These days, loyal customers are hard to come by. So when you do have customers who are faithful to your business, returning day after day and year after year, you want to reward them. But how? There are many ways to reward your loyal customers, from simple paper-based methods to mobile apps and more. Here’s a look at some different options to consider. Rewards cards: Depending on your customer base, your budget and how sophisticated you want to get, you can start at the basic level with paper punch cards (“Buy 10, get one...
With fast access to cash, convenience and all the perks that come along with it, a business credit card is a standard tool used by business owners. But did you know that less than 50% of the credit cards obtained by business owners nationwide are actually in the company’s name? It’s a shocking reality, to say the least, but the good news is there are plenty of business credit cards that cater to savvy business owners like you who understand the importance of establishing business credit. The majority of cards one can obtain for a...
Sometimes, the best-laid plans don’t pan out. Take business ownership, for instance. Think about how many businesses are started and closed in the US every year. Not every business makes it. But, every small business owner wants to make it. Why else would someone risk their money, and commit the time and energy needed to be their own boss? Working For Yourself I’ve been my own boss since 2001. I call the shots. I decide my marketing budget. I decide how much of a salary I take out of my business. I choose when to take a vacation. I...
The SBA uses a number of definitions for “small business,” depending on the industry. So, too, does the tax law, which has various definitions of “small business” for different tax breaks. These definitions are based on employees, revenues, expenditures and assets. Confusing? You bet! Here’s a list to help you. Employee-based definitions DbK retirement plan. This type of qualified retirement plan, which has yet to be utilized because of lack of IRS guidance, combines a pension with a contributory element (like...
It used to be that most of the business world understood that simple, clear business writing was a powerful skill. We needed to communicate, explain and convince people in memos, proposals, plans and reports. Simple sentences worked better. Clear and concise worked better. Maybe I care more about writing than the next person because I’ve spent so much of my career dealing with business plans: writing them for years, then getting them funded and, more recently, reading them. I read more than 100 business plans a year. They’re...
If you are looking to make any major improvements in your business, whether it is a second location, new equipment, or an additional product line, you most likely need business financing. But getting financing for your business can be intimidating. Despite this economic downturn, banks are still lending. However, the way banks are lending to small businesses has changed pretty significantly and they are more cautious about where the money is going, especially when considering a loan to new businesses with no track record. As a result, you may...
The Great Recession technically ended back in 2009, but you wouldn’t know it from the way Americans are spending (and saving) these days. Despite some natural post-election optimism, issues such as rising food and energy prices, Congress’ “fiscal cliff” and debt ceiling struggles, and the rise in the payroll tax mean Americans are still clutching their wallets tight. With many Americans widely feeling that “we’re not out of the woods yet,” how can your small business develop marketing messages that...
During the initial stages of the business credit building process, I’m sure you have heard about the importance of setting up a commercial office location. A physical location that is zoned for business speaks volumes for your company and its operation. If you decide to use your home address for your company’s business address, keep in mind that some lenders may not extend credit to a “home-based” business. However, you still have many credit opportunities with a home-based business; so don’t let that stop you. If...
Small business people still seem to be in the process of catching on to Google+, the social network created by Google. Google has made a number of moves to encourage people to use Google+. It has tied in several applications to Google Plus. One of those applications is Google Hangouts. Hangouts are a type of online group meeting using webcams so that each of the participants can see and hear the others. Think video conference and webinar all rolled up in one. With Hangouts, you can hold group presentations online and automatically record them...
If you’re thinking of becoming the owner of a franchise-type of business, there’s something you need to know about franchising…and you may not like it. Now, what I’m about to share probably won’t be a game-changer if you’re really bent on buying a franchise, but you need to have as much factual information on this business model before you invest in one. Here goes: You’re going to have certain restrictions placed on you. And according to “Buying a Franchise: A Consumer Guide” published by...
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