Small Business Tips

July 2017 Archive
New EEOC Guidelines Expand Employee Protection

Equal Employment Opportunity CommissionOn May 25th the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a new set of guidelines meant to protect those with caregiver responsibilities from employee discrimination. This includes, but is not limited to, employees with children, who care for the elderly, or who have an ill spouse, parent or in-law. These guidelines, of course, are meant to protect both men and women.

What the EEOC intends to protect is the employee’s ability to be available for those who are under his/her care. Some of the discriminatory issues that may arise, and the EEOC intends to prevent, are inflexibility in schedule (including mandatory overtime) and stereotypes that those who are deemed caregivers are less committed to their job and less deserving of promotions, raises and the like.

Continue Reading: “New EEOC Guidelines Expand Employee Protection”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Preventing Sexual Discrimination in the Workplace
What Makes Women Entrepreneurs Different from Men?
Protecting Your Clientele
Preparing for a Health Inspection
How Department Divisions Can Hurt Customer Relations

By Michelle Cramer
Monday, July 31st, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Business Law |

Global Markets and Business Etiquette

A study of networking cultures in China, Russia, Europe and the U.S. has resulted in some helpful information for U.S. entrepreneurs doing business overseas. The study was conducted by Bat Batjargal, who, according to BusinessWeek.com, is a research associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, and an assistant professor at Beijing University, who has been studying cross-cultural networks for about a decade.

First and foremost, when doing business with a foreign country, don’t over do it in trying to fit in with their culture. Russians know that you are not Russian and, therefore, do not expect you to act Russian. They expect you to act like yourself.

Below are some additional information Batjargal learned from his study that you need to know when dealing with the global market:

Continue Reading: “Global Markets and Business Etiquette”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Top Entrepreneurial Schools
The Networking Boogie Man
Protect Your Wireless Networks
What Makes Women Entrepreneurs Different from Men?
Building New Business Contacts: Networking 101

By Michelle Cramer
Sunday, July 30th, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Networking |

Helping Ensure Your Employees Get Along

In any business, especially small ones, everyone works closely together. Sometimes employees have to deal with the cubicle situation, with desks nearly on top of one another, because of limited space issues. This can cause some messy situations if you, as the boss, don’t lay down some ground rules right from the beginning.

Here are some things you may want to stick in your employee policy manual, in order to help avoid those popular cubicle conflicts:

1. Allow employees to label their supplies.
One of the most popular cubicle complaints among employees is that things keep disappearing from their desk. We all know that popular phrase from Office Space: “Has anyone seen my stapler?” Well, it happens all the time. For me, my pens are always disappearing, mostly because I sit at the front desk. Allow your employees to label their supplies, such as staplers, pens, clipboards, etc., with their name or desk number, in order to help to sway the temptation of others to snatch it.

Continue Reading: “Helping Ensure Your Employees Get Along”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Building Your Office
What Employees Want from You
Standing on the Job
Scheduling Time to Relax
How to Fire an Employee

By Michelle Cramer
Saturday, July 29th, 2017 @ 12:01 AM CDT

Human Resources, Operations |

Tips for Sorting Through Overwhelming Files

There comes a time in the life of our filing cabinet when there is no room to spare for any future files, and the ones contained within are so old we don’t remember where they came from. It’s time to sort your files and weed out the ones you no longer need.

Here are some tips for sorting through your overwhelming stack of files:

1. Establish a Closing System
If you don’t start a means of closing your files when your task for that client is complete, then you will never have enough space for them all. Keep in mind that any files that contain legal documentation, whether you’re actually an attorney or just have a contract with the client, must not be destroyed (by law) until ten years after they have been closed. If you have a lot of files like that, the best thing to do is rent a storage unit to keep your closed files in, so that they don’t take space away from your actual work environment.

Continue Reading: “Tips for Sorting Through Overwhelming Files”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Enhance Your Image Through Your Words
New Technology Leaves Spell-Check in the Dust
Preparing for an IRS Audit
Connections Trump Contacts
Cut the Clutter!

By Michelle Cramer
Friday, July 28th, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Operations |

The Balance of a Leader

From the time I was a little girl, my mother had this look. If I was not behaving in the manner she approved of, all it took from her was “the look” (and occasionally my name spoken in a not so flattering tone) and I’d straighten right up. That look has carried on to me. My husband says I try and use on him sometimes (though he doesn’t like to admit that I’m usually successful) and even our dog, a 95 pound lab/dane mix, will hang his head in shame when I give him “the look.” It must be an acquired skill.

