Do I Need an Employee Handbook?

Posted by & filed under Human Resources.

Many employers offer an employee handbook. But as a small to medium-sized business owner, you may be unsure if you need to create one. Good question.

In short, there is no law that says you absolutely have to offer your employees a handbook. However, just because you are not mandated to do so doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea. In fact, in many instances it is in your best interest to do so.

Why You Should Have an Employee Handbook

  • An employee handbook can keep expectations high. If you want to get the most productivity out of your employees, you need to make sure you set high expectations. However, without a handbook, employees may not really understand your expectations.
  • An employee handbook can offer legal protection. Your handbook presents the perfect opportunity to write down and collect your different policies. Should an employee need to be disciplined for failing to comply, your handbook can serve as a useful defense should an employee attempt to challenge you in court.Employee Handbook
  • It’s an efficient way to make sure everyone is informed. When you put out an employee handbook, you can ensure that all employees are receiving the exact same information, in a clear and concise manner.

Could you use a hand with your human resources department? Click here to learn about how Best Business Services can assist you! Like us on FaceBook.

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2015 Important Tax Dates

Posted by & filed under Accounting & Bookkeeping.

The infographic below lists the important tax dates for 2015. This includes quarterly filings for self employed, individual tax returns, last dates to make IRA contributions and more…

Click the image below to view full size version.

2015-important-tax-dates-infographcis
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How Do I Handle Payroll?

Posted by & filed under Human Resources.

Payroll refers to making payments to employees. However, payroll is much more complicated than simply sending off a check. You need to ensure that you are withholding an appropriate amount of money from the checks that you send out to each of your employees so that you can pay federal income taxes. PayrollThese taxes must be paid as you go in order to remain in compliance with Internal Revenue Service regulations and it is the job of employers to pay these taxes and to send the appropriate amount of money to the IRS.

Because of the complications associated with withholding an appropriate amount of money from employees, it is advisable for employers to have a professional service assist them with payroll. Better Business Services can help you to get your payroll process set up and can handle your payroll for you so that you do not have to worry about the accounting and you can focus on your business.

Call BBS today to learn more about how we can create the right bookkeeping system for your business. (801) 419.0403. Like us on FaceBook, follow us on Twitter.

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What Revenue is Subject to Sales Tax?

Posted by & filed under General Business.

It is important to understand what revenue is subject to sales tax. Sales tax must be paid on retailers who make any type of taxable retail sales. This includes tangible personal property, such as clothes, office equipment and computers and other things that you can see, touch and move. Things look food are not subject to sales tax.  SalesTaxRevenue that comes from leased tangible personal property may also be subject to sales tax under certain circumstances. Some kinds of digital goods are subject to tax and coins or stamps that are sold and leased are also subject to sales tax.

If you have a business, you need to know what revenue is subject to sales tax so you can ensure that you fulfill your obligations to the internal revenue service. Better Business Services can help you to understand exactly what revenue that your company makes is subject to tax so you can rest assured that you are in compliance.

Call BBS today to learn more about how we can create the right bookkeeping system for your business. (801) 419.0403. Like us on FaceBook, follow us on Twitter.

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The Right Bookkeeping System

Posted by & filed under General Business, Start-Ups.

When you have a business, you need to make sure you keep track of when and how the business spends its money as well as what money the company earns. You can use a bookkeeper or an accountant to take care of the financial recording and reporting requirements for you.  While accountants usually focus on helping with tax returns and annual financial reports, a bookkeeper can assist throughout the operating year in keeping track of all financial information you need.

Selecting the right bookkeeping system can be complicated. You need to think about what you want to spend; how complicated it will be to record your profits and losses; and what services you want bookkeepingyour bookkeeper to provide for you. Best Business Services provides a comprehensive array of options for bookkeeping services to clients throughout St. Lake City.

Call BBS today to learn more about how we can create the right bookkeeping system for your business. (801) 419.0403. Like us on FaceBook, follow us on Twitter.

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Determining the Right Fiscal Year

Posted by & filed under Government.

