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Lessons from Undercover Boss

The CBS show Undercover Boss, now in its sixth season, is an entertaining look at how different businesses operate and offers some insights for business owners.

Each episode focuses on an executive of a different company who goes, you guessed it, undercover to take a lower-level job within the company or assume some other fly-on-the-wall vantage point. The purpose of the disguise is to allow the executives to observe the uninfluenced efficiency and productivity, or lack thereof, of their employees. But they often emerge with opened eyes for other reasons.

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How to Have a Successful Meeting

For a lot of employees, meetings are just obligatory formalities they’ve learned to accept. Too many meetings are filled with more hot air blowing, thumb twiddling, clockwatching and daydreaming than anything else.

That’s not just a harsh reality for the employees who have to struggle through them. It’s also a harsh reality for the business managers and owners who are faced with lost productivity because of poorly planned or completely unnecessary meetings.

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Advice for Female Entrepreneurs

The number of women choosing to start their own businesses is increasing constantly. Last year in the U.S., there were nearly 9.1 million businesses owned by women, according to the 2014 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, up from about 8.6 million in 2013. Furthermore, these businesses employed about 7.9 million employees (other than the business owners) and generated about $1.4 trillion in revenues.

So how can women aspiring to continue these trends give themselves the best chance to succeed? Here are some considerations:

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Boost Your Productivity in 2015

Your to-do list keeps growing longer, but with so much to do, the days only seem shorter. Keeping your productivity up can get harder and harder to do as you get more overwhelmed with assignments.

We all know we’re supposed to work smarter. But how?

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Female Entrepreneurs Motivated by Work-Life Balance

The idea of work-life balance can seem like a joke when you’re juggling full-time work and family responsibilities.

Female Entrepreneurs Worldwide Seek Work-Life Balance…

That’s why entrepreneurship has become an appealing option for increasing numbers of women.
In fact, 55 percent of American women entrepreneurs said they started or want to start their own business to achieve work-life balance, according to this article from Business News Daily, which cites a new survey by PayPal.

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Entrepreneur Goals for the New Year

Most of you have probably made New Year’s resolutions aimed at improving yourselves. But what about your businesses?

You haven’t made any?

No problem. This article on Inc. offers some great suggestions that could help any entrepreneur, including:

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2015 Trends That Will Influence Small Businesses

Getting a small business off the ground is challenging enough. Keeping up with every new trend, technological advance and social media tool can make anyone’s head spin. With that in mind, we scoured the Web for some expert analysis on factors for entrepreneurs to look for in 2015. Here’s a look at what we found.

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Entrepreneurship Can Start at Any Age

Once upon a time, a teen with an entrepreneurial streak had few options: babysitting, mowing yards or maybe a paper route.

These days, young people are designing clothing lines, designing apps and creating other businesses before they finish – or even start high school.

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Microloans Can Help Businesses in a Low-Income Area

Many entrepreneurs take out bank loans or maybe even max out credit cards to launch their businesses. But what if you can’t get a loan and don’t have credit cards. Microloans can be a lifesaver for budding entrepreneurs who don’t have access to traditional financing.

The loans are allowing people like Mario B. Morales realize their dreams. Morales couldn’t get bank financing to launch his food truck business, Yummy Dog, which sells gourmet sausage dogs. Then he received a $5,000 loan from Accion Texas, according to this article in the Houston Chronicle. Microloans at Accion Texas range from $500 to $250,000, and the average loan in the Houston market is $21,000. Fixed interest rates range from 7.25 percent to 18 percent, the article said.

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The Benefits to Being a Boss

You dream of starting a business, but you have no experience. Not a problem. In fact, it might be an advantage. Take Ariel Nelson and Lane Gerson. The friends just raised $9 million for their men’s footwear company, Jack Erwin, featured in this Entrepreneur article. Neither had any experience. Gerson worked in accounting and finance and Nelson in food and beverage distribution. They just wanted shoes, good quality shoes that didn’t cost a fortune. They didn’t let their background keep them from launching their own company.

“The lesson that Jack Erwin’s founders learned is one that aspiring entrepreneurs should never forget: Don’t let your great idea be stalled by your own lack of experience.” Entrepreneurship doesn’t require a college degree, professional experience or references – there really are no formal qualifications to becoming an entrepreneur.

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