September 2, 2014

Small Business News: Toughing It Through The Tough Times

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You probably don’t need us to tell you this, but starting or running a small business isn’t easy. In fact, if you are looking for an easy life, one without challenge or change in routine, best apply elsewhere because this job isn’t for you. It takes long hours and lots of dedication. But it’s also a lot of fun. In this roundup we look at some advice for the tough times and some encouragement that things will get better. And, hey, there’s even a cool contest announcement with a couple of nice prizes so keep reading.

Operations

The customer from hell. We’ve all been there, says Mark Brinn. We’ve all been across the counter–literally or metaphorically, physically or virtually–from a customer who simply will not be placated. Guess what. It’s part of your business. Now here are some suggestions for handling it. Marcana

How are small businesses working today? Small businesses are at the forefront of change today. As innovation occurs, small businesses are among the first to seize upon it finding new ways to use new tools for a competitive advantage. Shashi Bellamkonda discusses those changes in this interesting interview. Washington Business Journal

Personal Development

Exercising your curiosity muscle. Venture capital investor Brad Feld is a firm believer in the importance of curiosity among entrepreneurs. But it’s not just the reflex to try to increase productivity for your daily workload. (Well, it is that too.) But it also can be a great measure of what Brad calls “daily active users” and some of the best market research of what will work versus what won’t. Feld Thoughts

How much can you really learn from the in crowd? Not much, if you ask Fred Wilson. Fred happens to be one of the most recognizable Venture Capital investors around backing big concerns like Twitter. But even if these days he admits he has some approachability issues, Fred knows the value of the path less traveled in business. It’s a good lesson for us all. A VC

Policy

Don’t fear the reaper. But the taxman might be another story. Specifically, small business owners fear a decision to let taxes rise next year will hit small businesses in two important ways. First, by increasing the tax rates they themselves have to pay in a still fragile economy, and second, and perhaps more importantly, eliminate the disposable income of potential customers who will spend less on products ands services as a result. WSJ

Contest

Have you ever really wanted to get into business blogging? Man, do we have an offer for you! Break out the lap top and tune into some inspiration drawn from your personal business expertise. The BisSugar.com and the Tweak Your Biz (formerly Bloggertone) online business community introduce the second Sugartone “Sweet Business Blogging Contest”> Get more details including some cool gifts from our sponsor. BizSugar Blog

Marketing

Are you a thought or a traffic leader? Though Traci Hayner Vanover, a.k.a. the Promo Diva, is speaking specifically about social media, her post might as easily be about anything else in business. There are dangers in focusing on numbers only and a price to pay when those numbers become more important than the value being created. Author Thought Leadership

Surprise! Surprise! You have to market your business. Scott Fox shares this “shocking truth” about online business which really applies to all businesses. (Actually the example he gives is a charity.) No, you don’t need to be crass and “in your face” as some marketers might be. But Scott reminds us in his video that no one cares about the business you run. Making it stand out and making the value clear to prospective customers. ScottFox.com

Could you be getting it wrong? You’ve focused on the important things, tried to build value for your product or service, tried to stand out above the crowd and get your potential customers to take notice and…nothing. When sales don’t happen and prospects don’t become clients how do you know when it’s time to change course? When should you rethink your marketing strategy? Here are five questions you should ask first. M4B Marketing

Startup

Who do you turn to when there’s no one else? Let’s face it. Credit is tight. The economy is tough and startups have an uphill battle if they are seeking the money needed to get off the ground or survive. One possibility is to tap friends and family. But wait! This is no handout. Those closest to you deserve and may demand the same attention you would give any investor bankrolling your dreams. Inc.com

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  1. Great article. There is one more option. Factoring is a financing vehicle used mostly by emerging companies that are unable to arrange traditional bank financing. Specifically, factoring is the purchase of accounts receivable at a discount for immediate cash. This is another way small businesses can survive the down turn.

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