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14 Feb
Effective Teams Contribute to Small Business Success

Characteristics of Effective Teams to Build Your Business Success

We don’t work in a bubble. Every day we are interacting with clients, vendors, co-workers, and other business contacts. One of the most important relationships we develop in a small business environment is the team of professionals working closely together to secure the success of the business. The strength of this team and how well they work together is vital to staying competitive, productive and profitable. In this article, we’ll discuss the important characteristics of effective teams to improve your business.

Commitment to a Common Goal

Teams are created to efficiently and effectively complete a goal. The goal must be defined. It can be increasing sales for your company, getting a large order shipped out, or planning the annual client appreciation event. It is important that the goal has a clear direction, and each member has a good understanding of what the desired outcome looks like. The goal of the team is greater than individual interests. This is the first step towards coming together as a unit and successfully achieving the goal.

Participation

In effective teams, each person of the team needs to have a clear role and must be considered essential to the team’s success. All members need to understand they are a part of the solution and must be motivated to put in their fair share of the work.

Open Communication and Collaboration

The more comfortable team members feel with other members, the more they will be able to communicate openly with each other. Building a team culture that allows for open, frequent, and face-to-face communication will encourage team members to collaborate and freely exchange ideas and information.

It is important to mention that good communication does not just mean sharing your ideas and thoughts in a clear way, but also closely listening to and respecting the ideas and thoughts of other team members. In effective teams, if something is not clear, members ask clarifying questions.

Opinions, Risks, and Change

Differing opinions and ideas help spark creativity. By encouraging diverse opinions, there is an opportunity to have more ideas to evaluate, thus working towards the best solution to achieving your goal. Brainstorming is a safe, tried and true tool for building on each other’s ideas, allowing the team to discard the less valuable ideas, and elaborate on the stronger ideas. This also encourages team members to take risks and suggest possible changes that are in the team’s best interest.

Defined Roles by a Strong Leader

Each team member needs a defined role within the team.  A strong leader is important to effectively motivate the team, give feedback, and, if applicable, select the team members and distribute their roles. A good leader will also be a role model for good, open communication. Members should be placed in roles that take full advantage of their strengths and abilities. For example, a detail-oriented person would be great for keeping the team on track, but a creative artist may not be the best choice for handling budgets and metrics.

Responsibility

While individuals are responsible for completing their assigned tasks in a timely and efficient way, teams should not blame individuals for mistakes. Both failures and successes are shared by the team as a whole. However, it is appreciated when individuals are recognized for special contributions made to the success of the team.

Trust, Mutual Respect

Team members must feel safe communicating with each other. Members cannot feel judged by other team members. There needs to be a culture of mutual respect of abilities, and trust that members are not talking behind each other’s backs. Team members also need to trust that individual parts of the team are handling their responsibilities and tasks. Trust and mutual respect can be built through team building exercises and experiences.

Put American Receivable on Your Team

In conclusion, effective teams will collaborate and work together as a strong, solid unit. By reviewing the characteristics outlined above, you can build a team that will take your small business to new levels. And if your accounting team needs help with accounts receivable or cash flow, consider adding American Receivable to your team.

American Receivable is ranked No. 1 nationally among small-business factoring companies. Since 1979, we have provided small businesses with the financial resources and accounts receivable management strategies to grow, increase inventory, make payroll on time, and effectively compete in the marketplace. With American Receivable on your team, get funding within as little as 24 hours in some cases. Call us for a FREE quote today at 1-800-297-6652, or complete this quick quote form.

By Jack Stieber –  President  – American Receivable

11 Dec
Year End Check List for Small Business

 Year-End Checklist for Small Business Owners

One challenge for small business owners is to assure a strong year-end.  A survey by Office Depot resulted in 32 percent of small and midsize businesses owners stating their main concern during the holidays and end of the year was cash flow. Specifically, to have the financial resources to insure profit and success. 

There are several steps you can take to make the end of the year a success and get the new year off to a good start.

A complete financial accounting of your business will show your current financial standing and allow comparison with previous years.  This would include a profit and loss statement, balance sheet and cash flow report.  The profit and loss statement will not only show where you are for the year, it its will also give you an idea of what to expect in the coming year. 

Analyzing your cash flow for the year will give you the best idea of where you money is being spent. Three important areas to consider are:

1.  Operating expenses – incoming revenue and outgoing expenses.

2.  Investments – this includes inventory and equipment, amount      purchased and sold.

3.  Financial Debt – loans and outgoing payments made on behalf of the business.

It is important to reconcile accounts receivable at year-end.  Print a list of outstanding invoices for work completed.  Collecting amounts due will help with cash flow and allow you to begin the new year with a clean slate.

Update your vendor list.  Confirm contact information is correct on all current vendors and determine if they are profitable for you.  Purge files that are no longer active and delete any incorrect information. In addition, back up all contacts and other important information.  Make sure your client’s information is secure. 

Inventory is especially critical.  Be sure you are keeping accurate records.   Investigate discrepancies and make sure you are not a victim of internal loss.

Payroll and benefits need to be re-evaluated.  Make sure taxable benefits are accounted for, such as health insurance and transportation benefits.  Consider salaries and time off and make sure they are appropriate.  Many employers forget to include benefits like health insurance or transportation benefits as part of the salary.   Make sure the salary and benefits are appropriate,  including paid time off. Update policies and be sure all employees are aware of new policies and changes in benefits.  Be sure your employees are aware of the fringe benefits and total salary.

