Small Business Tips

November 2016 Archive
Immigration Laws Proving Difficult for Business Owners

It’s not news that the U.S. is cracking down on illegal immigrants, though there is constant debate on how that should actually be done. It’s a focal issue among presidential candidates, and many people have a set opinion as to how this matter should be dealt with.

And it leaves very few people unaffected, especially business owners. In fact, the newest regulations have caused some new confusion. First, in August the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the implementation of a new “no-match” letter program, which would be a formal letter informing an employer that the social security number provided for an employee does not match that employee’s name. In October, the Northern District Court of California put this new program on hold, but in November the court suspended the injunction, giving DHS until March of 2008 to rework the program.

Continue Reading: “Immigration Laws Proving Difficult for Business Owners”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Expanding Your Business Overseas: Labor Laws
Implementing a Wellness Program
The Lawsuit Risks of Having a Website
Small Business Loans & Grants
Expanding Your Business Overseas: Money and Taxes

By Michelle Cramer
Wednesday, November 30th, 2016 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Business Law |

How to Improve Your Credit Score

We all know the importance of a good credit score. We know that, the higher our number on that scale from 340-800, the better chances we have of obtaining loans, buying a home or new car, or getting our business off and running.

While lenders may consider anyone for a loan/mortgage, individuals with credit scores of 700 or better are typically offered better interest rates and financing options. If your credit score is low, there are ways to improve it, but doing so first requires that you better understand how your credit score is calculated.

Your credit score is more or less calculated by the data of your credit history being punched into a program and that program coming up with a number. This is why your credit score may vary a bit between each of the three credit bureaus, since they don’t all use the same calculation program. While exact values are undetermined, the calculation of your credit score is broken down into these approximate values:

Continue Reading: “How to Improve Your Credit Score”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
IRS Payments by Credit Card
A Little Relief from High Gas Prices on the Horizon
How NOT to Fund a Business
A New Way for Employees to Get Paid
Debt Collection Strategies that Work (1 of 2)

By Michelle Cramer
Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 @ 12:03 AM CDT

Money |

Obtaining a Business Loan – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 8 of 8

OBTAINING A BUSINESS LOAN
Okay, so your Business Plan has been edited, revised, perfected and now you’ve got your final packet ready to go. You’re ready to march into the world and present your business to lenders in hopes of obtaining funds to get your business moving.

But not so fast.

Before you walk through the doors of any bank, you need to know what else they will be looking for outside of your Business Plan in order to approve a loan.

Credit History
What potential lenders will look at most are credit records for both the individual owners of the business (the credit report associated with your social security number) and the business itself (the credit report associated with the business’ EIN or tax identification number). So, before you take your fund request to a bank, request a copy of your credit report from all three agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Examine each report for errors and resolve all discrepancies before applying for a business loan.

Continue Reading: “Obtaining a Business Loan – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 8 of 8″


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Funding Request & Financial Information – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 5 of 8
Executive Summary, Table of Contents and Appendix – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 6 of 8
Funding Options for Small Business
How to Improve Your Credit Score
Common Mistakes – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 7 of 8

By Michelle Cramer
Monday, November 28th, 2016 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Money, Operations |

Common Mistakes – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 7 of 8

COMMON BUSINESS PLAN MISTAKES
Even with all of the information provided in the first six parts of this post series, there are still mistakes to be made on a Business Plan. No one is perfect and your Business Plan won’t turn out perfect on the first draft either (and probably not the second or third). However, there are some common mistakes to keep in mind when writing and reviewing your Business Plan that will at least aid in attaining perfection.

Failure to be Clear and Concise
The most common mistake when preparing any document is a failure to convey what you want to the reader. There are two main elements that can contribute to this error.

Continue Reading: “Common Mistakes – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 7 of 8″


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Overview – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 1 of 8
Executive Summary, Table of Contents and Appendix – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 6 of 8
Funding Request & Financial Information – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 5 of 8
Market Analysis – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 2 of 8
Define Organizational Structure & Management – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 3 of 8

By Michelle Cramer
Sunday, November 27th, 2016 @ 12:01 AM CDT

Operations, Startup |

Executive Summary, Table of Contents and Appendix – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 6 of 8

THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The executive summary is the most important part of your Business Plan and, in fact, should be the first section. However, you can’t do the executive summary until you are finished with all the other sections, which is why I saved it for last.

