3 Ways for Small Business Owners To Improve Company-Wide Collaboration

Read more engaging articles on the Knowledge Vault today!

If you own a small business, you’re keenly aware of every employee’s role in your enterprise. What may be missing, though, are the significant gains that come from group efforts. Consider these ideas from Knowledge Vault for transforming your company culture into one where everyone works separately (or even remotely) to one that shifts from solo work to collaborative work with ease.

1. Foster a Pro-Communication Culture

It should go without saying that if you want your employees to feel comfortable sharing ideas and offering constructive critiques, you should foster an environment of open communication, non-judgmental discourse, and respect. Positivity begins with the business owners and leaders, but it’s also reinforced by your meetings, training, company policies, and feedback you give to your employees.

If your employees work in the office, do your best to create a comfortable physical environment. If your employees are remote-only or hybrid teams, ensure that they have what they need to thrive including proper office equipment and a way to communicate with everyone. This could include Slack or another popular workplace messenger app to ensure that no one gets left out of a discussion.

It’s also important that you and your team are open to hear difficult feedback from coworkers, including points like, they don’t feel heard, are not comfortable with one another, or simply don’t trust each other. You cannot address problems if you don’t know they exist, so this kind of open communication is vital, even if it is painful. Ask one another how you can gain each other’s trust, and own up to your mistakes. Never make excuses.

2. Consider Your Collaborative Platforms

The fact that life has increasingly moved online in the past decade has increased the need for high-quality virtual platforms and messaging systems. Consider the size of your entire company as well as the usual number of people in your collaborative teams to determine which platforms will suit your business.

Here are a few options that are especially suited to remote or hybrid work:

  • Zoom: you likely know and love (or hate!) this virtual meeting platform. Video calls are necessary in the age of remote work, and they can often save an employee who has to stay home with a sick child or care for an aging relative.
  • Slack: this app is essential for day-to-day communication with your office staff as well as for collaborative efforts in smaller teams. 
  • Trello: make project management easier by using a visual board to envision everyone’s duties and due dates. Everyone is able to see their personal to-do list and understand where the project is in terms of completion.
  • Workfront: collaborate in real time with this project management software that also comes with some handy automation features.

3. Keep Your Project Teams Small

LinkedIn reports that creating teams of over 15 individuals (although 10 is better) can decrease employees’ motivation to collaborate and work as a group. Too-large groups result in a few hardworking employees assigning duties to the rest of the group and picking up slack. It may also cause a phenomenon where some employees render themselves invisible by not communicating or offering any input — and letting others do the heavy lifting for them.

Make it a point to split large teams into small groups. In groups of three to eight, your employees have more incentive to speak up and work with their teammates. The Art of Teamwork recommends assigning five or six employees to a collaborative team. Employees may feel more comfortable collaborating and expressing their thoughts when working in smaller groups as well.

Finally, take the time to cultivate healthy communication practices. Company culture isn’t invented overnight. It takes time to build, and it takes into account your employees’ personalities, your leadership style, and your vision for the future. If you feel that your business isn’t as collaborative as you had wished it would be, use the tips listed here to adjust to a culture that works for everyone.

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Brought to you by Lisa Walker

Edited by Temitope Adelekan


Imposter syndrome: 13 management tips

Imposter syndrome can make you feel like a fraud if not properly managed. It is time to stop underestimating your value! Stop underrating your achievements! Stop linking your success to luck! You are much more remarkable than you think.

It seems like a psychological practice for improving your self-esteem, right? But this is our advice to prevent you from developing impostor syndrome – a mental state that puts your capabilities in doubt. Some of the most common signs of the syndrome are hesitancy, fear, stress, anxiety, and the inability to accept healthy criticism and compliments.  

Are you wondering how to deal with impostor syndrome? First and foremost, don’t ignore it. If you notice that you doubt your strengths and criticise yourself too much, consider discussing this problem with someone you trust. Also, you can seek professional psychological help if you find you cannot overcome the syndrome by yourself.   

