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How-To

Forget a Mentor. Find a Sponsor if You Want to Succeed

Jan 27, 2014

Have you found your sponsor yet?

Not a mentor, a sponsor. Sure, a mentor is important in helping to define your dream and understand your world. But it’s a sponsor that’s the dream-enabler, says Sylvia Ann Hewlett, a scholar, author and president and CEO of the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI). A sponsor is key for really fast-tracking your career, she says, connecting you with the right people and supporting your ascent.

5 Startup Lessons for Fast-Growing Companies

Dec 31, 2013

Within our first month of publicly launching Ministry of Supply in June 2012, we sold more than 6,000 shirts and gained 4,000 customers. Our company grew fast because it had to. We were an adolescent trapped in a baby’s body — we had to learn how to sprint before we could learn how to walk, and we had some serious growing pains as we tried to scale production from 300 to 6,000 shirts a month. However, we quickly realized that by empowering our customers and empowering our company, we could truly grow the way we wanted. Everything we do comes down to empowering people to be their best.

Fixing Compensation for 2014

Dec 27, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

As 2013 draws to a close, now is the time to plan what you’ll be paying yourself and your staff next year.

If you are self-employed, payments you take as draws have no tax implications, but if you’re an employee of your corporation, figure your salary for 2014.

Compensation paid to owner-employees as well as to staff members of any businesses impact what the business can deduct as well as what employees report as income.

Here are some issues to consider:

Reasonable compensation

How to Kick Your Email Addiction

Dec 26, 2013

This article is cross-posted from the Young Enterpreneur Council

Hello. My name is Chris, and I’m an email addict.

Email addiction is taking a serious toll on both our personal lives and work productivity. Long gone are the days of handwritten letters, snail mail and faxes. Why use those outdated practices when you can simply type a message from anywhere and instantly send it to anyone in the world.

Why Social Responsibility is Just Another Cost of Doing Business

Dec 24, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Is a business "socially responsible" if it does no harm, follows government mandates, and recycles?

Well, doing those things isn't socially irresponsible but these days customers expect more than the bare minimum of "do no harm." They expect positive action. They expect you to make the community that supports the business a better place.

Your Year-End Business Accounting Checklist

Dec 17, 2013

As we find ourselves hurtling towards the end of the year, there are a number of things you should be staying on top of in order to best manage your company finances and position your small business for greater success in the new year.

Your year-end thought process should take into consideration the following:

7 Tips for Pitching Investors

Dec 16, 2013

On a recent chilly Tuesday evening in the basement of Hill Country Chicken in Manhattan, New York, a couple dozen entrepreneurs are seated at red-checkered tables, munching on chicken legs and sipping beers while testing the pitches that they will make to a panel of judges the following evening. This was Challenge Cup, an international 16-city contest run by Washington, D.C., incubator 1776 to identify the most promising startups in the areas of health, energy, education, and smart cities.

11 Inexpensive Ways to Make Your Employees' Holiday Special

Dec 16, 2013

Question: What is one creative way that startups can show appreciation to their employees around the holidays on a bootstrapper's budget?

Jessica Brondo
Admitted.ly
Go on a (Free) Outing

"Do something fun (and free)! We're based in NY, so some of the things that come to mind are ice skating in Bryant Park (or Central Park), an outing to see the tree (and then a cool photo), walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and getting Grimaldi's pizza...And then, good old-fashioned Christmas cookies never hurt :)"

Improve Your Relationship with Your Business

Dec 12, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

As a business grows, entrepreneurs must often reinvent themselves as a rite of passage. It’s often the very work habits that help you achieve a level of success that hold you back from getting to the next level. Being involved in all areas of the business, making every decision, and managing every outcome in the company becomes unsustainable as your business grows. I’ve gone through several reinventions as my own business grew and changed.

5 Strategies for a Successful Acquisition Deal

Dec 11, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

It’s a well known statistic that approximately two-thirds of acquired businesses fail. While these stats are based on publicly traded companies with failure measured by loss of equity value, there is no reason to believe that the failure experience is any different for private companies. The statistics are daunting; however, companies continue to be acquired for a variety of good reasons and not all acquisitions fail.

8 Things a Joint Venture Agreement Should Cover

Dec 9, 2013

Combining forces to create a joint venture (JV) is nothing new, but the real trick is to do so in such a way that protects each venturer so that both parties are free to put their best creative foot forward. I'm talking "Captain Planet" levels of teamwork that can only come when all parties feel that they're in a safe space to build an empire.

What To Do When You're Sued

Dec 6, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Small businesses seem to have a bulls eye on them because they are frequent targets of lawsuits. Some are certainly legitimate claims for a company’s actions or negligence. However, many lawsuits are frivolous lawsuits designed to squeeze a settlement despite limited, contrived, or no proof of wrongdoing.

The NFIB reports that small businesses pay $35.6 billion annually out-of-pocket to settle frivolous lawsuits. What should you do if you’re served with legal papers?

6 Methods For Making a Lasting Impression

Dec 5, 2013

You went to a networking event, chatted with new contacts, and collected cards. Now what? There are multitudes of things you can do to make a personal and lasting impression past the first interaction. Now that you’ve done your due diligence in attending a networking event and connecting with peers, it’s time to begin the process of staying top-of-mind.

Here are 6 tips to get you past a one-night networking stand -- and into a long-lasting business relationship:

How to Deal with Tax Gain on Your Economic Loss

Dec 4, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

When your business property is destroyed, damaged, or stolen, you may receive an insurance recovery, grants, or some other compensation (such as amounts paid by BP for losses in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010). This recovery can produce a tax gain because it exceeds the tax basis in the property even though you’ve suffered an economic loss.

How to Keep Your Startup Customers Smiling

Dec 2, 2013

At a startup – and arguably at a large company too – there is nothing more valuable than happy customers. They become evangelists of your brand and an extension of your marketing team, referring friends and family. But more important than that is the significant negative impact of a dissatisfied person. An angry customer will tell 20 friends about their experience. Keeping people smiling is critical to your success.

Trust Signals Your Website Should Be Sending

Nov 29, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Improving conversions from your website and improving your search results requires building trust.

Whatever the goals are for your website, I am sure they include being delivered on the first page in a search result and improving conversions, meaning something that you want the visitor to do. Conversions can be registrations, getting comments, votes, sharing, subscribe, request a quote, ask a question, or make a purchase.

Cutting-Edge Companies Capitalize on Green Business

Nov 27, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

After the green frenzy, businesses rapidly jumped on the green bandwagon (or fuel efficient vehicle) to capture their share of the eco-wallet. We seem to be settling into a rational green phase in business, where companies and consumers alike are starting to make decisions based on facts and reality, rather than the desire to be “cool green.” The costs of being environmentally responsible have also come down, and more practical and affordable—options are available. Today, going green encompasses reducing waste, saving energy, and much more than garden variety recycling programs.

5 Quick Ways to Build Confidence in Business Conversations

Nov 20, 2013

Being able to communicate with confidence is a game changer. It’s the difference between getting people to believe in you, or causing people to forget about you. If your customers believe you, they’ll buy your product. If venture capitalists are inspired by your passion, they’ll invest in your company. If your staff trusts your vision, you don’t just have a team -- you've sparked a movement.

The 5 Other Personality Traits of Entrepreneurs

Nov 20, 2013

Many people think of a certain personality type when they think of entrepreneurs and innovators. In fact, many famous entrepreneurs have the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ENTJ. This famous personality test, based on Carl Jung’s typological theories, says that ENTJ’s are strategic leaders who are objective, ambitious, forward-thinking, and motivated by success. Donald Trump, Margaret Thatcher, and Bill Gates are noted ENTJs.

How To Price Your Product Based on Your Market

Nov 14, 2013

When it comes to choosing a price for your offerings, there are a number of things to consider. The first one is the value of the product or service you’re providing.

When determining the value of what you offer, there’s no better way than putting yourself into the shoes of your ideal customer. Will it be worth it to them to have this problem solved? To have this part of their life enhanced? It doesn’t matter what products you sell; it could be a service, advice, or items like jewelry and decorative notebooks.

Branding Your Business For Big Bucks

Nov 12, 2013

Do you want to generate ever increasing profits in your business? Would you like to separate your business from its competition and eliminate comparison shopping? What would it be like to have employees jump at the opportunity to work for your business? How would your life be different if you could charge a premium for your product (I will use the term “product” to include services in this article)? Wouldn’t it be great to have instant name recognition for your business?

You can obtain all of the above and more by developing a powerful and attractive brand for your business!

4 Things to Consider Before Hiring Your First Employee

Nov 11, 2013

Almost two years ago, my business partner and I started Marc Waring Ventures, an online publishing company. We operate such websites as Learn Bonds and Forex News. Our revenue has been growing rapidly over the last six months while our expenses have remained relatively flat. Our improving financial situation allowed us to think about bringing on full time employees.

How Friendly Can You Make Your Workplace?

Nov 8, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Small business owners are open to making simple, inexpensive or no-cost changes to their workplace as a way to keep employees happy on the job. The Wall Street Journal ran an article on this very topic suggesting that little perks can mean a lot to your staff.

I agree that many little perks work well in a small business environment and are things that large firms often can’t offer or accommodate. However, as the adage goes, “look before you leap.” Here are some of their suggestions …with the caveats the article failed to mention.

Hitting the Accelerator: 5 Ways to Boost Innovation

Nov 7, 2013

Is the U.S. economy losing its edge as a world leader in innovation?

That’s the warning that venture capitalist and technologist Peter Thiel, one of the founders of Paypal and an early Facebook investor, has presented in a series of speeches, interviews and debates. He offers a compelling case that innovation and technological progress in most U.S. sectors have decelerated over the last four decades.

What’s Affiliate Marketing and How Can It Help Grow My Business?

Nov 5, 2013

What the heck is “affiliate marketing” and can it really help grow your business? Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based advertising (also referred to as performance-based marketing) where the advertiser only pays when an action is performed that creates measurable results. While it’s not as mainstream as paying for online clicks or impressions, affiliate marketing can be much more valuable to the advertiser due to its risk-free approach.

A Brief History of Affiliate Marketing

3 Best Practices For Startup Hiring

Nov 5, 2013

It's really hard to teach someone how to hire, how to manage, and how to lead. Like many things, it's usually best to learn on the job, practice, and improve after making a lot of mistakes along the way. The problem is, as a startup, you can't afford to make a lot of mistakes when hiring. You also can't afford to wait too long to hire when the business is scaling quickly.

How to Use Social Media to Make Real World Connections

Nov 4, 2013

How can you link up for coffee with someone who you've only connected with on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn? According to an Academia.edu study, there is a tremendous connection between your online and offline relationships. According to their findings, "the average American has 634 ties in their overall network and technology users have bigger networks."

Affordable Analytics

Oct 31, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

What’s up with your website? These affordable—or free—tools can help you figure out your web analytics.

Getting Started

Oct 29, 2013

Are you just starting to use social media to market your business? While there is no shortage of social media tips on the Internet, here are some basic ones for a few of the most popular platforms.

Facebook

Manage your page. As the owner of the business, make sure that you are in control. List yourself as the “manager” of the account by navigating to the “Edit Page” tab and clicking through to “Admin Roles.” Anyone designated as a “manager” can add or remove page administrators.

3 Tips for Building a Stronger Network

Oct 28, 2013

As any entrepreneur will tell you, there are few things in the world of business that are more valuable than a great network. After all, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. And when it comes time to start a new enterprise, expand a company, raise funds or even find a co-founder, you'll be relying on the value of your network to help you accomplish these milestones. Here are three steps to make sure you have the strongest network possible:

Why Applying for Business Grants Might Be Worth the Headache

Oct 25, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

It is surprising to me how many entrepreneurs fail to explore the many grants and tax incentives available from New York City and New York State to help small businesses grow. Some business owners simply are unaware of the opportunities. In other cases, based on my experience, executives often feel they either don’t have time to look into the various programs, or are hesitant to get ensnared by what they fear will be the complications and entanglements they may associate with government incentives.

5 Things to Get Straight Before Starting Up

Oct 22, 2013

Starting my company Gloss and Glam was the best thing I ever did. But before I opened my business, I spent countless hours speaking to lawyers, accountants, and other entrepreneurs trying to figure out next steps. Save yourself countless hours -- and the possible headache of making a huge foundational mistake -- by getting these five things straight before you start up:

How Photos on Your Website Affect SEO

Oct 21, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Believe it or not, Google considers photo images on your website for ranking purposes.

While that may seem silly since spiders can only read text and cannot see images (yet), it makes sense if you go back to Google’s mantra that if it is good for visitors it is good for Google.

While imagery is an art and science on its own, you can still make the most of your website’s overall experience by using good quality photos or even do-it-yourself photography. Personally I think you should have at least a designer involved but if not, don’t do nothing – do something.

How to Simplify Your Business (Even As It Grows)

Oct 18, 2013

Is your business too complicated?

After running an ultra-high-growth, successful business for three years, I noticed a disturbing trend creeping around the edges: complexity.

As we grew our team, expanded our product line and added more marketing strategies into the mix (all at a high speed), each piece started to leave a messy little trail in its wake.

Work Smarter

Oct 17, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Walter Chrysler, the founder of the car company that bears his last name said, "Whenever there is a hard job to be done I assign it to a lazy man; he is sure to find an easy way of doing it!" Lazy people are great at figuring out how to do things better, simply because they don't want to do anything that feels like work, especially hard work. When you pay attention to how you feel you'll probably find that when you're doing things that you enjoy, time seems to fly. The reverse is also true. When you're doing things you hate, time seems to stretch out forever.

4 Steps to Reevaluate Your Business Strategy

Oct 15, 2013

It's never the wrong time to de-clutter and simplify. Just as you should bring fresh air into a stuffy house, you can also breathe life into a company to achieve an improved state of success.

DUST OFF THE COBWEBS
When your marketing goes stale, so does your business. The purpose of cleaning up your online business is to stay relevant to consumers. So, what does it take to be relevant?

Three Ways to Enhance an Innovative Culture

Oct 14, 2013
from Forum for Innovation

One feature of great innovation cultures is an abundance mindset.

Business author Steven Covey once defined an abundance mentality as a ‘win-win’ philosophy, in which everyone works together for shared success. In practical terms, this mentality relies on shared resources, shared decision-making, shared recognition, and shared profits.

Prepare for Piracy Abroad

Oct 10, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

As a business grows, its owners might face the question of whether to sell and/or manufacture its products abroad. Burgeoning foreign markets, such as those of China and India, are difficult to resist as venues for new business development. In addition to the vast number of potential new consumers residing there, production and distribution in these markets can substantially lower expenses and increase product volume.

Oh No! My Web Traffic Is Falling!

Oct 8, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

I’ve been hearing about falling web traffic a lot lately.

I find it is no surprise with the vast amount of changes Google regularly makes versus how infrequently business owners implement website changes. It is inevitable that a website that remains stagnate will lose ground as Google continues to change the rules, which they do about 500 times each year.
What was sound SEO advice last year and the year before is the Kiss of Google Ranking Death this year.

Some recent changes are:

Survival Guide for the Millennial Entrepreneur

Oct 8, 2013
from Forum for Innovation

One of the most important things to understand about being an entrepreneur is that there is no such thing as a 9-to-5 or a five-day workweek. You are always thinking about your team, cash flow, customers, company, product, and about a million other details unique to your business. For each thing pulling on your thoughts and time, you are always on call and available to effectively suit up as a firefighter, referee, police officer, high-stakes negotiator, babysitter, garbage collector, disciplinarian, or peacemaker to deal with whatever your company, team, and customers are facing.

The Pros and Cons of Hiring Remote Workers

Oct 2, 2013

Log on to a site like Odesk.com, and you’ll quickly see profiles for the tens of thousands of workers based around the globe who are ready to hire out their services for as little as $.50 per hour—numbers that sound awfully appealing compared with standard western salary and compensation packages.

But the maxim that “most things that sound too good to be true, usually are” should certainly be applied to this situation. If you’re considering hiring remote staff for your business, consider the following pros and cons.

Advantages

Research. Relate. Reinvent.

Oct 1, 2013

Blanket communications (i.e., template-driven, “enter city here,” marketing efforts that don’t reflect local sensibilities) will never warm local markets, and that is the only blanket statement acceptable on the subject. Think about it—highlighting your swimwear won’t turn heads in New York City as it did in California.

In general, mass emailing without any particular audience in mind will leave no impression.

Top Tips For Data Security

Sep 30, 2013

Nothing is more crucial to a business than its customers. It’s a relationship that relies on trust, which is difficult to earn and easy to lose. New gains in technology can allow hackers to steal data from anywhere in the world. Protecting your business and customer information is more critical than ever.

Getting Your Foot in the Door Overseas

Sep 27, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

In the following case study, Savio S. Chan, president and CEO of Melville, NY–based US China Partners, Inc., explains how a family-owned service provider on Long Island prepared to do business in China by implementing basic strategies that can be applied to any industry.

Entrepreneurship Isn't Supposed to Be Easy

Sep 25, 2013

It wasn’t Nasty Gal CEO Sophia Amoruso’s fancy degree, tailored business suit, or five years of investment banking background that grew her e-commerce venture into a $128 million company, which has been courted by major potential buyers as of late.

In fact, she had none of those things at first. She launched her business as an eBay store out of her San Francisco apartment six years ago. Believe it or not, that same small business is now one of LA’s most rapidly growing tech companies.

It was her unparalleled drive and unrelenting pursuit of success.

How Far is Too Far When Enforcing Company Culture?

Sep 24, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Running a wellness company, I spend a significant amount of time explaining to others why it is important to live a healthy life and how to do so. So you can image the challenges I face at work when some my employees don’t practice these healthy living techniques themselves. This isn’t to say my employees are unhealthy and against healthy living, but it does show me first hand that the time, money, and motivation required to live a healthy lifestyle doesn’t come easy for all.

Your Business and Its Journey to the Cloud

Sep 23, 2013

CLOUD! The word is thrown around our popular culture and within the IT industry maybe more often now than we use the word 'the.' That's because there is a huge shift taking place with every software and hardware manufacturer as they race to make their products and services "cloud ready" or "cloud friendly" or even "cloud certified."

What Investors Really Want to Know

Sep 19, 2013

Venture capitalists (VCs) make you work hard for their money by inundating you with question after question about your fundraising process, your company goals, your founding team, among other things. Many of these questions will seem reasonable. Some will seem ridiculous.

But no matter the question, you must have an answer. And your answers better be good.

5 Tips and Techniques for Restoring a Healthy Cash Flow in Times of Hardship

Sep 18, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Nearly every successful company has had to face difficult times with tight cash flow and burdening debts at one point or another. However, only the most dedicated and resourceful entrepreneurs and business managers are able to handle the pressure and make the necessary adjustments. Put yourself in the class with those who've struggled but come out on top using the following 5 tips to improve your cash flow to debt ratio:

1.    Reduce Unnecessary Expenditures

The Best Marketing Advice – Ever!

Sep 17, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

I recently went to one of my favorite restaurants –Craft . The service and the food were excellent as always but there were several little surprises for us throughout the evening. Small and subtle acts of a gracious host, but delightful nonetheless. The evening ended with my retrieving my coat from the coat check and being presented with a lovely baked treat along with my belongings. This was the icing on the service cake – figuratively speaking.

5 Tips to Make Your Inbox More Manageable

Sep 16, 2013

If you’re like me (or me a month ago), your inbox seems to be like a cancer that is growing faster than you can possibly lop it off. A day out of the office, or a morning of back-to-back meetings, leaves you to return to an unread email count in the hundreds. Just keeping up with your inbox could easily be your full-time job, except for the fact that it wouldn’t cross a single thing off your to-do list.

Tired of wasting time, sacrificing productivity, and putting up with inane subject lines because of email clutter? Here are five simple ways to declutter your inbox.

How to Make Your Content So Valuable, It Goes Viral

Sep 12, 2013

To have something go viral and cut through all the nonsense that’s overflowing on the Internet these days, it must be interesting and shareable—i.e., a linkable asset. But how do you create such valuable content?

Investing in your content is essential to create a community of engaged followers. Harness your content ideas into something bigger. Give your networks a reason to talk about you. Online and social media buzz around your brand, business, or product can translate into real word-of-mouth conversions.

Cybersecurity and Log Monitoring

Sep 11, 2013

This is the first in a series of posts published throughout the month on the topic of cybersecurity.

Security professionals and law enforcement officials commonly say that there are only two kinds of businesses: those that have been hacked and know it, and those that have been hacked and don’t know it—yet.

