As a member of the Ohio SBDC team, I don’t work in a silo. I work with an amazing team of people who are true experts in their fields and have an undying passion to help others achieve their business goals. So sometimes I think it’s good to share the wealth; to share the thoughts and experiences of some phenomenal individuals with you and opportunity to be heard with them. Here, be enlightened by Michael Bowers*, Regional Director of the Ohio Small Business Development Center at Columbus State Community College. Michael’s 10...
I’m going to start off this post saying something that may make you want to click away. I’d like to ask you to fight that instinct. Stick with me, and I’ll explain why. Here goes: “Small Business Set-Asides”. Are you still with me? So often, when someone starts talking about small-business set-asides, half the audience either tunes out or leaves the room. Medium and large companies assume they are shut out of this “special” deal the government has worked out for small businesses....
Are you artful in the kitchen? Have your friends praised your delectable tasty treats? Perhaps you’ve been encouraged to turn your culinary skills into a business of your own. Before you start dreaming about becoming the next Mrs. Field’s, make sure you have the right recipe for success. It’s not as simple as whipping together the flour, sugar, butter and eggs. If you don’t do your homework, you can end up in hot water. First, just as with any business start-up you must carefully plan your business strategy...
Don’t dismiss business planning just because you don’t need to show a document to anybody. One of the best fringe benefits of a good business planning process is the teamwork and collaboration it can generate. 1. The magic of metrics Never underestimate the power of metrics: it's about giving people concrete, measurable goals, so they can track their own progress. Money-based metrics like sales and expense budgets are obvious, but a good business planning process gives an organization a chance to develop and manage metrics for...
The Web has found its killer-app, and it is social media. No question about it. In the decade of the 'aughts,' business learned that their customers are using the Internet in a way that puts sharing and socializing front and center, instead of what many thought the whole point would be: assembling and displaying vast piles of pretty but unconnected content. This was a shock. Should it have been? Regardless, many businesses want to make up for any lost time. Businesses are racing to social media, learning as much as they can as fast as...
Small and medium-sized businesses want and need to deal with governments at all levels. Thanks to a listserv I monitor, I came across these sources of state and local government information. USA.gov. Look on the right side of the home page for a link to Government Agencies *The State and Local Government Internet directory 'provides convenient one-stop access to the websites of thousands of state agencies and city and county governments. Use the drop-down menus on the left to view directory pages for: •States: State Government Offices -...
Want to give your company a higher profile online? If starting your own blog seems like too big of a commitment for your business, don't worry. You don't have to start your own blog to get publicity-you just have to get mentioned in someone else's blog. Before you begin your quest to get blogged about, it's important to understand a few things about blogs. Most successful bloggers post new content at least two or three times a week. Of course, many of them post much more frequently than that-several times a day isn't unusual. That means...
You may have incorporated your business or formed a limited liability company (LLCs) with the idea of obtaining liability protection for your personal assets. Think you’re protected? Think again. You may not have the protection you expect. Here are three traps that can put your personal assets at risk and how you can protect yourself. 1. Sloppy business practicesGood business practices require that you keep good books and records on your business activities and that you separate your personal finances from your business finances....
If you are a fitness aficionado (or if you aren’t but wish you were), then perhaps you have noticed the way that doing exercises changes the way you move. Dancing does the same thing but I figure there are probably fewer ballerinas out there than there are microbusiness owners trying to avoid becoming mouse potatoes. Besides, for some of us, (aerobic) dance is our favorite form of exercise. See, you can think about improving your posture. You can spend a small fortune getting yourself adjusted while enduring lectures from your...
Do you remember the last time you made a major purchase? Whether that purchase was a house or a car, you attempted to gather as much information as possible in order to make sure you were doing the right thing. Well, investing in a franchise business of your own is major. Here's how to research one. I do about 20 franchise seminars/classes a year. I enjoy it, and I feel that my audiences benefit tremendously. Once in awhile, an audience member will come up to me after my presentation, and say this: 'Joel, I wish I would have heard...
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