The Internal Revenue Service requires you to report taxable income for your business, as well as business expenditures. The IRS allows businesses to determine what their taxable year will be. For example, a business can use a calendar year. However, the company could also make reports to the IRS based on a short tax year or based on a fiscal tax year.

Corporations and large businesses frequently operate on a fiscal tax year, which simply means that the company picks a date to start their new fiscal year that is not January 1.irs Operating on a fiscal year basis can be beneficial if you operate a seasonal business or if you spend a lot of money in one calendar year and don’t earn the income from those expenditures until the next year.

A professional bookkeeping service can help you to determine if you should operate on a fiscal, rather than a calendar, year. Your bookkeeper can also help to decide when your fiscal year should start and end, and which year profits and losses should be allocated to.

Call BBS today to learn more about how we can create the right bookkeeping system for your business. (801) 419.0403. Like us on FaceBook, follow us on Twitter.

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The ‘8 Great’ Challenges Every Business Faces (And How To Master Them All)

Posted by & filed under General Business.

By Cheryl Conner, Contributor at Forbes

Find it at http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2013/03/04/the-8-great-challenges-every-business-faces-and-how-to-master-them-all/ 

This week I interviewed a personal mentor of mine – his name is Neal Jenson, Managing Director of consulting firm Qazztek, in Salt Lake City. He has one of the most diverse business backgrounds I’ve known, ranging from stints with Fortune 500 firms including Citigroup and Bank of America to start up firms looking to bootstrap or seeking their start through Angel funding or SBA loans.

He’s also one of the only people I know closely who actually has two masters degrees – an MBA from Brigham Young University (my own alma mater) and a masters of science in Information Service from the University of Utah. In addition to acting as a mentor, Neal is also a friend—his son is the husband of our daughter, which makes us co-grandparents to two extremely adorable little boys, Riley and Peyton (our next generation of business leadership is in very good hands).

From his client base of all sizes, I asked Neal to narrow down for me the greatest challenges he sees for the businesses he counsels, as well as his thoughts on the ways to navigate each. Here are his responses.

First off, Neal notes that navigating a business is extra tricky these days. The speed of economic and technological changes means that the right path yesterday may not work today and could be a disaster by tomorrow. Solving these dynamic problems is what separates those who excel from the companies who are closing the doors.

While Neal’s experience base ranges from Fortune 500 CEOs to small business entrepreneurs, he notes in our first interview a set of challenges that are common to both:

1. Integrity. Business has never faced the type of moral challenges that it faces in today’s global economy. Everyone is struggling to be more successful, to make the next quarterly earnings estimate, to keep their job, to earn a big bonus, or to compete effectively. The temptation to cut corners, omit information, and do whatever it takes to get ahead occur every day. Many business employees and executives succumb. Sadly, the theme becomes highly infectious and soon people actually start to feel like lying a little, or stealing a little, or deceiving others, is just “a part of business”. These practices erode the trust that needs to exist between employers and employees, between business partners, between executives and shareholders. Without trust, the business will not be able to compete effectively and it will eventually fail.

2. Cash, Borrowing, and Resource Management. Cash is King! We’ve all heard this maxim and it is more true today than ever before. A healthy profit may look nice on your financial statements, but if capital expenditures or receivable collections are draining your cash, you won’t be able to stay in business for long. Too often executives and small business owners fail to focus enough on cash flow generation. In order to head off this problem, businesses must either be adequately capitalized and must shore up cash reserves to meet all obligations as they are needed and to handle downturns and emergencies that may arise. Cash management becomes even more important during recessionary times when cash is flowing more slowly into the business and creditors are less lenient in extending time to pay. For small businesses, handling business accounting and taxes may be within the capabilities of the business owners, but professional help is usually a good idea. The complexity of a business’ books go up with each client and employee, so getting assistance with managing cash and the bookkeeping can allow you to excel when others are calling it quits. Cash flow challenges are exacerbated by the lending climate, particularly for small businesses. Bankers are unlikely to be more liberal in their lending policies any time soon.

