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    Management Decisions - The Death of the 9-to-5
by Alexandra Levit and Jenna Connour - Apr, 2015
Working flexible hours. Telecommuting. Job sharing. These are all examples of flex schedules, which are becoming increasingly popular for many companies and businesses. In the coming years, as millennials become the predominant age group in the workforce, the traditional 9-to-5 work schedule may soon meet its demise. Instead, flex work schedules are set to become commonplace. To learn more about this topic, Jenna Connour chats...
 
  Are You Prepared for the Proliferation of Paid Sick Time?
by Alexandra Levit - May, 2016
This year is shaping up to be an interesting one for HR compliance. The most buzz, it seems, is occurring around paid sick leave. In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama asked the U.S. Congress to pass national legislation granting American workers the right to paid sick days when they or their family members get sick, or to deal with sexual assault and domestic abuse. Paid sick leave is another benefit that...
 
  Nature or Nurture: Can You Learn Entrepreneurial Skills?
by Alexandra Levit - May, 2016
You’ve probably heard that most businesses fail, but the reasons why are not always clear. Lack of managerial expertise may be one factor. After all, most inexperienced people who get jobs in large corporations aren’t put in charge right away. Rather, they may be given small responsibilities until they have sufficient business acumen to be trusted with larger ones. On the other hand, small-business owners are often overconfide...
 
  How Can You Create A Memorable Brand?
by Alexandra Levit - May, 2016
When we think of brands, we tend to picture the big ones. We forget that a powerful brand can be important to every company and especially small businesses that hang their hats on customer loyalty. According to a recent survey by Rosetta Consulting, engaged customers (those who are strongly attached to a brand) buy 90 percent more frequently, spend 60 percent more per transaction and are five times more likely to indicate i...
 
  Can You Be Too Friendly With Customers?
by Alexandra Levit - May, 2016
By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator, according to a recent Customers 2020 Report. Increasingly, customers of small businesses may be expecting owners to know their individual needs in detail and go out of their way to personalize offerings and the shopping experience. When this is done properly, repeat business can be the result. But what happens when you please the c...
 
  How SMBs Set Financial Direction
by Alexandra Levit - May, 2016
A recent study, The Principal Financial Well-Being Index, found that business owners generally have positive vibes about where they stand financially. Almost half are optimistic about the 2016 economy—and with good reason. Sixty-four percent feel their financials have improved significantly or somewhat from last year, and 74 percent have built a surplus of cash. I asked three small-business owners—Sarah Jacoby, owner of dan...
 
  What Are Your Business Goals
by Alexandra Levit - May, 2016
Small-business activity is on the rise, according to the National Federation of Independent Business’s chief economist William Dunkelberg. Not counting seasonal variations, 55 percent of owners have recently hired or are planning to hire new staff, 23 percent are raising worker compensation, and 11 percent plan to create new jobs. I asked four small-business owners how they are taking their enterprises to the next level thi...
 
  Hadoop: Not a Star Wars Planet, But a Trendy Technology
by Alexandra Levit - May, 2016
As most of you know, I don’t work in IT – I just write about it. I do try to look out for trends, so when I kept seeing this word, Hadoop, popping into my Google Alerts, I thought I’d better pay attention. According to a recent survey from TDWI, overall Hadoop adoption by enterprises is on the rise, with 60 percent of respondents planning on having Hadoop clusters in production by the first quarter of 2016. But what exactly...
 
  Get Better at the 5 Hottest IT Skills in 2016
by Alexandra Levit - May, 2016
Want to be marketable? Consider sharpening these in-demand competencies. Computerworld’s 2016 Forecast study has identified the hottest skills for IT professionals. The top five include IT architecture (42 percent of IT hiring managers seek this skill), application development (40 percent), project management (39 percent), big data (36 percent), and business intelligence/analytics (34 percent). And business intelligence and...
 
  Millennial Midmarket CIO's View of Digital Transformation
by Alexandra Levit - Apr, 2016
In 2016, millennial IT professionals aren’t working in back offices. Increasingly, they are finding themselves in the CIO role. I chatted with IDC’s Christopher Chute, who is vice president of the SMB Cloud and Mobility Practice, about his recent study assessing how millennial CIOs are investing in digital transformation. Here’s a recap of our conversation. Chris, what does digital transformation mean to millennial CIOs? Cl...
 
  How the 52/17 Model Can Revolutionize Your Productivity
by Alexandra Levit - Apr, 2016
Over five years ago, I wrote one of my first posts for the Fast Track blog. The article was about how I was able to hold down four paid jobs in addition to raising a toddler. Fast forward to today, when I am working on at least a dozen paid jobs and am responsible for an additional child. I’m still using the same system, and it’s still working. One of the things I mentioned in the article is how I leave two hours per day fo...
 
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