How to set your pricing strategy

One of the toughest things you have to do as an entrepreneur is put a price on the product or service you are offering.

But it’s also the step that makes you an actual entrepreneur and not just a hobbyist. Putting a stake in the ground and saying publicly, “my stuff is worth X” makes it all real.

In reality, your stuff is worth what the market is willing to pay you, but you still need to establish the baseline value you place on your own services or products.

And you may need to re-evaluate that price from time to time.

Pricing your services – where to start

If you are a solo entrepreneur, you’re basically selling your own time, which is a finite commodity. Think about how many clients or projects you can physically support at any point in time, and how much you’d have to charge to keep your business going (and keep you fed, clothed, and housed).

Know your costs/expenses – Do you rent office space? Use a virtual assistant? What software and hardware are you using? Do you travel to meet clients? Make sure you have a good handle on your monthly expenses as a baseline for any pricing exercise.

Research the market – Who is your typical customer? How big is your niche? Look for online data that will give you a picture of how big your particular market is, and how big it will be in the next few years. Imagine you’re on Shark Tank and Mr. Wonderful is asking how he’s going to get his money back.

Research your competitors – Look around and try to find out what your competitors are charging for the same service or product. You don’t need to match it, just be aware of it because your potential customers will certainly be aware of market prices. Be aware of who your competitors are, as well. Don’t compare your pricing to the Ferrari if your business is more in the Volvo lane. 

Price evaluation – at least semi-annually

Listen to your prospects, and do some testing – If you consistently get price pushback from prospective customers who you believe are in your target audience, take note. Consider exactly what they’re saying…are they telling you that you haven’t demonstrated your value, or are they saying that your competitor has a drastically lower fee for a similar service?

How are you going to scale – Hopefully your semi-annual evaluation will have to address growth (if you’re being successful). You’ll need to plan for adding partners, consultants, or staff if you’re selling time. You’ll need to ensure that you have developer, creative, or manufacturing capacity if you’re selling a product. Don’t get caught short if you have a sudden surge in demand.

Be willing to pivot – Right from the start, be willing to shift your pricing strategy if necessary. Flexibility in terms of payment options, discounts, invoicing, and terms will mean you can work with a wider variety of customers. You don’t need to be a doormat, but as a small business you have the flexibility to adapt quickly (which is more difficult for your larger competitors).

Price strategy – be confident

Once you’ve established your prices, be confident and unapologetic about them. Yes, you can be flexible on payment terms, but stick to your guns on the actual prices. Don’t be intimidated by customers who ask about special discounts or freebies. Refusing to work for free doesn’t make you a bad friend; it only makes you a good business owner. That applies to major projects as well as “can I pick your brain” meet-ups.

What are your best tips for setting prices?

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for Social Strata — makers of the community platform. Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee


Featured image via Flickr CC: Dennis Wong

5 Tips for Creating an Unforgettable Name for your Product or Company

By Mark Skoultchi

In the US alone, 543,000 businesses start up each month. Whether those businesses are large corporations or just one guy selling T-shirts online, they all need a name. Most large companies can afford to hire a professional naming agency, but what about the little guys?

Have no fear!

We believe that everyone, big or small, deserves to have a great name. Let these naming tips serve as a jumping off point for creating a great brand name. And after you feel good about your strategy, you can dive even deeper with our naming guide and other naming resources.

1. Stare at your palm and ask, Who are we?

The first step to any successful naming project is to convene with the key stakeholders of your brand, which could be a product, company, or service. Really think about what makes your brand tick.

What makes you unique? Are you the practical jokers, like Playstation? The sages, like Google? The outlaws, like Xbox?

These are examples of a brand’’s archetype, which, when defined, can help you choose how you will communicate your brand to your audience. This will be the foundation upon which your name will grow.

2. Look up from your palm, and stare down the competition

Explore the competitive landscape to see what sorts of names are out there. Often you will notice that there are identifiable trends.

There are literally hundreds of cloud computing companies whose names include Cloud in some way, like Cloud One, Cloud Web, Cloud Bus, etc. While most brand stakeholders gravitate towards names that sound familiar, this leads them to just regurgitating what’s already out there!

Be brave and go against the grain. Choose a metaphorical name to stand out from a cloud of descriptive names or coined name in a land of real-word names. A great name makes you-you, and not you-them.