The executive summary is exactly as it name implies — it is a summary of your entire business plan. You also need to include a brief history of your company. The entire executive summary should not be longer than four pages. Consider using a bullet system to highlight information and make a smoother read. You want to provide information, but you don’t want to bore potential investors/lenders from the start. This is what will either grab their attention or give them the urge to find a wastepaper basket.

Continue Reading: “Executive Summary, Table of Contents and Appendix – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 6 of 8″


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Overview – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 1 of 8
Funding Request & Financial Information – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 5 of 8
Define Organizational Structure & Management – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 3 of 8
Common Mistakes – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 7 of 8
Obtaining a Business Loan – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 8 of 8

By Michelle Cramer
Saturday, November 26th, 2016 @ 12:01 AM CDT

Operations, Startup |

Funding Request & Financial Information – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 5 of 8

Welcome to the second half of my eight part post series on creating an effective Business Plan. I’m sure you enjoyed the break over the weekend, but are anxious to obtain the rest of the information you need. So let’s get started.

THE FUNDING REQUEST
The whole point of your Business Plan is to request money from investors and/or obtain a business loan through a bank. So, what would the Business Plan be without specifics on what funds your business needs? It’s one thing to request a dollar amount out loud, it’s another to specify exactly why you need that money and how it will be used. We’re certainly not talking about a few dollars here, so those that provide the funds to you want all the details they can get before making such a commitment.

Continue Reading: “Funding Request & Financial Information – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 5 of 8″


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Obtaining a Business Loan – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 8 of 8
Overview – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 1 of 8
Common Mistakes – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 7 of 8
Define Organizational Structure & Management – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 3 of 8
Executive Summary, Table of Contents and Appendix – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 6 of 8

By Michelle Cramer
Friday, November 25th, 2016 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Operations, Startup |

Define Strategies, Service & Product Line – How to Write a Business Plan: Part 4 of 8

MARKETING & SALES MANAGEMENT
Without marketing your business and your product/service, customers have no way of knowing that you’re out there. While the information regarding the organization of your business is important to investors, knowing your marketing plans is equally as important, since the marketing you do will generate revenue.

Marketing Strategy
You need to define your marketing strategy. Granted, your marketing strategy will often change, as you evaluate its effectiveness and changes in your business require changes in your advertising. But you do need to have a basic strategy in mind, which includes the following elements:

1. Market Penetration
In order to obtain customers, you have to make yourself known in the market. While you need advertising to do this, you also need to have a means. In other words, you need to continually develop new products and innovations to keep the customers interested. Market penetration requires using new products in existing markets and new markets using existing products. Explain in your business plan how you intend to penetrate the market.

Continue Reading: “Define Strategies, Service & Product Line – How to Write a Business Plan: Part 4 of 8″


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Knowing Your Customers
Overview – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 1 of 8
Market Analysis – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 2 of 8
Starting Your Own Business, Part 4 of 4
Investigate the Competition

By Michelle Cramer
Thursday, November 24th, 2016 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Operations, Startup |

Define Organizational Structure & Management – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 3 of 8

THE COMPANY DESCRIPTION
The next section of your Business Plan should contain a description of your company. Be sure to cover the following topics:

• Why you started the business.
• The nature of your business — what needs your business provides solutions for and how.
• What will make your business successful.
• The advantages your business has over the competition.

ORGANIZATION & MANAGEMENT
Following the Company Description is the Organization and Management section. You must show potential investors and banks that you are organized and ready to do business. If they don’t see that, they won’t invest.

Continue Reading: “Define Organizational Structure & Management – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 3 of 8″


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Overview – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 1 of 8
Executive Summary, Table of Contents and Appendix – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 6 of 8
Funding Request & Financial Information – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 5 of 8
Market Analysis – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 2 of 8
Common Mistakes – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 7 of 8

By Michelle Cramer
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Startup |

Market Analysis – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 2 of 8

MARKET ANALYSIS

The Market Analysis portion of your business plan is a means for showing your knowledge of the industry your business is involved in. This is where your market research will come into play. And you’re going to have to do a lot of work for this portion.

Start by studying, very thoroughly, your industry market and gathering as much information as possible. Additionally, you will need to conduct market tests of your product/service and compile that information. While the data and information you collect is crucial, this portion of your business plan will only cover the highlights and conclusions of all of your diligent work. The bulk of the information, as we will later see, will be contained within the Appendix section of your business plan.

