Profit Minded
  • Summer's coming for everyone. For some of us it is basically already here. School's going to be out soon. And it's just over a week to Memorial Day. The challenge for the business owner is that for some businesses this heralds a slow time when sales dip and it becomes a struggle to keep the doors open. While for others. this is the busy time - the precious few months to make most of the money for the year. Either way, the challenge is that you need to maximize your sales and find more customers. We've tried to include a good set of articles below to help you out. For those of you that haven't yet taken the jump into starting your own business, you can get started with our series on starting a business - the links to the three articles that make up part four (all about naming your business) are below and you can find the links to parts 1 through 3 in them.

    Read More »from Advice, getting help, marketing tips and the return of Summer: Small Business Reading for May 17th, 2013
  • Despite the fact that the cost of providing healthcare benefits is rising at a slower pace, organizations continue to look for ways to control healthcare costs. Anyone who administers an employer-sponsored health plan understands that the cost of healthcare coverage is more expensive for organizations that employ unhealthy people. This understanding led companies to embrace wellness programs.

    Corporate wellness programs can consist of multiple approaches. Many businesses concentrate on weight loss programs for employees after they have a medical exam. Others stock vending machines with healthy snacks only. A corporation can even encourage employees to walk during break and lunch times. Other long-term strategies include newsletters that keep everyone up to date on health issues and guest speakers.

    Improving employee health is vital to a successful business and its bottom line. Businesses can gain a handle on healthcare costs if their employees are healthier and make fewer trips to

    Read More »from Reasons to Consider a Company Wellness Program
  • Mobile Credit
    In order to pay bills and stave off creditors, many small business owners have traditionally used a line of credit or taken out a new card for their business while waiting for invoices to get paid. Nearly half of small business owners surveyed by Bank of America last year said not getting paid on time was their biggest challenge. But for many, that may soon be a thing of the past.

    More and more businesses are turning to an array of payment applications and technological devices that instantly convert sales into cash. They include Intuit GoPayments, PayPal Here, PaySimple, and Square Card Reader. The popularity of these new technologies is soaring as more and more small businesses embrace emerging mobile technology payment solutions.

    PaySimple, a Denver-based company that entered the marketplace in 2006, now counts 10,000 small businesses as customers. The company saw a 50 percent increase in users last year. Others, like Flint Mobile Inc., take photos of credit cards with an iPhone and

    Read More »from Mobile Payment Strategies for Today’s Small Business Owner
  • Would an Internet Sales Tax cost or win you customers?

    If you buy or sell over the Internet, you likely have an opinion on The Marketplace Fairness Act. And if you’re like most Americans surveyed earlier this month, you don’t like it one bit.

    The proposed law, which passed the Senate 10 days ago and now awaits vote in the House, would permit states to require some online retailers to collect appropriate local and state sales taxes. The law would only apply to sellers with at least $1 million in sales in states where they don’t have physical operations. And it would only apply to purchases made by customers in states where sales tax is already collected on similar purchases from non-online retailers.

    In fact, by law, consumers are already required to pay state sales tax on their online purchases. But when online retailers don’t collect, most consumers don’t voluntarily pay, and states have a hard time enforcing the law. The argument of those who support The Marketplace Fairness Act is that passing a bill allowing states to require retailers

    Read More »from Would an Internet Sales Tax cost or win you customers?
  • Generation Y gives entrepreneurship a new definition

    Infographic: The oDesk and Millennial Branding Spring 2013 Future of Work SurveyTo be an entrepreneur you need not own a business, risk your personal capital, create jobs, or even work your rump off. You just need to have a certain mindset. At least that’s the definition of entrepreneurship offered by the expanding freelance workforce.

    Survey results released today by the consulting firm Millennial Branding and oDesk reveal that 90 percent of independent workers and “solopreneurs” associate “being an entrepreneur” with having a mindset to “see opportunities, take risks, and make things happen,” rather than with having actually started a company. In fact, more than half of freelancers consider themselves to be entrepreneurs, according to survey results.

