Profit Minded
  • Only 23% of small businesses that need capital get it

    This infographic from OnDeck Main has some really fascinating information in it. Although it has an obvious bias toward capital and financial needs, there is some really solid value for a small business owner here. For example - the number in the headline - only 34% of small businesses that need capital get it. How does that come about? Well, only 55% of businesses applied to get capital from some source (15% didn't need any and 30% didn't even try although they needed it). That's already a pretty low percentage, but the next number shows why 30% of small businesses don't even bother to apply for financing. That number is 36% - the number of small businesses that apply for financing that actually get it.

    Some other numbers that show why this is so hard - of those that applied, 83% were denied by their bank - 82%! Some (18%) clearly find financing another way (most likely friends and family financing).

    The only thing I disagree with is that the infographic states that of the people they

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  • Infographic shows the same issues still face Small Business

    Most people seem to feel that we are either in an economic recovery or headed into one or at least pulling out of recession. So with the improving economic climate in mind and new initiatives to help boost small business buying around the big Thanksgiving shopping period (the 'Shop Small' initiative as part of Small Business Saturday on November 30th), BizFilings took a survey of some small business attitudes and combined them with other data into this infographic. Perhaps not surprisingly, they found that even in times of economic recovery, challenges like customer retention and consistent revenue still exist. The BizFilings poll, (BizFilings is an online incorporation provider for more than 500,000 entrepreneurs) 80% of small business owners wish they could solve the challenge of a consistent cash flow.

    State of Small Business
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  • Lawyers create ice cream for carb counters

    Halo Top Creamery founder Justin Woolverton

    Their buttoned-down professional photos and corporate law backgrounds give no clues that Justin Woolverton and Doug Bouton could be the next Ben & Jerry. But if these fitness-oriented Gen-Yers succeed, their Halo Top Creamery could be to health-conscious indulgence what the now-famous Vermont hippies were to socially conscious consumption.

    When they met in a Los Angeles lawyers’ basketball league a few years ago, Woolverton was keeping trim eating an all-natural, high protein, low sugar, low fat ice cream that he made at home in a Cuisinart. “I couldn’t find what I wanted, so I made it myself,” he says.

    Halo Top COO Doug Bouton

    He was getting enough positive feedback on the taste and so much sympathy for his notion that no one ever eats a single serving of ice cream from a pint, that he was thinking about going into business with his low-calorie concoction. In Bouton he found an enthusiastic entrepreneurial partner who was committed enough to quit his law firm job to launch the company while Woolverton

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  • Degrees don’t make a difference to many small employers

    The cost of a college education has parents and students alike questioning the value of a diploma these days. But small business owners have apparently known all along that the job candidate holding the degree isn’t necessarily going to be the better performing employee.

    A recent survey of nearly 1,000 small business owners revealed that half employ some staff without a college degree, and 62 percent say they don’t notice any performance difference between staff with or without college education. The study was done by Manta.

    Business owners themselves, however, are more likely to have post-secondary education. Nearly 70 percent of those polled have a bachelor's degree and most said college was important to their success. Still, 39 percent reported they’re indifferent or do not see any value in higher education for success in the business world.

    Access the full survey results at Manta’s website.

    Infographic: Manta

    Read More »from Degrees don’t make a difference to many small employers
  • What Is CRM? [FAQs]

     

    Today’s question of the day: What is CRM?

     

    Everyone in marketing tosses this acronym around. If you run a small business or work in sales, you've probably heard of CRM. But maybe you're sitting there wondering what those letters could possibly stand for.

    Crazy Red Monkey? Champion Runner Man? Corn Row Marketing? Can’t Read Maps?

    Well, no. It’s Customer Relationship Management.

    See? That clears things up, right? Er, no. The annoying thing about CRM is that even when you find out what the letters stand for, you might still have no idea what this stuff is.

    But fear not, dear reader. Hang in for a few hundred words more, and all will be revealed.

    What Is CRM?

    Customer relationship management refers to a set of software programs that let companies keep track of (that’s the “management” part) everything they do (that’s the “relationship” part) with their existing and potential customers.

