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5 Lessons on Negotiation You Didn’t Learn in School

Today’s schools were designed to churn out cookie-cutter workers and citizens. This is because it’s much easier to manage 500 compliant children, as opposed to a school of 500 individualistic negotiators. Rather than teaching rote learning and compliance, schools should be teaching our children the all-important skill of negotiation. In some ways this model is necessary. After all, our economy requires workers of all skill levels to function. But that doesn’t mean you need to fall in line like everyone else. Deep down you know you’re special, and to get everything you want out of life you must reclaim your inborn negotiator, starting with these five lessons. 1. Entitlement is Over: Negotiation is Everything Like it or not, the post World War II world order has come to an end. America isn’t the best in the world by default in industry, medicine, or education. Globalization and the Internet have shrunk the world and made every industry ultra-competitive. To be competitive for the next 10 or 100 years, we must focus on what makes us truly valuable: our companies, products, and our people. Whether we have the best talent or not we must now negotiate to protect what we currently have, and procure what we need. 2. Learn to Negotiate or Get Taken Advantage Of There are two types of people in this world: good negotiators, and those who get taken advantage of. The history of humanity is dark and brutal, ever since stronger caveman beat up their weaker counterparts for their food, shelter, and women. Today you need to know how to negotiate to protect your position in life and business. Many of history’s most successful leaders had little technical knowledge of negotiation. However, they possessed a deep understanding of human nature. In many ways, an understanding of human nature can outweigh all technical skills at the bargaining table. 3. All Is Fair in Love and War In negotiation, as in war, there are no rules, but there are guidelines to help make order out of the chaos. Throughout history, great generals and leaders, such as Alexander the Great, have…

Technology, Productivity and Printing: The Most Popular Topics of 2018

Do you ever wonder if other small and medium size business face the same challenges you do? Do you wonder if they’re focusing on the same topics, investing in the same technology, or pursuing the same goals? Today we’re looking back at our most popular posts from 2018 to show you just what SMBs like yourself were focused on in 2018, and to make sure you didn’t miss a word of productivity boosting, business shaping content. It’s no surprise that technology ruled the day, with scores of readers looking for advice on where to invest their technology dollars, how to put new tech to use, and how to encourage their employees to embrace new processes and equipment. The end-of-the-year round up is here! Take a look at our most popular posts of 2018. Leveraging office technology to its maximum benefit was also a popular topic for readers, with How To posts like setting up scan to email, checking toner levels, and most of all, putting ConnectKey Technology® and apps to work for their business. Security and social marketing are both topics that grew in popularity this season, along with remote work. No surprises there, as all three topics generating increased buzz across all channels this year, with security becoming a top concern among SMBs, and remote work increasingly taking hold across all industries. Without further ado, we present Small Business Solution’s most popular posts of 2018. How to Check the Toner Level in Your Printer This one may seem simple but it’s proof that we all – and some time or another – can use a hand even with the basics. How to Set Up Scan to Email in 2017 Still a crowd pleaser, productivity gets a shot in the arm in this easy to follow post which helped readers set up scan to email in minutes. Xerox Starts 2018 Where 2017 Ended: 13 More Buyer’s Lab Inc. Product Picks Most SMBs spend considerable time deciding how and when to invest in their businesses. For those looking to increase productivity, boost security, or cut costs, these 13 devices named Winter 2018 Picks by…

Putting the Visitor First: Tips for Consumer-Centric Website Optimization

Online searching and shopping are as second nature to some as shopping in traditional brick and mortar stores. And in today’s world where Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second and 3.5 billion searches per day, consumers are pretty demanding when it comes to their online experience. They expect to find the information, services or items for purchase quickly and easily. If they don’t, they simply move on, which can result in lost business opportunities and sales.   In this environment, it’s no longer enough to simply have a nice-looking website. Small businesses and online retailers need websites that are eye-catching, easy to use and ultimately websites that make it simple for the customer to find what they’re looking for… and fast. Bottom line: they need sites that put the consumer and their online experience first. When working to optimize their online presence, small businesses need to make sure they’re taking a consumer-centric approach to their website. Below are just a few key factors to consider that influence how visitors will interact with your site and brand: Honor the Need for Speed Not only will a quick site help get you found in search results (Google ranks faster pages higher in search results), it is a central factor in determining how visitors engage with your site and whether they stick around at all. More than half of mobile users will leave a site that takes more than three seconds to load, yet many mobile pages take 15 or more seconds to load. If your site is too slow and people leave dissatisfied with their online experience, and sales opportunities go out the window with them. With Google’s Revenue Impact Calculator, you can see how site speed impacts business results. An e-commerce site that loads in eight seconds, has 500 visitors a month, an average order value of $50 and a conversion rate of two percent could earn $471 more per year by reducing the page load time to four seconds. Another blog that loads in five seconds gets 20,000 monthly visitors, has an average order value of $100 and a…

