Profit Minded
  • Business owners redefine “vacation”

    Summer is the season that tests your entrepreneurial mettle more than others: Do you love being your own boss enough to skip the family vacation again?

    Last year we reported on a survey that revealed nearly half of small business owners did not have time to take a summer vacation in 2012. Most of those who did have time said they would work while away. So it seems good news that 63 percent of small business people this year say they have committed to take one summer vacation, according to a survey conducted last month by j2 Global. The provider of business cloud services and digital media polled more than 2,500 U.S. small business owners and employees who are customers of its eVoice, eFax, and Campaigner services.

    infographic: j2 Global

    The definition of vacation, however, seems to have changed. "Freedom or release from duty, business, or activity," is one way Dictionary.com still translates the word. Last month, we reported results of a similar survey which asked small business owners, "How frequently do you

    Read More »from Business owners redefine “vacation”
  • Cloud Services

    There are myriad challenges in starting a business from your home. Just getting the infrastructure in place to conduct business can seem like a daunting task, much less actually creating a successful operation. Fortunately, the proliferation of cloud services has been a boon to small businesses. Everything from legal services to phone and fax to computer backup can now be done over the Internet. Not only does this make these services more convenient and quicker to set up, but they are also usually much cheaper and easier to use.

    At NextAdvisor.com, we’ve tested and reviewed many of the best cloud services for small businesses.  Here are some of our top picks to get your home-based business up and running quickly and inexpensively:

    Legal Services: The legal aspects of setting up a business can be confusing, and hiring a lawyer can be costly. Deciding on the optimal legal structure can have enormous tax and liability implications down the road, so there are some critical choices to

    Read More »from The Best Tools To Get Your Home-Based Business Off The Ground
  • A self-promotion pro tells how to get ahead

    Consultant Dan Schawbel is the author of Promote Yourself

    Dan Schawbel’s new book is called Promote Yourself, and there can be no doubt he’s walking the talk. Any author who can get book-cover testimonials from the likes of Daniel Pink, Stephen Covey, Jack Canfield, Guy Kawasaki, Gretchen Rubin and more than a dozen other captains of industry, media, and self help has every right to call himself an authority on getting recognized at work.

    Schawbel’s first book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future, published in 2010, described how to leverage social media to get a job. The 29-year-old has since forged a career for himself as a consultant, speaker, and author helping his Generation Y peers thrive in the new economy. But his insights can serve anyone grappling with what he calls “the new rules for career success.”

    Nearly a year ago this blog featured Schawbel’s advice on how to build a personal brand. His new book, due out September 3 and available for pre-order now, lists some rules that should be plainly evident to anyone by now, such as

    Read More »from A self-promotion pro tells how to get ahead
  • Accountant

    Being entrepreneurial doesn’t end at starting a business; it means constantly striving to perfect your business model and quickly and continually adapting to change.

    While “big data” has become a buzz word and the ability to readily capture data to inform business decisions has significantly increased in recent years, overlooked in this data grab is the importance of financial data and accountants, specifically.

    You may just think of your accountant when it’s time to file your taxes, but he or she actually holds the secret to how healthy your company is and what to do about it.

    What the accountant has is a mass of financial data, and with the right amount of financial data, a good accountant can almost instantly identify a business’s strengths and weaknesses.

    Are your costs of goods sold too high? Are your prices too low? Do you have a manager whose team is particularly productive?

    Your accountant likely has the answers to all of these questions and the data to back them up.

    Entrepreneurs

    Read More »from How Entrepreneurs Should Use Their Accountants
  • Can parents raise kids to be entrepreneurs?

    Young Entrepreneur

    Colleges around the country are nurturing startup founders with classes and clubs in entrepreneurship. But some parents start even earlier, grooming offspring with the potential to be the next Nicholas Woodman or Sara Blakely (two of the world’s youngest self-made billionaires). Yahoo! Small Business spoke to several young entrepreneurs and their parents to find out if there’s a parenting style that inspires kids to grow up to be business owners.

    Matt Lautz was 16 when he started his first a software development business. There have been other startups as well as mergers and acquisitions for the wunderkind over the years since. Today, at 31, he’s a leader of Milwaukee’s emerging startup community and president of CorvisaCloud, which he grew to 100 employees in under three years.