Businesses of all sizes may believe that they are diligent about changing passwords and patching software to help prevent cybersecurity incidents, but they cannot be sure if they seldom if ever review their computer security logs.

To Hire Or Not To Hire: Bringing Children Into the Family Business

Sep 10, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

The Dunbars are an extremely close-knit Canadian family that runs a successful business in plastics. The family patriarch/CEO recently hired two siblings with the firm understanding that they would be treated as non-family employees. When the son made a minor customer service mistake one day, the father snapped at him.  As the son described the incident: "My name seems to be a liability here in the company.

3 Startup Lessons From an NFL Coach

Sep 9, 2013

With the 2013-14 NFL season kicking into full gear, and as I settle into my Sunday ritual, I’m reminded of why my hero, head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks, is just that — a hero.

Since he took the reins in Seattle in 2010, Pete’s taken a below-average team and turned out a Superbowl contender. His leadership style can be applied to a startup and to leading a company. There is a lot to like:

Now is the Time To Eliminate Common Business Mistakes

Sep 5, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Heading into the homestretch of 2013, it’s not about New Year’s resolutions anymore – not that most business owners kept theirs anyway. Now is the time to eliminate the mistakes and habits that have found their way into the daily business routine. 

Here are five common mistakes business owners make, and what they really should be doing:

The Pros and Cons of Going Into Business With a Buddy

Sep 3, 2013

I’ve built five companies in my startup career, four of which I started with close friends. It’s quite common to build a company with a close friend: you get together, think of a cool idea, and decide to get started. Why not, right? While it can be extremely fun to start up with someone you’re close to, it’s not without disadvantages.

So before you and your friend get started, take the time to analyze the good, the bad, and the ugly side of starting a company with a friend.

THE GOOD

Remote (But Not Removed)

Aug 28, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Earlier this year, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer took a lot of heat when she decided to eliminate telecommuting from the company’s business model. Mayer stuck to her guns, ignored the criticism, and promptly moved on to the next challenge. In fact, it wasn’t until after the policy was announced that she publicly defended her decision, stating that telecommuting wasn’t right for her company’s current goals and objectives.

How to Turn Your Business Failures Into Future Success Stories

Aug 27, 2013

My first startup experience was working for a tech company that made mobile applications for sports fans. I worked nights and weekends in an entry-level position with the founding team while finishing up my college degree. For aspiring young entrepreneurs like myself, a business school education is valuable, but it is no substitute for working in real, live startup environments. I knew I had to have both, so I sought out entrepreneurial experiences every chance I had.

Generating Sales With Surveys

Aug 26, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Without customers you don’t have a business, so getting focused on the one true thing about any business – customers – makes the rest of the challenges easier.

Often entrepreneurs and business owners become buried in the day to day or caught up in the passion of their mission and can lose sight of the reality check that can only come from customers.

How a Movie Can Change the Way You Run Your Business

Aug 22, 2013

The best advice you’ll ever get as an entrepreneur can come from anywhere. It may have come from your parents or a mentor, a book or a billboard — even a movie. You’re not always sure why, but something in what you hear changes the way you think.

Rouse Your Silent Prospects

Aug 20, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Getting a prospect on the phone or receiving a reply to an email is one of every salesperson’s biggest challenges. However, it doesn’t have to be. There is a golden rule for getting a response from a silent prospect: If you want a response, ask a question the prospect can answer. While this concept may seem elementary, there is an art to crafting emails and voicemails that will elicit a response from a qualified prospect.

Getting a Response to an Initial Call

HOW TO: Don’t Let That Meeting Derail

Aug 15, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report
We’ve all experienced the never-ending meeting — the one that’s supposed to last an hour, but instead drags on twice as long because of side discussions and interesting (but completely irrelevant) tangents. It’s enough to make you swear off meetings or banish people who talk too much to a penal colony. But you don’t have to be a tyrant to have productive meetings that cover the necessary ground in the allotted time. Here’s how to do it.
 

HOW TO: 7 Easy Ways To Improve The Way Your Company Works

Aug 13, 2013

This post first appeared on Young Entrepreneur Council's blog

At my last 9-to-5 job, every time I thought differently from my supervisors and managers about a problem we faced, I wrote down what bothered me and how I would do it differently given the opportunity. Before long, I had a huge spiral notebook filled with ideas. I realized that all these “negatives” were actually opportunities for better leadership. And I brought many of those ideas to the company I now co-own.

HOW TO: Five Free Ways to Get Your Business in the News

Aug 9, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

The truth is you don’t really need a public relations firm to publicize your business. I realize that as the owner of a boutique public relations firm that’s probably not my best sales pitch. And yet, it’s true.

A PR firm will have experience and connections. They’ll also spend significant funds on media databases, memberships to various organizations, and a ton of magazine subscriptions. But as an entrepreneur, you already have the skills and passion you need to handle your own press outreach. Whether you’ll want to or not, well, that’s a different story.

How To Know When It's Time to Move On

Aug 7, 2013

This post originally appeared on the author’s blog.

So, you know when you know. That is, you know when it’s time to move on to better things for your business, whether that means finding a stronger vendor, hiring a new employee (and letting go of the old one) or even firing a client (gulp!).

HOW TO: 4 Simple Ideas for a More Productive Company

Aug 2, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

When I was in college, I spent one summer interning at a very successful insurance and financial planning brokerage. After getting a tour of the company, which spanned two entire floors in Midtown, I met the general agent (essentially the CEO and owner of the firm). I said to him, “Wow. You have a lot of people working for you.” He said, “No Rob. I work for them.” While I took his statement with an appropriate grain of salt, it really stuck with me.  

Great Marketing That Makes Money

Aug 1, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

For most companies, there are ways to turn marketing efforts into profit centers. Of course, every situation and every company is different. Creative marketing solutions do not apply across the board.

But in all cases, it pays to think outside the box. I like racking my brains to think of ways to turn marketing efforts into profit centers. And I have found that it is usually possible.

Here are some examples from the days when I owned an industrial equipment manufacturing company building specialty machinery for the polymer industry.

3 Questions to Reevaluate Your Marketing Strategy

Jul 30, 2013

If you’re like me, you’re exhausted by boring marketing campaigns, up to your eyeballs in gimmick-laden slogans, and putting your direct mail straight in the paper shredder. I just received a car dealership promotion disguised as a W-2.

Open Innovation: The Heart of Small Business

Jul 28, 2013

The drive to innovate is alive and well within the hearts of small businesses. But as most successful small business leaders know, it's not enough to have a great idea.  

In fact, half of all new small businesses fail because they can't turn their promising concepts into a profitable business reality, according to the Small Business Administration.

For the most part, the survival of these smaller firms relies on factors that remain unrecognized until it is too late.

Dude, What’s My Brand?

Jul 25, 2013

Your glowing red tie that everyone can see from across a busy city street, the gleaming white smile, the perfectly pressed suit or designer pumps, the fancy name badge you always wear to try and stand out, the robust strides you take when you enter a room that creates an air of confidence are just not enough to build your personal brand anymore. There will certainly always be a place for the Fuller Brush salesperson approach and some may be fooled by pomp and circumstance, but today’s buyers are savvier than ever and they want substance.

Is Mediation Your Best Option?

Jul 23, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Legal disputes are costly, time consuming, emotionally draining, and not good for business. A business dispute is a business illness. If mild, you can work through it, but it still drags you down and impacts profits. If severe, a business dispute can destroy an entire business. Unfortunately, just as illnesses are an inevitable part of being human, disputes are an inevitable part of doing business. Learning how to effectively manage the disputes that arise is critical for business success.

Where to Find More Time to Think

Jul 18, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

How many times a week do you start the day with a well intentioned to-do list, and end the day asking “where did the day go?”  As business owners, we already fragment our attention by wearing many hats in the business.  Then on top of it we are interrupted on average 7x/hour - other’s urgent ad hoc requests, crises, other people’s chattiness, etc. Studies show it can take us anywhere between 10 and 25 minutes to reset our concentration back on our original task.  We can spend up to 2.1 hours a day on distractions.  That’s where the day goes!   

Define Your Best Customer

Jul 15, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

My guess is that there isn’t a company on the planet that doesn’t want more customers. But what kind of customers?

Small companies, above all others, with limited time and resources, need to maximize their efforts to be sure that they are bringing in the right customers, not just any customer. The ‘not right’ customer can eat into a company’s resources diverting them from more profitable relationships. The same goes for sales people.

6 Reasons to Start Your Business Now

Jul 12, 2013

You don’t have to have a Harvard MBA to know that the economy hasn’t climbed out of its slump entirely just yet. Household debt has grown, unemployment remains relatively high, and Americans aren’t spending the way they once did. With all these obstacles, you’d think it would be the worst time to start your own business. But a struggling economy presents opportunities for ambitious entrepreneurs — you just have to know where to find them.

How to Stay Top of Mind Using Email Marketing

Jul 5, 2013

Email marketing over the years has become more sophisticated. Long gone are the days of batch and blast campaigns. If you’re still sending emails in that fashion, you’re wasting money by communicating with your customers when you need them and not when they need you.

What types of email marketing campaigns, then, keep your business top-of-mind?

How to Start That Online Business You've Been Thinking About

Jul 3, 2013

Is this the year you will finally launch that brilliant new business idea?

It’s a good time to start — never before has it been easier or cheaper to build your own Web-based business. Technology has come a long way in the last few years in making tools for building sites more accessible to everyone (not just technologists).

Here are some easy ways to get a head start:

How to Avoid Hiring the Wrong Person for Your Startup

Jul 1, 2013

“He sounded so capable in the interview!”

“I just don’t know what happened. It seemed like she had exactly the right experience we were looking for!”

“The whole team loved him, so we just went with it.”

Perhaps you’ve uttered these words yourself, or heard them from a hiring manager who is experiencing frustration and buyer’s remorse when a new hire turns out to be a dud. Hiring someone who fails to meet expectations is a huge headache, especially when it was your job to vet them in the first place.

Could We Do This in a Team Meeting?

Jun 27, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

I spend a lot of time in my seminars imploring leaders and managers to spend more time with their employees: “You need to spend time every day with your direct-reports providing guidance, direction, support, and coaching!”
 
Often, managers will raise their hands and ask, “Could we do this in a team meeting?”
 
Team meetings are great. They are critical to any leader/manager’s repertoire. But team meetings are really only useful for four purposes:

How to Maintain a Start-Up Mentality as Your Business Grows

Jun 26, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

At a big innovation conference, I listened to a consultant present on what makes start-ups so innovative, and how Fortune 500 companies can learn from them. It got me thinking about the resources that could be saved if companies adhered to a few specific principles as they grew that would enable them to maintain an entrepreneurial environment that fosters innovation and creativity.

Acquiring a Troubled Company

Jun 25, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

As the economy rebounds, businesses that have survived, and even thrived, may be tempted to acquire companies that have been less fortunate. The downturn revealed the cracks in many businesses, and their owners are coming to terms with a disheartening future.

6 Tips for Choosing an Email Service Provider

Jun 20, 2013

iContact, a major email service provider, released data showing that the average return on investment for email marketing is $44.25 for every $1 spent. But before you go hog wild over email marketing, you have to jump the first hurdle—choosing an email service provider (ESP).

Choosing an ESP can be overwhelming. Because most ESPs have the same cool features, you should spend little time evaluating them and more time assessing the long-term aspects of a relationship. Begin the process by creating a matrix so that you can make side-by-side ESP comparisons.

Are You Just Procrastinating?

Jun 20, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Do you know what you should be doing to make your business ‘world class,’ but you are not doing it? You may come up with a million reasons why you have yet to act, but actually, you’re putting it off.  Procrastinating. Getting in your own way. Ah, we’ve all been there. Indeed 70% of North Americans report procrastinating from time to time, and 20% of us are chronic procrastinators - regularly and habitually putting things off for the utopian tomorrow.

Forming a Small Business Advisory Board

Jun 13, 2013

Why should you form an advisory board? An advisory board can help grow your business, avoid common pitfalls, and tap into the experiences of people who you can’t afford to hire full time. Unlike a formal board of directors, an advisory board is an informal group of outside advisers who don’t have governance over you or your firm. Advisory board members act as coaches and safe sounding boards to help solve problems, hone your strategy, and attack new opportunities.

5 Ways to Strike Sparks of Creativity

Jun 11, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

There are times when you or your staff are feeling less than inspired but creative problem solving is essential. And there are some people— maybe even you—who fear the blank page or any situation in which they must use their creativity (technical term: getting creative-now-o-phobia).

Why You Should Be on Your Own Payroll

Jun 5, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Not setting owner compensation correctly is one of the biggest cause of distortion in understanding the true performance of your business. If you aren’t paying yourself correctly, you may create a false sense of profitability, IRS issues for payroll tax evasion if you are an S corporation, or dysfunction between shareholders who work in the business with different value to their roles.

Don't Beat Them, Eat Them

Jun 4, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

With an economic recovery unlikely in 2012, the competition for market share will likely become increasingly fierce. In the current climate, the conventional sandbox wisdom of, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” may prove to be truer than ever.

4 Things Small Businesses Can Learn From Reality TV

May 31, 2013

Increasingly, the stars of cable television are ordinary small business owners and entrepreneurs who face the everyday challenges of meeting payroll, finding good employees, and keeping existing customers happy while finding new ones. Their successes, failures, and personality traits can be valuable teaching tools for other small business owners.

3 Key Startup Jobs to Outsource

May 30, 2013

If you’re running an early-stage startup, chances are there are some knowledge gaps in your core team. You may be strong on the technical side or a product whiz, but what about financial strategy, administration, HR? Are you prepared to manage the day-to-day of your startup, from recruiting new talent to bookkeeping to financial planning?

7 Steps to DIY Earned Media

May 29, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

When it comes to earned media—the new way to describe public relations, speaking opportunities, awards and such—every business seems to envy their competition’s wins. As the principal of a marketing communications agency, I get calls from prospects all of the time that go something like this: “My main competitor has great PR; they seem to be in every publication and blog I read. What do I need to do to achieve similar success?”

How Can a Business Owner Incentivize Without Giving up Equity?

May 28, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

How can a business owner incentivize without giving up equity? This question has been asked by thousands, if not millions of business owners. We all have that key employee, the one that if we lost them, the business would falter, even possibly fail, without their influence and activity in our business. This makes us very vulnerable and sometimes a little desperate to show our love.

5 Key Elements to Track Your Next Marketing Campaign

May 26, 2013

Let’s face it: tracking is the “ugly duckling” of business marketing. Tracking isn’t as sexy as traffic or conversion, so it’s rarely discussed and often overlooked.  Sometimes you’ll only remember tracking AFTER you’ve launched a marketing campaign and at that point it’s too late.

Sound familiar? Don’t worry, it’s happened to all of us.

Are Bad Online Reviews Costing Your Business Money?

May 23, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Every day businesses lose money without their knowledge and it’s a growing problem. Why?

Anyone can post a bad review which may hurt your business. Whether it is a disgruntled employee, angry customer or even a competitor, it can negatively affect your business’ reputation. Unfortunately, most business owners do not know that these bad reviews even exist. According to a recent Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey, 72 percent of buyers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Q&A: Business Signs

May 23, 2013

Q: My business is on a busy street. Since I get most of my new business from referrals, it seems to me that I do not really need to invest a lot of money in a big sign. My budget is limited, and I think my marketing dollars would go further elsewhere. But where?

--Aaron

Steven D. Strauss: I think you may be missing a golden opportunity. Sure, right now you may be getting most of your new clientele from word of mouth. Consider, however, how much more business you may get if, in fact, you have a big, bold sign.

7 Opportunities to Save on Startup Expenses

May 22, 2013

Older, more established companies have the flexibility of deciding how to allocate their budgets and spend their available funds on the resources that make their businesses more comfortable and easier to run.  But as a young startup, you have no such luxury! Because it’s important to make every dollar count while your business is still growing, you’ll want to take a look at the following seven opportunities to save money on common business expenses:

Expense #1 – Office Space

Big Data

May 21, 2013

There’s little doubt that “big data” is the latest “big thing” in the IT industry. But for many small and medium business (SMB) decision makers, big data is a somewhat fuzzy term. So what does big data really mean, and what are the implications for SMBs?

Financing for a Thriving. . . or a Barely Surviving Business

May 21, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

There are two types of business owners that need financing: those thriving and those just barely surviving. “Thrivers” need money to fuel expansion; survivors need money to bankroll a change in the business.

Although on opposite ends of the spectrum, business owners in both groups should carefully consider all possible capital sources and weigh out the benefits vs. the drawbacks. Primary sources include:

13 Surprising Startup Challenges

May 20, 2013

Q) What are some challenges you did not anticipate when deciding to start your own business?

A) Cash flow is a common struggle

"We started with clients from day one, so we've always been profitable, but one thing we didn't think about when we started was cash flow. Many profitable businesses experience famine and feast, due to invoice scheduling or higher sales during certain parts of the year. You must have a plan to spread profits from the most profitable times to cover times when cash flow is slower."

The Selling Sync

May 16, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

A prospect downloads a white paper, clicks a PPC ad, or signs up for (or actually attends) a webinar you host. The activity is noted, and is immediately assigned to a salesperson by someone in the marketing department (often automatically, via the CRM system). The eager salesperson dutifully follows up with a phone call. And another call. And another one. Frustrated, he chalks it up to another lousy lead from marketing, and moves on back to his cold calling. And the next time he gets a lead from marketing, he will prioritize it accordingly among his daily tasks.

Toy or Tool: Facebook Cover Photos

May 15, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

What is it? That wide expanse of digital real estate on the top of your business Facebook page is like your retail store window (even if you’re not a retailer). It’s the first thing clients/customers see when they are “passing by.” If you owned a shop, you wouldn’t have undressed mannequins in your window or food that has been growing mold for months. Your Facebook business page is every bit as important as your website and your cover should reflect your brand in the best possible and most current light.

Can You Be a Big and a Small Business at the Same Time?

May 14, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Can your business be big and small at the same time? Yes, if you check the definitions under the Affordable Care Act.  Definitions matter because they govern what rules you must follow. The Affordable Care Act has conflicting definitions for different purposes.

A 5-Step Beginner's Guide to Video Marketing

May 13, 2013

Video marketing: You’ve heard the experts talk about it, the gurus blog about it, and your business peers rave about it, but how do you get started?  What is the first step to creating your own engaging video content, and how can you share your videos with the world?

If you’re not taking advantage of video and want to know where to start, here are five steps that will start you down the path to an effective video marketing campaign:

Are White Label Licensing Options Right for You?

May 10, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

For many mobile, software or Web app-based startups, the initial inspiration for the business stems from the discovery of something that’s missing in the marketplace. At first, their dogged pursuit of providing the optimal solution is enough to keep them going.

Your Next Business Growth Strategy: Go Global

May 10, 2013

When I think about the benefits of exporting, I consider the thriving small businesses across Washington, D.C. – from Eastern Market to 14th Street. 

How would those businesses fare if they marketed their storefront to just five of every 100 customers that passed? Not well. But that’s the position many U.S. businesses are in, when they don’t seek to reach the 95 percent of consumers who live outside the United States. 

My Favorite Startup Wisdom Came From My Critics

May 8, 2013

My mentors are not the bite-sized platitude types. And no entrepreneur I know ever actually listened to advice — otherwise, we would all be IP lawyers like our parents wanted us to be.

Sure, we nod in agreement with the advice we get, but only because the advice we get is pretty benign to begin with: hire people who complement your weaknesses, fall in love with the problem you are solving and not the product, get in touch with your customer’s feelings, add cheerful touches of color to your office, etc. I can feel you nodding.

11 Things To Do For Spring Marketing To Grow Your Business

May 7, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

It’s springtime – finally. Springtime triggers thoughts of cleaning – freshening up the house, yard and even digging into closets to rid yourself of heavy winter wear and cobwebs.

Your business needs a springtime clean as well. Purge old files and records now that your taxes are filed; put things into storage, donate them or toss them out to make room to grow your business – maybe even create space to bring on some summer Interns.

Six Tips for Building Business Credit

May 6, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

What do established companies looking to expand and start-ups in the earliest planning stages have in common? They want access to money and credit without having to provide a personal guarantee. This sentiment is consistently and strongly expressed by entrepreneurs I work with. It’s no secret that building and expanding a business credit profile has become a greater challenge over the last few years.