Want to learn more recommendations about beating the impostor syndrome? Check out the following iconographic for more handy tips and valuable insights.

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Brought to you by Caitlyn Hewitt

Edited by Temitope Adelekan

Guest Networks 101: A Simple Guide

In today’s uber-connected world, having a solid Wi-Fi connection is key to not only spending solo time at home but also having friends and family over. It can be a pain to sift through papers to find your Wi-Fi password that guests inevitably ask for when they walk in your door.

One workaround is to set up a dedicated guest network. A guest network is an alternate access point to your internet router that’s separate from the main network to which you connect your phone, TV, and computers. So your main network is meant for your trusted devices, and your guest network is meant for unfamiliar devices belonging to your friends and family.

A benefit of setting up a guest network is that you can grant internet access to devices that may be at a greater risk of falling victim to data breaches or other types of cyberattacks. Plus, some Wi-Fi routers allow you to limit the speed available on your guest network, so your main network connection is never lagging.

Norton has created this helpful step-by-step infographic (see below) on how to set up a guest network. It also offers tips for setting up your guest network for success so that you can keep your devices and data safe while providing your friends and family Wi-Fi access.

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Brought to you by Lydia McAllister

Edited by Temitope Adelekan

How to boost remote workforce productivity

Picture by Chris Montgomery

In previous years, when it comes to remote working, many of us thought we wanted to do this all the time. Now, after working in our bubble more than we bargained for due to the pandemic, we are gradually getting to find out for real what it’s like to work remotely.

Certainly, remote working set up is different for many of us because of the extra demands on our time, such as helping kids with remote schooling etc. Various research has shown that many employees struggle to keep up their motivation without an in-person connection.

Therefore, the critical question is: how can we boost employees’ motivation and keep their productivity going now that most of our work is done by connecting over different screens and not in person?

From a starter perspective, flexibility around work hours might be a good start. For example, the hours from 9 to 10 a.m. might not be suitable for some employees because they have to help their kids start their school day.

Checkout the infographic below for tips on how to boost remote workforce productivity.

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Brought to you by Sean Farrell

Edited by Temitope Adelekan

Do Google Reviews Help Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?


Google Reviews do help to improve search rankings and overall SEO efforts. There are many factors involved in search rankings; online customer reviews can be a good signal to search engines that your business is trustworthy and authoritative. In an era where competition is only getting stronger for small businesses, online reviews are a way to make your business stand out.


When you consider SEO, reviews from customers aren’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. With all the other significant areas of SEO to concentrate on, reviews can be overlooked. 

Reviews matter most for local SEO. Reviews containing a searched for keyword can improve a local business’s performance, particularly in the box of local search and map results that appears at the top of SERPs, called the Local Pack. 

If you search for something like ‘DIY Store’, Google will use one of the factors to determine which businesses to display is reviews. Snippets of reviews will appear at the bottom of each business’s space, with the search terms used (and sometimes similar ones) bolded, showing what Google determines to be relevant. 

If your website is SEO-friendly and already has strong organic rankings for plenty of terms, then combined with reviews, then your site is more likely to show up in the Local Pack. 

But what if you aren’t a local business? Do reviews still matter then? If your business operates only in the realms of e-commerce or has no real physical location, some suggest that reviews are still crucial for SEO.

Why Do Reviews Matter For SEO?

Research is great, and everybody likes to see charts of businesses gaining more traffic, but you might still be unsure how online reviews can affect a business’s rankings in this manner. There are a few relatively straightforward explanations for why Google reviews do help SEO rankings. 

Google trusts your customers more than it trusts you

This is a slight exaggeration, but it is a fact that Google does depend on signals to determine whether a website is worth a good ranking or not. We have seen this since the very early days of Google with the importance of links. When your website gets a link from another relevant website, Google considers this link as an endorsement of trust in your website and will reward better visibility in the search rankings. In the same way, when a customer leaves you a review, whether good or bad, this review tells Google that your business is not only a real, and legitimate operation, but one that other people have interacted with it. The review can also help future potential customers to make decisions.