3. Now look at who’’s standing with you

You should always think about your customers before embarking on your naming project and remember that there are many customers that you don’t have yet. What language do they speak? What do they enjoy? Who do they love? Your name can address some of these questions.

Clif Bar is a great name for the outdoorsy consumers who buy organic, whereas PowerBar appeals to the consumers who want pure, invigorating energy. Whatever name you choose, make it resonate with your audience.

4. Look over your portfolio or get ready to have one

Brand architecture refers to the way that one company’s products or services are named in relation to each other. Even if you’re naming your first product or service, make sure that you choose a name that can be built upon if needed. Or, if what you’re naming will be part of a line of products that already has a naming protocol, do not stray from it.

Take Lexus’’s alphanumeric car names as an example. The IS, ES, GS, and LS sedans all follow the same naming pattern. Brand architecture allows your customers to easily identify and compare what you have to offer.

5. Now stand up, and take a look outside

Consider in which contexts will you use this name. Are you naming an App for which there is a strict character limit? Will your name be traveling to foreign language speakers where it may encounter unanticipated negative associations?

The name Cosm sounds pretty hip to us English speakers, but in German it sounds very close to kotzen, which means “to vomit”.

Will your customers be spreading your name via word of mouth? If so, it should be pretty intuitive to spell. Also, If you’’re planning on registering a domain for your new name, ensure that it makes sense when spelled out in lowercase letters.

Would you believe that used to be an island-themed pen store? Lastly, don’’t get too hung up on getting an exact domain name because these days, you probably won’’t without pretty deep pockets. It’s really not a big deal to add a modifier to your domain name (we did it ourselves).

Ponder these five tips and do the soul searching before you start naming. We promise it will help you arrive at a robust list of names that communicate who you are as a brand. Naming is a long process, but it’s time worth spending because your name is the first thing that your customers will see. It is a vehicle that can drive your customer to images, emotions, and memories. And with some work, you can steer them right where you want.

Author’s Bio: Mark Skoultchi is Principal, Project Lead, and Head of East Coast Operations at Catchword. He is a veteran naming professional with 20 years experience counseling clients in every aspect of product and company name development. As head of Catchword’’s East Coast operations he’s managed projects for Volkswagen, Weight Watchers, McDonald’s, Time Warner Cable, Xerox and many other multinational companies.

Happier Employees Make for Better Results

Can you say with certainty that you have a bunch of happy employees? What if it is just a few?

Whether the numbers are high, medium or low, happy employees make for a world of difference in the business world.

For those individuals running large companies, there is sometimes a disconnect with the workers. This may not be due to an unpleasant owner, but more so because there are so many employees for one to keep track of.

Meantime, those running smaller operations can have an advantage in that they oftentimes have one-on-one relations with the various employees, especially the managers of different departments.

No matter what your relationship is when it comes to owner-employee, there are a number of ways you can increase the odds of having happy employees, employees who typically will turn out to be more engaged and more productive.

Insurance Brings Peace of Mind

There are various opportunities for medical coverage, wellness, and growing with the business you can offer your employees. They include:

  • Health benefits – Next to one’’s salary, having the proper healthcare coverage in place is likely paramount for the majority of employees. Locating affordable health care plans does not have to be an agonizing chore for you as a business owner. If you don’’t like the one you currently have in place and/or are just interested in seeing what else is out there, you have several roads to travel. While your HR (human resources) head may be tasked with the assignment, you or they can network with other business owners you are friendly with to see who they use. You can also turn to the Internet and use social media and blog posts to learn more about employee health insurers’’ who may be a good fit for your company;
  • Fitness – Going hand-in-hand with health benefits, encourage your employees to stay or get fit. Not only is it for their benefit, but healthy employees are less likely to miss work days or be out of action for an extended period of time. You can offer something as simple as gym memberships to qualified and interested employees (typically after their probationary period is over). Having a solid wellness program in place benefits your employees and your overall business goals;
  • Advancement – Lastly, if you worked at a company that gave you little or no room to grow and advance, would you stay there very long? In most cases, the answer would be no, so make sure your employees have options to move up the corporate ladder no matter what size business you run. Not only is there financial incentive for employees when having the opportunity to move up in the business, but there self-esteem and ability to work better with co-workers and customers will grow too.

When you give your employees the ability to care for themselves and their families, not to mention achieve some personal professional goals, you are more likely to have an overwhelming majority of happy employees.

As a business owner, what makes your employees happy?

