Ohio Small Business News

According to The Ohio Department of Taxation, Small Business tax breaks introduced back in 2013 by Gov. John Kasich is costing the state close to a billion dollars in 2015, and is expected to be much higher for 2016.  Talks to repeal the tax break are underway, with Governor Kasich pushing back against repealing it.

For more bout this and other news, follow the links below.


Ohio Democrats: State should end small business tax break to generate $1.1 billion a year

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Senate Democrats on Thursday pitched their idea to patch the $1 billion state budget hole — eliminate Ohio’s small business tax break.

Repealing the business income tax deduction, phased in since 2013, would generate $2.2 billion over the next two years, according to analysis from the nonpartisan Legislative Service Commission.

Democrats said the money would cover the expected revenue shortfall without making cuts and leave another $1 billion to spend on education, health care, local governments, libraries and Ohio’s opioid addiction and overdose crisis.

“Some people will tell you there’s not enough money to go around, but our real problem right now is irresponsible tax policy,” Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko of Richmond Heights said at a news conference.

Specifically, Democrats would spend the additional $1 billion on the following over two years:


Kasich Pushes Back Against Repealing Small Business Tax Cut

An income tax break for Ohio’s small businesses in recent years is under fire from Democrats and some Republicans. They say the current budget situation shows it’s time to end that tax cut.

Governor John Kasich is firmly rejecting those suggestions.

Recently, state lawmakers in Kansas ended that state’s tax break for small businesses, saying it didn’t create jobs and cost the state too much money. A similar tax break is costing Ohio more than a billion dollars, but Kasich says he’s not for ending it.

“To raise taxes? Nah, we don’t raise taxes in this state,” Kasich said.

Kasich says the case in Kansas is different because that state didn’t cut spending at the same time the tax breaks were enacted, and he says Ohio did.

Ohio’s revenues $841 million short of projections for this fiscal year.


Small businesses in clean energy sector still hope for best

NEW YORK: Small-business owners who install solar panels or help customers use clean energy don’t seem fazed by President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, saying they expect demand for their services will still keep growing.

They’re confident in two trends they see: A growing awareness and concern about the environment, and a desire by consumers and businesses to lower their energy costs.

“It’s an economic decision people are making, although it also makes environmental sense,” says Suvi Sharma, CEO of Solaria, a Fremont, Calif.-based company that designs and sells solar energy panel systems.

Trump said he was putting U.S. interests ahead of international priorities in leaving the agreement that would, among other things, require the United States and other countries to report greenhouse gas emissions. The United States is the world’s second-biggest emitter of carbon after China, and carbon is one of the gases that scientists cite as a key factor in global warming.


 

Do You Know How Your Small Business Is Doing?

Some of the least enjoyable tasks a small business owner must do is managing their books or creating financial reports.  These chores can also be detrimental to the health of any business if they are not done properly or not done frequently enough.  With all the other tasks small business owners do on a daily basis, accounting should probably not be one of them.  There are too many pitfalls for a small business owner to perform their own accounting, and can prove to be financially irresponsible not to have an accountant  do them for them.

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


Survey: small business owners remain optimistic about growth

Small business owners are largely optimistic about their ability to grow business and raise revenue in the year ahead, mirroring Wall Street’s sanguine outlook, according to a new index survey released Wednesday.

The MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index produced a score of 60.6. That means 60.6% of small business owners currently have “a positive outlook for their company and the environment in which they operate,” according to a statement from the insurance company and the business advocacy group, which plan to update the index every quarter. The survey was based on telephone interviews with 1,000 small business owners and operators.

A similar percentage of respondents, 60%, expect revenue to rise in the year ahead, compared to 9% who forecast a revenue decline. But they weren’t as eager about boosting their payrolls. About a third of them said they plan to hire more employees, while a majority said they’ll retain their current staffing levels.


Small business owner: Here’s how not to be a starving artist

You live for your art. Every day, you paint or compose music or write short stories or make beautiful hand-crafted objects. But every day, you also need to eat.

If you aren’t  engaging in your art just for pleasure, you’re not only an artist, you’re a small business owner. And if so, it’s all the more important that you realize that starving artists don’t actually last very long.

Here’s a dirty little secret of successful artists: You have to plan on how to make money. Many creative types believe (wrongfully) that if they just pursue their art, the world will discover them, and they’ll become rich, or at least they won’t starve. If only that were true.

