Profit Minded
  • Small business owners with retirement plans are saving more for retirement than average American workers, a Fidelity analysis indicates

    So many Americans are unprepared for the costs of retirement that some predict a looming crisis. But small business owners and their employees who put money into retirement accounts might be in better shape than most.

    In an analysis of the balances of 200,000 small business accounts that utilized its SEP-IRA, Self-Employed 401(k), or SIMPLE-IRA plans, Fidelity Investments found that the plans saw an average balance increase of 20 percent between January 2007 and December 2012. Since a 2008 low point, balances have jumped an average of 64 percent, the brokerage reports.

    The Employee Benefit Research Institute reported last month that less than half of American workers “appear to be taking the basic steps needed to prepare for retirement.” While only 13 percent of American workers are “very confident” they will have enough savings to live comfortably after stopping work, only 66 percent report that they or their spouses have saved for retirement at all, according to EBRI’s 2013

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  • What to do while waiting for equity crowdfunding to come

    This time last year, the business press was abuzz with equity-based crowdfunding fanfare. Yahoo! Small Business was no exception. According to the JOBS Act, the SEC was to have established rules by January of this year to make it possible for small businesses and startups to use social media and friends-and-family networks to raise investment or debt-based capital through "crowdfunding."

    Equity based-crowdfunding platforms sprouted up, and members of the sector aligned within new industry-standards organizations, ready to serve cash-strapped small businesses as soon as Washington gave the go-ahead. But the rules have yet to come.

    Elizabeth Smith Kulik, founder and CEO of the crowdfunding platform ProHatch, says she’s not surprised. “A lot of the delay is just the regulatory process, review periods, and comment periods.” Sure, Congress gave the SEC 270 days for rulemaking. “But that was if everything was running on all cylinders. We’ve had an election year and a new SEC chair appointed

    Read More »from What to do while waiting for equity crowdfunding to come
  • Shaking the Bode Tree: VCs and Entrepreneurs “failing-on”

    The king is dead. Long live the king.

    As an avid football fan, I am constantly befuddled by how losing coaches actually get hired by other teams. And, I am not talking about the exceptional coach that just had a few bad seasons. I am talking about the habitual losers. You know the ones - that guy you pray gets hired by your arch-nemesis. Take, for example, Dick Jauron. During his head coaching tenure with the Bears, he put up an “impressive” 35 wins against 45 losses (.438 win percentage). He had one winning season during the entire 5 years he was with the Bears. A year later, he gets hired as the Buffalo Bills head coach. What did Buffalo get for this omnipotent choice? An “outstanding” 24-33 record (.421 win percentage) for the next four years and not one winning season. To be fair, the four years prior, the team went 28-36 (.438 win percentage). Buffalo may just be a glutton for punishment.

    What does this have to do with entrepreneurship? It is the surprising willingness (or, even requirement) by VCs to generally only

    Read More »from Shaking the Bode Tree: VCs and Entrepreneurs “failing-on”
  • If you search for time management books on Amazon, you’ll find 106,960 results demonstrating the universal need for help managing this limited resource. Teaching people how to manage their time is an industry in itself, but every one of us can benefit from the valuable skills they provide.

    We all struggle with managing our time and controlling those things that steal our time. Things like unproductive emails, Internet search rabbit trails or conversations that go off on time-wasting tangents are all examples of things we do that rob us of one of the most valuable resources we have – our time.

    Personal time management dictates how well we can juggle our work responsibilities with our home and social obligations. However, time management skills for entrepreneurs and business leaders alike are critical to organizational success. The most successful organizations have figured out the importance of helping people spend time on those things that align with strategic objectives.

    A recent

    Read More »from Six Tips for Office Time Management
  • Benchmark your small business and win the horse race

    Winning the Race

    Maybe it’s an inherent competitiveness or just the pursuit of improvement, but it’s commonplace for people to seek out benchmarks they can use to assess their relative position or performance. It interests people to know how they compare to their peers. Benchmarks have a place in business, too, and can be an invaluable instrument to help business owners succeed.
    Think about running a business like having a horse running in a horse race. Knowing how a company ranks relative to others—before the starting bell, halfway through the race and right before its conclusion—empowers management to evaluate the company’s performance. Armed with that contextual information, they can potentially adapt strategy and affect the company’s final ranking (if there is a “final ranking” at all in business).

    Where to begin?

