Tip #1: Do Not Aim To Match Or Beat Prices Offered By Competitors
Price may win among retailers that include Walmart, Amazon and Target – as well as countless other larger businesses in a variety of categories – but smaller businesses know all too well they typically can’t compete in this big-box space when it comes to dollars. Instead? This is where smaller businesses have the chance to thrive in offering other experiences that stand-out from prices alone. Of course, price will factor into the overall impression any business leaves on consumers, but when combined with other experiences price can often become overlooked thanks to the many other factors that can outshine it.
Tip #2: Deliver Customer Service That Makes A Lasting Impression
Parker, Colorado based cupcake shop Nomelie Cupcakes was a business “not doing well due to a lack of good customer service and absence of quality control on product quality,” as explained by current store co-owner Soumya Sen. Together with his business partner and wife, Avantika Sen, the Sens aimed to bring new life and profitable success to the ailing bakery by making the
Working from home can be wonderful: You avoid traffic, crowded trains and noisy co-workers, and you’re within your comfort zone. But it can also have a downside: Sometimes, you can get unbelievably distracted.
Between your professional duties and the responsibilities you have at home, working from your house can mix up your focus and take away from the work that really matters.
“Working from home can open up a lot of opportunities to do anything but work,” said Gerald D. Vinci, owner of Vinci Digital Marketing. “A pile of dishes in the sink or laundry in the hamper might be calling your name, but too often, these distractions wind up greatly impacting productivity.”
To help you avoid distractions and keep you on track, here are six strategies to use when you’re working from home. [See Related Story: Ready to Work from Home? Ask Yourself These 6 Questions]
Have a designated workspace
A dedicated space, whether a home office or a dedicated corner of the bedroom, is the key to staying successful and productive. You still need to feel that you have, in some way, “gone to work,” said Bill Conlon, corporate communications manager at business communications company Polycom.
Be technologically equipped
Beyond a reliable
It’s not easy to run a business with your spouse or significant other. But for couples who have built up a solid foundation and who know how to handle conflict with each other, small business ownership could be a step toward financial independence and even a stronger relationship.
If you and your partner have made the decision to start a business together, you can choose from plenty of startups that are well suited for a two-person team. As with any partnership, these business ideas work best when you each take on roles that best fit your skills and strengths. An entrepreneurial relationship, like all business ventures, is truly a labor of love.
Whether it’s about how to use social media, getting through the early dark days of a startup, or about marketing your business, getting advice can help you succeed.
The video below contains success tips from 11 business leaders. It was shot at ICON14 in Phoenix, Arizona. ICON is the Infusionsoft customer conference that attracts 3,000 attendees, most of them small businesses or serving small businesses like yours and mine.
I was there on behalf of Small Business Trends capturing some “man on the aisle” interviews from presenters and attendees.
And out of all the success tips, what’s my favorite? Well, it’s from Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft, who sat down and talked frankly about the brutally tough early days of the company he co-founded over a decade ago. Infusionsoft, which got $54 million in venture capital from Goldman Sachs, bootstrapped its way for years before earning that large injection of growth capital.
Mask says that in the early years, every single day was a struggle for survival. And while cash flow and business experience matter, the real secret, he says, “starts in your head with your success mindset, attitude and positive thinking.” This is what
If you run a small business, it’s likely that you’re operating on a relatively limited budget. Whether you bootstrapped your business or are trying to pay back loans you took out to cover your startup costs, it’s in your best interest to conserve money wherever you can.
Without a thorough budget plan, however, it can be difficult to track and manage your finances. This is especially true for any unexpected business expenses that may come up, as they often do. A 2015 survey by small business credit provider Headway Capital found that although 57 percent of small business owners anticipated growth this year, nearly 19 percent were concerned about how unexpected expenses would impact their business.
If you want to keep your business operating in the black, you’ll need to account for both fixed and unplanned costs, and then create — and stick to — a solid budget. Experts offered their advice for small business owners looking to keep their finances in order. [4 Tips for Reducing Startup Costs]
Define and understand your risks
Every business venture has a certain degree of risk involved, and all of those risks have the potential for a financial impact on your company. Paul Cho, managing director
As a small business, you may think it’s impossible to get the word out about what you do. That’s no excuse. And you don’t need fads or gimmicks. Follow the proven, timeless tips and techniques of these entrepreneurs to help get the word out about your business and watch it grow.