About the Author: Adam Griffith writes on different topics for the Internet, among which are business, health and finance.

Are You Successful at Gathering Quality Leads?

Many businesses focus on gaining new leads. The problem is that they don’t determine the difference between any lead and a quality lead.

A quality lead is anyone that is a good possibility of becoming a sale.

It is essential that businesses find more online leads to increase growth against fierce competition.

Think Long-Term

To build more leads that will turn into customers, you must think past the immediate future to the long-term.

Blogs and social media are two good ways to do this.

While they might not garner you immediate results, you will see the benefits when you do it right.

What this means is putting value in your posts or tweets. Think about what your audience wants to see instead of just posting whatever comes easy.

Quality over Quantity

It’s easy to create a product to add people to a list.

Many marketers think that they more people they get on the list, the more they will sell. They choose a product that everyone wants as part of the freebie without putting thought into whether those same people will invest money and become customers.

Instead of trying to win numerous leads that go nowhere, choose a freebie that complements the product the business sells.

While you may not end up with as many people added to your list, you will have leads that are interested in what your business offers.

Try Something New

Be willing to try a new way to reach people.

If you have been using your blog or white papers, do a video instead.

Make it fun and get people’s attention. You won’t know if it will work until you try it. Don’t let the fact that you have never done a video keep you from moving to a profitable marketing option.

If you can’t get in front of the camera, find someone who will. Take advantage of the latest trends to capture people’s attention.

If something doesn’t generate the results you want, move on to something else. That being said, make sure you give each method enough time.

As the following article looks at, some options generate results quickly while others take longer to increase leads online.

Look to Your Current Customers

Your customers can be the spokespeople for your products. If they like what you have to offer, they can convince their friends.

Give them a reason to promote your business, and you will see results. Since people who are alike tend to spend time together, their friends will be more likely to be interested in your business.

Check out the most effective ways to spread the word.

For instance, a Share button on Facebook can get attention. Encourage others to tweet or retweet. You never know when one lead will generate many other secondary leads.

Generating quality leads online is essential for the survival of any business. Be willing to invest time and thought and be open to change.

When you find the right formula, be dedicated to following it to ensure that you always have new prospects that turn into sales.

About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including running a business and marketing.

How To Keep Your People Engaged When Making Changes

By Lindsey Tolino

When I was in middle school, my best friend moved to another school district. She came to me and explained that she was moving. She said she couldn’t do anything about it and would miss me. I was sad and didn’t like it, but part of me understood because she came to me and explained the situation.

hand writing on chalkboard

Sometimes you have to change things in your business. It can be scary because you don’t want to lose loyal customers or disgruntle employees. Your customers and employees have grown to expect your business to run a certain way and you may fear changing it.

I would have been very disillusioned if I showed up to school one day and my best friend was gone because she moved. I would have been hurt because I thought our relationship meant more to her than that. I would have been angry that she didn’t care or respect me enough to tell me ahead of time.

As humans, we may feel disrespected, disillusioned and angry if someone changes something that we’ve grown to expect, without telling us ahead of time or explaining why.

This is essential to remember when making changes in your business. You don’t want to disgruntle your employees or isolate your customers by executing decisions without communicating with them. Your employees and customers hopefully feel a sense of ownership in the business. If you simply change something without communicating with them, they may become annoyed, frustrated and less invested.

Change is difficult for most people. If you talk about it ahead of time, it gives people time to process and prepare for it. Furthermore, if you discuss the reasons for the change, people are likely to be more understanding, even if they don’t like the change itself.

I grew fond of a counter-service restaurant over the past year. Without warning or explanation, many menu items increased in price by at least a quarter. The restaurant had become wildly popular, so it didn’t seem like the price increase was necessitated because of low sales. As a customer, I felt like they were trying to squeeze every last cent out of me. This may not have been true. But since they didn’t explain the increase, it seemed like it came out of greed.

If the business had simply explained the reason for the increase, my loyalty may have been strengthened rather than shaken.

Unfortunately, even if you let people know your reasons ahead of time, the changes may still isolate customers or upset employees. But discussing it will minimize the discomfort and create a smoother transition. Maybe some of them have even been hoping for the changes you’re making.

If you have changes coming, discuss it with your team and make sure they know the reasons. Talk to your customers. Let them know it’s coming and why.

It shows you respect and care for them. If you share your reasoning, it may even deepen their trust in you.

