Wine can be a high-margin item for restaurants, but many young waiters may lack the knowledge to make informed recommendations. Wine Awakenings addresses that with educational kits, and now is looking to grow its sales. Experts advise targeting a wider range of customers and reaching out through training seminars.
Twitter has hundreds of millions of users who are active on a monthly basis, so small-business owners cannot afford to neglect the platform, Sophie Turton writes. Use the search tool to identify your target customers, and give your Twitter account a personality. Every brand that is successful on Twitter has "one thing in common -- they develop a unique personality rather than a stream of self-promotion," she writes.
Some companies subtly discourage employees from disconnecting during their vacations, writes Ben Peterson, CEO of BambooHR. Create cross-training programs to ensure that essential business functions don't depend on any one person, and emphasize to employees that they don't need to check in during their time off, Peterson writes. "Letting your employees have uninterrupted relaxation time benefits you and, more importantly, is simply humane," he writes.
Becoming an effective leader takes effort and determination, Brian de Haaff writes. It's important to devise a strategy and communicate it to your team. In addition, make learning new things a priority, and treat your mistakes as an opportunity to get better, he writes.
Entrepreneurs who need a bank loan to finance their business must avoid certain common mistakes during the application process, writes Debra Carpenter. Make sure to get your financial information in order, and develop a plan for how you will use the funds. Also, start the process well ahead of time so you can review your options.
Clearly communicating goals and sharing both good and bad news with your employees are key steps for building a strong business, writes Dominique Jones of Halogen Software. It's also important to hire people with a mix of different skills and help them develop their leadership potential, Jones writes.
Managing hourly schedules can be a headache for small-business owners and their employees. This article covers two startups -- Homebase and When I Work -- that offer technology to help businesses set schedules and keep track of workers' hours.
New sales hires bring a new set of values to the workplace and may require new thinking about compensation, writes CeCe Bazar. "When it comes to compensation planning, millennials are after two things -- simplicity and structure," she writes. Among her suggestions is a rethinking of the base-bonus ratio.
The days of sales reps ignoring customer experience once the deal is done are past, according to Christopher Bucholtz. "[Sales reps] certainly should be cognizant of the importance of customer experience, because it has an impact on their success," he writes. Bucholtz looks at three customer experience factors that can drive future sales.
The Hiemer & Company stained-glass studio in Clifton, N.J., is still a family-owned business after four generations. "I fell into it naturally, being a member of the family," said Judith Hiemer Van Wie, who runs the business with her husband, James Van Wie. At the moment, the business now deals mainly with restoration rather than new glasswork.
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