Team Building

  1. Each member’s roles and responsibilities have been written down and explained to them in clear and unambiguous manner.
  2. Every team member should understand their own responsibility and should be committed towards their work to increase the team’s productivity and work towards the team’s success.
  3. Team members should collaborate with each other in order to take their tasks forward smoothly.
  4. Effective Communication becomes essential factor in team building. It is essential for any manager and team members to communicate with each other in freely and openly about nature of work, goals set for team, and methods adopted for accomplishing objectives.
  5. The manager should be polite, humble and approachable so that team members do not hesitate to approach him with whatever issues they might have. This also helps the manager to bring about coordination among team members.

Along with such principles there are some approaches to team building. There are five approaches that are generally followed.

  1. Interpersonal approach: Interpersonal approach is most ancient approach among others emerged in 1950 which is based on human psychology. It develops social and personal awareness between the team members. Better understanding of each other’s nature will help to work easily within team. Interpersonal approach enhances bond between teammates which also enhances productivity.
  2. Role-Definition: This approach is based on roles and norms which exist within team. Defining roles and responsibilities for each person in team, defining expectation from each person enhances coordination between team members which ultimately gives better output while achieving common goal.
  3. Values: This approach is based on values that team members adopt while executing their roles and responsibilities. It is important that the team members have same values. For effective teamwork and coordination, values given to each should be well justified otherwise it would become difficult for team members to work in team.
  4. Task based approach: This approach is based on individual’s skills and how he executes tasks assigned to him and make teamwork successful. It is managers’ who should put all the tasks in clear terms. Bigger tasks should be broken down into smaller tasks by manager. Then it becomes individual’s responsibility to contribute in team by working on his tasks to achieve common targets.
  5. Social Identification: It talks about members’ need to feel part of team. It is important for each member to understand each other’s point of views, should have good communication with each other, standing in crisis for each others, taking unfinished jobs of other in need to achieve common objectives which are set for the team and not for individual. These things help member to come closer with other member of team and to feel being part of Team which enhances effective teamwork. Each team member should have self esteem and respect for each other to have effective co ordination in team. Some common platforms, interests, knowledge sharing platforms can help members to stand for others in need so that team can reach common targets.

Every individual has always been considered as asset of company. So it is important for any organization to take all such individuals together as a team to become a successful organization and team building techniques definitely make it possible.

How to start your photography business

If starting a photography business were easy, they’d package one free with every digital camera. So Allen Murabayashi, CEO of Photoshelter, shared his tips and advice on starting out in the photography industry in a recent webinar.


Creating a Business

  • Thinking of incorporating your business for the tax benefits? It’s probably not the best idea if you’re not generating enough income. If your business is paying more in corporate taxes versus the tax benefits you receive, then it’s time to reconsider.


  • Consider becoming a single member LLC (limited liability corporation) which allows common deductions, like home office, insurance, etc. – Good: Provides limitation of liability. So if someone sues you, you lose your business, rather than your house. – Bad: Depending on your jurisdiction, there is a cost.

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Do You Really Need all that Gear?

  • Purchasing new gear? On average, photographers can spend anywhere from $10 000 to $15 000 on gear every 2 years. This is crazy if you’re not making the income to support it. On top of that, if your income is too low, the tax benefit of your equipment cost is not beneficial to you and your business


  • Consider renting your equipment. It’ll save you a ton money!
  • Another thing to consider is whether to deduct your equipment in the first year or depreciate it every year. If you deduct all your expenses in the first year of purchase, this can dramatically decrease taxable income. You can also choose to depreciate your equipment over x number of years. But these days, photography equipment gets outdated quickly.
  • Avoid putting everything on credit because interest is high. Instead, a small business loan will get you lower interest rates.
  • Don’t get gear-happy!

Don’t get caught with dumb expenses!

What is a legitimate expense?

  • Legitimate expense: an expense that is ordinary and necessary for the the generation of income of your business
  • You should document with a paper receipt just in case. For example, if you’re saving a dinner receipt, be sure to write down who you were with and what you talked about.

Watch out!

  • Writing off your home office and mileage expenses can be very tempting, but expense it with care. For example, if your rent is $1,000 a month and you expense $500, you should be able to prove that you use half your place for business only. If you occasionally use the dining room table for meetings, it doesn’t count.