Equally as important as “the look” in getting my point across, is the affection. Though we don’t have any children of our own just yet, I have a great deal of experience with them from working in daycares and children’s ministries at church. And one of the most important things I’ve learned is there must be affection and love in your discipline. With my nephews, for example, when they stay over at our house and get into trouble, we discuss what they did wrong, how to improve in the future, and always end with a hug and “I love you.”

Being a good, strong, dependable leader is all about balance. Being a leader is not a one-sided position. You cannot be rough on your employees and never show them any tenderness. And you can’t be easy on everyone and never show them any discipline. You have to have a balance of both.

And there are many areas in which a balance is needed as a leader, such as the following:

Continue Reading: “The Balance of a Leader”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Leaders Can’t Do It Alone
Showing Compassion
Business Structures Help Fight War on Terror
Leading by Example in a World of Copy Cats
What Employees Want from You

By Michelle Cramer
Thursday, July 27th, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Human Resources, Ownership |

Local Currency Helps Small Business

It’s not news that big-box businesses are popping up everywhere and harming the local small business economy wherever they land. In fact, a study in Maine by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) showed that only about 14 cents on the dollar of funds that went into a big-box business stayed in the state. This compared to a whopping 54 cents on the dollar for locally-owned businesses.

In an effort to discover ways to bring more customers to the small business community, the community of Barrington, Massachusetts has created a local currency called BerkShares. One BerkShare note is worth 90 cents in U.S. currency. Four banks int he Barrington area participating, along with some 280 locally-owned businesses who have registered with the program, and 250 more in the area that take the currency but aren’t officially registered. As part of their participation, businesses offer customers who use BerkShares a 10% discount on their purchases.

Continue Reading: “Local Currency Helps Small Business”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
The Cheapest Gas Prices in the Nation
Ideas to Generate Business on Valentine’s Day
Expanding Your Business Overseas: Money and Taxes
Small Business Loans & Grants
Ways to Promote Yourself

By Michelle Cramer
Wednesday, July 26th, 2017 @ 12:01 AM CDT

Money |

Funding Options for Small Business

When I started my photography business this year, I vowed that I would not go into debt to make it happen. Things are still slow as I build my portfolio and get the word out, which means there are times when I have no money coming in at all. And that’s fine, it just means that I’m not making any purchases to further things along either.

I do invest my own money in the business. In fact, that’s exactly how I got the business started in the first place, by saving up for it. And that’s how I take it to the next level with advertising, etc. I save up for a particular piece of equipment or ad.

Investing your own money in your business is the most cost effective way to get things moving, especially in the beginning. Additionally, as your business grows and has more revenue coming in, you can invest your personal income as a loan to the business, with an interest rate and all, where the business pays you back for your investment.

Continue Reading: “Funding Options for Small Business”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Obtaining a Business Loan – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 8 of 8
How to Improve Your Credit Score
How NOT to Fund a Business
Pulling Your Teen Out of the Financial Hole
How Likeable Are You?

By Michelle Cramer
Tuesday, July 25th, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Money, Startup |

Is Tort Reform Necessary to Protect Small Business?

According to a survey by the Institute for Legal Reform, release in May, more than half of small business owners polled are not all that concerned about being sued. But, as I pointed out in a post earlier this month (see The Lawsuit Risks of Having a Website), we live in a world of lawsuit happy people, who want anyone to blame but themselves.

That seems to be the circumstances, in my opinion, in the case of the D.C. judge who sued his neighborhood dry cleaner for $54 million over a misplaced pair of pants. Apparently Judge Roy Pearson dropped of a pair of pants at Custom Cleaners, owned by Soo and Jin Chung, to be altered. According to his side of the story, when he returned to pick up the pants, the Chung’s said they couldn’t locate them. A week later they returned pants to him, but Pearson claims they were not the one’s he brought in.

