Top 10 Business Tips From This Week’s OPEN Forum

By Anthonia Akitunde

1. Make referrals part of your marketing strategy. When it comes to marketing, word of mouth is still king: 84 percent of people trust recommendations from someone they know, according to a Nielsen survey. Use your existing customers to build up referrals to your business. “They can provide you with the best referrals possible,” writes OPEN Forum contributor Denise O’Berry. “Plus, if they are your ideal customer, they likely know more people like themselves and will refer more ideal customers to you.” (From “The One Marketing Tactic That Can Improve Your Cash Flow,” by Denise O’Berry)

2. <a class="colorbox" href="https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/the-key-to-profitability-that-many-small-businesses-get-wrong/" …read more

5 Buzzwords You Need to Stop Using Now

By Erika Napoletano

Have you ever landed on a website, read what was there, then still not known what in the blazes that company does? You understood all the words, but you just couldn’t seem to get the gist of what they were getting at.

Buzzspeak: It’s been killing intelligent conversations since … well, forever. Buzzspeak is a collection of words that might look and sound like English, but they’re anything but plain English. We’ve gotten so used to hearing these words that now we simply tune them out. But they’ve lost their meaning and have no place in our daily discourse, especially when …read more

Can Enterprise Technology Boost Your Business?

By Marjorie Adams

I got a call the other day from a client I hadn’t spoken to in several years. His company, a manufacturing firm in North Carolina, was doing great, with growth in the double digits for the past three years. He thought he needed help deciding whether to upgrade from a basic accounting package to an enterprise-level solution.

While it’s easy for business owners to think they need something more robust, there needs to be some kind of needs analysis to figure out the best solution, whether it’s a new system, custom programming or a simple refresh.

Discover Your True Needs

To determine whether …read more

5 Tips for Doing Honest Business With Dishonest People

By Mike Michalowicz

Whether we want to or not, many of us find ourselves doing business with people we don’t want to work with. Self-interest is a very powerful motivator—it can cause people to do amazing things as well as cause them to act unethically, dishonestly or just plain old selfishly. To navigate those tricky waters and come out ahead, you need a game plan for how to go about doing business with people you don’t trust, and still feel good about it.

1. Realize and accept self-interest is part of business. I’ve often wondered if Mother Teresa would have told a lie if …read more

How to Compete With the Top Companies Everyone Wants to Work for

By Vivian Giang

Hiring the right people can take a lot of time and cost a lot of money. But what if you had your pick of the most talented, hard-working professionals out there? Finding the best team might not be such a struggle anymore.

LinkedIn recently teamed up with InDemand Employers to create a list of the top 50 companies that do have their pick of top talent. The ranking was calculated by analyzing billions of interactions between U.S. and Canadian members and companies on LinkedIn. For example, the list researchers considered how many people viewed a company’s profile within the …read more

Building Leadership

By JJ Ramberg

Some people are born with great leadership skills while others must learn it. But one thing is for sure, great leadership is essential to running a successful business. In this week’s Business War Chest, Les McKeown, President & CEO of Predictable Success and author of the book, “Do Lead: Share Your Vision, Inspire Others, Achieve the Impossible,” joins us. He talks ways you can create effective change by building a culture of leadership at your small business.

…read more

Appy Couple Is the Wedding App Modern Brides Have Been Waiting For

By Katie Morell

Sharmeen Mitha-Sehgal has singer Bruno Mars to thank for changing the direction of her life. A former marketing executive, Mitha-Sehgal had just quit her job and moved to New Jersey from New York City to find what she calls her “purpose in life.” She wanted to start a technology company to solve a problem she hadn’t yet identified when Mars’ song, “Let’s Get Married,” streamed through her car radio around 4 p.m. on a hot day in July 2011.

“I thought, ‘That is it!’” Mitha-Sehgal recalls. ”‘I keep getting crappy Evite invitations to weddings, and that can’t be the future …read more

How a Culture of Quality Can Save You Millions

By Alexandra Levit

According to a study covered in a recent Harvard Business Review article, companies with highly developed quality cultures spend, on average, $350 million less annually fixing mistakes than companies with poorly developed ones.

The research, which was commissioned by CEB—an advisory firm of more than 60 multinational companies—revealed that employees who ranked their companies in the top-quintile in terms of quality made 46 percent fewer mistakes in their daily work than employees in bottom-quintile companies.

The High Price of Everyday Mistakes

In the survey employees reported that it takes about two hours to correct a …read more

From Apple to Zappos: Could Big Companies’ Hiring Tactics Work for You?

By Donna Fenn

Tony Hsieh, the offbeat and highly respected CEO of Zappos, recently sent the recruiting world into a frenzy when he announced that Zappos was eliminating all job postings. At the end of May, the company launched an alternative career site: Zappos Insider. On this new site, people interested in working at the online shoe retailer can sign up and start ongoing conversations with existing Zappos employees to learn more about the company and its iconic culture.

Stacy Zapar, social recruiting and employer branding strategist at Zappos, wrote on the company’s blog that the program represents a return …read more

Managing Time: Who’s Responsible for Your Work-Life Balance

A very expensive New York hotel is now offering a new service – a work-down call. When you check in, you can arrange for the front desk to phone you at a certain hour to remind you to power down all your electronic devices. Isn’t this like having your mother tell you it’s time to get ready for bed?

Some companies are even instituting bans on replying to emails after hours. And Volkswagen in Germany shuts off emails sent to employees’ Blackberries half an hour after shifts end.

Many employees sing the work-life balance song. But do they need to have their activities controlled by others so they can have it? May be they just need skills to manage their lives and time better.

Workshops on Managing Your Time

Time Management : Make it a Habit
This workshop analyses the participants three-day time log. The Wiley Time Mastery Profile

Article on Managing Your Time

Time Management — Getting Back Control of Your Life