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

February is a month of transition, if not always weather-wise, at least mentally as thoughts of Spring’s thaw start to get more frequent and Valentine’s Day trappings appear in store windows. While Spring is still relatively far off, the preparation that a bad credit business loans itself now can yield dividends as the weather begins to get warmer and for many business starts to pick up. Spring cleaning imagery is often based on physically tidying up, but in February, setting a mental game plan is more important, especially for seasonal business owners. This foundation will be carried with you, and should be created now so that new ideas can be tested out and expansion planned for, if necessary with required capital accounted for or at least ready to be applied for and put to use. Here are some of the priorities that business owners should put high on their lists in order to plant the seeds for a productive end to the Winter months. Recalculate

This Sunday, America came together to watch the Superbowl, this year hosted in New York with the titular game played in New Jersey. However, those watching who anticipated an evenly matched game came away wondering at how the Seahawks seemingly effortlessly dismantled the Broncos, despite quarterback Peyton Manning being widely regarded as one of the best quarterbacks of all time. How the team that prided itself on scoring and coordination was reduced to a single touchdown and 2 point conversion for the entire game is tough to say, but in the end it can be agreed that the tight defensive game of the Seahawks was too much for any convincing response from Denver. There is a lesson to be learned here for small business owners. Like a football team, a small business is made up of specialized team members who work together in the interest of advancing a common goal; in this case the success of their enterprise. The better that a small business’s team is

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

The commercial trucking industry forms the circulatory system of much of our national economy, allowing goods to go from one coast to another and everywhere in between. Despite the crucial importance of logistics, the past few years have not been easy for commercial trucking operations. For one thing, because traditional banks classify commercial trucking loans as high risk, these businesses often have a hard time getting credit through traditional avenues. Another challenge faced by trucking companies are the slew of new regulations geared towards improving driver safety. In light of the fact that in 2012 trucking fatalities rose almost 9%, for a third straight year of increased fatalities, something had to give. Still, many trucking firms are anticipating lowered productivity and increased costs as mandated rest periods cut down the number of hours truckers are able to log in a single day as well as the number of consecutive hours they can drive. Going into the new year, many business owners are wondering what they

While small business owners are generally a tough bunch, there are things that are beyond their control, from the government to natural disasters, that they need to be prepared to face in order to preserve the strength of their business. One of these external issues that can severely effect a business is the extremely cold weather that many parts of the US experience in late winter. Business owners should take note that, before they do anything to protect their small business, they need to ensure that they and their families are dry, warm, and out of the path of dangerous weather, with enough supplies to last them through whatever period of time they may need to stay indoors. If possible, get your business location ready in advance of inclement weather. Things to do in order to prep for extreme cold are checking to see if any of the electrical wiring, water or gas lines to the building are in danger of freezing or being damaged by

The commercial trucking industry, automotive small businesses, landscaping enterprises and construction companies have some things in common; for starters a reliance on equipment to do their jobs and grow their business’s capacity to take on larger projects. However, these business owners also have a designation as “high risk” businesses given to them by the traditional banking establishment to contend with, which can significantly increase the difficulty associated with getting approved for small business loans. This creates a serious constraint for business growth in industries centered on acquiring new equipment. When issues like bad credit are added to the mix, small business owners are more or less completely cut off from external capital provided by traditional banks. This in turn makes it much more difficult for them to acquire new equipment which is often outside of their reach when financing directly our of business cash flows. Equipment has the potential to greatly increase the revenues of a business once it is acquired, but since there is often

Out the window of the Horizon Business Funding offices, a the first real snow of the season  is coming down, a reminder that all across the country the true Winter is just beginning. Small business owners in locations that get heavy snow or other inclement weather this time of the year need to have a game plan firmly in place that allows them to minimize the potential harm to their businesses caused by heavy weather conditions. While business can shut down in many locations this time of the year because snows are so deep, that does not mean that there is nothing that business owners can do to protect their locations. Always have an emergency bag in your location. An emergency bag is there to give you and your employees peace of mind in the event that heavy snows block your means of egress from your work location. An emergency bag should include survival basics like blankets and ready to go flashlights, as well as enough

The official first day of winter in 2013 is the 21st of December, meaning that it’s still technically Fall for another two weeks. However, the signs of the changing seasons are all around us, as many parts of the US have already experienced their first snows and the leaves on the trees have been shed. The winter brings with it a lull in business for many; seasonal businesses who profit during the Summer, such as landscapers, are now going into a part of the year where demand for their cores services is rapidly cooling down. But just because it is the off season, that doesn’t mean that your business needs to go into full hibernation. Here are some ways that your small business can spend the off season in order to make the most of the time and come back stronger than ever in 2014. Spend time evaluating your performance. Your small business’s performance over the last year might have been great, or it might be

A new bill introduced by Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman proposes to change the way that commercial truckers are tested for substance abuse problems. The bill proposes the introduction of hair follicle testing to compliment the trucking industry’s current practice of urine testing, which the authors of the bill state is less effective in detecting substance abuse and is more easy to cheat than hair follicle testing, which can detect substance use as far back as 90 days prior to the testing. The bill is supported by the Arkansas Trucking Association, and has bipartisan support, being touted as a common sense solution for reducing liability costs in the trucking industry. With lower liability costs on shipping, savings can be reflected in the profit margins of logistics firms. Additionally, small business owners, who rely on the US shipping infrastructure for many of their raw materials, wholesale purchases and shipping of products, may benefit from lower costs of shipping passed on from reduced firm overhead. Currently, only

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