Profit Minded
  • Sandy, disaster preparedness, free money: Small Business Reading

    Last week in Small Business Reading we managed to be just a tiny bit prescient when we highlighted the often-overlooked topic of emergency planning. As everyone knows, that has come back with a vengeance with the arrival of Sandy on the Eastern Seaboard. For those small businesses in the affected area, the SBA is making disaster loans available. It's also worth noting that some of the small businesses in the disaster area managed to keep thins going using old-fashioned word-of-mouth and its modern replacement - social media. Part of the reason they were able to do that are the large number of tools available for small businesses based on smartphones and tablets - which will at least keep running for a few more hours when the power goes out and which are easier to recharge. This article has a few simple tips on ways to keep gadgets running when the power goes out. For those truly unfortunate enough to have their business dreams dashed, perhaps the best way to recover is to face your

    Read More »from Sandy, disaster preparedness, free money: Small Business Reading

  • By Jonathan Poston

    If business "branding" were as simple as its namesake might lead us to believe, then it would just be a matter of heating up the iron and swiftly searing it deeply into the hides of the jumpy target market. Effectively branding businesses involves tagging targets who, unlike their four-legged friends, have already been lashed with hundreds of hot pokers from more established ten-gallon hat ranchers. But, with a steady hand, and a solid grasp of effective technique, there's still room among the herds for new firebrands to make their mark.

    Here are three rules to follow before heating up the branding irons.

    1) Brand names aren't everything, but there are caveats to keep in mind when choosing one. Some marketing firms, perhaps the ones that like to charge 10-20k to conjure out of thin air a slick new name for their clients, will say a name can make or break a business. While partially true, it's not everything. But here's the part that is important: Select a name that

    Read More »from Three Big Rules for Burning a Solid Brand
  • Business in a hurricane disaster area? Here’s SBA loan info

    The most-visited item on the Small Business Administration's loan information website today is the Disaster Loan Application. SBA announced yesterday that various disaster recovery loan programs will become available to eligible applicants as disaster assessments and declarations are made.

    President Obama has already declared disaster areas in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, and additional announcements are expected.

    If your small business sustained physical damage or "economic injury" as a result of Hurricane Sandy, you may be eligible for SBA assistance. Businesses must submit loan applications directly to SBA in order to get an inspector to estimate damages. SBA says it strives to make decisions within 18 days, and advises against waiting for insurance settlements before applying for an SBA loan in order to avoid missing filing deadlines. The application-filing deadline for physical damage loans is December 31, 2012. The deadline for economic injury loans is July 31, 2013.

    Read More »from Business in a hurricane disaster area? Here’s SBA loan info
  • manageremployeesEmployees go to work with the intention of doing a good job but managers are often the reason they don't. We sometimes put employees in situations where they don't have the resources to perform well and they become frustrated when they are not given the necessary tools and training to complete job assignments.

    Successful managers have learned to support employees by advocating for them and helping them remove the barriers that hinder productivity. They do this by asking one important question. This one question can reveal the obstacles that employees face that only the manager can help to overcome. So what is the question?

    How can I help you?

    This question demonstrates the manager's commitment to serving the employee and their intent to help resolve issues. This question also reveals employee challenges and issues that only a manager can help fix.

    When employees answer this question, they reveal work issues that need to be resolved and often answer the question with this response.


    Read More »from One Question Every Manager Should Ask Employees
  • Socially networked small businesses help customers navigate storm

    Connecticut farmer Patti Popp used Facebook during the storm to ask customers to keep an eye out for row covers that blew away.

    In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, power was cut to every resident in the Connecticut village of Easton, where more than 100 trees had fallen on utility wires. Even most of those with generators to power their homes couldn't get TV news or listen to the reverse-911 calls placed by the town's first selectman. Throughout town, phones, internet, and cable service were knocked out by the storm.

    Nevertheless, news flowed among neighbors over Twitter, Facebook, and email about open restaurants, businesses offering wifi access, where to buy a bottle of wine, and which local service stations weren't yet sold out of gas. An unofficial "mommy network" shared knowledge about open movie theatres and other activities for kids home from school for at least a week. And tragically, news that an Easton fireman had died in the line of duty during the storm circulated so quickly that many residents knew the hero's name before local newspapers published it online.

    Smart small business owners who

    Read More »from Socially networked small businesses help customers navigate storm
  • Nightmare managers: These bosses make it Halloween 365 days of the year in the office.