Continue Reading: “Is Tort Reform Necessary to Protect Small Business?”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
When to Consider Bankruptcy as an Option
Being Sued by Big Business Competition
Pulling Your Teen Out of the Financial Hole
Teaching Your Child About Money
Avoiding the Courtroom: Tips for Deterring Litigation

By Michelle Cramer
Monday, July 24th, 2017 @ 12:04 AM CDT

Business Law |

Showing Compassion

Recently I posted about the influence a leader has on those under his authority and respect. What someone in a position of leadership does guides others down a similar path. This can manifest in many areas, and one area that needs it most is compassion for others.

Consider the fact that, statistically, two of every three Americans are overweight. We are a gluttonous nation. And yet, a child dies of starvation somewhere in the world (though typically not here) every four seconds. Unfortunately, many people won’t act upon such sobering statistics and try to make a difference because they don’t believe that they truly can. What’s one person to such a monstrous global epidemic?

Continue Reading: “Showing Compassion”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
The Balance of a Leader
Using Your Business to Serve the Community
Leading by Example in a World of Copy Cats
Leaders Can’t Do It Alone
Teaching Your Child About Money

By Michelle Cramer
Sunday, July 23rd, 2017 @ 12:02 AM CDT

Motivation |

Businesses Embrace the Harry Potter Craze

Harry Potter CrazeAre you a Harry Potter fan? I am. I love the movies, but haven’t read the books yet (I know, any die-hard fans would be appalled). My husband has suddenly gone on a “read all the books NOW” craze and has flown through the first three in a week. But I can’t say that I spend a lot of time at work discussing Harry Potter. But apparently, it has become something more than a little water cooler chatter.

According to Entrepreneur.com’s article Potter Casts Petrificus Totalus Spell on Workplace (nice title, by the way), the Harry Potter craze that has swept the nation for the past few years has escalated with the release of the fifth movie, The Order of the Phoenix on July 11th and the release of the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on July 21st. And with that escalation has come a bit of, shall we say, distraction during business hours.

Continue Reading: “Businesses Embrace the Harry Potter Craze”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Helping Ensure Your Employees Get Along
How to Issue a Press Release
Top Movies About Entrepreneurs
Yoga at Your Desk
What to Expect from Technology in 2007

By Michelle Cramer
Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 @ 12:02 AM CDT

Human Resources, Operations |

Enhance Your Image Through Your Words

Stress – it can get the best of us. Especially when there are stacks of papers and files on our desk that never seem to get smaller. Unfortunately, too many of us, from the low man on the totem pole to the big-wig on top, openly profess our frustrations to anyone that crosses our path.

As professionals, we must keep in mind that what we say effects how people view us – both our capabilities and weaknesses. What follows are some phrases that definitely don’t enhance your image, and what would be a better approach to the same situation, regardless of the frustration brewing within.

Continue Reading: “Enhance Your Image Through Your Words”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Fire Bad Clients to Increase Profits
Communicating Competence
An Interesting Way to Win Potential Clients
How Accessible are You?
Good Listening Skills Mean Success

By Michelle Cramer
Friday, July 21st, 2017 @ 12:06 AM CDT

Motivation, Ownership |

Standing on the Job

Think hotel lobby, bars and fast food ordering counters. Or even counter-top dining tables (I have one myself, which comes in very handy when you have a dog that stands over three feet tall on all fours). So how about a counter-top desk in your office that you can stand at?

Donald Rumsfeld, the US Secretary of Defense has one. And so does business owner Thomas Gimbel out of Chicago. And, unlike a counter-top table that simply has taller chairs, Gimbel (and Rumsfeld) stand at their desks. Gimbel initially got the idea when his 6 foot 6 inch frame caused him back problems no matter what chair he tried. He found relief only when he stood. So why not work that way all the time?

Continue Reading: “Standing on the Job”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Building Your Office
Cut the Clutter!
Online Meetings, The Board Room Alternative
Helping Ensure Your Employees Get Along
Brainstorming Motivation for Your Employees

By Michelle Cramer
Thursday, July 20th, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Operations, Ventures |

Lease or Rental Agreement… That is the Question

So, you’ve made some investments in rental property? A very popular business venture these days, as you can never go wrong with investing in real estate (well, almost never). As you begin the process of finding tenants, one question that you must address is whether to use a Lease or a Rental Agreement for your property.

First, you must determine what type of market the property will appeal to. If it’s a residential home, such as a single family house, duplex or apartment complex, then your market will likely be those that are looking for a place to settle down for a while and stay put. For this type of property you would want to offer a Lease.