How to Choose a Web Hosting Company

May 3, 2013

One of the first choices you’ll make when setting up a business website is which Web hosting company to use. A Web hosting company is the service that stores (or “hosts”) your small business’s site on its servers. Choose an inadequate host, and your website could crash at the worst possible time (like during the holiday shopping season, or the day your company gets mentioned on Good Morning America).

Before choosing a Web host, find out:

Is Your Small Business Prepared for a Disaster?

Apr 29, 2013

Most small businesses are ill prepared for a disaster, yet there are simple, inexpensive steps they can take to mitigate the damage, according to experts who spoke at America's Small Business in Washington, D.C., on April 29. 

7 Steps to Raising Startup Money From a Family Member

Apr 26, 2013

Crossposted from the Young Entrepreneur Council.

My family immigrated from Lima, Peru to the United States before I was born to give me a shot at the American dream.  I owe everything I’ve achieved so far to my parents, which is why it’s my goal to support them financially as they get older.

Somewhat paradoxically, to achieve this goal, I raised $5,000 from my mom to start an online affiliate business for U.S. tourism to Peru, called Professor Peru. The idea, of course, is to generate enough revenue to fund her retirement.

Toy or Tool: Google Alerts

Apr 25, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Long before we had computers we had something called a “clipping service.” Companies would comb newspapers and magazines for mentions of a business and send the client binders full of “clips.” Professionals and companies could keep track of their public reputations and what was being said about them in mass media. Fast-forward to the Google era…

How to Make a Strong First Impression at Your Next Meeting

Apr 24, 2013

One of the greatest things about being a young entrepreneur is getting to learn from other, more seasoned entrepreneurs. One such fellow entrepreneur I know is Teresa Garland, Managing Partner at Intelligender, who always seems to know how to leave a lasting impression.

Recently, I asked her for her best advice for making a strong impression in a first meeting. Here are her top 5 tips:

Hiring Teens

Apr 19, 2013

Soon, teenagers by the millions will be seeking summer jobs – the vast majority at small businesses coast to coast. An estimated 18 million U.S. teens will work this year, one of the highest totals in the developed world. 

5 Ways to Get Fewer Emails (Finally)

Apr 18, 2013

Crossposted from The Young Entrepreneur Council.

This probably isn’t the first article you’ve read about taming the email beast. You know all about categorizing, filtering, batching your time, etc., etc. But no matter how savvy your email system is, managing your inbox is still attacking the symptom, not the problem.

What if you just got less email to start with? WAY less email?

What's in a Domain Name?

Apr 17, 2013

When creating a company website, many small businesses defer to their “Web person” on the address. “Oh, JanesFlowers.com isn’t available? OK, JanesFlowers2.com is fine.”

NO! NO! NO! Seemingly trivial, your URL is critical. Don’t let it be an afterthought; make this decision an integral facet of your planning and branding.

After all, not only will your domain be printed on your business cards and in your email signatures, but you’ll also need to pronounce it in a way that leaves no room for confusion. Consider a few case studies.

Bad

Should You Hire Remote Workers?

Apr 15, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Log on to a site like Odesk.com and you’ll quickly see profiles for the tens of thousands of workers based around the globe, ready to hire out their services for as little as $.50/hour.  A few easy mental calculations reveal that this hourly rate works out to just $20/week and $1,020/year for a full-time staff member – numbers that sound awfully appealing compared to standard Western salary and compensation packages.

Four Ways to Conquer Your Fears and Take Greater Risks

Apr 9, 2013

As entrepreneurs, we’re used to being questioned about everything we do. Perhaps it’s one reason we became entrepreneurs in the first place — to prove that we’re better off doing whatever everyone else thinks we shouldn’t. In fact, you could argue that being an entrepreneur is less about building a business and making money, and more about having the power to shape your own destiny.

But that's Not What I Asked For

Apr 8, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Q. “Is this gluten free?”
A. “All of our dishes are prepared fresh daily using only the finest ingredients”

Q. “How much does that cost?”
A. “Our competitive rates guarantee you a quick ROI.”

While either one of these answers would be considered a good value statement, not one of them answers the question they are responding to.

Is this what is happening on your website?

7 Timesaving Technologies for Every Business

Apr 4, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

The adage “time is money” is never more true than when applied to the multi-tasking days of business owners. That’s why software and app developers have flooded the market with products to help entrepreneurs use their time as productively as possible. Here, two tech consultants share some of the applications on which they and their teams rely:

1. Spend more time listening, less time taking notes

HOW TO: A Case for Open-Book Management

Apr 3, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

There are several rules everyone tells you to follow when you say you’re starting a business. Don’t do business with friends, don’t make business emotional, and don’t share your finances with others, just to name a few. Well many years later, I have a successful and growing business, and I am proud to say I ignored all those rules.

Your Content Marketing Toolkit

Mar 28, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Content marketing—the strategy of creating and distributing content to a targeted audience—is all the buzz. It can be very effective for your business because it provides valuable information targeted to your prospects’ and customers’ interests and needs. It engages without including a direct marketing message or selling, thereby positioning the company as a thought leader. But if you’re worried that this is just one more project you don’t have time for, fear not. There are some great, free tools to help you succeed at content marketing.

Controlling Burn Out

Mar 28, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

We are all familiar with burn out. No matter how hard we try to avoid it, this natural reaction inevitably finds us when we are overwhelmed from the large amount of responsibilities on our plates. We can’t cut down our responsibilities, but we can decrease our chances of becoming a victim to burn out.

Q&A: Master Your Business Plan

Mar 25, 2013

Q) What are the risks of building a small business without a business plan?

Mark Lowenstein: I call them the “overs”—being overconfident about your prospects and overlooking the details. You also need to consider different scenarios and build that flexibility into your plan. Otherwise, you’re flying by the seat of your pants and making decisions day to day, rather than working toward specific goals.

Entering the Global Market

Mar 20, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

TradeWizards.com
What is it?
This website helps businesses sort through the rules and regulations that can complicate international shipping.
How does it work?

What Age is Best to Start a Business?

Mar 14, 2013

Q: Hi Steve – I am in my mid-60s and the funny thing is, I would like to start my own business. Throughout my career, I had always loved the idea of becoming an entrepreneur, but for one reason or another, I never did it. Now I have the time and resources and can do it, but I wonder, am I too old? My wife thinks it’s a little late in the game to being trying something so new/radical.   - Vince

You Don’t Have Time NOT to Manage Your People

Mar 13, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

I know you don’t have enough time. Nobody has enough time! After all, there are only 168 hours in a week and you have zillions of demands on your time—you have your own tasks and responsibilities and projects besides your management obligations.

You definitely don’t have enough time. What does that mean for you as a leader? It means you don’t have time NOT to manage your people.

3 Reasons Your Website Needs More Video

Mar 11, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Your website visitors won’t wait—they’ll take a micro-second to decide to stay or leave your website, even after all the money and hard work you just spent getting them there. One of the best ways to keep them there is by adding online video to your homepage. Adding an online web video will increase time spent on site, decrease bounce rates, and drive more page views—three key ranking metrics to getting better search engine results.

5 Ways to Better Your Work/Life Balance

Mar 7, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Let me introduce you to Jane, a very successful executive lawyer. Jane went to a top Ivy League school, followed by an even better law school. This is a woman who grosses well into the six figures. Seems like the kind of person we all admire, right?

Well, maybe not. Although Jane is positive, friendly, and obviously successful, she is miserable. It didn’t take me very long to study Jane’s ways and come to a conclusion about her misery: she has absolutely no work/life balance.

6 Customer Feedback Essentials for Small Business

Mar 6, 2013

Small business owners hear it all the time: To find out how your business is doing, including what people like or don’t like and what you need to adjust, ask customers for feedback. But your quest for feedback can either produce a magic elixir or simply be an annoyance to customers and prospects, depending on how you do it.

You Don’t Have to be a Natural Leader to be a Good Manager

Mar 5, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

There is a widespread myth among leaders, managers and supervisors that goes like this: Some people are natural leaders and therefore the best managers, whereas others are not natural leaders and are destined to be not-so-great managers. I call it, “The Myth of the Natural Leader.”

What is the reality? The best managers are people—natural or not—who learn proven techniques, practice those techniques diligently until they become skills, and continue practicing them until they become habits.

Data Security Breaches Happen. Are You Prepared?

Mar 1, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Your organization may be sitting on a gold mine—or a land mine. The personal data you collect in the course of doing business is a treasure trove for identity thieves, and that makes you a rich target for criminal attacks. Your mission is to do whatever you can to stop them.

Think You Don’t Need an M&A Strategy? Think Again

Feb 28, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Will 2013 be the year M&As make a comeback? Will it be the year when you consider selling your business, merging it with another, or making an acquisition of your own?

Let’s take a step back. Will 2013 be the year most business owners realize the need for an M&A strategy, whether they’ve seriously considered being part of a transaction or not?

How to Obtain Bank Financing For Your Small Business

Feb 27, 2013
In the early months of a new year always comes the desire for a fresh start. Maybe it’s the busyness of the holidays or the exhaustion of trying to wrap up things before the year ends, but for whatever reason, I always look forward to starting the year off with a new attitude, new goals and a newly created To Do list. One of the most important agenda items for any small business owner should be to take a look at their company’s finances.
 

3 Steps to a Successful Exit Plan

Feb 26, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Even if your company is still growing, you should be planning your exit, no matter when, or if, you’re going to retire. “Every business, regardless of its revenue, should have a succession plan. For a small business, it’s probably even more important,” says Mark Brumbaugh, JD, a consultant with the Business Resource Center for Advanced Markets at the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. Since small businesses usually make up a large percentage of the owner’s estate, the lack of a succession plan could result in an inability to convert the business into cash down the line.

To App Or Not to App? Six Questions to Ask First

Feb 25, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Apps are everywhere. CNN regularly reports on the “hottest” ones; Super Bowl ads promoted company’s new “it” apps, and heck, your mom is even asking you to challenge her in Words with Friends. With so many people routinely downloading them onto their phones, it seems like an obvious place for business owners to market their businesses.

The Smallest Businesses Face the Biggest Cyber Risks

Feb 22, 2013

While many of us long for the days when people had real-life conversations rather than truncated text chats, the reality is that the Internet is here to stay. And in the Internet Age, data is king.

As a small business owner, you collect customer data every day. And if you’re using the Internet, that data – along with all of your company’s sensitive information – is vulnerable to attacks.

Q&A: Starting a Business With Almost No Money

Feb 21, 2013

Q: Do you know of a business I could start with little or no money?

Steven Strauss: Over on my new site, TheSelfEmployed, this – by far – is the most common query we get. It is not surprising that people are looking to start businesses on the cheap; after all, it has been a pretty weak economy for a while now and a lot of people are still hurting. This is especially true of the millions of unemployed and underemployed folks who see little prospect of getting gainful employment.

10 Website Mistakes Small Businesses Make

Feb 19, 2013

In this age of social media and digital everything, you can’t afford to be a website weakling. If your competition has a killer online presence, and you don’t, you lose. Today’s consumers look online more than ever before.  Even business owners who think they don’t really need a “best in class” website are missing more than they think. 

5 Steps to Becoming a High-Trust Leader

Feb 18, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

In today’s competitive marketplace, it is not enough for leaders to produce results. If you get the deal, but don’t get the trust, the value of your deal is significantly diminished. But if you can get the deal and build a relationship of trust, your ability to negotiate any changes or future deals improves considerably. Customers who trust you buy more, buy more often, and most importantly, refer others.

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Ways to Optimize Your Business YouTube Channel

Feb 15, 2013

YouTube isn’t just for cute cat videos.

With more than 800 million unique visitors going to Google’s video platform each month, YouTube is fast becoming the silver screen of the World Wide Web and an essential tool for business. Brands that want to stand out have to make sure their YouTube channel is easily discovered and very engaging.

This inforgraphic by Brafton—a Boston-based online marketing company—outlines the 10 ways you can optimize your business YouTube channel. 

Q&A: Protect Your Online Reputation

Feb 15, 2013

Q: I know how important it is to protect my reputation in the “real” world, but I recently found out just how important it is to do it in the virtual world as well. My business recently dropped off significantly and I couldn't understand why. Then I Googled my business and found a scathing review from an upset customer. I got proactive, made her happy, and she even deleted the review – but it was an expensive lesson.    - Jordan

9 Ways Small Employers Attract Lawsuits

Feb 14, 2013

Lawsuits filed by disgruntled employees or independent contractors against small businesses are one of the most vexing problems that business owners continue to face. Many are constantly on edge, fearing frivolous legal actions that can ruin the business even if the complaint has no merit.

Worker Classification Continues to be on IRS Radar

Feb 13, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

It’s up to a company to decide whether to treat its workers as employees or independent contractors. The decision has wide-ranging tax consequences for the company.  For workers who are independent contractors, the company saves on payroll taxes (the employer share of FICA and unemployment tax), benefits (such as payments for health insurance and retirement plan contributions), and insurance (including workers’ compensation).

Expanded voluntary settlement program

Social Media Legal Risks for Businesses

Feb 11, 2013

Small businesses have rapidly adopted social media as an effective tool to increase company and product exposure, amass leads, improve search engine rankings, develop loyal customers, build better products, drive sales, and foster collaboration and innovation. 

Yet, despite the unassailable business case for social media, the legal risks associated with its use should not be ignored. The most common pitfalls confronting small business owners include:

Beyond the Loan Application

Feb 8, 2013

Getting financing for your business starts way before you ever put pen to paper for your business loan application. Would you give yourself a loan for a startup or growing business? It’s time to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses—and maybe face some eye-opening realities.

How to Turn Data into Dollars

Feb 7, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Think about your company’s data elements: your customers, prospects, leads, contacts, projects, proposals, sales, emails, and meetings. Then there’s your online data, such as e-commerce transactions and social media. Your company may even have more.

Managing, tracking, and maintaining all of this data can be daunting for a small business. Frequently, multiple systems are storing and tracking the different pieces of information. So how do you piece them together to make sound—and profitable—decisions for your business?

The New Word of Mouth: 6 Ways to Influence Influencers

Feb 6, 2013

Word of mouth has long been considered the best advertising a small business can get. And in today’s digital world, word of mouth is even more important and effective than ever.  But the social media explosion has transformed how word of mouth works.

Social media vastly amplifies word of mouth in a 24/7 system. But many business owners are puzzled about how this works, and what to do. 

5 Things to Tell Your Employees about Retirement Plans

Feb 5, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

According to the annual Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) Survey, “employer-sponsored retirement savings plans are an important savings vehicle for American workers.” In addition to helping employees save for retirement, employees increasingly turn to their companies to inform them about retirement issues.

You can help to meet employee needs by sharing certain information.

1. Active participation status

Secrets of Creating a Successful and Distinctive Brand Name

Feb 4, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

No matter what market you’re in, it’s getting crowded. Every day, more and more new businesses are created. So while the current name of your business may have served you well for years, if you are growing or changing direction—or even if it simply has been a while since you have given this any thought—your company’s name should be reviewed to see if it is keeping up with current market realities.

Should Your Family Fund Your Business?

Feb 1, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

As families gather for the holidays, entrepreneurs might consider approaching family members for money to help fund and grow their business.

But is family funding a good idea?

Maybe.

Considerations include the amount of money involved, how involved the family members will be in the business, and the personal relationships between the borrowers and lenders.

Advantages of Family Investors

4 Essential IT Tips for an Office Move

Jan 30, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

When planning a relocation, many business owners underestimate the time and cost required to successfully transfer IT. In fact, they should be a primary consideration. If an employee or two is missing a desk because of furniture holdups, you can likely make do, but delays in getting your staff connected to phone and internet service are not so easily resolved. Fortunately, with a bit of background knowledge and preparation—and these four tips—you can sidestep the most common IT problems related to moving an office.

1. Consider Your Bandwidth Budget

Business Q&A: 5 Ways to Increase Your Cash Flow

Jan 29, 2013

Q: I was wondering if you could help me increase my cash flow? My business makes a fine profit every year, but the bulk of our sales come during Christmas and summer. The rest of the year, business is slow and it is difficult to pay bills on time then. Thank you.

Cesar

Your Business For Better or Worse

Jan 29, 2013

Are you married to your small business? Most of us are, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. After all, if you want to make your business work, you have to be (1) in love with your business idea, (2) passionate about your business mission, and (3) willing to take your business in good times and bad.

When sales dip and surge, then surge and dip, you might be tempted to flee. But riding the roller coaster of business sales doesn’t have to make you sick—you just have to learn how to roll with the sales cycles.

In good times:

INFOGRAPHIC: Facebook Wall Post Cheat Sheet

Jan 25, 2013

As a small business owner, you probably already know how important Facebook is to your business.

But do you really know what it takes to create an engaging post that keeps your “friends” coming back to your page for more?

This infographic by Linchpin SEO contains facts and figures about types of content that work best, how to get more comments, likes and shares, as well as how to use emoticons to get the most out of your wall posts.

14 Ways to Market a New Product or Service

Jan 24, 2013

Marketing a new small business product or service in a highly fragmented media world has become trickier than ever. Relying only on slow-moving, old-school methods such as direct mail and print ads is a thing of the past. Today, success belongs to those who compile the most effective media mixture.

It’s Okay to Be the Boss

Jan 23, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Since 1993, my firm RainmakerThinking, Inc.® has conducted ongoing in-depth workplace research. For many years now we have focused our research on a stubbornly persistent workplace problem we call undermanagement. The vast preponderance of those in leadership positions—at all levels—are not sufficiently engaged with their direct-reports on a day to day basis. Too many leaders, managers, and supervisors are failing to lead, manage, and supervise with any regularity or consistency. That is undermanagement in a nutshell.

Even the Lone Ranger Had a Sidekick

Jan 22, 2013

As a business owner, you have a big job on your hands – but that doesn’t mean you have to shoulder it alone. Accepting help is not synonymous with accepting defeat; far from it, in fact. After all, Batman had Robin, the Boy Wonder; Sherlock Holmes had Dr. Watson, and the Lone Ranger had Tonto.

In Snail Mail We Trust

Jan 21, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

You have a professionally designed Facebook page. Your Twitter feed is jammed with the most compelling, clever, and crazy tweets of 140 characters or less. And your Pinterest page has more photos pinned up there than Grandma has stashed in her old photo album.

Why, then, aren't those new clients banging down your front door or flooding your phone lines?

Partner Up

Jan 21, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Every entrepreneur knows there can be countless obstacles along the road to creating a successful event. This can entail anything from finding a venue to garnering sponsorship, marketing support, and even attracting attendees. Before you start doling out a ton of cash, take the time to consider a joint venture. Joint ventures are quite simply a mutually beneficial agreement between two or more parties who have complementary strengths. When planning a joint venture, here’s what you need to do.

Independent Contractor or Employee?

Jan 17, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Today’s employers, pressured by a recovery that still feels like a recession on Main Street, are doing their best to control costs. Since a major part of any business’s cost structure is staff, cutting costs means reducing payroll. At the same time, individuals, bludgeoned by high unemployment, are happy to have any work at all—even contract jobs without benefits.

Q&A: Business Financing Tips

Jan 16, 2013
Q: What are 3 ways to increase cash into the business?
  • Control your accounts receivable and review customers’ credit history. Making a sale doesn’t mean you have revenue.

How Great Webinars Can Grow Your Business

Jan 15, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Webinars allow people throughout the world learn and communicate. Particularly in the past two years, webinars have rapidly gained prominence as an important component of many marketing plans. No longer considered an afterthought, a well-crafted and successful webinar can greatly enhance a company’s reputation and sales.

How We Remained Open During Hurricane Sandy And Its Aftermath

Jan 14, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

Many businesses have elaborate and lengthy plans to deal with an emergency or casualty.  For our New York City-based law firm, we have a three-step plan. Our plan is so simple we don't even have to document it. While larger operations need a formalized, written plan, I believe for most small business owners our process will work.

Business Q&A: Franchisor Issues

Jan 11, 2013

Q: I have been involved in business for many years and now have an opportunity to buy into a franchise and am wondering if you have any experience in this realm. This is a well-known business chain and it seems like a great opportunity, but I am not sure I want to have a franchisor looking over my shoulder. Thoughts?

Jefferson

Mobile Marketing Success For Local Business

Jan 10, 2013

Use of mobile devices continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and local business owners should be taking notice now more than ever. A new “Mobile Path to Purchase” study conducted by Nielsen tracked what consumers are doing with their mobile devices. According to the study, consumers show a strong preference for finding information related to local contact and purchases, such as looking up a business location, accessing map and driving directions and calling a business.

