Small Business Tips

September 2017 Archive
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″


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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
Saturday, September 30th, 2017 @ 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″


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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
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By Michelle Cramer
Friday, September 29th, 2017 @ 12:01 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
Thursday, September 28th, 2017 @ 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”


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By Michelle Cramer
Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 @ 12:00 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”


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By Michelle Cramer
Tuesday, September 26th, 2017 @ 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”


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By Michelle Cramer
Monday, September 25th, 2017 @ 12:01 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”


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By Michelle Cramer
Sunday, September 24th, 2017 @ 12:08 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”


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By Michelle Cramer
Saturday, September 23rd, 2017 @ 12:03 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”


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By Michelle Cramer
Friday, September 22nd, 2017 @ 12:02 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”


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By Michelle Cramer
Friday, September 22nd, 2017 @ 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?”


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By Michelle Cramer
Thursday, September 21st, 2017 @ 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”


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By Michelle Cramer
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 @ 12:02 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”


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By Michelle Cramer
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 @ 12:02 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”


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By Chris Brunner
Monday, September 18th, 2017 @ 12:04 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”


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By Michelle Cramer
Sunday, September 17th, 2017 @ 12:05 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”


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By Michelle Cramer
Saturday, September 16th, 2017 @ 12:00 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”


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By Michelle Cramer
Friday, September 15th, 2017 @ 12:00 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”


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By Michelle Cramer
Thursday, September 14th, 2017 @ 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”


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By Michelle Cramer
Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 @ 12:02 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”


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Tuesday, September 12th, 2017 @ 12:01 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”


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By Michelle Cramer
Monday, September 11th, 2017 @ 12:00 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”


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By Michelle Cramer
Sunday, September 10th, 2017 @ 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”


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Saturday, September 9th, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Marketing, Technology |

Brainstorming Motivation for Your Employees

Have you ever been to a business meeting that, though the intention was to come up with great ideas for the progression of the business, turned out to be a total flop? Attendees were bored, few ideas were shared, and everyone left the meeting feeling like it was a waste of time? Obviously, such events are a very little benefit to the development of your business, and there are few ways you can remedy that . . .

Meeting Time Equals Play Time
In other words, make the meeting fun. Don’t let everyone go wild of course. It needs to be organized play time, so to speak. For example, start things off with a game. As a suggestion, I read how one business owner asked his employees to write down something no one else knew about them prior to the meeting. When the meeting started, he passed out the responses and the employees had to guess who belonged to each, providing a little fun and humor to get things moving. Another employer brings tinker toys and tangram puzzles to get cognitive juices flowing. Not only do such ideas make the meeting more enjoyable, but they help your employees to relax and be more comfortable around each other and you.

Continue Reading: “Brainstorming Motivation for Your Employees”


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Friday, September 8th, 2017 @ 12:04 AM CDT

Motivation, Operations, Ownership |

A Market in Part-Time Ownership

In the U.K. the concept has become a normal way of life, and though it hasn’t wholly caught on here in the states, part-time ownership is slowly creeping into the market. What exactly am I referring to when I mention “part-time ownership?” Well, here are some examples of businesses that have tapped into the industry:

Flexcar provides a range of membership packages to people who only have need of a vehicle part-time. Members designate when they need a vehicle parked locally and, instead of paying $500-$800 a month to lease a vehicle they hardly use, they pay an average of $100-$200 a month to only use a car when they need one. The business initially targeted residential markets, such as Seattle, where many people walk to most outings anyway. But Flexcar soon discovered that there was a need among members of corporate world, as well as those who couldn’t afford to purchase a car of their own. Not to mention the environmentally friendly benefits of the business, by reducing gas emissions.

Continue Reading: “A Market in Part-Time Ownership”


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By Michelle Cramer
Thursday, September 7th, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Ventures |

Getting Others On Board With Your Vision

As I have discussed a number of times through the past couple of months, we all have visions, and the businesses we start often stem from those dreams for the future. Many visions require the support of others, especially financial investors, in order to press forward toward the goal. Because your vision is yours alone, you have to convince others of the value it has.

Here’s how you can start on the right track to getting investors and other support to come along for the ride:

Have a Passion
The vision you have must be something you’re passionate about. If you don’t have a full-fledged passion for it, it will be difficult to convince others that the investment of their time and finances will be worth while in the end. However, when you are passionate about your vision, and intend to pursue it even if you have to go it alone, people will recognize that and it will be easier for them to begin to see the value of your goal.

Find Allies
When looking for support (whether financial or otherwise), it is best to first seek out those that don’t need much convincing anyway. You will know the people in your immediate of friends and family who would be most likely to share your vision. But you will also need to take that a step further and reach out to other companies and organizations that would likely take little convincing. For example, if you want to start a specialty school for children with disabilities, do your research and find organizations that have already contributed to similar causes.

