How To Avoid Summer Burnout

Summer is coming – here’s how to avoid getting “burnt out”.

 

Summers are hard for a lot of businesses. Business slows down and the calls of the beach and BBQs make it mentally difficult to stay inside and focus on growing your business. Even though you love your business and want to see it grow, you can start to feel a little burnt out and less productive than you should be. We’ve all been there! Here are some tips to help avoid that summer burnout, so you can enjoy your business and the nice weather.

 

Put more focus on the things you value: Go grab a pen and paper and write down everything that you did last week. How many times you tweeted, wrote an article, time spent on emails, etc. Then cross off everything that you did that didn’t provide value to your business. By doing that you’re likely to find that you waste a lot of hours doing work that you don’t really have to do, stuff you just picked up along the way. Use the summer months to rid yourself of these “extra: tasks to help you re-focus your effort on the things that do provide to your business.

 

Revamp your business: It’s not the amount of work that causes us to feel burnt out; it’s the type of work.  When you’re working smart and being innovative, you feel like you can go all night. Your body isn’t tired, your mind is. Take the summer to jump-start things and get a little daring. Doing so will help you come up with exciting new marketing plays for your business and it will also help you mentally reinvest in what you’re doing.

 

Re-adjust expectations: Our lives tend to get a little busier in the summer. If you’re starting to feel a little burnt out trying to squeeze in the same amount of work in a shortened amount of time, it may be time to readjust your expectations. Shorten your “To Do” list and allow yourself some extra slack. Your sanity will thank you later. So will your children.

 

Treat yourself: Put the fire back into your business by taking some time to invest in it and in yourself. The summer months are often chock-filled with networking opportunities. There’s an increased number of conferences, seminars, webinars and networking events – take advantage of them. However, you decide to do it, the best way to feel inspired is to arm yourself with new information and techniques for growing your business.

 

It’s okay to feel a little less excited about working during the summer months. However, by changing things up a bit, realigning your expectations and finding new ways to fuel your flames, you’ll find that this summer may be the most exciting one you have yet.

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Fraud Protection For Small Business

Fraud Management Tools for Every Small Business

 

If you’re a small business owner that accepts payments, both in-person and online, protecting your customer’s sensitive data is crucial. It not only saves you money from having to pay for any chargeback fees, but it also builds trust among your customers for future purchases.

 

Even if your business has never experience fraud before, it’s important to know that the threat is there. It’s better to play it safe then lose everything, check out the following fraud management tools that could help your small business.

 

Fraud.net

If your small business already has a fraud management program, this tool can work with it or as a full-service solution on its own. It’s capable of targeting fraudsters, predicting their behaviour and containing data breaches. All of which can save your business from a PR nightmare.

 

Simility

Like Fraud.net, Simility uses machine learning to discover any fraudulent behaviour before anything serious is done. The data is presented in a clear and actionable manner and is very simple to install. It can also be customized for a wide range of industries.

 

Chargeback

This tool integrates with PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net and Shopify and provides insights and reports so that you can make more informed decisions. It will give you a notification when a card has been deceived so that you can take the appropriate actions, like cancelling recurring billing. Also, notifying the customers so that you can resolve any disputes before they escalate.

 

There are plenty of different methods and programs your small business can use to help prevent fraud, even though these tools can help reduce the risk of fraud, you also need to educate your team and customers to be vigilant, learn from other breaches and audit your point-of-sale-systems consistently.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Business Website Checklist

A checklist to help you build a terrific business website

 

The greatest part about being online, it that it technically never closes. With that being said, it’s definitely worth your while to build a website for your small business. If your customer can’t find what they came for or your site is too complex to navigate, you’ve just lost a customer.

 

FAQ

Your frequently asked questions page should be the one-stop shop for any potential questions. Most websites will have an FAQ section, but will often fail to provide a detailed and complete set of answers. Your goal is to get your customer’s questions answered as quickly as possible. The more detailed your FAQ section is, the less work you’ll create for your customer service department.

 

Clear Description of Product and Service Offerings

This may seem like a no-brainer. The truth is, many websites fail to provide a clear description of their products or services offered. They often focus too much on the marketing and sales jargon which may actually turn away prospective buyers. Listing out your products and services clearly will also help boost your overall SEO as well.

 

Meet the Team or About Us Page

People like to do business with people. By providing an ‘About Us’ page that will give your potential customers insight on the faces behind the business and what your purpose is. Your ‘About Us’ page should have the following:

  • How the business was formed and what guides your business philosophy.
  • What your business provides based on your customer’s needs.
  • How your business differentiates from your competition and how you plan to tackle your specific niche.
  • Who are your core team members and include a brief background.

Optimized Payments

If your small business website also serves as an online store, then it’s important that you provide your customers an optimized payment experience. Look to integrate with a payments platform that best fits your small business needs. Payment fees and pricing will vary quite a bit across providers, solely because each business has different payment needs.

Think about what’s required to attract and retain your customers. For starters, implement these four essential items if you haven’t done so already.  Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Startup Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid these mistakes to ensure success for your start-up!

