When to Fire a Customer or Client

CustomerAt some point in the lifecycle of any small business, you’ll have to fire a customer or client. While it seems completely counterproductive to positive cash flow and business growth, there are times when ending a client or customer relationship is necessary.

In a recent post on OpenForum.com, James O’ Brien, author of The Indie Writer’s Survival Guide, explains when it’s appropriate to terminate a client or customer relationship for the best interest of your business.

“Owning a small business doesn’t mean continually trying to serve someone who’s shown they can’t be pleased. And that old business slogan — the customer is always right — well, that’s only accurate some of the time.”

Here are three typical situations that signal it’s time to fire a customer or client and say “no.”

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Four Habits of Punctual People

punctual peopleTight deadlines, a daily planner full of meetings, and little wiggle room in your schedule. Sound familiar?

If you’re like most business leaders, your days are scheduled, and filled with status updates, new business meetings, planning sessions, and internal discussions on a variety of topics. There is not a minute to waste. You value punctuality in yourself, and in your team, so it can be frustrating when someone shows up late.

In a recent Fast Company post, contributor Stephanie Vozza talks with Diana DeLonzor, author of Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged, about four traits the chronically punctual share.

According to DeLonzer, “repetitive lateness is more often related to personality characteristics such as anxiety or a penchant for thrill-seeking. Most chronically late people truly dislike being late, but it’s a surprisingly difficult habit to overcome.”

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Internship Programs: Create One That Works

internship programsAs organizations grow and new generations of workers enter the business world, there is once again attention on internship programs – programs that provide value for both the intern and the businesses that welcome them in.

Publisher Conde Nast ended their internship programs this past October following a class-action lawsuit brought by two former interns who claimed they were paid less than $1 per hour.

In a recent post for Entrepreneur, Nina Zipkin outlines three strategies (with input from key business leaders) for building successful internship programs that interns, first-time employees, and business owners will find beneficial.

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Leadership Skills: Help Others Find Meaning

Leadership SkillsThere are countless books on leadership skills and business, offering suggestions and strategies about how to engage, excite, and retain employees. While culture and opportunities for growth are important in talent recruitment and retention, doing meaningful work is a powerful motivator.

In a recent Forbes post, senior affiliate professor of leadership and organizational behavior Schon Beechler argues that important leadership skills include helping others find meaning in their work.

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How to Make Good Decisions as a Team

good decisionsThe best business decisions are often made with input from others, but even the best leaders sometimes struggle with making good decisions in a team environment.

Les McKeown, president and CEO of Predictable Success and a frequent Inc.com contributor, discusses how to be more successful in team-based decision making in a recent post.

Teams that operate at a high level do three things very well that ensures they keep making decisions efficiently and confidently.

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Eight Self-Limiting Behaviors Successful People Avoid

Successful PeopleIn leadership and business, success can be influenced by what you don’t do, as much as it is by what you do.

In a recent Forbes post, author of Breakdown, Breakthrough Kathy Caprino examines eight self-limiting behaviors that successful employees and leaders avoid.

1. Engaging in “below the line” thinking: “Below the line” thinking shapes the way business leaders approach challenges. It’s the blame game, pointing to outside circumstances — a flat economy, your industry, your work environment — as being responsible for lack of professional growth and stagnating business.

Caprino notes that while challenges come to every leader, those that practice “above the line thinking” will weather them more easily because they recognize “[sic]they are accountable for life and career, and have what it takes to navigate through challenges successfully.”

2. Mistaking wishful thinking for action: The most successful professionals understand that the outcomes they are pursuing are rooted in current activities.

“It’s critical to take bold action towards your vision, in order to create success.”

Business and personal goals will remained unmet and unfulfilled without meaningful and deliberate action.

3. Remaining powerless and speechless: By advocating for themselves, successful people communicate their value and make sure that others in their organization know it.

They view themselves as in control of their own direction, tackle challenges directly, and seek out solutions.

4. Not investing in themselves: It’s one thing to feel thwarted by circumstances and quite another to do something about it, says Caprino.

“Successful people spend money, time and effort on their own growth because they know it will pay off.”

5. Resisting change: Change is inevitable and it can be uncomfortable, but a willingness to adapt and embrace the trends of their industry sets successful people apart from the crowd.

“Those who are unsuccessful bemoan what is appearing before them and stay stuck in the past or in what they ‘expected’”.

6. Honoring other people’s priorities over their own: Setting boundaries and expectations about the importance of their priorities, values, and mission over those of their peers and colleagues, keeps successful people focused on meeting the goals they have firmly set.

“To do this, they are very clear about their top priorities in life and work, and won’t be waylaid by the priorities and values of others.”

7. Doubting their instincts: Caprino notes that successful professional believe in themselves without fail, even when they “acknowledge they have ‘power gaps’ or blind spots, and areas that need deep development.”

Confidence in ability and vision keeps the best leaders focused on continually improving processes, coaching styles, and work habits. When they do stumble, they recognize the lesson and move on.

8. Searching for the easy answers: Success is directly proportional to the effort applied in pursuing it, says Caprino.

It might sound clichéd, but success doesn’t come easy for anyone. It’s the result of hard work, a clear vision, and not allowing others to distract and derail.

What behaviors do you avoid to be more successful?

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Six Things Really Productive People Do

productiveAs business owners survey their organizations, they’ll likely notice their productive people – those employees expert at accomplishing lengthy task lists without breaking a sweat.

In a recent Inc.com post, contributor Kevin Daum shares six tips for being more productive each day, based on his observations into the lives of extremely productive people.

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Three Smart Ways to Use Big Data in 2014

Big DataThe key to making better financial and business growth decisions comes from access to data, and the ability to extract meaning insights from that data. For many business owners, big data can be expensive and overwhelming.

In a recent post for Open Forum, Rohit Bhargava shares his perspectives on how small business owners and leaders, using publicly available information, can make more effective use of big data to help power business decisions in the new year.

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Three Ways to Be More Productive

ProductiveWe all want to be more productive in our daily lives — accomplishing more in less time, completing major projects without getting overwhelmed by the size or scope, and simply being more efficient.

Jason Womack, productivity trainer and author of Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More, examines three factors that can make or break your productivity in a recent Entrepreneur post.

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Authentic Leadership and Doing GOOD

LeadershipMore and more businesses and brands are focusing on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and executing social good campaigns.

Socially conscious consumers and employees are seeking out companies that share their values, and have a greater mission beyond the products and services they provide.

In an interview with Forbes, director of partnerships and strategy for GOOD/CORPS Grant Garrison, shares his perspective on the rise of social good campaigns, why authentic leadership is so important, and the four vital components to authentic leadership.

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