Continue Reading: “Market Analysis – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 2 of 8″


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Funding Request & Financial Information – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 5 of 8
Define Strategies, Service & Product Line – How to Write a Business Plan: Part 4 of 8
Overview – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 1 of 8
Define Organizational Structure & Management – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 3 of 8
4 Ways to Keep Up on Industry Trends

By Michelle Cramer
Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Operations, Startup |

Overview – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 1 of 8

OVERVIEW

If you’ve started a business or are thinking about doing so, then you’ve probably heard that you need a business plan. If you in any way hope to have investors support your company growth or to obtain a business loan, you have to have a business plan. You won’t even be considered without one. It is more or less the sales pitch for your business.

A strong business plan consists of ten essential sections:

1. Market Analysis
2. Company Description
3. Organization & Management
4. Marketing & Sales Management
5. Service or Product Line
6. Funding Requests
7. Financial Information
8. Executive Summary
9. Appendix
10. Table of Contents

Over the next two weeks of posts I’m going to cover how to create an appropriate business plan, elaborating on each of these sections. Yes, it will take two weeks. There is a lot of information to cover and summarizing it into a few posts will not be helpful enough for you to put together effective business plan that will win investors and banks over.

Continue Reading: “Overview – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 1 of 8″


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Executive Summary, Table of Contents and Appendix – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 6 of 8
Define Organizational Structure & Management – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 3 of 8
Funding Request & Financial Information – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 5 of 8
Market Analysis – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 2 of 8
Common Mistakes – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 7 of 8

By Michelle Cramer
Monday, November 21st, 2016 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Operations, Startup |

Connections Trump Contacts

We’ve all had them – those annoying telemarketing calls right in the middle of dinner and spending some much needed time with our families. Even with no-call-list registration, a call sneaks through the cracks occasionally. We get frustrated and often, the poor individual on the other end gets an ear full.

But have you ever taken the opportunity to put yourself in that telemarketer’s shoes? As a business owner, you should, since sales is an important part of every business. I sure do because I actually had a telemarketing job at one point. Albeit, it was only for four months, but that’s because it was horrible. I didn’t make a sale the entire time I was there. Call after call made for nothing. In a telemarketing job the focus is quantity – the more calls you make, the more likely you are to get a sale. That simply wasn’t the case for me – it isn’t for most. Just look at the turnover rate for telemarketing businesses and you’ll see the effects.

And why is that? Because the people I called were simply contacts – a name and phone number filled out on a piece of paper (most likely a drawing for some type of prize) for individuals who didn’t even know what they were signing up for. The reason cold call and door-to-door sales people fail more than they succeed at a sale is because they are making contacts, not connections, with potential clientele.

Continue Reading: “Connections Trump Contacts”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Saving Time on the Telephone
Building New Business Contacts: Networking 101
Define Strategies, Service & Product Line – How to Write a Business Plan: Part 4 of 8
Tips for Dealing with Calls from Upset Clients
An Interesting Way to Win Potential Clients

By Michelle Cramer
Sunday, November 20th, 2016 @ 12:02 AM CDT

Networking, Operations |

New Innovations for Deterring Software Piracy

>We’ve all faced the temptation to burn a copy of someone’s Beatles album or Microsoft Office program. Heck, when programs like Napster first emerged and provided free mp3 downloads, everyone was taking advantages and burning CDs for pennies on the dollar.

But, in recent years, industries like the Business Software Alliance have attempted to crack down on piracy. The anti-piracy ad that accompanies all rental DVDs and movie theater trailers has now become common place. And, in fact, piracy is one of the top issues involved in the Hollywood writers strike. Unfortunately, the attempts thus far have had little effect on piracy rates, which, according to BSA, have stopped falling.

Continue Reading: “New Innovations for Deterring Software Piracy”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
How to Secure Your Business Against Computer Viruses
Windows XP on Apple/Intel Computers
Ways to Save on Technology in 2008
What to Expect from Technology in 2007
New Technology Leaves Spell-Check in the Dust

By Michelle Cramer
Saturday, November 19th, 2016 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Technology |

Remembering Your Customers

Working on that Christmas Card list? Well, don’t stop at just friends and family. Be sure that you get some cards to send on behalf of your business to your customers. Yes, it may be a bit of added expense, but it’s well worth giving clients the reminder that you’re still available to provide them with quality products and services.

Before you do anything else, figure out how much you have available in your budget to send cards and gifts to clients. Just like with your personal Christmas shopping, it’s important to establish a budget and keep yourself on track.