3. Increased selection and competition. It’s never been easier to start a business. Gone are the days when it took weeks, months, and a myriad of forms to get your business started. Now if you can buy a domain name and register your business online, you’re in business. However, staying in business is a much more complicated matter. While business expertise was once an expensive and time consuming endeavor, you can now find experts online for many questions that you might encounter. There is help to starting an online store, for example, for getting business cards and marketing materials – all at a very reasonable cost. The ease of starting a business creates a much broader level of competition. You might find different business competing for each product you sell and new business that focus on a single item and spend all their time and focus on being the very best at just one thing. This increase in overall selection and more focused completion will make it more difficult for businesses of all sizes to retain customers who can change their suppliers with the click of a mouse. It’s a battle of perception, focus, and marketing. Business owners who master these elements and provide a great customer experience will win the sale.

4. Marketing and Customer Loyalty. Along the same lines as increased selection and competition is the challenge to market to potential customers effectively and retain your existing customers. Smartphones, social media, texting, email, twitter and other communication channels are making it easy for businesses and individuals to get their messages out. Figuring out the right marketing channels is key for businesses to be successful in the future. Where are your customers and how do you best reach them and what is the right messaging? Once you get a new customer, how do you keep these customers when they are constantly barraged by competitors of all types, sizes, and locations, trying to convince them that they can do it better or provide it cheaper? Identifying what your customers want and doing a better job of giving it to them will make all the difference in your company’s future. The conservative spending climate is also causing a shrinking customer base. Consumers are still quite conservative with their pocketbooks, and as a result, organic growth from current and new customers is not growing as quickly as businesses would like. Business owners and executives are spending more time figuring out how to go above and beyond to keep existing customers, while at the same time figuring out how to cost-effectively reach new customers — without competing solely on price, which always ends up to be a race to the bottom.

5. Uncertainty. All of us, and especially business leaders find great discomfort in uncertainty. Because of global debt and economic struggles, uncertainty is more pronounced today than in the past. The sad news is that uncertainty leads to a short-term focus. Due to uncertainty, companies tend to shy away from long-term planning in favor of shorter-term goals. While this might feel right, a failure to strategically plan five to ten years into the future can end up destroying value. Businesses must learn to balance the need for a more reactive, short-term focus with the need for informed, long-term strategies. Uncertainty tends to put many into a general malaise – unable to get anything done. The ever-running news cycle leaves everyone feeling a bit on edge. This causes business owners and executives to hunker down and customers to stop spending. You need to shut out the world ending news and get back to work.”

6. Regulation. A changing regulatory environment is always of concern in certain industries, but uncertain energy, environmental and financial policy is wreaking havoc for nearly all companies today. Whether a demand from customers or shareholders to become more “green,” or the threat of increased costs due to new carbon taxes, environmental considerations are among the biggest challenges businesses face today. And we don’t need to give too much press to the current issue of financial reform and regulation, although we do have some opinions about how to prepare for that if you’re a bank or a brokerage house. The problems to be solved are to understand the meaning of regulation in your industry, its implications for your business, and to develop the skills necessary to deal with it. Two key areas of regulatory challenges are taxes and health care. Lawmakers are still haggling over what’s called the fiscal cliff, the combination of billions of dollars in tax increases and budget cuts. Even if Congress reaches an agreement, businesses won’t have the certainty they need to make intelligent decisions. When Congress does reach an agreement, it most likely won’t be comprehensive enough that it won’t need to be revisited again next year. Health care has been another challenge for businesses. The new Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) is so complex that state and local governments won’t know what to do and businesses will have to devote significant time and resources to understanding the law — or for a small business, hiring some professional to help them do it. They’ll have to get their arms around the law, look at their options, learn more about the exchanges and determine how to make it all work. Many businesses don’t yet know whether their states will be creating exchanges, or whether they’ll have to go into the national system — and they don’t know what that will mean for their costs. For some businesses, that information will help them decide whether they will buy insurance, or whether they’ll decide it’s cheaper to not provide coverage and just pay the government a $2,000-per-employee fine. For those who have close to 50 workers, they may decide to not hire more workers in order to remain outside the law’s jurisdiction.

