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50 Ways Happier, Healthier, And More Successful People Live On Their Own Terms

Posted By Gabriel Salcido, Arizona Small Business Association, Tuesday, January 5, 2016
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Year-End HR Planning: 7 Areas Needing Your Focus

Posted By Margaret Jacoby SPHR, MJ Management Solutions, Inc., Wednesday, December 30, 2015

year end HR planningThe end of a year brings with it an opportunity to evaluate successes and challenges, both personal and professional. As you celebrate the holidays and anticipate the start of 2016, remember the importance of year-end planning within your business.

Year-End HR Review

One of the most crucial aspects of your year-end HR planning is policy review. And the best place to begin a comprehensive review of your policies? Your employee handbook. When it comes to HR solutions for small businesses, this one document contains everything needed to effectively manage employees and handle day-to-day responsibilities.

Many business owners and managers become overwhelmed at the thought of reviewing their human resources hiring processes and everything contained within the pages of the all-powerful handbook. And rightly so—that’s a lot of information! But this review is vital to your ongoing success and to ensuring your company remains in compliance with increasingly aggressive employment laws.


Don't have an employee handbook? We can help you start the New Year right by developing a customized handbook for your business—just contact us.


Fortunately for you, we’ve broken down the employee handbook into the most important sections to review. Here are the seven sections, along with things to remember about each.

  1. Background Check Policies. Many employers use criminal and credit checks to help determine if a candidate is the right fit for their company. When making your decision, be careful that these checks don’t have a negative impact on certain groups of people. For example, if someone has been convicted of a crime, consider the type of crime and whether it affects this person’s ability to perform the job.
  2. Application Forms. Your new hire packet should include a comprehensive employee application form that gives you all the information needed to make your decision, without putting you at risk for a discrimination law suit.
  3. I-9 Forms. Employers in all states are required by the federal government to verify and record employment eligibility of all workers using this form. New versions are released periodically, so it’s important to make sure yours is the most current.
  4. Classification of Workers. There are two things to consider under this category: exemption status and employment status.
    • Exemption status. The law requires that employees not only receive at least minimum wage, but that they also receive additional compensation for any hours worked beyond 40 each week. Certain job positions are classified as exempt from these requirements, meaning they aren’t guaranteed overtime pay. The federal law is a bit complex and individual states may have additional regulations, so consider speaking to an HR expert while reviewing this part of your handbook.
    • Employment status. Some employers choose to work with independent contractors in order to avoid certain obligations. However, the guidelines for classifying independent contractors are stringent, and you may have workers who fall under the classification of "employee.” This could lead to legal repercussions, since these workers who are being treated as independent contractors may not be receiving everything the law requires.
  5. Pay Practices. While it’s expected that varying positions earn varying salaries, government employment agencies strive to promote pay equity. This means that similar positions should receive similar pay, regardless of race or gender. Conduct a self-audit of your pay practices and begin working on those areas that don’t reflect equity.
  6. Social Media Policies. Many companies have begun laying out specific "dos and don’ts” for employees’ interactions on social media. However, some social media communication regarding terms and conditions of employment is protected under the National Labor Relations Act. Make sure the language of your policy makes it clear that you do not prohibit these types of communication.
  7. Medical Leave Policies. When reviewing these policies, you want to make sure they don’t call for the termination of employees who have been on leave for a specific amount of time. Instead, communicate that the employer and employee will engage in a discussion of reasonable accommodations (interactive process) or extension of the leave of absence before the employee is terminated.

Making Year-End Planning Simple

When you’re ready to start your policy review in preparation for the new year, reach out to MJ Management Solutions, Inc. We have the HR solutions you need to manage the administration of human resources in your business and ensure a successful start to 2016.

Margaret Jacoby, SPHR, is the founder and president of MJ Management Solutions, a human resources consulting firm that provides small businesses with a wide range of virtual and onsite HR solutions to meet their immediate and long-term needs. From ensuring legal compliance to writing customized employee handbooks to conducting sexual harassment training, businesses depend on our expertise and cost-effective human resources services to help them thrive.

Let’s connect: LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Google+



Tags:  entrepreneur  hiring  small business  small business hiring 

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SBA Taking Nominations for National Small Business Week

Posted By Ashley Vizzerra, Arizona Small Business Association, Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Since 1963, National Small Business Week has recognized the outstanding achievements of America's small business for their contributions to their local communities, and to our nation's economy.  Please use the dedicated website that provides criteria and guidelines for submitting a nomination.

The deadline for nominations is January 11, 2016 3:00pm ET. 