    The most difficult step in financial benchmarking is acquiring benchmarks to use. Part of the difficulty stems from ambiguity around the word “benchmark”, which could be interpreted as

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  • How a business can succeed without a boss

    Your business without a boss? If you’re in management, you might not find the idea as thrilling as many beleaguered workers would. But, believe it or not, there are companies that run quite well without anyone in charge. (Some of these have been described recently in articles including Inc’s A Billion Dollar Company with No Bosses?, the Wall Street Journal’s Who’s the Boss? There Isn’t One, and management guru Gary Hamel’s Harvard Business Review essay, First, Let’s Fire All the Managers.)

    To imagine a bossless workplace, and understand why and how to create one, Michelle Benjamin, CEO of Benjamin Enterprises and TalentReady, a company that offers strategic talent management solutions, suggests first defining what a boss is. According to Dictionary.com, it’s “a person who employs or superintends workers.” But that definition falls short. “It lacks purpose. It doesn’t say what are we trying to achieve,” Benjamin says.

    She believes “the true role of the boss is to communicate the

    Read More »from How a business can succeed without a boss
  • Entrepreneurship? “Not for me,” most college students say

    Mark Zuckerberg might have been cast by the media as a Gen Y hero, but it turns out that not too many twenty-somethings want to emulate him. Most college students say they do not aspire to entrepreneurship. Asked in a recent survey if they are interested in starting a company in the next few years, more than 60 percent said “no” and only 8 percent said they are “very” interested. Only about one in five students wish their school offered entrepreneurship courses.

    AfterCollege, an online career network for college students and recent graduates, surveyed 600 of its registered college students from a variety of U.S. colleges and universities. The resulting report, issued jointly today with Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm run by 29-year-old Dan Schawbel, reveals how students are developing their careers while in college. The outlook is rather grim.

    According to "The Student Employment Study," most students do take internships, but most don’t get paid for them, and

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  • Business as usual, starting a business, advice: Small Business Reading for April 19, 2013

    Boston Harbor

    This past week has been a tough one for many in the US - and a hard one during which to remain focused on business. And yet that is what millions of small business owners need to do - not just for themselves but it is important that acts of terror do not deter us and do not make us afraid to carry on. With that in mind this weeks roundup is deliberately dedicated to business as usual.

    I'm going to reiterate our new series on starting a small business - part 3 on the topics of funding and partnerships will be up next wee. This series will run for the rest of this year and walk you through the thought process and practical steps to help you start a business as successfully as possible.

    Is it time to start up that startup business?
    The Yahoo Smart and Simple Guide to Starting a Business: Part 1 - Goals, values and Ideas
    The Yahoo Smart and Simple Guide to Starting a Business: Part 1 - Resources for Goals, values and Ideas

    Build a Winning Business Right from the Start
    The Yahoo Smart and

    Read More »from Business as usual, starting a business, advice: Small Business Reading for April 19, 2013
  • Office culture as important as salary? Many say yes

    If you think your dismal office culture isn’t costing you talented workers, think again. Ninety-five percent of respondents to a recent survey said they consider a positive office culture to be important, and 75 percent said it’s “very important” to them. More than 60 percent said office culture plays an important role in their decision to take a job, and 30 percent said the culture is as important a consideration as salary when considering a job offer.

    uSamp, an online and mobile market research technology company, gathered the data from 1,000 business professionals in more than 40 industries who are part of its exclusive B2B Whiteboard panel.

    Respondents overwhelmingly agreed that the definition of office culture is “an environment that promotes collaboration.” Few were unfamiliar with the term and a majority agreed that their own office culture promoted a good work/life balance. And a good culture is more important than foosball tables, Nerf guns, and bean bag chairs: only 28

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  • The rise of fake followers is a growing issue on Twitter. But how much of an issue? And where do all these fake followers come from?

    The media quantifies success on Twitter for public figures by the number of followers they have. Brands pay celebrities for endorsements on Twitter so they can promote a message to a celebrity’s followers. Kim Kardashian, for example, could earn $10,000 for a single Tweet to her network of 17.5 million followers. The volume of her Twitter following has an undoubtedly positive impact on her income.

    But how much can we trust the number of followers a public figure has? Ever since news broke that a sharp increase in Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Twitter following came from fake accounts, it’s become public knowledge that many celebrities have fake followers. Kim Kardashian is one of those celebrities. According to our research, only 43% of her followers are active and authentic Twitter users. So that $10,000 Tweet only gets seen by about 7.5 million

    Read More »from 10 People You Won’t Believe Have Fake Followers on Twitter

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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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