How Mompreneurs Can Achieve Work/Life Balance

Jan 8, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

As the owner of Divalysscious Moms, a luxury lifestyle company for mothers and families, and the mother of two young children aged six and nine, I am frequently asked how I balance motherhood with owning and operating my own business. While every successful mother and business owner has her own recipe with ingredients that work for her as an individual, here are some tips that I like to give other mothers in similar situations.

Does Your Business Need an Emergency Fund?

Jan 7, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

After a hurricane or other natural disaster, many businesses find themselves severely compromised or crippled in the wake of its destruction. The devastating events surrounding Hurricane Sandy are a reminder of the costly impact that such disasters can have on a business and its ultimate sustainability. While it is impossible to predict when a disaster will strike, having an emergency fund can be a critical safety net in keeping your business afloat and running both during and after a storm.

6 Steps to the Perfect PR Pitch

Jan 4, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

News coverage can be a big boost to your company’s success. No matter what you want the public to know about—be it a product, a service, or an agenda—press coverage not only gets your message out, but lends credibility to your business. Sometimes getting coverage is a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Rather than rely on luck, some companies hire a public relations firm to represent them. But that investment is not always necessary. Here are six steps you can take to get your company in the news on a regular basis:

All That Glitters Isn't Gold

Jan 2, 2013
from NY Enterprise Report

When doing business abroad, many things may appear to be glamorous, outsized, and profitable, but will lead you nowhere fast. In many developing countries, there’s talk of fast money from scammers, promoters, crooks, gangsters, dreamers, and time wasters. These characters pop up in booming markets and are no different than the fast-talking stock promoters of the Gold Rush, the railroad boom, or the Internet bubble. So, how do you prevent these people from wasting your time with a lead that will get you nowhere fast?

Become an Advocate

Jan 2, 2013

Do you want to add your voice to the debate in the nation’s capital? The U.S. Chamber provides a number of ways for small businesses and local and state chambers of commerce to become involved in the public policy debate.

5 Ways to Avoid Legal Bill Sticker Shock

Dec 31, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Have you ever received a legal bill totaling twice the amount of the initial estimate? Unfortunately, legal bill sticker shock can happen easily for business owners and entrepreneurs who are busy starting and running companies rather than monitoring legal price tags. One way to avoid the shock of an unexpectedly high legal bill is to just expect to pay much more than you are quoted; but, there are better ways that ensure that you know approximately what your bill is going to be before you even receive it.

1. Avoid paying for a learning curve.

Bad Days, Family Wisdom, and Entrepreneurship

Dec 28, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

One of the joys of fatherhood is discovering the insights and blunt wisdom of children's books. My eleven-year-old daughter, Truitte Rose, used to have a favorite book titled "Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" by Judith Viorst. I couldn't read it to her enough. It chronicles a day in a boy's life where nothing goes right.

3 Simple Ways to Retain Top Talent

Dec 27, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

The tough economy has taken a toll on all workers, even the most productive ones. Let’s assume you are already compensating your top employees to the best of your ability. Besides doing this, how do you keep them motivated and committed to your business?

The critical considerations here are time and attention. While employees like to feel valued, not everyone wants to be valued in the same way. You need to invest time to find out the right approach for each employee.

Workplace Bullying

Dec 26, 2012

Workplace bullying is an occupational hazard defined as repeated abusive conduct committed by bosses and co-workers. Workplace bullying can include one or more of the following actions: insulting a co-worker or humiliating your employee in front of others, undermining another employee’s work, making threats, using or tolerating violence, and spreading malicious rumors.

Lost in Translation

Dec 24, 2012

No consultant, vendor, or adviser knows your small business better than you do; therefore, you should be the one to create the vision for your website. However, articulating to a Web designer what you want your website to look like and do can be a daunting task, especially if you’re neither visual nor technical. So what do you do when you feel like Bill Murray’s character in Lost in Translation?

The following recommendations can help you communicate your design needs and achieve a mutual understanding with your Web designer:

Are You Suffering from End-of-Year Fatigue?

Dec 22, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Through the end of December, many business owners experience fatigue resulting from trying to get everything tied up neatly before the end of the year. During this period, the need for more working hours in the day has never been greater.

Organizing Your Office for Productivity

Dec 19, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

There’s a new work environment, where the old adage “time is money” is more relevant than ever. Technology tools help us accomplish more, but they also create complexity and distraction, undermining our focus.

Taxes and Foreign Business

Dec 18, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

As a general rule, the United States taxes U.S. citizens, resident aliens, and domestic corporations on their worldwide income. This may also include their foreign activities. As a result, some U.S. taxpayers attempt to place foreign income beyond the reach of the U.S. tax jurisdiction. This could be especially beneficial if the foreign-source income would be subject to little or no tax in the foreign jurisdiction. Since U.S.

10 Tips to Jumpstart Your Video Marketing

Dec 17, 2012

As online video gets cheaper and easier to produce, and its effectiveness as a marketing method grows, more and more small businesses are jumping in. Business owners who’ve stuck largely to text-based marketing channels such as search ads, blogs and social networks are discovering that video can be a compelling addition to a marketing mix.

Raising Money in a Tough Economy

Dec 13, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Raising money for any business in this tough economy isn’t easy. More owners are scrambling to attract new capital, and investors are holding tighter to their money, causing a major disconnect. Successful VCs and private equity funds are only investing in 1 out of every 500 or so deals they see. Banks have cut back lending. Angel investors hammered in the 2008 market meltdown, lost their appetite for new deals while focusing on salvaging existing investments.   However, you can raise the funds you need. You won’t get the very best terms and it will take you much longer than you thought.

Protect Your Business Against Final Pay Issues

Dec 11, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

The end of employment isn’t always the end of your involvement with an employee. If you make any of a number of common mistakes when an employee leaves, or is asked to leave, it could result in liability for your company and, in some instances, liability for you. Final pay, or paying out whatever the now-former employee is owed (while not paying more than is due) can be a minefield.

A Secret Cash Stash for Small Business Growth

Dec 10, 2012

What does your growth-minded small business have in common with Apple? Not much, perhaps, but here’s one thing:  The multi-gazillion dollar tech company got early funding from a unique type of investment firm called a Small Business Investment Company – and so could you.

Rules of Engagement

Dec 7, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

When considering doing business overseas, it isn’t enough to just perform country and market research. To effectively explore a country for possible business opportunities, you have to take a scouting trip. It should be a well-planned, one-to-twoweek affair designed to introduce your company to the market, introduce the market and the country’s culture to your company, and set a foundation for future business.   

Before You Leave   

Organizing Your Office for Productivity

Dec 4, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

There’s a new work environment, where the old adage “time is money” is more relevant than ever. Technology tools help us accomplish more, but they also create complexity and distraction, undermining our focus.

Preparing Your Business for Sale

Dec 3, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

If you are seriously considering exiting your business by selling to a third party, there are several steps you should take before you begin actively marketing your company. The more time you allow for advance preparation, the better, though most of the following steps can be taken during the few months leading up to a sale process. The following checklist can help position your business to attract the right buyer and get maximum value.

Recast Financial Statements

6 Steps To a LinkedIn Company Page With Impact

Nov 29, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Traditional, face-to-face networking may seem to be a simpler and perhaps a bit more labor intensive way to prospect than social media. In the old days, you rolled into a conference or networking event and collected hundreds of business cards while shaking as many hands as possible along the way. But imagine investing your time to attend these events and once you arrive never speaking to anyone. Unfortunately, that’s what often happens when businesses launch social media initiatives.

5 Strategies for a Successful Acquisition Deal

Nov 27, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

It's a well known statistic that approximately two-thirds of acquired businesses fail. While these stats are based on publicly traded companies with failure measured by loss of equity value, there is no reason to believe that the failure experience is any different for private companies. The statistics are daunting; however, companies continue to be acquired for a variety of good reasons and not all acquisitions fail.

Why You Need to Wow Your Customers

Nov 26, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

We all want more clients. Heck, we probably even want to charge more. So how do you get to a place in your business where all of this can happen?

Social media marketing is still unfamiliar ground for many companies, and while some dabble and others drown, for most, finding success remains elusive. While time, talent, and content remain primary barriers, I think that these would be overcome if the true value of social media were better understood.

Using Social Media to Increase Your Search Rank

Nov 21, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

The rules of search have changed. In fact, they change on a daily basis. But never so dramatic has rank been uprooted since the explosion of social media. Social media sites, especially the powerhouses of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, have become back-link central for affecting organic search results.

Who’s Making Small Business Loans?

Nov 20, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Small companies seeking business loans during August found mixed results from different types of lenders. In a month where the overall volume of loan applications increased by 4.3 percent, my company's Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, a monthly analysis of 1,000 loan applications, revealed that approval rates increased at small banks and alternative lenders, but big banks and credit union approvals dropped in August 2012.

Business Q&A: Enhance Your Own Efficiency through Ongoing Education

Nov 16, 2012

Q: I’ve been in business for eleven years. I’ve stayed on top of my business by increasing energy efficiency, cutting down on office waste, and I continue to make employee morale a top priority. What else can I do to keep improving my small business as we continue to grow?

A: Efficiency is the key to maximizing small business profitability, productivity, and potential.  But in devoting so much attention to processes and people, however, small business owners often neglect to optimize their most important asset—themselves.

New Administrative Requirements for the Affordable Care Act

Nov 16, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Now that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has the U.S. Supreme Court’s stamp of approval, constitution wise, various provisions poised to take effect cannot be ignored any longer. These provisions mean more administrative chores for business owners. Here is a timetable that you can use to comply with new requirements.

Losing Yourself to Your Business

Nov 14, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Most of us start businesses because we want to be happier. We’re certain that when we are our own boss, we’ll finally have the creative freedom, autonomy, challenge, and meaning that we’ve been craving. We imagine our future selves working on our own terms, for something that we believe in (or at the very least are excited about). We dream about how this new professional reality will improve our personal lives, too—we’ll have the time and flexibility to exercise, to eat right, and to see our kids, friends, and spouses.

Preparing Your Business for 2013 Tax Changes

Nov 12, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

There are many open questions about federal income, estate, and payroll taxes for 2013. Will the Bush-era tax cuts be extended for all taxpayers? Will the 2 percent reduction in the Social Security tax on employees and self-employed individuals that applies for this year also be extended? While these questions cannot be answered at the present time, what is certain is that some tax rules are set to change in 2013 and your business can prepare for them now.

Withholding for the additional Medicare tax

Attract Gen Y Employees with a Great Office Space

Nov 8, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

They’re young, they’re talented, they’re tech-savvy, they’re green. Studies show that by creating an environmentally friendly office, you have a better chance of attracting talented members of Generation Y to your workforce.

Beyond the Help Wanted Ad

Nov 5, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Job descriptions serve a higher purpose than just recruiting and posting a position. They play strategic and tactical roles in any organization. While job descriptions take time and effort to create, and you may be concerned about an employee’s claim that “that’s not in my job description,” there are very compelling and real business cases for creating them in your company.

Q&A: For Interviewer and Interviewee, It’s All about Preparation

Nov 2, 2012

Q: I recently have decided to add new employees for my growing small business. I can usually weed out the obvious wrong fit employees with resumes and applications. What can I do during the interview process to make sure I get the right new hire?

A: We’ve all been through job interviews, but being the one asking the questions is not always easy. You want to be fair and thorough when evaluating prospective employees, but also confident that you’ll gather sufficient information to make the right choice.

Exit Your Business Without a Huge Tax Bill

Nov 1, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

About 70 percent of Boomer-owned businesses are expected to change hands within the next 10 or so years, according to a 2006 article by Robert Avery of Cornell University.

Many of these owners have adult children or other relatives who work for them, and the owners may be thinking of ways to transition to retirement without a huge tax bill.

Boost Your Online Reputation

Oct 26, 2012

Because more and more consumers are researching businesses’ credibility online before making a purchase, it is imperative that you incorporate a program to build your online reputation. The tips below will help:

Review your business’ Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Begin by documenting what customers find special about your business and how they benefit from your products or services. Audit your marketing material and revise, if necessary, to align with your USP.

Managing Millennials: A Crash Course

Oct 25, 2012

If you are struggling to make the most out of your relationships with Millennial employees, here is a quick guide to turning those born between 1980 and 1992 into some of your biggest fans and assets. 

3 Traits of a Successful Lead Generator

Oct 22, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Although we’d all like to believe our potential clients will regularly swarm to us by the thousands, the reality of the situation is that if you want to get their attention, you’ve got to put in some serious leg work. One of the most daunting, yet rewarding, methods in doing so is a well-crafted telephone lead generation campaign, and these cold calls are not for the faint of heart. It takes a special personality to have success with such a task, and identifying these qualifying traits will allow you to entrust the responsibility of your future business dealings in capable hands.

Could Your Company Be More Pinteresting?

Oct 18, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

“I know I should be pinning, but I have no idea why and what!” the owner of a service business recently said to me. Many small businesses feel compelled to catch the Pinterest wave, but are struggling with what to do with this relative newcomer on the social media scene.

Pinterest, an online bulletin board comprised of shareable images and blurbs, now boasts close to 18 million users. It is the fastest-growing social media content sharing service in history, surpassing the fan-building speed of LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google+ combined.

5 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know About the JOBS Act

Oct 17, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

This past spring, President Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act), which makes substantial changes to securities laws by making it easier for startups and small businesses to raise funds, stay private longer, and avoid or delay some of the burdens that come with taking a company public. The JOBS Act will come into effect over the course of 2012, culminating with the SEC’s much-anticipated crowdfunding rules being issued by the SEC at the end of the year.

3 Tips for Optimizing Your Site for Mobile Marketing

Oct 16, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

The fact that a huge portion of the global population doesn’t leave home without their mobile devices should come as no surprise. In fact, 91% of smartphone users have their phone within reach 24/7, and it takes 26 hours for the average person to report their wallet missing, but only 68 minutes for them to report a lost phone. According to Gartner Research, by 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common web access device worldwide.

Nurture Your Unlikely Ideas

Oct 10, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

A number of years ago a turtle showed up in our Brooklyn backyard. My husband thought it had belonged to a next-door neighbor’s son. They’d moved some years earlier, and he had been very upset that he couldn’t find his pet.

Managing Political Discussions at Work

Oct 8, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

With a politically polarizing presidential election less than a month away, many voters are exercising their First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expressing their political opinions at work. But how outspoken should employees be in the workplace? 

Get Better Sales Performance Through Balance

Oct 4, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

If you have ever managed employees, or more specifically sales professionals, you know how delicate the balance between pushing and pulling for better performance can be. I remember when I was just starting out as a business owner. I thought that everyone I hired should be able to perform at my level. This, of course, was catastrophic when it came to my demeanor when managing my sales team; as a manager I was certainly much more of a stick man than a carrot. So how do you find that balance and what seems to work the best?

Are You Too Focused Working 'On the Business' Instead of 'In the Business?'

Oct 2, 2012

On The Entrepreneurial Mind, Dr. Jeff Cornwall writes that first-time entrepreneurs often make the mistake of obsessing over such things as mission statements, company logos, and business cards (time spent "working on the business") instead of actually launching and running the business ("working in the business").

Cornwall has 4 pieces of advice for entrepreneurs who are inclined to spend too much time prepping to launch a business instead of getting out there and selling their product or service.

4Q Business Planning

Oct 1, 2012

Many business owners are paralyzed by uncertainty over what the future may look like for their business and industry. But if you’re the owner of a closely held family business and are thinking about some form of retirement, you should consider taking advantage of a few tax provisions before the end of the year to help you, your company, and your family.

How to Unplug

Sep 27, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Recently a colleague asked if I’d been on vacation, since I looked so relaxed (which speaks volumes about my usual demeanor, I guess). Laughing, I told him that it was my daughter who had been on vacation—two weeks at summer camp.

We chatted about how, as parents, we seem to have little time to take it easy and enjoy. I joked that I hoped to maintain at least the look of relaxation when my daughter returned. He just smiled and said, “Press save,” and went on his way.

The Risks of Outsourcing Social Media

Sep 25, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

I won’t argue or debate over whether you should or shouldn’t outsource your social media. Whatever you choose to do, it is your business.
What I would like to share, however, are some suggestions so that if you do decide to outsource, that you do it well and know what your risks are. As for the rewards, I’m sure that whoever is selling you these services will cover those.

How to Deal with the Creative People in Your Company

Sep 24, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Creative people are a fickle and sometimes hypersensitive bunch, and I love them. As co-founder of design and digital studio Thornberg & Forester, I collaborate with creative minds internally and externally all day every day, and have for the past 15 years.

Q&A: Anchor Your Online Strategy with a Solid Website

Sep 21, 2012

Q: Everyone I know is on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Why should I waste my time with a website when I can just use social media to talk to my customers?

A: Blogs, photo-sharing, and other types of social media may be getting all the buzz these days, but websites remain the foundation of a successful online marketing strategy.

Hedging Against Business Debt

Sep 19, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

There is one problem that threatens all businesses: debt. In 2010, businesses nationwide placed $150 billion worth of debt with collection agencies. To keep financially fit and withstand economic storms, a proactive approach to business debt management can hedge against accumulation of high debt that can often hamper growth and potentially lead to bankruptcy.

6 Steps to Protecting Your Company’s Data on an Employee’s Device

Sep 18, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Bring your own device (BYOD) is a growing trend fueled by employees who prefer to use their own products rather than the company’s, and by those who don’t want to carry two separate devices. Employers, for their part, are happy to avoid the capital cost of the devices, and sometimes also the monthly recurring usage costs.

Each of these motivators can represent real benefits for both employer and employee, but there are real risks, too.

Q&A: Home is Where the Heart—and the Business—Is

Sep 14, 2012

Q: I have worked in the corporate arena for a decade but want to start my own home-based business. I know there are risks, but what is the downside of being my own boss from my house?

A: For productivity, convenience, and downright comfort, nothing beats a home-based business. Here, most every day is “casual day,” and the only obstacle on your commute is dodging the cat or dog on your way upstairs.

The Power of Marketing and Memory

Sep 12, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

I can picture Blaise Graziano, the founder of Circus-Man Ice Cream, in his first truck which was undoubtedly cooled by ice and not modern refrigeration units, trawling the neighborhoods in Long Island. He started with 400 bucks and a small truck and built the organization into a very well-known entity throughout 18 states. I actually rented trucks from Circus-Man when I graduated college. It was one of my first entrepreneurial ventures and I discuss it in detail in my book, The Everyday Entrepreneur.

Business by the Numbers

Sep 6, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

How big is small business? Is entrepreneurship on the ascendency?

There is much conflicting information in the media. Here are some of the facts from or based on government sources:

All businesses in the U.S.

The Joint Committee on Taxation’s report on choice of entity found that the “vast majority” of businesses in the U.S. are sole proprietorships, with more than 22.6 million non-farm sole proprietorships in 2009 out of 33.6 million total business returns.

There were:

Prevent a Social Media Disaster

Sep 5, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Any business owner who doesn’t think it’s necessary for their business to have a customer service presence on social media need only to witness the $180 million fallout experienced by United Airlines in the wake of the YouTube video “United Breaks Guitars.” In 2008, musician Dave Carroll was traveling on a United Airlines flight when his $3,500 guitar was damaged by United’s baggage handlers. After nine months of going back and forth with the airline, they rejected his claim for damages and denied all responsibility.

The Importance of Motivation

Sep 4, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

I recently asked Jane, a woman who attends my classes, how her work and life are going. She responded that everything is fine; she has no problems and doesn’t know what she wants to do tomorrow. Jane told me that she just lives her life on a day by day basis.

While this may seem acceptable to some, I was extremely alarmed by her response. Jane's reaction to the simplest of questions made me realize the importance of motivation.

Q&A: Good Help Is Easy to Find When You Know How to Look For It

Aug 31, 2012

Q: Business has begun to pick up, and I need to hire new employees. While business is up, I can’t afford a step back. How do I make sure that the people I am hiring are going to be a helping hand and not a hindrance to continued success?

A: It’s easy to go into the hiring process with the best of intentions, and end up with results that fail to meet anyone’s expectations. So before you display the “Help Wanted” sign, literally and figuratively, give some thought to both your hiring goals and strategy for achieving them.

How's Your Retirement Plan Doing?

Aug 30, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

If you have a qualified retirement plan for your business, determine whether your plan is meeting your objectives and complying with the law. If you don’t yet have a plan, consider adopting one now.

Is your current plan the best one for you?

There are several types of retirement plans that a small business can use; the one to choose depends on your personal situation.