7. Problem Solving and Risk Management. A major challenge for all companies is identifying, assessing, and mitigating risks, including human and financial capital, in addition to the macro economy. The lack of a sophisticated problem-solving competency among today’s business leaders is limiting their ability to adequately deal with risks facing their businesses. This is why corporate managers tend to jump from one fire to another, depending on which one their executives are trying to put out, and in many cases the fast-changing business environment is what ignites these fires. So what is the problem to be solved? We believe, to do well into the future, companies must resolve that problem solving is the key to business, then develop a robust problem-solving capability at all levels. As companies proceed to identify risks, they will then have the problem solving skills to know how to best mitigate them.

8. Finding the right staff. Without exception, every business executive I speak to says that one of their biggest challenges is staff – finding the right staff, retaining them, and ensuring they buy into the vision of the business. I’ll freely admit that I have no magic answers here. In fact, if someone could develop a formula for recruiting and engaging the right team members, they would make millions. A small business is almost like a family, and, like many families, they can work well, or they can be dysfunctional. In big companies, the human resource challenge is politics and fit in the workplace, but when it comes to small business, its personalities and skill. When you work in a small environment, each team member’s personality can have a huge impact on the harmony and productivity of the business. The key is to learn how to deal with different personalities, figure out what drives each individual team member and tailor your management accordingly. Despite high unemployment, many companies struggle to find the right talent with the right skills for their business. Many new manufacturing jobs require high-tech skills. They include positions at factories where computers are used to create products like airplane parts and machinery. And some require several years of training. Because of changing technology, businesses are struggling to find qualified workers with IT skills, problem solving abilities, and deductive reasoning skills.

As I consider my own business and its challenges, I agree with Neal’s conclusions that these are the critical 8. How about your company? Have we named the right issues? Would you like to include others?

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Get Rich – Here is How

Posted by & filed under Education, General Business.

Here are seven suggestions for moving you along the path of wealth.

1. Knowledge

richJohn D. Rockefeller once said, “If your only goal is to become rich, you’ll never achieve it” (Rockefeller). If you ask most anyone if they want to be rich, they would probably say “yes.” However, if you asked, “what does it mean to be rich?”, most people would probably struggle. Some of the answers they might come up with may include making above such and such an amount, being able to afford this or that, or they might say something about some rich person they admire. If you want to become rich, you should answer the “what” and the “why.” The “why” answers the reason for the desired wealth and the “what” specifies the goal to achieve that reason. Without a goal or a reason you may never completely be satisfied. After understanding what you are going for, you should follow the habits and philosophies of those who have been successful at becoming wealthy. There are specific habits and philosophies which have enabled successful people to generate and retain wealth, while others never reach their goals, or lose what they have.

2. Invest in education

Before you skip over this point, because you may already have a college degree, consider the following. Don’t excuse yourself from investing in education just because you have done so in the past. Remember that knowledge is a base of decision making and understanding of the world changes constantly. Many professional have to do continuing education classes as a requirement to keep their licenses. When you put your mind and money to work getting an education remember not to get into the fallacy of association equals causation. This is the idea that your association with an institution is enough to cause you to be successful. Focus on substance. Recently Mandi Woodruff of business Insider wrote, “Average people think the road to riches is paved with formal education. Rich people believe in acquiring specific knowledge” (Woodruff). Jim Rohn, a well known entrepreneur and motivational speaker, put it this way, “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune” (Rohn).

3. Action minded

If you look at people who become rich, they are typically not passive. They usually don’t just hope for a lucky break from becoming the winner of a sweepstake. Often people who become rich are the people who do those things that others are unwilling to invest the time, energy and mental effort to do. For example, look at Bill Gates. He was willing to take risks and put forth the effort to make the personal computer software. Most people don’t take the time to know how to put together personal computer software. Even years after the launch of Microsoft there are still many who don’t know how, or don’t have the time to program and match the quality of products Microsoft can put out. Rich people choose to become rich because they choose those things which will lead to it. If you want to be wealthy, you must choose to go out and do something.

