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5 Tips for Small Business Success

As a small business, we face certain challenges that can add stress and anxiety to our daily lives. It is not always easy meeting payroll, hiring, figuring out what platform to market on and managing the finances. But, millions of small business owners do these things every day and their businesses thrive.Here are 5 Tips for Small Business SuccessWrite Down Why You StartedAs a small business owner, you may find yourself living on a rollercoaster. Some days you feel like you are going to take over the entire universe while other days you fire yourself and walk off the job. And, early on in the small business process, you have more firing and walking off the job kind of days. It is in these days that you must remember your “why.” Why are you doing this? Why are you so passionate?During the days that you are “taking over the universe” and are more clear minded, write down the answers to those question so when you get discouraged you will remember why you started and you will be less likely to give up. List out support systems and create vision boards so that when times feel dark, you know who you can reach out to and have a physical vision of the direction you want to go.Step AwayAs a small business owner, you probably take your work home, talk to your partner about it, and answer calls on the weekends. But never taking a step away can lead to burnout. The last thing a business owner should do is make decisions based on feelings like stress, frustration and impulsivity. Working on you and/or your family independently of your business is a great way to refresh and gain clarity so you can be even stronger in your business. Successful people take breaks.Give yourself at least one day a week where you step away completely. Set boundaries with clients or customers and they will respect your time even more. If you really feel that you cannot take one day, start small with time away. Take 30-60 minutes at least one time per day to do something that clears your mind. Do not answer business calls during this time, instead, try something like getting in touch with nature, taking a bath, or working-out. The better you are to your mind and body, the clearer decisions you will make for your business, clients and customers.Hurdle the Tough Times Quickly & Learn From ThemAs a small business owner, you are learning something new every day. Business owners switch hats all the time; from finances to legal to day to day operations to HR. And, it is no secret that mistakes will be made.If you want to be successful in business, don’t ruminate, internalize and dwell on those mistakes. Instead, chop it up to a learning lesson and press forward being cautious not to make that mistake a second time. Hurdling barriers and setbacks quickly will help you to minimize your stress and preserve energy in order to continue growing your business.Get a MentorSo many people have been in your shoes before you. They know the puddles you should not even try to step in and they can also give insight into decisions you are facing.Reach out to these people and ask them for their mentorship. If you do not have a mentor, try networking to meet likeminded people that can share ideas with you. However, as your business grows, if you do not have a mentor, keep your eyes open for someone that you can call on for support. Most successful people want to help you grow and develop and will be glad to guide you. Just make sure that you are open-minded when your mentor talks with you and that you come with questions or a direction to the meeting as to not waste their time.Make Sure You Have Financial OptionsWhile you switch hats, ride the rollercoaster, take calls from customers on days off, and try to somehow maintain life balance, the one thing a business owner must have peace of mind and security with is finances (personally and professionally).As a small business, make sure you work with a banker or company that is transparent and that you can trust. As your business grows, there will be growing pains, and that is a good thing, especially if you have a banker or lender who supports small businesses and simplifies things. Be sure to speak up to your lender about various types of resources, loans, business credit cards, and cash advances that best fit your niche.

