Profit Minded
  • Secrets from the Scalerator: Focus on Established Revenue Sources

    Part 3 in a 4-part series about businesses that met the AmEx OPEN Scalerator challenge to grow their revenues 15 percent in three months.


    Bill Reilly says what he learned in atwo-month intense sales- and growth-focused training workshop last fall was “not rocket science,” but it enabled him to grow his revenues by 15 percent in a matter of weeks and invest in new equipment that is already contributing to his bottom line. Now he’s scouting for a bigger location and planning a 25 percent headcount increase.

    Reilly is co-owner of Hands-on Garage, afull service automotive maintenance business that also provides mechanic bays, tools, and professional guidance for customers who want to work on their own cars. He was among 12 Milwaukee-area business owners who were selected to participate in the American Express OPEN pilot Scalerator program last September.

    At the end of the training, participants were challenged to devise a strategy for exceeding their first quarter 2014 revenue plan by 15

    Read More »from Secrets from the Scalerator: Focus on Established Revenue Sources
  • Trolls

    When you start your entrepreneurial journey, you will inevitably have visions of what your success will look and feel like. Perhaps you picture yourself on a boat, drinking champagne? Or maybe you see yourself winning a Nobel Prize for making major change in the world? Whatever the dream and vision, I’m sure it doesn’t include being attacked online and being hounded by strangers.

    Unfortunately, in the world we live in, this is a possible reality. I wanted to write this piece to warn you, but also support you and give you tips on how to handle your success haters; also known as internet trolls. You see, you don’t have to be Richard Branson to be considered worthy of trolling. In fact, at the age of just 24, I already have a troll crew that follow me from blog to blog, success to success, shouting negative, untrue abuse.

    So why do we attract trolls in the first place?

    That’s easy - for sticking our heads above the parapet! By our very nature of being entrepreneurial we want to stand

    Read More »from Trolls: the modern indication of success or five ways to handle unwanted attention.
  • Storytelling

    This is a guest post by Shane Snow, chief content officer at Contently, a New York company that connects freelance journalists with corporate assignments. The article first appeared on the Content Strategist blog.

    In 2012, a pale woman with crazy eyebrows and a keytar strapped to her back made a video of herself, wearing a kimono and holding up hand-Sharpied signs on a street in Melbourne. One by one, the signs flipped, explaining that the woman had spent the last 4 years writing songs. She was a musician, and had parted ways with her record label, which had said the cost of her next album would be a whopping $500,000. She and her band mates were very happy to no longer be with the label, and had worked hard to create some great new music and art. But they couldn’t finish producing the record on their own. She needed people’s help to get it off the ground and to make what was now her business — independent music — work.

    “This is the future of music,” one of her signs read. Another, “I

    Read More »from Why Storytelling Will Be the Biggest Business Skill of the Next 5 Years
  • Secrets from the Scalerator: Incentivizing Crossover Sales

    Part 2 in a 4-part series about businesses that met the AmEx OPEN Scalerator challenge to grow their revenues 15 percent in three months.

    When ScaleUp Milwaukee brought the American Express OPEN Scalerator program to town last fall, Tom Dougherty, owner of Advanced Chemical Systems, was among 12 area business owners and managers who were accepted to enroll to learn how to scale up. Less than four months after completing the intensive two-month workshop, Dougherty has already translated what he learned into impressive results at his 12-person business. He attributes the sale of a $100,000 contract in November, as well as a 16 percent spike in his chemical sales since then, to the growth plan the Scalerator helped him conceive.

    “Every small business is trying to grow,” Dougherty says. “What prompted me to join the Scalerator were the specifics the leaders asked about my business during the interview. The professor did enough homework on us that it was like getting a personalized

    Read More »from Secrets from the Scalerator: Incentivizing Crossover Sales
  • Secrets from the Scalerator: How Three Businesses Scaled Up Fast

    Leaders in Milwaukee began an initiative last year to spur economic growth by helping businesses in the region learn how to scale up. The payoffs are already coming and other metro regions ripe for revival are taking note.

    Yahoo Small Business reported here last year about the Rust Belt city’s “entrepreneurship ecosystem project” called Scale Up Milwaukee. Led by Babson College entrepreneurship professor Daniel Isenberg, the program has support from the Greater Milwaukee Committee, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, as well as funding from AmericanExpress OPEN for Enterprise: Coalitions for High-Growth Entrepreneurship. The AmEx program aims to foster high-growth entrepreneurship by giving select communities, starting with Milwaukee, the right resources and tools for a better entrepreneurial environment.

