Profit Minded
  • Sales Planning

    If you want to set yourself up for sales success, your best strategy lies in being fully prepared for the all-important sales call. It’s critical to think through every aspect of the call ahead of time. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can just wing it – you’ll get much better results if you clearly define your goals and create a strategy you can follow to achieve them.

    With careful planning, you’ll have a much clearer vision of what you need to accomplish and a roadmap for how to get there. Unfortunately, many sales professionals have never been taught to create a comprehensive sales plan. The good news is that the process is relatively simple. Here are seven steps you can take to create an effective sales plan:

    1. Define your objective. Clearly outlining your goal should always be your first step in planning a sales call – or any other business endeavor. Is your purpose to establish yourself as a trusted advisor? Close a specific deal? When you define your key objective, you

    Read More »from Seven Steps for Effective Sales Planning
  • March Madness

    By now you’ve probably heard that completing a perfect March Madness bracket this year could net you $1 billion, courtesy of Yahoo Sports, Warren Buffett and Quicken Loans. What small business owner couldn’t use that kind of cash? The odds of winning (1 in 9.2 quintillion, per USA Today) might be against you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t win big from studying the game. In fact, basketball and branding have more in common than you might think, and those commonalities can help your company look like a billion-dollar brand. Below are 7 profitable pointers on branding taken straight from basketball’s playbook:

    1. Master the fundamentals.
    Michael Jordan once said, “ You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way.” Similarly, if you don’t get the basics of branding right, your brand can’t win. It’s that simple. What are the fundamentals, you ask? Read on for the biggies.

    2. It’s all about teamwork.

    Read More »from Small Business, Big Branding: 7 Things Basketball & Branding Have in Common
  • Clown Sales?Have you ever dealt with an incompetent salesperson? Of course you have. We all have. It turns out there's a good reason for that, which is that nearly three-quarters of people who work in sales simply cannot execute, according to Kurlan & Associates, a sales training consulting firm. "For lack of a better word, they suck," says Dennis Connelly, vice president of business development at Kurlan, based in Westborough, Mass.

    Kurlan's conclusions are based on Objective Management Group evaluations of 700,000 salespeople over the past 24 years. Objective Management Group is a testing and evaluation company affiliated with Kurlan.

    At first glance it seems shocking that there could be a profession in which three-quarters of practitioners are inept. If the same ratio were applied to medicine, we’d have patients dropping dead all over the place.

    But the numbers make sense when you consider that most people who go into sales have no formal training about how to sell. They didn’t major in sales

    Read More »from 3 out of 4 Sales Reps Have No Idea What They’re Doing
  • Domain name

    The world of domain names is rapidly evolving, but you may have been so busy running your business that you didn’t notice. Small business owners often take an “I just need it to work” stance—they’ve paid their money and assume everything will work the way it always has. But before you dismiss new registration rules and other changes as something best relegated to your IT specialist, remember that your domain name is one of the most valuable assets your business has. Not only could you be missing opportunities, but you may even find yourself temporarily without a website, and having to turn away potential customers.  Here are four things you need to know—and act upon—right now to protect your business domain.

    Verify or Be Shut Down

    A new ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) rule that came into effect on January 1, 2014, requires registrants to verify their email address and phone number—whether registering new contact info or updating the old. If the information

    Read More »from 4 Things You Need To Know—And Act Upon—to Protect Your Business Domain
  • No MoneyNo Money

    If you have been around the sales and business owner block for a while, you understand the mental strength necessary to cope with rejection. Sometimes becoming numb to the rejection can be both a blessing and a curse. How many times have you submitted a proposal, giving free consults and went through presentations where the person didn’t end up doing any business with you?

    The first few times your company gets rejected for a gig, you probably take it to heart and then put some thought into why the prospect declined the opportunity to work with you. But then after a while you probably become a bit immune to the rejection, and that is when you don’t even bother going back to watch the game tape.

    The four reasons why people don’t buy or want your help come down to ; No Need, No Money, No Time/Urgency, No Trust. Last week we looked at No Need. Today let’s dissect No Money.

    No money

    If you hear the “no money” response it could be a blessing in disguise- if it is sincere. Would you rather

    Read More »from Why People Don’t Buy: No Money
  • Social Media Marketing

    Social media can be one of the most effective ways to grow your small business and drive additional visibility for your brand and products. While the importance of Social Media Marketing is not lost on many merchants, they still consider it a foreign concept and do not know how to properly engage with their customer base. Effective social media campaigns take time to create, strategic planning to execute and money to maximize visibility, but by implementing a few of these tips below, your brand’s social presence will be better than ever.

