Navigating the financial landscape that comes with running a small business is often difficult, and it’s made even more tough by the presence of certain potholes and mirages. One common scam that small business owners should be aware of is the grant scam. How does a grant scam work? This type of scam is kept alive by a simple misdirection. Business owners will either stumble across or otherwise be made aware of a grant that their business is able to apply for, which, should they receive it, will give them what essentially amounts to free money. This should be the first logical red flag, but many business owners are willing to take the existence of grant programs at face value as fact. Once the business owners are sold on their grant applications, the next phase of the scam kicks in. You will be sold (or attempt to be sold) an expensive audit of your business plan, additional help filing your request, a one time fee, or

The average small business owner has a long list of concerns, as well as goals that they need to hit in order to keep moving their business forward. The challenge they face is to balance the needs of their business against the needs of their clients. In order to make sure everyone is happy, a happy medium needs to be created between the dollars you put into your production and the dollars put out when marketing your product. While there is no secret sauce that will work for every business, here are some guiding pieces of advice that can let you create a more informed strategy for yourself. Marketing will create better ROI the more product satisfaction you are able to deliver. One problem that small business owners can create for themselves by overdoing their marketing budgets is over-promising and under-delivering. In general, the opposite scenario is what will create loyalty for your business. Larger companies may promise the world and only deliver an adequate product,

When it comes to managing a sales team, it can sometimes be tough given the pressures to make conversions and the competing personalities that make up your team. Nurturing teamwork, positive morale and profitability takes some seriously dexterous management at times. In order to keep things as simple as possible when creating a lead distribution strategy, here are a few tips. Evaluate your sales reps based on performance. If you let non-business related factors cloud your judgment in a sales environment, it can create significant problems for you. Instead, let the track record of your employees speak for itself. That being said, you should also recognize the different strengths present on your team. IF one of your reps is a great closer, and another one happens to be gifted in teaching beginners, then play to those strengths potentially by creating a team where new hires are taught to open deals by the one employee while having the close come in if it looks like a deal

Let’s face it, we love our employees, but when cash flows are tight, it can be tough to find extra ways to show them how much we appreciate them. Fortunately, it’s often the thought that counts when it comes to providing employees with extra on the job benefits, and with a little creativity and a positive attitude, you can make a little budget go a long way. Some of the benefits of providing additional fun for your employees are more dedication to your company, as well as potentially more hours spent on the job bouncing ideas off of each other. This can lead to much more creative solutions coming from your team, as well as a better atmosphere in the office for communication. Many start ups and high growth companies make it a point to have many employee perks, and seeing as how a large number of them do quite well, it’s not a bad idea to inject the same level of excitement into your

The “credit crunch” that has seen many traditional small business lending programs increase their underwriting criteria means that for many business owners, bad credit business loans are no longer a reliable or readily available option for financing their expansion. One of the biggest obstacles surrounding their applications is a lack of acceptable collateral to use as backing for the funding issued by their banks of choice. Collateral can take the form of a cash percentage of the business loan, a piece or multiple pieces of valuable equipment, such as a truck, a bulldozer or a specialty oven, or a piece of property such as a business or residential location. The problem is that many business owners either don’t have sufficient collateral to match the amounts they are looking for, or if they do, don’t feel comfortable signing an agreement with the possibility that they could lose their assets in a worst case scenario. A lot don’t know that there are alternatives that exist that can

While the last bit of nippy weather is finally fading away, small business owners everywhere are waking up to the promise of Spring, and a brand new busy season for many industries. Even as volume picks up and orders for seasonal products and services start to roll in, it can be helpful to get you and your employees energized and in a different frame of mind in order to make the most of the new season. An overhaul of your company culture isn’t necessarily in order, but doing something to celebrate the season and inject a sense of excitement into the office can be a good idea, especially if there have been morale issues on your team due to slow business, the cold, or both. Here are three simple ideas for greeting the Spring season that any small business owner can do. Try a classic activity, such as hosting a company picnic. Sure it’s cliche, but a company picnic is both simple to organize, low cost,

Following debates surrounding the federal minimum wage, small business owners are now in the center of yet another struggle regarding a proposed change in the way they must pay their employees. As reported by smallbiztrends.com, President Obama signed an executive order last month calling for an increase in the threshold of earnings over which employees become eligible for overtime pay. In plain English, the law would raise the threshold from the current $445 per week mark to somewhere around a suggested $640 and include more white collar and managerial employees in the group who would qualify for overtime pay. The rationale behind the law is to give back to those who work hard for the economy. As corporate America has begun to make more profit, the idea that these revenues should be shared with the employees who put in extra hours to make them seems like it makes a lot of sense. However, many warn that small businesses will become unintended collateral damage. While profitable corporations

Small businesses bring diversity and charm to a community, but it can often be hard for them to compete against corporate chains and outlet stores, which, while they usually don’t have the same basic appeal have the resources and often the price points that allow them to siphon business away from local competition. With this in mind business owners and local governments can put together local business campaigns that can help them to raise awareness of local businesses. Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons surrounding the organization of a local business campaign. It takes time to plan a local campaign. No matter what the scale of the campaign you put together, in the end it is going to take time away from your schedule to plan it. An answer to this is to try and get other local business owners on board and spread out the responsibilities involved in an awareness campaign. Ideas for supporting local business include printing posters or decals

Small business owners aren’t always solo flyers. It’s quite common for two or more entrepreneurs to get together in order to pool resources insights and business planning talents in order to achieve more together than they ever could apart. When business partners are working well together, it is a force to be reckoned with, making it tough for competitors to gain the edge as problems are being attacked from multiple angles at all times. However, when there are two people who are in equal management roles who don’t agree on something, there is a lot of head butting that can ensue with potentially very negative consequences for the business in the end. It should be considered part of small business management training to learn how to effectively compromise and communicate with your business partner. neglecting this important aspect means that, if and when something goes wrong you can be blindsided by serious problems. Recognize each other’s strengths. In order to avoid problems altogether, it can be

A website for your small business is pretty much required in this day and age. If your customers cant find you on the internet, rather than simply being a nuisance for them, it can even raise red flags regarding your legitimacy if they wonder why you aren’t taking advantage of the benefits of having even a rudimentary webpage. When it comes to designing a webpage, most small business owners will hire a designer to create one for them. This is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. If you want your site to look good and don’t have either the time or the grasp of coding language required to put one together, it’s ultimately the only way you are going to be able to get something up. Before jumping headfirst into a web design project, however, you are going to want to have a pretty well defined idea of what you need. In order to create a list of requirements for your site, here are a

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