Don’t drop changes on people. Show them how much you care by discussing it with them ahead of time.

Author’s Bio: Lindsey Tolino is an intentional creative who helps make businesses better. She serves business owners with her words at Follow her on Twitter @LindseyTolino or connect with her on Google+.
Image info: Royalty-free image by Death To the Stock Photo. (

Successful businesses use Google Analytics to super-charge their marketing

Google Analytics is the Ferrari of analytics platforms. It’s fast, sexy, and can super-charge your marketing.

However, most entrepreneurs and small business owners are just sitting in the car, afraid to leave first gear.

A recently released white paper from Formstack pulls together some interesting stats about how marketers are really using (or not using) Google Analytics. One that stood out to me is that only 33% of marketers track ROI via Google Analytics. Perhaps that’s because it’s so easy to fall into the trap of tracking only the surface, vanity metrics.

Want to know how many unique visitors we got last week? Sure!
Want to know which page on our website leads to the most conversions? Uh…hang on a second…

If you actually have goals set up in your Google Analytics account, congratulations, you’re in the 40% minority!

It’s time to dive deeper into those numbers and turn them into useful, actionable information.

The infographic below offers a path to improve your use of Google Analytics. One crucial step is knowing how to A/B test your landing pages and take advantage of tools like Google’s Content Experiments to see what’s working.

Try testing different versions of your headline, main content, design, call to action, and forms (like your sign up, subscribe, or purchase forms). Sometimes a small shift can make all the difference when it comes to conversions.

Are you using the free tools at your disposal to step up your marketing?

infographic - landing page ROI
Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for social strata — a top ten company to work for on the Internet . Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee

How to identify (and solve) challenges

Can you tell when you are in the middle of overcoming challenges? How can you detect strength or capacity building as it is happening? Where is the contrast between where you’ve been and when you’ve learned?

It’s sometimes difficult to tell, especially if you are an entrepreneur or just starting out. Lone wolf syndrome is both boon and bane. There’s a Proverb (paraphrased) that says, “If you wish to go somewhere fast, go alone; if you wish to go far, travel together.”

The problem, by way of both utility and reality is that for many of us, traveling alone is faster at first when we are striking off into the unknown. It’s easier in some ways, because we are guided by our vision and naysayers (well-intentioned and otherwise), can be like drag trunks on Michael Phelps. When alone, decisions can be surgical: yes to this; no to that. No one to consult. Good, right?


One “bane” or difficulty is not having a benchmark from which to measure. Echo chambers and vacuums can be a dangerous space for solopreneurs. Moreover, knowing *what* to measure is also a challenge in and of itself. That’s where, eventually, smart entrepreneurs seek to incorporate the wisdom of others who have successfully navigated the path they themselves hope to travel. Someone to consult. A mentor.

Shifting gears for a second: to the parents who may be reading this, when your children were toddlers, a random temper tantrum could descend at any time, for any reason. Bewildered, you would fumble around to check for anything that could be causing pain or distress in an effort to soothe your child. Car seat pinching a leg? Hungry? Messy diaper? Tired?

You figured it out, handled it and moved on. Years later, you may be strolling down an aisle at the grocers and hear the tell-tale sound of a cranky toddler. “Ah ha!” you think to yourself, recognizing the timbre of the wail. “Someone needs a nap. That kid is five minutes away from a meltdown.”

Without realizing it, you had assimilated the challenge of parenting, absorbed the lesson you learned and solution deployed, adapted and moved on.

Are there any “meltdowns” currently going on in your experience? Some of the symptoms may be cash flow problems, staffing issues, time management skills…any number of things. The key is to learn how to identify whatever issue is causing you the most stress.

Once named, you can begin to deconstruct it and reach out to the network you’ve established to help keep you moving forward. This is where the “traveling together” portion of the above Proverb comes back into play. To begin, ask yourself any or all of the following:

• What about my current experience is overwhelming me?
• What are the tasks I put off or procrastinate in completing?
• Where are my bottlenecks in the process?
• Who do I know and trust who has overcome this challenge?
• What would I need to do or change in order to meet this challenge?

These are pain points that, once attended and resolved, are going to make you a more independent and successful person.

Detecting the challenge while in the midst of it is difficult at best. Most of the time, we are spending so much time with our heads down, blinders on, steaming full throttle ahead in an effort to overcome our challenges that we don’t stop to determine how to resolve them.