However, if your property is in the heart of the business district, close to a college campus, near a military base, etc., then a Rental Agreement may be the best option for you. Most especially if you are having a hard time finding someone to rent the property in the first place.

Let’s examine what each agreement consists of so you have a better idea of what would work best for you:

Continue Reading: “Lease or Rental Agreement… That is the Question”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Elements of a Franchise Agreement
Insurance for Small Businesses
Which Business Entity is Right for You? (Part 4)
Expanding Your Business Overseas: Protecting Your Product
Protecting Your Clientele

By Michelle Cramer
Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 @ 12:05 AM CDT

Ownership, Ventures |

For Vision Impaired Diners: Menus that Talk

There have been many times when out dining with my in-laws, that one or both of them have forgotten their reading glasses and have to strain to read the menu. When that happened to Susan Perry, while dining with her blind niece, she realized there were few options and got a great idea. What if the menu talked?

Your first thought may be that there are Braille menus for the blind, but less than ten percent of blind individuals can read Braille. That fact is what truly motivated Susan Perry to pursue her idea. And, after three months challenges and an investment of $300,000 of her own money (including the patent, legal fees and a lot of trial and error), the first prototype of “Menus that Talk” was born.

Continue Reading: “For Vision Impaired Diners: Menus that Talk”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Preparing for a Health Inspection
Technology Could Make Waitresses Obsolete
A Need for Pet Memorial Businesses
Startup Myths Keep Entrepreneurs Motivated
Marketing with a Dash of Controversy

By Michelle Cramer
Tuesday, July 18th, 2017 @ 12:05 AM CDT

Technology, Ventures |

Leading by Example in a World of Copy Cats

When you are in a leadership position, what is the one principle that is the root of everything you do across the board? Lead by example. Why is that? Because we live in a world of copy cats and people do what they see their leaders do.

For example, say the CEO of a company is using his petty cash account for personal expenses (such as a 2008 Mercedes), rather than business expenses. Now Bob in sales knows what the CEO is up to. And it’s likely that Bob won’t report the events. Instead, he’ll follow in his CEO’s footsteps and start requesting reimbursements for the dinner he had out last week. No one has to know it was just him, the wife and the kids. He can say it was a business dinner with potential clients. Afterall, if the CEO gets away with it, so should Bob.

Continue Reading: “Leading by Example in a World of Copy Cats”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
What Makes Women Entrepreneurs Different from Men?
Protecting Your Clientele
The Balance of a Leader
Showing Compassion
Inspire Your Employees

By Michelle Cramer
Monday, July 17th, 2017 @ 12:01 AM CDT

Human Resources, Motivation |

The Lawsuit Risks of Having a Website

We all know that with any business venture there is risk involved – sometimes minor, often substantial. Being sued is a big risk, especially as your company grows and your network of clientele and other businesses expands.

Especially if you have a website.

Yes, you read that right. In this lawsuit-happy world of ours, all it takes is having a website, or allowing employees to use the internet at work, to drag you and your business into the courtroom. Everything from whines about content to product trademark and patent issues – all at the click of a mouse. Don’t get me wrong, having a website is synonymous with being successful with your business. It’s practically necessary. But you should be aware of the risk it involves.

Here are some examples of what can get you and your business into trouble when it comes to the internet:

Continue Reading: “The Lawsuit Risks of Having a Website”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
What’s in a Domain Name?
Is Your Business Online Yet?
Avoiding the Courtroom: Tips for Deterring Litigation
Shared WiFi on the Way
Avoid Getting Gypped by Fraudulent Web Designers

By Michelle Cramer
Sunday, July 16th, 2017 @ 12:03 AM CDT

Business Law, Technology |

Startup Myths Keep Entrepreneurs Motivated

We’ve all heard the stories. Hewlett Packard and Apple were started in someone’s garage. YouTube and Goggle were the children of brilliant, spontaneous ideas, etc., etc., etc. We love to hear that these entrepreneurs simply had an idea, ran with it, and became multi-millionaires. Because that’s what we want to happen to the businesses we’re putting our blood, sweat and tears into.

But the truth of the matter is, they’re simply stories. Fairytales of success, if you will. The reality is, most entrepreneurs get their initial idea for a bright innovation from a previous job they may have had. In fact, a study of VC-backed companies showed that 91% of them were related to the founders’ previous employment.

