Profit Minded
  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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
  • PayPal and the Death of the Cash Register

    Paypal has a pretty exciting program this Summer for small businesses – yes, that Paypal. Basically they are hoping to really jump on the post-cash-register movement that has slowly been gaining ground. And by jump on we mean with both feet. Hard. If you run a small business and use an old-school cash register they want to convince you to move to their modern payment and inventory system. And to convince you they’ve started a Cash for Registers program that has some great benefits if you are one of the first 10,000 to try it. Starting on July 9, 2013, PayPal will waive transaction fees for up to $20,000 worth of transactions each month through the end of January 2014 if you upgrade to either PayPal Here or a pre-integrated partner solution and spend more than $450 on eligible hardware. You’ll save on transaction feed for swiped credit card, debit card and PayPal payments (both PayPal app mobile payments and PayPal payment card payments) made through the solution you choose (but note

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  • Datamining isn’t just for Big Brother and big businesses

    Housekeepers, exterminators, landscapers, and other small enterprises that make house calls might not seem like candidates for sophisticated data gathering and analysis efforts. But Jeff Annis says he’s “leveraging the microchip” to run his pest control company, Advanced Services in Augusta, Ga., more efficiently than ever. Mining their own data is enabling Annis and other small business owners to serve more customers and generate more revenue with fewer staff.

    By employing software to analyze and re-direct the routes that his technicians drive, for instance, Annis says he saved about 1,000 gallons of gas in one quarter. It added up to far more than a $4-per-gallon savings: “Our average vehicle is getting 20 miles per gallon. That’s 20,000 miles we didn’t drive at 40 miles per hour. And that’s around 500 hours of labor driving around from house to house that we saved,” Annis says. “If you think about all the ramifications of that, it’s time, rubber, risk to the driver, and wear and

    Read More »from Datamining isn’t just for Big Brother and big businesses
  • Dry Fly Distilling owners Don Poffenroth (r) and Kent Fleischmann

    Dry Fly Distilling owners Don Poffenroth (r) and Kent Fleischmann

    At age 44 Don Poffenroth made what some, including his wife, would consider a dubious decision. He invested all of his 401k retirement savings in shares of the startup business Dry Fly Distilling. But seven years later, he has no regrets. Dry Fly is an award-winning microdistillery with 5 employees and $2 million in annual sales.

    “My retirement savings is way, way better off than if it had sat where it was for the same time. I’m millions of dollars ahead of the equation,” he says.

    What gave Poffenroth such faith in that particular Spokane, Wash., spirits maker? He owns it.

    Rolling your 401k savings into a plan that invests solely in your own privately held corporation is a strategy some say has numerous benefits. “We had the ability to go to a bank and we had potential investors,” Poffenroth says, “but this made it so the money was cheaper, and we didn’t have anybody breathing down our necks. It allowed us to take our time with no immediate payments to the bank or returns to the

    Read More »from How investing his 401k savings in whiskey made an entrepreneur millions
  • Private Companies

    Wall Street may get the headlines, but did you know that of the 27 million businesses in the U.S., less than 1 percent are publicly traded on the major exchanges? The rest are privately held, and these private companies represent a vital segment of the U.S. economy.

    Here are four reasons to learn more about private companies.

    Private firms dominate. Out of the 27 million firms in the U.S., nearly all are privately held. Even among the 5.7 million firms with employees, less than 1 percent of them have shares listed on a U.S. exchange. And private firms are a growing majority of U.S. firms. The number of companies listed on U.S. exchanges has fallen from more than 7,000 in 2000 to fewer than 5,000 in 2012, according to statistics from the World Federation of Exchanges.

    It’s true that many private firms are small. But one look at Forbes’ annual list of the biggest private companies in the U.S. shows that some really big companies are privately held. In fact, private firms accounted for 86.4

    Read More »from 4 Reasons Private Companies Matter – A Lot

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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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