Whether you work for yourself or are hired by other companies, especially as a freelancer, here are five tricks to be smart about your art.


Voices 3 key small business questions CPAs must be able to answer

Probably the number one question most clients want to know from their tax professional is, “How much do I owe?” But that’s just the beginning for many small business clients who want their accounting professional’s advice on a variety of business-related questions.

Being able to answer these key questions can help you build a richer relationship that can lead to higher client satisfaction, retention and referrals.

1. How is my business really doing?

Owning a small business can be a lonely proposition; entrepreneurs often feel that nobody really understands their business and the challenges it faces. Their accounting professional often comes the closest, and is someone who can provide real insights.

“I love asking my accounting firm what their thoughts are on my financials,” said Allen Walton, founder of SpyGuySecurity.com. He’s built a multi-million-dollar company in just three years, and worked with a bookkeeper from the beginning, but just hired a CPA last year. With such fast growth, he wants to know whether his business looks healthy and whether there are any areas of concern.


 

Tips And Advice To Have A Healthy Small Business

Having a financially healthy business is always a major goal for most business owners.  Profits that the business has for the fiscal year, allows it to invest in people and business needs without having to resort to borrowing money from the banks.

Planning and organization seem to be extremely important for any business, but for having a healthy balance sheet, those skills are too important to ignore.  If you don’t have a clear number of the business debt you have, you cannot take the necessary steps to be debt free, or to establish a plan to be debt free.

For more about this topic, follow the links below.


5 Steps to Getting Your Small Business Debt Free

Debt is a necessary part of running a small business. A business loan, line of credit or a business credit card can help your company hire new employees, purchase equipment and finance growth. But too much debt can stifle cash flow and put your business at risk. And the less you owe, the more you have to reinvest.

The average U.S. small-business owner has $195,000 of debt, according to a 2016 study by Experian.

Small Business Debt Management Tips

Here are five steps to digging your business out of debt.

1. Take Inventory of Your Debt

Sort all of your debts by interest rate and monthly payment. This includes payments on business loans, lines of credit and business credit cards as well as outstanding payments due to vendors.

This process can help you prioritize which debts to tackle first. Some experts recommend starting with the highest-interest-rate debt.


Bad for small business

The Republican leadership’s plan now headed to the Senate repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replacing it with a poor substitute would prove particularly harmful for my business and for the more than 4 million small-business owners, employees and self-employed entrepreneurs who have gained access to affordable coverage under the landmark health care law.

Instead of looking out for small-business owners who are critical components to the strength of local economies, this plan pushes back the tax credit and hurts us all. Lawmakers who supported this so-called reform are trying to bring us back to a time when we paid more for less coverage and could not afford to cover our employees.

Adjustments made through the ACA helped even out the market and cut costs with tax credits for small businesses. Those have not been protected with this new plan. Also, when cuts to housing, food benefits and especially Medicaid are a threat, it weakens our ability for economic growth.


Small business owners: Tax Reform can’t wait

National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) tells House Ways and Means Chairman the time is now for comprehensive tax reform

by Jack Mozloom

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) told House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) today that small business owners expect comprehensive tax reform this year and that it must feature parity for businesses of every size.

“Tax reform has the potential to have an enormously positive impact on small businesses; it is their top priority in 2017,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan in a letter to chairman Brady this morning. “Given that small businesses account for nearly half of the gross domestic product (GDP) and private sector workforce, and create two out of every three net new jobs, the U.S. economy will not reach its full potential for growth without a robust and flourishing small business sector.”


 

Small Business Lending

Looking for a new small business loan?  How about Free business tools for your business?

According to new reports, the loan approval rate has increased this last past month to an all time high.  Which means, it’s a good time for you to apply for that new business loan you were hoping to get. 

Looking for new ways to grow your business?  There are twenty business tools for free you should be using if you want to grow your business.  From shopping carts to accounting apps, these free business tools can make your business a bit less difficult.

To read more, follow the links below.


Small Business Lending at Big Banks is On the Rebound, Says Biz2Credit

Loan approval rates at big banks rebounded after a setback month, the latest Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index has revealed.

Biz2Credit Lending Index April 2017

Big Banks, Small Banks and Institutional Lenders Give Businesses a Reason to Cheer

According to the newly published report, loan approval rates at big banks grew by two-tenths of a percent to a new all-time index high of 24.3 percent. This marked recovery from last month’s stagnant percentage, which ended a seven-month streak of increases.