    When using Facebook to expand your marketing efforts, you have a few options, either promoting your business page to generate more followers or promoting individual posts to maximize their visibility and reach. Although both options have proven to be successful, remember that overall success is determined by content.Marketing on Twitter does have its advantages, if you are able to spend the money to promote your Twitter account rather than individual

    Read More »from Breaking down social media marketing for small business owners
  • On The EdgeThere is no shortage of leadership books written by presidents, politicians, CEOs, psychologists, military heroes, and executive coaches. I am none of the above. My take on leadership comes primarily from my experiences as a high-altitude mountaineer and polar explorer. In addition to serving as the team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition, I have climbed the highest peak on every continent (the famed “Seven Summits”) and have skied to both the North and South Poles, an achievement known as the Adventure Grand Slam. My adventures have taken me to some of the harshest, most remote places on the planet, where determination is every bit as important as skill when it comes to survival. I have also spent two decades in the business world (including three years at Goldman Sachs) and have worked for Fortune 500 companies as well as start-ups, so I understand the pressures that go along with high stress jobs in today’s economy.

    I have toughed it out in some of the world’s

    Read More »from Today's extreme environments call for a new kind of leader
  • OnDeck Capital raises funding to expand its small business lending programs

    Business Loan

    OnDeck Capital is a company that makes loans to small businesses. Traditionally small businesses have gotten funding in a few straightforward ways. One is self-funding from the savings and bank accounts of owners and their friends and families. The second is with loans fro the government, the Small Business Adminsitration (SBA) to be specific. And the last is from the local bank. But there have always been real limitations to these source of funding. With self-funding the limit is obvious - the typical person has very limited resources to call on even when friends and family are factored in. The challenge with the SBA are strict rules about qualifying for the loans and a lengthy timetable - both of which can limit their usefulness in many cases. And finally, banks have become much ore rigid and gun-shy in their requirements for loans since the recent set of fiscal crises. Once these options are exhausted, where else can a business turn?

    OnDeck Capital is the oldest and largest of a

    Read More »from OnDeck Capital raises funding to expand its small business lending programs
  • Services Let Small E-tailers Ship Smarter

    As any online retailer knows, shipping can make or break a business. Even when your products’ quality and prices are competitive, if they can be had faster or shipped free from another company you can expect to fail fast.

    But outdated technology from UPS, FedEx, DHL, and USPS make it a nightmare for so-called e-tailers to integrate their software and streamline their shipping process. It means many leave money on the table, or worse, incur added costs, charging flat-rate shipping instead of wrangling with real-time shipping rates.

    And it’s why, in the name of helping small businesses compete with the likes of Amazon and eBay, the 10-person San Francisco company EasyPost has been able to raise close to $3 million from some of the top venture capital funds (and why other companies, including Postmaster, an EasyPost competitor that emerged out of the San Antonio TechStars Cloud, and ShipHawk, a shipping broker with custom software, are sprouting up to serve small and medium shippers).


    Read More »from Services Let Small E-tailers Ship Smarter
  • Secrets from the Scalerator: Are You Targeting the Right Customer?

    The final installment in a 4-part series about businesses that met the AmEx OPEN Scalerator challenge to grow their revenues 15 percent in three months.

    Able Access Transportation

    Do you really know who your customer is? By reevaluating the target of her sales pitch, Annette Tipton has put her company on track for a year of record-breaking revenues.

    Tipton is co-owner with her husband of Able Access Transportation, a paratransit service they established in 2001 in Milwaukee, Wis., that runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She was one of 12 participants last fall in AmEx OPEN’s pilot Scalerator training program, which helps existing businesses develop strategies for growth.

    To be sure, Tipton was in a growth mode before the course started. Thanks to upgrading her fleet, moving into a remodeled building in a more central location, installing a new telephone system, fully integrating the software system, enabling all vehicles with GPS, and outfitting drivers with sharp uniforms to update the brand identity, Able

    Read More »from Secrets from the Scalerator: Are You Targeting the Right Customer?


(438 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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Profit Minded Authors

Owen Linderholm

Editor for Yahoo! Small Business

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