1. Give Your Stuff Away
Ari Fleischer and Aly Moler of Frozen Pints have grown their craft beer ice cream business by leaps and bounds by attending craft beer shows and farmers markets to do one thing–give their product away. Once customers taste this unexpected combination (which happens to be delicious) for free, they line up at their local store to buy it or even request that the store carry it.
2. Attend Networking Events…
Desiree Scales of Bella Web Design is a master networker. She attends and presents at almost every event in town. Her contribution to the overall community makes her one of the first people that come to mind when anyone looks for an expert in her area of concentration: small business websites and drip marketing.
3. …Or, Create Your Own Event
If you don’t like the events you are attending, invent your own! Darrah Brustein has created one of the
Women are natural-born leaders, so it’s no surprise that women have founded so many of today’s most interesting and powerful companies. According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, more than 9.4 million companies are owned by women, employing nearly 7.9 million people, and generating $1.5 trillion in sales as of 2015.
Here are 10 successful businesses that were started by inspiring female entrepreneurs:
1. Bark & Co.
Carly Strife co-founded Bark & Co. with Matt Meeker, Henrik Werdelin, who were brought together by their love of all things pups. The trio launched Bark & Co’s first product, BarkBox, with little thought as to how popular it was going to be, according to the website.
Strife, who serves as the CEO, was also the NYC operations manager at Uber, in addition to working for management and consultation firm Deloitte before Bark & Co. According to Forbes, the company has an approximate valuation between $150 million and $200 million.
Rashmi Sinha is the female mastermind behind the popular presentation-sharing platform, SlideShare. Sinha co-founded the company with CTO Jonathan Boutelle in 2006, a year after launching another project called MindCanvas. Before launching SlideShare, Sinha was doing lab work after earning a Ph.D.
The ability to work from home is a prized employee perk that offers workers the chance to free themselves from the daily commute and complete their tasks from anywhere with an internet connection.
But along with that freedom and flexibility comes the risk of security issues that occur outside the protected corporate network. Even if your company provides VPN (virtual private network) access, your computer — and everything on it — could still be compromised if someone hacks into your home Wi-Fi network or the public hotspot you’re connected to.
“Making sure that sensitive documents and files remain confidential is definitely an issue remote employees need to tackle right from the outset,” said Brian Stark, general manager of North America at smanos, a smart home and DIY security systems company. “Of course, ensuring that there is a secure connection to the server is extremely important, but this is ultimately placed in the hands of the homeowner.”
Andrew Hay, chief information security officer at DataGravity, noted that other connected devices in your home may have far fewer security controls than your work laptop, which may give cybercriminals easy access to your device.
“Home-based workers must be diligent about what types of systems are on their
Looking for a new challenge now that you’ve retired from the corporate world? Why not start your own business?
Many retirees who’ve been employees all of their lives get excited at the thought of running the show, and building a business that reflects their interests and values. If you’re thinking of launching a business during your retirement, here are six ideas to get you started.
Many new business ideas well-suited for retirees harness the power of the internet, as long as you don’t let technology intimidate you.
“Online businesses are truly some of the best types of businesses for people over 50, but they need to get over their fears,” said Diane Eschenbach, owner of startup consultancy firm DE Consultants and author of “How to Quickly Start a Business Online.”
One simple new business option involves researching and compiling information on websites.
“One of my favorite types of online businesses for the ‘post-50 group’ is curation sites,” said Eschenbach.
As people get older, the time invested in activities (such as a new business venture) becomes very important, said Eschenbach. She is a big fan of the idea of retirees learning to use technology because of the time saved by automated programs, but she
Securing Your Business: Employees, Customers and Assets Credit: hywards/Shutterstock
Any type of revenue loss or reputational damage is worth preventing. Protecting your business against such losses means securing your employees, customers, building, equipment, and revenue-related assets.
When people think of security breaches and theft, they often imagine complex technology theft or armed robbery. But although businesses should employ the proper measures to prevent major security incidents, the reality is that those types of instances are rare. Often, revenue slips out the door simply because of poor record keeping, employee theft or lax security protocols, rather than from outside nefarious forces. Security cameras and other technologies can also help protect your company from harassment or performance issues.
While some security measures require an investment or ongoing fees, some are free and can be implemented as best practices. If you haven’t yet put much thought or investment into your business’s security, now might be the time to do so. It might even cost less than you think. Here are a few ideas and best practices to help you secure your business.
Security cameras and monitoring
Other security technologies
Credit card and fraud protection
Smart business security practices
Security cameras and monitoring
The first and most
Saving for retirement is an important consideration for workers of any age. But your employees may not be taking the proper steps to secure their future — because they don’t know any better.