Continue Reading: “Remembering Your Customers”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Buddy Networking: A Clever Way to Expand Your Network
Tips for Running a Successful Seasonal Business
Networking Cards: The Business Card Alternative
How Likeable Are You?
Ideas to Generate Business on Valentine’s Day

By Michelle Cramer
Friday, November 18th, 2016 @ 12:05 AM CDT

Customer Service, Marketing |

The Beneficial Chaos of Black Friday

Ah, the holiday season. Were you crazy enough to go out into the world and shop at the crack of dawn this past Friday? I did so for the first time. I wouldn’t exactly call it a joyful experience, but it wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. Okay, it was close.

I already had in mind that I wasn’t going to spend the entire day pursuing every store in town for great bargains. After all, I’m seven months pregnant right now, and didn’t think that would be the best idea for me, especially by myself. So, I compared ads and found one location were I could get multiple items at a great price. Most of the items I bought were for my photography business, actually.

Continue Reading: “The Beneficial Chaos of Black Friday”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Internet Business Sees Holiday Shopping Boom
Easy Return Policy Means Return Customers
Getting Your Product to the National Market
Is Viral Marketing Effective?
Starting a Successful eBay Business (Part 4)

By Michelle Cramer
Thursday, November 17th, 2016 @ 12:03 AM CDT

Marketing, Operations |

Knowing Your Customers

There have been many occasions when I have discussed knowing who the target market for your product/service should be, what they’re looking for, etc. But the research and data shouldn’t stop at a marketing demographic. You need to get to know your customers individually as well.

A great way to do that is to develop a customer profile for each of your devote customers. You may be asking how you could get information on your customer without seeming nosy to them. Fortunately, most people are prone to talk to anyone that may listen, so it can really be easier than you might expect.

Continue Reading: “Knowing Your Customers”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
What Do Your Clients Need?
Dealing With Angry Customers
Market Analysis – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 2 of 8
Differentiate Your Business With Quality Customer Service
Advertising Quality in Your Product

By Michelle Cramer
Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 @ 12:01 AM CDT

Customer Service, Marketing |

Ways to Promote Yourself

When it comes to starting a new business, there is one thing that takes up the majority of your concern, stress and time. One thing that will really make or break you. The success of your business depends on getting the word out that your business actually exists. If no one knows that you’re out there, then you won’t have any clients, won’t make any money and the business will flop. It’s constantly in the back of your mind with regard everything you do and every business decision you make.

Therefore, promoting your business, especially in the beginning, should be your number one priority. And I’m not necessarily talking about in a marketing sense, because, let’s face it, you typically don’t have a lot of room in the budget when you’re just getting started to get a television ad going right from the start. You need to bring in a few clients first, and you’ve got to find inexpensive ways to do it.

Continue Reading: “Ways to Promote Yourself”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Local Currency Helps Small Business
How to Issue a Press Release
Rules for Networking on MySpace
Shared WiFi on the Way
5 Affordable Marketing Tips

By Michelle Cramer
Tuesday, November 15th, 2016 @ 12:01 AM CDT

Marketing, Networking, Startup |

The Psychology of Pricing

When starting your business, and throughout it’s progression, you will always be evaluating and reevaluating how much to actually charge for the product/service you provide. You must take into consideration how much it cost your business to make the product or provide the service (i.e., supplies, payroll, etc.), how much of a profit you will need to make in order to keep your business running, and the like.

But there is more to it than simply picking a price that covers your overhead and makes a little profit. You have to take into consideration the thought process of your average customer and the psychology of pricing.

You want to provide your clients with a perception that they’re getting a great deal, and there are a few possibilities for conveying that:

Continue Reading: “The Psychology of Pricing”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Finding the Right Price for Your Product or Service
How to Sell Your Services Better
Ways to Save on Technology in 2008
Starting a Successful eBay Business (Part 4)
What Makes Gasoline So Expensive These Days?

By Michelle Cramer
Monday, November 14th, 2016 @ 12:02 AM CDT

Money, Startup |

How Accessible are You?

Customer service is a key element in the success of your business. That’s not news to anyone. But a crucial element of customer service, that business owners often overlook, is being readily accessible to your clientele. That can be a challenge, but technology lends a hand in making it possible.

