Profit Minded
  • 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

    Read More »from Taxes, Insurance, Marketing: Brush Up in a Business Webinar
  • 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

    Read More »from Advance business using one secret strategy
  • 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

    Read More »from Avoid Chasing Away Your Best Employees
  • 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?
  • Proto Labs Gives Entrepreneurs with Cool Ideas a Kickstart

    Floome, a handheld blood-alcohol detector, won a Cool Ideas Award

    For aspiring product designers, 201 Mulberry Street in New York City was the place to be last Thursday night. The Cool Idea Award Gallery event in the vacant storefront there showcased nine inventors and their novel products—each one clever enough to make you say, “I wish I had thought of that!”

    Proto Labs is a Minnesota-based maker of custom CNC-machined and injection-molded parts with operations worldwide that we reported on here last month. Its Cool Idea Award gives up to $250,000 each year in Proto Labs tooling services and parts production to entrepreneurs developing new products in the U.S. and Europe. Proto Labs says its intention is to help innovators bring their ideas to life. Seventeen awards have been made since 2011.

    The Everpurse cell-phone charging station is another Cool Ideas award winner

    The Cool Idea Award-winning products featured at the event last week were:

    • r-one: Robots that communicate with their users and with each other using an internal computer, motors, lights and sounds were designed by a Rice University professor and his students
    Read More »from Proto Labs Gives Entrepreneurs with Cool Ideas a Kickstart
  • A Startup Wants to Deliver Happiness in Packets of Pills

    Twenty-seven-year-old entrepreneur TJ Parker wants to bring Zappos-style customer service to your medicine cabinet.

    As a youngster working in the New Hampshire pharmacy that his family owns and operates, Parker developed empathy for people who must take multiple pills, supplements, and other medicines every day. Refill dates never seem to be synchronized, pharmacy check-out lines can be long, and who wants to ask the pharmacist a private question with other customers in earshot? Even worse, medication times are hard to stick to, drugs are easily confused, and bottles can be a hassle to open. For the elderly, very ill, or parents with sick children, daily dosing can be misery.

    Parker went to pharmacy school bent on figuring out a modern solution to the growing problem. When he found one, he teamed up with Elliot Cohen, 30, a former Microsoft engineer whom he met at a H@cking Medicine event in October 2012. By February 2013, they had won a slot in the Boston startup accelerator

    Read More »from A Startup Wants to Deliver Happiness in Packets of Pills
  •  

    With more than 359 million users as of May of 2013, Google+ continues to grab the attention of consumers and brands as it becomes the second largest social network.  A presence on Google+ is being aggressively pursued by some of the world’s leading brands, which in turn is causing SMBs to consider if they also need to get on board.

    With more limited resources, these smaller firms might worry about managing another social network and questioning if the potential reward is worth the effort. SMBs should understand that Google+ is used by leading brands to both engage customers and build SEO, and is an important part of their social strategy.

    There are several big brands successfully using Google+ by incorporating visual elements and sharing content that has a high degree of relevance to their intended audience. Small and medium-sized firms can learn a significant amount about Google+ best practices by reviewing the work of established brands that are building real followings on the

    Read More »from Small and Medium Businesses Turning to Google+ for Brand Building
  • Would Minimum Wage Hike Help or Hurt Small Business?

    President Obama said on Tuesday evening that he will raise the minimum wage for new federal contracts to $10.10 per hour. And, in the case that a Democratic proposal to raise the national minimum to the same level or where state governments haven’t already raised the minimum (as 14 states have this month), the President urged private sector employers to take the initiative to raise wages on their own.

    Many argue that the federal minimum of $7.25, unchanged since 2009, is not a living wage in the current economy. With the average price of a gallon of gas at $3.28 and a gallon of milk at $3.50, it’s hard to imagine how the 2 million or so people who earn that wage are able to support themselves, let alone families. MIT’s living wage calculator and anecdotal reports, including one describing a Hartford, Conn., Dunkin’ Donuts manager with three children, indicate they simply can’t.

    A CBSNews report this week pointed out that “adjusted for inflation, $7.25 an hour is 23 percent lower today

    Read More »from Would Minimum Wage Hike Help or Hurt Small 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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