Continue Reading: “Getting Others On Board With Your Vision”


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Wednesday, September 6th, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Motivation, Startup |

Inner City Kids Learn About Entrepreneurship

High school drop-out rates continue to increase across our nation. According to the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, nearly one in every three high school students in the class of 2006 did not graduate. Many of those drop outs come from minority groups in inner city schools, where poverty and crime are part of the life they know.

But the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a nonprofit organization out of New York, is doing what they can to change that. Though NFTE has been around for awhile (Steve Mariotti started working on the project in 1982), the benefits of the program continue to positively affect the lives of many kids across the nation.

Continue Reading: “Inner City Kids Learn About Entrepreneurship”


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Tuesday, September 5th, 2017 @ 12:03 AM CDT

Ventures |

The 411 on Schmoozing

Guy KawasakiGuy Kawasaki, the managing director of a venture capital firm, columnist with Entrepreneur Magazine and author of eight motivation books regarding business, says that schmoozing potential clients and investors is the best way to establish a business relationship. In his latest column, Get in Good, he provides the following tips for being a successful schmooze:

What’s the Point?
The ultimate goal of being a good schmooze is to do something for someone else. Granted, you probably have ulterior motives at play, but try not to let that be your entire focus. It should predominately be about helping others, so don’t be afraid to offer favors to your new business associates, and don’t expect anything in return. This, of course, is something I feel should be our goal in every aspect of our lives, not just in making new business acquaintances.

Go Public
Kawasaki believes that the best way to get in the door is to meet people in public at conventions, trade shows, seminars, networking events, etc. I agree that this is the best way to meet people and initially establish the business relationship. I do not agree with his statement that you can’t do so over e-mail or the telephone.

Continue Reading: “The 411 on Schmoozing”


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Monday, September 4th, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Networking |

Transitions are Like Remodeling

I heard something the other day that really got me to thinking: difficult transitions in any part of life are like remodeling your home. Let me explain. . .

Inconvenience
Remodeling your home is no picnic, especially if you are doing extensive work, like adding on a room or redoing the kitchen (very popular choices). There is the inevitable issue of dust all over every inch of the house – dust you can’t get rid of until the job is done no matter how many times you vacuum and wipe the place down. Not to mention having to navigate through tools, furniture stocked piled in one room to get it out of the way of the work being done, hired help (if you’re not doing it by yourself). A down right pain.

Difficult transitions in life are an inconvenience as well. Take, for example, moving to a new town, which includes searching for a new place to live, selling the house you’re currently in, packing and unpacking, finding a new job, on and on. Or, what about transitioning your business from a one man operation out of your home to a five person operation located downtown. There’s nothing convenient about that either.

Continue Reading: “Transitions are Like Remodeling”


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By Michelle Cramer
Sunday, September 3rd, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Motivation, Operations |

Saving Time on the Telephone

Many of us find that there really aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything would like to done. Any shortcut can help to make the minutes of the day go by more smoothly. Something that can often take up a lot of your time in any business are telephone calls. But, they must be made and time must be spent.

Here are few tips for saving some time on those necessary calls, and maybe freeing up time for other things:

Map It Out
When important calls need to be made to clients or investors, make an outline of everything you need to discuss before making the call. Draw up the points you want to bring up, including possible questions from the other end of the phone and your responses. Also, when the call is connected, let the client know why your calling – give them a run down of what to expect from the call. If he/she knows that you have an agenda in mind, that might help to keep them from making small talk or changing the subject.

Continue Reading: “Saving Time on the Telephone”


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Saturday, September 2nd, 2017 @ 12:01 AM CDT

Customer Service, Operations |

The Business of Dating While Owning a Business

You are a young and successful business owner. You already have many of the things you set you mind to accomplishing – a steady and lucrative income, success at a dream . . . there’s just one important thing still missing – a successful relationship in your personal life. But who has time to make that happen?

Granted, I can’t say that I understand completely where someone in that position may be coming from, since I started pursuing my entrepreneurial dreams after establishing my family. But many entrepreneurs start pursuing their business dreams so young (early twenties), that, by the time they feel comfortable with the path their business is on, they realize that they are still somewhat alone while many of those around them have gotten married and started families.

In all seriousness though, if having a family is something that is important to the future you see for yourself, the task at this point can seem arduous. Especially if your successful business takes up nearly every waking hour of your day. You may get noticed, after all you’re successful and easy on the eyes, but rarely do the dates turn into relationships.

If you’re at a point in life where you are ready to find a balance between running your business and finding that right person, here are some tips to get you on your way:

Continue Reading: “The Business of Dating While Owning a Business”


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By Michelle Cramer
Friday, September 1st, 2017 @ 12:08 AM CDT

Ownership |