Profit Minded
  • When 1 in 10 entrepreneurs work 70 hours a week, it’s a safe bet that business owners have a lot of issues competing for their attention. Making a great product, generating sales, building customer relationships and managing employees are often the most pressing issues for business owners.

    It can be easy for big-picture questions to slip to the bottom of the to-do list. But it’s important to step back and assess the health of your business from time to time. Knowing how great you are at making money or managing resources is the first step in making sure you spend your time and business resources wisely. Failing to recognize shortcomings early on can have disastrous consequences.

    Indeed, a University of Tennessee study found that nearly half of startup failures could be blamed on “incompetence” – a category that researchers said included “living too high for the business,” no knowledge of pricing and “emotional” pricing.

    Looking at financial metrics that are important to business health

    Read More »from How healthy is your business? 6 ways to take the “temperature”
  • People have been talking about the “gig economy” ever since Tina Brown pointed out in the Daily Beast in January 2009 that no one she knows has a job anymore. Giganomics is the term she coined for the strategy of earning an income piecemeal through as many part-time jobs, consulting contracts, or freelance assignments as it takes to meet the monthly financial commitments that a full-time job used to satisfy.

    Brown didn’t make gig work sound like much fun, and she suggested the new economy was turning former salaried professionals into hustlers “doing three things badly.”

    Fast forward nearly five years, and there are many more workers and employers participating in the gig economy, as well as numerous platforms—including Fiverr, Hourly, eLance, and oDesk—designed to help them find each other. (Although it is worth pointing out that some of the platforms have been around much longer than the term gig economy). A recent Harris Interactive poll commissioned by Fiverr asked 1,800 “employed or

    Read More »from Most think entrepreneurship would be more satisfying, but won’t risk it
  • Mega e-commerce sites like Amazon have become the bane of small brick and mortar retail stores. But “clicks and mortar” partnerships being struck up between the giant diamond seller Ritani and a network of local jewelry store owners offers a new model for how e-commerce and Mom and Pops could cooperate to increase sales for all.

    President Brian Watkins says Ritani has been in the bridal jewelry design and manufacturing business for 15 years. He says that retail industry statistics show that “multichannel” shoppers—those who shop thru multiple online avenues as well as by phone and in physical stores—are the most desirable across most consumer product categories. But jewelry sales were an exception.

    For engagement ring purchases, he says, 99 percent of buyers browse diamonds and settings online, but fewer than 10 percent make their purchase there. “When it comes to putting down the credit card, at the last minute there’s a hesitation,” Watkins says. Why? “When you’re buying one of the

    Read More »from Giant e-commerce seller partners with local retailers: It’s “clicks and bricks”
  • How to be a place everyone wants to work

    What does it take to be one of the best startups to work for in America? Wharton School management professor Peter Cappelli has some ideas based on two decades’ experience studying business cultures. So the office furniture and design company turnstone invited him to weigh in as a judge for its Best Young Companies to Work For contest.

    To find candidates, turnstone tapped a wide network of industry leaders and peers, partners, customers, and other professionals who had witnessed small companies’ success in building a place where “everyone wants to work.” Owners or employees could not enter their companies in the contest; instead, outsiders—consultants, venture capitalists, small business organizations, co-working spaces, and members of the media were invited to propose nominees with a “positive work culture, forward-thinking leadership, talent retention, business innovation, community outreach, and an intentionally designed workspace.” Contestants could be no older than 10 years old and

    Read More »from How to be a place everyone wants to work
  • Furloughed? Try freelancing on Fiverr

    It was 2009 and the global Great Recession was wreaking havoc on the job market when Micha Kaufman and Shai Wininger conceived the idea for Fiverr. The free agent lifestyle had long been hailed as the future of work, and platforms to enable freelancing such as oDesk and Elance had already been around for years. But Kaufman says their idea was “out of the box and very disruptive.”

    It was to flip the conventional approach to worker-contractor deals. Kaufman and Wininger rejected the “reverse-auction,” whereby sellers try to underbid each others’ prices to win a contract, and the buyer who manages the bidding process often gets what he pays for: the lowest quality for the lowest cost. That process involves “too much friction,” Kaufman says.

    Instead, they “wanted to make this demand for talent come together in a marketplace that is going to eliminate frictions tied to freelancing.” In other words, Kaufman and Wininger set out to build a task outsourcing platform that would simplify the

    Read More »from Furloughed? Try freelancing on Fiverr
  • Artisanal entrepreneurs get their own industry magazine

    MAKEWAY Team

    With all things artisanal and “do-it-yourself” emerging as the zeitgeist of our day, it was just a matter of time before the anti-big-industry movement had its own industry magazine.