Rohit Arora, Biz2Credit CEO said, “Recent interest rate hikes and the Fed’s announcement that it will start unwinding the $4.5 trillion in bonds on its balance sheets signals a strong economy. Since most small business loans are tied to U.S. prime interest rates, there will be more incentives for banks to approve loan requests as lending in this sector will be more profitable.”


Billionaire Richard Branson reveals his best tips for making great business decisions

If Richard Branson is your dream mentor, you’re in luck — the billionaire entrepreneur just revealed some of his best tips for making business decisions.

Everyone knows how important first impressions are when meeting someone — in fact the subconscious decisions people make within a tenth of a second are so strong that often contradictory facts can’t change them. But you have to fight the urge to rely first impressions when it comes to business decisions, says Branson. “You mustn’t allow that first reaction to influence your ability to objectively weigh the cons as well as all the pros when they are presented,” he advises.

Branson also suggests uncovering an idea or project’s “hidden warts.” They’re there, he assures, because nothing is perfect. You want to know about them early in the decision-making process while you still have the time and ability to deal with the issues. According to Branson, more learning is almost always better, just don’t get into “‘paralysis by analysis’ mode,” he says. At some point you have to decide, “screw it, let’s do it,” as he’s famous for saying.


20 Free Tools Your Small Business Should Be Using Today

Software doesn’t have to be expensive for small to midsize businesses. To help you celebrate National Small Business Week, here are 20 free tools to get your SMB up and running.

Although your small business needs a healthy amount of software to conduct operations, it’s not necessary for you to spend a fortune on web-based products. In our comprehensive testing of business and consumer software, we’ve come across dozens of incredible and free solutions that can help you get the job done. We’ve tested free tools in almost all facets of business — from email marketing to endpoint protection to project management.

To help you celebrate National Small Business Week this week, we’ve compiled this list of 20 free tools that your small business should be using. Fortunately for you, all of the software listed below offer premium versions to which you can upgrade once your business grows. So don’t shy away from the products on this list under the false assumption that you will eventually scale out of this category.


 

Best Cities For Small Businesses. Where Are They?

Even though the number of added jobs for the first quarter of 2017 was not what analysts were expecting, the fact that businesses — if not hiring yet-are compensating employees with higher wages or other type of incentives is good for the economy.

The optimism small business owners indicated were feeling at the beginning of this administration, has not translated completely to added jobs.  When the second quarter arrives, we hope to have a clearer view of added jobs that will boost the optimism of the small business owner for 2017.

To read more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


The best city for small business in America is not in Silicon Valley

New York City surpassed Silicon Valley to become the top city for small business, according to Biz2Credit’s annual study of the Top Small Business Cities in America. New York’s growth has been fueled by the booming real estate market and the construction industry, banking and finance (including fintech), and the city’s thriving technology sector.

New York City overtook last year’s small-business city leader, San Jose, the hub of Silicon Valley, which dropped to the No. 4 spot on the list. Technology companies in Silicon Valley are still thriving, but it’s the supplementary companies that are faced with challenges of growing. The skyrocketing cost of living in Silicon Valley impedes the profits of many firms. Commercial rents, housing and labor costs weigh down non-tech businesses dramatically. Furthermore, taxes are higher in California, in general. Lacking that economic balance in the area has prevented San Jose from reigning as the leader in top small-business cities this year.


Small businesses hired fewer workers in April but gave their employees raises, Paychex survey shows

Small business hiring fell in April, but wages continued to rise for workers, a report by human resources firm Paychex said Tuesday.

The Small Business Jobs Index decreased 0.22 percent from the previous month to 100.50. The pace of small business employment growth is down 0.27 percent from a year ago, the company said.

“The decline in the April index mirrors what was reported last month by (the Bureau of Labor Statistics), which showed deceleration of job growth,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. “At the same time, the wage report shows continued growth in both hourly earnings and hours worked over the past year.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last month that nonfarm payrolls grew less than expected, but average hourly earnings were up by 2.7 percent on an annualized basis.

Paychex said national hourly earnings for the month were $25.67, increasing 2.73 percent, or 68 cents, from last year. Weekly earnings were up 2.92 percent from last year.