If you find that you are spinning your wheels or coming back to face the same challenge repeatedly, take the hint. Take some time and focus on a few things:

1. Where you’ve been.
2. Where you are.
3. Where you want to be.

Write it down. Take a breath. Use a combination of the wisdom you’ve gained with the input from your network and begin again.

What is a challenge you have successfully overcome? How did you solve it? Were you able to help someone else with the knowledge you gained? How?


Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive Foundation) or “Like” them on facebook.

How to cook with rocks

I had an opportunity to chat with an internal leadership team for a major brand recently. Intrepreneurism is a strategic way of building teams and initiatives across departments, even within a heavily siloed corporate structure or hierarchy. That’s a lot of buzzwords for a weekend.

By sharing with them my experiences in building WWDF, I was able to help draw analogies between risk taking, building consensus and collaboration, even if you’re not launching your own business. It may be even more difficult to be a risk taker or ripple maker in a corporate environment, as one of the foundational strengths of a corporation is people and departments working within a singular vision.

Loose cannons and rabble rousers can upset the status quo and detract from forward motion in some instances.

That said, the parable of Stone Soup is applicable when building teams, regardless of whether or not you’re a bootstrapped start up or a megolithic behemoth. If you’re not familiar, the story of stone soup is based on the experiences of a hungry stranger, who, upon being told that there was nothing for him to eat in town, helped the villagers cook a pot of delicious stew (in spite of themselves and using ingredients provided by the aforesaid villagers).

Common elements to when building teams:

• Define a common task or goal
• Communicate the benefits of a successful outcome to all parties
• Help individuals identify their gifts or contributions
• Give them the opportunity to make a difference
• Share the credit and the glory

One of the questions after my presentation had to do with “dealing with difficult people.” It may seem Pollyanna of me, but my answer was to come to the table assuming that everyone wanted to be there. When operating from a perspective of contribution from the outset, you have the opportunity to set the tone for the entire initiative.

Cooking with rocks can be done. It’s all in your recipe. Have you ever experienced resourcefulness or a successful team-building venture? How did you do it?


Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive).

Should You Give Out Raises?

araiseIn 2013, the average company gave out a 3 percent pay raise. That average is expected in 2014, as well.

As a business owner, how do you know how much to give and who to give it to? And how can you keep everyone happy in the process?

The job market is tough, and fortunately your employees are aware of your company’s overall circumstances.

New graduates learned in college that one of the challenges they would face after school would be answering how to position yourself for best paying careers, so they, too, know what it’s like to be out in the real world.

How to determine who deserves a raise

As a small business owner, giving out raises at the right time to the right candidates is an important aspect of your job.

Employees like to know they’re doing a good job and they like to be recognized for their hard work, most likely in terms of more money.

Employees that may potentially deserve a raise are those that:

  • Consistently work hard – Do you have an employee that is willing to stay late or work overtime when needed? Does this employee do so with a smile on their face? Employees that go above and beyond their normal job responsibilities are the first that should be recognized. They care about your company and want to see it succeed. Hard workers almost always deserve raises, assuming your company can afford it.
  • Offer something unique to your company – Maybe this particular employee isn’t the hardest worker, but maybe he or she does something valuable and irreplaceable for your business. For example, if you run a small construction business and have one drywall specialist who consistently gets rave reviews from customers, offering a raise to keep the employee around is worth it. It shows you value their work and know it would be hard to find a replacement.
  • Meet or exceed their goals – If an employee regularly meets or exceeds sales goals, for example, they are most likely deserving of a raise. Without good, hard-working employees who sell your product or service, you wouldn’t have a business. Reward them.

How to keep everyone happy

When it comes time to give out raises, employees may start to gossip on who did or didn’t get a raise. This can cause tension and jealousy in the workplace, and may cause some valued employees to leave if they feel underappreciated.

To keep everyone happy, hold a one-on-one meeting with each employee, if possible.

Go over their position in the company, why they are or aren’t getting a raise, their strong points and what they can do to improve. Explain your position as a business owner and what your goals are long-term.

By making the employee feel like a part of a team (which they are), employee gossip should be decreased whether or not you offered them a raise.

For those that didn’t receive a raise, you could consider offering additional incentives.

These can include a few extra paid vacation days per year, allowing them to work from home one day per week or offering a more flexible schedule in the office.