Factors to consider in plan selection (or in changing from an existing plan to a new one) include:

Industry Jargon Doesn’t Sell

Aug 29, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

The hardest thing in copywriting for websites and marketing material is eliminating the jargon and phrasing things in a way that has meaning and impact on prospects.

I say it’s hard because if you’re doing the writing yourself and are proficient in your industry, then chances are your choice of words has been forever altered.

10 Ways to Use Online Video in Your Daily Sales Routine

Aug 28, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Marketers and business owners can’t deny that video is catching on in a big way. And if you are already using video marketing content, you know that it has helped your company generate leads and drive sales. You know that it lets people quickly understand your products and services while building personal connections. You know that web video marketing content can build trust, showcase products, communicate personality, and be shared and easily consumed by busy decision makers.

Q&A: There’s Nothing like Networking

Aug 24, 2012

Q: I started my business a year ago, and at times I feel like I am in this all by myself. How do I keep from burning out by always dealing with my business on my own?

A: No man—or woman—is an island. Neither is your small business.

There’s a whole world of people ready to provide advice, sympathy, information, brainstorming help, and sales leads. Some become customers; others become colleagues, mentors, and lifelong friends. All you have to do is meet them.

Grow Your Key Accounts

Aug 24, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

It takes 8 to 10 times more expense, energy, effort, and heartache to bring in new customers than to keep and grow existing customers. In the case of growing existing clients vs. landing new ones, the old 80–20 rule applies—approximately 80 percent of your revenue comes from 20 percent of your customers. While you may be focused on growing your business and finding new and exciting customers, how can you nurture the customers you have who generate most of your revenues and profits?

How to Make Sense of Economic Data

Aug 23, 2012

What’s more difficult for local business owners? Reading tea leaves, tarot cards, or the reams of economic data updated and available weekly and monthly? Business owners wouldn’t be blamed for ranking “economic data” as the most challenging. After all, there is a ton of information out there, and very little context. However, despite a real sense of information overload, many business owners could do a better job of seeking out the data most relevant to their company and leverage it for a competitive advantage.

Health Care: What to Know

Aug 22, 2012

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has all but guaranteed that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is here to stay, small employers with fully insured small group health plans must start preparing to meet certain minimum standards beginning in 2014. Unfortunately, these new minimum standards—along with other fees and taxes—in the aggregate will increase the cost of these plans. And while proponents of PPACA say that the law includes provisions to help small employers, these provisions do not provide any meaningful relief.

Managing a Website Vendor

Aug 22, 2012

Want to create a website for your small business or overhaul your existing site but don’t have an IT department to help you? Have you decided to use a vendor but are worried about the site costing more than expected and not meeting your site launch date?

Here are some useful tips for managing a website vendor and ensuring the successful launch of an awesome site:

Plan ahead. If you don’t have goals for your website, what you want it to do, and how you want it to look, then your vendor won’t know either.

The Importance of Blogging

Aug 22, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Many businesses struggle with the challenge of brand development, getting seen, or becoming well known. Effective and frequent blogging, both internally and for key, targeted blog communities, can be an excellent way to help drive brand visibility online, including search rank and target acceptance.

Before you can start blogging, several steps must be taken:

1. Ensure that you have created a professional brand identity that will stand behind your blog premise

2. Work with a proven team in developing business-driven web sites to design and develop your business

How To: Rugby Rules for Management Skills

Aug 21, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

On a recent vacation in South Africa with my expat husband, I spent some time watching rugby.  For anyone unfamiliar with the game, think of American football played without protective gear or forward passing. Also, the game doesn’t stop when the ball carrier is down; in fact, it gets more interesting as members of both teams pile on and try to take the ball away to continue play. And then there’s the scrum, the complete free-for-all where players engage in what looks like any behavior necessary to snag the ball for their side.

4 Tips for Choosing a Cloud Computing Vendor

Aug 20, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

By now, most business owners are using some form of cloud computing. (In case you aren’t one of them, cloud computing is any software or computing resource made available over the internet.) Some may be using it to reduce IT costs and increase efficiencies, taking advantage of features like on-demand pricing, collaboration, and ubiquitous availability. Others are proceeding more cautiously, waiting for the technology to mature while issues like data privacy and security are better defined.

5 Steps to Staying in Control

Aug 17, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Never have I realized how important life and work balance is than this month. After my father passed, I mourned a father and a best friend. Dealing with the loss of a loved one is one of the most challenging things to overcome. However, life does not wait for you to be ready, and it can throw everything on your plate—even when your plate already seems full.

Are You the Leader You Want to Be?

Aug 16, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Three experts weigh in on improving leadership by changing how you view yourself.

Just Because You Are the Boss, Doesn’t Mean You’re Alone

Get input on your goals from others with experience and judgment you value. Generally those closest to you can provide a realistic assessment of both your personal and business goals. Running your goals by people you trust and respect can be really productive and make certain the goals are realistic.

6 Ways To Be The Boss Of Your Computer

Aug 14, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

We all depend on our computers to get our work done. We take for granted that a computer is supposed to work for us, but we also feel we have to accept that the reverse is inevitable—we think we have to put up with various malfunctions and complications in order to get our machines to do what we want them to do.

Q&A: Use Practical Pricing for Long-Term Success

Aug 10, 2012

Q: The economy has put my business in a tight place as costs continue to rise, but my customer’s budgets are shrinking. How do I price my products/services without taking a loss myself, but also without losing my customers?

4 LinkedIn Tips for Personal Branding

Aug 8, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Any small business owner can benefit from using LinkedIn as a personal branding tool. LinkedIn has an audience of over 70 million decision makers, has been developed purely for business to business purposes, and is, by far, the most appropriate business social media tool to drive qualified leads to you and your business.

If you want to use LinkedIn to get business leads, here are four tips that work.

What Do Your Customers Really Value?

Aug 6, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

If you were to ask each member of your executive team, sales team, and rank-and-file what they think customers value most when they decide who to buy from, how much agreement do you think you would find? I can tell you with complete confidence you will find little or no agreement. Of the 150 companies my consulting firm has worked with, fewer than 10 percent had much internal agreement at all among the staff on what their customers valued most, and fewer than two percent were in alignment with what their customers told us they valued, in our double-blind research studies.

Want Your Website to Rank Better?

Jul 30, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Anyone with a website feels the need to improve their rankings. The idea is simple: the more people that find you, the more likely you will get leads and generate sales. We need to know that our internet investment and efforts are paying off.

So what’s wrong with that? Well, actually nothing, but it can’t be done without social media. Your PageRank is basically meaningless. Google has been telling you that for the past several years now, yet we still crave those rankings.

Are You Making Bad Decisions?

Jul 27, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Each year, 85 to 95 percent of new products fail. Most companies regularly consider industry data, market intelligence, and relevant expertise in the decision-making process before launching these new products. So these high failure rates are not likely due to a lack of data, but rather they are due to defects in our internal mental processes—flaws in the way we gather and process information that often go unnoticed and unaddressed. When a new product or strategy fails, we’re left wondering, “What was I thinking when I made that decision?”

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Skip Your Summer Vacation

Jul 25, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

About this time of year, I think it’s important to discuss why business owners aren’t getting out of the office, and what steps to take to get your business vacation-ready. It’s also not just about discussing how to get out of the office, but why it’s so important to take time away from your business.

Why You Shouldn’t Throw in the Towel

Jul 20, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Being a salesperson can be a very exciting job. You get to meet lots of different people and personalities, many of whom give you support and hope and eventually become close friends. On the other hand, being a salesperson can be very challenging and boring. You can be out on the street all week long and not produce any legitimate prospect or business connection. Some prospects give you a runaround, aggravation, and finally they show you the door. Of course, this can really affect you, bring you down, and make you ask yourself: Is it time to throw in the towel?

How to Use Facebook to Find Potential Employees

Jul 19, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Networking has long been described as the number one way to get ahead; to increase sales, to find investors, and yes, even to find a job or new employees. We’ve all overheard people ask “How did you get that lead?” or “How did you hear about that opportunity?” And we’ve all heard people answer, “Oh, I knew someone…”

Networking—it’s all about who you know. Or is it?

I have connections on LinkedIn I’ve never met, followers on Twitter I had not previously heard of, and <gasp> “friends” on Facebook that I’m not friends with. Crazy?

How Much Should You Pay Yourself?

Jul 18, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

If your business is incorporated, you can take a salary for the work that you do. Obviously, your company’s revenues are a big part of the decision on how much you can afford to take out of its coffers as compensation. Taxes are another important factor.

C or S?
Which type of corporation you run affects the decision on compensation. As a general rule (and by no means your guiding factor):

C corporations want to optimize compensation to an owner to create as large a tax deduction as possible.

How Well Does Your Online Marketing Strategy Measure Up?

Jul 13, 2012

Q: I use social media, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay per click (PPC) advertising and other online marketing strategies to try to grow my business.  The only problem is that I can’t tell which methods are working and which aren’t.  How can I measure the success of my efforts?

A: Among the most important facets of an online marketing strategy is a means for gauging its effectiveness. Fortunately, the data is literally there for the asking thanks to the emergence of web analytics.

Find New Ways to Network

Jul 11, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Ohours
What is it?
Ohours (as in open hours) is networking with a purpose. Meet new people that have something to offer you and your business, and share your knowledge in return.

5 Steps to Building a Winning Internship Program

Jul 10, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Interns. They’ll drain your time, make mistakes, and commit political errors—but they will also contribute fresh ideas and add much-needed manpower to complete projects. All in all, it’s usually a fair trade-off—your time for their labor. If you’ve decided that an internship program can benefit your company and your company can help a young person along his or her career path, here are five steps to making it work.

Does Optimism Have a Place in Entrepreneurship?

Jul 9, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

I just finished reading a book called Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler. It’s great. It is a powerful and compelling palliative for the pessimism and spiritual malaise of our current business trope and offers a tonic for the psyche of entrepreneurship.

This book is full of counterintuitive things that are quite astonishing. Essentially, the authors’ message is one of almost messianic, but not irrational, faith in the future, particularly faith in technology and entrepreneurship. Let me relate two quick examples.

Small Businesses Can Succeed in International Markets

Jul 6, 2012

Q: My business is doing well and I’d like to expand, however I’m reluctant to add another brick-and-mortar location and additional employees.  What other opportunities exist for small business owners like me?

A: Where’s the next market opportunity for your small business? It may well be overseas. Two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power is outside the US, along with 96 percent of consumers. Doing business overseas can provide a measure of insulation against fluctuations in domestic markets and enhance your overall competitiveness.

How Pinterest Videos Can Help Your SEO

Jul 6, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Is your marketing department ignoring Pinterest in hopes that it will be just another fad? Did you know that Pinterest is retaining and engaging users as much as two to three times as efficiently as Twitter was at a similar time in its history? Not only is it the fastest growing social media site today, but it is a great value for online video marketing because of its video SEO value.

How to Set Up a Contingency Plan

Jul 3, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

It is impossible to prevent all disasters, but it is possible to minimize the risk of a disaster or the damage from one. Having a contingency plan and testing it regularly can make a difference in the event of a manmade or natural disaster. It can also make the difference between a timely recovery and a long and difficult one, and affect the cost of recovery.

Dress for Success

Jul 2, 2012

Like it or not, what you wear matters in business.

USA Today columnist Rhonda Abrams writes, “What you wear can increase or decrease the chance you’ll land a deal, motivate your employees, even get better terms from a supplier.”

She defines the three levels of dress that are typical in a business setting:

Get Your Employees Living Better, Healthier

Jul 1, 2012

The benefits of deploying and sustaining a workplace wellness program are well documented. Studies have shown that for every dollar invested in a comprehensive wellness initiative, employers could glean a $3.27 return on that investment (Health Affairs, 2010). Research has also revealed myriad other benefits associated with workplace wellness initiatives, including increased productivity, improved job satisfaction and morale, and attraction and retention of talent.

Key In On Your Website Keywords

Jun 29, 2012

Q: I have a website and use social media, but I’d like to find other ways to attract new customers online.  Can you provide some recommendations?

A: Over the years, hundreds of small businesses have underperformed or failed entirely because customers didn’t know about them. The same is true in the online era. Unless your business appears on the first page or two of a Google, Bing, or Yahoo search result, connecting with prospective customers will be very difficult.

5 Ways to Turn Your Company into a Socially Responsible Business

Jun 27, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

It may seem like just buzzwords right now, but soon “social responsibility” is going to change the way your company does business. Why? In the next few years, if your company isn’t socially responsible, you’re going to be left in the dust.

“If you aren’t a socially responsible business now,” says Shel Horowitz, green/ethical marketing consultant and co-author of Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet, “your market is going to leave you behind within the next few years. It’s going to become a rule of doing business.”

Four Steps to Work/Life Balance

Jun 25, 2012

People ask me, "What does it take to practice the 5 Buckets Principle? How do I start filling the buckets of health and wellness, family and friends, work, giving back, and finances so they are all 80 percent full?" It is a process that works when you apply the following practices (in no particular order, as they are all equally important):

Get the Feel for Franchising

Jun 22, 2012

Q: I’ve worked in retail for a number of years.  I enjoy what I do, but feel like I’d like to try something new.  I’d really like to start a business but don’t have a lot of start-up capital and I’m not sure how my experience would help me as an entrepreneur.  Can you recommend a business idea or a strategy I can use to become a business owner?

Playing in Harmony: The Power of Collaboration in Business

Jun 20, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

I have always been a music lover. At a young age, my parents bought me my first instrument, an alto saxophone. By high school, I was playing in every type of band my school offered. Orchestra and marching band were fun, but I found jazz especially difficult. Other types of music had challenges, but you always had the reliability of the music notes written on the page. But jazz was an entirely different experience.

Beyond Banks: Alternative Financing Options for Small Businesses

Jun 14, 2012

Q. I’d like to start a business, but am having trouble getting a loan.  Can you recommend any other sources of funding?

A.  After several years of financial market upheaval, banks are once again making loans to viable small business proposals. But as Chicago-based author and consultant Carol Roth notes, they are determined not to repeat past mistakes.

How to Turn Questions into Answers

Jun 14, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Hardly a day goes by in any business operation where a client or prospect doesn’t ask a question.

Questions and answers are great content for your website and they help to drive inbound traffic from others searching for answers to those same questions. It is a good bet that if one person asked, then others have that same question.

The added benefit is that these Q&A or FAQ sections on your website can contribute to helping you establish your company as a trusted source and even as an expert.

How to Improve Lead Generation with Squeeze and Landing Pages

Jun 12, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

You may have taken a look at your website lately to see where you can make some improvements, or are suffering with the nagging feeling that you may not be getting the leads you had hoped for.

Squeeze pages and landing pages can help you with these challenges and goals. Simply stated, these types of web pages are designed to do exactly what their names imply.

Cohabitating Companies

Jun 11, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Despite anything you’ve heard about the rest of the country, in New York City the real estate bubble has decidedly not burst. For a growing business, finding the right space to create your product, or offer your service, can be a daunting and expensive prospect. That’s why many companies are eschewing the traditional rental agreements for something more fluid, adaptable, and affordable—shared spaces.

Avoid the Pitfalls of Earnouts and Seller Financing

Jun 7, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Over the past year, the market for mergers and acquisitions among small and mid-sized businesses has seen a slight increase. However, despite the uptick, many would-be business acquirers are still quite risk-averse, and want to minimize the amount of capital they need to invest in order to buy a company. To achieve these goals, a buyer may propose a transaction that includes an earnout, where some percentage of the price is contingent upon the future performance of the company.

10 Tips for Quickly Completing Monthly Financial Statements

Jun 5, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Monthly financial statements are the operational core of every business. So why do businesses struggle with the timely completion of these reports, which typically include an income and cash-flow statement, corresponding budgets to actual results, and a balance sheet? Business owners and executives need simply to turn to their accountants and bankers who can provide examples of companies that failed at least in part because they neglected to use financial statements as benchmarks and decision-making tools.

5 Steps to Throwing a Successful Networking Party

Jun 4, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

As a bootstrapped start-up, our entertaining budget is decidedly small, yet I know from all my years in finance that networking is an essential part of building a business. So as an entrepreneur, how do you actively engage potential clients without breaking the bank?  At HATCHEDit.com, we have found that hosting networking cocktail parties is a great way to connect and get connected with individuals we might otherwise have missed.

Are You Really Competing with Your Competitors?

Jun 1, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

About five months ago, a gym was built in my friend’s building. There was a lot of excitement from the tenants because it provided an on-site area for people to work out. Promotional signs were posted and each tenant received a letter about this great new gym that had come to the building, offering a fee that was less than 65 percent of a typical monthly gym membership price. Just from those facts alone, it would seem that membership to this gym would just skyrocket, right? Well, unfortunately, quite the opposite happened.

3 Tips for Better Client Services

Jun 1, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

I have many relationships in the marketplace. Most were derived from spending the last almost 20 years marketing in the region, attending events, doing television news, radio interviews, mailings, and every other conceivable technique available. My firm gets most of its business from referrals and I recently received a fantastic referral to a business that needed my payroll services. It was given to me by a long-time business colleague. I had the pleasure of meeting the referral months before at a lunch meeting.

Unlocking Foursquare

May 30, 2012

Millions of times a day, whether checking out a new spot or visiting an old favorite, people share location with their social network. More than 20 million people use foursquare to communicate and discover new experiences, making it an incredibly powerful tool for businesses to connect with their customers.

On 'Crowd Nine'

May 29, 2012

When the bipartisan and widely popular 2012 JOBS Act was signed into law earlier this year, a seismic shift occurred for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and investors. Among other provisions to spur capital and job growth, the law gives birth to a brand new marketplace: investment crowdfunding. 

Crowdfunding, for the initiate, is the fresh, legal means by which entrepreneurs, small business owners, inventors, and job creators can obtain the capital they need by receiving small investments online from people in their communities and even from people worldwide.

3 Ways to Prevent a Computer Time Suck

May 25, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Your computer is an amazing productivity tool, yet it is also a great way to procrastinate. Instant messaging, email, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook can make it hard to concentrate on tasks at hand. Many of us lack the willpower to ignore pop-ups and notifications as they come in, minute after minute, over the course of the day. However, there is a wealth of inexpensive software that can protect you from your own bad habits, and make it much easier to avoid distraction. Here are three ways to use software to help you focus on your work.

Tricked Out Tech for Business

May 24, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

You’ve tried everything: You’ve downloaded dozens of applications promising to make you and your employees more productive, read multiple tomes on the topic, and have tried many websites promising to increase your productivity. Most likely, only a few have worked and truly saved you time, effort, and frustration. In most cases, you’ve probably left the sites, deleted the applications, and tossed the books away.

When Marketing Is Like Dating

May 17, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Do you remember your dating days? When you met someone, something clicked, and you began the ritual of dating? It might have been a long time ago or you may be in the midst of this now, but there were and still are rules.

Resources for Top Tech

May 16, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

BestVendor
What is it?
BestVendor is a social sharing website that offers recommendations on apps and software that are beneficial for businesses. Since the recommendations come from other business owners and entrepreneurs, everything is tried and tested.

How to Set Up a Contingency Plan

May 15, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

It is impossible to prevent all disasters, but it is possible to minimize the risk of a disaster or the damage from one. Having a contingency plan and testing it regularly can make a difference in the event of a manmade or natural disaster. It can also make the difference between a timely recovery and a long and difficult one, and affect the cost of recovery.

10 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Reduce their Supplier Costs

May 14, 2012

The typical entrepreneur is too busy to get three quotes from different suppliers for each good or service needed to launch their business. This is the best practice of larger public companies and government agencies that have purchasing or procurement professionals on staff. If you don’t have time to do this, utilize one or more of the ten negotiating tactics above to reduce your expenses.Here are ten  negotiating tactics entrepreneurs can use when negotiating pricing with suppliers:

What I Didn’t Know When I Started My Business

May 10, 2012

I started Red Rabbit (a New York City-based healthy school meal provider in the N.Y. metro area) in 2005 with a vision and a passion—that good nutrition is essential to a child’s academic growth, physical health, and behavior. What I didn’t know was how to make a business out of a passion.

For entrepreneurs who want not only to grow their businesses organically, but also strategically, I offer a few nuggets of advice.

The Best Apps for iPads and Tablets

May 8, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Business owners discuss the apps they feel are most useful for their business.

Caroline Green, IvanExpert

Keynote
“Keynote is like PowerPoint for Macs, and uses presentation software. You can make a PowerPoint presentation on your computer, put it on your iPad, and use the iPad to actually give the presentation. We’ve used the app and connected it to a projector, which was really cool.”

