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

One great thing about small businesses is the fact that as a business owner, you are able to constantly reinvent yourself and your brand. Reasons for doing so are many, and range from a desire to attract more customers, create some new buzz around an older business or just because you think a new look is what you need to get your employees energized. Sometimes, you will have inherited or purchased a business whose former owner had different tastes than yourself and you want to make your personal mark on it by changing the logo. It’s also possible that you are interested in creating some logo designs for use on themed days like holidays or during special sales, in which case you could be designing multiple logos all at once for a wide variety of uses. Whatever your reason for switching things up, when creating a new symbol that your business will be recognized by, it helps to put some extra thought into the process

In a perfect world, nobody would need to let go of staff, but unfortunately from time to time firing an employee becomes a necessity. It’s not always because of a failure to do their jobs. Sometimes you simply can’t afford to keep someone on staff and the decision to let them go is forced. No matter what the reason is for letting an employee go, you should try to be as diplomatic as possible in these times. Professionalism should not disappear in stressful situations, rather it should become even more apparent. The true test of a diplomatic business owner is how well they are able to perform in the worst of times. You never know when you will be glad you didn’t burn a bridge, but courtesy and a positive influence on your community should come standard regardless. Keep the firing between you and the employee. In most situations, it will eventually become obvious that the employee in question is gone. You don’t need to trumpet

As more and more people join the ranks of small business owners in the US, the diversity of languages and cultures in business continues to increase. Depending on your business, you may also have employees who speak a different first language than English, or English may be your second language yourself. The presence of multiple languages in a work environment can be a great thing, allowing you to serve more customers with stronger support and allow non-native speakers to feel more at home, but if there is a language barrier between employees at times is can create some complications. Luckily, it’s fairly simple to keep your employees on the same page regardless of a language barrier if you take the time to create some HR strategies. Post written materials in both languages. This seemingly obvious piece of advice unfortunately gets overlooked all too often. If you have two or more different languages in your work environment, why would you only post notices in one of these

As a business owner, whether you like it or not you are a public figure. As a public figure, you and your business are going to appear on the internet at some point, whether in self managed ways such as through the creation of personal and business related social media accounts, or in others, including user submitted reviews on rating and local listing websites. It’s these latter ways that things can get scary and unpredictable, and when a bad review or some negative press appears out of the ether, it’s really frustrating to think that an anonymous person has created something that can potentially damage your livelihood. Digital reputation management can be achieved by a combination of methods. There are a few components that make up your online reputation. The first is ultimately how you act and how your business operates in the real world. If you are getting a ton of complaints about an aspect of your business on the internet, you might need to face

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

Let’s face it, the office is not always the most energetic place to be. When those long and hot Summer days finally arrive, the energy in the office can often take a hit, and in the worst case this can result in a palpable loss of productivity. In order to keep your self and your staff feeling excited and ready to take on each week’s challenges, there’s a lot they you can do to keep the mood up. While turning the office from a place for work into a place for recreation is not the goal, that’s not to say that you cannot inject some fun into the atmosphere to keep people awake, on their toes, and most importantly, positively engaged with the goals that they have set for themselves. Touch base with your team. This is the most simple thing that we can recommend, and if your’e not already doing it, then start with this. Regularly keeping on contact with your employees is the strongest

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