Profit Minded
  • 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

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  • 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
  • Taxes, Insurance, Marketing: Brush Up in a Business Webinar

    National Entrepreneurship Week is coming up February 15-22, according to the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education. And with most of the nation in a deep freeze, it’s the perfect time to snuggle up to your computer for some business training. Last month we presented a list of college-level online courses for entrepreneurs. For your February learning, here is a list of workshops being offered online this month that require far less commitment and offer the possibility of a quick payoff for your business.

    Thursday, Feb. 13, 1:00 pm ET
    Score Free Publicity for Your Business
    A one-hour seminar offered by BizLaunch to reveal the power of free publicity and how to get it. Learn how to tell stories the media want to cover, how to target the right media, how to write a media release, interview tips, and how to use free publicity to grow your brand.

    Thursday, Feb. 13, 1:00 pm ET
    Mobile and Website Conversion: Building Your Business for Clients on the Go
    Can potential buyers find your website

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  • Advance business using one secret strategy

    Do you sometimes get frustrated with offers expressed as seemingly helping you, but in reality do not value your time and experience?

    Secret Strategy

    Do you sometimes get frustrated with offers expressed as seemingly helping you, but in reality do not value your time and experience? Put in this situation, most people will either give away their services far below their worth or will walk away without trying to find a solution to the problem.

    The secret strategy is to ask that together you find a mutually beneficial solution for all.

    Begin by resetting perception and expectations

    Most often people will stand back when you politely but firmly let it be known you value your time and the experience you bring to your work. The sales term is “re-framing” due to putting a brand new perspective on the offer.

    When you stand up for who you are and what you may contribute to helping your peer, they then understand a different conversation needs to take place. And when this occurs, their perspective of your capabilities is reset and their thinking adjusts to focus on how you may work together.

    Does this work 100% of the time? Very little works

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  • Neetzan Zimmerman is a genius at creating viral content. For the past two years he’s worked at Gawker, one of the world’s biggest blogs. Month in and month out, he generated more traffic than all of Gawker’s other writers combined. He just got poached away from Gawker by Whisper, a hot social networking startup in Los Angeles, where he will be editor-in-chief.

    Not bad for a guy with no background or training in journalism, who started out by simply creating his own blog where he could post funny videos about cute cats and other crazy stuff.

    “It’s the best job in the world,” he says. “I get paid to have fun.”

    I asked Zimmerman to share some of his secrets. Some things he does are downright surprising, and go against the conventional wisdom in the world of marketing. For example, Zimmerman has a Twitter account (@neetzan) but he rarely posts anything there. For another, while he’s a master at creating content that spreads like wildfire on social networks, he never goes on Facebook or

    Read More »from This man is the greatest viral content genius on the planet: You won’t believe what he has to say.
  • Anatomy of an IPO

    IPO

    On January 31, 2014, 16-year-old dot-com darling Coupons.com filed for an IPO. To put this event in perspective, PayPal was founded in the same year. While PayPal filed for its $70 million IPO in 2002 and received an acquisition offer of $1.5 billion from eBay later that year, Coupons.com made the decision to remain private. In general, the average company takes six to seven years to reach IPO readiness. Sixteen years is rare.

    Strike When the Iron Is Hot

    When 4-year-old PayPal filed for an IPO, its trailing 12 months revenue was $138 million, while 16-year-old Coupons.com had trailing 12 months revenue of approximately $153 million at filing. One could argue that Coupons.com did not have strong enough revenue growth to warrant an IPO in 2002. I would tend to agree with this. If Coupons.com revenue growth of 50 percent, as evidenced in its S-1 filing, has been consistent, it's fair to reason that they may have had less than $5 million in revenue in 2001.

    The Long and Winding Road

    Read More »from Anatomy of an IPO
  • Avoid Chasing Away Your Best Employees

    Employee Reward

    Retaining talent requires planning, and careful attention to avoiding complacency. It’s easy for a small business owner to feel as if everything is going fine, especially when the money is rolling in, but too often the reason (great employees) behind why profits are soaring is sorely neglected. And, by the time the talent feels underappreciated, it may be too late. Here are five ways to keep your best people engaged, and coming back every day for new challenges.

    Promotions

    In a scramble, small businesses hire with the singular purposes of solving immediate problems--we need someone to keep the books, we need someone to post updates to social media, etc.--but not a lot of thought is put into charting a pathway for that employee’s long-term success, at least not until frustration is expressed or a notice is put in. Think beyond those short term, immediate needs, and consider how your best employees can grow with your small business. There doesn’t need to be anything meticulous in place

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  • Will “Made in Rural America” Initiative Help Your Business?

    Nearly 40 small businesses in sleepy villages from Oregon to New York are part of MaryJane Butters’ Project FARM—short for “First-class American Rural Made.” Butters, an organic farmer in northern Idaho, conceived the idea of putting a Project FARM label on qualified goods made in rural America as a way to support people "struggling to maintain a rural lifestyle" as "rural communities fade and farmers continue to disappear from our landscape."

    According to the Council of Economic Advisors, the American farming industry isn’t in such bad shape. The Council forecast net farm income at $131 billion in 2013. Adjusted for inflation, that’s a 46 percent increase from 2008 and the highest net U.S. farm income since 1973.

    Still, the Farm Bill that President Obama signed on Friday includes a major new initiative to help small businesses in rural U.S. “The importance of the Farm Bill goes well beyond the role of agriculture, by providing technical assistance and financing for long-term

    Read More »from Will “Made in Rural America” Initiative Help Your Business?

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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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