Just because you are a “small business” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be thinking big. Your plans for expanding your enterprise may include opening a second location a few miles down the road or increasing your product line, but you should also consider how you can take advantage of the global marketplace. Are your goods/services needed in other parts of the world? Can you source your materials more efficiently overseas? International business holds enormous potential for business – not just large corporations, but...
Business credit cards are a major source of financing for small business owners in today’s economy. Statistics even show that over 65% of small businesses use credit cards on a frequent basis. So why have business credit cards become such a popular source of financing? In a recent survey conducted by the National Small Business Association, “twenty-nine percent of small business owners report having their loans or lines of credit reduced in the last four years and nearly 1 in 10 had their loan or line of credit called in early by...
In my last article, I wrote about 6 ways to brand your business using social media. Each of those 6 ways was relatively simple -- something just about any small business could do -- yet many overlook. I’m back this month with another six ways. Again, the focus is on activities that you don’t need a big budget for -- just a little time and some elbow grease, and you, too, can take advantage of these ways. I'll pick up the numbering where I left off, starting with #7: 7. Link to...
The holiday season is almost here and no matter what type of business you have, hosting an event is a great way to market your business during this festive time. Events can work for retailers, restaurateurs, business-to-business companies and personal service providers. Since a good event takes time to pull off, the time to start planning is now. Here are some steps to hosting a successful event. Decide what you want to accomplish. Every successful event starts with a clear goal. Are you hoping to get prospects’ contact information, sell...
It’s that time of year: changing colors, chill air, thoughts of holidays coming, the shock of another year ending. Does your business slow down during December, like my business planning software business always does, and so many other do? If so, then this becomes a good time for a planning refresh. My business has always had slowdowns in the end of November and December. We recognized the pattern years ago and started to work with it. December became our time for pulling away from the business, looking out at the horizon, talking to...
Dozens of federal tax breaks are scheduled to end on December 31 unless Congress extends them. No one knows for sure which ones, if any, will apply next year, so business owners should explore expiring rules and take advantage of them while they can. Here are some expiring breaks that may appeal to you: Break 1: Faster write-offs for buying needed equipment Need to upgrade your computers? Provide staff with tablets and smartphones? Add new machinery? You have two better ways to deduct your costs this year than merely depreciating the costs...
If your business is incorporated and you want to reward employees, consider issuing stock. Using this form of compensation has benefits to employees and to you. Company perspective If you pay a cash bonus or give a fringe benefit, it’s a cash drain to the company. Issuing stock as compensation is not. You merely issue shares to the employee equal to the bonus, reward, or compensation you intend. Company stock can come with restrictions on stock transfers or substantial risk of forfeiture that effectively tie employees to you. For example...
How do you get started on a business plan? It depends on who you are, what you like, what you do well and how you think. People are all different. I say think of a business plan as a collection of components or modules, and start wherever you feel like it. Here are five specific suggestions, based on the idea that people should start with what’s best for the individual, depending on style. Which one is best for you? 1. Do a SWOT analysis. That’s a collection of thoughts organized into four categories: strengths, weaknesses,...
One of the most important decisions you can make as a business owner, a marketer, an accountant and a business strategist is determining a price for your product or service. The price you choose to set communicates value, market position and customer expectations. From a backend perspective, it also determines the ever-important potential of profit. If you’re working to develop the perfect pricing strategy for your new product or service or if are re-evaluating your current pricing strategy, take advantage of the free resources offered...
Does it feel like summer was just yesterday? Well, it’s time to put away the pool toys, cover the grill and pack up the bathing suits. For small retailers, it’s time to start planning your 2013 holiday marketing strategy. (In fact, in a recent Experian survey, 69 percent of marketers had already started planning—last month!). Here are some tips to get you started. Determine your marketing mix. What types of marketing messages do you want to get out, and in what channels? Will you use traditional methods such as direct mail,...
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