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

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

As more and more commerce takes place online, the growth of the total market as reported by to $67.0 billion for a 3.6% increase from 3rd quarter 2013 loans small business owners an idea of just how fast commerce is becoming a driving force in the shaping of our digital world. One of the main contributors to the rising popularity of E-commerce is the diversity of business models that the internet is able to support. An article on the rise of the subscriptions services market showcases just one of the ways that innovative business models can be supported by the depth of the market reachable on the internet. However, aside from the obvious benefits of an internet based small business model, the low costs of entry into the digital commerce space also are making it an attractive business model in 2014. With most banks wary of providing start up capital to all but the most qualified entrepreneurs, a digital model that can be successfully

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

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

Social media is now widely accepted to be an important facet of any business’s marketing strategy. Small business owners have countless success stories that can attest to the effectiveness of a well run social media campaign. However, there are many more business owners who don’t know how to get started creating a real digital network, especially if they don’t have prior experience using social media. These small business owners may be turned off from branching out into social media marketing because they feel intimidated starting out, but without taking the first steps towards building an online presence, they are not allowing themselves the chance to ever experience the positive aspects social media presences can bring to a small business. Bad credit businesses in particular can often benefit heavily from a social media campaign, as it represents a way for them to create buzz and leads without investing a large amount of capital that could be allocated to other projects. For small business owners to get

Although the process of a running a small business often takes all the time that one has during the day, there are many business owners who maintain functioning side businesses as a supplemental source of income. While maintaining a side business can take time, if it is properly planned out small business owners can pursue some of their other passions and use it as an outlet for their creative energies. Generally, the businesses that independent entrepreneurs create to supplement their main business are started through a combination of personal creativity and a strong network that provides the connections needed to create the first few leads. If you are planning on creating a side business either for profit or pleasure, here are a few ideas for getting started that can direct your process. Identify your passion. The best side businesses are often ways that business owners can work on their hobbies, and then sell either the products that they create or consultations or other improvement services based

Just because your small business has your bad credit to contend with, it doesn’t mean you can’t keep growing. On the one hand, obtaining alternatives to bad credit business loans can help you by providing funds for unrestricted use. On the other hand, implementing fun, productive changes to your business can also be affordable. Improving a business goes beyond simply hiring new faces and purchasing new equipment. While those are both essential in the long run, here are three ideas for small business projects that you can implement quite easily with even a tiny budget. Increase customer engagement with a contest. Your customer engagement is becoming a more and more important sign of brand health in our media saturated society. If your small business isn’t doing enough to reach out to your customers, that can eventually catch up to you when you are faced with new competition or are looking to conduct deeper market research. A contest is a great way to promote engagement with your

When you go to a trade show, you usually leave laden with a wide assortment of promotional swag, from stress balls to miniature flashlights and everything in between. These branded materials exist in order to remind other small business owners and potential business partners of your brand, ideally so that they will reach out and kindle a business relationship in the future. While generally these gift items are created in order to serve as simple conversation pieces or keepsakes, as a savvy small business owner you’re going to want to think about ways that you can get extra value and effectiveness even out of your promotional giveaway materials. If you are running a bad credit business in particular, it is in your best interest to ensure that every project you work on has the potential to bring in extra layers of value to your small business processes and operations. What is something that your clients are likely to actually use?  While it’s all well and

Direct marketing through emails or faxes is often the first step towards a more comprehensive marketing strategy that small business owners take. The great thing about these strategies is that they are relatively inexpensive and can be highly effective in creating leads and engagement. However, there are dangers present behind these marketing techniques that small business owners need to remain aware of lest they get hit with expensive legal bills or be forced to pay fines. In the case of one Minnesota small business, as reported by Fox, a legal battle lasting 7 years ensued after a recipient of marketing faxes took them to court for not including an opt out clause in their faxes. While the plaintiff had originally requested to be added to the fax list, the fines faced by the small business for their lawsuit range from a possible $16 million to a whopping $48 million, a devastating blow to a small business that pulls in around $1 million in sales per year. Even

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