Continue Reading: “How Accessible are You?”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Saving Time on the Telephone
Direct Mail Marketing Tips (1 of 2)
The 411 on Schmoozing
Marketing Your Website
Enhance Your Image Through Your Words

By Michelle Cramer
Sunday, November 13th, 2016 @ 12:06 AM CDT

Customer Service, Marketing, Ownership |

New Safety Measures for Imports on the Horizon

On November 6th 2007, President Bush proposed new safety measures to insure that items imported into the United States meet safety standards. This step is resulting from the increased number of recalls in the past couple of years, specifically items such as toothpaste, dog food and toys produced overseas.

Bush proposes that the following improvements be made:

• Giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to order mandatory recalls of unsafe products. As it stands now, the FDA can only encourage companies to voluntarily recall unsafe items, but have no way of enforcing a recall if the company refuses to do so.

• An increase in the presence of U.S. inspectors from Customs, Border Patrol the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and other agencies in countries that are major exporters to the U.S.

• A certification program (“seal of approval”) for companies that meet safety standards on a proven and regular basis. This change is expected to help encourage retailers to use businesses with the certification, and help discern those companies that are not meeting safety standards often enough.

Continue Reading: “New Safety Measures for Imports on the Horizon”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Demand for Healthy Pet Food Presents Business Opportunity
Small Business Health Bill to Return to Senate
Preparing for a Health Inspection
How Changes in Congress Could Affect Small Business
Ideas to Generate Business on Valentine’s Day

By Michelle Cramer
Saturday, November 12th, 2016 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Business Law, Money |

Communicating Competence

>When you encounter a potential client, investor or business associate for the first time, you want to make a great impression upon them. Though your personality has a lot to do with it, people often judge by what they see first rather than what they hear. So it’s important that you portray competence in your business industry not only in your knowledge and performance, but also in how you convey yourself.

Appearance
When you walk up to a potential client, it’s probably best that you “look the part” that would be associated with the type of business you are in. However, you don’t want to look sloppy either, just because you are in something like the construction business. Leave the disheveled look when you’re actually doing the dirty work, but not for your initial meeting with the client. Though many businesses these days carry a more casual element to “dressing up,” so you don’t always have to wear a business suit, you should still look nice, in dress slacks or a skirt and a nice shirt. Good hygiene, of course, is also important.

Continue Reading: “Communicating Competence”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Fire Bad Clients to Increase Profits
Marketing Your Website
Establishing Your Brand
Online Meetings, The Board Room Alternative
Tips for Gaining and Impressing Potential Investors

By Michelle Cramer
Friday, November 11th, 2016 @ 12:03 AM CDT

Ownership |

Avoiding Cash Flow Mistakes

Managing cash flow is an important, but often overlooked, function of small business. All too often you can find your business in financial trouble if you don’t learn how to handle funds correctly. Here are some common mistakes you should be aware of:

“Fly By the Seat of Your Pants” Accounting
Many people are, unfortunately, never taught how to handle finances. Teenagers open checking accounts when they get their first job, and never seem to learn how to keep up. I’ve talked to many in the banking industry who run into people that say “I had checks in my checkbook, so that means I have money in the account.”

Fortunately, if you own your own business, you are probably a bit smarter than that, at least I hope so. But many business owners still don’t keep track of the business finances well enough. They have a tendency to pay bills as they come, buy supplies as they need them and spend money on personal items because it’s there.

Continue Reading: “Avoiding Cash Flow Mistakes”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
A Newer Way of Avoiding High Energy Bills
How and When You Should Pay Yourself
Pulling Your Teen Out of the Financial Hole
Moving from a Home Office to a Commercial Space
The Right Way to Write-Off Business Expenses (Part 2)

By Chris Brunner
Thursday, November 10th, 2016 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Money |

Preparing Your Business for Impending Disaster

Last week, the wildfires in Southern California received top billing on the news nationwide. While many people tragically lost their homes, there is no doubt that some also lost their business in the fires.

Many of us will never have to face out of control wildfires as a risk factor for the destruction of our business, but natural disasters of every kind span the nation. Anything from wildfires, to tornadoes, ice storms (which caused some devastation in my home town last winter), to hurricanes, there are a number of possibilities that can damage to your business. And you need to make sure you’re protected.

Insurance Coverage
First and foremost, be sure that your business (just like your life, health, home and vehicles) is insured. And, be sure that your business insurance covers disasters that are common to your area of the nation. If you live in the Midwest, be sure that tornado damage is covered. If you live on a coast, be sure that hurricane damage is covered, etc. Additionally, though wildfires tend to be more prevalent in the California area, fire damage can happen anywhere, so be sure, no matter where your business is located, that you’re covered if there is a fire.

