Ongoing Learning for Future Success: Why Education in the Workplace Matters

Woman looks upYou know the old adage “the day you stop learning is the day you die”?  We live and work by that ideology here at, and we’re not alone.  As reported in Forbes,  Bersin by Deloitte’s 2014 Corporate Learning Factbook analysis of the U.S. training market showed  spending on corporate training grew by 15% last year to over $70 billion. The highest growth rate in over seven years.

Why are companies spending time and money investing in employee education? Josh Bersin shared in the Forbes article: “not only do more than 70% of organizations cite ‘capability gaps’ as one of their top five challenges, but many companies also tell us that it takes 3-5 years to take a seasoned professional and make them fully productive.”

Similarly, brands from Starbucks to utilities companies, are tapping programs like Customer Experience Training to better train their staff’s and in turn create a better customer experience. Educating employees not only makes your team better at their jobs, but can directly affect your bottom line.     Read the full entry

The New Naming: Outrageous Job Titles

HiResWhat’s in a name? As Juliet stated in William Shakespeare’s inimitable tragic poem, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” reasoning that a name is irrelevant to function. Over the past few years, the professional world has taken this notion to heart by throwing out traditional job titles in favor of creative, imaginative, and sometimes, downright ridiculous monikers.

While the tech industry and marketing folk have adopted this new professional naming style, others are not as keen to jump on the bandwagon. Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of revolutionary recycling company TerraCycle, reasons that a specialized “title gives [employees] a feeling of importance; it suggests that the company is acknowledging their expertise and effort.”

But that same title might prove to be an issue later down the line when interviewing, argues recruiting firm Coburg Banks: “with the average CV looked at by a recruiter for no longer than 10 – 20 seconds, candidates calling themselves either a wizard or a ninja will quickly be laughed out of the running for a new position.” Additionally, crazy titles can be perceived by potential clients and colleagues as pretentious or silly. Read the full entry

3 Tips from National Small Business Week 2013

SBA NSBW 2013This week marked the 50th anniversary of the SBA’s National Small Business Week. Throughout the week and across the country and internet, events were held with the aim of helping small business owners manage and run their businesses more efficiently. From tips on protecting your small business from cyber-attacks to how to find funding, experts and panelists provided attendees of breakout sessions and Google+ hangouts with valuable information. Here are 3 of the top takeaways from National Small Business Week 2013. Read the full entry

Sam’s Club Makes Small Business Membership Easier

membershipThe Sam’s Club Membership Warehouse for Business, a Wal-Mart division, is revamping its membership rules to make it easier for small business owners to join the “club” and get discounts on goods and services. Qualifying for a Sam’s Club Business Membership once meant you had to produce documents or licenses proving your business status. Now it’s simpler:  Online, just sign up and you’re in.  In person, merely show a current business card, letterhead or something you use to promote or manage your business.  This will make it possible for freelancers, home-based businesses and other independents to tap Sam’s Club savings for the first time — a welcome advantage in a recession.

The basic Sam’s Club small business membership is $35/year; or $100 for the “enhanced” version that gets you bigger discounts on everything from health insurance, websites and check printing, to merchant accounts, credit lines and shipping. Here’s more insider info on saving money on your small business buying at over 500 Sam’s Club locations nationwide: 

Read the full entry

MSN and Sprint Debut New Small Business Website


Business on Main is a new Sprint-sponsored small business destination site just launched by MSN and Mindshare. Featuring high-quality videos, experts to answer your questions, ways to connect with other business owners, an extensive library of articles, along with a variety of other tools and resources, Business on Main delivers a well-rounded package that can help you build your business.  ( and What Works for Business are also providing some of the content for Business on Main. ) Read the full entry

Verizon, Forbes Revamp Small Business Sites

Major business information publishers and service suppliers are more interested than ever in extending a helping hand to small business owners. On April 16, Verizon will officially announce a major makeover of the Verizon Small Business Center, focused on a new “Collaboration Center” that features a library of applications, hosted services, news, resources and professional networking. A few details:

  • In My Applications, users can access email, calendar items and the business applications they’ve selected.
  • Professional Networking lets you create a profile and exchange ideas with others in your industry and build business relationships.
  • The My News and Resources section lets you select from a menu of different types of small business-related content — news, technology, government regulation, etc.

Starting April 21, Verizon will also offer a free bi-weekly webinar series featuring small business experts covering a wide range of topics, from SEO and Twitter for small business, to improving productivity.

Forbes, meanwhile, has revamped its Small Business Exchange, looking to boost membership and participation. Brett Nelson, Entrepreneurs Editor at, lists key benefits of joining up at his site:

  • Ask questions and get answers from experts in key areas such as marketing, technology, finance and law.
  • Connect with other small business owners, search company profiles, send messages and expand your network.
  • Share your own expertise and track industry trends.
  • Browse the latest small business news and advice from

SAP Taps Small Biz Gap

What does the plant sitting inches from my desk have to do with the world’s biggest business software provider? Well, here at we use a local “interior landscaping” biz that supplies live plants and maintains them for a fee. Kind of pretties up the place. In contemplating my leafy friend’s corporate existence, I wondered: How does such a business — needing lots of plants, numerous clients like us, billing and reporting systems plus plenty of folks to fuss over the foliage — keep track of it all?

The answer — at least for another plant purveyor I dug into — is SAP, perhaps the planet’s preeminent business applications software provider. SAP, well known to big biz, has been aggressively unfurling its Business One application, an all-in-one package that lets small and medium businesses manage sales, distribution, financials, customer contacts and most other things in a single place.

But SAP lacks buzz when it comes to small biz more familiar with Microsoft, QuickBooks and SalesForce. That now seems to be changing as small companies such as Plant Interscapes of San Antonio adopt SAP’s lower-cost small biz solutions. Plant Interscapes, with about $7 million in revenues and 70 employees, operates in San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and Houston. It relies on a SAP-aided state-of-the-art CRM system to help customers instantly reach the companies customer care desk with needs or inquiries.

A family-owned fruit biz has also tapped SAP. The Fruit Co., in Hood River, OR, is an online fruit retailer that’s been in the Webster family for three generations. As a growing business, The Fruit Company wanted to get a more integrated view of its total operations, and lower overhead costs at the same time. The SAP solution fit the bill, says CEO Scott Webster.

As a giant global company SAP and its website are a little hard to navigate. The ideal place to find out more is their dedicated small business site, here.

New Web Community for Office Pros

Does the world really need another online business community? The folks at OfficeArrow (OA) are betting it does, having just launched what they’re billing as a business support networking site for office professionals, including office managers, administrative assistants and small biz owners. It’s a place for such folks to connect with one another, find vendors and seek solutions to everyday challenges. They boast that 50,000 members signed up in the pre-launch phase alone, and that membership is already at 80,000.

OA gives members a chance to talk with industry specialists and other office professionals to trade workplace tips and research solutions for such things as business travel, office equipment, finding discounts on office supplies and managing meetings. One nice feature of the site is its list of over 100 free templates that include everything from expense reports to emergency forms.

For other helpful solutions, check the Office Management section at, where business finds what it needs in over 65,000 categories.

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