This week in small business: Get back to the basics!

In spring training teams, always start with reinforcing the fundamentals and we seemed to have a lot of that across the Internet last week. Below you’ll find links to posts that focus on creating great habits, protecting your business online, building your brand, financial basics, and more.

Leadership, management, and productivity

For many small business owners, their business and personal finances are closely linked. For that reason, I think many owners will benefit from the solid financial advice in Edward Shepard’s How to Make the Two Most Important Habits for Financial Success (and, the two habits definitely carry over to the business world.)

Sometimes you need to take time out with a great book. In this essay by Dan Coughlin, he looks back at his 2017 reading highlights. You’ll find many inspiring titles here.

John Rampton is right on the money in his article on working smarter not harder. His 10 tips will help you make 2018 your most productive year yet.

Kathy Larchian leads marketing, operations, and growth, and manages the creative team at the design and invention firm PENSA. Don’t miss Laura Emily Dunn’s profile of Larchian in the Huffpost.

In today’s online world you can’t have too much cybersecurity, so make sure you’re up on Bill Hess’ eight ways to protect your business from online risks. (Number one seems obvious, but I bet many businesses neglect it.)

Marketing and sales

Richard Bensted covers SEO and human-centered design fundamentals well in his BizCommunity article on how to build brand experiences with SEO.

While the year is still young, bone up on 2018’s five key digital marketing trends as forecast by Maddy Osman. Next, compare Maddy’s list to the nine social media trends Chris Parbey says to expect this year.

Don’t go into hiring an SEO agency with false expectations. To prepare yourself, check out Georgi Todorov’s SEMrush piece.

Entrepreneurship, startups, and innovation

For much of the country lawn-mowing season isn’t here yet, so you should have time to read Jonathan Blumberg’s article about Christy Webber, who turned a summer lawn mowing job into a multi-million dollar business.

There’s no denying today’s youth movement and that’s why the advice from 10 members of the Young Entrepreneur Council on the most important thing to keep in mind, should be helpful.

List Stiffler puts the spotlight on an interesting startup: Armoire. It’s a woman’s clothing rental service. Next disruption or next disappearing act?

Politics, government, and the economy

Did you know that over the course of 2017, small business optimism posted an all-time yearly high? The NFIB published its results last week.