Profit Minded
  • Small Business Rising

    There is an accepted belief in politics and generally in the economy that small business is the engine of the American economy. But recently there has been a backlash with people trying to make a case that larger corporations are really the economic engine – creating more jobs and driving larger revenues. And sometimes it seems like government agrees – for all the rhetoric from both parties, very little is actually done to make things better for small businesses specifically. So who is right?

    This infographic from OnDeck Capital has some of the answers. But it also highlights how much small businesses are in fact in danger from big business moving in and homogenizing local markets throughout the US. Here at Yahoo! Small Business Advisor we are obviously small business partisans – but every big business was a small business first. And the new legal and political rules categorically do favor larger businesses which can afford to support SuperPACs and lobbyists to drive regulation that

    Read More »from Small Business Rising
  • Sequestered

    As the deadline for averting major government spending cuts has arrived, several reports have noted that the so-called sequestration will mean a cut in U.S. Small Business Administration loan guarantees that could help small businesses access $902 million in capital.
    One bright spot in the lending picture may be that private companies appear to be better positioned to borrow than they were a year ago, which could help improve their prospects if they seek non-government loans, according to data from Sageworks Inc., a financial information company.

    Sageworks this week released a monthly report on the state of privately held U.S. companies, showing that the average company’s likelihood of credit default has declined over the last year. And private companies have continued to increase sales and improve their net margins in the period ending January 2013, the report said.

    “While the sequester’s impact on businesses remains to be seen, the good news is that private companies are in pretty

    Read More »from Private companies’ health heading into sequestration
  • Entrepreneurship, Boomers and Knowledge: Small Business reading for March 1st, 2013

    Growing WisdomSome of the best stories from the past week on Advisor - in no particular order.

    Baby Boomers' say they are more entreprenurial than their offspring. [There is evidence to support this and also evidence against it. Certainly more older people are starting more businesses and are they tend to be more successful at it than younger people - but more younger people are also starting more businesses.]

    Shaking the Bode Tree: The Value of Knowledge. [Another great post from Chris Myers of Bode Tree discussing how much better it is to make decisions from a position of knowledge than pretending not to hear bad news.]

    How funding mompreneurs is good for Kimberley-Clark. [Taking word-of-mouth to a whole new level and enabling some entrepreneurial activity at the same time.]

    Three ways personal financial advisors mislead you. [Ramit Sethi has some counterintuitive financial advice that is also useful for helping you set priorities.]

    Global Trading Tips: The Fivefold Path To Quality Control.

    Read More »from Entrepreneurship, Boomers and Knowledge: Small Business reading for March 1st, 2013
  • Shaking the Bode Tree: The Value of Knowledge

    Looking for Knowledge

    Sometimes, ignorance truly is bliss – like when you are enjoying your favorite cheesecake and have no idea how many calories you have ingested. But in business, feigning like an ostrich and putting your head in the sand generally does not work out too well. That is why it is essential to stay on top of the trends in your business, no matter how difficult they may be to hear and accept. Knowing information is the first step in solving emerging problems.

    Don’t get me wrong; life should not be spent dwelling on negatives. In fact, positive individuals are 30% more likely to be successful than their pessimistic brethren. But, the most successful leaders inspire confidence through positively addressing challenges and winning through them rather than being positive without knowledge.

    How can you identify developing issues in your business?

    1) Seek out non-confirming information. We are all hard-wired to find evidence that supports our thesis and ideals. By actively pursuing facts counter

    Read More »from Shaking the Bode Tree: The Value of Knowledge
  • How funding mompreneurs is good for Kimberly-Clark

    Stephen Paljieg, Senior Director, Corporate Growth and Innovation for Kimberly-Clark, says he was shocked to learn that there are 6 million entrepreneurial moms in the U.S. The number showed great promise for a concept Paljieg was considering a few years ago to crowdsource new product ideas for Kimberly-Clark’s Huggies brand from its customer base.

    Clearly there are a lot of people buying Huggies diapers and wipes who have great ideas. And considering the fact that less than 3 percent of all venture capital dollars go to women-owned startups, Paljieg realized the best way to get input from mompreneurs would be to offer them what they needed most: financial resources to get their ideas off the ground.

