Profit Minded
  • Billion Dollar BabyThere was a time, not so very long ago, when $1 billion was a lot of money. But apparently that is no longer the case in Silicon Valley, where these days not a week goes by without a rumor about yet another company raising money at or near a $1 billion valuation.

    Lately there’s been Snapchat, an app that lets you send photos that disappear in seconds, which TechCrunch reports has raised money at an $800 million valuation, two weeks after originally reporting that the company was being valued at $1 billion. Also rumored to be valued at $1 billion are Path, a social network, and Fab.com, an online commerce site.

    This might not be so strange, except these companies (e.g. Snapchat, Path) have little in the way of revenue, and as for profits, well, you must be joking.

    If this seems a bit extreme to you, you’re not alone. As Quentin Hardy of the The New York Times recently reported, “The number of privately held Silicon Valley companies that are worth more than $1 billion shocks even the

    Read More »from Billion-Dollar Babies: Are All These Little Companies Really Worth $1 Billion?
  • There aren’t many people as qualified as AJ Ware is to teach entrepreneurship to convicts.

    After serving a four-year sentence for committing robbery with a dangerous weapon at age 25, Ware was on food stamps when he started a house painting company with $25. He grew it to 18 employees generating close to $3 million in annual revenues, and sold it. Now, at 43, he’s the owner-operator of a racetrack in North Carolina with “a nice home, a car, a wife, kids, the whole nine yards,” he says.

    For the past year, he’s also been Executive Director of Inmates to Entrepreneurs. The nonprofit organization was founded in 2008 as the community outreach arm of Raleigh, NC, financial information company Sageworks, and is now a separate organization that Sageworks employees continue to support with time and resources.

    With a mission to reduce recidivism and support small business in the region, Inmates to Entrepreneurs offers business seminars and one-to-one mentoring at state prisons. Ware says, the

    Read More »from From inmate to entrepreneur: How a successful ex-con is helping others start businesses
  • No website? Why you should go for a mobile app instead

    Is your small business among the many that still haven’t gotten around to establishing a website? Here’s advice you might not have heard before: forget about it. With consumers increasingly using mobile devices to find businesses and shop online, a mobile app could be a better way to bring in customers than a traditional website.

    Paul Choi, CEO of the design and development firm Worry Free Labs, which has created apps for well-known brands including Disney, says, “Everything is moving to mobile. The trends are enormous, especially for the 18-40 year old market.” Choi sees Mom & Pop shops using mobile apps to engage customers outside of purchasing goods. And smart retailers use apps to create loyalty programs that get customers in the door, but also let the business track users' behaviors, such as how often they’re purchasing which goods, he says.

    Starbucks’s app is one stellar example: “Their loyalty points program gives you a free cup of coffee on your birthday and lets customers store

    Read More »from No website? Why you should go for a mobile app instead
  • How a used car salesman closes deals with a mobile app

    Yossi Levi of Dani's Auto Sales

    Without his tech-savvy 20-year-old son's input, it's unlikely that used car salesman Dani Levi would be using a mobile app to move inventory. But that he is.

    Yossi Levi says he practically grew up at his dad's business, Dani's Auto Sales in Philadelphia. And today, in addition to studying finance and marketing at Temple University, he's in charge of "all the marketing and anything to do with advertising" for the family business.

    The younger Levi says the idea for creating a car sales app came to him when he stumbled across a Facebook ad for Conduit, a company that offers DIY tools to enable individuals and businesses to create their own apps and mobile websites. "I always look for new and fresh opportunities, and this was something no other dealers in the area had," Levi says.

    Using the Conduit tools, he built a mobile app that customers can install on their iPhones and Androids. It offers the dealership's entire current inventory, coupons and discounts, a credit application function,

    Read More »from How a used car salesman closes deals with a mobile app
  • Optimistic business owners will work on vacation

    Hard working and eternally optimistic. Those are the traits that seem to characterize the majority of small business owners we write about here, and they're verified by those who responded to a survey conducted in May by Rocket Lawyer. The online legal services provider polled more than 1,000 of its small business customers nationwide in its 2013 Semiannual Small Business Survey.

    More than half of respondents across all age groups say their businesses have been growing or even "booming" in the first half of 2013. More than one-third say business is still flat and not much has changed since a year ago, but an overwhelming number of respondents—73%—say they expect the second half of this year to be better. Rocket Lawyer's June 2013 survey results show markedly increased optimism since a year ago, when the survey showed that 56% had such sunny outlooks, but a slight drop in optimism since January 2013, when 81% predicted the next 6 months would bring better business.