Continue Reading: “Preparing Your Business for Impending Disaster”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Preparing for Disaster
Insurance for Small Businesses
Expanding Your Business Overseas: Labor Laws
Technology Could Make Waitresses Obsolete
How to Fire an Employee

By Michelle Cramer
Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 @ 12:01 AM CDT

Operations, Ownership |

Marketing Strategies for Halloween

Holidays… aren’t they great. Not only are the holidays themselves enjoyable, but they can often be very beneficial for marketing your business. Halloween is no exception, especially if your business caters to children or parents in some regard.

Here are some ways your can take advantage of this ghoulish holiday:

Adapt Your Product
There are a lot of ways to show your product off for this or any other holiday. Add a Halloween twist to the packaging or, if you have some flexibility in your product, produce it in Halloween shapes and themes. Especially if you sell a food or candy product (gross out themes are very popular during this holiday), you want to take advantage of the holiday and be sure your customers know about your adaptations.

Continue Reading: “Marketing Strategies for Halloween”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Ideas to Generate Business on Valentine’s Day
Internet Business Sees Holiday Shopping Boom
Common Advertising Mistakes
Define Strategies, Service & Product Line – How to Write a Business Plan: Part 4 of 8
Direct Mail Marketing Tips (2 of 2)

By Michelle Cramer
Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 @ 12:07 AM CDT

Marketing |

Learning From Experienced Entrepreneurs

We all have regrets – it’s just a fact of life. But we learn from those experiences, much like the flourishing entrepreneurs interviewed in Entrepreneur.com’s article If They Could Turn Back Time. Kristin Edelhauser Chessman interviewed nine successful entrepreneurs and asked them, if they could do it all over again, what they would focus on more during the startup process.

Their feedback reveals important steps that everyone starting their own business should know.

Have startup funds available. Whether you save up to start your dream job or find investors, it’s best to have funds available for spending on marketing and supplies rather than limit your options in the beginning.

Continue Reading: “Learning From Experienced Entrepreneurs”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Business Trends in 2007
Consider This When Hiring an Intern
Immigrant Entrepreneurs
How to Buy Back the Business You Sold
4 Ways to Keep Up on Industry Trends

By Michelle Cramer
Monday, November 7th, 2016 @ 12:15 AM CDT

Ownership |

Leaders as Strong Public Speakers

Have you ever had a boss that wasn’t very articulate? He was often quiet and kept to himself. When he did have something to say, you often couldn’t follow due to his mumbling, incongruent sentences, or even elevated vocabulary. Oh, you nodded your head in agreement, but the conversation got you nowhere, and did nothing for your motivation.

As a leader, it’s important that you are able to communicate with your employees/followers in a way that is clear, concise and motivating.

A strong public address should do the following:

Continue Reading: “Leaders as Strong Public Speakers”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Motivating Employees
Inspire Your Employees
Brainstorming Motivation for Your Employees
What Makes Women Entrepreneurs Different from Men?
Acknowledging Those Who Make a Difference

By Michelle Cramer
Sunday, November 6th, 2016 @ 12:01 AM CDT

Ownership |

What Goes Around Comes Back Around

Have you ever seen the NBC show My Name is Earl? It’s pretty funny and the concept is very interesting. If you haven’t, I’ll give you a brief explanation. Earl, the protagonist of the show, used to live a very jaded life. He had committed all sorts of crimes (typically robbery) and had done all sorts of bad things to people. At one point he gets a winning lottery ticket, worth $100,000, but loses it when he is hit by a car. While in the hospital, he hears of the concept of karma and decides that he lost the ticket because of all the bad things he’s done in his life.

So, Earl starts a list of atonements he must make, starting from childhood, and, as he begins to remedy his bad deeds, his karma turns around and the winning lottery ticket is returned to him. He continues to live out of a hotel and by small means, so that he can use his new money to help cross things off his list. Thus, the entire series centers around him making things up to people he hurt in the past.