Why I Tossed Your Business Card

May 7, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

You’re at an event or having a client first meeting and like a gunslinger you quickly reach into your pocket and BAM—you whip out your business card.

No matter if it was asked for or you offered, most people take the card and smile while putting in their pocket after pretending to actually look at it. Once back at the office, they might enter your information into their contact database or even follow up with a phone call. Then again, the round file might be the first stop for your card.

Is Your Company Zero Risk?

May 4, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Perfect circumstances are rare, and the exception. You can count on human error, call offs, customers being late, technology breakdowns, service interruptions, out of stock items, and undependable vendors. Is your company prepared? Are your frontline employees trained and ready? If these things are normal daily occurrences, then tell me why most employees act like a deer in headlights when they do occur?

What Is Zero Risk?

Strategies of Engagement

May 3, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

We’re bombarded with so many marketing messages that most of them blur by us, having made no impact—and having provided no return for the marketers who invested in those messages. Direct mail is circular filed, unread. The rise of the DVR means most 30-second TV spots go unseen. As a marketer, you can’t change the reality of advertising overload, but you can still connect with your audience. How? By pulling your audience in with information that interests them.

Flex Your Workforce

May 2, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Maybe one of your employees has already approached you about adjusting his or her hours and working flexibly, or you’ve considered hiring someone part-time to get a project off the ground. If you are unsure how these types of arrangements can work in your business, two experts provide tips for incorporating flexible employees into your plans.

Google+ or Minus?

May 1, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Like so many of us who are working on our profiles and accounts such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook—plus blogging—another social media service to keep up with just seemed less than appealing.

Grow by Knowing How Not to Grow

Apr 30, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

About 15 years ago, someone once told me, “A strategy isn’t just what you decide to do, it’s what you decide not to do.” And a couple of years ago, serial entrepreneur Steve Messer added something to the effect of “As an entrepreneur, you need to balance unlimited opportunity with finite resources.” I don’t know about you, but the entrepreneur in me really wants to do 100 things at one time (surprising once you find out I started my career as a CPA), which I do know is a recipe for disaster and a sure-fire way to piss off your team.

How to Turn Around a Failing Company

Apr 27, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Stressed? Worried about this year’s numbers? Apprehensive over changing technologies?  Concerned with competitors determined to undercut your pricing? Business owners and executives that answer yes to any of these questions are… completely in the norm, and certainly not alone.

Becoming a Sales Coach

Apr 25, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

A lot has been written about sales training and its importance to the success of a business. And rightfully so. A well-trained sales force is not only essential for bringing in revenue—the lifeblood of your business—it can also provide your business with a competitive advantage. But what about sales coaching?

Training vs. Coaching

3 Reasons to Use a Tablet for Business

Apr 24, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

“Everyone in our office has an iPad,” says Stephen Jackson, co-founder and general manager of RDZ Media Group, LLC, a New York City–based mobile social media agency. “You really have to consider what you’re going to do with the tablet,” says Jackson. “In the beginning, it was a toy. Now, we see it as a serious business device.”

More and more, business owners are realizing that tablets can be used for more than games and catching up on TV shows—and they can actually be a boon to their businesses. Here are a few ways you can take advantage of tablet technology:

A Culture of Ownership

Apr 23, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

As you have experienced yourself, when doing business with a vendor or service provider, the experience you have as a customer who deals directly with the owner of the company is often much different than if you deal with an employee. I imagine the owner went out of his way to make you feel valued and appreciated and treated you as if you were his only customer.

Share Your Business Story on Facebook

Apr 20, 2012

Facebook Pages recently moved to a format that will help businesses and organizations better express their identities. Here are some tips to optimize your Page and to feature content that helps you keep connecting and telling your story in an authentic and engaging way: 

Six Tips for Financial Fitness

Apr 18, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

As the days get warmer, our January resolutions often fall by the wayside. The goals that accompanied the New Year sounded great back then, but we quickly realized they were a lot tougher than we expected. A top resolution for many is to lose weight and get in shape.

It is a great goal, but often unsuccessful. Getting in shape isn’t easy and takes time, especially if you want long-term results. After all, the pounds gained during the holidays happened over many weeks. It makes sense that a problem that took weeks will also take some time to resolve.

Tools for Digital Marketing

Apr 17, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Movable Ink

What's it about?

Movable Ink brings email marketing into the 21st century by adding real-time content into your company emails, meaning that the content can change after you send it. This can be as simple as adding a live Twitter stream to your signature or as complex as real-time inventory counters, local maps, device targeting, and optimized creative content that automatically changes depending on what's more successful in live A vs. B tests.

How can it help?

It’s Not Business, It’s Personal

Apr 13, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

That’s right, it isn’t business as usual anymore, and it hasn’t been for a few years now. Rating sites and social media—the internet—has changed things forever. Yelp, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Twitter and now Google+—this is the new frontier and these sites require attention and demand relationships with others. Yes, relationships. That means listening and chatting. If you are a B2B business, this means you, too.

How to Maintain Profitability and Eliminate Shrinking Margins

Apr 11, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Through good times and bad, the number one challenge business owners face is making more money.

And the answer, historically, has been simply to sell more product and services. Now, thanks to competition, the internet, and changing technologies, even those selling more are making less as they are squeezed on margins, and consequently, profitability. Today’s buyers are much more savvy about purchasing options and tend to be more concerned with price and less with loyalty.

Three Tools for Dealing with Debbie Downers

Apr 11, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Every day I wake up reasonably happy, fairly contented in life, and ready to face the work at the office. Then I drive to work and tune in to the radio, which is blaring about an impending storm, the downfall of the stock market… and poof—I’m at work, where I am greeted by the phone ringing and an email stating that the deadline of the project has been moved – up! My child calls from school to say she has forgotten her musical instrument for today’s concert just before the annual performance review is about to start an hour early.

How to Implement a Great Idea

Apr 10, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Consistency and Continuity

The two most important words in the success of implementing systems are consistency and continuity. Nearly every company has more ideas than it knows what to do with.

Here’s a scenario familiar in every company: Some executives attend a fantastic seminar, get dozens of great ideas, and return to work all fired up and eager to start executing all those ideas. A month later, not even one idea is being executed even 10 percent of the time. The managers are either preoccupied with a crisis or have moved on to a new focus.

Performance Evaluation Made Simple

Apr 9, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Whether you ask the reviewer or the employee being reviewed, “Do you like the performance review process?” I guarantee that you will get the same response: “No.” We sent a man to the moon over 40 years ago, but we can’t seem to find an employee review process that people don’t hate.

Well, for the past two years, we tried something new here at NY Report and I think we are on to something. So I would like to share our process with you.

How to Alleviate Next Year’s Tax Time Anxiety

Apr 5, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

It’s that time of year when everyone and their mother is professing last minute tips about taxes, and the sheer volume of this messaging directed toward business owners is particularly overwhelming. You’re reading about IRS loopholes and special extensions and whether or not you qualify. You’re being told to file as early as possible. (Didn’t another article tell you to wait until the last minute?) Either way, there’s too much noise come tax season. And the worst part? This eleventh hour isn’t even the most opportune time for business owners to be thinking about taxes.

How to Get Started With Online Video Marketing

Apr 4, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Done right, video converts. From lead generation, to pipeline development to differentiating yourself during the sales process, online video marketing can provide your business with a strategic marketing edge. And taking advantage of video in your lead generation and sales efforts doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it’s never been easier.

3 Steps to Finding Clients Abroad

Mar 30, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

During one of my first trips abroad, my partner and I were sitting in the lobby of a Moscow hotel, people-watching and wondering how to go about finding customers for our newly established, fledgling communications distribution business. Hearing the familiar English dialogue, one of the patrons approached us and we struck up a conversation. He turned out to be a mid-level executive working for one of the major Canadian oil companies drilling for oil in Northern Russia, just inside the Polar circle. After finding out about our business, he gasped.

3 Ways to Congratulate Yourself

Mar 30, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

It’s 3am and I spring out of bed and head for my computer. I have tried not to do this. I have attempted to trick myself into thinking if I don’t get out of bed that I will remember the idea that danced across my dreams without writing it down. That never worked. I always forget it unless I email it to myself or my staff at the office. They must think I am literally out of my mind with these random emails that may only make sense to me the next day.

Using Milestones for Marketing

Mar 28, 2012

Whether it’s commemorating your business’ 25th anniversary or celebrating your 250th customer, anniversaries, milestones, and awards and recognitions are prime opportunities to promote your business. These occasions can be used to retain existing customers and generate new ones, raise the profile of your business, and help shape your company’s future. Here are a few ideas for maximizing your milestone:

One Tech Rule You Need to Know

Mar 28, 2012

There is one technology rule that even the most seasoned IT professional cannot prevent from happening: All Hard Drives Fail!  So even if you’re not a computer whiz, you should be familiar with the term “backup.” Unfortunately, too many businesspeople aren’t familiar with or have forgotten its importance. But repeating the rule under your breath three times and saying it frequently to your employees will lead to sound backup strategies.

5 Steps to Creating a Rewarding Workplace

Mar 27, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

When budgets are tight and raises are not a realistic possibility, how can you keep employees productive and committed to your company? Although a competitive employee benefits package that includes health care and other components, such as a 401(k) plan and disability and life insurance, will always be valuable to employees, there are many other types of initiatives that are also meaningful and effective. Consider instituting a recognition program to reward employees for jobs well done. Here are five components for creating a successful program:

5 Steps to Dealing with Data Overload

Mar 23, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

It’s no secret that modern businesses are awash in data. IBM’s recent CMO study shows that over 70 percent of marketers say that the data explosion is what they feel the most unprepared for, and it’s no wonder: every day we create an additional 2.5 quintillion bytes of data—so much, that over 90 percent of the data in the world today has been created in just the last two years.

Gas Prices Got You Crazed? Get a Grip!

Mar 23, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

The rising price of gas is an issue pertinent in all of our seminar topics. How does the rising price of gas fit into a work/life discussion? Very easily! In this economic climate, Americans are constantly stressed about finances. I regularly see people beginning to spin out of control. The biggest key to work/life balance is being prepared to handle whatever is thrown your way, and the rising cost of gas is a big obstacle to manage. Every person and every family needs to regroup and take another look at their budget.

Motivate Your Sales Team in a Challenging Economy

Mar 16, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

The economy may take one step forward and 12 steps back, but you still need your sales team to bring home the bacon. They’re slugging it out, day after day, listening to their prospects tell them the same excuses. The excuses and the lack of sales (as well as decreasing personal income) have the team down in the dumps. Motivated? Not so much.

Protecting Your Network from a Terminated Employee

Mar 15, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

When’s the best time to start protecting your network from a terminated employee? Before you hire the employee.

In the days of paper-based records and information, it was possible to simply escort former employees out of the office, assuring that they took only personal effects with them. Today, with electronic information and paperless offices, it’s much harder to determine if a terminated employee is removing valuable company information, or has retained access to your system.

The New Digital Divide

Mar 12, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

It was a little more than 10 years ago that a national conversation started about “the digital divide,” the fact that not everyone had the same access to digital technology. The infrastructure simply wasn’t there. Regions of the country were woefully underserved, and socioeconomic status dictated how easily you could connect with the world online. With time, that gap has narrowed. Advances in technology have made it possible for nearly everyone to have reliable access to the web. The playing field may not be entirely level, but it’s a lot smoother than it used to be.

Going Mobile: QR Codes and Snap Tags

Mar 9, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

The buzz for 2012 is mobile. Everything is mobile; everything needs to be mobilized.

First, go to your mobile phone and if you have the ability to access the Internet, check your website.

If your phone doesn’t have this feature—first, put it on your list to upgrade your darned phone already—then borrow a friend or colleague’s phone to perform this test.

How does your website look? How does it perform? If you can’t easily see, read or interact with your website then next on your to-do list is update your website or have your web designer create a mobile version.

You Can Raise Prices, Even In This Economy

Mar 9, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

The benefit of raising prices is… well, isn’t it obvious? Given that it is so vital to long-term success, one would think that businesses had already figured out how to do it well. The truth is that despite watching Starbucks, Denny’s and Delta Airlines raise prices at the beginning of this year, many firms are wrestling with this challenge.   

Overcome a Business Plateau

Mar 7, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Businesses, like people, mature. Their growth stops and their energy level may slow down. Many become set in their ways and are resistant to change. In other words, like people, companies get comfortable; even those that started with exponential growth.

Businesses based on cutting-edge innovation are not immune, either. The recession may have brought businesses’ plateaus to the forefront, shaking business owners out of their doldrums, and forcing them to make changes. But change does not automatically equal success.

5 Rights of a Business Owner

Mar 6, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Businesses spend a lot of time dealing with the rights of employees. Law firms have been built on these rights, human resource professionals spend considerable effort in getting managers to abide by them, and managers often feel paralyzed by them.

But business owners and their managers have rights, as well. They often hesitate to exercise them for fear of offending someone. Yet if you practice them, you can become a more relaxed manager with a more productive staff.

Importing Management Skills

Mar 5, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

While learning how business is done in other countries is crucial to taking your company abroad, incorporating cultural elements from foreign markets can help you improve dealings with clients here in the US. After a recent business trip to China, I identified several key take-aways that business owners can adopt to improve their workplace functionality.

Does a Hot Market Really Offer Opportunity?

Feb 27, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

China, Colombia, South Korea, India, Brazil, South Africa, Russia—these headline making countries appear to offer the greatest growth potential. Having experienced strong growth trajectory, these countries are busy developing their infrastructure. Middle-class consumption is on the rise. Yet, any US business seeking to venture abroad should not simply be seduced by the glamour and promises of getting rich quick.

Improve Your Relationship with Your Business

Feb 27, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

As a business grows, entrepreneurs must often reinvent themselves as a rite of passage. It’s often the very work habits that help you achieve a level of success that hold you back from getting to the next level. Being involved in all areas of the business, making every decision, and managing every outcome in the company becomes unsustainable as your business grows. I’ve gone through several reinventions as my own business grew and changed.

10 Ways to Achieve and Maintain Profitability

Feb 27, 2012

Reaching the break-even point is a thrilling moment for all self-funded entrepreneurs. At this point, you believe you will operate profitably and  generate positive cash flow far into the future. Here are 10 tips to help you achieve that dream:

1.       Leverage everything you do. Every time you provide a service, make every effort to “productize” that service and offer it to other prospects and customers. Include the new service on your price list, if you publish one.

How to Hire the Right Web Developers

Feb 24, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

“You’re an analog player in a digital world”—a great line from Ocean’s Thirteen. I wonder: Is your company’s website a static brochure in a dynamic Web 3.0 world? Is it time to take the plunge and update your virtual presence? And if so, with so many changes in technology, how do you embark on redesigning your website?

Top Technology Trends

Feb 23, 2012

Part 2 of 2

Last month, I wrote about five technology trends that will impact SMBs (small and medium businesses) in 2012. Here are five more.

Building the Right Company Culture

Feb 23, 2012

Employers too often think about workplace conduct strictly in terms of legal compliance. They need to think more broadly to avoid the scandals, risks, and costs associated with bad workplace behavior. They need to focus on building a workplace with a higher standard of behavior than the one prescribed by any law.

5 Reasons Your Company Blog Is Failing to Bring in Leads

Feb 23, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Over the last five years, company blogging has really taken off. A tiny fraction of those businesses are succeeding in their efforts, using blogging as a way to bring in leads through their sales funnel and converting those leads into paying customers.

So why isn’t your blog doing the same?

Update Your Digital Marketing Strategies

Feb 22, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

NY Report recently held the 2011 Sales & Marketing Playbook Conference, sponsored by Constant Contact. Five experts spoke over a series of three breakout sessions at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, NY. Here are a few takeaways from the event.

Use Your Website to Level the Playing Field

Great Marketing That Makes Money

Feb 21, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

For most companies, there are ways to turn marketing efforts into profit centers. Of course, every situation and every company is different. Creative marketing solutions do not apply across the board.

But in all cases, it pays to think outside the box. I like racking my brains to think of ways to turn marketing efforts into profit centers. And I have found that it is usually possible.

Improve Productivity with Interactive Dashboards

Feb 16, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Static CRM dashboards required users to spend lots of time and energy putting data into the system. And getting data out of these databases wasn’t much easier. For some companies, the time spent entering the many data points from a client or prospect was overtaking the supposed benefit, and the difficulty of producing meaningful reports to turn into sales efforts was painful, if not impossible.  

Confessions of a (Former) Bad Salesperson

Feb 16, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

I started my career as a CPA and then become a CFO and CEO before starting a media company called NY Report. Up until I was in a position where I was out selling advertising for the magazine, I thought I knew how to sell. When I was a CFO, I was riding my sales managers and salespeople, asking why things their pipeline was taking so long to convert into revenue.  Looking back, I was probably wrong more than I was right, because I didn’t know crap about sales.

How Do You Market Your Business on Quora?

Feb 14, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

If you haven’t become active on Quora already, you may soon miss the opportunity to use the platform before it gets as crowded and competitive as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Hailed by some as the next big social media platform, this fast-growing and buzz-y question-and-answer site is a unique opportunity for marketers who want to promote the brains behind their brands.

5 Steps to a More Secure iPad

Feb 14, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

A client recently called. “I just lost my iPad,” she said. “And I have my company files on it, including all of our financials.” Without missing a beat, we were able to remotely erase all of the data she had on the iPad, change her passwords on the device and her email, and ensure that her critical data was protected.  While the client was initially concerned about the risk of exposure her data faced between the time she realized she lost her iPad and the time we remotely erased that data, her data was protected because she took a few simple preventative steps.  

Best Practices in Time Management for Salespeople

Feb 10, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

One of the most difficult tasks for business owners and sales managers is to gauge whether employees are making the best use of their time. When it comes to salespeople, it’s even more difficult because they spend a significant portion of their time out of the office—and out of sight.

Nevertheless, since your salespeople are the lifeblood of your business, it’s imperative that you have a solid understanding of how they’re using their time, and coach and help them to be as efficient and productive with that time as possible. A salesperson’s time is literally money.

Bringing New People into Your Organization

Feb 9, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

For 35 years, Jack Killion bought, sold, started from scratch, and merged companies in a range of sectors including equipment manufacturing, consumer and business-to-business publishing, industrial polymer processing, and agriculture. Today, he is the managing general partner of Eagle Rock Partners, which provides venture capital funding to emerging companies, and he is Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Rothman Institute at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.

10 Ways to Deal with Entrepreneurial Stress

Feb 8, 2012

There are many words to describe the entrepreneurial experience: exhilarating; challenging; all-consuming; rewarding; frustrating. I would add "stressful" to the list. Here are ten ways to manage the inevitable stress that entrepreneurs face:

1.       Realize that the only person who can put pressure on you is you. Have you ever noticed that some people let criticism just roll off their backs while others are greatly affected by it? The difference is in how they choose to handle criticism, pressure, and adversity.

10 Ideas for Your Company Blog

Feb 7, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

You know you should be blogging for your business, but maybe you just don’t know where to start, or you are fearful of how to sustain the momentum once you begin. Join the club. Most entrepreneurs I speak with have more fears about blogging than they have about their taxes. The first step in conquering these worries is to understand why you should blog.

Search Engine Optimization

Wealth Management After the Downturn

Feb 6, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

If you survived the economic tsunami of the last four years, you know that not everyone lost their house, but everyone got wet, and some came out soaked to the bone. John Keynes, the influential British economist, once said “the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.” Many entrepreneurs found their businesses on the edge of survival; it could go either way.

5 Ways to Strike Sparks of Creativity

Feb 3, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

There are times when you or your staff are feeling less than inspired but creative problem solving is essential. And there are some people— maybe even you—who fear the blank page or any situation in which they must use their creativity (technical term: getting creative-now-o-phobia).

Socializing Your Employees

Feb 2, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Best Buy has their employees engage in Twitter streams. IBM and Intel are encouraging blog participation. Big business is embracing social media in a big way. So what does this mean for you as a small business owner? How can you leverage your best assets–your employees– to spread the word about your brand without damaging the reputation of your business?

5 Apps for Serious Business

Feb 1, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Smartphones are sometimes described as pacifiers for adults. That only applies if the devices are treated like toys. Before downloading yet another restaurant finder or bird-themed puzzle game, consider the following apps to help improve productivity.

