Category Archives: Business Spotlight

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4 Ways to Improve Your Business’ Online Learning Experience – Yahoo! Small Business Advisor

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businessplan

Online education is blowing up. We have everything from higher-level classes with platforms like Coursera and 2u (formerly 2tor), to mid-level education like Lynda, TreeHouse, Udemy and Skillshare, all the way to basic how to’s from platforms like SnapGuide, Instructables, and the millions of videos and guides already on the Web.

In short, it’s clear that the consumer is becoming more comfortable with the concept of learning online.

via 4 Ways to Improve Your Business’ Online Learning Experience - Yahoo! Small Business Advisor.


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How to Use Social Media to Boost Your Career

By University Of Phoenix

Instead of spending hours posting old prom pictures on social media, you might consider using that time to bolster your career, suggests Virginia Green, owner of The Biz Visions Group and an instructor in the MBA program at the University of Phoenix Southern California Campus.

Employers are paying more attention than ever to social media, Green emphasizes, so it's important to make your time online count if you're seeking a job or want to enhance your professional standing. According to the Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey 2011, 89 percent of companies planned to recruit through social media, up from 83 percent in 2010.

Here are Green's recommendations on the best social media options and how to use them to improve your career:

 

1. LinkedIn
Why: Green says "absolutely everyone" should have a Linkedin® profile. With 175 million members, "it's the way people are getting jobs."

What to do: Not only should you fill out every aspect of your profile to strengthen your credibility by providing details about your experience, education and expertise, but you should scroll through your connections' contacts for people who work at companies you admire, and actively reach out to them.

"If you discover someone on LinkedIn with whom you have a second or third degree of connection, and they have your dream career, request to be introduced to them," Green says. "Once you make contact, ask to set up an informational meeting to learn more about their expertise and pick their brain." A professional's perspective also can add to your credibility in your field.

2. Twitter
Why: "I think of Tweeting as micro-blogging, with a potential audience of millions," Green says.

What to do: On the Twitter® network, start by finding and following relevant people in your field, and then Tweet content of interest to your target audience.

"If you want to be respected as an entrepreneur, for instance, don't Tweet about your favorite ice cream flavor," Green says. "Instead, Tweet things that demonstrate your knowledge." This will garner relevant followers among Twitter's 500 million members, who could turn into business partners or lead you to more contacts who might help you in your career.

3. Viadeo
Why: With 45 million members in 226 countries, including the United States, the Viadeo® platform offers the opportunity to network worldwide, which is increasingly important in today's global economy. The Paris-based company plans to further expand internationally using $31.6 million the French government invested in it earlier this year.

What to do: Create a profile that gets you both national and international exposure with a base of professionals with whom you can seek business opportunities. Viadeo also has a portal where users can post their blogs by topic, and the site offers a vast job board.

"As with LinkedIn, seek out professionals working in companies that align with your goals," Green advises. "With a smaller user base, you have more opportunity to connect with higher-level professionals on this site because desirable contacts may not be inundated by requests."

4. Facebook
Why: You may be familiar with the Facebook® site as a way of connecting with friends and family, but - if you do it right - this social sharing network also can be used to give your career a boost. Best of all: You've probably already built a community that includes work-related friends and acquaintances, as well as potential clients or employers, so you won't have to start from scratch.

What to do: Create a professional Facebook page where you only post information and links related to your profession. Facebook has almost 1 billion members, so you'll have the possibility of wide exposure. Green also suggests limiting your separate personal Facebook page to close friends and family by setting your privacy settings so no one else can find you.

5. Blogging
Why: It can cast you as an expert and serve to expand your resumé.

What to do: Write how-to articles about different aspects of your work and post them on your blog. If you're a CPA, for example, you could explain new elements of the tax law. "Blogging," Green says, "can demonstrate to the business community that you know what you're doing and have the expertise to succeed in your field." For more exposure, link your blog to your Twitter profile and your LinkedIn and Viadeo accounts.

LinkedIn is a registered trademark of LinkedIn Corp.
Twitter and Tweet are registered trademarks of Twitter Inc.
Viadeo is a registered trademark of The Viadeo Group.
Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc.

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How Does Pawning Work – How to Pawn Something – Good Housekeeping

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How Does Pawning Work - How to Pawn Something - Good Housekeeping.

The old practice of hocking personal belongings to get cash fast — a.k.a. pawning — is on the uptick, no doubt due to the hot reality show Pawn Stars, which documents the doings at a Las Vegas shop. But that series usually focuses on rare finds that are sold for a flat fee, not pawned. The real heart of pawning is short-term "safety net" loans for more ordinary items. Here's how it usually works (no matter what The Old Man might do on TV): You bring in your item, the pawnbroker makes an offer, and then — after some negotiation — he gives you cash. 

Read more: How Does Pawning Work - How to Pawn Something - Good Housekeeping 


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How to Deal with Difficult Coworkers

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dv1080014No matter how lovely most of your coworkers are, there are always a few personality types that tend to bring down office morale. But you don’t have to let Mrs. Stress-y Pants or The “No” Man make your nine-to-five life miserable. Below, our experts’ tips on how to deal with the most annoying workplace dispositions in order to have a less stressful work day.

