12/1/2008 - Tips for running a successful franchise
By some estimates, business franchises account for over 50% of United States retail revenues. Franchise firms may be found in a wide variety of industries, from fast food to carpet cleaning to financial services to junk removal. Whether you're in the market for a franchise or already own one, implementing a few tried-and-true principles can help you acquire a share of that revenue pie.
11/1/2008 - Hiring mistakes start-up companies should avoid
Challenges that merely annoy an established firm often capsize a start-up company. This is especially true in the area of staffing. When a big corporation makes a hiring mistake—bringing in a natural-born accountant to do a sales job, for example — the company suffers, but survives. Committed by a fledgling firm, the same mistake may spell disaster. After all, if your company employs only five people, one wrongly hired employee will make up a fifth of your work force. That person's incompetence or poor people skills can bludgeon the firm's bottom line.
10/1/2008 - Tips for financing a new business
All small businesses start with something in common: they devour cash. They need cash for inventory, office space, insurance, legal fees, business licenses, remodeling costs, and the list goes on. Because very few start-ups can secure equity financing from venture capitalists, most business owners must get needed cash from a combination of personal assets and debt. If you're thinking about starting a small business, here's a short list of financing sources to consider:
9/1/2008 - Start your small business right
Throughout America, in rural towns and giant cities, companies come and go with clockwork frequency. That specialty store with the ragged sign and lousy service? It's been replaced by a funky restaurant that serves great linguini. Yesterday's bicycle shop is today's bakery. It's no wonder. Creating a company that can survive even a few years is not an easy feat.
8/1/2008 - Business for sale? Watch out for scams
You've spent years developing your business, building its value, enhancing its reputation. Now you're ready to move on. You place a "Business for Sale" advertisement in the Internet classifieds, and the next day an eager — overly eager — buyer approaches you with a deal that seems too good to be true. The buyer offers full price and wants to structure the deal as a stock sale. A stock sale means the buyer will get the entire business, including all its assets (cash, checking accounts, receivables, inventory and so on) at closing. The buyer doesn't ask tough questions about the firm and seems in a hurry to close the sale. He or she offers a 10% down payment and says the full balance will be paid off within a year.
4/1/2008 - Does your business Web site make these blunders?
No matter the size of your company, customers nowadays expect your firm to have a presence on the Internet. They'll be scanning your business cards, advertisements, and letterhead for a Web site address. But once those customers visit your home page, will they stay? Will they buy? Will they come back?
3/1/2008 - Raising prices is a balancing act
As climbing energy costs continue to erode the profit margins of many small businesses, owners are again considering whether they should raise prices. But as Hamlet would say, "Ah, there's the rub." If you raise prices, you risk losing clients to competitors. If you don't, rising costs can capsize your company.
2/1/2008 - Build strong customer relationships
Generally speaking, customers who develop a long-term relationship with your company will look to you first when they need products and services. But developing such loyalty takes time and more than a little business savvy.
1/1/2008 - Avoid the hazards of rapid business growth
Your fledgling business has been plodding along, barely keeping its head above water, then wham! A fortuitous set of circumstances or a huge contract with a strategically placed customer suddenly skyrockets your firm to the forefront of the marketplace. Super! You've finally achieved success! Or perhaps your business is headed for the graveyard.
"Business Tips" are published monthly to provide useful business information. Return to this site every month for helpful suggestions on how to make your business more profitable.
The information contained in this site is of a general nature and should not be acted upon in your specific situation without further details and/or professional assistance.
If you would like more information on anything in "Business Tips," or if you'd like to be on our mailing list to receive other business, tax, or financial information from time to time, please contact our office. We're here to help.