Small business owners may or may not be aware of the phenomenon of cryptocurrency, which in plain English is the use of digital currency that is unregulated and exists purely in a digital form, usually encrypted in some manner to protect against hacking and other forms of fraud.  Bitcoin is the first, and most prominent of these currencies, and has received much media attention as it’s prices have fluctuated wildly, with peak values of the cyber money reaching an impressive $1,200 a piece. The increasing prominence of Bitcoin enters the small business picture as some bold small business owners have begun to accept the cryptocurrency as payment. As reported in the Oneida Daily Dispatch, multiple NY businesses are making sales with the digital dollars, with one business reporting that a full 8% of its sales were made in Bitcoins. The payments are made using an app, and customers can buy more bitcoins through ATM like kiosks, which appear in some business locations. Aside from being another

In the business world, conditions rarely remain the same for long. Especially in our time, the rapid advance of technology coupled with the aftermath of a recession has created a pitching field that small business owners must be able to fluidly adapt to. For the resourceful, these turbulent times can even be a blessing in disguise, creating the openings they need to break into and disrupt markets. Coincidentally, small business owners are encouraged to stay on the cutting edge, always listening to the newest advice from leaders in their industries and scrambling to adapt their wisdom to their own way of doing things. However, before our time, in fact, thousands of years ago, strategy and fluid tactics also existed and were cataloged into a famous manual, “The Art of War” by the legendary tactician Sun Tzu. To this day, small business owners can gain insight on how to remain flexible and ready to take advantage of each situation. “All men can see these tactics whereby

As the minor improvements in the approval rates of small business loans have been reported on, one less happy trend has also gained some media scrutiny: the dip in loan volumes approved for african american owned businesses. While this may partly be due to a tightening of credit and collateral requirements on the part of banks issuing small business loans, the fact remains that both female and minority entrepreneurs face greater challenges when it comes to obtaining financing for their businesses. Female and minority owned small businesses are a vital source of economic renewal, especially considering a growing population of business owners would contribute to the creation of more jobs in the small business sector, which is widely regarded as one of the most powerful engines of the recovering US economy. These business owners should consider searching for guidance from sources such as local business development centers, SCORE programs, and finding the right mentors that can help them achieve and push forward more business development.

  Credit can play a major role in shaping the way small business owners expand their operations. A bad credit business loan or alternative is a different product from a traditional small business loan, and depending on which product is being used, strategies will need to be tweaked or abandoned and replaced accordingly. In the interest of saving time, knowing what options your business will qualify for and which are a stretch is important, but that’s not the only reason that small business owners should know the strength of their credit scores before they apply for financing. Bad credit isn’t the only thing that can show up on your reports. For small business owners who have bad credit, when their reports are pulled they should understand that other financial issues they may have had in the past will also show up. Depending on the service being used to report on them, things such as tax liens, foreclosures, open balances and bankruptcies can show up as well

While small business indicators in the Winter showed that both confidence and loan volumes are present among the small business community, the icy climates that held sway over much of the continental US made it so that many small business owners had to put their plans on hold, or even cancel them entirely as a result of lower than anticipated sales volumes. Some industries were more hard hit than others, for example, commercial trucking businesses had to cope with the weather and its effect on their business even if they were not directly in the path of major storms. Still, the storms could not freeze out the hope of a recovery this year, and as the ice and snows thaw, the will and means for economic growth could come back stronger than the past few years. Business hopes for recovery are not merely founded on conjecture. Kiplinger’s reports that the forecast for 2014 should be strong as weather becomes less and less of a barrier for

As changing demographics of small business owners in the US are challenging stereotypes surrounding who can be a successful entrepreneur, the question of age is also increasingly part of the picture. Both older and younger entrepreneurs are getting media coverage as they are creating businesses and success that isn’t typically associated with their age groups. The challenging economy, which is slowly recovering, seems to have been rewarding small business owners who are willing to step outside the bounds of norms. This includes a rising trend of young people driving high growth businesses, and business owners who are over the age of retirement, many of whom have lengthy career histories but either wanted to try something new or have been forced to create another business by their economic situations. Younger entrepreneurs: still outnumbered, but doing big things. The Small business owners in the under 40 bracket have been getting a lot of attention. Not only do young people make great hires, due to the fact that they

According to a release from Reuters, small business owners borrowed more money in January than they did last year during the same month, despite the spate of particularly cold weather that has continued to effect much of the continental US. Consequently, small business have been reporting negative impacts on their businesses. Many indicators outside of small business loans have not gone up as a result of the freeze. While an increase in the volume of business loans usually signals an increase in hiring down the road, other indicators of increased economic activity did not fare as well. Regardless, since business loans are often used in order to obtain new equipment or increase the capacity of production within a business, the hiring of new personnel is still likely to increase in the next couple of quarters, especially as businesses with seasonal increases in volume move into their busy season. Despite this, consumer sentiment was reported as increasing slightly. The feeling that the economy will continue to head in

Your business relies on your best employees in order to be able to expand. The talent that you can cultivate is a huge asset, but in order to fully reap the rewards of investing in potential, your business must be able to retain the talent that you help to grow. One of the greatest things about small businesses is that, thanks to the fact that they are smaller and often much more collaborative than corporations they are able to foster a deeper sense of employee contribution and engagement. When it comes to keeping the employees you have worked hard to train, the unique positioning of a small business offers the means of sweetening the pot for talent outside of the money involved in the equation. Salary is important, but ultimately not the only deciding factor in whether or not an employee will stay. The temptation of a higher paying position will often be enough to induce an employee to wander to greener pastures, however, it’s certainly

If there is anything that 2013 taught small business owners, it was that, even in a slowly recovering economy, they must still be aware of the potential for major challenges arising within their industries. From the roll out of the ACA to myriad new regulations, especially in the commercial trucking industry, small business owners must be aware of the reality that their situations can change rapidly in our current economic and political environment. It’s not enough for business owners to simply hope that nothing will effect their businesses. In order to have some peace of mind surrounding the business that creates your livelihood, small business owners owe it to themselves (and their employees) to create a strategy that allows them the maneuverability to adapt to changes in their industries. Here are some recommendations for creating a highly adaptable business plan. Be constantly refining your strategies. The more static a business plan is, the more vulnerable it makes itself to sudden disruptive changes in its environment. In

There are so many components that go into the management of a small business, each one of them vitally important in their own ways. However, one of the most important by far is the physical location of a small business (assuming that it has one). Where your business is actually located can make a big difference on what kind of foot traffic it will get, what times will be the most busy and who will be passing by. Another big potential impact is the rent that you are paying and the agreements that you have signed into the lease. Here’s what small business owners need to consider before they sign a lease for a brick and mortar location. Don’t put the cart before the horse. If you aren’t ready to get started doing business out of your location, don’t sign a lease. Often, small business owners will find a location that they fall in love with, but don’t have inventory or any clientele, yet sign a

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