Profit Minded
  • 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, 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!
  • Boot camp to help women shape up their businesses

    If every woman who owns a business in the U.S. were able to bring on one new employee, they’d collectively add 8 million jobs to the economy. That statistic is one inspiration for a new boot camp for women CEOs announced this week by American Express OPEN.

    Recent research from the small business division of the financial services company shows that women are starting businesses at a rate 150% higher than the national average, and that “their revenue and employment growth rates exceed all but the largest, publicly traded corporations.” But only 2 of every 100 women-owned firms have crossed the million-dollar threshold. It’s easy to see how unlocking the full potential of the other 98 percent could have an impact.

    OPEN for Women: CEO BootCamp will kick off with a daylong summit in New York on September 20. The agenda is not yet set, but registration is free and open on a first-come-first-serve basis to all women entrepreneurs, regardless of industry, size, or revenue.

    Following the summit,

    Read More »from Boot camp to help women shape up their businesses
  • Entrepreneur clears hurdles to a “Made in USA” label

    A stitcher works in American Blanket Company's Fall River, Mass., factory

    Rick Lotuff is a third-generation manufacturer whose first claim to fame was starting the Berkshire Blanket Company in 1993 when he was 21 years old. He has high hopes that his second claim to fame will be reawakening an industry that once thrived in an historic New England town.

    In September 2012, Lotuff launched American Blanket Company in Fall River, Mass., and has so far hired five of the town’s talented textile cutters and sewers. “Our goal is to build the best product we can, incorporating an American workforce and getting people back to work in a city that has seen a lot of difficulty,” Lotuff says.

    The labels on every kind of fabric-based product in your home offer evidence that running a textile business in the U.S. in 2013 is not common. Lotuff says market forces ultimately pushed manufacturing for his first company offshore (he sold Berkshire in 2006), and it wasn’t easy to establish a new business offering an American-made product.

    But he was determined to offer consumers a

    Read More »from Entrepreneur clears hurdles to a “Made in USA” label
  • On his way to becoming one of the world’s wealthiest businessmen, Clay Mathile says he made numerous mistakes that brought his company “close to meeting a haymaker.” He once hired a blind truck driver, and he sent a dog-hating sales exec to dog shows, for instance.

    But the biggest thing that got in the way of Mathile’s eventual success, he says, was his own behavior. It took some brutally honest feedback from peers and employees for him to see that “I wasn’t developing my people; I was manipulating them.”

    Mathile shares that and other hard-earned wisdom in “Run Your Business, Don’t Let It Run You,” published this week. It’s a must-read for any small business owner who is looking for the key to growth, sustainability, and even personal happiness. Subtitled “learning and living professional management,” the book’s jacket promises entrepreneurs “no more 16-hour days.”

    Mathile became owner of the IAMS pet food company in 1982 at age 41, grew it from half a million to $1 billion in sales, and

    Read More »from Your Business Rules Your Life? Help from a Billionaire Who’s Been There
  • Values, Integrity, Hard Work and Great Food. An Interview with Cat Cora

    Cat CoraCat Cora is a dynamo. She’s the first female Iron Chef and cookbook author, restaurateur, and co-host of BRAVO’s “Around the World in 80 Plates.” Plus she has a cookware line, two food product lines and even a line of women’s lifestyle shoes. She’s also built her multiple businesses from the ground up and is a stellar example of entrepreneurial drive.

    We spoke to her briefly about her businesses and how she built them, the challenges she faced and the advice she has for other would-be entrepreneurs.

    YSB Advisor: "Can you tell us a little bit about your various businesses - what they are and which are important to you?"

    Cat Cora: "They are all important. We get lots of opportunities and the ones that I collaborate and partner with are the ones that have the same philosophies and goals, the same work ethic. That’s really important. What is this going to do for us and where is it going to take us?

    Take the food products [Cat Cora’s Kitchen]. One is with Gaea, a company out of Greece that does

    Read More »from Values, Integrity, Hard Work and Great Food. An Interview with Cat Cora


(440 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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