Continue Reading: “Startup Myths Keep Entrepreneurs Motivated”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
NFL Entrepreneurs
Getting Past Generation Y Stereotypes
Is Your Business Online Yet?
Immigrant Entrepreneurs
What Makes Women Entrepreneurs Different from Men?

By Michelle Cramer
Saturday, July 15th, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Motivation, Startup |

Flexibility is What Working Parents Desire

Balancing work and family life can be quite the challenge. Add a social life in the mix and you’ve got yourself one overly busy schedule to deal with most days.

Does that busy schedule affect working moms or working dads more? A survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Adecco USA may shed some light on that. The survey polled 223 employed men and 272 employed women who have at least one child.

Some of the results are as follows:

Continue Reading: “Flexibility is What Working Parents Desire”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Mompreneurs: Balancing Work and Motherhood
Seeking a Dream
Funeral Homes Renovate Look and Services
What Successful People Do – Part 1
What Goes Around Comes Back Around

By Michelle Cramer
Friday, July 14th, 2017 @ 12:02 AM CDT

Human Resources |

Being Sued by Big Business Competition

Tom Szaky has a new business – TerraCycle provides organic plant food, made from worm feces, and just recently secured its major financial backer. But just about that time, Szaky received a 173 page lawsuit. The Plaintiff: Scotts Miracle-Gro. Their accusations: that TerraCycle falsely claims that its product “outgrows the leading synthetic fertilizer,” and trade dress issues (in other words, TerraCycle’s packaging too closely resembles Miracle-Gro’s).

How do you, as a small business owner, deal with the squeeze from the big business corporate competition. Well, it’s foremost important to keep in mind that, if you make claims against those competitors, like your product can outgrow their’s, you probably need to make sure you can back up that claim.

Continue Reading: “Being Sued by Big Business Competition”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Leaders as Strong Public Speakers
Marketing Strategies for Halloween
Investigate the Competition
Good Listening Skills Mean Success
Acknowledging Those Who Make a Difference

By Michelle Cramer
Thursday, July 13th, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Business Law, Money |

Scheduling Time to Relax

Seems a bit like an oxymoron doesn’t it… “scheduling time to relax?” But in this hectic world full of non-stop busy schedules for both family and business, scheduling time to relax is the only way we’ll ever get around to actually relaxing.

Relaxing is a crucial part to keeping our positive attitude and joy in life (not to mention our sanity). Here are some easy things to implement into your life in order to find some time to take a breather:

Continue Reading: “Scheduling Time to Relax”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Yoga at Your Desk
Helping Ensure Your Employees Get Along
Mompreneurs: Balancing Work and Motherhood
What Goes Around Comes Back Around
Building Your Office

By Michelle Cramer
Wednesday, July 12th, 2017 @ 12:01 AM CDT

Ownership |

When You Feel Like Quitting…

Owning your own business can be quite stressful and, sometimes simply overwhelming. We can often get caught up in those emotions and let them drag us down. Our thoughts turn to calling it quits – giving up all together on the dream we once had because it has just become too much.

But maybe, before turning those thoughts into action, it would be better to try and change our perspective a bit. Here are few things to check yourself on before throwing in the towel:

Continue Reading: “When You Feel Like Quitting…”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Facing Change as an Entrepreneur
Elements of a Successful Business
Tips for Dealing with Calls from Upset Clients
Getting Past Generation Y Stereotypes
Good Listening Skills Mean Success

By Michelle Cramer
Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Motivation, Ownership |

Consider This When Hiring an Intern

Today is the first official day of summer (don’t we all wish we still had a summer vacation). And, with classes temporarily out of session, college students are looking for summer internships. For them, it is an opportunity to learn more about the business they are hoping to get into after graduation, without a long-term commitment.

For you, it is a chance to test things out and see if you would be willing to hire this student for a full-time, long-term position when he graduates. You also get the opportunity to pass on what you know about “the business” and provide a hands on education that a college course won’t necessarily provide. Not to mention the fact that hiring an intern has the added perk of an extra set of hands around the office at no or very little cost to you.