Some employees would rather work four 10-hour days, for example, than five 8-hour days.

See what would be valuable to those employees and offer it to them, especially if you wanted to give them a raise but simply could not afford it.

Photo credit:

About the Author: Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Glendale, AZ. She writes on personal finances, small businesses and travel.

The Formula for Better Business Productivity

asuccesssFor your business to truly prosper and ultimately achieve its goals, you must look for ways to increase productivity or, simply put, find ways to get more done without sharply increasing your expenses.

Before exploring measures you can take to boost productivity in your workplace, it may be helpful to look at some of the things workers consider major obstacles to achieving optimal productivity.

Workplace Productivity Survey

Harris Interactive, a market research firm best known for its Harris Poll, in late March 2013 conducted a survey of just more than 2,000 professionals to get their views on productivity. The survey, commissioned by, was designed to gather input on the factors that both hinder and maximize productivity in the workplace.

Reporting on the survey’s results in “Forbes,” Jacquelyn Smith said more than 60 percent of respondents cited noisy co-workers as a major productivity killer.

Somewhat surprisingly, 63 percent of those surveyed said they feel they can be more productive in a quiet personal workspace in the office than if they were working from home. The emphasis here is on quiet and personal.

Cubicles Rejected

More than a quarter of the survey’s respondents said they believed they could be most productive in an open office setting as opposed to a cube farm or a workplace that consists of separate offices.

The opposition to cubicles came as no surprise to Lisa Ross, vice president of human resources at

In the interview with “Forbes,” she said cubicles “are great for maximizing office space, but cubes are not known for being particularly exciting or inspiring. Your personal workspace is where you spend the bulk of your time, and I think office workers in general are hungry for something different.”

Impromptu Meetings

Another widely cited productivity killer is the impromptu meeting that occurs when co-workers drop in at another employee’s workspace.

Although these so-called meetings may begin with a work-related matter, they all too often devolve into conversations about issues that are totally unrelated to business. Nearly half of all survey respondents said they prefer to hash out work-related questions via email, instant messaging, or by telephone.

Other obstacles to productivity cited by survey respondents include group projects and sitting next to a supervisor.

Eliminate Productivity Killers

Hopefully, you can realize some productivity gains by eliminating some of these productivity killers in your workplace.

To do even more, here are six ways to take your office productivity into the next generation:

Five of these suggestions for increasing productivity come from Odessa Hopkins, owner of a marketing and advertising consultancy in Greenbelt, Maryland.

She shared her tips with writer Kelly K. Spors, who summed them up in an article for

Prioritize To-Do Lists

1. Prioritize projects based on their revenue-generating potential. It’s also helpful to take complex projects and break them into more manageable segments and attach a deadline to each.

2. Delegate or outsource tasks that don’t generate revenue. As a business owner, you may be tempted to try to juggle such essential tasks as bookkeeping, copywriting, and payroll, even though you may not be fully qualified to handle these responsibilities. This creates a time-consuming distraction from the all-important task of making money, which should be your top priority.

Don’t Over Check Email

3. Don’t interrupt your workflow by constantly checking your email inbox. Set your email server to retrieve messages only manually or at less frequent intervals — such as every 90 minutes. Respond immediately to email messages that require only a simple reply so that you don’t end up reviewing the same message two or more times.

4. Maximize your use of technology shortcuts. The inexorable advance of technology means that new tools become available every day that can streamline office and other workplace procedures significantly. Try to stay abreast of such new technology and the time savings it offers.

Train Employees Well

5. Train your employees well. While it may take a bit more time during the employee orientation process, it will save a great deal of time in the long run. Make sure your employees fully understand the jobs they are to perform and all the individual tasks involved. Otherwise, you and other workplace supervisors will be constantly interrupted by questions from employees who are unsure of themselves and how to proceed with various tasks.

Our sixth suggestion comes from an article posted at and focuses on the importance of keeping your employees healthy.

6. Move proactively to increase workplace health. This might include the establishment of programs to help employees quit unhealthy habits, such as smoking, or the replacement of high-fat, high-sodium vending machine options with healthier choices. As a business owner, you can also encourage exercise programs and make sure that employees have adequate protection against workplace safety hazards. Cutting down on absenteeism due to illness or injury is a sure way to keep productivity at high levels.

Photo credit:

About the Author: Don Amerman is a freelance author who writes extensively about a wide array of business and personal finance topics.