4. Live in your means

Most people would agree that Warren Buffett is a good example of someone who knows a thing or two about money. One of the lessons we can learn from Warren Buffett that stands out is his careful spending. Buffett has lived in the same place for the last 55+ years (Business insider). If you want to get rich, you want to be the best side of compound interest. This makes sense. Most people would agree that earning a percentage return is better than paying out a percentage of interest. Plan, budget and sacrifice in order to be stay out of debt. Don’t get into the mindset of trying to keep up with the neighbors. You cannot justify living out of your means because your neighbors seem to have the things you don’t. It is not very logical to assume this, especially considering the fact that you don’t know their budget and finances in the first place.

5. Become an entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs have great potential to become rich. They find things that add value to the market and the market pays them according to how well the needs are satisfied. Entrepreneurs are also compensated for the risks they take. In the words of Peter Drucker, a well known management consultant, “The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity” (Drucker). Entrepreneurs become wealthy because they are able to have control of their salary and the direction of the company they work for. Steve Jobs is a perfect example of this. He consistently made things which people valued. He created a very large and well known company because of this. The act of entrepreneurship (going out and starting a business from scratch) is not for everyone, however , most anyone can learn to take the words of Peter Drucker to heart and have the mind of an entrepreneur.

6. Earnings

Obviously, you can’t expect to get rich by stuffing money in a mattress. Money must be put to work. You earn interest on the money you put into the bank because the bank puts it to work in the form of loans and you receive a small amount of interest for banking with them. Rich people don’t just hoard all their money, they put much of it to work to gain returns in some form or fashion.

There is a saying that goes like this, “it’s not what you know but who you know.” In reality it is a little bit of both. If you want to get in front of the right people, you probably will have to know something of value to them. Learn about what successful people do and where they go and decide be around such people. In order to make the investment, you must put something to work. In this case you are putting yourself to work for others. You are adding value to their lives. You are establishing relationships which can open the doors to opportunity and learning from them first hand. You must also consider the fact that you become like and gain habits from those you associate yourself with. If you want to become wealthy you must learn to network, add value to the lives of others, and find and gain habits other successful people have.

Works Cited

Business insider. 10 Money Lessons Warren Buffett Can Teach Us. 2 August 2012. http://www.businessinsider.com/10-financial-lessons-we-can-learn-from-warren-buffett-infographic-2012-8. 19 January 2013.

Drucker, Peter. Brainy Quotes. n.d. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/entrepreneur.html. 19 January 2013.

Rockefeller, John D. How the Rich Got Rich. 20 July 2012. http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/how-the-rich-got-rich.html. 19 January 2013.

Rohn, Jim. Brainy Quotes. n.d. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/jimrohn121282.html. 19 January 2013.

Woodruff, Mandi. Yahoo Finance. 4 September 2012. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/21-ways-rich-people-think-differently.html?page=all. 16 January 2013.

 

 

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7 ways to be more creative

Posted by & filed under General Business.

1. Change your hat

Often, it is difficult to know all that is “really” going on in a company while you sit in the executive office. If you want some creativity, an easy way to get the creative juices flowing is by taking off the executive hat and getting out of the office. Spend some time doing what your target market is doing or with them, when possible. You can also spend time with lower management. As a company leader you should know all about the company, not just what is discussed at company headquarters. Numbers don’t tell the whole story. When you go out and learn the other side of the story, it will change your perspective and give you more brain material to work with. This will improve your creativity when you are solving problems.

2. Learn from others

Learning from others is my favorite way to increase creativity. When I am looking for a new perspective, I generally ask people for theirs, read about other’s perspectives in books and articles, or look at or listen to the perspective of others through art. I often find that the philosophies, understanding and ideas of others can help me build bridges between the mental gaps I have which exist because of experiences I have never had. I have found that the value in this is not in the philosophies, ideas, perspective or understanding itself, but digging deeper and finding the principles on which they are founded. Make sure that you don’t steal ideas or take credit for those things which are not rightfully yours.