Before you hire an intern, however, keep the following in mind:

Continue Reading: “Consider This When Hiring an Intern”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Learning From Experienced Entrepreneurs
Preparing Your Company for its First Employee
Hiring an Ad Agency for Your Business
Finding An Employee That Matches Your Leadership Style
Stop Sitting on the Sidelines

By Michelle Cramer
Monday, July 10th, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Human Resources, Operations |

Universities Should Provide More Entrepreneurial Studies

Greece is a country known for being entrepreneurial. And while it may not be exactly the same as the U.S., a study done there has found some interesting results that may very well apply to our own nation.

This study, titled Entrepreneurship Among Graduates: Reality and Prospects in Tertiary Education, examined how education affected graduates who went into business on their own. 249 graduates, from two different years, who had started their own businesses since graduation were questioned.

Two important percentages stand out from the results of the study:

• 44% report a low correlation or none at all between their college degree and the business they started.

• 51% report that they use little to none of what they learned in college in their business practices.

Continue Reading: “Universities Should Provide More Entrepreneurial Studies”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Inner City Kids Learn About Entrepreneurship
Define Organizational Structure & Management – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 3 of 8
A Market in Part-Time Ownership
Networking Cards: The Business Card Alternative
Consider This When Hiring an Intern

By Michelle Cramer
Sunday, July 9th, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Startup |

The Importance of Being Assertive

Point blank: if you’re an entrepreneur, or plan on becoming one, you have to be assertive. Now, please know that I don’t mean aggressive, which is completely different. I mean knowing what you want and what your limitations are and being able to express that in a confident and respective manner.

When you start a business, many people will ask you for favors. Your friends and family may sometimes expect freebies of the product/service you provide. Business partners may request you to take on one of his/her tasks because their “to do list” is just too full. Some customers may expect you to practically hand-deliver the product they order to their door yourself.

Continue Reading: “The Importance of Being Assertive”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
What Successful People Do – Part 1
What Successful People Do – Part 2
Finding a Good Accountant
The 411 on Schmoozing
Tips for Dealing with Calls from Upset Clients

By Michelle Cramer
Saturday, July 8th, 2017 @ 12:03 AM CDT

Ownership, Startup |

How Department Divisions Can Hurt Customer Relations

In last week’s post Differentiate Your Business With Quality Customer Service, one of the tips listed touched on department divisions, which I would like to take the opportunity to elaborate on a bit.

When I say department divisions, I am specifically referring to the common element of many businesses, to have a department (or individual) assigned to each task related to the business, such as marketing/sales, accounting, legal, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to indicate that having departments in your company is a bad thing. In fact, in and of itself, it is not. What can lead to poor customer service is your employees’ attitudes about their specific department.

Continue Reading: “How Department Divisions Can Hurt Customer Relations”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Differentiate Your Business With Quality Customer Service
What Ever Happened to Customer Service?
Knowing Your Customers
How Accessible are You?
6 Steps to Successful Sales

By Michelle Cramer
Friday, July 7th, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Customer Service, Operations |

Differentiate Your Business With Quality Customer Service

Customer service is the one aspect of business that can separate the great ones from the not-so-great ones. Products, services and even prices will usually be in the same ball park. Customer service is where you can really make a difference.

This is especially true when small businesses try and rise above their big business competitors. Corporate business, even though they typically have a whole department dedicated to customer service, have a tendency to make the client feel ignored and unimportant because the company “deals with so many people, something is always bound to go wrong.”

Continue Reading: “Differentiate Your Business With Quality Customer Service”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
How Department Divisions Can Hurt Customer Relations
The Importance of Branding
What Ever Happened to Customer Service?
A Bad Customer Service Experience
Tips for Dealing with Calls from Upset Clients

By Michelle Cramer
Friday, July 7th, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Customer Service |

Tips for Gaining and Impressing Potential Investors

It’s not often that a new business can really get itself off the ground without investors to help push it along. But, of course, getting investors to write you a check isn’t all that easy. You obviously believe in the business you want to start because it’s your brain child – a part of you. But convincing others to believe as whole-heartedly as you do can be a rough task.

Here are some tips for getting potential investors to believe in you and the future of your epiphany:

Continue Reading: “Tips for Gaining and Impressing Potential Investors”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Getting Others On Board With Your Vision
Getting Your Invention on the Market
An Interesting Way to Win Potential Clients
Common Mistakes – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 7 of 8
Brainstorming Motivation for Your Employees

By Michelle Cramer
Thursday, July 6th, 2017 @ 12:02 AM CDT

Money, Networking, Startup |

Funeral Homes Renovate Look and Services

The times are ever changing, and many things just aren’t the same as they used to be. Funerals are no exception (though you won’t hear and complaints about that from me). More and more families are planning celebrations of their loved one’s life after they pass on, rather than somberly mourning the loss.