Google likes to read

Google reads your website to understand it. The more content it has available to read, the more it will learn about your business. When you use customer reviews on your website for SEO purpose or generate them on your Google My Business page, Google has plenty of new content to read and more keywords to add to its understanding of your business and what it does. 

Remember that when you search for ‘DIY store’, and Google pulled your query out as a keyword from the businesses’ reviews? Customer will describe your products and services to Google unintentionally. Those reviews will add to your business’s SEO value with your customers, even realising that their reviews are helping you in this way. A review can also help to fill in some of the content gaps that might exist on your website, and increase your overall website rankings and visibility in this way.

Great Reviews Mean More Stars And More Clicks

Whether you like it or not, people do trust reviews. Think about it like this, if you are looking at the Local Pack and see that two of the businesses have 2-star ratings, and one has a 5-star one, which one do you think you are more likely to click on? SEO rankings are influenced by click through rates. If a high percentage of searches choose your site from the search results, Google will take this to mean that you are doing something right and will give your site better rankings. Reviews can boost your click-through rates, especially if you are getting good reviews regularly. By encouraging more clicks with high ratings, you should see a boost in rankings.

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Brought to you by AAM Consultants

Edited by Temitope Adelekan

Time Tracking—Best Practices and Mistakes to Avoid

At first glance, tracking employee time seems pretty straightforward. Your employees simply denote the hours they were at work on a timesheet, or punch a time clock and turn their time cards in at the end of the week or month. What could go wrong? 

As it turns out, the ability to accurately track employee hours is one of the most important tasks a business undertakes. Timesheets and time cards provide invaluable data to your business regarding how efficiently you use employee time, your labour costs, and areas for productivity improvement. 

For big and small businesses alike, finding ways to make your time tracking both easier for employees and managers is essential to improving margins, accurately bidding projects, and ultimately running a more successful company. 

Time tracking trouble? 

Employers have long relied on manual timecards to track employee work hours. Employees either clock in and clock out or they’re responsible for recording and reporting how many hours they worked and when. The manual aspect makes the process vulnerable to errors, miscalculations, and estimates. 

In one 2018 survey, 44% of business owners reported that they regularly struggle with timesheet errors. An astounding 92% of the respondents reported that the errors were typically caused by the user. Some of the biggest problems are: employees forgetting to record their time, recording their time incorrectly, or recording their time to the wrong job. 

That being said, you can implement the following time tracking best practices to simplify your timekeeping and improve the accuracy of your labour costs.  

Educate employees about time tracking 

Make sure that your employees understand the importance of time tracking, as well as how your time tracking systems work and what’s expected of them. With each new employee, walk them through your time tracking tool, as well as the guidelines for how to track time. For instance, let employees know if they need to check-in to a mobile app daily (versus entering data later).

Provide them with information about how long their breaks should be, what type of personal business is permitted on the job, and how they can correct entries if they made an error. Educating your employees will not only reduce errors and misinformation but can also prevent employee time theft. 

Automate your time tracking system 

The next step to better employee time tracking is to get rid of manual timesheets and clocking in with paper time cards. Automating your record keeping provides a host of benefits, from making it easier for employees to document their work time to streamlining the record-keeping for your HR or office administrators. It also provides for 100% accurate timesheets, eliminating the need for time clock rounding.

For example, people platforms like Hourly and many others offer time tracking apps that allow employees to easily document their time when they have begun working. You can automate breaks and lunches so that they’re always included in the report and even set rules so help ensure the employees work the time they’re required—and not more or less. 