3. Get out of the routine

One great way to change perspective is to get out of your routine. If you get to the end of the day and everything is a blur because you have ended up doing the same things in the same way that you have for the past… who knows how long, you may need to try doing things differently today just to get a different perspective. You could take a walk at lunch time, for example. Maybe you could socialize with someone you don’t normally talk to, take a different way home from work or read a newspaper you don’t normally read. If you normally watch TV after work, put down the remote. Annie Murphy Paul from Time.com summarized the findings of a study conducted by Mareike Wieth and Rose Zacks saying, “imaginative insights are most likely to come to us when we’re groggy and unfocused. The mental processes that inhibit distracting or irrelevant thoughts are at their weakest in these moments, allowing unexpected and sometimes inspired connections to be made” (Annie Murphy Paul). From this we can see that taking a little extra time in the morning here and there can be beneficial to our creativity.

4. Come back later

If you are seeking creativity for problem solving, taking a break is one of the best things you can do. I enjoy art as a hobby. Sometimes if I spend too long on one painting, what I see in my mind and what I see on the canvas start to look the same, even when I have not put down all that is on my mind onto the canvas. Sometimes, I know that something is missing, but I just can’t figure out what it is. This is when I step away from the canvas and decide to look at it tomorrow. This technique has been a great help in the projects I have done, both as a team and individually. When the project seems to be going nowhere and considerable effort has been put into it, taking a break, or even putting the project away for a day, can be very helpful. It allows for a change in perspective. Many times, when I come back to the project, it is very obvious what the answer should be.

5. Idea mapping

Idea mapping is an old technique of organizing thoughts and ranking them. You were probably introduced to the idea back in middle school or high school. Idea mapping is very straight forward. You may have done it in the past without realizing it. One starts out by finding the heart of the matter at hand and draws this idea or thought at the center of a page. The thoughts and ideas that are most relevant to this main thought or idea are written out individually and connected to the original thought or idea. Thoughts and ideas which influence or are related to the individual thoughts or ideas connected to the heart of the matter are written out and connected to the ideas which are connected the heart of the matter and so on. In the end you will have a thought or idea in the center of the page with trees of ideas spreading out in every direction. This allows for individuals to look at the heart of the issue and all that it encompasses. It allows for one to make key assumptions about cause and effect and rank thoughts and ideas in terms of importance. You will also be able to adjust your focus with regards to the problem you are seeking to solve.

6. Physical activity

In the April 2002 issue of Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, an article was published explaining that physical activity improves mental activity and, “protects against cognitive decline” (Cotman and Engesser-Cesar). Some of my greatest ideas have come to me while I am jogging. I find that it allows me to think and process ideas. I also I found that I have better physical stamina in general when I am regularly physically active.

7. Change perspective

In the movie Amazing Grace the main character, William Wilberforce, is trying to abolish slavery in England. After years of unsuccessful attempts with parliament there was very little hope. Years later a friend gave a suggestion. The ships carrying slaves would put up the French flag to get through to England because of the war. The main character proposed a bill which which didn’t seem to have anything to do with the slave trade, but ended up making it much more difficult for it to take place. This helped make it easy to make the next step in abolishing the slave trade. If you are trying to solve a problem but keep on hitting a brick wall, you can increase your creativity by changing perspective. In my experience, a change in perspective is a main driver in most principles that increase creativity.

Works Cited

Annie Murphy Paul. 1 Feb 2012. http://ideas.time.com/2012/02/01/why-morning-routines-are-creativity-killers/. 16 Juary 2013.

Cotman, Carl W and Christie Engesser-Cesar. Exercise Enhances and Protects Brain Function. April 2002. http://journals.lww.com/acsm-essr/Abstract/2002/04000/Exercise_Enhances_and_Protects_Brain_Function.6.aspx. 5 January 2013.

