Profit Minded
  • How to get the most out of Small Business Saturday

    Are you gearing up for Small Business Saturday? November 30 will be the fourth annual celebration of the “Shop Small” event, which was conceived in 2010 to drum up support for and lure holiday shoppers to local businesses. Most businesses that take advantage of the marketing campaign say it’s a good way to attract new customers, according to a survey of 500 owners and managers of small non-franchise storefront retail shops and restaurants released this week by American Express OPEN and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

    Held between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, savvy shopkeepers and restaurants can leverage the Small Business Saturday campaign—and several free and discounted offers for small businesses—to kick off the holiday shopping and dining season. Here’s a roundup of resources your business could take advantage of.

    American Express is once again offering its Small Business Saturday Marketing Toolkit—free digital and in-store marketing materials including printable

    Read More »from How to get the most out of Small Business Saturday
  • New “Internet of Things” products could make your office smarter

    A new crop of “smart home” products equipped with sensor technology and Wi-Fi connectivity include several apps for making your office, or home office, a little easier to manage. In a new partnership with GE, the innovative gadgets manufacturer Quirky is releasing a suite of products this week that let you control electronics and sensors remotely from your smart phone.

    The products all run on the Quirky/GE Wink ecosystem app. Download that from the iTunes store to your iPhone and you can control your smart office devices from wherever you take your phone.

    We’ve written here before about apps small business owners use to run their offices remotely, such as Ted Steen who controls the HVAC system in his Stamford, Conn., event space from his iPhone at home in Boulder, Colo. Steen paid around $5,000 to set up his remote system. For small offices or home offices, apps for remotely turning off electronics or sensing deliveries will be far less costly.

    The Nimbus from Quirky-GE is a personal

    Read More »from New “Internet of Things” products could make your office smarter
  • When “going viral” makes gold, he has the Midas touch

    If you want to understand how to make your message go viral, get to know Emerson Spartz. The 26-year-old CEO closed an $8 million financing round last week for his Chicago-based company, Spartz Inc., which simply launches websites that go viral.

    Since age 12, when he created a Harry Potter fan website that, at its peak, relied on a staff of 120 and attracted 50 million page views per month, Spartz has made a career of “pioneering a model that uses predictive science to measure the viral potential of websites and apps.” His Spartz network now includes 18 websites ranging from OMG Facts, GivesMeHope, DailyCute (created by Spartz’s wife and business partner Gaby when she was 12), and his original MuggleNet. They boast 160 million page views per month and employ 30 people.

    The wunderkind’s unique bio has been widely reported: He home-schooled himself while spending 10 hours a day running MuggleNet, which won him a trip to Scotland to interview JK Rowling; he supplemented his Notre Dame

    Read More »from When “going viral” makes gold, he has the Midas touch
  • Interested in keeping your Millennial workforce happy, or at least productive? Andrew Jones says if your business is still running in old-school all-hands-on-deck-9-to-5 mode, you should rethink things. There’s a workplace revolution afoot, he says.

    Jones, who teaches management and organizational behavior at the Texas State University business school, says cloud-based technologies and the expanding “human cloud” of freelancers are changing where, how, and when work is getting done. The what and why of work are changing too, he says.

    Jones’s new book, The Fifth Age of Work: How Companies Can Redesign Work to Become More Innovative in a Cloud Economy, shares what Baby Boomer and Generation X bosses need to know about running a business when your workforce is comprised of the Millennial generation. A management consultant and expert in the history and future of work, Jones is also a partner at Conjunctured Coworking, a members-only home/office in Austin, Texas, where his interactions with

    Read More »from Workplace revolution: Is your business ready for the Fifth Age of Work?
  • Some people have a head for business. Todd Greene turned his head into a business.

    In the mid 1990s, the then-20-something Greene – a digital animator – was losing his hair. So he began shaving his head. The problem? Razors built for shaving faces or legs weren't designed to navigate the curves of his skull, especially on the side opposite to his dominant hand.

    Then one day Greene had a revelation: What if there was a razor that fit on your fingers like a joy buzzer, so you could shave your skull as easily as rubbing it? Excitedly, he began building a prototype out of clay.

    From those humble beginnings sprang the HeadBlade, which has turned into a complete line of head-care products available in thousands of drug stores nationwide. Since that first 'aha' moment, Greene's invention also found its way into Time magazine's “Ten Best Designs of 2000” and New York's Museum of Modern Art. Over 1 million headblades have been sold and the company is worth over $5 million.