Manage Your Connections Better

Addieu

Critical Guidelines for Developing a Successful Strategic Plan

Jan 30, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Running your company places constant demand on your time and energy, and creating a strategic plan for your business, with periodic revisions, is often neglected. A poorly conceived or nonexistent strategy can result in stagnant or declining sales and profits.

Out of Office

Jan 27, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

The prospect of moving out of your home office, or the local coffee shop, to procure your dream office space, and designing it just the way you want it can be quite exhilarating. Maybe you have office space that leaves a lot to be desired, or your business growth has created the need for a satellite office or extra space. Unfortunately, the costs and commitment associated with leasing and building a dream office space often do not align with the financial abilities of many business owners.

Three Ways for Entrepreneurs to Increase Sales

Jan 27, 2012
I have been a self-funded entrepreneur for over 30 years. Recently, I was co-founder and CEO of PurchasingNet, Inc., a Web-based software and services company. At PurchasingNet, we continually tweaked our sales processes in order to increase sales and grow the company. That said, there were three basic principles we lived by and they never varied:
 

Who Will Buy My Business?

Jan 26, 2012

After 35 years of helping family business owners develop strategic succession plans for their businesses, I have discovered that there are three main groups of potential buyers. About 30% to 40% of business owners will sell to one or more family members, 15% to 20% will sell to qualified key managers (because family members are not interested), and 15% to 20% will sell to an outsider. The pricing and terms of the sale can be totally different for these three types of buyers.

Why All Business Owners Are Publishers

Jan 26, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

As a business owner, you have many jobs—chief strategist, salesperson, and occasional employee therapist. If you haven’t already, you can add one more title to your job description—chief content marketing strategist. Due to the rise of social media and connectivity in general, content marketing has become essential to any business’s marketing strategy.

Three Tips for Finding the Best New Hires

Jan 26, 2012

Entrepreneurs and small business owners cite finding the right employees as a recipe for success. Finding those employees, however, can be a long and arduous process. Entrepreneur contributors John Burgstone and Bill Murphy Jr. tackle this issue by offering three fundamental questions employers should ask potential hires.

Sustainability for the Rest of Us

Jan 19, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

If you have less than 50 employees, work in an office, and want to participate in the “people, planet, profits” business model, you have probably noticed the lack of conversation about options for you. A lot of green business discussion focuses on alternative energy, local sourcing, recycling, and other approaches as they apply to big business. For example, its’ not possible to put solar panels on your fifth floor office suite and you can’t package your goods in sustainable materials if you are a service business.

Tech Tools for Improving Sales

Jan 19, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Business buyers’ behavior has changed radically over the last several years. One big change has largely been driven by technology, specifically the Internet. Google fundamentally changed the buyer-seller relationship.

In the post-Google world, buyers can type in the name of any product or service and will receive dozens of web pages, white papers, and webinars that will educate them on that area. Prior to Google, buyers met with salespeople to get this information.

Strategies for Incremental and Aggressive Growth

Jan 18, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

If your business stagnates, it will not be around for very long. One of your top priorities should be constantly searching for ways to grow. You need to grow your business profitably and intelligently to improve your own lifestyle and earning power, strengthen your brand, and develop the critical mass that will help your business survive the tough times and thrive in the better times. Effective growth can also position the company for a successful exit strategy, which every owner should have.

Leadership for Improved Profits and Productivity

Jan 17, 2012
from NY Enterprise Report

Just as birds flock and fish school, people tribe. A tribe is a naturally forming group of 20 to 150 people. Smaller companies can be a single tribe. In larger organizations, there can be many tribes; for instance, it is easy to spot the cultural difference between sales and engineering departments. Tribes also operate at different cultural stages, which can positively or negatively impact your results as an organization. A high performing tribe can be three to five times more productive.

Using Video for Your Business

Jan 3, 2012

 

So you’re convinced that you need video on your small business website, but you’re not sure what the content should be. The best way to decide is to ask yourself, “What would be most informative and interesting to my customers and potential customers?”

Are you a building contractor? People might like to see testimonials and examples of your work. Why not shoot a tour of the house you just built and interview the owner?

Why Small Businesses Stop Growing

Jan 3, 2012

In conducting research for our recent book, Let Go to Grow: Why Some Businesses Thrive and Others Fail to Reach Their Potential (Palari Publishing, 2011), we spoke with more than 100 small business owners. We found that what most frequently stalls the growth of small companies are owners who won’t let go.

Foster a Culture of Innovation

Nov 23, 2011

Small and growing companies can drive new revenue streams and realize new market opportunities from existing intellectual capital.  Below are some observations and best practices, addressed in my book Harvesting Intangible Assets (AMACOM, 2011), for fostering and sustaining a culture of innovation.

Export to Build Your Customer Base

Oct 19, 2011

While it may seem counterintuitive at a time of stagnant economic growth and high unemployment, U.S. companies need to go abroad to find new markets and consumers for their goods. No matter its size, your company is capable of going global. You just need to start thinking outside the box.

Brave New World of Customer Service

Oct 19, 2011

Executives and small business owners are increasingly using social media as a marketing tool. Corporate executives are building brand awareness and launching new products to highly targeted audiences. Small business owners are recognizing the budget-friendly marketing value that social media offers for those who lack the resources for heavy advertising.

When Disaster Strikes

Sep 20, 2011
from BCLC

The August earthquake that rattled buildings up and down the East Coast, the widespread flooding and power outages caused by Hurricane Irene, and a number of tornadoes are recent reminders of the significant risk that natural disasters pose to small businesses.

According to the Association of Small Business Development Centers, more than one in four businesses will experience a significant crisis in any given year, and too many of them will never recover. Of those businesses that experience a disaster and have no emergency plan, 43% never reopen.

Blogs: Must-Have Digital Tools

Sep 20, 2011

Long before Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube became the “in” things to give your business a digital edge, there was the humble blog. One of the first low-cost publishing tools, the blog remains an important marketing and business development device with unique characteristics that make it a must-have on your business’ digital checklist. Here’s what a blog gives you:

An Intro to QR Codes

Aug 16, 2011

What are those strange-looking square-coded graphics that you increasingly see in magazines, in newspaper ads, in direct mail, on billboards, and on airport tickets? They are called Quick Response, or QR, codes. They can serve as a gateway from your business’ printed marketing materials to your online presence and can provide valuable information about you and your audience.

Is a PEO Right for You?

Aug 16, 2011

How can today’s entrepreneurs and small business owners compete with many of their larger rivals? That’s easy—steal a page from their playbooks.

Over the last decade, many large businesses have leveraged a business phenomenon known as business process outsourcing, or BPO. The concept is simple. The company focuses on their core competencies—its products and services, customers, marketing, etc.—and outsources critical, yet noncore, functions. 

Where Your Tweeps At?

Jul 25, 2011

By now you’ve heard of Twitter. You know someone who’s a fan of the uber-popular micro-blogging tool, or you’ve seen it used by businesses and brands that you interact with. Perhaps you’ve gone so far as to become one of the 200 million people who have a Twitter account, but you’re still trying to figure out how it can help your business.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when using Twitter for your business:

Wellness Programs Help Bottom Line

Jul 25, 2011

Tired of double-digit health care premium increases, CLARK Security Products initiated an employee wellness program in 2009. We set out to overturn the assumption that rising health care costs is a reality that companies have to accept lying down. Here’s what we learned:

Get commitment from the top. Management must drive the company’s wellness initiatives. CLARK executives boost employee morale by supporting the program and demonstrating active and healthy lifestyles.

Gain Advantage in a Down Market

Jun 15, 2011

Small businesses are struggling to generate sales in this difficult economy. Below are tips for surviving— even thriving— in tough times.

Provide extraordinary customer service. Do you know if you’re giving your customers extraordinary customer service? Ask them. Your best source of business is always more business from your existing customers. If they are happy, they continue to buy. And if they are really happy, they tell everyone they know. Turn your customers into walking advertisements by giving them extraordinary customer service.

Getting Started With Facebook

Jun 8, 2011

When looking for a new restaurant or something fun to do with my family on weekends, the first thing I do is ask my friends.  Small business owners know that word-of-mouth endorsements passed from friend to friend are invaluable.

On Facebook, you can achieve word-of-mouth marketing at scale. With more than 500 million people using Facebook every month, there are countless opportunities for your business to be part of the conversation. Here are a few steps to help you begin:

Leadership

Jun 2, 2011

A friend recently asked me what four or five things I’ve learned about leadership over my 40-year career that I wish someone had told me up front. That was easy to answer.

Improving Your Email Marketing

May 11, 2011

Although many people feel that email marketing is taking a backseat to other marketing mediums like social media and mobile marketing, email marketing continues to be an effective and low-cost method of acquiring, informing, and keeping customers. Here are six elements for a successful email marketing campaign.

Lower Your Health Care Costs

May 1, 2011

As a health care benefits consultant servicing thousands of benefit plans and millions of insured lives nationwide, I am in a unique position to hear about the concerns most employers share. The issue that appears at the top of the list is the rising cost of health care, and the new health care law certainly hasn’t helped. The only certain thing is uncertainty. Every day I hear about new rules, regulations, and even discussion of repeal. Changes are inevitable as regulators alter how the new law will be applied.

Building a Social Media Brand

May 1, 2011

It’s no longer optional; your business needs a social media presence. However, unless you are clear about your target audience and develop a plan and process, you will be spending lots of time and money to communicate with very few. Whether you’re on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or a blog, the key to being successful with social media is providing value to your target audience. Social media success requires a mind shift. It is not about ROI, or Return on Investment; it’s about ROR, or Return on the Relationship.

Value and Protect Your Patents

Apr 1, 2011

The purpose of a patent is defined in the U.S. Constitution to encourage innovation. A patent does not give the patent owner the right to produce a product that uses the patented invention. In fact, the opposite is true. A patent gives the owner the right to exclude others from using the patented invention. A patent is a limited monopoly granted to an inventor by the federal government.

Why Your Business Needs Video

Apr 1, 2011

Video has quickly become a fundamental tool for organizations and businesses of all types. Soon, a business without video will be just as quaint as a business without a telephone. It’s easy to see why video has become such an important part of any marketing strategy.

Presence. Every business wants to maximize its presence, especially online. YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world, with daily traffic exceeding 2 billion views per day.

Create a Secure Workplace

Mar 1, 2011

Have a Plan and Communicate It

Tom Sittner
Director of Security
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Every small business should provide a safe working environment for its employees and customers. A typical small business, however, does not have the resources to hire a workplace security and safety professional. Here are some fairly easy and inexpensive steps businesses can take on their own.

Texting Tips

Mar 1, 2011

Smart Phones Offer a Window to Customers

Katie Wilson
Senior Director,
Communications & Strategy
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Succession Planning

Feb 1, 2011

 

If you have spent the past 25 or 30 years growing your company through good times and bad, you may be thinking about your business succession and exit decisions.

For 35 years, I’ve helped small business owners develop a strategic succession plan that makes sense for them, their families, and their companies. Here are four areas to think about as you plan for the future.

Software as a Service

Feb 1, 2011

Look to the Cloud to Cut IT Costs

Kevin Gilroy
Senior Vice President
www.sap.com

In my daily interactions with small business owners, a common theme is the need to ensure that they get the best value from their technology investments. Some of the biggest questions are: When is the best time to make a purchase? How can we find the best and most affordable hardware and software to solve our business problems? How can we minimize the time required to maintain our systems?

Planning for 2011

Jan 1, 2011

 

With the start of a new year, many small business owners are in planning mode. Below are some important federal tax, health care, and retirement savings rules for 2011 that every small business owner should know about.

Mobile Marketing: Easy as 1, 2, 3

Jan 1, 2011

 

From the moment a business opens, it searches for loyalty among its customer base. Most businesses cannot survive without repeat business. The key to profitability is to provide existing customers with an incentive to return and to convert new customers into regulars. Instead of relying on outdated and unreliable tools like loyalty cards, coupons, or the personal knowledge of an owner to attract, identify, retain, and reward these regulars, businesses may want to consider a mobile loyalty program.

Go Online for Your Print Needs

Dec 1, 2010

Faster Turnaround Times, Lower Costs

Raymond E. Pinard
President & CEO
48HourPrint.com

Advanced technology has made online print ordering a convenient, cost-effective alternative to using a local print shop, providing economies of scale that deliver both low prices and high-quality printing.

Government as a Customer

Nov 1, 2010

Tips for Securing Federal Contracts


Christopher Braddock
Senior Director
Procurement Policy
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Managing Computer Failures

Oct 1, 2010

Second in a two-part series

Response Should Match Level of Severity

Ricardo Harvin
Senior Manager, Web Development
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Send questions to
techtools@uschamber.com

When disaster inevitably strikes your computer system, keep your cool and rely on your recovery plan.

Managing for Success

Aug 1, 2010

Be Open to Change

Robert W. Goldfarb
President
Urban Directions, Inc.
RWG30@aol.com

I’ve been advising managers and management teams throughout the world for 30 years and am endlessly peeling back the onion to learn why some companies succeed while others fail.

What Is Green IT?

May 1, 2010

Why You Should Care

Laurie McCabe
Partner, SMB Group
www.smb-gr.com

Green IT refers to the study and practice of using computers and IT resources in a more efficient and environmentally responsible way. Here are some simple ways for achieving greener IT:

Virtual Computing

Apr 1, 2010

From Mainframe to Mainstream

Ricardo Harvin
Website Development Manager
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The incredible growth of computer technology is opening up a new way to use computers, called virtual computing, or virtualization.

New Credit Card Rules Take Hold

Feb 1, 2010

Possible Negative Consequences for Card Holders

Chris Merida
Director, Congressional & Public Affairs
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Last May, the president signed into law the Credit Card Responsibility and Disclosure Act, which requires fundamental changes to the lending industry’s card-related practices.

Search Engine Optimization Basics

Feb 1, 2010

Make Your Web Site Easy to Find

James Sneeringer
Director, Online Communications
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

A Web site is a great way to market your business, but how easily can new customers find you? There are concrete steps you can take to make sure that your site is as visible as possible in search engines like Google or Bing. Think in terms of relevance, rank, and location.

Who Is an Employee?

Jan 1, 2010

Larry Lorber
Partner
Proskauer, Rose
Mr. Lorber is an experienced law practitioner.

Reposition Your Business

Dec 1, 2009

Prepare for Sales Growth and Profitability

W. Kenneth Yancey Jr.
SCORE CEO
www.score.org

Day by day, optimism is overtaking the gloom of the recession. Now is the time to seize opportunity and prepare for sales growth and profitability in the coming year.

Choosing the Right Investor

Sep 30, 2009

Make Your Business Attractive

Alan Hall
Founder, Mercato Partners
www.mercatopartners.com/

For most companies, securing outside funding is just plain reality. However, it can be one of the hardest challenges businesses face, especially in this economic environment. It takes a lot of time, effort, and resources to find the right funding partner. 

Birds Always Sing After the Rain

Sep 1, 2009

Prepare for Better Times

Joe Schmeider
Senior Associate
The Family Business
Consulting Group, Inc.®

During the 2000-2001 recession, my family-owned business and others collaborated to form The List. It started out as itemized actions to trim costs, stay competitive, and still be prepared for the next uptick. Eight years later, The List has grown to 100. Below are a few tips by category. 

Sleep Like a Baby Tonight

Jul 31, 2009

Feel Better During Tough Times

Laurel Delaney
Founder and President
Globetrade.com

I asked 20 presidents of small businesses in marketing, interior design, insurance, and a variety of other industries what allows them to get a good night's rest in these difficult economic times. Here are the highlights of what they shared.

Local Chambers: a Best Resource

Jun 30, 2009

Tap Assets to Gain Competitive Edge

Raymond P. Towle, IOM, CAE
Executive Director
Political Affairs & Federation Relations
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

In these tough economic times, small businesses need to tap the resources that are available in their communities to weather the storm. They need to look no further than their local chambers for help.

Innovation and Invention

Jun 30, 2009

The Internet as a Business Enabler

Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to techtools@uschamber.com.

Part One of Three

I had the pleasure of attending Vint Cerf's presentation, The Role of the Internet as a Business Enabler, at America's Small Business Summit in May.

The Social Web Evolution

May 31, 2009

Engage Customers and Build Loyalty

Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to techtools@uschamber.com.

Social Web is a term describing the evolution of the Internet from a static, one-way information delivery vehicle to a dynamic medium that allows people to interact with one another.

Fighting the Recession

Apr 30, 2009

Sales Strategies in an Economic Downturn

Rod Means
Marketing Advisory
Council Member, SCORE®
www.score.org

First, stay calm and don't panic! Recessions and economic downturns have occurred before. Prepare now to position yourself and your business to benefit from the eventual and inevitable climb back to success.

Leaner IT Spending

Mar 31, 2009

Small Steps Can Save Big

Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to techtools@uschamber.com.

When it comes to your IT infrastructure, there are a number of things you can do to trim spending without hurting your operations.

Open Source Goes Mainstream

Jan 31, 2009

Get the Best for Less

Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to techtools@uschamber.com.

Android is here. And no, I'm not talking about the latest science fiction thriller at the Cineplex. Android is a software development platform for mobile devices, released by Google.

Home Office Deduction

Jan 31, 2009

Don't Miss Out on Potential Tax Savings

Thomas O'Saben, EA, CFP
Training Specialist
National Association of Tax Professionals

The home office deduction is likely the most overlooked, underutilized, and feared deduction that small business owners have available, yet it can represent significant tax savings if properly implemented and documented.

Prediction Marketing

Dec 31, 2008

Using the 'Wisdom of the Crowds'

Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to techtools@uschamber.com.

If two heads are better than one, then imagine the potential benefits of having dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of them working on developing or determining new products and services for your business.

Moblize Your Information

Nov 30, 2008

Reach Customers on the Go

Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to techtools@uschamber.com.

The rapid spread of handheld "smart" devices with full-featured Web browsing means that your customers are doing more of their computing on the go.

Financing Alternatives

Nov 30, 2008

Where You Go When the Bank Says No

Giovanni Coratolo
Executive Director
Small & Mid-Market Business Councils
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Hiring Heroes

Oct 31, 2008

A Promising Practice for U.S. Businesses

Charles "Chick" Ciccolella
Assistant Secretary for Veterans' Employment & Training
U.S. Department of Labor

 

Neil Romano
Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy
U.S. Department of Labor

Managing Your E-mail

Oct 31, 2008

Stay on Top of Your Inbox

Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to techtools@uschamber.com.

Failure to manage your e-mail inbox properly can mean missing important information and falling behind on the things you need to do. Here are a few simple steps you can follow to stay on top of what can easily become an overwhelming task:

Balancing ALL Your Priorities

Sep 30, 2008

Taking Time Off From Your Business

Jim Blasingame
Jim is host of The Small Business Advocate® Show. Find Jim online at SmallBusinessAdvocate.com and AskJim.biz.

Generate More Sales

Sep 30, 2008

Try Customer Relationship Management

Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to techtools@uschamber.com.

As important as it is to get customers, understanding their relationship with your business is just as important.

Retaining Top Talent

Aug 31, 2008

Big Results, Little Money

Lori Grimmig
Recruiter
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Retaining highly productive employees is simpler than you think. You can fulfill employees' desire for recognition and appreciation without doling out large bonuses or cash rewards. Often, it's the little things that mean the most. Below are some cost-effective retention strategies that pay big returns and won't break the bank.

Collaboration is King

Aug 31, 2008

Tools to Help You Work Efficiently

Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for  Tech Tools to techtools@uschamber.com.

Sometimes it's easier to herd cats than to keep track of the work being done on a project; even day-to-day tasks can spiral out of control as more hands-in more places-get involved. Then there's the problem of losing information when experienced staff leave.

Master Benefits Renewal

Jul 31, 2008

Consider Using a Broker

Bobby Brown
Director
Human Resources
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Next to payroll, employee benefits are typically a company's biggest cost center, so choosing the right health plan and effectively communicating the benefits package to your employees are extremely important.

Protecting Endpoint Devices

Jul 31, 2008

You Can't Be Too Careful Securing Data

John Magee
Vice President
Product and Services Marketing
Symantec

Endpoint devices-such as servers, laptops, and desktops-are increasingly being targeted by attacks designed to compromise and steal data belonging to small and
midsize businesses. Here are five tips to protect your business and your customers:

Tapping Public Training Funds

Jun 30, 2008

Explore a Variety of Resources

Karen Elzey
Vice President
U.S. Chamber Institute for a Competitive Workforce

Upgrades: Move Forward Smartly

Jun 30, 2008

Research, Plan, Test Before Making Changes

Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to techtools@uschamber.com.

