Whether it’s Main Street or Silicon Valley, your business location can mean the difference between success and failure. But more than that, your business location is the linchpin for your reputation, your brand, and your profits. In fact, choosing a business location is perhaps the single most important decision a small business owner or startup will make, so it requires precise planning and research. It involves looking at demographics, assessing your supply chain, scoping the competition, staying on budget, understanding how state laws...
Social coupon sites have been around for a few years now, and they still continue to attract and perplex small business owners. Companies such as Groupon, Living Social and EverSave have created a marketing phenomenon, delivering huge benefits to consumers – but not always delivering the return on investment that businesses might have expected. If you’re exploring the use of social coupons, here are some tips for assessing whether they will work for your business and how to plan a successful campaign. What Can Social Coupons Do for...
How are you backing up your small business data? If you are like most small businesses, you could be compromising your business and its data on a daily basis. A 2011 survey by Carbonite, a provider of online backup solutions, found some facts about data loss that may surprise you: Forty-eight percent of American small businesses with between two and twenty employees have experienced data loss, up from 42 percent in 2010. Top causes of data loss include hardware/software failure (54 percent), accidental deletion (54...
How’s your business networking strategy doing? Have you even got one? It doesn’t matter what type of business you run, networking with potential partners, customers, suppliers and even your peers is an essential part of business ownership. For many of us though, the term “networking” conjures up images of schmoozy sales pitches and painfully difficult networking events. Let’s face it – it can be downright scary throwing yourself into a room with a glass of wine in your hand as your only defense from the...
In late January, SBA Administrator Karen Mills spoke before an audience of entrepreneurs at one of the top business forums in the country. Here’s what she told them: “We all know the facts. Small businesses create two out of every three new jobs. More than half of working Americans either own or work for a small business. And they are the foundation of the middle class. They are part of the economic bloodstream of this country; one of our greatest assets. America’s entrepreneurs have a strong spirit, a resiliency...
Are you interested in the restaurant or food service business, but don’t know whether to go the franchise route or start your own business from scratch? The food service industry is the largest and most prominent sector in franchising today, and while not entirely risk-free, it’s often perceived as a safer bet for new business owners. Of course, restaurant franchise ownership isn’t for everyone. Being a franchise owner requires a particular type of personality, solid research, and a willingness to work within the confines of...
According to U.S. Census data, e-commerce sales are increasing at a rate faster than traditional offline retail sales, raking in approximately $190 billion in sales in 2011. So it’s no surprise that budding entrepreneurs and existing “bricks and mortar” businesses are turning to e-commerce as a business opportunity. You only need to browse the SBA.gov Community Discussion Boards to see how many topics focus on how to start an e-commerce business! Given this interest, I thought it would be useful to draw on the advice of...
Speaking about his own incredible path to business success, Microsoft’s Bill Gates once said: “We were young, but we had good advice and good ideas and lots of enthusiasm.” There’s no doubt that good ideas and enthusiasm are among the vital traits for successful entrepreneurs, but, as Gates says, getting “good advice” is also essential. But who should you turn to if you need advice or have questions about starting and running a business? Here’s an overview of invaluable online and face-to-face...
Has someone opened up a competing business in your town? Are you worried that the town isn’t big enough for both of you and your business may be at risk? Not sure how to react to the new competition? If you’ve been secure in your market as the go-to business for XYZ and suddenly find that your customers have another option, what can you do to fight back? Remember, there are no quick fixes, but here are some tips for dealing with competitors and, quite possibly, collaborating with them! 1. Don’t Get into a Price War...
Ever feel that your employees don’t respect you? You may think: “So what!” But that would be a mistake. The trouble is that when an employee starts to lose respect, your authority and control can quickly be undermined. Even if you are not aware of a problem employee, the effect can be toxic. Productivity levels drop, accountability diminishes, and the problem behavior can spread to others. Why Do Employees Lose Respect for Their Employers? Accepting that your employees may not respect you isn’t easy. There can be...
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General small business tips and tricks.
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