    On behalf of Millennial Branding and oDesk, Genesis Research Associates surveyed more than 3,000 freelancers worldwide—over 60 percent of them between 19 and 30 years old (a.k.a. “millennials” or members of Generation Y) to examine their perspectives on the future of work. Small business owners might say their

    Read More »from Generation Y gives entrepreneurship a new definition
  • Business Debt

    Debt Service Coverage

    One of the most basic measures of a company’s creditworthiness is the Debt Service Coverage ratio, which shows a firm’s ongoing ability to keep in control both debt and interest. The Debt Service Coverage Ratio, defined as EBITDA divided by a firm’s current portion of long-term debt and interest expense, is an extremely important metric for predicting default. More than half of the banks and asset-based lenders in the Pepperdine Capital Markets survey said this statistic was important or very important in their lending decisions.

    Given its role in lending decisions, an improvement to the Debt Service Coverage Ratio can be beneficial, and it can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Cutting expenses may boost the firm’s EBITDA, even if debt and interest payments stay the same.

    But a business can also improve this ratio by focusing on debt and interest expense. Short of extending the term of a loan or refinancing to lower interest expense, one effective way of tackling

    Read More »from Looking to apply for a business loan? Three areas of improvement for your small business
  • Mothers and raising a business right: Small Business Reading for May 10th, 2013

    This weekend it is Mother's Day - something that EVERYONE has in common. We have a nice article about the founder of the day/event itself (see below) but it is also worth taking some time to think about your Mother. For a small business, the founder is like its mother. You conceived the business and nurtured it. But since the only way your business is going to thank you is by repaying your hard work, how about taking the time to think about it as your child. What needs nurturing - and what needs a bit of tough love? And for those of you who are business-mothers-to-be, we are continuing to build out our series on starting a business - the links to the three articles that make up part four (all about naming your business) are below and you can find the links to parts 1 through 3 in them.

    Read More »from Mothers and raising a business right: Small Business Reading for May 10th, 2013
  • Who founded Mother’s Day?

    AnnaMarieJarvisMother’s Day was founded in 1907 by a West Virginia woman as a tribute to her own mother. In her 40s, Anna Marie Jarvis, a college graduate, quit her job and incorporated herself as the Mother’s Day International Association.

    Jarvis was so passionate about her vision that she succeeded within 6 years in persuading the governors of nearly every state in the union to embrace Mother’s Day. By 1914, she had won over the U.S. Congress. That year President Woodrow Wilson signed a Congressional resolution declaring the second Sunday in May the nation’s day to honor mothers (for their role in the family, however, not the public sphere).

    Rampant commercialization of Mother’s Day has kept it alive for a century, but the strong-willed Jarvis, ironically, detested any profiting from the holiday. She believed offspring should honor mothers with handmade gifts and letters, rather than with printed greeting cards and floral arrangements. So, after succeeding in seeing Mother’s Day widely adopted,

    Read More »from Who founded Mother’s Day?
  • Program pays small businesses to hire injured federal workers

    Would you seek out a new hire who was home with an injury collecting workers’ compensation insurance? What if the government paid you to?

    Partnership for Employment, an initiative of the nonpartisan group Women Impacting Public Policy, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, is designed to incentivize small businesses to hire government workers who are unable to return to their jobs due to an injury.

    WIPP board member Lisa Firestone, who has coordinated the pilot phase of the Partnership for Employment, calls it a “win-win-win” for government, small business, and injured workers.

    As the President and owner of Managed Care Advisors, Firestone’s specialty is assisting with the recovery and return to work of injured federal employees. As a government contractor, she also knows well the challenges of small businesses. Winning a contract can mean you need to staff up quickly. “Small businesses don’t have their own

    Read More »from Program pays small businesses to hire injured federal workers
  • How a billionaire is changing small business owners’ lives

    Aileron founder Clay Mathile

    Clay Mathile says he feels deep gratitude for two groups of people: those who risk their own capital to create jobs, and the mentors who helped him do the same as owner and CEO of the IAMS Company.

    So, since selling that dog and cat nutrition business to Procter & Gamble for $2.3 billion in 1999, Mathile has gone to great lengths to show his appreciation by helping other business owners be successful. He invested more than $150 million to transform the former “Iams University” employee-training program into Aileron, a nonprofit organization with a mission to ”unleash the potential of private businesses through professional management.” Today, more than 10,000 people a year visit the 70,000-square foot Aileron facility on a 114-acre campus in Tipp City, Ohio, for a variety of management training courses delivered by consultants who have all run their own businesses.

    Business owners who have taken the two-day President’s Course say the experience has been transformative. “Life changing

    Read More »from How a billionaire is changing small business owners’ lives


(431 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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