5 Productivity Tips for a Better Work Day

Are you getting the most out of your work day? Some days it might seem like there is more on your to-do list than could possibly be done in one day. Before you start working longer hours, make sure that you are making the most out of your time. Follow these simple strategies for a more productive work day.

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1. Don’t Multitask. Having the ability to multitask is a highly sought after skill in most workplaces. While there may be times when you will have to multitask, avoid doing it when you can. Studies have shown that attempting to focus on 2 or more tasks at a time actually wastes more time. Focus on one task and give it all your energy before moving on to the next, and you will find that you can get much more done.

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2. Don’t Try to be Perfect. Let’s face it, we all want to be perfect at everything we do. However, that is an unattainable goal. We are only human and can’t work at 100% all the time. Holding yourself to unreasonable standards will only increase your anxiety and decrease your productivity. Set your sights to doing each task as well as you possibly can in that moment, and come back to it later if needed.

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Apps for Small Business

If you’re a small business owner, more than likely, your work day doesn’t end when you leave the office. You’re always on the go, monitoring your business and ensuring its success through hard work and dedication. Are you using all the tools available to you to help you achieve your goals? Check out this list of apps to help your business run smoother and increase your productivity and profits, right from your phone!

Pocket

This app is a great visual way to save content relevant to your industry for later reading. Use it to save articles, videos, and images. You can even tag your content for easier search and organization. Pocket is available for desktop, iOS, and Android.

TrackingTime

Time is money, so tracking your time is essential when running a small business. This productivity app allows you to set up tasks and keep your team on track. TrackingTime also has its own analytics so that you can easily measure the success of your time management and make adjustments to your workflow accordingly. Continue reading

Fall Marketing Ideas

As summer comes to a close, keep the momentum going at your business with fresh marketing ideas for fall.

Celebrate the Holidays. With Halloween and Thanksgiving around the corner, there are plenty of opportunities to offer special savings and events for your business. Take advantage of lesser known holidays, or even create your own holiday centered around your products or services.

Run a Contest. Get your customers talking by hosting a contest. For example, if you have a landscaping business, host a “Best Garden” photo contest and offer your services as a prize. This is a great way to get exposure for your business.

Local Festivals. Fall is a popular time for festivals. Get involved in a local festival by sponsoring or even setting up a booth for your business. This is a great way to educate the public about your business and meet new potential customers. Continue reading

5 Ways to Help Your Business Grow This Spring

Spring is a time of growth, and that growth shouldn’t be limited to just plants. Take this time of awakening and renewal as a perfect opportunity to grow and expand your business! Here are some ways in which you can expand and move forward.

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Open Another Location. If you’re looking to reach more customers and provide more services to your community, and your current location just can’t keep up, it may be time to plan on opening another location. If you don’t have the means to start up another brick and mortar location, perhaps consider opening an online store? You’ll get the benefit of a second location without all the extra overhead and time required to do so.

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Up Your Advertising. Have you exhausted all your advertising opportunities? Chances are there’s something you may have missed. Advertising isn’t just a one time thing, it should be a constant effort on the part of your business. Advertising is more successful when utilized with multiple channels and avenues. The advertising medium you choose is up to you, and the needs of your business. If you need print, classified, or online advertising, look no further than The Guide. Click here for more information.

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Simplify. Sometimes, in order to grow, you must cut away the weeds that are holding you back. Do an audit of your company and how operations are running. Are there any areas that are stunting the growth of your business? If something is no longer selling or profiting your business, then it’s time to let it go and make way for another opportunity to take its place.

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Hire More People. If you’re stretched too thin at your business, it could be time to hire new members for your team. Each individual you hire will bring a unique approach and perspective to your business. Having more employees also lightens the workload for existing employees and allows your business to explore more opportunities.

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Special Offers. To drive sales and get new leads, offer specials and promotions. You can gain new customers, as well as reward and motivate your current customers to buy. Your offers can be as big or as small as you want them to be. Anything from coupons and sales to giveaways and referral programs can make a big difference to your success this spring. Try using upcoming holidays and events in your area to tie into your promotions. Whatever you offer, just be sure that it ties into your business and what unique service you offer.

Has your business recently expanded? Offer any advice you have in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

Spring Cleaning Strategies For the Office

When spring arrives, many of us turn our attention to spring cleaning. We focus on our home, yard, and vehicles, but what about the office? According to the American Time Use Survey, the average American spends 8.9 hours working. Shouldn’t spring cleaning also apply to the one place we spend the majority of our waking hours? Make your workplace an integral part of your spring cleaning plans. If you think you are just too busy to tackle an office spring cleaning, try to just tackle one task a day, or enlist the help of your coworkers. Utilize any downtime you have to tackle your office spring cleaning head-on.