These 4 tips will help small business owners drastically boost their earnings this year

Whether you’re running an established small business or just starting your journey toward entrepreneurship, it’s safe to assume most business owners are on the hunt for new ways to grow their enterprise and improve their bottom line.

And we should all want to help them do so. Why? According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses create nearly 70 percent of net new jobs nationally, and drive tremendous growth in our local economies. When small businesses flourish, everyone wins.

My father-in-law is a small business owner. As a result, I have seen first-hand the sacrifices they make on a daily basis, and am driven to design products and provide resources to help small businesses meet their goals and fulfill their dreams.

 In honor of National Small Business Week, here are four ways small business owners (SBOs) can drive business growth this year.


Healthcare and Small Business Borrowing

Businesses in the United States  are still waiting to see what happens with healthcare, and other policy changes in the new administration before they commit to investing or hiring, or any other change that can affect their business.  The euphoria of the Election is passing, and with it the high optimism businesses felt.  Numbers are not as promising as analyst predicted, jobs felt short by more than 100K, and the business community is waiting.

For more about this and other stories, follow the links below.


Small-business sentiment declines as post-election euphoria runs out of steam

Small-business owner optimism declined in March as sales expectations and earnings came back to earth after a post-election surge.

The National Federation of Independent Business said its monthly sentiment gauge fell 0.6 point to 104.7, a slightly larger decline than the 0.5-point dip forecast by economists surveyed by Econoday.

The post-election surge was the biggest in the four decades NFIB has been conducting its survey. The gauge rose again in January but then receded in February.

In March, some warning signs appeared. The uncertainty index rose to 93, its second-highest reading on record. “More small business owners are having a difficult time anticipating the factors that affect their businesses, especially government policy,” noted Bill Dunkelberg, the groups’ chief economist.
But pessimism was widespread in March. Of 10 survey components, only three notched an increase.


Trump just said small businesses were ‘unable to borrow from banks’ — but small-business owners disagree

In a meeting with some of the most powerful CEOs in the world on Tuesday, President Donald Trump argued that small businesses were struggling to find financing.

“So many people come to see me — I see them all the time — small businesses that are unable to borrow from banks,” Trump said. “They never had a problem five, six, seven, 10 years ago. They had great bankers, great relationships, now they can’t borrow.”

The president blamed the post-financial-crisis Dodd-Frank banking regulations, which were enacted in July 2010, and higher capital requirements for the largest financial institutions. Trump said he planned to “streamline” or “eliminate” Dodd-Frank to allow small businesses to borrow again.

Trump’s narrative, however, is the opposite of what small-business owners are saying.


How small businesses are dealing with health care limbo

Republicans have called it quits for now on any plans to do away with Obamacare.

But while it may remain the law of the land, President Trump and GOP leaders in Congress don’t want it to stay that way.

That’s a lot of uncertainty for small business owners like Dr. Vicki Bralow and her husband Dr. Scott Bralow to handle. The couple is less than a month out from opening up their joint primary care office in Philadelphia. Until now, Vicki co-owned a practice downtown where she voluntarily offered her employees insurance.

“One year I’m paying $650 for a family policy and then the following year I’m paying $1,150 a month for a policy,” she said. “That’s a really, really big deal.”

Vicki’s old business is one of nearly 2 million nationwide that employs three to nine workers, by far the group of companies most vulnerable to Obamacare premium spikes.


 

Tools To Help Your Small Business Succeed

Small business owners are notoriously hard workers with long hours every single day of the week. Software tools and applications that make their business a bit easier have become more readily available with the current technology.  Documents, appointments, on line calendars and applications they can access through their phones or other devices have become commonplace.  Their business can truly travel with them, and can provide the much needed time to spend doing other more enjoyable things.

To read more about new business applications and other small business topics, follow the links below.


3 Financial Documents Every Small Business Needs

Columbia, S.C. (WLTX) – Happy Money Monday to our entrepreneur viewers. Today we’re covering the basics to help you understand the financial health of your business.

Here are 3 financial documents every small business needs:

1. Balance Sheet – This is a great way to provide a financial overview of your business. If you’re a visual person, this financial report will be easier for you to understand as it’s displayed as a chart. The left side shows what your company owns (aka your assets), while the right side will show you your expenses and equity.

2. Cash flow Statement – Similar to your budget for your personal finances, the cash flow statement shows how money comes and goes for your business. This helps you understand how your business is operating on a day-to-day basis and will help you answer the question, “How much is my business truly making?”


