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Life as a small business owner is one filled with peaks and valleys. There’s the rush received from an influx of new orders. The thrill of payments posting to your account. The disappointment when a customer isn’t happy and the despair when times are slow. Most realistic small business owners recognize that these experiences are not only possibilities, but each is likely to happen at some point. Yet, what so many seem to overlook or fail to prepare for are those pesky last-minute cancellations. The best way to tackle these is with an established cancellation policy. A well-written cancellation policy is like insurance for a small business in that it protects you when you’re most vulnerable. Concepting and drafting that cancellation policy template is also a lot easier than most people think. If a customer blowing you off has burned your business in the past, you’ll want to read our tips below on creating a simple but effective cancellation policy.

Cash will always be king, but credit cards are the ace for millions of Americans across the country. In fact, more than 70% of American households have at least one general credit card. Despite the credit card’s place in today’s society, the widespread popularity of “charging it” is actually a relatively new phenomenon. Retailers in the 1970s were hesitant to accept credit cards. Consumers balked at embracing them out of fear of being on the hook for unauthorized charges. But that all changed with the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) of 1974. This amendment to the Truth in Lending Act instilled consumer confidence.  It provided protection from unfair billing practices and identity theft. FCBA was also responsible for the creation of what we now call a “chargeback.” As a small business owner, you might have heard the term before, but you might not be sure how to handle them. Read on to learn more about what a chargeback means for your business and how to avoid them.

There was a song in the 1980s that shot up the charts about a hard-working blue-collar woman hustling for a paycheck. That popular Donna Summer tune about a restroom attendant was titled, “She Works Hard for the Money.” What Summer didn’t call it was, “She Works Hard Out of the Goodness of Her Heart.” If you’re a small business owner, you can undoubtedly relate to this hit song’s subject. You work hard at your craft, and you deserve payment for it. This is where things can get tricky, if you don't have a solid handle on the invoice process. With so many moving parts, invoicing can be a particularly troubling function—but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve got the invoicing tips you’re looking for on what to do, what to avoid and the one thing that can make it all easier than ever before.

There’s a common belief that employees leave jobs because they want more money. In our heads, we often think of these emotionally charged decisions in the way that they’re portrayed in pop culture. We picture scenes that involve the ironfisted boss rebuffing the underdog employee’s request for a modest raise. The reality is far less dramatic. In fact, only about 12% of employees leave their jobs over money, but nearly 80% exit because they don’t feel appreciated. To put it bluntly, people quit bosses, not companies. Respectful, inclusive, and collaborative working environments go a long way to improving your overall retention and employee productivity.

Contrary to what some may believe, there are still effective methods of advertising your small business. In ways that don’t involve the internet. If you just let out a gasp and clutched your chest, we understand why you’d feel that way. Between display, social media, search engine marketing, remarketing, video and email, the tried-and-true approaches of yesteryear seem all but forgotten. But the truth is, tactics like direct mail can still work if done in the right way. Postcard marketing is a perfect example. In one survey conducted in the UK, 57% of respondents said that postcard marketing made them feel more valued and that a postcard created a more authentic relationship. As it turns out there’s something to be said for a tangible ad. One that you can hold and put on the fridge. If using postcards is an approach that you’re considering adding to your marketing mix, you should be aware of both the pros and cons.

The most successful small businesses are usually those that stick to well-defined processes that run like clockwork. Whether it’s over the course of bidding, product development, customer service or invoicing, developing a proven and effective flow for how, when, where and why things happen can be the difference in a company thriving and not surviving. While many leaders of small businesses recognize the value in a referral program as a lead generation source, less will realize the importance of process planning.  In the same way, a lack of control can cause chaos in product development or in customer service, let's say, the same can be said about a referral program. If you really want to do it right, here are four questions to ask yourself before starting a referral program.

It seems unfathomable, but computers in the 1950s were a far cry from the slick and portable machines we depend on today. With the concept of the personal computer years away from coming to fruition, clunky mainframes (that’s what they used to call computers) occupied entire rooms in schools and large corporations [paywall]. Given the size and cost of these monstrosities, mainframe users often shared access to data through smaller stations around the office. Though no one called it by name at the time, this type of networking was laying the groundwork for what we refer to today as “cloud computing.”

When you’re a small home service business it can feel like you have the weight of the company on your shoulders. Not only performing duties that your customers require, but you also have all the backend obligations. Wearing that hat means that you must stay plugged-in to all aspects of company operations. It can be challenging to keep track of all of these moving parts. If there is one area where you simply can’t afford to make a mistake, it’s in the handling of finances. WHERK Home Service Software is helping businesses like yours control, manage, and report on their finances. Here are just a few ways showing how.

Being a business owner or a manager can be a challenge for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest is putting a plan in place to keep employees accountable. There’s a fine line between being a supportive manager and being a micromanager. Lean too far to one side, and your employees yearn for freedom and start to resent you. Lean too far to the other, and you strip them of the chance to learn and grow. With such a thin margin of error, it’s crucial that you develop a plan to keep employees accountable. Whether they’re located in the office or out in the field. We’ve put together three quick tactics to consider incorporating as part of that plan.

As a society, there are a few things we do more than publicize our likes and dislikes. We love to leave glowing restaurant reviews on Yelp.  Singing the praises of our favorite running shoes to friends at the gym. We vent about a car dealership mishap or rude cashiers at the grocery store on social media. And though we all seem to be talking all of the time, it turns out most of us are actually listening too. Statistics show that 83% of Americans say that word-of-mouth recommendations from a friend or family member make them more likely to buy something. That statistic is even more pronounced when you look at younger demos like Millennials. They are 115% more influenced by word-of-mouth than traditional advertising. Word-of-mouth marketing can lead to so many conversions.  Many small businesses have looked for ways to capitalize on customers’ fervent fan-hood. The most obvious method is through a referral program. With most small business tactics, there’s hardly a one-size-fits-all approach. In hopes of spurring some ideas that might work for your business, we’ve put together a list of a few of our favorite referral programs.