I'm not surprised that many people still haven't migrated to Windows' newest operating system, Vista, with its hefty resource requirements and incompatibility with some software.

Involving Workers in Elections

May 31, 2008

Be a Repository of Information

William Miller
Senior Vice President
Political Affairs and Federation Relations
U.S. Chamber

Working With Virtual Assistants

May 31, 2008

Get the Help You Need, When You Need It

Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to techtools@uschamber.com.

Every business has to balance workload with staffing levels, and knowing when to make a new hire is always an important decision.

Online Person-to-Person Lending

Apr 30, 2008

Another Option in Tight Credit Market

Kevin Gillet
Consultant
RateLadder
www.rateladder.com/

Online person-to-person lending (also known as peer-to-peer lending or P2P lending) is a modern twist on borrowing that has roots as old as money itself—people borrowing money from other people as opposed to large conglomerate banks. 

Navigating in a Soft Economy

Mar 31, 2008

Look at the Big Picture

Giovanni Coratolo
Executive Director
Small & Mid-Market
Businesses Councils
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Web Site Analytics

Mar 31, 2008

Test What Works, See What Doesn't

Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to techtools@uschamber.com.

Measuring the effectiveness of a marketing campaign, no matter what media you use, is an important yet elusive endeavor. Data are often unreliable, and changes in how they are broken down and interpreted are constantly occurring.

'Mash Up' Your Web Site

Jan 31, 2008

Combine Data Sources for New Applications

Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to techtools@uschamber.com.

There's a wealth of information available online and increasingly sophisticated ways of putting it to work for you and your customers. One of the more flexible ways is using mashups.

Moving to Digital Records

Dec 31, 2007

Increase Efficiency, Decrease Costs

By Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to techtools@uschamber.com.

The paperless office may never become a reality, but incorporating digital records into your operations can help increase productivity, improve customer service, and reduce costs related to filing, storing, and retrieving business documents.

Give Old Equipment a New Life

Nov 30, 2007

Donating, Recycling Benefit Everyone

Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to techtools@uschamber.com.

All across the country, small business owners help improve the quality of life in their communities in a variety of ways.

Automated Marketing Coming

Nov 30, 2007

Small Businesses to Benefit

Ramesh A. Lakshmi-Ratan, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
Direct Marketing Association
www.the-dma.org/

Marketing technology is not new. In 1440, Johann Gutenberg started the ball rolling. And ever since, business owners have been searching for tools to help them reach customers more quickly, efficiently, and directly.

Focus on the Fundamentals

Oct 31, 2007

It's Key to Small Business Success

Jim Blasingame
Award-winning host of The Small Business Advocate® Show and founder of AskJim.biz and SmallBusinessAdvocate.com


Business fundamentals are as old as when shells were currency. Focus on the following fundamentals and success will come and play in your backyard.

Direct Mail Versus Junk Mail

Sep 30, 2007

What's the Difference?
Joy Gendusa
CEO, PostcardMania
http://www.postcardmania.com/

The mailing list is a key factor in a successful small business direct mail marketing campaign. The right list targets people who want your product or service. The wrong one fails to target people who would want to buy from you. Sent to the wrong list, your mailing will be treated as junk mail.

How Do You Rate Online?

Sep 30, 2007

Sites Allow Customers to Vent and Compare

by Ricardo Harvin

The explosion of the Web as a tool to research and compare products and services has led to a growing number of sites that allow consumers to share their experiences with one another. Although these resources aren't perfect, their increasing popularity and usefulness make them difficult for small businesses to ignore.

Green Technology Has Arrived

Aug 31, 2007

Good for the Environment and Your Wallet

By Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to techtools@uschamber.com.

If you haven't been paying attention to energy efficiency as it relates to business or have been focused on the up-front costs of deploying the available solutions, you're missing an opportunity to save money.

The Real Estate Hunt

Jul 31, 2007

Finding Office Space to Fit Your Needs

Harry Klaff
Managing Director
Jones Lang LaSalle 
www.joneslanglasalle.com/

After personnel costs, rent accounts for the most significant portion of a business' expenditures. For business owners not schooled in the intricacies of leasing, here are some points to consider:

Hard Drive Encryption

May 31, 2007

Data Security Moves to a New Level

By Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to techtools@uschamber.com.

It's happened to government agencies, major retailers, and an unknown number of other organizations, and it could happen to you-sensitive information gone missing because of theft, fraud, or just plain carelessness.

Working on the Web: Google Expands Beyond Search

Apr 30, 2007

By Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to techtools@uschamber.com.

For most Web users, Google is synonymous with search. But if you think of Google only as a search engine, you're missing out on a lot of what the company has to offer.

Google now has a wide range of free and low-cost tools available for businesses, consumers, and developers-many of which have nothing to do with search.

Strategic Management: Your Road Map for Success

Apr 30, 2007

VR Small
President and CEO Small Industries' Organizational Success Strategies (SIOSS)

Over the years, strategic planning has grown into what is known in the industry as strategic management. Strategic management converts the strategic planning strategies that many organizations use as a one-time event into an ongoing management process. Effective strategic management consists of the following four steps:

Let Your Customers Speak

Mar 31, 2007

Comments, Feedback Can Increase Sales

Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to rharvin@uschamber.com

Everybody has at least one product or service that they love to use and tell others about. Are you selling someone's favorite something, and if you are, how would you or anyone else know?

More Trouble With Time

Feb 28, 2007

Daylight Saving May Set You Back This Spring

By Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to rharvin@uschamber.com.

For most people, the Y2K scare came and went without incident. This year there's another time-related computer problem to deal with–the change in Daylight Saving Time (DST).

Software as a Service

Jan 31, 2007

It's On-Demand and Pay As You Go

By Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to rharvin@uschamber.com.

Tired of buying expensive business software that has more features than you'll ever use? Then Software as a Service (SaaS) may be just what you're looking for.

e-Discovery and Your Business

Dec 31, 2006
from NCLC

Points to Remember When Archiving Data

Ricardo Harvin will return next month.

By Robin Conrad
Senior Vice President
National Chamber
Litigation Center
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Creative Customer Communications

Nov 30, 2006

New Tools to Expand Your Marketing Reach

By Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to rharvin@uschamber.com.
The second of two articles

Last month's article covered blogs (weblogs; see E-Sources). This month I am giving you information on how to use RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds as a way to deliver up-to-date information to your customers.

Negotiating Costs With Lawyers

Oct 31, 2006
from NCLC

Items to Keep in Mind in Your Search

Robin Conrad
Senior Vice President
National Chamber
Litigation Center U.S. Chamber of Commerce

New Tools to Expand Your Marketing Reach

Oct 31, 2006

New Tools to Expand Your Marketing Reach

By Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to rharvin@uschamber.com.

The first of two articles
Marketing is always a challenge and can be expensive-especially when you're trying to reach new customers. But there are new tools out there that can help you expand your audience for minimal cost.

Achieving Data Security

Sep 30, 2006

Protect Against Electronic and Physical Dangers

By Ricardo Harvin

E-mail questions for Tech Tools to rharvin@uschamber.com.

With October being national Cyber Security Awareness Month, it's a good time to reassess your data security practices. Total data security requires that you rigorously defend against cyber attacks as well as physical loss or damage to your computer due to such things as theft, fire, or malicious insider activity.

Taking Control of Technology

Aug 31, 2006

Know What You Need, How to Use It

By Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to rharvin@uschamber.com.

It's easy to become overwhelmed by what you don't understand. I know because it happens to me all the time (just ask my fiancée).

For a lot of people, it's technology that makes them feel like they've lost control. Technology options seem endless, and the language used to describe things can be confusing-which is sometimes intentional.

Working With Staffing Agencies

Aug 31, 2006

Building Partnerships to Save Time and Money

Jenifer Tidwell
Senior Recruiter Human Resources
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

What would you do if your receptionist called in sick on Monday morning? Most likely you'd panic—but not if your business had a relationship with a staffing agency. Rather than a day of frustration and lost productivity, it would be business as usual.

Windows Vista: Looking Ahead

Jul 31, 2006

Plan Now for the Next Big Change

By Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to rharvin@uschamber.com.

A new version of Microsoft Windows, called Windows Vista, is scheduled for release early next year, and it may be as big a change as moving from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 was 11 years ago.

Establishing a Drug-Free Workplace

Jul 31, 2006

Boost Employee Safety and Health


Ed Grady
Director of Business Development Quest Diagnostics  Employer Solutions

Here's a sobering thought for employers: Three out of every four adult drug abusers are employed. 

Substance abuse slows productivity, increases the number of accidents, hurts employee morale, and blows holes through the company's bottom line. 

Develop an Energy Plan

Jun 30, 2006

What Would You Do If Gas Hits $6 a Gallon?

Giovanni Coratolo
Executive Director U.S. Chamber Council on Small Business

Offer More Than Just Cheap Labor

May 31, 2006

Offer More Than Just Cheap Labor

Christine Morris
Manager Human Resources
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Business owners who view interns as a source of cheap labor are missing the big picture. Today's internships offer multiple benefits to employers–both small and large– as well as to students. 

Keep Your Web Site Updated

May 31, 2006

Fresh, Relevant Content Makes You Look Good

By Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for  Tech Tools to rharvin@uschamber.com.

In the online world, there's not much that will kill customer confidence faster than a Web site that obviously hasn't been updated in months–or years. On top of that, stale Web sites tend to get ranked lower by search engines than similar Web sites that are kept fresh with meaningful content.

Online Advertising Moves Forward

Apr 30, 2006

Expand Options, Increase Flexibility

By Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to rharvin@uschamber.com

As the number of people who use search engines grows, and as advertisers find that television, radio, and print ads are becoming less effective at generating sales, online advertising is becoming mainstream.

Offering a Retirement Plan

Apr 30, 2006

Both Workers and Employers Benefit

Shannon DiBari
Vice President
Human Resources
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

 

As competition for skilled workers grows, employers of all sizes should regularly evaluate and adjust their compensation and benefits strategy. To attract and retain top talent, employers must offer benefits that appeal to people of all ages and in every career stage-and a retirement plan is one such device.

How to Keep Good Employees

Mar 31, 2006

Strong Relationships, Communication Are Key by Louise Kursmark

Louise Kursmark is an award-winning resume writer and the author of several career books. 

In a tight job market, what can companies do to retain the people they worked so hard to recruit? From an informal survey I conducted of more than 100 executives recently in a career transition, several important facts emerged.

Technology Drives Business

Mar 31, 2006

Learn or Get Left Behind

By Ricardo Harvin E-mail questions for Tech Tools to rharvin@uschamber.com.

My grandmother was born in 1908, the year Henry Ford's automobiles became affordable for average Americans due to the company's increased productivity and to reduced costs from a reinvented assembly line.

Are Your E-Mails Being Received?

Feb 28, 2006

Creating Effective Communications by Ricardo Harvin

E-mail questions for Tech Tools to rharvin@uschamber.com.

You've taken the time to build a good e-mail list targeted to the right market for your business, have established a good value proposition for the people on your list, and know when to contact your list to maximize the positive impact of your message (see E-sources, "E-Mail Marketing Strategies").

Now, all you have to do is ensure that the e-mails that you're sending actually reach their intended recipients.

Thinking of Going Global?

Feb 28, 2006

Six Pitfalls to Avoid by Laurel Delaney

Laurel Delaney is an international entrepreneur, author, speaker, and educator.

Going global takes guts. You have to confront the unknown, do what it takes to land the deal, and make your customers happy. Learning from your mistakes-and learning what mistakes not to make-are even more important in foreign trade.

Partnership by the Numbers

Jan 31, 2006

Is a Business Partnership for You?

By Jim Blasingame
The "voice of small business" on the radio, on the Internet, in print, and in person.

When a partnership works, it's a beautiful thing. When it doesn't, it defines ugly.

A business partnership should be entered into with a healthy dose of reality about the human element involved. David Gage brings sunlight to this reality in his book The Partnership Charter, where he writes, "Business people are experts in what they do, but they're not in how to be partners." Boy, howdy, is that ever true!

Sales Volume Vs. Profit Margin

Jan 31, 2006

Know What Feeds Your Bottom Line

By Ricardo Harvin

Which of your products or services generates the most profit for you?

I'm not talking about your best sellers–I'm talking about what you sell that sends the most to your bottom line. Your best profit makers and your best sellers may be the same, but do you know that for sure, or are you just guessing that's true?

Never confuse an item's sales volume with its net profit margin–and don't rely on assumptions about what's contributing the most to your bottom line.

Security Does Matter

Dec 31, 2005

Take Steps to Keep the Bad Guys Out

By Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to rharvin@uschamber.com.

Still don't take computer security seriously? Then you're vulnerable to having your systems hijacked, your every keystroke recorded and sent silently to thieves, and all your information stolen or simply destroyed.

Choosing a Growth Strategy

Oct 31, 2005

Precise Questions Can Spell Success

By Andrew J. Sherman
Co-founder of Grow Fast Grow Right Enterprises, LLC

The first of two articles.

Companies of all types and sizes want to grow in one way or another–whether it's in terms of revenue, profit, number of employees and customers, market share, or location.

Year-End Buying Guide

Oct 31, 2005

What to Look for, What to Spend

By Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools to rharvin@uschamber.com.

The first of two articles.

The end of the year is a good time to evaluate your technology needs for the upcoming year and to decide what, if anything, you need to include in your technology budget (you do have one, don't you?). This month I'm covering some key items to consider when evaluating your computers and printers. Next month I'll discuss adding the right peripherals to boost productivity.

The Laws of Aggregation

Sep 30, 2005

Leadership, Execution, and Branding

By Jim Blasingame
The "voice of small business" on the radio, on the Internet, in print, and in person.

Sakrete is one of the handiest products ever developed for those small do-it-yourself construction projects. It's basically a bag of rocks and dust. But to a weekend warrior with a honey-do list, it can be a sack of magic.

So what can small business owners learn from a sack of rocks? Plenty, actually.

Local (Business) Search

Sep 30, 2005

Customers Research Online, Still Buy Offline

By Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools or E-Sources to rharvin@uschamber.com.

Each month more than one billion people use search engines to research a product or service online and to find a local business where they can walk in and make the actual purchase.

The Innovation Revolution

Aug 31, 2005

Surviving in the Midst of Change

By Giovanni Coratolo, Executive director, U.S. Chamber Small Business Council

The current business landscape favors speed, flexibility, and innovation. Entrepreneurs earn increased profits and sales growth by improving product value or by reinventing themselves in response to a changing marketplace. To paraphrase Charles Darwin, it's not the biggest nor the strongest who survive, but those who are able to adapt to a changing environment.

Analyze Your Sales Data

Aug 31, 2005

Help Identify Your Best Customers

By Ricardo Harvin
E-mail questions for Tech Tools or E-Sources to rharvin@uschamber.com.

How do you define what makes a "best" customer for your business and, more importantly, what do you know about your customers and their buying habits?

You shouldn't let a single transaction go by without gaining as much knowledge as you can about who your customers are, why they bought from you, and what you can do to generate bigger, more frequent sales from them in the future.

Disaster Recovery Planning

Jul 31, 2005

Prepare for the Unexpected

By Ricardo Harvin

How  would your business recover if you lost your computer systems or data? Having a good disaster recovery plan lets you gauge how long it would take to replace any lost systems and how much of your information you could recover.

Save Money on Health Care

Jul 31, 2005

Understanding and Implementing HSAs

By Kate Sullivan Hare
Executive Director of Health Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Replace Worry With Performance

Jun 30, 2005

'Some Things Remember Themselves'

By Jim Blasingame
The "voice of small business" on the radio, on the Internet, in print, and in person.

In his book Blue Highways, William "Least Heat-Moon" Trogdon reported that his Osage Indian grandfather, William Heat-Moon, taught him this about worrying: "Some things don't have to be remembered; they remember themselves."

Protect Customer Information

Jun 30, 2005

Data Security Should Be Standard

By Ricardo Harvin

On June 1, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a new rule under the existing Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA) that requires businesses—small and large—and individuals to dispose of sensitive information derived from consumer reports. Under the new FACTA Disposal Rule, if you use consumer reports—including customer credit reports, employee background checks, or tenant histories—you are now obligated to dispose of this information using methods that are deemed "reasonable and appropriate."

IT Service Providers

May 31, 2005

Focus on Your Business, Not Technology

By Ricardo Harvin

How much time do you spend dealing with technology issues that have nothing to do with your core business? If you answer "More than I want to," then it may be time to hire an information technology (IT) service provider.

The products and services available from IT service providers vary from simple, one-time issue resolution to complex, long-term arrangements that cover every aspect of your  IT infrastructure.

Why You Should Protect Your Business

May 31, 2005

To Trademark or Not

By Edward Colbert
Partner, Kenyon & Kenyon

No one knows how hard you work to make your small business a success — except perhaps your competitors. One way to differentiate your business from the competition is to trademark your company's slogan or logo. That way, even the most enterprising competitor can't steal your customers with the same catchy jingle, slogan, or other identifying mark. 

Family Business Drives Sales

Apr 30, 2005

A Chamber Member's Story

From his father Bob's garage in Southern California to an expanding business with a presence in all 50 states, Rick Augustine and his wife, Debbie, have learned the value of a great sales team. Their company, Bob's Printing, Inc., provides legal business forms, commercial and custom printing services, promotional items, and advertising products to automobile dealers across the country as well as in Canada and Mexico. 

Watching Your Every Move

Apr 30, 2005

Adware and Spyware Adopt Similar Tactics

By Roger Thompson
Director of Malicious Content Research, Computer Associates

These views are soley the author's.

Preparing for Small Claims Court

Apr 30, 2005

What to Do If Your Business Is Sued

By Curtis Boykin
Attorney, Douglas Boykin & Oden

These views are soley the author's.

A neighboring business claims that you damaged its property. A customer alleges that you never delivered his purchase. A supplier argues that you failed to compensate him according to a preestablished contract. These are just a few examples of times when you might find yourself sued in Small Claims Court. Here's what you need to know. 

Is Franchising for You?

Mar 31, 2005

And the Franchise Was Created!: Is Franchising for You?

By Jim Blasingame

The "voice of small business" on the radio, on the Internet, in print, and in person.

One of the questions often asked by would-be entrepreneurs is, "What business should I go into?" These folks may be passionate about being in business, just not about any business in particular.

Boost Your Online Presence

Mar 31, 2005

Don't Stay Lost in the Crowd

On any typical day in 2004, 23 million Americans were online either making or researching a purchase, according to the Pew Internet & American Life project.

Selecting a Benefits Program

Feb 28, 2005

Finding a Broker Who's Right for You

By Shannon DiBari
U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Vice President of Human Resources
The second of two articles.

When looking at your company's benefits program, you may want to consider working with an  insurance broker. Obtaining good advice up front can save you money and time-and produce better results. Start by thinking about the following two questions:

What are the benefits of working with a broker? 

Fight Phishing: Don't Get Hooked by Fake E-Mail

Feb 28, 2005

 
Online financial transactions are becoming more commonplace every day. Unfortunately, incidents of online fraud are as well. Committing online fraud using forged e-mails has become so rampant that it has spawned its own term-phishing.

Phishing works by using authentic looking but fraudulent, or "spoofed," e-mails that appear to come from legitimate sources. By asking you to reply with details such as your bank account, PIN, or Social Security number, or username and password, to your online accounts, phishers try to get you to reveal sensitive personal information.

Selecting a Benefits Program

Jan 31, 2005

Getting More Bang for Your Buck

By Shannon DiBari

The first of two articles.

Your benefits program can differentiate you from your competitors and help you keep valuable employees and recruit top talent. Following are some points to consider:

Software Alternatives: Choosing the Right Tool

Dec 31, 2004

 
Certain tasks require specialized tools, but when software is in your toolbox, it's not always easy to find just the right product for the task at hand.

Because software has to satisfy such a wide range of customer needs, products from major companies usually have several features and options that most people never use.

The next time you need to add to your software toolbox, instead of automatically reaching for the store shelf and buying a product that does much more than you need it to, consider the options that freeware, shareware, and Open Source provide.

New Year’s Resolutions: Three Steps for a Successful 2005

Dec 31, 2004

 
You probably don't want to hear about New Year's Resolutions from me, but it's my job to encourage you to push the envelope and continually seek excellence–even if it means that I have to meddle.

Consequently, here are three key resolutions to consider as you make plans for 2005.

Resolution One–Resolve to focus more on financial operating fundamentals. Business owners must always be diligent in their financial management. Here are a few critical financial fundamentals:

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