Starting a retail or service business? Looking to form relationships with wholesale suppliers? There are currently 300,000 companies in the U.S. wholesale distribution industry, so as you can imagine, finding and forming trusted relationships with wholesalers takes time and research. Here are some tips for finding wholesalers, and best practices for entering into agreements with them. 1. The Wholesale Business The wholesale industry is large and highly fragmented, with 50 of the largest distributors generating 25 percent of industry...
From starting and growing a business to managing operations day-to-day, one thing is certain in business – dealing with laws and regulations. Whether you are hiring your first employee, formalizing your business structure, or applying for a license, you’ll encounter a hairball of ever-changing federal, state and local rules and regulations. To help business owners unravel the hairball and get answers, SBA.gov offers a variety of helpful tools and resources. 1. Comply With Universal Business Laws Whatever your business...
Are you a fan of TV business “makeover” or mentoring shows? Programs like Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Tabatha Takes Over, Shark Tank, or The Apprentice make for compelling viewing. Designed as pure entertainment, these shows often smack of voyeurism, like you’re watching a train wreck about to happen. But they can also offer invaluable insights to business owners – opening our eyes to some universal truths about entrepreneurship and business ownership. Not convinced? Here are some transformational learning...
When it comes to insurance, small businesses stand to lose the most by not having adequate coverage. And while the mega-disasters like last year’s Hurricane Irene get a lot of media attention, those cataclysmic events are rare. Smaller disasters, like the neighborhood power outage or the burst pipes that leads to a business shutting down for just a couple of days, hour, can force an under-insured business to close down for good. Ten months after Hurricane Irene ravaged communities along the East Coast and Puerto Rico,...
Are you the person in charge of running your small company’s marketing campaigns? Ever get a sense there’s a disconnect between what the Marketing team and the Sales team are doing? Large and small businesses alike deal with this challenge on a regular basis. Marketing is busy planning and executing campaigns to generate new leads, while Sales is off pursuing its own goals and even devising its own campaigns! Successful marketing cannot happen in a silo. This is especially true for small businesses, where success hinges on...
One of the elements in the grand scheme of things is knowing what makes your business different from the competition. What you do with that knowledge can make or break your business. Specifically, are these differentiators clearly defined and part of your sales strategy? Can you explain the following? Why your business is different from the competition? Why your differentiators matter to your customers? People call this the “so what” factor. If you are in the B2B space, how do you help your customers...
Do you have a great e-newsletter program? Looking to build your list of email subscribers while you offer more valuable content to your Facebook fans? Facebook and other social media are great tools for building connections and community for your business and its customers. But Facebook isn’t always the best outlet for communicating your most important updates. Newsfeeds are busy places, and it can be hard to get the attention of fans as easily as a newsletter or email update can. But how can you convert your fans to email subscribers...
Next week is National Small Business Week and for the 49th year, entrepreneurs, SBA and other members of the small business community will gather in Washington, D.C., for the highlight of the week – the National Small Business Week Conference. Aside from the awards and numerous networking opportunities presented by the event (running from May 20-22 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel), the conference also includes a schedule of educational seminars and forums offering a variety of learning opportunities across many topics for...
Are you a veteran or service-disabled veteran? Interested in launching your own business? According to the latest SBA data, of the 27.1 million non-farm businesses in the U.S., 2.4 million are owned by veterans. Moreover, statistics show that the success rate of these veteran-owned businesses is higher than other startups – perhaps a reflection of the discipline, skills and leadership experience acquired in military service. There are a number of resources and programs from a variety of government and non-profit associations that are...
While growth in the travel and tourism business is still in recovery mode, the early warm temperatures across most of the U.S. coupled with an uptick in positivity over the future of the economy could make 2012 a good year for the U.S. tourist industry and the small businesses that support it. Today, Commerce Secretary John Bryson and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the Administration’s National Tourism and Travel Strategy [PDF] – delivering on President Obama’s call in January for a national strategy to promote...
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General small business tips and tricks.
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