What is Yext and Can It Help Your Small Business?

It you’re looking for a way to automatically sync your business information across 50+ directories such as Google Maps, Yelp and Apple Siri, Yext presents itself as a possible solution.

Last week, the New-York based company filed paperwork with the US securities regulators to raise as much as $100 million in an initial public offering.

What is Yext?

Yext is a data management tool that is designed to keep track of your business’ location-related information on multiple directories. The software allows you to sync your:

  • Business Name, Address and Phone Number;
  • Business hours, products and services, holiday hours, photos and videos, staff bios, menus, and calendars;

Why your small business needs a mobile app

Many small businesses are unsure whether they need a mobile app, many believing that their mobile website is enough. Are you staying relevant?

Are you app-solutely missing the boat?

These days, we carry our smartphones everywhere. People are using them to play, order food, make purchases, do research, communicate, check reviews, read books, find love and generally get by day to day. Some people are even running their business from their phone! In fact, many of you probably prefer using apps over your desktop when it comes to things like checking emails, updating your social media accounts or checking your online banking.


 

Is Online Advertising Working For You?

For some small business owners, online advertising seems to be a no brainer.  You can use Facebook ads to advertise your business or products, you pay the fees, and you wait for the results to start coming. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.  Facebook advertising takes work.  You must consistently test what is working for your particular business, before you can actually get any results.  It is true that for some businesses you do not have to do too much for the ads to work, but for the majority of small businesses, testing your ads to see if they are reaching the right audience, seems to be the only way to go. 


62 Percent of Small Business Owners Say Facebook Ads Don’t Work

Are Facebook ads ineffective, or is the problem user error?

In January 2017, Small Business Trends released the results of a survey of over 2,600 small-business owners, revealing that 62 percent of them believe Facebook ads are ineffective. With complaints of little-to-no ROI, these entrepreneurs say they will not use Facebook advertising again. Some experts, however, challenge this viewpoint, saying that properly targeted Facebook ads do indeed provide results.

“When businesses don’t see the results they hope for, it’s usually because they haven’t done enough testing on their ad copy, visuals, and the ideal combination of information to target the right audience,” says Vitruvian Digital Advertising founder Kristie McDonald.

Jeanine Blackwell, founder of The Launch Lab, agrees, saying that marketers aren’t asking themselves the right questions to determine an effective target market for their ad campaigns. “The problem is that most advertisers only use the simplest of criteria to let Facebook know who they want to see their ads, such as gender, age, and income,” says Blackwell.


The Best Accountability For Small Business Owners

When Beth Savage became the owner of PQ Systems, the first thing she did was put together an outside board. “Why not have a board that is there for the sole reason of helping you and your team succeed?” says Beth.

Many business owners are reluctant to create an outside board. Some believe that their company is unique, and a board of outsiders wouldn’t work for their company.

Others rationalize that they already get enough advice from employees, family members, and paid advisors—such as their attorney, accountant or bankers. Still others can’t see the purpose, and they want to hold on to what they see as their autonomy.


Abrams: Sexy small business start-ups

Looking for a small business start-up idea? You might want to look to the bedroom. Because, and I know this may shock you, sex sells.

Romance has been around since, well, Adam and Eve. Businesses related to romance continue to do well and are increasingly mainstream. This past Valentine’s Day, even Burger King got in the act. For a very limited time and only in Israel, the fast food chain included a sex toy in an “Adult Meal.” The story spread like wildfire on social media because who can resist anything to do with sex?

While most sex-based businesses are small businesses, they typically seem seedy and are, often, exploitative. But here are some sex and romance-related small business ideas you that can still tell your grandma about and that won’t land you in jail:

1. Online dating site profile writer. Ask people how they met their partner, and the most frequent response you’ll hear is “online.” But few people know how to write appealing dating site profiles. My senior editor, however, met the man of her dreams on OKCupid. “Before we write anything at work, we research,” she said. “I thought I better do the same thing.” So she figured out how to write a witty, quirky profile, which attracted her perfect match. Friends then started asking her to write their profiles. “This could be a full-time business.” If your customers break up, they need to update their profiles, which means repeat business.


 

Small Business News

News about the high optimism of small business owners  regarding the economy across the US, seem to be a hot topic of conversation. Despite the incertitude of many of the issues affecting the small business community, the optimism according to media outlets seems to be high. The promise of a quick repeal to Obamacare has some small business owners wondering whether this is going to be a good move for them.  For more about this and other stories affecting the small business community, follow the links below.


