small business

Small Business as an Investment

Small Business as an Investment

There are many reasons to start a small business.  They may include being passionate about the work, a desire to work for yourself, or a need to give something back to society.  Successful business owners also want to retire using the money they generate from their business.  In my case, this became the focus of my investment strategy.  It wasn’t always, but this last “great recession” changed my mind.

How each subscription is like a grain of sand.

How each subscription is like a grain of sand.

A subscription based business model can be highly lucrative for a business, but a growing burden for the consumer.  As monthly subscription rates drop to prices “less than you spend on your morning coffee”, consumers jump on the idea of a product or service helping them.  Businesses are betting on the low cost/benefit analysis of their subscription to build an enormous customer base.  Both are adding a grain of sand to their monthly cash flow.  The question is when is enough, enough?

Top 5 complaints bankers have about business owners

Top 5 complaints bankers have about business owners

Be honest.  We all kind of complain about each other.  It’s a normal part of being a human being.  As agreeable as most people are, when it comes to dealing with others, there are still ways to improve our relationship.  Even when our motto is “the customer is always right”, with a little nudge they could be perfect! 

During the last few years I have spent a lot of time with small business bankers.  The conversation generally turns to examples from our past experiences, both wonderful and horrible.  It is during these conversations that I noticed a common theme among the things that annoy the banker.  It is interesting because for over 20 years, I was on the business owner side of the desk.  Not only that, I was guilty of some of their annoyances.

Run it like you’re selling it. Get the most out of your small business.

Run it like you’re selling it. Get the most out of your small business.

Have you ever placed a car you own up for sale?  What is the first thing you do?  You clean it up.  You fix the things that need it.  You get the french fries out from between the seats.  You get the car ready to present to someone else with the hope that it will attract top dollar.  It’s natural for us to do this.  We are trying to get the most out of our car.

A curious thing happens right after you clean up your old vehicle.  Especially, if you are still driving it daily.  You get behind the wheel.  You like the way it rides better, smells better, looks better, etc.  You even start to think, “This is a pretty nice car.”  All of the issues that made you ready to sell have suddenly disappeared.  What a bonus!  You get the benefit of riding in a “pretty nice car” throughout the entire period that it sits on the market.  In the end, you get an offer that makes you happy.  In the meantime, you received the benefit of a car that was providing the operator with great value.

Do OVER! You can call one for your small business anytime

Do OVER! You can call one for your small business anytime

It’s New Year’s Eve and I often take time to reflect on the previous year.  I call it an After Action Review, from my time in the Army.  It gives me a chance to look at what went right, what went wrong, and what I could do differently.  The do differently part is always the most exciting, mainly because I get a “do over”.

It’s interesting to watch children at play and see something that obviously doesn’t go their way, or causes disruption in the cadence of their game.  They defer to the most simple of concepts and call a “do over” to remedy the situation.  The “do over” is probably the single most overlooked solution by adults running a small business.  If things aren’t going your way, just call a “do over”.

The 5 silent killers of cash flow.

The 5 silent killers of cash flow.

Business owners spend so much time working in their business, that they often lose sight of working on their business.  In an economy where the stakes are increasingly high and cash progressively scarce, business owners must proactively manage the balance sheet and income statement or risk falling victim to the five silent killers of cash flow.

Did you know that a majority of businesses that file bankruptcy reported a net profit, yet had negative cash flow?  Many times the warning signs that a company is in trouble go unnoticed until it is too late. You can improve your business liquidity and create long-term viability by looking closely at the following potential trouble spots.

Top 4 technologies for small business owners

Top 4 technologies for small business owners

With millions of programs, websites and apps, it can be overwhelming to know which tools will actually help your business. After managing employees, monitoring expenses and maintaining a high level of customer service, you probably don’t have the energy or time to sift through all the online tools either. So that’s why we’ve condensed all of the possibilities into one list of the most cost-effective, resourceful programs to run your business more efficiently.  

Small Business Owners Need Financially Intelligent Lenders (Infographic)

Small Business Owners Need Financially Intelligent Lenders (Infographic)

As we've seen with the surge of alternative lenders moving into the banking space, now is a pivotal time for lenders to move towards the next wave of innovation. Small business lending is the largest and fastest growing and one of the most profitable sectors, with total revenues from nonemployers hit $989.6 billion in 2011.

The main bottleneck for many lenders in reaching their goals for this market is the time it takes to gather and organize financial statements from small business owners. The infographic below shows how investing in new business intelligence software systems can increases the productivity and overall success of small business lenders.

How To Build An Empire of Happy Customers

How To Build An Empire of Happy Customers

Whether you’re a small business or a multi-billion dollar corporation, customer success is essential for keeping and growing your business. Every conversation, engagement and experience with your company must be thoughtfully designed to the very last detail. Because in this day and age, if your customers aren’t happy there is competitor around the corner ready to ease their burden. Here are six ways to get happier customers today.

Six Steps to Increase SEO for Your Small Business

Six Steps to Increase SEO for Your Small Business

As a small business owner, SEO (search engine optimization) may be the last thing on your mind, especially if you’re not a startup or a software company. However, increasing your Google search ranking is essential to grow your business and create new leads. Yellow pages are old news, the best way to get in front of new customers is by using the power of the internet. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go out and hire an expensive marketing agency. Many of these tactics can be done with slight tweaks to your homepage, a few application submissions and using free online tools. Here are the major steps to up your SEO anti.