    Paljieg described the Huggies MomInspired Grant Program at the Crowdopolis Big Apple meeting in New York this week. For women who have business or product ideas “inspired by the joys of motherhood,” the program, which Paljieg says will call for a new round of applicants this May, could be

    Read More »from How funding mompreneurs is good for Kimberly-Clark
  • Baby boomers say they’re more entrepreneurial than their offspring

    Millennial Branding study data by Monster, with icon and graphics by CharfishDesign

    Widespread technology access has eliminated many barriers to starting a new business in the past decade. And with 20-something business founders like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Rent-the-Runway’s Jennifer Hyman dominating headlines, it’s easy to believe that Generation Y youth have not just easier access but more entrepreneurial chutzpah than their baby boomer parents. But a new survey debunks that notion.

    Monster.com and Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm, found in a survey of more than 2,800 Monster users that 45 percent of Baby Boomers (typically defined as the group born between the mid-1940s and mid-1960s) and 41 percent of Gen-Xers (born mid-1960s to early 1980s) consider themselves to be entrepreneurial. Only 32 percent of Generation Y (born early 1980s to early 2000s) respondents do.

    Members of Gen Y also confess to being less comfortable with risk than their elders. Only 28 percent of Gen Y respondents identified with being “high risk,” compared to

    Read More »from Baby boomers say they’re more entrepreneurial than their offspring
  • Money Secrets

    Why is all money advice the same? Why do so-called “experts” keep giving us confusing advice that never seems to work?

    For example, my favorite chestnut -- “Keep a budget!” -- almost never works. Yet do we question the advice? No. We blame ourselves, instead of realizing that budgets almost never work. (If you want a better way to manage your money, try automating it.)

    Your financial life would be tough enough if all you had to sort out was the confusing advice, but when you peek behind the veil, you’ll discover several money secrets that the money pros won’t tell you.

    Secret #1: Cutting back on lattes almost never works

    How many of us have heard this advice? “If you stop spending money on lattes, in 30 years, you could have $90,000 saved!” It sounds logical -- but it doesn’t work. If it did, we all would have cut back and we’d dutifully be stuffing our bank accounts with $3 every day. Here’s why saving money on lattes is futile:

    1. We love our morning coffee. It’s not just the

    Read More »from 3 Ways Personal Financial Advisors Mislead You
  • Global Quality

    For businesses that outsource their manufacturing to overseas suppliers, quality control is critical to success. Outsourcing, though, is not a level playing field. When the world's most valuable company, Apple, has an axe to grind on QC, CEO Tim Cook can jet in, don a white coat and demand a tour of the factory. In a recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Cook revealed that Apple and its supplier work so closely that employees from Cupertino regularly bunk in Chinese factory dorms.

    If you're a small business you'll never wield Apple's level of influence—putting eyeballs and clipboards on the factory floor at every stage of the production process takes time and money that few SMEs can spare. But there are measures available, short of moving into a dorm room in China, that can help ensure the products that roll off the assembly line meet your standards and those of your customers. Here are five tips for getting what you pay for, without paying a lot to do so:

    1. ASK FOR

    Read More »from Global Trading Tips: The Fivefold Path to Quality Control
  • Trusting your team: A business owner’s aha! moment

    Businesswoman Lisa Firestone is a meticulous planner. When she approached her partners at an employee benefits consulting firm 15 years ago with a buyout offer in hand, she had a resignation letter in the other hand and four months of legal and financial strategizing behind her.

    When her buyout offer was rebuffed, she quit and launched her own firm within two weeks. She put her house up as collateral for a bank loan, two key colleagues and almost all of her clients followed her, and her workers' compensation and disability management consultancy, Managed Care Advisors, shot out of the gate.

    Lisa Firestone, founder and CEO of Managed Care Advisors

    “One of the best things I did was have a good business plan that I could put in front of a bank and customers,” says Firestone. “I normally think things out pretty thoroughly.”

    That cautious planning created a stable company that grew steadily for several years. But Firestone eventually came to see that her extreme caution wasn’t always a positive.

    As owner, CEO, and “chief motivational officer,”

    Read More »from Trusting your team: A business owner’s aha! moment
  • We are changing up the format of this post this week. In the past the top section covered a relatively small number of pieces of content from on Advisor itself, followed by a slightly larger number from outside Advisor. But as we add more content partners and writers we are posting and hosting a significantly larger amount of content that is directly useful to small business owners. So we are changing the ratio and will be pointing you to some of the content on the site that you might have missed as well as the very best from elsewhere.

    Business blooming

    We have been adding new content partners and writers quickly recently here at Yahoo Small Business Advisor. As a result our old format where we highlighted a few of our own articles and more good articles from around the web is preventing us from showcasing some of the great content that we have here. As a result we are switching that ratio around and highlighting more of our own content and slightly less from elsewhere. So here are some of the best

    Read More »from Customer service, brandjacking and older entrepreneurs. Small Business Reading for February 22, 2013

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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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