Small-business owners are full of questions and regrets about the end of Obamacare

With the repeal of the Affordable Care Act likely but its replacement uncertain, small-business owners are weighing their options for the future.

More details may come Tuesday evening when President Trump makes his first address to both houses of Congress as commander-in-chief.

Trump took executive action on January 20 to “ease the burden” of the Affordable Care Act and formally announced the administration’s policy to “seek the prompt repeal” of the law. However, doing so with any speed has proven difficult. The president told a meeting of the nation’s governors on Monday, “Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated.”

Dirk Bak is simply hoping for cost controls. His business, SDQ Janitorial in Minnetonka, Minn., has been family-owned for 34 years and had been offering its nearly 200 full-time workers coverage even before the ACA became law.

A great majority of our nation’s small business owners are old, white men

Two weeks ago the Kauffman Foundation, a well-regarded nonprofit group that specializes in entrepreneurism, released its annual State of Entrepreneurship report — and at least in one respect, the news is encouraging. The report found that, despite still being below the peak that preceded the Great Recession, private enterprise is rebounding and entrepreneurs are driving a resurgence of business activity in America.

However, most of those entrepreneurs are still mostly old, white men.

Even as the U.S. population is becoming more diverse, the changes in the composition of our entrepreneurs is not reflecting these changes: 80.2 percent are white and 64.5 percent are male (other reports have put the average age of a small business owner at around 50 years old). The Kauffman report found that minorities own half as many businesses as non-minorities and their businesses start smaller and stay smaller mostly due to capital challenges. Women are also half as likely as men to own employer businesses.


79 Percent of Small Business Owners Remain Confident, Xero Report Says

With unprecedented economic uncertainty in the US and UK, you would expect small businesses would be more pessimistic about the future. Yet, according to the second annual Make or Break 2017 report from Xero (NZE:XRO), small business owners are irrepressibly optimistic going into 2017. Both small business owners (79 percent) and accountants (84 percent) feel more confident about 2017 than 2016.

Make or Break 2017 Report from Xero: Highlights

The optimism was especially true for young businesses with 94 percent of one-year-old and 84 percent of two-year-old businesses saying that they felt more confident going into 2017 than they did in 2016. Over three quarters (79 percent) of small business owners professed confidence in their businesses’ survival in 2017. While nearly a fifth of businesses going through a tougher time said they expected 2017 to be a turnaround year for their business.


 

Productivity In The Workplace

Small and big businesses regardless of what industry they are in, try to boost productivity in the workplace to achieve their goals.  Whether they are offering financial incentives, recognition across the company, or extra vacation days, companies will go to extra lengths to reach or boost workplace productivity.

Every company has employees that are super stars and their productivity is unparalleled.  But, as every company have super stars, they have the super “duds” in it as well.  When looking into improving the productivity in your company, you have to take into account that all your employees have to be accountable for the work they do or are supposed to do.  The superstars can only take the team up to a point. Dragging the employees that are falling way below their potential is exhausting and mentally exhausting for everyone else.

Metrics that help you measure the productivity of your employees and yourself are widely available for businesses.  Every employee believes he is productive, but remember that productivity is a very subjective concept for many of us. We do not measure time or productivity equally.  Reading and answering all emails in your inbox may seem like you are productive, even if you do nothing else.  For other people answering all those emails is only the beginning of their day.

When measuring the productivity of your employees-and yourself-take into consideration that employees respond differently to what management or they owner tells them.  For many employees a job performance review and an unsatisfactory review at that, can be more harmful that no review at all.  You have to get to know your employees before handing out advice.  Sometimes a pat on the back, or a nice word at the beginning of the day are for many employees enough to continue working hard for you.  Recognition that they are doing a good job and that you are aware of it, can increase the productivity of many of your employees.

Most workers across the United States have a life outside work. Families, other jobs, elderly parents, financial problems and a myriad of other issues, are a constant reminder that we are humans and have a limited time of hours every day.  Expecting the employee to be a happy and responsive human being every single day is expecting too much.  When asking an employee for X, Y and Z, think before and ask yourself if it is too much.  I do not believe that you have to hire a slacker and let it be, just think that a happy employee will be a more productive employee for you and your company.