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Time-Tested Time Management For Solopreneuers

Did you start a new business during the Great Recession? If so, you are not alone. More Americans have become entrepreneurs during the past 15 years than ever before. And, if you are like most American entrepreneurs, you aren’t hiring traditional employees, either.

So says the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity.

So if you are a solopreneuer—an entrepreneur who’s not hiring employees—how can you make the most of your undoubtedly busy day? First of all, be glad you work alone.

Employees today deal with a variety of pet peeves at work, most commonly people with poor time management skills (selected by 43% of employees) and gossip (36%), according to a Ipsos Public Affairs-Randstad survey of over 1,000 employed U.S. adults.

So how can you manage your time, reduce your stress, and improve your productivity? Here are a few tips from the Mayo Clinic:

Plan each day. Planning your day can help you accomplish more and feel more in control of your life. Write a to-do list, putting the most important tasks at the top. Keep a schedule of your daily activities to minimize conflicts and last-minute rushes.

Prioritize your tasks. Time-consuming but relatively unimportant tasks can consume a lot of your day. Prioritizing tasks will ensure that you spend your time and energy on those that are truly important to you.

Say no to nonessential tasks. Consider your goals and schedule before agreeing to take on additional work.

Take the time you need to do a quality job. Doing work right the first time may take more time upfront, but errors usually result in time spent making corrections, which takes more time overall.

Break large, time-consuming tasks into smaller tasks.
Work on them a few minutes at a time until you get them all done.

You can find more time management tips from Mayo Clinic with just one click. Or watch this classic series on time management from motivational speaker Brian Tracy. Brian was much younger then, but his time management tips for entrepreneurs are time-tested.

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Why Tapped In Entrepreneurs Will Love LinkedIn Today

For all of my LinkedIn-using readers—and if you aren’t using LinkedIn, you’ll probably want to go sign up as soon as you finish reading this post—the business social networking platform is offering a new way to stay on top of the news that your connections care about the most.

Dubbed LinkedIn Today, the new product surfaces the top headlines and stories being shared the most across multiple industries by LinkedIn’s trusted network of professionals. So if you want to learn about the earthquake in Japan from perspective your connections care about, for example, you can do that through LinkedIn Today. Essentially, LinkedIn Today helps you cut to the news chase with customized, tailored news consumption tools.

“LinkedIn Today provides our members with a quick and easy way to digest trending news gleaned from the collective wisdom of 90 million professionals—what they are reading, what they are sharing, and what they are saying,” says Deep Nishar, senior vice president of product and user experience at LinkedIn. “Having a professional and tailored lens on news and insights is not only an efficient way to gather information for your work day, but it also arms you with the insights you need to make strategic business decisions.”

Here’s how it works: You can tap into professional news through three different perspectives: connections, industry or broader global professional network. When you do, you can read what your connections are reading, and access news that is on the minds of industry leaders. You can follow up to 22 industries or follow a specific news source. LinkedIn will have a share button on leading site like Bloomberg.com, the Wall Street Journal, CNNMoney and more. LinkedIn Today will also feature StumbleUpon content tailored for each industry with evergreen stories.

And if you want to do all this on the fly, LinkedIn lets you. LinkedIn launched an iPhone app to deliver the LinkedIn Today tools to iPhone users. What more could a news hungry entrepreneur ask for? LinkedIn Today is a great experience if you really want to be in the know.
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Does March Madness Impact Small Business Productivity?

If you are a basketball fan like me, you look forward to March—March Madness, that is. But can March Madness backfire on small businesses? Indeed, March Madness in the office can drain productivity. And it appears that some managers are concerned about it.

Thirty-two percent of managers interviewed felt NCAA basketball tournament activities shouldn’t be allowed in the workplace. That’s because it brings unwelcomed distractions. I can see the point. E-mail goes unanswered and phones keep right on ringing when the staff is glued to the tube waiting to see who advances to the Sweet 16 and the Final Four, not to mention the championship game.

Interestingly enough, even with the potential productivity drain, most businesses are willing to engage in March Madness activities in the office. Fifty-seven percent of office managers said events tied to the college basketball playoffs are acceptable in moderation. Another 11 percent welcome March Madness in all its distracting glory.

