One of the ways that small businesses are able to effectively compete is by owning a niche and providing the best service and expertise within it. This can help them retain a share of their market that can’t be touched by broader service providers, but it can potentially limit their growth if there is a limited market size for the service that they provide. Without sacrificing their competitive advantage represented by specialization, what can small business owners due in order to diversify their income streams and create the revenue needed for growth? What services complement the services that you already provide? The first step towards identifying potential avenues for growth is understanding what products or services are consumed in conjunction with those that you already offer. For example, a business that offers custom made bouquets may also consider designing centerpieces, or providing products that someone who would order a bouquet might be looking for, such as boxes of chocolates. Don’t just guess what your customers are

Whether you think the millenial generation is entitled and depersonalized by over exposure to the internet, or the greatest new wave of thinkers in decades, the truth remains that this demographic of those born between 82′ to 93′ is becoming an increasingly important one as the boomer generation retires. Not only are millenials a larger generation than the Boomers, numbering around 777 million as reported by a recent Forbes article, but they are gaining purchasing power as they start to move up in the workforce. Small business owners should take the growing importance of millenials and their influence on consumption habits within the US as a signal to start thinking towards the future, defining how their brands can grow as their customers change. Understanding the millenial generation is the key to creating brand appeal for your small business. A report by the US Chamber of Commerce on the millenial generation defines them as optimistic, diverse and generally accepting, as well as driven by a deep understanding

  One of the best routes to expanding your business is through increasing your ability to produce, or widening the range of jobs your company can handle. Often, all it takes is the right equipment to usher in new growth. However, bad credit business owners often hit the constraint of not having enough liquid capital on hand to purchase the machinery they want. Even if your business is creating revenue, putting a down payment on equipment might be out of reach due to cash flows needing to go back into the business. One potential solution is using a bad credit business loan alternative to finance that equipment purchase. One of the benefits of this method is the fact that these loan alternatives are available to small business owners regardless of whether or not they have a good credit score and can be accessed much more quickly than traditional business loans. While there can be a higher associated cost due to the risk associated with unsecured

Whether or not you are in favor of a raise in the Federal minimum wage or against it, the reality is that President Obama has voiced support for increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The raise in wages has been put on the table as part of Obama’s promise to combat the widening wealth gap in the US as mentioned in his State of the Union address. The problem posed by a minimum wage increase is the fact that for many small business owners, the costs of doing business are already high, making any increase in overhead costs into a potentially major constraint to business growth, or even sustaining the workforce that they already employ. In the even that the minimum wage does increase, small business owners are better off being prepared and having a strategy that can allow them to keep their business operating, despite increased costs. Evaluate employee performance and identify strengths. Odds are, you may employ employees at different levels within

One of the issues small business owners face every day is an obvious, yet frequently irritating one; the loss of passwords to important email accounts, secure websites, or even entire computers. While these problems can often be solved by simply requesting new passwords, it can waste large amounts of valuable time resetting your accounts after a password slips your mind. Because of this, small business owners will frequently loan themselves a simple to remember password that is uncomplicated, and often used for multiple accounts in order to simplify the process of logging in. Here’s why that’s bad; because your password is easy to remember, it’s also probably pretty easy to guess. Small business’s web presences often represent a low hanging fruit for hackers and data thieves, who can break in to their accounts much more easily than better protected corporate profiles. Smallbiztrends.com recently put out an article on the most common bad passwords as reported by SplashData, which revealed that “password”, longtime favorite among those

This Winter has been a particularly important one in relation to the recovery of America’s small business economy, with indicators pointing to recovery, albeit with only modest gains. It seems that the true strength of a small business recovery is still germinating like a seed within frozen ground, waiting for the proper conditions to develop into a more robust bloom. Currently, the biggest indicator of stronger activity from the small business sector ahead is a pervasive sense of optimism that has managed to ride out issues at the end of 2013 including the Government Shutdown that saw many businesses with Government contracts scrambling to avoid hemorrhaging capital. Other issues, such as the possibility of more Governmental budget wars, the roll out of the Affordable Care Act and the surrounding uncertainty regarding what small business owners must be responsible for and a mistrust of the economy in general on the part of many have small business owners thinking very critically about the pros and cons of

There’s an old saying that goes two heads are better than one. By this logic, even better than two heads are a group of them which can give commentary and critique, pointing a conversation in a direction that is as helpful and insightful as possible. Small business owners can put this principle to work for them with a little bit of planning and oversight, utilizing the power of a forum towards the goal of optimizing their business processes. Bear in mind, the drawback present when more voices are added to a brainstorming session is the heightened potential for distraction and a breakdown of meeting organization. In order to maximize the positive potential for collaboration on the part of small business owners and there staff, here is a framework for leading and moderating a forum for brainstorming. Designate a moderator for the forum. Within a forum for discussion, it’s important for business owners to serve as moderators who will keep the conversation on topic, ensuring that all

The flash and excitement of the New Year has now come and gone, Christmas trees have been collected and mulched, and, though the frosty air of the Polar Vortex is still swirling through main streets across the nation, slowly but surely thoughts are turning to the approaching Spring. Now is the time when small business owners may either be on their way to taking the next steps towards following their resolutions, or in the process of sliding back into old habits. Bad credit businesses may be on the way to repairing their credit, or they may not have made significant progress in a different direction. Either way, it is now a month into the new year, and it’s a time for small businesses to loan more time to reflecting on their next steps after they have made resolutions and pledged to themselves that they would change their strategies. Her are three essential questions for determining where you are in relation to where you need to

For small business owners who run family businesses, the opportunity to work closely with the ones they love is often a dream come true. Additionally, running a family business allows small business owners the satisfaction of creating something that they can pass on to the next generation. However, due to the sometimes complicated nature of inter-family relationships and the further complicating factor of economic concerns, family businesses sometimes need to take a step back and re-evaluate the allocations of responsibility within the organization in order to create a framework for expansion. Promote family members only after they understand the business. You may be tempted to throw your nephew, daughter or whoever into a management position, skipping some of the entry level responsibilities involved in your business. The reason why this is dangerous is because by doing so, you are allowing your family member to bypass the crucial training and perspective building that can teach them about the core functions of the business they will be managing.

For many small business owners, the worst part of the job is having to fire employees. Even if it is clear that the employee in question is not the right fit for the position, it can be difficult to let someone go. firing an employee can also have a negative impact on the morale of your team, as the loss of an employee can create insecurity which is compounded on by the increased workload they must manage until a suitable replacement is found. For these reasons, as well as the costs of hiring a new employee to fill a newly vacant position, firing an employee must be approached extremely cautiously. All this being said, when things are simply not working out, the longer that you wait to remove the employee in question, the more you risk even worse damages to your company’s processes and reputation through their negligence. In order to identify when it is time to consider letting an employee go, here are some

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