Small business in the food production or retail industries may not realize the large role played by the materials and colors used in the presentation of their products. According to a report last month by Mintel, the way that your food products are packaged can heavily affect the way that your customers feel about purchasing your goods. Loan yourself an advantage by considering a few key details that can differentiate your products from your competitors and build brand loyalty. Consumers enjoy packaging they can reuse. The advantage of putting your product in a glass jar, for example, is that it loans a second use to whoever buys it as they can put other things into it. According to the Mintel report, glass jars also made consumers think the products were more high quality and fresher, whereas metal and cardboard containers were associated with recyclables and being traditional. Clear health information is a selling point. Many consumers are wary of what they perceive to be unclear or overly confusing

Small business owners who are faced with tough competition from big business may feel that in the end they cannot possibly compete with the seemingly endless amounts of resources corporations are able to point at their targets. However, there are a few major advantages that small business owners have over corporations that can allow them to compete successfully with big business and come out on top. For one thing, small business owners are able to make decisions on how to adapt to tough new competition and implement them with next to no delay. The weakness of larger businesses is analogous to the struggles of any kind of larger entity as it tries to pin down one that is smaller and more maneuverable. While a large company will have to go through many different protocols in order to get a change implemented, you can change any part of your business at will. Use this to your advantage by adapting your product or marketing strategy. Many times,

The conservation of finite natural resources is crucial for preserving the health of our planet. Small business owners can do their part by taking a few simple yet effective steps that will loan them not only a reduced carbon footprint, but also increased efficiency and management ability. Without further ado, here are some tips on easy ways business owners can reduce their waste and increase their pace. 1) Reduce paper based communications. The first step towards eliminating waste is identifying the main uses of paper in your office. Think of what you use paper for. Perhaps you use paper for applications or to send faxes, maybe it’s mostly used for memos or presentations. One solution for eliminating document clutter and reducing paper reliance is to invest in a document scanner. A document scanner can take your existing paper documents and upload them into an easily manipulable format. It’s a good first step towards going entirely paperless. 2) When you need to print, go double or nothing. Set

Small business owners in the logistics business are reporting dissatisfaction with the rates of return they are getting from their shipping, citing decreased capacities and higher costs related to operating and financing expensive equipment. According to an article on fleetowner.com, there are two ways that trucking companies will begin to see adequate rates of return on their investments. Those two ways are either an increased demand through a spike in purchasing and production of goods requiring transport, or a dip in the supply of trucks through a reduction in the number of available drivers, or governmental regulations that mandate a decreased limit on driver productivity. Due to the current market conditions, many larger fleets are wary of expanding, and instead are replacing or re-outfitting older vehicles. Unable to obtain external financing, many smaller trucking firms are being forced to downsize, and mid sized operations are trying to expand in order to prove to customers that they are large enough to be put onto a list of

In a guest piece in The Herald News by Alan Silvia, a Massachusetts state representative, the potential benefits of an increase in home health care are explored. According to the the article, the costs per day of home health care in comparison to care in a hospital differ greatly, with a single day of hospital care coming in at slightly over 10 times the $137.00 per day average in home cost of healthcare. With an aging population that is going to test the limits of social security and medicare programs, the question of how to effectively treat those who need care while not drying up Government funding. The solution, as proposed by Mr. Silvia, is to increase the amount of elder care that takes place in the home as both a preventative measure to keep the elderly out of hospitals and save Medicare millions in treatments that would otherwise be subjected to the inflated costs of treatment in hospitals. Home health care has the twofold

Is a degree in English the terrible investment that many make it out to be, or is the tide turning in terms of employer hiring preferences? Lately, a trend has emerged of prominent leaders of companies coming forward in support of hiring English majors, saying their more right brain oriented approach loans a much needed level of diversity to teams usually stocked with more traditional business and technology oriented majors. In an Amex open forum article, Bruna Martinuzzi lists many of the qualities that can loan a surprise edge to English majors in the job search ring. She also includes a quote from Bracken Darrell, the CEO of Logitech, who acknowledges the importance of technical understanding in corporations while also stating “… you’re really different if you understand humanities.” The Huffington Post recently published a blog post on the same topic, citing the analytically inclined nature of English majors as well as their proven writing ability as reasons why they can potentially excel in the

Small business owners are often so busy managing their businesses that they may only have a few hours to loan to other projects. However, when running a business, to neglect marketing is to cut out a large percentage of potential customers. Therefore it is essential that you create a presence for yourself. On a strict time budget, or with cash flow constraints, it can be difficult to figure out how to start. Here are a few ideas that are easy to implement and can have a potentially great return on your time. 1) Use a blog. A blog is a natural conduit for information about your business. It can create engagement around your unique products as well as inform customers of special offers. As another plus, the more content you put into your blog, the more avenues you are giving people who would like to know more about your operation to find you through search terms. The unique benefit of a blog that separates it from

Small business owners often put everything they have into running their business, including every last bit of money they make. After all, business owners are chasing their dreams and often feel any investment they make in their business ought to come full circle and loan them financial security down the road. Unfortunately, that school of thought is a little too simplistic to work out for many small business owners nearing retirement age. The difference between liquid cash and assets tied to business cash flow are great. You may have great numbers coming from your business, but the reality of operating might dictate that you keep re-investing your revenues to keep the business going. Business owners who have put nothing aside may have to rely on extreme financial measures to grow a nest egg in a short amount of time. These measures can include liquidating their business, unattractive to many as they have fought so long to grow and protect it, or diverting revenue streams that

According to Businessweek, while the SBA has approved over $2.3 billion in loans related to Hurricane Sandy relief, only around $411 million has been distributed, approximately 17% of the total approved amount. The long wait for loans has not significantly alarmed state official in New Jersey, who say they do not doubt the money will make its way to them through the right avenues, if given time.  Red tape on the part of governmental organizations dispersing funds is more or less standard, but may be compounded by the recent news that a Baltimore woman along with an accomplice defrauded the SBA for close to $100 million. With the potential for misuse of funds that are so sorely needed by so many, perhaps officials are right to preach patience. In the wake of the Hurricane, Horizon Business Funding pledged $1,000 donations to the Red Cross for each successfully funded business seeking to rebuild or improve in the wake of the storm. The offer still stands. Photo

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