“As long as they don’t interfere with work, activities tied to sporting events can be great for morale,” says OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking. “Watching a game together or holding friendly contests provides opportunities for employees to build team spirit.”

More men (36 percent) than women (6 percent) confessed to being distracted on the job by outside sporting events. Thirty-four percent of professionals between the ages of 18 and 34 also admitted to being sidetracked, more than those in other age groups.

OfficeTeam offers five tips to help workers keep their heads in the game during March Madness:

  1. Don’t get benched. Before checking scores online or participating in game-related activities at work, review company policies so you know what’s acceptable and what’s not.

  2. Take the occasional time out. If your firm allows it, enjoy quick breaks to discuss tournament highlights with coworkers, but don’t let these talks sideline you from other responsibilities. If you’re a die-hard fan, consider requesting time off to watch the playoffs.

  3. Set up a game plan. If you want to take a day off to enjoy a sporting event, ask your supervisor as far in advance as possible so workloads can be managed. There may be many others with the same idea.

  4. Don’t step out of bounds. Review your company’s policy and find out ahead of time if your employer is OK with decorating your workspaces to support your favorite colleges.

  5. Be a good sport. Regardless of team allegiances, show proper sportsmanship in the office. Leave your overly competitive streak at home.


Check out this video on March Madness in the workplace:

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What Small Biz Can Learn from Charlie Sheen’s Social Media Blitz

Think what you want about Charlie Sheen. He’s dominating social media right now. The outspoken actor has surpassed Lady Gaga and President Obama in the realm of social networking followers.

Yes, Warner Bros. may have fired Sheen from his star role on “Two and a Half Men,” but the son of Martin Sheen is blowing up Twitter, mastering video and emerging as the talk of the Facebook world. Is there a social media lesson in all this for entrepreneurs? You bet.

Tell the world. At the time of this writing, Sheen has more than 2.3 million followers on Twitter—and he generated that number in a matter of days because he let the media world know he was tweeting. Your world may not be as big as Sheen’s, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell your world you are on Twitter. Post your Twitter handle or the little birdie on your Web site, your e-mail, online ads, and anywhere else you communicate with the public. Then tweet wisely.

Use hash tags. Sheen has got the hash tag game down pat. He promotes his videos on his tweets using the #Fastball hash tag, for example. A hash tag helps people searching Twitter find you based on the topic about which you are tweeting. If you are tweeting about a shoe sale, for example, you would put “#shoesale” at the end of your tweet.

Engage with your followers: If you want to build a relationship, you need to do more than push out social media messages. You need to talk back when people talk to you. That means you need to monitor your social media accounts.

If you don’t have a Twitter handle yet, get one now. Your brand name may already be taken, so you may have to get creative in choosing something that speaks about your brand. And, if you are too busy to keep up with your social media, do what Charlie Sheen is doing: hire an intern (or a virtual assistant).

You’ll find plenty of other blog posts with social media advice from Davinci Virtual Office Solutions with a quick search in the box above. And here’s a video with some more tips.

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Three Keys to Successful Small Business Hiring

Confidence. That’s the vibe from the small business community in early 2011. Small businesses are hiring—and raising prices. What does this mean for your small business? Time to think about recruiting.

The just-released National Federation of Independent Businesses Small Business Optimism Index shows a gain of 0.4 points in February. Although weak sales are still among the top small business concerns, hiring and future plans to hire are solid.

With small businesses poised to hire once again, it’s time to find ways to attract the best and brightest employees. So without further ado, here are three tips for hiring:

(1) Know what you need: Create a job description outlining exactly what you need from a new employee. If you don’t know what you are looking for, how will you know when you find it? You need to hire an employee that can help your business grow. Be specific about the skills and experience needed to manage the tasks at hand.

(2) Consider virtual assistants: If you aren’t sure you need a full-time employee—or if you have a diverse set of tasks you need to accomplish that are likely beyond a single person’s skill set—consider a virtual assistant arrangement. You could use several virtual assistants that specialize in areas like customer service, word processing, etc., and still not take on the overhead of a full-time employee.

(3) Never stop recruiting: Always keep your eyes open for a possible gem of a new hire. Even if you aren’t hiring now, that could change with a surge of new business. Keeping a file of potential rock stars on hand could benefit you down the road.

Check out this video that offers more tips on small business hiring advice:

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