Continue Reading: “What Goes Around Comes Back Around”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Teaching Your Child About Money
The Business of Dating While Owning a Business
IRS Audit Triggers
Leading by Example in a World of Copy Cats
Pulling Your Teen Out of the Financial Hole

By Michelle Cramer
Saturday, November 5th, 2016 @ 12:14 AM CDT

Motivation, Operations |

Finding An Employee That Matches Your Leadership Style

It’s not a process many employers enjoy – placing a “help wanted” ad, filtering through resumes, conducting interviews. Hiring an employee can be an arduous task, to say the least. And, though there are many important things to consider when looking for the right candidate, many of which a specific to the position you’re trying to fill, employers often overlook one of the most important elements – compatibility.

I’m not speaking of whether or not you would get along with the person you’re looking to hire. You probably can get along with all sorts of people – most of us can. More specifically I’m referring to finding an employee that compliments your leadership style. To do that, you must first understand the two types of employees you will find.

Continue Reading: “Finding An Employee That Matches Your Leadership Style”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Independent Contractors
What Employees Want from You
Expanding Your Business Overseas: Labor Laws
Immigration Laws Proving Difficult for Business Owners
Competing for Business with a Former Employer

By Michelle Cramer
Friday, November 4th, 2016 @ 12:06 AM CDT

Human Resources |

Discerning Truth From Lies

It’s an unfortunate part of everyday life. People lie. Though we’d all like to believe that every business person out there is honest and trustworthy, that is just not the case. And the lies they tell can often have a severely negative effect – not just emotionally, but also in cost to our business.

I tend to be a trusting person. I give people the benefit of the doubt and assume, until proven otherwise, that they’re telling the truth. That may be a great policy in regard to friends and family, but when it comes to keeping my business up and running smoothly, I’d be better off to be skeptical and watch for the signs that someone may be pulling the wool over my eyes.

Fortunately, there are some indicators you can watch for that will clue you in to someone who may not be telling you everything:

Actions
There are many ways that our body language can reveal our inner thoughts. Someone who is shy or nervous will keep their head pointed toward the ground. Someone who is excited will move around quickly.

Continue Reading: “Discerning Truth From Lies”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Futuristic Handshake Devices
Getting Past Generation Y Stereotypes
Elements of a Winning Brand
How to Issue a Press Release
6 Steps to Successful Sales

By Michelle Cramer
Thursday, November 3rd, 2016 @ 12:03 AM CDT

Operations, Ownership |

Establishing Your Brand

With the success of a company comes the success of a brand which can stand on its own. For example, the Coca-Cola brand is worth about $65 billion, McDonald’s is worth $29 billion and BMW, $21 billion. Those number are for the brand alone – that does not include the actual product, the patents or any other part of the business.

While most businesses will likely never reach the billion dollar range for the worth of their brand, there are some things you can do to make your brand better known and more strongly associated with the product/services your provide.

The Logo
This is where is all begins. Your logo will become the number one association with your product/service. When designing it, you need to consider the perception of the product you want the logo to convey. This can be done through colors, fonts, graphics . . . every aspect of your logo reveals part of what your product/service is. It should be something that is so closely associated with your product, that people can pick it out on store shelves, even if they couldn’t read the product name.

Continue Reading: “Establishing Your Brand”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
What is Branding?
Effective Logo Design for Small Businesses
The Importance of Branding
Elements of a Winning Brand
The Importance of a Logo

By Michelle Cramer
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 @ 12:01 AM CDT

Marketing |

Taking Business Ques from Nintendo

By now most everyone has had an opportunity to at least try our Nintendo’s latest great invention, the Wii. As a female, I am not much of a gamer. I have one computer game that I play maybe three or four times a year, and only a couple of games on our GameCube that I played either when I was excruciatingly board, or we had company and played together (Mario Cart).

But that has changed quite a bit since we purchased a Wii at the end of August. Before, my husband would have to persuade me to play a game with him, so we could spend quality time together doing what he enjoyed. But he has to do little persuading when it comes to the Wii. Even the goofy games, like those on Wii Play, are enjoyable. Between that and Wii Sports, the whole thing is absolutely fabulous for when we have company over.

You may be wondering, at this point, what any of that has to do with business practices. Well, frankly, I think that those behind the Wii at Nintendo are business geniuses. Let’s examine what they have done with the Wii franchise and what the Wii has done for their business:

Continue Reading: “Taking Business Ques from Nintendo”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Knowing Your Customers
IBM’s SecureBlue Encryption
Advertising Your Product on Stage
Product Stickers and Respect
What Makes Women Entrepreneurs Different from Men?

By Michelle Cramer
Tuesday, November 1st, 2016 @ 12:06 AM CDT

Marketing, Technology |