Many business owners worry about keeping employees on track and completing reports and other necessary year-end tasks.  Meeting with employees and coming up with a strategy will help maintain momentum and get things done right and in a timely manner.

Evaluate employees and determine if they are necessary and are an asset.  Make plans to eliminate employees who are not benefitting the business.

Meet with your staff and share the positive things that have occurred during the year.  Discuss goals that have been met and those that have not.  Set new goals for the coming year and discuss any changes that need to be made.

All of these will make your year-end smooth sailing and you can enjoy the holidays knowing you are ready for the new year.

13 Nov
Thanksgiving Through the Years

Thanksgiving Through the Years

The first Thanksgiving in Plymouth Colony which is now Massachusetts was in 1621.  The last Thursday in November was declared a national day of thanksgiving by Abraham Lincoln  200 years later.  In 1941 Congress made Thanksgiving an official national holiday. A day of “thanks” and “giving”.

Thanksgiving has traditionally been a day of family and friends getting together for a meal and fellowship.  A day to stop and reflect on all of the blessings we share.  In 1876, football was introduced as a tradition.  Yale and Princeton played the first American Football game on Thanksgiving day.  People were off from work and were able to go see football. It was not until 1934 that the first football game was broadcast.  The Detroit Lions played the Chicago Bears at University of Detroit Stadium and a new tradition, which later became a television broadcast.

Thanksgiving has changed over the years.  While many of the original traditions remain, new ones were born.  Black Friday became a big tradition for many families.  Getting up at early hours to go Christmas shopping for the best deals.  The idea came from retailers showing losses seeing a surge in sales on discounted merchandise on  Black Friday, often bringing their revenues back in the black.  Retailers started opening early on Black Friday and advertising big sales.  In the last decade, lit has become a Thanksgiving evening tradition with stores opening on Thanksgiving evening and staying open 24 hours. People have made their own traditions as well.  Many take vacations and skip the big meal and the shopping, although most still incorporate a game of football in the plans.

Thanksgiving is celebrated in many ways.  However you celebrate, remember to give “thanks” and “give” to those in need.

American Receivable is thankful for our customers and our relationships in the financial industry.  We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday.

In the words of the late Erma Bombeck:

“It takes 18 hours to prepare a Thanksgiving meal,

 It takes 12 minutes to eat it.  Half-times are 12 minutes.

 This is not a coincidence.” 

30 Sep
Leadership and the Success of Your Small Business

woman showing leadership skillsLeadership Tips for Small Business Owners

We’ve all had experience with different leaders in our workplaces and communities. Some people are calm and collected, and some are fiery and passionate. Some are more courageous and others cautious and methodical.

There are benefits and drawbacks to the various leadership styles, but no matter how outwardly different, successful business leaders have a few things in common.

Read More “Leadership and the Success of Your Small Business”

20 Sep
How to Keep Your Small Business from Failing

Failure or Success imageHow to Keep Your Small Business from Failing

According to recent reports, the economy is booming, and it seems that now would be an excellent time to start a new business. The failure rate of new businesses is sobering, though. Bloomberg research shows that eight out of every ten businesses fail within a year and a half. The keys to success we will outline here seem simple, but keeping your eye on them from the beginning isn’t always easy.

Read More “How to Keep Your Small Business from Failing”

18 Sep
The Value of Cross-Training Employees

employer cross-training an employeeThe Value of Cross-Training Employees

There are many advantages to cross-training employees.  The greatest advantage being that in the absence of an employee, someone is available to step in and keep the business going as usual.  Any disruptions in operations or other transitions can be handled, allowing the business to continue to run smoothly.  No business should depend on one employee for anything.

Read More “The Value of Cross-Training Employees”

05 Sep
The Benefit of Transparency

transparent ball

Why Transparency Matters

You know you have everything in place to run a successful business but you are frustrated that your marketing is not getting the results you want.  If you seem to be losing more sales to the competition than you are winning and few customers are turning into repeat customers it is time to ask yourself what does a prospect experience when they see my business for the first time? Read More “The Benefit of Transparency”

31 Aug
How to Create a Customer-Focused Culture

How to Create a Customer-Focused Culture

customer service representatives

Automation is changing the way we live and work, and in most cases, the change is for the better.  But there are some things that still require the human touch and despite all the technological advances in recent years, no one has figured out how to automate great customer service.  It’s a very human thing that must be embraced by your entire company to be truly successful.  In short, it must be at the center of your corporate culture.

Read More “How to Create a Customer-Focused Culture”

30 Aug
How to Grow Your Small Business

hands holding small growing plant5 Tips to Grow Your Small Business

Over half a million Americans start new businesses each month but about one-quarter of all new businesses fail within the first four years

According to a recent Business 2 Community article by contributor Sarah Daren, one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs is inadequate cash flow.  “Many small businesses fail to successfully maneuver the steep climb required to successfully scale their efforts,” according to Daren who offers these five tips to help new business owners improve their chances for long-term success.

Read More “How to Grow Your Small Business”

28 Aug
The Value of Giving Back

Thank you cardThe Value of Giving Back

So, you’ve tightened up your processes, have the right people working for you, secured proper financing and your company is growing nicely.  Time to sit back and enjoy, right?  Not until you show gratitude for your success.  Of course, your success has come by the sweat of your brow and many sleepless nights.  But consider the advantages you enjoyed that are so valuable to your success.  Your education, the education your employees received, the fact that you live in a country where entrepreneurship is rewarded!  It’s time to think about how you can give back.

Read More “The Value of Giving Back”

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