How to Stand Out in the World of Online Selling

Scott C. Wilson, Founder at That Software Guy helps growing businesses. He helps businesses sell online using platforms like Zen Cart, which are self-hosted open-source software packages that allow people to see online manage their customer data, manage their inventory, and manage the order flow. Know Your Strengths Scott serves a very niche market and has been very successful focusing his efforts on Zen Cart development and customization and on small businesses doing a certain kind of selling who need a professional developer to help them or to support their site. Scott gave an example of how he supports several customers who use a drop shipping model and how with that, “you want a certain level of automation because you don’t want to be handling each of the orders yourself.” Scott has helped his customers by automating the back-end ordering, shipping, and tracking processes for them so their businesses run more smoothly. Scott helps growing businesses reach a higher level of automation. Scott remarks that as a small business owner, you very well could customize and manage these processes yourself, but “I’m an expert in this and you’re not.” He affirms that it’s better for his customers to spend their time running their businesses and doing the things they love rather than spending time on the things they could be hiring him to do for them. Salesforce is for the Smallest Businesses Salesforce Essentials is designed for even the smallest of businesses. The Software Guy is as small as a small business can get. Scott runs the whole show by himself.  He is essentially able to do this by using Salesforce. Although Salesforce is an enterprise solution, they have a scaled-down version called Salesforce Essentials, “which I’m using to keep all my customer data organized.” For years, Scott shared that he used five or six different solutions to keep up with his customers, such as Dropbox, Google Contacts, and spreadsheets, and he “got fed up with it!” He said that by using all kinds of different data repositories for his customer data, he kept losing things. “It’s very hard when…

News: Business Owners Rank Their Top Issues Going into Midterm Elections

With midterm elections on Tuesday, November 6th, business owners are letting Americans know what their top issues are before they even head to the polls. Paychex, Inc., a leading provider of human capital management solutions to include payroll, benefits, insurance, and human resources services for small and medium-sized businesses, polled 600 business owners to rank their top voting issues concerning their business for the upcoming 2018 midterm elections. Companies polled employed from 1-500 personnel. Here are the results: It’s not really a surprise that economic growth ranks #1 on the list for small and medium-sized business owners. 25% of business owners polled ranked it as their most important issue, while 63% ranked economic growth among their top three most important issues. Taxes came in a close second, with 23% of respondents ranking taxes as their most important issue and 62% placed it in their top three. In third place falls Healthcare with 20% identifying it as their top issue and it was in the top three of 48% of respondents. In order of importance, wage legislation (i.e. minimum wage laws, overtime rules, and pay equity) (26%), immigration (23%), foreign trade and tariffs (21%), and mandatory paid sick/family leave laws (14%) subsequently followed. Business size impacted how important certain issues are to business owners: Business owners who employ more people typically ranked wage legislation and mandatory paid sick/family leave laws in their top three issues. 26% of business owners with less than 19 employees ranked wage legislation in their top three most important issues. 48% of owners that employed between 20-99 personnel and 46% who employed 100-500 employees also ranked wage legislation in their top three. Conversely, business owners with fewer employees ranked mandatory paid sick/family leave laws at a lower rate than business owners who employ more personnel. The topic ranked last on the list for businesses with 1-19 employees at 13%, while 35% of businesses who employed 20-99 and 100-500 ranked the issue in their top three. The survey also revealed how top issues are ranking according to different demographics: According to region, the South, Midwest, and Northeast fell…

SMB Essentials- “A New Best Friend for Small Business”

Ramon Ray, editor, SmallBizTechnology.com spoke with Meredith Schmidt, EVP & GM Salesforce Essentials and Small Business Solutions (SMB) at Salesforce. They discussed SMB Essentials and why its a powerful CRM solution specially designed for business. Why is SMB Important to Salesforce? While you may have thought Salesforce was only for big enterprises, the company’s leadership is also highly committed to helping small businesses make their dreams come true. Did you know Salesforce started as a small business? If that wasn’t enough of a reason, small businesses were their first customers. Salesforce has over 150,000 companies who started out with Salesforce as small businesses. Meredith shared that small businesses and SMBs are, “the heart and soul of Salesforce” and after hearing her conversation with Ramon, we couldn’t agree more. So, What is SMB Essentials? Here is what you need to know about SMB Essentials and how it can work for your small business: 1. Meredith calls SMB Essentials “a new best friend for small business.” SMB Essentials is designed and built with small businesses in mind. No matter the size of your operation, whether you have 200 people, 50 people, or 2 people, this product is perfect for your small business. Furthermore, they designed it specifically for small businesses, but you still get the beauty of the platform and the benefits of being part of Salesforce. 2. Get Access to Salesforce AI. One of the benefits of being part of such a large company like Salesforce is having access to their AI. “It doesn’t matter if you are one user, you get AI at your fingertips,” Meredith continues, “It is powerful stuff.” 3. It’s Easy to Use Essentials takes everything Salesforce has to offer and makes it easy for small businesses. Meredith said it herself, “we built it so it’s easy.” 4. We used it! We tried it out and it is so easy! Set up is incredibly simple. With just a click of a button, it’s out of the box and ready to use! Essentials connects to your Gmail or Outlook account and that’s it, it’s done. It’s reading your…

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