Whatever stage your business is at - from hiring your first employee, filing your first W-2, or applying for a loan - a barrage of forms will require your attention. And as a small business owner, it's more than likely your responsibility to take care of this particularly time consuming area of business management. However, in many instances, small business owners either aren't aware of their regulatory obligations or simply don't know where to find the multitude of government-wide forms they need to ensure they are operating...
Selling imported goods within the U.S. can be a lucrative business opportunity. High demand imported products such as artisan crafts, furniture and even food and beverage products such as olive oils, wine, etc. represent a significant market opportunity for savvy business owners. Margins of up to 700% can be lucrative indeed. If you are interested in importing and selling overseas goods into the U.S. market - whether you are actually based in the U.S. or not - you will need to do your research regarding both the country of export and...
Raising funds to support the philanthropic mission of any non-profit organization can be a time consuming chore often fraught with trial and error. While splashy one-off fundraisers (otherwise known as 'episodic funding') can generate a large chunk of charitable change they can also consume much needed resources for months on end. At the other end of the spectrum, 'ongoing' fundraising tactics, while easier to execute, oftentimes don't generate the required financial rewards. To succeed in fundraising, your non-profit must diversify its...
The online social media revolution that has bought us Facebook and Twitter actually started back in the late 90's when the term 'blog', short for 'weblog', entered the lexicon. Since then the activity of blogging has exploded and it was in May 2005 that BusinessWeek proclaimed that *Blogs Will Change Your Business. They certainly have. Why are blogs important for your business? Blogs provide business owners with unprecedented ways of reaching and engaging with large audiences in a way that the traditional one-way information push of a...
Whether you are on a trade show floor, making a sales pitch, or seeking investment, perfecting your elevator pitch can be one of the most important things your business can do. From the moment you start-up (when no one has ever heard of you), having a well rehearsed and compelling elevator pitch can help buyers, clients and potential investors get to know you quickly. More than simply explaining your product, industry, or 'big idea' a business elevator pitch is essentially how you speak about your business to others in a way that engages...
'I need help starting my business!' - is a common cry from many budding small business owners. And it's no wonder. Starting a business is a huge step for any entrepreneur to undertake, and requires careful planning as well as business smarts and the right advice. While there are many useful online resources for businesses to help with start-up planning, preparation and management - including this one from Business.gov, '10 Steps to Starting a Business' - there is nothing quite as valuable as in-person assistance. This can...
Note: The ARRA (Recovery Act) initiatives and/or programs referenced in this article will expire on September 30, 2010. Any statements about qualifying time periods, or extensions of these dates, as they pertain to the availability of ARRA programs are over-ridden by the expiration of the Act on September 30, 2010. No doubt about it, the current economic recession has hurt small businesses as well as the people they employ. But despite the reduction in consumer spending, dried up credit, ongoing debt and continued uncertainty about the...
Starting your own business may be one of the biggest risks you will take in your life - and the statistics confirm it. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), two-thirds of new businesses survive for a minimum of two years, with only 44 percent surviving at least four years. Yet, in good and bad times, the dream of being your own boss and pursuing a for-profit or non-profit business venture can be an enticing one. In fact, when the economy struggles, the number of non-employer small businesses tends to increase at a higher rate...
'Main Street' has now become a generic term synonymous with U.S. small business in general. But for many entrepreneurs, the prospect of joining Main Street in its more literal meaning - i.e. the primary retail street of a village or town - still holds an enormous amount of appeal as a business venture. Given the right amount of market research, business planning, and financial support, starting a retail business (and joining the more than 24 million people who earn a living this way) can offer many rewards to the right kind of entrepreneur....
Whatever your product or service, and whatever the market – whether it be federal, state or local government – winning a share of government business can be a complex and time-consuming process. And no matter how lucrative government contracting can be, for many small business owners the prospect of contracting directly (called 'prime contracting') with a government agency is simply not within their capacity or scope. This is where government subcontracting comes into play. As a small business, your best bet for winning a...
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