Ask any entrepreneur and he or she will tell you that they keep a couple tricks up their sleeve to help keep their business running smoothly. We asked our small business experts what their favorite tips, tricks, and tools were for running their business. These are the top 53: Continue reading
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?
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
Or maybe you’ve questioned your own abilities and wondered, “Are there things I should know but don’t?”
You’re not alone in that thought.
The truth of the matter is: entrepreneurs need many different business management skills, character traits, and habits to make them successful. But there are certain business management skills that seem to stand out as highly important—both in research and polls. Continue reading
Starting up a new business takes a lot of proverbial blood, sweat and tears. From the most basic tasks like choosing what products you will sell and a company name to more complex decisions like how you’ll handle payments and if it’s a good idea to hire your Uncle Bob as manager, it’s a time-consuming and even stressful process. For people who are getting their new business ducks in a row, the following to-do list can help streamline and simplify the entire process.
Register Your Business Name
Have done your homework to make sure your new business name is not shared by anyone else? A business name availability check can find out if your business name is currently being used and can help you avoid spending money branding a name that you cannot adopt. The free, non-binding business name search is simple—the form requires information including your contact information, business name and state. After you have secured your name, you can move forward by filing your Articles of Incorporation with your state or regulatory agency. Each set of Articles of Incorporation forms and fees differ from state to state; follow these four steps to make the filing process quick and seamless. For more on name search and business and trademark information, visit the Learning Center and click “Business Name.”
Summer is finally here, and for small business owners everywhere this is the time to relax and take a breather from last winter’s busy season, keeping up with resolutions from New Year’s, and filing taxes in the spring. But for some entrepreneurs, stopping to take a breather can easily mean just stopping… period. Before you burn out on your start-up, let our panel of 23 professionals fill you in on what you can start doing this summer to pump up your business and have a lot of fun, while beating the summer heat!
1) “We are based in gorgeous Santa Monica, CA, and are a walk away from the beach which means some of the most stunning work breaks you can think of. Given that this summer is the World Cup and we are a very diverse company, we encourage everyone to wear their country’s jerseys and will be showing major games in our movie room. We will also be sponsoring different meals based on the soccer teams playing that day! Every Friday during the summer, we break out the cocktails or head out to our local winery (bodega wine bar) to talk about the week over some yummy drinks for happy hour. For bonding, we have a monthly poker tournament which works well especially since we are growing and adding new faces often. It gives our team a great opportunity to bond with new members over a game of all in or fold.”
- David Daneshgar, Co-Founder, BloomNation
2) “We’re taking advantage of our green rebranding efforts to keep everyone psyched about coming into the office. Aside from bagel Fridays and get-to-know-your vendor meetings, Shoplet is instating an office-wide Share competition, whereby we motivate employees with fun, summer-friendly prizes to participate in our latest social media campaign Care. Share. Grow. (For each Share of a social media graphic, Shoplet plants a tree with Trees for the Future). The latest winner of our Share competition won tickets to a Yankees versus Red Sox game this September! In a way, the competitive spirit around the office unites us. It generates chatter and revs up excitement for our green initiatives.”
- Tony Ellison, CEO & Founder, Shoplet
3) “One way I plan ahead for the summer is by offering my employees a finder’s fee for each employee they refer. My argument is that there are no better headhunters than those who already work for you, especially because they are entrenched in the fast-paced environment every day and understand your business’ nuances, thus know whether the person they are referring can handle the pressure. After any prospective candidate is hired and works successfully for two months, I offer the finder employee a cash incentive of $50. It’s a tactic I’ve used for years and found that it’s been incredibly successful at combating summer turnover.”
- Dan Sacco, Owner, Pancheros Mexican Grill
The American business landscape is littered with CEOs who, for one reason or another, showed the public, investors and their peers precisely the wrong way to run companies. At the time of their tenure, some of these former industry heads were first touted as business geniuses. Now they’ve become examples of how not to behave if you want to run your own business.
