Experts Weigh In: What have you learned from owning a franchise?

How to Brand Yourself in Local MarketsOwning a franchise is a completely different experience than owning your own, independent business. For this segment of “Experts Weigh In,” we asked our franchise experts what they’ve learned about the franchise experience and what they would tell potential franchise owners. Here were our 14 favorite answers:

1.“As a franchisee with Brightway Insurance, I learned about the incredible support available to me within the Brightway system vs. the support I would have had if I struck out as an independent insurance agent on my own. From technology to telephony to business analytics to marketing, it’s like working at a large corporation with a terrific infrastructure but still being my own boss and responsible for building my own business. 

If someone is interested in getting involved in a franchise, I’d tell them to ask a lot of questions about the support available to them and the track record of the model. In most cases you should find something that has been thought out, tried, tested, and proven so all that is left is to leverage it.” -Billy Wagner, Brightway Insurance, Inc. Continue reading

10 Tips For Starting a Successful Business Blog

CRM Solutions and Your Business: A Story RetoldIf you don’t have a blog on your business site as of yet, you’ve already been left in the dust. The good news is that you can still recover pretty quickly if you take some proactive steps right now. Why is a blog important? Because search engines are now tracking the content of blogs and basing rankings on the quality and quantity of blog posts initiated on business sites! Having a business blog is just part of the equation if you hope to grow your business! Continue reading

Experts Weigh In: How do you handle sensitive workplace issues?

Do Your Taxes Have Bad BreathWhether you have a great HR team or you deal with your employees directly as the small business owner, dealing with sensitive workplace issues is always tricky. We’ve all heard about the co-worker who likes to warm up fish in the microwave everyday, or skips the all too frequent shower. Between dealing with body odor and inappropriate dress, we asked our pool of small business experts how they deal with sensitive workplace issues. These were our 10 favorite answers:

1.“I deal with workplace issues privately and head on in real-time as they happen. Dancing around the real issues is tiresome, wasteful, and sets the foundation for a water-cooler culture.” -Ryan P. Blanck, CPF, CPT, offtrackonpurpose.com
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Top 3 Most Important Generator Preventative Services

3 Great Careers to Take on While Working from HomeHopefully your business has a backup plan in case of emergencies, power outages, and natural disasters. Having a standby generator is a great way to ensure that your business is operational, and any refrigerated or power-sensitive products you may have are safe. However like any major equipment, power generators require regular maintenance, even (or especially!) if they are only used once or twice a year. Continue reading

Planning for the Year Ahead as a Small Business Owner

The Dog Days of Summer: What Small Business Owners Need to Know About Bringing Pets to WorkThere’s no let up in small business, is there?  There’s barely a pause between the end of one year and the beginning of the next.  As a new year begins, it’s tempting to just keep running, doing the same things all over again.  However, it’s critical to stop and reflect on last year and what you want to achieve this year. There are a number of areas you’ll find useful to focus on when planning for the year ahead as a small business owner. Continue reading

6 Tips for Creating a Great Business Plan

Copy of Job InterviewWhatever the aims for your business might be, there is a good chance that at some stage you will need to draw up a clear plan for its progress. The process of creating a business plan can be hard work but it  serves a variety of important functions, especially when it comes to potentially attracting the financing that small companies so badly need in order to get started.

With that in mind, here are 6 tips for getting it right when it comes to building a great business plan. Continue reading

Looking Back at the Winning and Losing Ad Campaigns of 2014

How to Use Emoticons Professionally in BusinessAdvertising is on the rise, quite an ascension if you look at the numbers. By 2016, it is estimated that ad revenue will double from 2011, hitting over 16.5 billion dollars annually, a 13.7% compounded annual growth. These figures are nothing to sneeze at, and we can learn from the successes and hiccups from 2014 when it comes to our advertising dollars.

No one sets out to fail and everyone wants to succeed, especially when it comes to advertising, but one may never know if something will flop or fly. While the road to a winning ad campaign can be paved with good intentions, it can sometimes fall short in the long run. Looking back at 2014, there were some real champions and a few chumps when it came to running a successful ad campaign. Continue reading

ABCs of Small Business Industry: W is for Waste Management

Waste management is one of those industries that people take for granted. A lot of cities have some sort of publicly-funded waste service, so most people don’t really think about who takes out their trash. But waste management is actually comprised of lots of small businesses, which often work together to service the needs of their city. Waste Management So what does it take to get started in waste management? And is there still room in this industry for a new small business?

How do you get started in waste management?
Waste management and garbage disposal is actually so much more than the big trucks that drive through neighborhoods once a week. Anyone who offers to haul away garbage, waste, recyclables, or junk is technically a part of this industry. So really all you need is a DBA, a truck, the right licenses and insurance, and you’re ready to go. However, anyone who dumps in a landfill has to pay for the privilege, and if you manage a lot of waste, you should try negotiating a cheaper rate with your landfill – most offer a set, per-ton charge. Continue reading

Business Basics: The First Few Steps After Incorporating

We talk a lot about the awesome benefits of incorporating or forming an LLC. We also talk a lot about maintaining a business. But what about that middle ground, when you’ve already incorporated but just barely?shutterstock_141838129

Here are a couple moves you can make as a small business owner who’s recently incorporated:

Protect your intellectual property.

The best way to go about doing this is to invest in a trademark. With an official trademark your business’s brand is fully your own. Once you’ve filed a trademark with the USPTO, no one else can legally use your company’s logo, designs, symbols, phrases, or whatever it is that you want to protect. Continue reading