 

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7 things to do everyday

Posted by & filed under General Business.

To be successful in business, do these things everyday.

1. “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning”

Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day” (Good reads). Now, put that frog down. I am unaware of any secret health benefit that makes people successful by eating live frogs, however, we can learn a great deal from the concept itself. Some of the most important tasks can be some of the least appealing tasks. If you start out doing the less important tasks that you really love first and push the tougher and more important tasks to the end of the day, you could end up struggling. If you are like most of us, things don’t get easier to do after working seven and a half hours. If you are able to get the tougher and more important stuff out of the way early on, you will have a lot to look forward to and a lot less to not look forward to.

2. Enthusiasm

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm” (Good Reads). I would add that great achievements typically come as a result of many consistent successful days. Thus, preparing to be successful everyday is preparing to be enthusiastic every day. Because enthusiasm is an attitude, it requires you to become. You must make the choice to be enthusiastic every day. Passion and having the end in mind can help lead you to becoming more enthusiastic.

3. Review your goals

If beginning with the end result in mind is hitting the snooze button, because you will be sleeping at the end of the day, then you are getting up on the wrong side of the bed. Look at your goals as a source of daily direction. In my experience, goals should be reviewed regularly regardless of their time frame. If you are able to get into the habit of reviewing your goals, understanding what is required during the day to achieve these goals, and committing yourself to meet these requirements on a daily basis, you are preparing to be successful every day.

4. Adjust the sails

People who prepare to be successful everyday in business are able to differentiate between what can and what cannot be acted upon and they act to their advantage. William Arthur Ward once said, “the pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails” (Good reads). Get in the habit of recognizing what you can and cannot change through your direct actions. Learn to put your energy and focus into those things which will change for the better as a result of your direct actions.

5. Stop multitasking

According to research, “multitasking can reduce productivity by approximately 40-percent” (Cherry). There may be many people out there who can check twitter, update their LinkedIn profile, watch a movie, or even do another project simultaneously while working on a project. The question is, “at what cost?” People who prepare for success every day realize that sometimes one cannot get away from situations where multitasking is required, but they understand that multitasking dramatically reduces the quality of their work and increases the time it takes them to finish tasks.

6. Processing information

We live in an “information age.” There are so many news sources which publish every day that you could probably spend a whole day learning about current events, if you wanted to. While it is true that successful people keep up-to-date with what is going on in the world, it doesn’t require a knowledge of everything. People who prepare each day to be successful can distinguish between that which is informative and that which is strictly entertaining. With so much information, it is easy to get sucked into analysis paralysis of things that are completely irrelevant to your success. There is nothing wrong with an occasional “bubble gum for the brain” (fun to chew, but without substance) but make sure to distinguish this as a treat rather than a “necessity.”

7. Focusing

Have you ever seen an NBA player texting while on the court. I doubt you ever will; and if you do, I doubt you would see him on the court again. It is the focus and competition that makes watching sporting events, such as basketball, fun. Business is a much more competitive environment with many more variables. Be “in the game.” Focus is one of the reasons why the last point (about multitasking) rings true. Take the time to get rid of distractions in your office space. One idea is to set a time to check your email rather than checking it whenever you (this does not work for every industry). Another suggestion is to set a timer for projects you are working on. Set the timer for a specific amount of time and put away all other distractions while you perform the task at hand.

Works Cited

Cherry, Kendra. Multitasking. n.d. http://psychology.about.com/od/cognitivepsychology/a/costs-of-multitasking.htm. 21 January 2013.

Good Reads. n.d. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=enthusiasm&commit=Search. 9 January 2013.

Good reads. Find quotes. n.d. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=realistic&commit=Search. 9 January 2013.

—. Mark Twain > Quotes > Quotable Quote. n.d. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/168105-eat-a-live-frog-first-thing-in-the-morning-and. 9 January 2013.

—. Quotes about procrastination. n.d. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/procrastination. 9 1 2013.

 

 

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