    Managers come in all forms. Some are fantastic, some dreadful. But who hasn't experienced a nightmare boss? Perhaps even one deserving of a special costume for Halloween. It might not scare the neighborhood kids, but it'll certainly scare their parents! Here for a bit of Halloween fun are XX bosses from your nightmares.

    First of all, let's be clear. What exactly IS a boss?

    Next - let's move straight on to the boss from Hell - the one for whom nothing is EVER good enough.

    This link will take you to an example of a seemingly innocuous boss, but one that is deadly in practice - the disorganized manager.

    Discipline is an issue that undermines the best of managers. This link shows you the unready, the silent, the terse and the sarcastic managers in full flight.

    And one thing that is sure to bring out the monster in every manager is the performance review.

    But perhaps the biggest nightmare of all is the clueless boss...

    For more information about good and bad management practices

    Read More »from Nightmare managers: These bosses make it Halloween 365 days of the year in the office.
  • insightsBy Carol Roth

    I am always on the lookout for fantastic tools to help small businesses be more successful. So when Yahoo!, a company that I work with, came out with the Marketing Dashboard, I was truly excited that SMBs had a tool to help them view and manage their marketing results, their online reputation and their website performance.

    Now, I am thrilled that Yahoo! has integrated Facebook Insights into the Marketing Dashboard, allowing SMBs to evaluate the efficacy of their social media marketing alongside their other marketing metrics.
    Here are 4 things I love about Facebook Insights in the Marketing Dashboard:

    1-It saves you time: One of the most precious commodities for SMB owners is their time, and social media often takes up a lot of it. Not only does it take time to create, curate and consume content, but it takes even more time to gather feedback and analyze it. Facebook Insights on the Marketing Dashboard help by giving you a snapshot of your Facebook interactions all in one

    Read More »from Four things that I love about Facebook Insights
  • 4 tips for managing month-to-month money worries

    Money, not managing, is the biggest stressor for small business owners, according to a new study. More than 60 percent of business owners surveyed reported increasing stress levels associated with running their business, 45 percent said they spend more time than they'd like to on money management, and one in three said managing finances is the number one source of that stress.

    How can a small business owner minimize financial worries? We asked Jay DesMarteau, Head of Small Business and Government Banking at TD Bank, which conducted the survey. DesMarteau says creating a real-world financial plan whether you are just starting or have been in business for 20 years can help. Here, in part one of a two-part interview, he shares some basic tips for conquering month-to-month money management woes.

    Anyone can take a DIY approach to setting up a financial plan, but you should also be able to get some free advice from an expert where you do your business banking. "It's not like you have to pay

    Read More »from 4 tips for managing month-to-month money worries
  • Incorporation models, taxation, bookkeeping, credit: Small Business Reading.

    As the long run in to November's election comes to a close the media is finally starting to notice that there has been a disconnect between what the candidates say about small business, what they seem prepared to do, what small businesses actually want and even what a small business really is. The last point is a good place to start. We wrote about the SBA's decision to change its criteria for what a small business is about a month ago. It came up again this week since the date for implementing the new size limits was October 24th. It takes a lot of digging but the bottom line is that for most small businesses the upper limit to be considered small is 500 except for a number of manufacturing industries and a few other exceptions where it goes up to 750, or 1,000 or even 1,500 in some rare cases (aircraft manufacturing for example). The upper end of these standards represents a big disconnect from most small business owners since 80% of all small businesses are 2 people or fewer. But Read More »from Incorporation models, taxation, bookkeeping, credit: Small Business Reading.
  • 5 Most Common Small Business Bookkeeping Mistakes

    By Eric Matthews, That Bookkeeper

    Let's face it, running a small business is hard work. You can make it a bit easier on yourself by avoiding these 5 common bookkeeping mistakes.

    All Vendors Are Not Created Equal

    It's really easy to get behind on your bills, especially in the beginning stages of a small business. In product heavy businesses you need to spend a lot of money, often before the first sale ever gets made. This can sometimes get your payables (the money you owe others) to uncomfortably high levels. When it's time to start paying them down, people use several methods. Sort them by age or pay off the small ones first to get quick wins. Maybe you pay the squeaky wheels first, or only pay the statements that show up on blue paper. The big mistake some owners make is to lump the bank and the government in with the company that sold you business cards. Maybe the phone company will wait an extra month, and not really hold it against you. Consistently paying your loan or

    Read More »from 5 Most Common Small Business Bookkeeping Mistakes


(439 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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