    Rocket Lawyer infographic

    How do small

    Read More »from Optimistic business owners will work on vacation
  • When things go wrong. Leadership lessons from Lieutenant General David Morrison

    Things go wrong in business all the time. Mostly they are small problems and can be dealt with just by accepting them and dealing with them. But big problems, crises, are a different matter. Suddenly the future of the business is in question - and that makes dealing with the problem that much harder. But confronting problems is at heart the same no matter how big or small and no matter the venue.

    One of the best demonstrations of how to confront problems the right way came just yesterday from the Australian Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, AO, to the Australian Army. Before you do anything else, watch the video embedded below and think about the ramifications for the Australian Army, Australian society and how Morrison is facing this problem. Other military leaders can learn from his example. And so can business leaders - both on this topic but also around any serious problem.

    The story essentially is that it has come to light that a group of Australian Army officers and

    Read More »from When things go wrong. Leadership lessons from Lieutenant General David Morrison
  • Angie's List founder Angie Hicks is among Small Business Week speakers whose talks will be livestreamed.

    During the 50th annual National Small Business Week, the US Small Business Administration will offer tips, tools, and training on a variety of topics for small business owners. Register to attend live, or stay home and watch it all on your computer screen June 17-21.

    At live events five days next week in Seattle, Dallas, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and finally Washington, registered participants can attend workshops on topics including how to start a business, exporting, going global, blogging, cyber security, finding capital, supplier diversity, social media, crowdsourcing, small business certifications, and the Affordable Care Act.

    But you don’t need to register or even leave your shop, office, or home to glean all the same information online. All events will be live-streamed at the SBA Small Business Week website.

    SBA will also host daily online Google+ Hangout panel discussions with leading small business vendors and supporters Monday-Thursday starting at 4:00 pm EDT. Participants in

    Read More »from Live Stream Small Business Week to Hear Angie Hicks, Jack Dorsey, Fran Tarkenton
  • Join a live Twitter chat: The Online Generation: Turning Browsers into Buyers

    ysmallbusiness twitter chat

    Next week is National Small Business Week. We’ve got a few surprises planned – so check back here on Monday!

    One event we have planned is not a surprise – please join Yahoo! Small Business as we celebrate National Small Business Week with an hour long Twitter chat -- The Online Generation: Turning Browsers into Buyers -- focused on providing small business owners with tips and insights on how to drive real sales in a world that increasingly starts online.

    We will discuss how the online generation is driving new customer expectations, experiences, and choices and how that affects all small businesses as they look for increased sales and new customers while competing in a tough market. We’ll take a look at mobile, social media, how savvy online shoppers have changed how they choose businesses and everything else to do with the new online commerce experience.

    We are VERY happy to have Scott Gerber, serial entrepreneur, author and founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council and Phyllis

    Read More »from Join a live Twitter chat: The Online Generation: Turning Browsers into Buyers
  • Teen Entrepreneurs Take on Avon

    Brea (l) and Halle Holmes founders and CEOs of Sweet Dream Girlz

    Halle Holmes was 10 years old in 2010 when she came home empty-handed and aggravated after a trip to the local mall. As hostess of an upcoming spa party, she had her heart set on finding all-natural beauty products in fun fragrances that her girlfriends would like and her sensitive skin could tolerate.

    “We didn’t want to smell like lavender and sweet pea. We wanted something youthful smelling,” she says. Downright indignant that no such product existed, Halle says she turned to her teenage sister Brea and said, “Why don’t we start our own?”

    As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. The Holmes sisters began researching their idea online, tapped their family dermatologist for advice, and sent their mom out to investigate a few cosmetics manufacturers they identified.

    With $6,000 in startup funding from their parents, Halle and Brea officially launched their beauty products business the same year. Named Sweet Dream Girlz for a favorite Beyonce song, the Holmes’ line of

    Read More »from Teen Entrepreneurs Take on Avon
  • Viral Video

    Social marketing is all about sharing content that your audience shares in turn, expanding your reach and getting your message out to more and more people. But guessing — and second guessing — what the next viral trend will be doesn’t get you any closer to social success.

    So just how do successful brands go about creating and sharing content that goes viral? We spoke with both content marketers and content creators to get their perspectives on the process. Here’s what they advised when it comes to creating and marketing that all-elusive viral content.

    Making Videos that Resonate with Viewers

    “The phrase ‘go viral’ is slightly misleading,” says David Waterhouse, Head of Content for Unruly Media, a firm that tracks online video successes and maintains the Viral Video Chart. “Viral suggests something that is random, untargeted and out of control. They are the exception, not the rule, and that’s why it’s a terrible tactic for brands to focus on. The good news for marketers is that unlike

    Read More »from Behind the Scenes on Successful Viral Video Advertising Campaigns

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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

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