    But Greene had several

    Read More »from Headblade example shows how to turn your genius idea into a gold mine
  • As I read more business books, autobiographies and research being an entrepreneur I have started to notice a common theme. It’s something I do naturally (perhaps that’s my inner entrepreneur at work) but the importance or implications have never been something I’ve particularly noticed or thought too deeply about.  However, the more I discover and the longer I travel my entrepreneurial road, the value and importance of this thing increases immensely.

    This thing is visualization.

    I have always been a big dreamer (especially day dreamer!), loved surrounding myself with imagery and making goals but I did this for fun, not because I thought it had any influence over my future.  However, I now realize that’s exactly what these things are doing; they are creating the blueprints of my future.

    How do I know this? Because the more I visualize my goals, the quicker and more of them I achieve. But it’s not just me, read any business book or autobiography and they all say the same thing ‘I always

    Read More »from 5 Key Steps To Visualizing Your Way To Your Dreams
  • For Laura Lucas, “buy American” isn’t just the movement of the moment. It’s a value that was instilled by her father, who spent his career in manufacturing. “From a young age, I heard at home all the time that we have to make things, we need manufacturing in America,” Lucas says.

    As an adult shopper, Lucas has always had an eye out for Made in the USA products, but is dismayed by how rare they are in stores. So, she left her job as a worldwide Kindle product manager at Amazon to start her own business that would help people find and buy American-made.

    Lucas recently launched Footvote.com, an online platform featuring a directory of nationally known brands and handcrafted products made by American manufacturers. The company, based in Seattle, where Lucas raised a seed round of funding from the local angel investors, also provides information and insights on American manufacturing and companies.

    To be sure, several online directories already point shoppers to U.S. manufacturers. Those

    Read More »from Footvote: A directory to support shoppers who want to buy American-made
  • A recent survey found that 58% of shoppers said they planned to shop more on Cyber Monday than Black Friday this year. As consumers continue to shift their holiday shopping from the Friday to the Monday after Thanksgiving, it is obviously extremely important for small businesses to strategize how they are going to capitalize on this potential influx of buy-happy consumers.  Now is the time for small online businesses to prepare. We at Blue Fountain Media have 5 strategies small businesses can take to take advantage of the holiday shopping opportunity..

    1. Ramp up your email acquisition NOW

    Email is one of the most effective methods for alerting your audience about your holiday sale. In order to maximize the potential of email marketing leading up to Cyber Monday or Black Friday, small business marketers should update their email signup forms and provide extra incentive for users to submit their email address. One of the best ways to do this is to simply change the copy around the signup

    Read More »from 5 Ways To Boost Holiday Sales This Season
  • Bill seeks to kill the (patent) trolls that plague tech startups

    For technology startups, there is a worse breed of troll than the one that posts nasty comments at the end of Yahoo articles. “Patent trolls”—people and organizations that make their livelihood collecting licensing fees or settlements by filing patent infringement lawsuits—are considered increasingly problematic to business and innovation in the U.S.

    As the Washington Post noted recently, “When you're targeted by a patent troll, the rational thing to do is to capitulate. Defending a patent infringement lawsuit can cost millions of dollars, and trolls carefully calibrate their settlement demands so that it will always cost more to fight than to settle.”

    “Any company that uses technology in its products or services today faces a steadily increasing threat of patent litigation,” according to RPX Corporation. The company, which attempts to reduce patent headaches for its clients, says legal threats cost operating companies some $11 billion per year. The fact that some patent-troll defendants

    Read More »from Bill seeks to kill the (patent) trolls that plague tech startups
  • Empact: Spreading the culture of entrepreneurship to small communities

    Michael SimmonsMichael Simmons started a web development company at age 16 and earned $40,000 working 10 hours a week during his senior year of high school. He had watched his mother, a government employee, earn two percent raises annually. When he realized how much control self-employment gave him over his income, he says, “I was amazed no one else in my school had started a business.”

    Even once he arrived at New York University, he says, he was disappointed not to find many other entrepreneurial-minded people. The one he met during freshman orientation, Sheena Lindahl, became his business partner and wife.

    He published the bestselling Student Success Manifesto during college, and with Lindahl co-founded Empact, an organization that inspires other young people to explore entrepreneurship and strives to nurture a culture of entrepreneurship in struggling communities.

    Business Week named her a top-25 entrepreneur under age 25 in 2006, and he, now 31, has won entrepreneur-of-the-year awards from the

    Read More »from Empact: Spreading the culture of entrepreneurship to small communities

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ABOUT PROFIT MINDED

Profit Minded is the Yahoo! Small Business Advisor blog that looks at ideas, trends, commerce, and noteworthy developments that can help small business owners develop and grow their organizations.

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Owen Linderholm

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