We are looking for a diverse group of small businesses for the National Small Business Week awards in the following categories:

  • Small Business Person of the Year Award
  • Small Business Exporter of the Year
  • Phoenix Award for Small Business Disaster Recovery
  • Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery
  • Federal Procurement Award - Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year Award
  • Federal Procurement Award - Small Business Subcontractor of the Year Award
  • Federal Procurement Award - Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence
  • 8(a) Graduate of the Year Award
  • Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award
  • Veterans Business Outreach Center Excellence in Service Award
  • Women's Business Center of Excellence Award
  • Jody C. Raskind Lender of the Year
  • Small Business Investment Company of the Year

Original content submitted by U.S. Small Business Administration

Tags:  arizona  entrepreneur  small business 

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10 Ways to Minimize Business Risk

Posted By Mary Juetten, Traklight, Wednesday, August 5, 2015

It’s easy for entrepreneurs to become overwhelmed by the inordinate number of things that they have to do in a given day. It’s hard to find time for the little things, especially when you want to jump right in to big-picture tasks like product development or selling what you’ve created on the market. Often times, the seemingly minor details are best left to another day, as you tell yourself you’ll handle them once you have things under control. But these seemingly minor details, if left unattended, can pose a serious risk that could undermine your work in other areas. Here are the first five of ten ways you can address those risks before they overwhelm your business.

Form A Business Entity

Starting a business without having first created a business entity is putting the cart before the horse. Having a business entity will allow you to separate your personal assets from what you’re spending or earning from your business.  It’s critical to build a wall if someone comes after you legally. Establishing a business entity is a fairly simple and straightforward process, and will save you the hassle of having to untangle a mess of receipts come tax time.

Assign Intellectual Property Rights to Your Business

There are business owners that think they can do it themselves when it comes to filing for legal protections such as patents for their creations. Many end up making mistakes that cost them money and time to market rather than going to an attorney. Patent litigation can be a complicated matter, so there’s nothing wrong with seeking the advice of a professional, especially if it prevents mistakes.

If you have a co-inventor and you’re filing for a patent on your invention, make sure that the patent is assigned to your business rather than an individual. Having a patent held by your business entity will prevent an ownership dispute in the event your partnership breaks up. You wouldn’t want to lose the rights to your work when your former partner makes money from the patent in their name.

Have Co-founder Agreements

Like assigning your patents to your business entity, you need to be prepared should your now-blissful union with your co-founder (or founders) turn sour. Having written agreements signed by every co-founder will make crystal clear the terms of your arrangement and each party’s rights and responsibilities if your partnership dissolves. These agreements should cover things like non-compete and non-disclosure agreements to prevent a disgruntled partner from taking your trade secrets to a competitor.

Understand Employment and Contractor Agreements

Many entrepreneurs start their business as a side project while still working a 9-to-5 as an employee elsewhere. But some companies have language in their employment agreements that stipulate that anything you create while working for the company belongs to them, even if done in your off time. Before you go through the effort to start your own venture, make sure you’ve read your employment agreement to understand what you’re allowed to do.

Conversely, if you’re at the stage of your business where you’re hiring employees or contractors, make sure you have your own agreements that outline things like ownership of work created. While it may seem obvious that you would own any work created by those you’re paying to create it, the law isn’t so cut and dried. Don’t leave ownership rights to chance.

Limit Public Disclosure

There are an ever-growing number of crowdfunding sites and entrepreneurs are increasingly turning to crowdfunding as a way to raise the money necessary to get their products to market. But putting your product or invention on a crowdfunding site with too much detail could qualify as an enabling public disclosure. An enabling public disclosure is giving enough information about your invention that someone in the industry would be able to replicate it. Even worse, putting such information on the internet qualifies as international disclosure, affecting international patent rights, which harms your chances of eventually marketing and selling elsewhere. Before you put your product on a crowdfunding site, make sure you have the necessary legal protections in place.

To learn more about your business risk, visit Traklight.

Tags:  business risk  entrepreneur  Small Business 

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Share Your Experience with New Entrepreneurs

Posted By Rhette Baughman, Arizona Small Business Association, Tuesday, June 16, 2015

 Welcome to Summer! Although its time to relax and enjoy the sun, HustlePHX is preparing for the fall and we are looking for volunteers! We are looking for people tospeak to our entrepreneurs on the topics of business planning, start ups, business law, accounting, and record keeping. These are 20 min talks to describe your personal experience! We are also in need of instructors that are willing to commit one night a week for nine weeks to teach our curriculum to the entrepreneurs! We would be truly honored to have you on our team! Email Taylor Rodriguez to get involved (! 

