Profit Minded
  • 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

    Read More »from Your Boss Is Less Stressed Than You
  • 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
  • Is your startup culture award-worthy ?

    Think your startup company is a great place to work? If you’ve created a business culture that demonstrates excellence in talent retention, forward-thinking leadership, innovation, community outreach, workplace wellness, space planning, or design, here’s an opportunity to be recognized for that achievement. As long as you can find someone outside of your company who agrees strongly enough to nominate you, that is.

    The office furniture and design company turnstone has teamed up with Wharton School management professor Peter Cappelli to host a Best Young Companies to Work For contest. Nominations are being accepted through August 23 for businesses no older than 10 years and with fewer than 100 employees. Companies cannot nominate themselves.

    Cappelli, turnstone, and judges from the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation are looking for workplaces that consistently “show that they’ve connected the dots between positive office culture and success

    Read More »from Is your startup culture award-worthy ?
  • Evaluate Social Media

    Facebook just rolled out changes to its News Feed, along with policy changes that will make it easier for marketers to stay on top of what Facebook is doing with its algorithms. And that’s great, right? More information, greater transparency – that’s always good.

    But something occurred to us here in the HubSpot blogging team boiler room as this was happening: How do marketers keep up with all this stuff? Facebook has made a bunch of announcements this year that rose to the level of being billed as an “event.” Facebook’s platform is constantly changing and evolving -- so much so that keeping up with it could be a full-time job.

    And Facebook is only one platform to worry about. If you're a marketer you're also no doubt dealing with Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, and maybe Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, and others.

    How do you cut through the clutter? How do you learn new things? More important, how do you learn which new things are worth learning? How do you develop a BS meter to determine

    Read More »from With Social Media Networks Constantly Changing, How Can You Keep Up?
  • Freelancing is the future, surveys say

    Working for yourself from home is not just a trend to get those who might be "between jobs" through the recession, but is a new way of work that is here to stay. That's according to surveys out this week from two freelancers' marketplaces that contain some surprising data about who's using freelancers and which types of freelancers are having the most success.

    oDesk says businesses have spent more than $1 billion to conduct work using its "online workplace" platform, which features more than 4 million registered freelancers offering more than 2,000 different skills. oDesk CEO Gary Swart says the platform, which has been ranked largest by Staffing Industry Analysts, is "especially empowering startups in emerging hot spots." oDesk data show that 58 percent of hires on its platform are made by businesses that call themselves startups.

    Also surprising is a finding from Rev.com, another online services marketplace, that indicates those without a college education earn more than their higher

    Read More »from Freelancing is the future, surveys say
  • A business born of a broken headlight

    As a 20-something investment banker in New York City, Hans Angermeier was earning a great income in 2010, but he hadn’t forgotten a business idea he’d conceived years earlier. During college, while struggling to replace the headlights in his pickup truck, he thought there ought to be a website for DIY car repair videos.

    Today, his company CarCareKiosk offers more than 13,000 of them for free. For hundreds of automobile makes and models, he and a three-man crew have produced how-to videos for simple jobs such as changing fluids, fuses, and filters or replacing brake lights, batteries, and wiper blades.

    Neither Angermeier nor his colleagues are mechanics. The repairs are the kind anyone could make in their driveway. “We’re a video version of the maintenance section of your owner’s manual,” he says. “The most difficult thing we show is how to change your oil. We’re not dropping any transmissions.” For jobs that require opening the hood, videos start with how to do that.

    Angermeier launched

    Read More »from A business born of a broken headlight
  • How to talk your way out of late fees

    Credit Card Fees

    Isn’t it odd that most of us would rather pay the exorbitant fees from credit cards and banks... instead of picking up the phone and getting them waived?

    In other words, we’d rather pay hundreds of dollars a year instead of enduring a few minutes of awkwardness.

    But the good news is companies are happy to waive these fees. As a customer, you’re worth hundreds -- sometimes thousands -- of dollars to them. They don’t want to lose you for one $35 fee. (In fact, when you take advantage of their credit card benefits, you can often make hundreds of dollars per year!)

    So here are the word-for-word scripts you can use to negotiate these fees. Thousands of my readers have used these to negotiate lower bank fees and credit card fees, as well as lower their cable bills.

    Quick tip: practice reading this out two or three times before you actually make the call. Even though you'll have the words right in front of you, it helps to understand the logic and tone that you are using.

    You: Hi, I noticed I

    Read More »from How to talk your way out of late fees
  • Most successful organizations understand the importance of making their customers happy.  These businesses recognize that customers provide the revenue to pay the bills and are the financial life-line to the organization.

    There are many ways to solicit feedback from customers – surveys, focus groups, comment cards - but what about those things that aren’t reflected in any of those tools?

    Most customers won’t complain when they have a bad experience and but will share a bad experience with others.  People now use social media to vent frustrations, making it important to know when your customers have a bad experience so the issue can be remedied.

    There are some of the things that customers notice but probably won’t tell you.  Maybe because it requires too much energy, maybe because they really don’t care that much or maybe they just don’t like conflict.  Regardless, there are things customers observe and experience that they won’t bother telling you.

    • Bad Website

    A business website is the

    Read More »from 7 Things Your Customer Won’t Tell You!

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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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