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Setting your rates and booking clients

  • Don’t charge clients a day rate. Photographers no longer charge an hourly wage. For example, a photographer starting out may take longer for a shoot than a more experienced one. What do you do for the rest of the day? If you’re unlucky, the client might ask you to take more photos.


  • Shoot for a set of images. Charge a client for the set of photos, rather than the time it takes to shoot them.
  • Separate shoot fee from usage fee. How the client uses your photos should determine the price. If the image goes viral, you should charge more.

Insurance: health, liability, equipment

  • Photojournalism is a dangerous business: You are endangering your future by not insuring yourself.
  • Many venues require a certificate of insurance for liability reasons. For example, you could be charged for a lighting stand falling and breaking a table if you’re not insured.
  • Remember: You are responsible for your equipment. If a light falls on a table or injures a person, you can be sued. Insurance provides protection for lawsuit and reimbursement

Getting an agent/rep

  • An agent will take on photographers who they know can help generate revenue, so you must bring clients to the table.
  • Agents will NOT provide a “regular flow” of business.
  • You must learn to market yourself!
  • Assist other photographers, learn by watching.

In conclusion:

  • Use the National Press Photographers Association’‘Cost of Doing Business’ calculator to get a realistic sense of the difficulty of starting your own business.
  • Meet with an accountant to create a financial plan with career milestones.
  • Control your expenses: rent gear, don’t buy it.
  • Charge clients for the rental costs.
  • Create a marketing plan and don’t be shy about promoting yourself

Five mistakes female business owners make

Female business owners have a lot going for them. For one, women are starting new businesses one-and-half times faster than men. They are also leaders in using their businesses to give back to the community. Still, there are many unique challenges to running a business and some key pitfalls female business owners, especially, should avoid.


Sales specialist Julie Steelman has some advice on how women can avoid these common mistakes. She is author of a new book, The Effortless Yes: Get the Sales You Want and Make All You’ll Ever Need (Franklin-Green Publishing, 2011), which features a seven-step approach to help sales-averse entrepreneurs to learn a new way of selling.

Steelman shares her solutions to the top five business mistakes women make.

Mistake 1: Running your business impulsively

It’s great to have heart, intuition and creativity. But those don’t necessarily lead to profit and profit growth. If you’re averse to numbers, think of your financial statement as a garden. Your money needs care, watering, weeding, fertilizing and pruning. Don’t avoid looking at your sales numbers or how much you’ve spent. Money is the life force of your business. Tend to it.

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Mistake 2: Setting prices too low

Some female owners set their prices according to what they think their customers will pay — and then resent them for paying too little. Instead, come up with a price that takes into account the percentage you want to make on each sale, how much your costs are, “invisibles” such as the things you do above and beyond the call of duty for customers, and how much your competitors are charging. Consider whether you’ll focus on volume selling or selling less at a higher price. Find a price that feels right to you, one that you can broadcast with 100 percent confidence.

Mistake 3: Avoiding sales and selling

Here’s something many female owners don’t know: Women are natural-born salespeople. Being a masterful salesperson requires many of the traits women possess innately, such as great communication, a strong conscience, and the desire to serve. It’s time to rethink selling, because you can’t run a successful company if you don’t have robust and growing sales. Think of selling as a conversation. Be enthusiastic and genuine. Share stories about how you and others were transformed by using your products and services. Help your customers solve a problem.

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Mistake 4: Underutilizing social media

Do your eyes glaze over when you hear the phrase social media? Change the way you think about it. Think of social media as a way to help others and provide value to your customers and potential customers. If you post blogs, videos and podcasts, that’s fine. But those one-way communiqués don’t start conversations. Instead, host interactive events, chats and conversations that engage your customers and serve their needs. If you’re a social media novice, it’s time to learn how to really take advantage of it and hire someone to help you do it.

Mistake 5: Getting by instead of getting ahead

When you start using some of the smart tools that the big boys of business use, you’ll find all the money you’ll ever need. Female business owners sometimes feel that making payroll and earning a small profit is good enough. You deserve much more, and you can get there by mapping out a plan for this year that increases last year’s revenue by 25 percent. Figure out how many sales you need in each month, taking natural fluctuations into account. For low sales months, plan promotions that will help you meet your sales quota for that month. Having the goal of increasing your business by 25 percent each year will change the way you feel about yourself and your business.