Make time tracking easy for your managers

Time tracking poses a problem for some employees, but it can also be the least favorite part of a manager or supervisor’s job. Managers routinely have to collect all employee timecards or reports, check them for accuracy regarding billable time worked, overtime, and correct any errors. What seems like a simple task can take up hours each month or week, especially if managers have to keep track of employee time because employees aren’t good about reporting their work hours.

Time tracking software solutions not only simplify time tracking for employees, but they reduce the workload for managers as well. Your managers will be able to automate their reporting, quickly find missing information and headquarter all the employees’ time data in one place.

Avoid these 3 time tracking mistakes

It’s easy to keep doing things the same way. But when it comes to time tracking, finding small improvements and avoiding common pitfalls adds up to real savings. Sidestep these time tracking mistakes and you’ll add efficiency to your time-keeping system and improve the quality of your labour cost data. 

Not collecting enough detail about employee work hours

There is a fine line between trying to keep timecards simple and oversimplifying your data in a way that’s detrimental. For instance, employees should clock in at the beginning of each shift and clock out at the end, of course. However, that is just the basics. 

Tracking breaks, lunches and regular work hours are required by law. Properly tracking over time is also essential. That not only ensures that employees get overtime pay, but also allows your organisation to better manage its resources and reduce overtime spending. You can even track hours to specific projects, job sites, and more. 

Time tracking tools allow you to document a higher level of detail about your employee work hours. Then, you can generate practical data you can use to make smarter decisions about your labor.

Not leveraging time tracking software features

You don’t have to be a tech wizard to benefit from time tracking solutions. Time tracking platforms provide multiple, easy-to-use features that enable your company to run more efficiently, and frankly, get more from your timecard reports. For example, with time tracking apps, you can: 

  • Know who’s working in real-time
  • Have employees clock in by location 
  • Geofence jobs. The software can send you an alert if employees are not where they’re supposed to be during the workday
  • Set alerts for important issues. For example, if employees head into overtime or switch work locations

Not combining payroll, worker’s comp and time tracking solutions 

All of these things are deeply related. By incorporating them into one solution you can reduce the time you spend, and improve your compliance with labour laws as well as documentation in all three areas. Some time tracking app incorporates payroll, worker’s compensation, and time tracking into one application. Run a simple search on the web, and you will be amazed at what you find on this topic.

Also, you can simplify your paydays, running payroll for employees, contractors and freelancers with the click of a button. Integrating workers comp ensures that you and your employees are covered in case of an accident and ensures that your vital employee information is all in place. Add in time tracking and you’ve streamlined a significant component of your HR function.

Time to clock out? 

Improving your employee time tracking does not take much—and it’s well worth the effort. Explore how time tracking platforms can make time tracking easier for your employees, while also providing your company with increased efficiency, time savings, and more.

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Brought to you by Kelly Kearsley

Edited by Temitope Adelekan

Saving Money vs. Paying Off Debts: Which One to Prioritise?

Part of your savings plan may involve paying off debts while saving money for future use. But, which one should you prioritise if you have a limited budget to work with? The key lies in understanding the benefits of each so that you can fine-tune your strategy and attain good financial health.

Advantages of Paying Off Debt

Debts may refer to loans, credit card and utility bills, or financial favors that you receive from family or friends. Debt is classified either as secured or unsecured. Secured debt involves pledging an asset as collateral for the loan, like your house or car. On the other hand, unsecured debt like credit card debt does not involve any collateral, but the payoffs are higher, too.

Depending on how much debt you have and how you manage it, debt can be a useful financial tool. Obviously, borrowing money to serve a legitimate financial need isn’t the same as when you spend the borrowed money on unnecessary expenses.

Here are a couple of ways that paying off debt as soon as possible can help you financially:

  • Interest fees decrease over time. This is true, especially for credit card debt, where interest is computed on your total purchases. If you’re unable to lower the outstanding credit, you might find yourself in a cycle of making payments that mostly go toward interest fees and not make significant reductions in your total debt.
  • Your credit score improves. Banks and other money lending institutions keep records of your credit history, and failure to settle your loans can lower your credit score. Credit scores are important because they can unlock many savings and rewards like more leniency on various types of financial transactions.