    Kyle Studstill is a founder and executive producer of Makeway, a new media company that aims to empower artisanal entrepreneurs through a content platform. He and cofounders Mitch Kapler and Caleb Kramer write that, on New York’s Lower East Side, “we’re witnesses to an exuberant class of entrepreneurs filling our community with diverse cuisine, fashion, art, and business. Despite the frightened media perception, creative business men and women are harnessing technology to deliver a meaningful brand and a superior product, with fewer resources.”

    As marketing consultants to Fortune 500 brands, Studstill says he and his colleagues “started to see small businesses able to compete and thrive on the level big brands were.” As they became fans of “the business owner who is driven by purpose and passion and premium

    Read More »from Artisanal entrepreneurs get their own industry magazine
  • As we reported last week, Google is going to start encrypting all search activity except for clicks on ads. This has huge (and very bad) implications for marketers, who will no longer get valuable keyword data from searches.

    Google says it is making the change to protect people’s privacy when they conduct web searches. Some speculate Google also may be trying to make it harder for the NSA to spy on people.

    But one leading marketing guru says it's something else altogether. Rand Fishkin, a leading SEO expert and founder of Seattle-based consultancy Moz (formerly SEOmoz), says Google is choking off keyword data in order to strong-arm marketers into buying ads through Google’s AdWords program, where keyword data will still be available.

    “If the true goal were to protect user privacy, Google would also remove keyword data from paid search referrals through their AdWords product,” Fishkin says. “However, this is not the case, nor is it planned. Hence, we know that Google must have other

    Read More »from SEO Guru: Google Is Abusing Its Monopoly Power
  • A Year After Sandy, Is Your Business Ready for Another Storm?

    After losing electricity—and the ability to run my home office—for a week after Hurricane Irene in 2011, I waited in a long line at Home Depot to buy a $500 generator. The next year, during Hurricane Sandy, the generator kept the lights, my computer, and the cell phone up and running during another weeklong blackout, but my Internet service was out. I have no way to file stories or get paid without the internet, so I spent three days accessing Wi-Fi from my laptop parked in my car outside the EMS office in my town. Now I have discovered how to convert my phone into a wireless modem with a mobile hotspot service.

    This month marked the peak of the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which lasts through November and, according to NOAA, is still on track to be “above-normal” with a 70 percent chance for 13-19 named storms.

    With my generator and Wi-Fi hotspot, I think my home office is ready for another storm. But according to FEMA, “Research on personal preparedness indicates that individuals

    Read More »from A Year After Sandy, Is Your Business Ready for Another Storm?
  • Announcing a live chat with Envy Labs Founder Gregg Pollack

    The next in our weekly series of live chats will be with Gregg Pollack, founder of Envy Labs at 3 p.m. ET (12 p.m. PT) Thursday, October 3rd. As part of the Young Entrepreneur Council’s #StartupLab initiative, a virtual mentorship program, Gregg will appear live via video chat broadcast.

    Gregg Pollack is the founder of Envy Labs, a consultancy that builds big web applications, and Code School, an online learning platform that teaches software developers new skills. Gregg also helps run Orlando's BarCamp, the Orlando Ruby Users Group, the EdTech Orlando Meetup, and the Orlando Tech Events newsletter. His newest project is Starter Studio, a business accelerator in Orlando.

    #StartupLab is a free virtual mentorship program created by The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of hundreds of America’s most successful young entrepreneurs. #StartupLab takes YEC's mission to help more people start successful businesses to the next level by offering millions of

    Read More »from Announcing a live chat with Envy Labs Founder Gregg Pollack
  • Collecting Money

    If you’re a company who invoices clients for your products or services, then you know what’s it like to have receivables on your books. Managing receivables can be one the hardest, yet most crucial parts of running a business. This is money you are rightfully owed, and most importantly, you certainly need to keep your cash flow healthy and your business running seamlessly. Therefore, evaluating and continually improving your receivables performance management should be a top priority. Asking for money is never fun, but if you can work to make your receivables management process systematic and seamless, you’ll find getting paid becomes a breeze.

    1. Set Expectations Early - If you want customers to pay on time, you need to relay that very early on. Understandably, it seems that this is obvious, but the more diligent you are in explaining your payment terms to customers in the beginning, the better they will be about following them down the line. It’s important to have you customer sign a

    Read More »from 6 Tricks to Enhance Your Receivables Performance Management


(439 Stories)


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

Editor for Yahoo! Small Business

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