While entrepreneurs focus on the expected and worthwhile rewards of starting a new company, not as many are aware of some potential pitfalls to avoid along the way. When you become aware of what mistakes to avoid, it will help boost the chances that your new business will succeed.

 

Don’t Choose a Partner with Nothing Different to Offer

When creating a start-up, sometimes you can’t just pick your best friend who you have everything in common with. It carries a number of important advantages and it’s critical that your partner brings something different to the start-up from your skill set.  As you build new business parent relationships, make sure each partner you bring on brings his or her own unique offering. This will allow you to combine all skill sets into one plan of action that increases your company’s revenue and growth.

 

Lack of a Marketing Strategy

Everything is constantly changing, that is even more true when it comes to marketing tools and strategies. You can’t just have the right marketing strategy; you must also know how to deliver it effectively in today’s technology-based world.  You always want to deliver an impactful message.

 

It’s Not Just About the Money

A hefty paycheck can motivate anyone. But your work should be more than just for the paycheck. If you sincerely enjoy the work you perform through your start-up, you’ll care that much more about seeing it succeed.

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

Of course, there are mistakes you should always avoid, but being afraid of making any mistakes at all can hurt your company more than help it. You may never achieve your goals if you’re too afraid to take any steps toward reaching them.  Always analyze major decisions, but don’t over analyze.  Accept that there will be some risk involved in forming and growing a start-up.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

How to Get Cheap Office Space

Shared work-spaces are a terrific way to ensure your start-up is positioned for success!


If you’re company is just getting started, you know there are a lot of costs.  One of the most significant costs is commercial office space.  Aside from the space itself, there are often furniture, utility and general maintenance costs related to a commercial workspace which your business may not be ready to support.  As a result co-working office spaces are a growing trend which many start-ups are embracing.

Co-working office spaces are a relatively new concept meant to ensure innovative and collaborative workspaces, without the prohibitive costs many entrepreneurs face when searching for commercial office space. More and more freelancers and small businesses are transitioning out of the isolated home office environment towards collaborative workspaces geared to raise their business to a higher level.

In the Greater Toronto Area, examples of this sort of a space include Acme Works, WorkHaus, and IQ Office Suites.  Each of them affords access to terrific workspaces at very affordable prices.  In the Calgary Area Commons Calgary,  Work Nicer, and The Collective 12 are highly rated options for co-working office spaces. If you’re operating in the Vancouver area L’Atelier Vancouver is a 5 star rated establishment for setting up your business.  Alternate options are HiVe and The Network Hub.

Co-working office spaces serve as a hub of activity dedicated to independents at a fraction of the cost of a standard office space. Often, spaces may be rented by the hour, month, or any interval in-between. Such spaces provide a real alternative to buying or renting office space on your own. Furthermore, as a member of the co-working office space you gain access to various amenities such as conference rooms, reception service, shared fax, kitchen and beverages such as tea or coffee to fuel your team.

While you may be keen to establish your team and your company culture in your own space, the co-working office space is a great way to save a significant amount on rent which you can then use to rapidly grow your business and succeed!

 

Avoid Pitfalls of Working From Home

Local coffee shops or shared offices make great work-spaces too!

You started your own business. You started it because you had a passion for what you were doing and a belief that you would be more successful on your own rather than working for someone else. But that was a few years ago. Or maybe it was a couple of months ago. Either way, your passion, your excitement and your energy is slowly waning, and the warm weather is only making it worse. How do you get it back?

 

Well, if you’ve been working from home this entire time, it may be time to get out. At least a few times a week. If you’re running a home office and the warmer weather is making you feel a little stifled, below are four reasons why you may want to co-work – either from your local coffee shop or at a more formal co-working space.

 

Boost Productivity: No, it’s not in your head. People are more productive when they work in a coffee shop, they provide no “work hours” pressure, just enough distractions and to a lot of people, work doesn’t seem like work when you’re out of the office. When you’re working in a public space, there’s the (needed) pressure of looking like you’re doing something. At home, you can watch TV or spend time on Facebook. But when surrounded by other productive people, you become more productive as well.

 

Get New Ideas: When you force yourself out of your home, you expose yourself to new ideas. Meeting new people, seeing new things, having new experiences. All of this will affect your view of the market, your company and how you relate to other people. Changing your environment is a good way to free up your mental bottleneck and start seeing things in a new light.

 

Build a Social Network: Whether you’re a one-person shop or even a three-four-person shop, it can sometimes be hard to build social ties you need to effectively grow your business. Working in a co-working space, whether formal or informal, can make this process easier by naturally putting you around people who can help you when needed. You build your network by placing yourself around qualified people and learning how others work.

 

Find a Balance: Some small business owners do a great job at setting realistic hours and expectations for themselves. However, some aren’t so good at this and end up working on their SMB for 12 hours straight, 7 days a week, and begin to think that’s a “normal” routine. It’s not. It’s also not healthy – to you or your business. Getting out and working in a co-working environment can give you the physical separation between work and home that so many business owners lack –  to the detriment of your health, personal relationships, and, yes, even the success of your business.

 

So get out and recharge yourself! Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

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