Apart from these benefits, paying off debt can be empowering for yourself. Getting rid of it frees you from distress and inspires you to achieve your saving goals.

Advantages of Saving Money

Saving money is, of course, one of the most important aspects of good financial management. Ideally, your savings fund should cover six months’ worth of living expenses in case of unforeseen circumstances like a sudden illness, work retrenchment, or loss of property due to natural disasters. Proper budgeting methods and techniques can help you use your money wisely and set aside savings, too.

Building your savings fund is beneficial in several different ways:

  • It allows you to leverage the value of compounding interest. Here’s how compounding interest works: You first earn interest on the principal amount of your savings and then continue to do so as interest is now computed based on your savings balance plus any interest it has previously earned.

    As such, you should start saving sooner rather than later to take advantage of compounding interest.
  • You can go into investment sooner, too. When you have your funds ready, you can immediately learn stock trading or other ways of investing to grow your money even more. You don’t have to wait until you’ve fully repaid your debt before you can take advantage of investment opportunities.
  • Your savings can help you avoid taking out new loans so that you don’t go deeper into debt. Even if unexpected expenses occur, you can pull yourself out of the situation without causing serious damage to your finances.

The Bottom Line

Being in debt can cost you more money in the long run, so having a clean slate in the earliest possible time should be your goal. At the same time, you shouldn’t wait to get started on saving either. While it takes a lot of work to decide whether you should first save money or pay off debts, the one definitive rule to keep in mind is to use your money wisely. This way, you can do both and reap the benefits that each strategy offers.

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Brought to you by AJ Balois

Edited by Temitope Adelekan

Coping Up with the New Normal at Home


You may have often heard people say that change is a part of life, and one of the best things to do is to embrace it with an open mind. With the COVID-19 pandemic causing drastic changes in every aspect of your lifestyle, how are you coping up with the new normal?

Adjusting to change isn’t always easy for everyone, especially with something as drastic as the global health crisis. Wearing a mask outside, physically distancing yourself from people, filling up personal and health information forms at public places, having limited access to transportation, and so on—it will take time before you get used to these things.

Then again, the indomitable human spirit is such a powerful force that helps everyone rise above challenges, especially if it’s business survival that’s at stake. Whether you’re an employee or an entrepreneur, you can still be productive and profitable despite the coronavirus outbreak.

Here are tips to help you continue with your work or business under the new normal:

1. Choose the remote work or business setup

You’re safer working or running your business from home because you don’t need to go out and travel where you are going to be with other commuters or motorists. This reduces your chances of being exposed to the virus and getting sick. So if you have the means to stay at home, take advantage of the remote work or business setup.

You’ll need a smartphone, laptop, and desktop computer, as well as reliable Wi-Fi service, as basic productivity tools. It will also help if you create a dedicated workspace, so you feel as if you’re still in a real office.

2. Create a new normal routine

Setting up a routine offers a sense of normalcy and certainty, so it’s a good coping mechanism during this time of chaos. Your new normal routine can be as creative and flexible as you want, as long as it lets you organize your day-to-day schedule, which will help you have a proper work-life balance.

Your new normal routine can look something like this:

  • Start your day with a cup of coffee that you yourself made, instead of buying it from your favorite coffee shop near the office. Eat a healthy breakfast to fuel your mind and body for the day ahead.
  • As you begin your workday, make sure to check your inbox to know what’s happening in your team and reach out to your teammates if there’s something that needs to be discussed. Pick the online communication channel that you feel comfortable in or use video conferencing to stay connected with your colleagues or catch up over lunch.
  • Try to resist the temptation of going to bed late at night. Staying home can give you a false sense that you have enough time in your hands, but this can also disrupt your body clock and leave you feeling tired in the morning.
  • If you’re not able to go to the gym, you can work out at home on your own or with your family to make it as fun as your regular gym sessions.
  • Spend your weekends doing your family’s favorite things or having your me-time so that you can remain happy and positive.

