As you may or may not be excited about, Valentine’s day is rapidly approaching. For some small business owners, the day is little more than a reminder of love through a barrage of candy hearts and pink and red decorations, but to others, particularly in retail and certain types of service based businesses, the day can represent a big sales day, and deserves to have business owners loan time to preparing for it. While getting new business in the door on Valentine’s day is important, small business owners should think a step ahead and not only try to post bigger numbers the day of Valentine’s day, but also give their new customers a reason to create a long term relationship with their service. Attract Valentine’s day traffic by accentuating your business’s appeal. Bringing people in on Valentines’ day is easier when you give them a deal. Fear of losing out is a classic factor in closing sales, and a limited edition product or offer can help

Business owners who are planning new product releases or are trying to make sure they are getting a good deal from their current suppliers must loan enough time from their busy schedules in order to ensure that they are finding a good deal. In order to make it easier for them to get started shopping around,  we’ve put together a top five list of the most helpful tips for finding and negotiating with a supplier. Think locally. When looking for a supplier, one who is on the other side of the country is going to have to charge you higher shipping costs, raising the price of the product you are purchasing. It’s better to find a local supplier, if possible. Start out by using your network of business contacts to see if someone you know has any suggestions to refer you. A referral can potentially be beneficial by coming with a discount or a perk for the person who referred you or even for both of

When it comes to applying for small business capital, it can be tough for small business owners to know where to start looking for advice. Many will hesitate to go through a broker, looking to avoid paying extra for their financing, but in this scenario they must be extra vigilant to ensure that they find what they are looking for. As in many things, the best way for small business owners to approach the questions surrounding their business’s funding options is by being proactive and taking stock of the situation before they find themselves needing options without the time to explore them properly. Here are three more reasons why business owners should understand what products are available to them, even if they’re not looking for a line of credit or a business loan in the near future. You cannot fully predict for cash flow and unexpected costs. Having a backup plan ready in the event that your business needs a business loan or loan alternative just

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 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

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

The goal of almost every small business owner is to have their business expand over time as a testament to their hard work and effort. However, hard work and effort alone do not automatically produce rewards. In an ideal world, every business owner who truly wanted to succeed would be able to get a business loan, bad credit or no, and then apply it to growing a business that they are passionate about. In the real world, there are going to be problems standing in the way of that reality that small business owners need to learn how to deal with. The process of identifying constraints to business growth is actually a skill that needs to be developed, rather than a single mission for business owners to put behind them. So you want to get better at making your business better? Here are some things you should look out for. Plan for growth by creating a framework that can support it. For there to be growth

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

Small businesses often have special relationships with their communities, either by virtue of having been in the area for multiple generations, providing positive impact on the lives of their customers or simply by providing quality service time and time again. In order to create positive relationships with those around them, small business owners should also take active steps towards community building in their areas. The stronger recognition and positive associations built around your business, the better you will be able to build up a loyal base for repeat business as well as referrals, which will help you maintain and grow your revenues. 1) Reach out to potential partner businesses. Your business will ultimately succeed or fail alone, but that does not mean that building up connections within your own industry and complementary industries is a waste of time. Far from it. In  fact, creating strategic partnerships with the businesses in your area can be highly mutually beneficial. for one thing, agreeing to forward referrals to businesses

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.

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