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Before you can get any cleaning done, you’ll want to focus on cutting back on clutter. Go through your desk and drawers and take inventory of what you use on a daily basis. If it’s not essential to your daily operations, then maybe it’s time to let it go. Separate your essential and non-essential desktop items to help you decide what gets the boot. If you’ve been drowning in paperwork all winter, then this might be a good time to evaluate your filing system. Don’t forget your digital desktop, either! Delete any  digital files you no longer need and do a backup of your hard drive. Take a few minutes to go through your email inbox and delete any messages you no longer need. Whether physical or virtual, getting rid of clutter will help maximize the productivity of your workspace.

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Once you have the clutter under control, it’s time to tackle those dust bunnies. Start first with areas that are seen by clients and customers. This includes dusting, sweeping, polishing, and vacuuming.  Be sure to remember the windows! When that spring sun shines through, you’ll be able to see every bit of dirt and grime, so be thorough. At your desk, disinfect anything your hands constantly come in contact with, including your keyboard, mouse, and phone. Make certain to clean computers and tablets only with products approved by the manufacturer to avoid damaging your devices. Often, a few swipes with a microfiber cloth is all you need to clean a screen. As soon as you get a warm enough day, crack open your windows and let nature assist in clearing out the stuffy air in your office. Your newly cleaned office will promote the health and well being of everyone who works and visits there.

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If your office needs livening up after the gray cold of winter, purchase a few indoor plants and bring the beautiful colors of spring inside. A recent study shows that an office with plants increases productivity by up to 15%. In addition to increasing productivity and brightening your office, many indoor plants also improve air quality and help control humidity levels. If you’re looking for a plant that will brighten up your office and help clarify the air, try any of the following plants:

• Chrysanthemum

• Azalea

• Bamboo Palm

• Peace Lily

• Ficus

• Gerbera Daisy

• English Ivy

• Aloe

• Spider Plant

A little organization and cleaning (and maybe a new plant!) might be all you need to get your office ready for spring. How does your office prepare for the spring season? If you have any tips or cleaning methods for the office, leave a comment below to share!

Increase Sales During the Winter

The birds are migrating, snowflakes are falling, and many businesses are feeling the January slump. Don’t wait for business to pick back up, be proactive! Smart business owners know that marketing happens 365 days a year. The earth may be hibernating, but your sales shouldn’t! There are many ways to increase your sales during the winter months.

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Online Advertising. These days, everyone is online. And your business should be too. In addition to having a solid, quality website, you should also be utilizing online advertising to drive traffic to your site and your business. But the prospect of advertising online can seem daunting at first. There’s a world of options available and so many variables. But this shouldn’t stop you from putting your business out there. Do a little research and figure out what outlet is best for your business. If you need help getting started, consider online advertising with The Guide. Click here for more info.

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Advertising for Small Businesses – It is a MUST

Here at The Guide, we know advertising. We’ve been around since 1959, and we’re not going anywhere. So take our word for it….If you own a small business, advertising should be up there on your list of top priorities. After all, if your potential customers don’t know you exist, how are you going to get them to walk through your door? The answer is simple: advertise your business! You don’t have to spend a fortune. The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7-8% of your gross earnings on advertising for businesses with earnings less than $5 million.

So how should you go about advertising your business? The possibilities are endless, all with varying price ranges, and it may seem daunting at first when trying to choose the method best for you. But some popular avenues include:

Print Advertising

While print advertising has declined some over the years in the wake of digital advertising, it is still worth investing in. For many, there is still no replacing the feeling of picking up a paper and thumbing through the pages. If your target audience is in the local area of your small business, then print advertising should definitely be a route you consider. The Guide offers both Classified and Display advertising, with ad sizes and prices to suit all business budgets. If you’re trying to reach Delmarva, you can’t pick a better outlet than The Guide. Click here for more information on how to get started advertising in The Guide.

Besides advertising in a local paper or circular, other options include business cards, brochures, direct mail, flyers, newsletters, post cards, and many other forms of print media that can be utilized to get the word out about your business. Snail mail is still prevalent, even if sometimes it seems like all you ever get is bills. Be sure to design a piece of direct mail that will hold the recipient’s attention. Sussex Printing Corp. and our team of skilled graphic designers can help with that. Visit http://www.sussexprinting.com for samples and get a free quote.

Online Advertising

In 2015, 84% of U.S. homes have computers and 64% of adults own a smartphone (according to the Pew Research Center). That is a lot of potential customers in front of a screen looking for what your business has to offer. Of course, having your own website is essential for any business, small or otherwise. There are many channels available for online advertising, some popular options being search engine optimization, social media, and email marketing. If you find that you don’t know where to start, The Guide can help! We offer online advertising catered to local businesses on our website. Click here for more information.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla Marketing is all about thinking outside the box, and these options are often low budget and highly effective. Some examples of Guerrilla Marketing include sidewalk art, 3D artwork, and advertising on cars or buses. You’re only limited by your creativity.

Example of Guerrilla Marketing from Nike

Another example of Guerrilla Marketing

Other advertising options to consider are television, radio, billboards and signage, product placement, sponsorship, and distributing product samples. Ultimately, as a small business owner you know your business better than anyone. A lot of advertising is experimenting and finding what works best for you.

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