3.  Discover new opportunities for yourself or your business

If your employment or business has been severely affected by the pandemic, this is the perfect time to reassess your options. Take a step back to help you see the bigger picture clearly. Perhaps you’re finding it a challenge to sell your products or services, which are considered non-essential during a pandemic.

What new offerings can you provide to consumers in your target market to make your business more relevant during these times? If your salary has been reduced due to limited operations in your company, perhaps you can look for a second job to make up for lost income.

Closing Message You can survive and thrive despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic. The key is to have a mindset that focuses on the things you can do and control under the new normal.

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Brought to you by Chellsea Reyes

Edited by Temitope Adelekan

The Fastest Way to Achieve Financial Freedom: A Visual Roadmap


Imagine life without financial constraints. Perhaps you’d be buying the things you want and need without hesitation or live the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of without the fear of straining your budget. Doesn’t this inspire you to work hard and manage your finances better for a secure future?

Financial freedom and literacy are crucial elements that can help you build your wealth for a sustainable future. This is why many people take the initiative to attend personal finance classes or seminars to improve their financial wellness.

While financial freedom may be different for everyone, it may look something like being able to go on an international trip every year without draining your bank account or retiring a few years early.

If you’ve always felt a certain panic setting whenever you see your monthly bills, it’s high time that you make changes to your spending and saving. Here are some good financial habits you can start practicing to kick-start your journey to financial freedom.

  • Identify your financial goals
  • Spend less; save more
  • Track your spending
  • Hold off on big-ticket items
  • Buy experiences, not things
  • Pay off your debt
  • Find other sources of income
  • Invest in your future

The road to financial freedom is hard and full of obstacles. It’s not going to be easy, but it certainly is possible. Know that gaining complete control over your finances takes commitment, discipline, and sacrifice. Once you obtain a sense of financial freedom, you won’t have to worry about choosing between getting your car repaired or buying groceries. With the right strategies and mindset, you can reach financial success and live life comfortably in the future.

Have a look at the visual graph below for the step-by-step guide on how to achieve financial independence. Soon, financial freedom will be within your reach.

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Brought to you by Hacking Money

Edited by Temitope Adelekan

Remote Management Best Practices: How to Improve Employee Productivity


The so-called new normal is a worldwide phenomenon, where things as we used to know them have taken a significant shift. This piece is to help people and organizations learn to cope with the recent challenges brought about by the infamous novel coronavirus outbreak.

One of the most affected sectors is the workforce. With safety protocols being recommended by health experts, it has become necessary to implement remote management practices in many offices. The idea is to let employees stay at home or other appropriate spaces where they can still work so that there’s no need for them to travel and come into physical contact with other people.

Apart from health and safety issues, remote work is also ideal for a whole lot of other reasons. Perhaps you want to save on office building maintenance costs or help promote the concept of work-life balance among your employees. As long as your business operations can continue amidst a remote work setup, you may consider trying it out in your organization.

If it’s the first time that you’re adopting this type of work arrangement, you need to brainstorm with your team and come up with a plan that you can implement across the organization.

As a business leader or manager, your role is to make sure that your employees have a comfortable workspace, first and foremost. With a proper remote workstation, it will be easy for your staff to perform their everyday tasks with high levels of efficiency and productivity. It also gives them a well-defined area where they can focus solely on their work so that they don’t mix office responsibilities with personal life.

Telecommuting can work better for your business and your employees if you set clear expectations and guidelines for everyone. Based on the accompanying infographic below, there’s no shortage of remote work tips to help you see how other companies are doing it to improve employee productivity.



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Brought to you by Manila Recruitment

Edited by Temitope Adelekan