Between that and the fact that the national cremation rates continue to rise (with an expectation of 50% by 2025), resulting in drops in the revenue that funeral homes bring in, funeral home owners are taking the hint and making some changes.

Continue Reading: “Funeral Homes Renovate Look and Services”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
The Right Way to Write-Off Business Expenses (Part 1)
Ways to Promote Yourself
Ideas to Generate Business on Valentine’s Day
Year-End Tax Planning Steps
The Right Way to Write-Off Business Expenses (Part 2)

By Michelle Cramer
Wednesday, July 5th, 2017 @ 12:02 AM CDT

Family Business, Ventures |

How the Bee Colony Collapse May Affect Your Business

Many people don’t realize that the honey bee population is a vital part of the farming industry in our nation. The business of raising bees is worth about $15 billion in the U.S. Worldwide, honey bees are also responsible for pollinating more than 90 types of fruits and vegetables, especially almonds, apples and blueberries.

But what has become known as the Colony Collapse Disorder is threatening to change the livelihood of some businesses. If colony losses are significant it won’t only effect the bee keepers income. Farmers who use bees to pollinate their crops will either face substantial costs to produce crops or a significant drop in production. Either way, consumers may see a raise in prices of crops in order for farmers to break even.

Continue Reading: “How the Bee Colony Collapse May Affect Your Business”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Personal Savings in Decline
Revisions to the U.S. Patent Law Under Consideration
3 Ways to Pay Less for Technology
The Cheapest Gas Prices in the Nation
What Makes Gasoline So Expensive These Days?

By Michelle Cramer
Tuesday, July 4th, 2017 @ 12:01 AM CDT

Money, Operations |

Finding the Right Outsider Board Member

If your business is big enough for a board of directors, then I highly recommend you have at least one board member who is an outsider. The benefit is having someone with an unbiased opinion available to give a better perspective on issues at hand. He/she can also help to mediate when the rest of the board, who are probably directly involved in the company, can’t reach a decision.

When interviewing prospects for the outsider position on the board, be sure to address the following:

Continue Reading: “Finding the Right Outsider Board Member”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Define Organizational Structure & Management – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 3 of 8
Which Business Entity is Right for You? (Part 3)
Adding Value to Your Business
Leading by Example in a World of Copy Cats
It’s all in the Family: How to Setup a Family Business

By Michelle Cramer
Monday, July 3rd, 2017 @ 12:01 AM CDT

Operations |

Outsource Your Chores and Errands

There just aren’t enough hours in the day, at least for most, to get everything accomplished we would like to. Our priorities tend to focus on the businesses we own, as well as our family and social lives, and we tend to never get around to picking up the dry cleaning or mowing the lawn.

Well, some fellow entrepreneurs recognized this need in their own lives, decided to do something about and DoMyStuff.com was born. The basic premise is that buyers (a.k.a. busy people) post a task they need done, such as mowing the lawn, and assistants (local individuals or businesses willing to do the work) bid on the task. The buyer picks the best bid, which aren’t just about how much the assistant would charge, but how they would get the job done.

Continue Reading: “Outsource Your Chores and Errands”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Starting a Successful eBay Business (Part 1)
Starting a Successful eBay Business (Part 4)
Starting a Successful eBay Business (Part 2)
10 Opportunities for 2006
Starting a Successful eBay Business (Part 3)

By Michelle Cramer
Sunday, July 2nd, 2017 @ 12:06 AM CDT

Ownership, Ventures |

Using Your Business to Serve the Community

There are a large number of possiblities when it comes to getting involved in your community. In fact, there are a number of ways your business can get involved, such as donating some of your profits to charity or donating the product/service you provide to those in need. But have you ever considered actually using your business itself to serve the community?

Continue Reading: “Using Your Business to Serve the Community”


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Will You Retire?
Define Organizational Structure & Management – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 3 of 8
MasterCard Global Small Business Survey 2006
Showing Compassion
Ways to Promote Yourself

By Michelle Cramer
Saturday, July 1st, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Human Resources, Ventures |