The Spotlight Stealer
You’re right in the middle of announcing to the team that you scored a new client when The Spotlight Stealer brings the attention of the group where she prefers it: back on her. When she interrupts your big news with her own, simply keep calm and continue with what you were saying after she runs out of steam, suggests Samantha DiGennaro, founder of DiGennaro Communications, a strategic public relations agency specializing in business communications. You can also lead by example by commending the entire team—“Client X signed on with our group”—instead of taking all the credit with a first-person statement, such as “I wrangled Client X into signing on.” Lastly, it can help to encourage the non-self-promoters to speak up, so The Spotlight Stealer doesn’t get to play “the hero” every time.

The Office Lingerer
As much as you appreciate your company’s open-door policy, when The Office Lingerer stops by to ask a question, then settles in and starts telling you all about his day, it’s so frustrating you wish you could put a lock on your door. New York City-based Executive Recruiter Patricia H. Lenkov asks what’s on all of our minds: “How is it that he has so much free time on his hands?!” Regardless of how he spends his time, make it clear that yours is precious. As soon as he swings by, announce a “hard stop”: “What’s up, Sam? I have a call in five minutes.” Before he gets too comfy, remind him, “That call is in two minutes, so we need to wrap this up.”

Mrs. Stress-y Pants
For Mrs. Stress-y Pants, everything is a major ordeal: filling out her timesheet, planning a meeting, deciding which restaurant to order lunch from—you name it. Though you can’t control her actions, you can control your reactions, says human resources expert Cy Wakeman, author of Reality-Based Leadership. Ask her calmly whether you can help. If she’s too flustered to accept your assistance, try to explain that she’s making the situation seem more stressful than it is. Wakeman recommends asking her questions, like "What are you believing in this moment?" and "What are the facts?” Hopefully she’ll start to see that the reality of what’s going on isn’t as bad as she’s making it out to be. But, if it seems like you can’t add immediate value to her problem-solving or that she might boil over any minute, simply walk away and move on with your day.

The “No” Man
Forget about adding your two-cents to the conversation, The “No” Man doesn't want to hear your strategy ideas or consider a more modern email platform; if you ask him to do anything outside of the status quo, you already know the answer. Don’t get caught up in his negativity, warns business expert Andrea Nierenberg, president of The Nierenberg Group, a business communications company that aims to improve employee and client relationships. Start conversations by letting him speak first and asking open-ended questions: “Andy, what do you like about our current email platform?” This should start a dialogue in which you can offer an alternative. When he (predictably) bristles at the idea of something new, ask him to come up with a solution, so the conversation becomes about what you can do instead of what you can’t.

Miss No Manners
Maybe you can hear her chewing (or chomping gum or playing music) through the cubicle wall, or perhaps she cooks smelly foods in the office microwave and leaves sloppy leftovers in the shared fridge—whatever workplace etiquette rules you swear by, Miss No Manners is likely to break them. If you’re comfortable speaking up, it’s completely appropriate to ask her to stop her annoying behavior, says Lenkov. However, if you’re not her superior, she may view your request as confrontational. Other options: Speak with the office manager or an office administrator, urges Lenkov, or suggest your superior send an office-wide email reminding everyone to observe and respect the company’s code of conduct.

The Slacker
Though you like to get to the office a little early so you can settle in before all the emails start flooding your inbox, The Slacker always rolls in late, leaves early and takes an extra-long lunch. Unfortunately, this means you get less done because you're constantly waiting for her to be available. Develop a rapport with her, suggests Susan Zeidman, a portfolio manager at American Management Association who is responsible for many of her company’s communications and management training programs. If she only makes herself available on a limited basis, you want to be someone she wants to see. If you’re collaborating on a project, try to come to some agreement about availability without criticizing her. Once you’ve worked out a plan together, share your plan via email with your boss or the rest of your team members so that she’ll be held accountable if deadlines are missed.

The Old Timer
Talk about a generation gap: At first, you found it endearing when The Old Timer called you “doll,” but when he started asking you to send a fax or set-up a meeting—even though you're not his subordinate—you grew tired of his Mad Men-esque ways. Determine why his behavior bothers you, says Michelle Tillis Lederman, author of The 11 Laws of Likability. Is using nicknames (albeit borderline-insulting ones) part of the office culture? How would he react if you said, “Sure, sweet-cheeks. I’ll fax this if you grab my coffee”? Sometimes it’s easier to overlook ignorance when there’s no evil intent behind it. However, if he is trying to “put you in your place,” stand your ground. Instead of doing his grunt work, offer to show him how it’s done so he can do it himself next time.

The Finger Pointer 
Whether a deadline’s been missed or a job’s been botched, The Finger Pointer is the first to announce exactly who’s to blame: anyone but her. For this personality type, communication is key, says Drew Stevens, who works with senior officers and managers to accelerate workplace productivity. Having a collaborative culture is good, but when you start a project, be very clear from the get-go about who’s responsible for what. Decide as a group who will tackle each task, then circulate an email that clearly outlines what’s expected of each group member, remembering to CC your boss. This way, should something go awry, everyone will know who is at fault.

Read more: How to Deal with Difficult Coworkers - Work Etiquette - Woman's Day


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Smart tactics for extending credit to customers

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Develop a credit strategy that will enhance your business’s financial health, while making it easier for the businesses that purchase your goods and services.

 

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Business Spotlight

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