Jonathan Schwartz – Sun Microsystems
Founded in 1982 by three graduate students from Stanford University, Sun Microsystems grew to be a giant in computer hardware and services. Jonathan Schwartz was named CEO in 2006 by the founding CEO, and prior to that point, the company had grown aggressively and showed steady profits. Nearly every move Schwartz made ended poorly, acquisitions failed, the stock tanked, and thousands of employees had to be laid off. Ultimately, the company was sold to competitor Oracle.
Thinking of starting a small business? You’re certainly not alone. Small businesses are on the rise in America; according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the number of small businesses has increased by almost 50% since 1982!
However, despite the surge in popularity over recent years, starting a small business can still be a daunting challenge to the entrepreneurial-minded individual. With lots of initial hurdles to overcome, many small businesses fold within the first year.
But there’s still plenty of hope! By maximizing revenue while minimizing overhead in those early years, many small business owners can set themselves on a solid foundation for success from the start. Do you need the biggest and best equipment on Day 1? How much space do you need for your workforce? Can you live without that can’t-live-without software for a few months? Putting together a plan that accounts for immediate, short-term, and long-term needs is essential, especially when it comes to finding an office.
While it can be tempting to sign on the dotted line for a new workspace immediately, there are tips that every small business owner should take into account to increase your survival rate right off the bat. Here are the top 3 ways to make the most of an office space on a budget.
Businesses that operate 24 hours a day tend to have their own unique operation structure and vary from one type of business to the next. But when you don’t have a set closing time in place, how can you handle issues that come up that 9-5 companies don’t face? Here’s how to keep your business running smoothly from the AM to PM with the following tips!
1) Have a manager you can trust
A responsible team member you trust should be delegated as being in charge for each shift in the schedule. Be sure that each supervisor is properly trained, understands what tasks must be done on their assigned shift, and knows how to delegate out duties accordingly to the rest of the team.
2) Be fair with employees
If you don’t have one or two people who prefer the overnight shift, scheduling can get tough. Rotating shifts is usually the fairest way to work, but switching shifts isn’t easy on anyone. The key to a successful overnight shift is to offer employees an incentive to work it. Monetary incentives usually get the best results, but survey your employees first to find out what they want. If you run a repair business that is open 24/7, like Advanced Roofing Company, the best option may be to have someone on call at night. This way you can still meet the customer’s emergency needs, but everyone can just take turns being in charge of the late night calls once a week or so. If you must have someone work the graveyard shift every night full time, try hiring someone specifically for that position so that the terms and hours are agreed upon in advance.
Love him or hate him, you must admit that Vito Corleone, head of the fictional New York crime family in the film The Godfather, adeptly built a thriving “business.” Nefarious goals and bloody outcomes aside, what can we learn from him about effective business operations?
1. Branding is in the details. The Godfather without strong branding would have been nothing more than a petty criminal with an annoying voice. Instead, he built a rock solid brand, a reputation that was paramount to his success. No detail went unnoticed in establishing his powerful presence, from his dark attire, to the mood lighting in his office, to the theatrical application of that gravelly mumble. In today’s business environment, branding is the difference between being remembered and getting lost in the fray. A successful brand should be carefully crafted and bolstered with attention to detail similar to Corleone’s, including staff selection, wardrobe choices, even the font in your emails.
As the owner of a small business, you know what it’s like to have a lot on your plate. Some days, it may feel as if you need a small army in place just to keep up with the way you need to market and brand yourself – not to mention making a profit and paying attention to your customers! Well, I’ve got a secret to share with you: you don’t need an army. All you need is a thirst for knowledge. The trick is to stay on top of trends and when things move, move with them!
Working in the marketing industry, I’ve come to understand that it is never about one thing or the other, it is about how all of the pieces of the puzzle come together to form the big picture. Ten years ago, your business might have gotten by with some television commercials and perhaps an advertisement or two in your local newspaper, but times have changed – how can you compete and stay on top today?