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 holidays represent a great time to be a small business owner, as more business around this time of year means that you will be able to create more revenues. However, criminals are also aware of the increase in business volume around the holiday season, and target in particular businesses that handle a large amount of cash around this time of year, including retailers and other service providers like limousine and taxi services. Invest in the security of your small business, and the safety of you and your employees identities and credit, by taking the following steps to stay secure this year. Document Shredders can safeguard sensitive information. When you throw out documents, you are creating an opportunity for thieves to salvage potentially sensitive information about your business and your employees. This can be avoided by investing in a document shredder, which will destroy any records leaving your business. In general, shredding documents is a good safeguard, but for businesses that collect a large amount of

Every business has one, it’s that special something that defines it’s unique qualities, the je ne sais quoi that your customers recognize and associate with your brand. However, before your edge is defined, it can be hard to single out the quality attributes that you need to stress in order to stand out. Bad credit businesses, enterprises where sales are down, or businesses that have had to redefine their image as they’ve expanded should all pay particular attention to the points in this article, as they are the businesses that need a solid center the most. Without further ado, here’s how you can start to look at your business in order to define your very own “secret sauce”. Start from the ground up. Documenting your processes is something you should already be doing, as it will aid you in a large number of ways to have core procedures on file. For one thing, it aids in your business’s expansion by briefing new employees as well as demonstrating

A good small business does its best to make sure the customer is always satisfied.  Customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance now more than ever, with social media sites and review websites like Yelp allowing for customers to share instant feedback with the public. In addition to all that you already do in order to please your clientele, make sure that you show your thanks and appreciation for their business, especially during critically important times like the Holidays.  Everyone likes to feel appreciated, and showing your customers that you value their business and appreciate them as individuals will keep them happy and satisfied proponents of your brand. How can you show your customers some appreciation?  Here are a few tips: Say Thank You.  This may sound simple, but it is important to thank your customers for their business.  Showing verbal appreciation goes a long way to make your customers feel valued.  In addition to thanking customers in person, you can send thank you emails that

The coming of Black Friday abruptly signals the beginning of the holiday marketing season in a frenzy of consumer spending and bargain hunting. It is a time when many small business owners are unable to take a break because of the frenetic pace of sales, which is a good thing, as huge percentages of annual revenues are made up in the weeks of heightened consumer activity. What the season has the potential to mean for business owners who have bad credit is a relief from the pressures of their cash flow constraints as they make up reserves that can help them through the winter and allow them to work on improving and expanding their business. During the next few weeks, small business owners are going to be riding their businesses full speed ahead, and need to have solid financing plans in place in order to keep the wheels turning as fast as they can go. Make sure that you have enough inventory. If you anticipate a

This year has not been an easy one for small business owners, with bumps in the road from acts of nature to acts of government creating roadblocks, but there has been good news as well. For one thing, a gradual climb in optimism has been reported, with slight dips following the government shutdown. The economy is generally recovering as well, although on a bumpy, winding road. One of the biggest problems that has been holding small business owners back is the fact that there is relatively little in the way of small business financing available for all but the best credit risks from traditional banks. One the plus side, the financing gap is increasingly being filled by providers of alternative capital. Businesses without collateral, with bad credit scores, or even recently declared bankruptcy have been put between financing needs and the limitations of their cash flows. Alternative capital allows them to obtain financing with no restrictions placed on it, meaning they are free to allocate it

Business owners with bad credit are put into a predicament that can create conflicts of priorities surrounding expenses. If cash flows are not broad enough to finance projects, often they will have to be cancelled or scaled down, but knowing what to cut and what to preserve is often difficult. When a small business is the combination of many separate departments, it is essential that communication avenues are streamlined in order for a comprehensive budget to be created. Here are some strategies to employ in order to keep your small business’s ability to function safeguarded through the credit recovery process. Create a detailed budget report for each of your essential departments. While some small business owners will simply dump all of their expenses into one balance sheet and then reconcile it with their revenues, it makes much more sense in terms of deciding where to allocate a budget to break down expenses into departments. For example, if you find that your marketing is being severely neglected,

Small businesses often think that putting together an employee handbook is unnecessary and a waste of precious time that could be otherwise spent on more important matters. Everyone knows the company rules in a small business, so why bother with a whole formal write-up? In a certain sense, small business owners and employees who question the wisdom behind a write up are correct to do so. A write up for a very small company is unnecessary, and can actually become a liability if the information that it contains is misplaced or falls into the hands of a competitor. However, a manual for procedures, whether for individual departments or for the business at large, is important for when a business is ready to be scaled up, as it sets up a framework for growth. Much like a trellis allows a vine to climb steadily upwards, so a manual allows a small business’ s departments to grow steadily with greater ease.  Here are some other reasons that

An alternative to a bad credit business loan refers to a source of capital that small businesses can access, even if they have poor credit scores or other issues that would typically prevent them from getting approved for external financing. What is the importance of alternatives to traditional loans? At first glance, having multiple options for financing a small business outside of what is offered by traditional banks seems redundant. Business owners who are even aware of other options may be wary of them, as outside of the realm of a bank loan there are many different products and entities, some more beneficial for small businesses than others. However, when it comes to the question of whether or not these alternative capital sources are important, consider this; the average 7(a) loan amount in fiscal year 2012 was $337,730. Why is that significant? Because it demonstrates an important reality related to small business lending. The fact is, many of the enterprises we typically think of when

The way that people consume information is changing as the age of the smartphone puts more and more far flung capabilities into the hands of the average person, with the phrase “there’s an app for that” coined by Apple in 2009 serving as a summation of the zeitgeist. Services such as Yelp have rolled out apps that allow small businesses to list themselves in local directories, as well as link to keywords and appear in searches by neighborhood and by services provided. Apart from that, video consumption on smartphones is rapidly growing, with reports from Ooyala indicating that consumption of videos on tablets and smartphones is set to double from last year by the end of 2013, having claimed 13 percent of all internet video consumption by end of last June. What does this mean for small business? In plain terms, it means that optimizing your small business’s web presence for mobile will provide you with an edge over your competitors, especially in terms of local

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