AI for Small Business: Applications, Myths, and Adoption

When talking about AI, we usually imply that it will be used on a grandiose scale — saving lives with AI-assisted surgical tools, predicting historic events, driving autonomous cars, and what have you. In a corporate realm, business leaders are all over it and artificial intelligence consulting is in demand like never before. Not only does it help enhance a multitude of business processes but it also serves as a great tool to win customer loyalty and solidify competitive supremacy.


But what about smaller businesses or startups? Can they use this emerging, often confusing technology that even large corporations sometimes fail to implement correctly? Let’s explore the most potent use cases of AI for small business and how it can help increase efficiency, enhance employee experience, improve sales, and make better business decisions overall.

Powering Customer Relationships

Customer relationship management platforms are essential for businesses of any size. Tracking interactions with every customer via phone, email, or social media is a fundamental part of day-to-day service. Nowadays, customers expect businesses to know about them more than ever before. Providing personal recommendations based on previous interactions has become a standard of any B2C industry, and answering questions before customers ask them is what often separates thriving companies from the rest. As customers become more accustomed to all-permeating recommendations on media streaming platforms and online marketplaces, their expectations are rising, making businesses adjust their approach.

Automating Customer Communication

At the same time, we have thousands of much less sophisticated customer inquiries. For example, many customers tend to double-check a restaurant’s open hours even if they are clearly stated on the official website or social media. With the latest advancements in chatbot development, such questions can be easily answered without allocating human resources.

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Assisting HR

With the word ‘human’ at its core, paradoxically, HR is largely about data. Conventional HR tasks such as employee performance assessment or job applicants’ skillset evaluation come down to thorough analysis first and only then to decision making. AI can again reduce time spent on finding best-suited candidates by automatically wading through hundreds of applicants and prioritizing them based on a certain set of parameters.

Managing Cash Flow Intelligently

Thinking about starting your own small business? Consider that 20% of SMBs fail in their first year, and 50% fail in five years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While these figures don’t seem that aspiring, small businesses often make the same mistakes. The second most mentioned reason for failure among SMBs concerns cash flow. This area remains out of complete control for many business owners, resulting in detrimental mistakes like delaying a loan payment, failing to predict creditworthiness, and misunderstanding sales trends.

Gaining Competitive Advantage with AI

For a small business, a single competitive advantage can go a long way. Quite often, many rival businesses operate in the same niche with a very narrow target audience. Every customer can make a difference. With similar products or services, competitive advantage goes far beyond simple marketing strategies and price adjustments. The first step toward gaining a real competitive significance is doing a thorough competitor analysis.

Debunking AI Myths

Small businesses rarely explore non-conventional solutions like AI. The confusion AI causes is understandable. Not only this technology requires deep research to fully understand it, but it also remains mostly unexplored in many niches. Unless an area’s key player uses the new technology and continues to succeed, others become more willing to adopt.

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It’s Too Expensive

While often true for the corporate world and governmental organizations, AI adoption for small businesses costs significantly less. The costs of AI implementation among enterprises are comparatively astronomical as their business models often require regulatory compliance, carefully tailored software, specifically trained AI algorithms, management of sensitive information, and a dedicated development team on board.

It’s for Big Business

SMBs often hesitate to tap into AI, fearing they don’t have enough data. Your local skate shop has trillion times less data than Amazon, no doubt. However, the majority of SMBs don’t realize how much information they really have and that they don’t need the same amount of data as Amazon.

Data often remains idle and disorganized, scattered across different sources. This is why you need to thoroughly prepare for AI adoption by investing in data organization first. Moreover, keep in mind that ready-made AI solutions typically use cloud data scouted from other businesses in similar niches.

It’s Too Complicated

Yes, to squeeze the most value out of AI applications, it’s a must to sufficiently learn its basics. However, the hardest part about AI is developing the algorithms behind it, which has nothing to do with effectively using those tools. Most AI-powered software available on the market has user-friendly and well-thought-out UI. In most cases, complicated AI processes are happening behind the scenes. Software vendors that offer AI-enabled tools also tend to provide training materials along with it, which enables smooth user onboarding.