Making Online Education Attractive

All over the world, the numbers of people in school at the different levels takes pyramidal shape. There are huge numbers at the elementary, but as they progress, the numbers decrease, leaving just a few in higher education. In the United States, some 65 million students were expected to enroll from K to K12 in the fall of 2015. In the same period, it was expected that 20.2 million would be attending Colleges and Universities. It is estimated that 25% of fresh high school students in the U.S.A are not able to graduate. For fresh students who enter colleges or universities 1 out of 3 are likely not make it to second year. This dropout out rate hinders national development, because many people do not receive the full training they need to be functional in society. National development would be hugely fostered, if more adults receive education, in order that they become functional in society.I am not saying that all adults who were not fully educated are not playing important roles in society. There are very prominent individuals in society who dropped out of school at some level. Bill Gate, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, for example, at some point dropped out of school. Though this list is not exhaustive, the number of people who dropped out of school or decided not to gain higher education and yet became successful are relatively few. For the majority who dropped out or discontinued education, and could not become successful in their careers, it was because they lacked the knowledge they needed to develop their potential. If you check the history of those who in spite of dropping out or discontinuing schooling have become successful, you would find that appeared to have found their life’s purpose and so pursued those goals and, more importantly, they received some kind of education later.Education as we all know is a life-long activity. At any point in time, whether you dropped out of school or got honors at your graduation, you would need education. The school dropout who has found himself a vocation or gained employment needs education so he/she can be more productive, the dropout who has realized the need to school but has ‘grown past school going age’ and desires to school obviously needs education, managers as well as employees need further education in order to keep pace with today’s rapidly changing world and gain increased wages and status respectively. Somehow, the traditional education dependent society we have created for ourselves and considers the ‘best’, limits our quest for continuing education. For many people, formal education ended the day they dropped out or graduated from High School, College or University, even though, technology makes it possible for us to sit in our houses and still get quality education.When technology – computers and internet connectivity – replaced physical classrooms and made it possible to study by distance in real time, it appeared the issue of continuous education for everyone, including the dropout and the working class have been solved. It appeared, and still does, that now the teacher need not leave his students, apply for study-leave or leave of absence to pursue further education. It appeared the fifty-year-old woman who dropped out of school several years ago could now school from home and it appeared the father could learn what his daughter is learning at College using the same device he uses to call her. That is what it appeared. Those who dropped out of school due to issues of finance and have not since had a breakthrough would not benefit, and those who have the money would not want to put their money into a certificate employers and academicians alike would frown upon. So little appear to have changed for these two groups of people, though online Colleges and Universities abound.Two prime issues are to blame. First, online education is too expensive for the target group of learners and second, there is the perception that online Colleges and Universities do not provide holistic education like the traditional Colleges and Universities. As indicated by Ed Vosganian – founder and CEO of College Funding 123, the cost of on-campus University for undergraduate is estimated at 42,000 dollars while for the same group it cost around 21,000 dollars for online universities. By comparison we would say that it cost far less to study via online. But we need not lose sight of those who mostly enroll in online University. It is those in the middle and lower classes who opt for online universities. They include; the employee who has sacrificed pleasure for higher qualification in return for better wages, the unemployed who wants to gain employable skills, the dropout who wants to get back to school in the hope that there will be a brighter future, and the people living in the remote part of the world, especially in the developing world, who don’t even have the money to pay fees and so would have to learn and work simultaneously. To these 21,000 dollars is money so huge, it is very difficult to raise. There are people of the higher income class who enroll in online universities, but online learning is not popular among these due to low prestige and the myths associated with online education. The online institutions will tell you, they would not put anything on your certificate to show that you received a non-traditional education. This kind of advert speaks of how society values online education. Online education is considered a cheap way of getting ‘watered down’ education. Online Colleges and Universities were until recently considered diploma mills. This perception still exists, though empirical evidence tells us there is no disparity in quality of students from traditional Colleges and Universities on one hand and online Colleges and Universities on the other. The online Universities and Colleges are doing their best to make online learning prestigious and bring down study cost, but they cannot do it alone. With government intervention online learning can become prestigious and lower and middle class friendly.Government should provide a national framework for online education, subsidize accreditation, and grant scholarships and student loans for students in online Colleges and Universities. A national framework to guide the operations of all online colleges and universities should be instituted by the state, through the Department of Education or the relevant government agency. This framework, which would be descriptive and not prescriptive in nature would describe, for example, the minimum courses to be taken at a given level, and the general mode of operation of online universities and colleges without prescribing specific courses or mode of operation. Accreditation is not just laborious for online Colleges and Universities; it is also expensive. This cost is passed to students, souring up program fees. If the government decides to absorb half the cost of accreditation, though there is no guarantee the program fees will be halved, the program fee would be reduced somehow. Lastly, most of the students who opt for online colleges and universities do not receive scholarships and student loans from the state. Those who receive something do not get huge scholarships and student loans like their counterparts in traditional Colleges and Universities. Government should make scholarships and students loans available to students of online Colleges and Universities just as it does for students in traditional Colleges and Universities.The ramifications of these interventions would definitely be awesome. Providing a national framework for online education would take away the false negative perception people have about online learning. Many think online learning is easy and also the number of credits taken are far less than those taken in traditional learning settings. This thinking exists because there are some poorly designed online courses in which certificate are awarded after just a couple of assignments have been submitted. Such practices can be stopped, when a national framework is developed and operationalized. A national framework will give credibility to online learning, because a national standard for online would have to be adhered to and so no online college or university can just sell certificate. Subsidizing Accreditation will yield three results. The most obvious is that, it would reduce program fees because amount to pass to the students would be less. Subsidizing accreditation fees would encourage online Colleges and Universities to seek accreditation from accrediting bodies recognize by the Department of Education or the appropriate state agency. Even though accreditation is not compulsory in some parts of the world, like the united states, some occupation that require state licensing would not accept degree from non-accredited Colleges and University. Prospective online learners are, usually, worried about whether the can easily work with their certificates. Government intervention would remove this worry and remove the negative perception people have about online education as well. Government interventions in the form of scholarship and loans would ease the financial burden and make it possible for those who hitherto would not be able to school to do so. In sum, government intervention would go a long way to produce an enlightened society by permitting many people to receive higher education.There are many people wanting to get higher education through online Colleges and Universities so they gain knowledge and skills, or enhance their knowledge and skills but cannot do because of either the cost or the uncertainty of the acceptability of the certificate. Government intervention in the form of national framework for online universities and colleges, subsidizing accreditation cost and providing scholarships and student loans would open the door for those who want to study from home. Government intervention can give the assurance that online learning is as good as traditional college or university learning, and that their certificate would be accepted jobs that require state licensing. It would ease the pressure on facilities in traditional Colleges and Universities, produce the well-educated citizenry needed for national development and convert the current pyramidal shape into a ‘near’ cylinder.REFERENCEEd Vosganian (n.d.). The Real Price of Online College. Retrieved from http://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/financial-aid/online-college-degree-cost/.