    At the simplest level, CRM software lets you keep track of all the contact information for these

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  • Controlling outside legal costs can be daunting for even the most sophisticated small business.  While many counsel brilliantly represent their clients, at times, some counsel fail to supply prompt, clearly efficient billing statements to the same clients. This can result in frustration, and deplete time and resources that entrepreneurs don’t have to spare. The solution is simple: setting clear, written billing expectations – in advance – so that all involved have a clear path.

    Creating clear billing standards, however, is not as easy as it may sound.  The marketplace is filled with consultants and others who offer varied types of help. Business owners can be barraged by an extraordinary variety of urged solutions: some are well-founded, while others only provide partial help.  Pushing past the well-meaning advocates of Alternative Fee Arrangements, e-billing software and various methods of rate control, there are several basic strategies that can prove effective in setting a sensible

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  • Nicole Kelner is one of those people who can make you feel exhausted just by listening to them talk about their day. An energetic advertising major at Penn State University, Kelner, 20, is not only an honors student with a 4.0 GPA, she’s also the president of the Penn State Entrepreneurship Club, editor of the university’s largest co-ed service organization, and is the owner of her own start-up company, Nicole Kelner Designs, a maker of fashion accessories for mobile tech.

    Oh, and Kelner is the entire manufacturing staff for the SmartPurse,™ a wallet/handbag she designed that does double-duty as a waterproof cellphone carrier and was featured in the April edition of Vogue UK magazine. To launch her business, Kelner stitched together 400 SmartPurses in her dorm room in her spare time.

    It’s this indefatigable enthusiasm that helped Kelner win the EmpowerWomen mentorship contest sponsored by global e-commerce website Alibaba.com. Earlier this year, Alibaba.com organizers invited female

    Read More »from At 20, a Student Entrepreneur Already Has a Million-dollar Business Idea
  • Success

    Before beginning my own entrepreneurial journey I became obsessed with studying the business world’s high achievers. Why? Because I was convinced there was some ‘trick’ or hidden secrets to their success that without fully understanding I would fail at business. After reading a lot of egotistical books I realized I my theory was both correct and, frankly, also totally wrong!

    From reading & studying the behaviors of many hyper successful people I began to notice a trend…most of what they had done, were doing and continue to do was just plain old good common sense. No tricks involved! Nonetheless, I’m not knocking their abilities or successes because following good common sense when you are heavily emotionally attached to your business (your baby) is extremely hard! To stay impartial and objective about your business is nearly impossible but those at the top manage for the most part to do so. This being said, they also know when to fight for their dream, ignore others and pursue their

    Read More »from Seven habits of a successful start-up
  • Your Boss Is Less Stressed Than You

    In Control

    So who is better off at work, you or your boss? A Harvard study suggests that it’s your boss because your boss is less stressed. And why is your boss less stressed? It turns out that it is because your boss has control.

    The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked at indicators of stress, including self-reported anxiety and saliva levels of the hormone cortisol and compared them between groups of leaders and non-leaders. Results showed that leaders had statistically significant lower levels of cortisol and lower anxiety than nonleaders. The study was repeated on a second group with similar results.

    The researchers then dug into what led to this lower level of stress in leaders and concluded that a sense of control, specifically to do with being in authority, was the main contributing factor.

    Examining those results in greater detail, researchers found that two measures of leadership — the total number of subordinates and authority over subordinates —were

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  • Older workers are more stable, study finds

    Who would you expect to be the more productive and reliable contributor to your workforce: a 25-year-old or a 70-year-old? New research indicates that retirement-age workers deliver more consistent work—and are less likely to make costly mistakes—than their youthful counterparts.

    Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin found that the cognitive performance of older adults (age 65-80) is far more steady day-to-day and within single days than that of younger adults (age 20-31). The findings are published in the current issue of Psychological Science, a publication of the Association for Psychological Science, in a paper titled "Keeping It Steady: Older Adults Perform More Consistently on Cognitive Tasks Than Younger Adults."

    The psychologists put more than 200 younger and older adults through a series of tasks that tested perceptual speed, episodic memory, and working memory. They repeated the testing over 100 days to assess the participants’ learning

    Read More »from Older workers are more stable, study finds

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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

Editor for Yahoo! Small Business

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