Last week, Oye was granted the opportunity to speak at the Balle Conference! In 5 minutes Oye fluently shared the heart of HustlePHX and we want to share this with you! Please take a few minutes to get to know the background of HustlePHX. Also, please share this video with your network as you are spreading the word about HustlePHX! 

We are so thankful for you and your involvement with HustlePHX, and we are excited for what the future holds!


Tags:  entrepreneur  hustlePHX  small business  startup 

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Darth Vader’s dirty little secrets not-so-secret about stress – Day 20

Posted By Carine Dieude, Biostress Imagery LLC, Monday, April 20, 2015

April is Stress Awareness Month, and IT IS TIME for you to DEAL WITH your stress. Have you been seduced by the dark side of its force, pushing and pushing your way through deadlines and demands? Learn to recognize the prices you are paying for it and how to positively cope with stress, helping yourself live better.

Throughout April, I will share a daily dirty little secret about stress and a tip to banish it.

Day 20:                                  

How often are you requesting assistance from colleagues or friends? Many people fear requesting help as it is often seen as a deficiency in our ultra competitive world.  However stalling can let any situation grow from a problem to a crisis.

Tip of the day:

In a society based on helping yourself (just look at the self-help section in any library) it may seem odd to say you need to learn better ways to ask and receive assistance. However, stress is created when there is a gap between the demands we perceived is made upon us and our abilities to meet these demands. Getting assistance will shine a new light on your subconscious automatic stress response, shedding away a lot of its power as you come to see the real outcome.


May the Force be with you!


Author: Carine Dieudé, C.Ht., 2014 Top 30 CureJoy Health Experts, Biostress Imagery LLC


PS: If you’ve missed the previous segments, click on the links below


Day 1                          Day 7                          Day 13                       Day 19                      

Day 2                          Day 8                          Day 14

Day 3                          Day 9                          Day 15

Day 4                          Day 10                       Day 16

Day 5                          Day 11                       Day 17

Day 6                          Day 12                       Day 18

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  entrepreneur  professional development  small business  stress management 

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6 Truths About Failure Every Entrepreneur Should Embrace

Posted By Arizona Small Business Association, Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Found on by Peter Gasca

Entrepreneurs do not fear failure.

The typical stereotype we carry about most successful entrepreneurs is that they approach business with the fearless enthusiasm of an extreme sports athlete.

Recently, however, I had the opportunity to meet a successful founder and CEO of a billion-dollar hedge fund, who when asked about his biggest fear stated that he feared failure above all.

Now maybe failure is a valid fear for a hedge fund manager, someone responsible for managing billions of dollars in assets, but I found his reply nonetheless honest and refreshing, especially as an entrepreneur who has long battled with the fear of failure myself.


His comments also validated something I have long believed, that the fear of failure is not something that should be shamed but rather embraced and leveraged as a motivator for success.

Accepting fear is not easy, and indeed it can be a significant obstacle for many when considering the pursuit of new and unfamiliar opportunities. With the right expectations and an understanding of a few truths, however, the fear of failure can be a powerful weapon in your entrepreneurial arsenal.

1. Success can only come from failure.

Much as heartbreak teaches us to better appreciate love, failures set our expectations of success. It is through failure that we come to better understand that everybody’s definition of success is different and will evolve over the course of our careers.

2. Curiosity naturally leads to failures.

Entrepreneurs are by nature curious. We pursue our interests and passions through entrepreneurship because we cannot find the answers we seek through ordinary means of employment or training. This insatiable curiosity often leads us to pursue a number of opportunities, many of which will be ill-advised or against the advice of others.

It is this curious personality that motivates entrepreneurs, after the continuous warnings of others, to touch the handle of the frying pan to see for ourselves that it is hot. It means all entrepreneurs get burned from time to time.

3. Failure is an asset.

Because of their curiosity, one of the biggest regrets entrepreneurs will have is not trying and hence wondering “what if.” This longing for knowledge and answers provides us with the tools to not only understand how to run businesses better, but also what to avoid. As long as we are learning, entrepreneurs become more valuable with each and every failure.


4. Nobody wants you to fail.

While entrepreneurs may fear failure, your stakeholders fear your failure far more. Lenders, vendors and customers all have a vested interest in your success, and working with you through rough times as much as good times means mutual success for everyone.

This relationship requires your mutual respect, however, and being open and transparent about your goals and challenges assures you do not burn bridges with your failures that could ultimately come back to haunt you in the future.

5. Failure should not be confused with quitting.

For many entrepreneurs, the fear of failure is rooted in a fear of being perceived as a quitter. The truth is that if you have poured your energy selflessly into an endeavor, only to walk away after extinguishing all options available to you, you will have earned infinitely more respect than those who have never tried.