    Among the resources AmEx OPEN brought to Milwaukee last autumn was the Scalerator—a two-month series of two-day workshops

    Read More »from Secrets from the Scalerator: How Three Businesses Scaled Up Fast
  • When most small businesses think about social media, they automatically think Twitter and Facebook.  If your business caters directly to individuals I think it is hard to argue that you should not have a presence on both.  For B2B businesses, however, there is a better option.  In this article I am going to tell you about slideshare, why I think it is the best avenue for generating leads for B2B businesses, and exactly how you should use it to do so.

    Why is slideshare great for marketing your B2B business?

    slideshare is where your audience is

    As I look through the most popular presentations page on I see titles like Productivity Hacks From LinkedIn Influencers, High Performing Firms - Winning Through Culture, and The Most Important Small Business Trends In 2014.  Compare these to the most popular content on social networks like Facebook and Twitter (where Miley Cyrus and pet pictures rule) and it’s not hard to see why slideshare is better for B2B businesses.


    Read More »from Practical guide to marketing a B2B small business using Slideshare
  • Sometimes, Goliath is the underdog: How small innovative businesses can have the upper hand

    Let’s get one thing clear before we begin.  While I’ve lived and breathed the startup world since founding BodeTree in 2010, I’m not your typical startup founder.  First of all, I don’t live in the Bay Area, or New York, or any other hub of excitement.  I grew up in the sprawling metropolis of Phoenix, Arizona and now live in the Mile High (in more ways than one) city of Denver.  Up until recently I always viewed this as a weakness.  After all, all of the hip, wildly intelligent, and dynamic entrepreneurs on the coasts must know something that i don’t, right?

    I’m beginning to find, however, that isn’t exactly the case.  In the rush to prove how disruptive and innovative they are, many entrepreneurs are inadvertently conforming around common assumptions and, as a result, missing a huge opportunity.  I’ve written in the past about my love/hate relationship with business books, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve yet to shake my addiction.  My latest foray into the land of business

    Read More »from Sometimes, Goliath is the underdog: How small innovative businesses can have the upper hand
  • A Valentine’s Shop Pops Up in Manhattan: It’s a Love Story

    New Yorkers have no excuse for coming home tonight with nothing more than bouquets from the bodega for their Valentines. The ever-changing theme boutique STORY is all about love this month, and features dozens of ways to shop small and local for your lover. STORY marketing gurus say their current curated shopping experience explores “love's capacity to inspire a work of art, delight the palette, surprise the nose, and even grow.”

    We reported here last summer about Rachel Shechtman, the retail industry consultant who is on a mission to elevate the consumer experience of the brick and mortar store to what she calls “translational storytelling.” STORY is her 2,000-square-foot shop on 10th Avenue at 19th Street in Manhattan that she says “has the point of view of a magazine, changes like a gallery, and sells things like a store.”

    Shechtman swaps out the entire inventory and interior design every three to eight weeks, and managed to achieve profitability her first year, generating revenue

    Read More »from A Valentine’s Shop Pops Up in Manhattan: It’s a Love Story
  • Startup

    Most companies fail, and fail fast. The official statistics show that 50% of new companies fail within the first five years. However, I am inclined to believe that the numbers in fact undercount the true failure rate.

    What can new business founders do to increase their chances of success?  They can start a business in a field where they have experience, knowledge, and connections.  If founders don’t have practical experience, they will make many unnecessary mistakes, wasting both time and money during the learning process.  Connections are also equally important. Identifying and establishing credibility with clients takes time if one does not have an existing relationship. Those that start a business in a field where they have experience, have a huge advantage over those that are trying something completely new.

    In 2000, I became the first employee at a forex brokerage firm.  The firm allowed individuals to trade currencies (forex) similar to the way E-Trade allows individuals to

    Read More »from How to increase your odds of business success: Practical advice from founders
  • Sochi

    Unless you've been living under a rock, you've likely heard a lot about American ice dancing pair Meryl Davis and Charlie White, and deservedly so -- they are equal parts adorable and talented. The Olympics highlight reel has also been dominated by Julia Lipnitskaia, the 15-year-old Russian who skated circles around the competition to warm the heartsof Olympics fans everywhere. And every single day has been marked with new rumors, speculation, or commentary around potential security issues.

    Between those three storylines and Bob Costas's pink eye, it's easy to get inundated by the same old Sochi stories. So below, we've outlined seven stories you might have missed -- but definitely shouldn't -- with narratives ranging from a German underwear company to some seriously tricked out pants worn by Russians on ice.

    1) The Tongan Luger Named After a German Underwear Company

    Bruno Banani is the name of a well-known German undergarment company with a reputation for cheeky (no pun intended)

    Read More »from Marketing the Olympics: Some subtle and effective storylines


(435 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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