Business Emails: Benefits for Small Business

Business emails are a virtual communication system that have transformed the way companies conduct business.

The Many Benefits of Business Emails

Small Business EmailsEmail helps with the exchange of information, across town or around the globe, is inexpensive and allows business people the flexibility to access their messages from anywhere in the world (webmail or desktop based).

As such, companies benefit from the many advantages that email offers. Too many small business owners have not yet adopted email for business – and are missing out.

Faster Communication

Business emails are a fast way to communicate and share business documents. With email, business people are not held up by delays commonly experienced when sending documents/correspondence in the mail.

Emailing documents is faster than faxing ever was (remember the 90’s). Hitting the send button, businesses can send time-sensitive information to anyone in the world and the recipient gets the message almost instantaneously (in some cases, even password protected).

This type of fast, effective exchange allows people to stay on top of projects, respond to communication requests with customers/vendors more efficiency and be more productive.

More Accessibility

Email eliminates time as an issue. When business people use email they can send and receive information at any hour, day or night, in any timezone.

Since email is Internet-based, advanced communication technology makes it possible for individuals to access email from anywhere in the world, through an Internet connection from their computers, smartphones or tablets. This allows business people who travel for work to stay connected wherever they are.

Advertising

Email offers businesses a cost-effective way to advertise. Email ads reach mass audiences immediately and without the cost of stamps or envelopes.

One advantage of email marketing is that recipients can forward the original ad to their friends and family, carrying the information on through word-of-mouth marketing.

Email marketing is an effective way to make your company a little greener, since you do not have to print out brochures.

Companies like Vertical Response and Constant Contact have made it very easy to reach out and touch customers. I use a system called WrapMail to use my business emails as a way to promote my business and services.

Customer Service

E-Marketing Journal states that business emails offer customers a quick and easy way to provide a company with feedback on products and services.

Customers can even contact company customer service representatives by email (support@companyname.com), and often have their concerns addressed via email.

Business emails provide customers and companies with documentation in writing, which can be useful when certain issues need to be verified.

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Business Meeting Etiquette Top Ten

Business Meeting EtiquetteAdherence to proper business meeting etiquette establishes respect among meeting participants, helps the meeting begin and end on time, and fosters an atmosphere of cooperation.

In my opinion – a lack of etiquette and poor planning are two of the main reasons why many business meetings fail.

Teach your employees the business meeting etiquette top ten rules to ensure that your meetings are effective.

Business Meeting Etiquette Top Ten

1.) Arrival

Arrive to the location of the business meeting at least 15 minutes early – ever heard of “Lombardi Time”? This allows you to find a seat and get situated before the meeting starts.

2.) Agenda

The chairperson of the meeting should distribute a meeting agenda to each participant at least one day/week in advance (situational). Participants should call the chairperson to express any concerns about the agenda at least 48 hours prior to the meeting.

The chairperson and concerned participant will then have time to determine if changes need to be made. The agenda should also mention the meeting’s start and ending times.

3.) Be Prepared

Each participant should come to the meeting with all of the materials and data they will need and an understanding of the meeting topic.

4.) Breaks

Meetings should have a break every two hours. Breaks should be 20 minutes long, and meal breaks should be 30-45 minutes long.

5.) Attire

The chairperson should indicate what kind of attire is required for the meeting, either business casual or business formal, and participants should follow that rule.

A representative listing of the attire would be helpful as participants may have differing views on what business casual and business formal is. For example, when listing the meeting as business formal, you can indicate that a button-down shirt and khaki pants are sufficient.

6.) Speaking

Keep the meeting organized by only speaking when you have the floor. Proper business meeting etiquette says that you should only ask questions during the designated question period, and raise your hand to be recognized by the chairperson as having the floor. Do not interrupt someone while they are speaking or asking a question.

7.) Meeting Types

Each part of the Meeting should be described in the Agenda. Is a portion of the Meeting dedicated to “Info Share”? Is there a portion that you reserve for “Creative Discussion” or “Creative Decision Making” It is helpful if all participants understand the meaning of these.

8.) Listen

You may find that many of the questions you have about a topic are answered by the content of the meeting. Listen attentively to the meeting and take notes.

9.) Cell Phones and Laptops

Turn off your cell phone prior to the start of the meeting. If you are expecting an urgent call, then set your phone to vibrate and excuse yourself from the meeting if the call comes in.

Unless laptop computers have been approved for the meeting, turn yours off and lower the screen so that you do not obstruct anyone’s view.

10.) Guests

Do not bring unannounced guests to a meeting. If you have someone you would like to bring, then proper business meeting etiquette says you should contact the chairperson for permission to bring your guest.

Train your team in these no-nonesense basics in business meeting etiquette for efficient and productive meetings.

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Time Management Techniques for Small Business Owners

Time management techniques for small businessWhen I visit small business owners—mostly service businesses—it’s evident early on why some owners are successful and others struggle.

It’s all about implementing time management techniques.

As an owner, you know just getting through the day many times seems like an insurmountable challenge (my business coaching will help you with that).

But you can’t take your eyes off future critical dates: weekly, bi-weekly, monthly and quarterly reporting and planning periods.

Take Your Control Back with Structured Time Management Techniques

Define a Daily Schedule

No matter what business you’re in, you need to have a defined daily schedule and adhere to it … as best you can. I know. It’s not easy. I’ve been there: You feel like you’re “running around like a chicken with its head cut off”.

Unlike a football quarterback who may let the game come to him, you have to take control of your time and ward off those pesky distractions that can keep you from moving forward and that sack you of energy. This may be one of the hardest time management techniques, but you can do it; you just have to discipline yourself.

Follow a Daily Routine

A routine is not a rut; it’s a groove to guide you and to act as a safety barrier if you feel like your careening off course.

One of my mentors, at the end of each day, plotted his tomorrow. He made regularly scheduled time for production (job-site management, production management), marketing and sales, as well as administrative responsibilities.

On the lighter side he said, “If you’re going to lie awake at night fretting about tomorrow at least your thoughts will be organized.”

You’ll find that each day of the week becomes scheduled and systematized. You’ll be more efficient in how you allocate your time and more productive as a leader. And as an owner, develop a “day in the life of” to train your staff to follow their own routines:

For example, 8 am – 11 am is operations, 11 am – 2 pm is flex time and 2 pm – 5 pm is marketing.

Time management techniques allow you to look ahead, set aside specific times each week—say Wednesday afternoon and Sunday evening—to manage the administration of the business and to make changes to job status reports——as data changes.

Dedicate one day a week—Thursday is a great time—for no meetings. Tackle those tasks that need your full attention without getting yourself tied up in non-essential meetings that are a “time suck.”

Prioritize a To Do List or Schedule

By all means, prioritize your tasks, e.g., A (most important), B and C (of lesser importance).

Too often I see people busy taking care of “C” items and avoiding the overwhelming “A” items. DON’T. You’ll find that sticking to a schedule and tackling the tougher problems first will give you greater satisfaction and propel you through the rest of the day.

Put Time Management Techniques on your To Do List

A WORD TO THE WISE: Use a calendar either online or the ol’ school paper variety to post your meetings and responsibilities. I can tell you from experience, discipline yourself to keep a “to-do list” and to keep to it.

Put time management techniques into place and make them a habit. You’ll sleep better at night.