A recent survey of 1,000 U.S. employees by Ramsey Solutions, which provides personal finance education, found that 40 percent of workers, including 70 percent with zero retirement savings, have no access to any type of employer-sponsored information about retirement or finances.
While some American workers do learn about retirement from their employers, many turn to their parents (35 percent) or family and friends (32 percent) for advice, found the survey. However, these sources may not give a complete picture of what your employees need to know.
“People often go to their parents, family and friends because they’re a trusted source,” Chris Hogan, a motivational speaker and financial coach for Ramsey Solutions, said in a statement. “Your friends and family may know what has or hasn’t worked for them, but they may not know all of your options when it comes to saving for retirement.”
This educational gap could account for the fact that American workers, particularly younger ones, aren’t saving nearly enough for their retirement. A 2014 report by HR management
Choosing a factoring service doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are three things to consider when selecting one for your business:
What type of factoring does your business need?
How much of your outstanding invoices do you need funded and when do you need it?
How much are you willing to pay?
We will help you answer these questions below, but if you already know what you need and just want to see our recommendations for the best factoring service, visit our best picks page.
The first step to choosing the right factoring service for your business is figuring out which type of factoring you actually need. For instance, do you need a factoring service that covers all of your outstanding invoices upfront, or will a partial payment suffice? Do you prefer to keep receiving payments from customers, or will you hand collections over to the factoring company? And do you want to be held responsible to the factoring company if customers don’t pay? These are just some of the considerations we’ll cover below.
First, to help you better understand the many different types of factoring, here is an explanation of how factoring works, followed by a breakdown of the most common factoring
Company executives and their employees disagree on the type of office space that’s best for sparking creativity, new research finds.
A study from the staffing firm The Creative Group revealed that employees prefer secluded spaces when trying to come up with new ideas, whereas company leaders believe open spaces are best for innovation.
Specifically, 36 percent of employees said a private office is most conducive to encouraging creativity, compared with just 18 percent of executives. Conversely, 36 percent of executives think open-concept work environments are best for on-the job innovation, compared with only 26 percent of employees.
But company leaders and their employees do see eye to eye when it comes to the worst place for inspiring creativity: Just 4 percent of both groups believe working from outside the office is the best environment for encouraging innovation. [See Related Story: Smarter Seating? How Your Office Neighbor Affects Your Work]
Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group, said that when designing office spaces, it is important to understand that different tasks call for different work environments.
“Office design should be closely tailored to an organization’s needs and a team’s primary duties,” Domeyer said in a statement. “The main goal for employers should be to create
I’m a full-time freelance writer. However, when I’m not writing, I’m running a small business. I’m marketing my services to various companies and getting paid for my time and effort. I’m fielding project requests, filling out invoices and tax forms, and keeping my portfolio updated for prospective clients, just like many other types of small businesses.
I’m not alone, either. According to the Freelancers Union, 54 million Americans work as freelancers in fields like writing, graphic design, consulting, etc. That’s a huge chunk of the country’s workforce.
Every business, especially solo operations like freelancing, needs the right tools to run effectively. Whether you’re freelancing full time or just doing a side project or two for extra income, here are 13 tech tools that can help you manage your business better. [See Related Story: Want to Be a Full-Time Freelancer? What You Need to Know]
Organization and project management
It’s easy to lose track of your documents on your hard drive. Fortunately, Google Drive allows you to compile Google documents, sheets and other types of files in one place. You can also share certain folders and files with other Gmail users. You can also export documents into Word docs, PDFs and other
I came up with the idea for the company shortly after buying my first home. I loved everything about the home-buying process, and I had dreams of transforming my house into a beautiful home. Once I started decorating, I saw there was a gap in the market. I couldn’t find luxury bedding that didn’t break the bank.
That was my “aha!” moment. By bypassing the middle man and going directly to the world’s best linen factories, Crane & Canopy brings premium bedding directly to customers without the markup.
Our challenge is to continually inspire and delight our customers with fresh, smart designs. We are always seeking out timeless, beautiful styles and new design features that make the lives of our customers simpler and better.
We look to ensure that our global supply chain continues to deliver the highest-quality products at the best possible prices to our customers. We are constantly traveling around the world, visiting and meeting with our factories to check in and, if necessary, adjust our practices.
The year ahead will be another exciting one for our team. The textile and bedding market is expansive, and there are many opportunities to grow both vertically and horizontally. Expect to see exciting new fabrics,