6. Each failure gets progressively easier.

Without a doubt, your first entrepreneurial failure will always be the most painful and regretful. Much like heartbreak, however, the process of recovering from failure gets easier with each subsequent failure and each teaches you something new as you evolve as an entrepreneur. While nobody should aspire to fail continually, understanding that you can and will survive only makes you a more effective and confidence entrepreneur.

If fear of failure is a concern of yours and has kept you from pursing your entrepreneurial dreams, feel confident that it is a valid fear and, for the most part, shared by many entrepreneurs. If you embrace it, understand it, and allow it to motivate you, you will find that fear of failure is something that will make you a better entrepreneur.

Tags:  business failure  entrepreneur  small business 

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Trademarks Are The New Steel Toed Boot

Posted By Amie Mendoza, The Law Offices of Amie Mendoza, Tuesday, March 17, 2015

steel toed boots

Lawyers have the most boring business names. Due to my boring business name, I love helping my entrepreneur clients brainstorm names for their new ventures. Picking a name is one of the most exciting things to do on the business start-up checklist.

Trademarking your biz name is like putting on steel toed boots, and neglecting to do so is like wearing flip flops. Sure, flip flops are easier to put on and remind us of the beach. But, the last thing you want is to be bopping along in the bliss of your hard earned biz success when someone with steel toed boots kicks you with a lawsuit worth three times the value of the profits you just earned. You can’t even really run well in flip flops.

This week’s article gives you some tips for how you can make sure you aren’t exposing yourself to unnecessary damage from steel toed boots.

Protecting Your New Business From Trademark Infringement Liability Exposure

Tags:  business  entrepreneur  trademark 

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The 3 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Focus On: The 3 S's

Posted By Bob Wilson, Bob Wilson Solutions, Monday, February 9, 2015

The hardest thing about starting my business wasn't what I expected it to be.

It wasn't changing careers. It wasn't relocating to another state. The hardest thing was de-programming my "employee" mindset.

Once I put my employee mindset is the rearview mirror, I discovered 3 key things every entrepreneur should focus. I call them The 3 S's of Entrepreneurship.

read more

Tags:  employee mindset  entrepreneur  small business  small business strategy 

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Do You Need An MBA To Be A Successful Entrepreneur?

Posted By Arizona Small Business Association, Tuesday, October 21, 2014

When I got my MBA from Northwestern University in 1985, I never planned to be an entrepreneur. My goal was to add to my business skills for my sales support job at IBM. I wanted the additional education credential on my resume, especially since IBM was paying the tuition.  Six years later, I found myself starting my first company and heavily relying on what I had learned in business school.

Here are the skills MBA’s learn that are critical to be a successful entrepreneur:

  1. How to work with a team. One of the best things that my MBA taught me was how to work with a team with diverse skills and backgrounds to accomplish specific goals. There were many times where we could not choose our team, but were forced to collaborate together in imperfect groups. This is good experience for working with a variety of people who may not all have the same objectives and skill levels. Remember that entrepreneurship is never a solo sport.

  2. How to meet impossible deadlines. Students often complained about what they saw as unrealistic deadlines by professors. Later, I realized that these impossible deadlines mimicked what happened in the real world as I had to work long hours to meet customer expectations.

  3. How to network. People do business with people they know, like and trust. Going to MBA school teaches students how to meet other people and determine who they can trust the most. Powerful networks for future work are always built at school.

  4. How to test ideas and their execution without penalty. Students can pretend to start businesses or launch real companies with minimal risk if the company fails. Failing quickly, learning what I can and then taking a new action was a key skill I learned at business school.

  5. How to read financial statements and work with spreadsheets. This is a missing talent that most entrepreneurs never learn and it has a large detrimental effect on their business. Students are forced to analyze balance sheets, profit and lost statements, and cash flow statements within assigned case studies.

  6. How to sell ideas to a team, vendors and customers. Many entrepreneurs only want to develop products and don’t think about how to market, sell and distribute them. They are afraid of these other areas or think they are not responsible for them. Business school emphasizes their critical nature of all these areas and how they represent a key barrier to entry for competitors.

  7. How to develop a plan B (C, D, E and F). Business school taught me that success was not a straight line. Initial solutions failed and back up ideas had to be executed. In the real world, every entrepreneur needs to have multiple contingency plans when products fail and they lose customers or employees.

Did you go to business school? What did you learn that helped you become a successful entrepreneur? What other ongoing training or resources do you utilize?

Source: Forbes

Contributor:  @Aileron_org

Tags:  degree  education  entrepreneur  small business  startup 

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