    As a kid, Lautz says, “When I wanted things that weren’t necessities, I was told to get a job.” He went to work on the helpdesk for an internet service provider. But after solving the same user problem for the

    Read More »from Can parents raise kids to be entrepreneurs?
  • Great Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization

    The nice people at Simply Business in the UK came up with this fantastic guide to conversion rate optimization - in other words - how to get your website to convert to sales better. Just click on the graphic below to be taken to the original.


    Click image to open interactive version (via Simply Business).

  • Galloping from pop-up shop to thriving retail business

    Farmyard Darlings owners Kim Berry (left) and Carole Sinclair

    Until about three years ago, Carole Sinclair had a solid career as a Silicon Valley public relations executive. But at heart she has always been a country girl who’d rather be riding a horse than commuting on US 101 to a high-tech office. She was also a self-confessed hoarder of vintage Americana. In 15 years of collecting saddles, typewriters, linens, and other old treasures, she had filled a garage, never quite sure what she would do with it all.

    Then, at a formal party several years ago she met Kim Berry, a fellow farm gal disguised as a Nordstrom buyer. The only two women in the room wearing cowboy boots that night, they became instant best friends.

    The two decided to team up in an effort to give a new life to Sinclair’s garage full of collectibles. In 2010, they found a vacant cottage where they could host a pop-up vintage sale. The location, in Lafayette, Calif., was ideal: behind a charming nursery garden, adjacent to a 5-star restaurant, and a 15-minute drive from downtown San

    Read More »from Galloping from pop-up shop to thriving retail business
  • A way to make a business of teaching what you know

    Patricia Boudier teaches organic gardening at Curious.com

    Have a skill that you can teach on camera? Justin Kitch has created a way for you to make a business out of sharing what you know—or to share what you know as a way of marketing your business.

    Kitch, who sold his paid web-hosting service, Homestead Technologies, to Intuit for $170 million six years ago, raised $7.5 million in venture capital to launch Curious.com last month to “help people who have expertise to create intellectual property they can monetize.” A few hundred thousand visitors have checked it out, and tens of thousands have enrolled in the video lessons, he says.

    Judging from content already on the site, lessons can be in anything from advanced math to automotive repair, from ballroom dancing to beard trimming, and hundreds of other subjects.

    Sure, you can find many such experts on YouTube—cooking instructors, gardening gurus, and makeup application pros all share their knowledge there for free. But Kitch says YouTube doesn’t let learners interact with instructors, and it

    Read More »from A way to make a business of teaching what you know
  • In 1997, Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen coined the term “Innovator’s Dilemma” to describe the situation in which a company becomes the victim of its own success and gets toppled by new technologies.

    The term gets bandied about quite a bit, but lately it has been applied to an unlikely target, a corporation that until recently has been seen as invincible, superhuman, and immune to the forces that disrupt ordinary organizations: Apple.

    Roger McNamee, co-founder of private equity firm Elevation Partners, tells Bloomberg TV: “Apple is caught in a classic innovator’s dilemma. They’re doing the same things that they were doing five years ago. The difference is that five years ago they were creating the smartphone market.”

    And there’s Olof Schybergson, CEO of a consultancy called Fjord, writing on GigaOm that, “As things unfold over the next few years, Apple will probably become a new textbook example of the Innovator’s Dilemma.”

    These comments are coming out in the wake of

    Read More »from Apple's iDilemma: Can Apple Escape the Whirlwind of Disruption?
  • Social Strategy

    Last week, Facebook made waves with its announcement that the network would roll out support for clickable hashtags. This is welcome news to many brands, especially those that have been successful with hashtag campaigns on Twitter, Instagram, and other social sites.

    Using hashtags on Facebook won’t just be a matter of copying your strategy from other networks. Marketers won’t be able to purchase hashtags for their advertising use, and the privacy limitations of status updates creates an unusual framework for companies to work within. We spoke with three experts for an inside look at how they plan to navigate this new tool.

    Bizzy Coy is the creative supervisor of content at Situation Interactive, an agency that represents live entertainment brands from Broadway shows to the Guggenheim museum. Syed Balkhi, president of holding company Awesome Motive, told us about his marketing plans for WPBeginner, an educational site about blogging platform WordPress. Casey Smith of Bibo International

    Read More »from 3 Marketers Tell Us How They Plan to Leverage Facebook Hashtags

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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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