Do you need more help for your business, but want to keep costs down? If you can’t afford to hire local employees, outsourcing roles to workers overseas may be a solution (if a controversial one). You can often find extremely qualified workers in countries like India and the Philippines who are willing to work for a fraction of what you’d pay U. S.-based workers, since money goes much further in those countries.
smart small business
Try as they might, there are always more than a few small business owners who simply couldn-t generate a substantial buzz if they hacked at a bee-s nest with a golf club.
In September, thousands of fans voted for their favorite businesses to win small business grants on LoveALocalBusiness. com. Ellechor Publishing House, a new publisher of Christian fiction and non-fiction literature based in Beaverton, Oregon, is the local business that was randomly selected to win a $5,000 grant. They also now join Booksmart of Morgan Hill, CA, and JWG Photography of Austin, TX, as Finalists who may win the additional Grand Prize that increases their grant to $30,000.
If you dabble in tech topics, you’ve probably heard of “the cloud” before. But what does it actually mean? Is it just another overhyped tech term, or is it something that could actually be useful to your business?
If you’re a small business owner or are self-employed, you’re vulnerable to dramatically rising health insurance premiums, which often go up by more than 10 percent each year. Health reform has the potential to create a more level playing field for small business owners and others buying insurance on the individual market, but most policy changes won’t go into effect until 2014. Until then, what can you do to make health insurance affordable for yourself and your employees?
Most of the seafood sold to U. S. consumers happens through restaurants and retailers. As “gatekeepers” of the nation’s fish supply, these businesses can help improve the health of the global ecosystems by offering only sustainable catch to their customers, say the good folks at the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, who are well-schooled on the topic. For more than a decade, Seafood Watch has provided guidelines, training tools, and partnership opportunities to support food purveyors in understanding and implementing best practices.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker hit headlines nationwide recently with his tough stance against public employee unions — legislation he pushed through despite massive public protests against it.
Earthquakes. Fires. Floods. Tornadoes. Hurricanes. Power outages. Tsunamis.
Forget Fort Lauderdale and drunken debauchery. There-s a lot of money just waiting to be made in the world of small business, even for college students simply looking to make some extra cash over spring break. Looking for an idea that may be right for you? Check out these promising suggestions.
In our introduction to this Online Marketing Toolkit, we noted that many people are going online in search of small-business information. If you want to make it easier for potential customers to learn about your business online, the logical first step may be to set up a website.
By Kathy Burns
Monday, November 22, 2004; 7:30pm EST
Have you noticed all of the advertisements on the Internet from "gurus" and people who have "made it" with their Internet business? You know the ones, they tell you how in demand they are. They tell you how they get several thousand dollars for each seminar they give. They tell you how they've made hundreds of thousands of dollars online. And they tell you they'll give you their secrets and formulas for the "ridiculously low price of $99.95"!
These characters are all really slick. Their one page web site is designed to draw you in, convince you, and take your hard earned money. Some of them are written really well and the product is very tempting to buy. But does a little doubt linger somewhere at the back of your mind? Is there something holding you back but you just can't quite put your finger on it? There might be a valid reason for that.
Let's travel through history a bit and see if we can figure out why you get those tiny doubts....
Orson Wells. Heard of him? War of the Worlds. Heard of that? I think almost anyone in the U. S. knows both names, but for amusement I'll summarize the story. The War of the Worlds was a fiction radio story. I think it was broadcast in the 1940's or 1950's era but I don't remember the exact date. This story happened to be science fiction, and happened to involve aliens landing on Earth and starting a war. Now the story was put on in full production mode -- just like the fiction movies you see on TV today with professional actors. The only problem is, many people tuned into the radio show while it was in progress, and they had no idea it was a fictional story! Panic and chaos ensued.
Jump to the 1960's era. Did you know there was a book that was put on to best seller lists, even though the book didn't actually exist? Yep. A radio DJ cooked up a plot to "fool" some people. He arranged to have listeners go to bookstores and request a specific book. The book didn't actually exist, and this was part of the prank. To his and his listener's surprise: Their requests for this book stirred up interest across the world. People were talking about the book everywhere -- reviews were even written about it! And soon enough it showed up on a bestseller list. But the book did not even exist. The non-existent book was called "I' Libertine", and due to the furor created from the prank, the radio DJ went on to write a real book by that name later in life.
Now let's jump ahead about 30 years. In the 1990's, some of you may remember computer communities called a "BBS". BBS stands for bulletin board system, and back then this was a computer that you dialed in to. Once connected, you could download files, chat with other members and play games. The public Internet was not available back then, so this was as close as you could get. One BBS was having a difficult time getting itself off the ground. They had one major competitor, and they couldn't seem to win customers away from that competitor. So the owners decided to entice the customers. The customers were almost 100% male back then, and one thing they were all looking for was a friendly female. So one of the owners of the new BBS -- a man -- took on a BBS personality of a female. They set up a charade basically, with all the trimmings. This man would pretend to be female and chat with all the guys on the competitor's BBS. During the chats, "she" would make sure they all understood that she could be found more often on this other, newer BBS. So, if they wanted to talk to her more, they would have to go over there. And they did.
Jump ahead to the later 90's and the Internet is just coming into play as a business medium. I'm personally aware of several companies which made themselves appear much larger than they were. How? Primarily by putting up pictures of their "office" building on their company website. The pictures they put up however, weren't actually their offices. They were in an apartment, or basement in reality. But the pictures showed gorgeous, upscale office buildings. They made themselves look much bigger and successful than they actually were.
And today we have thousands of one page websites which tout the accomplishments of their owners. These websites make many claims and sometimes those claims are hard to believe.
You see, there really are consultants in this world who make several thousands of dollars for seminar presentations. But those consultants usually have a corporate style, polished website. You can tell as soon as you get there that they've spared no expense in getting the site professionally done. You'll find links on the site too -- links to corporate and/or consultant information, links to additional resources, links to recent and upcoming seminars. There are links to their books too of course, and sometimes these links lead to Amazon or the publisher's site. If the book is electronically published, you can even buy it right on site. The point is though: there is detailed information there, not just sales hype. In short, there is supporting evidence that they are who they say they are.
History shows us that people can be fooled into thinking the world is coming to an end just from a radio show. History shows us that people will believe a book is wonderful even when they've never actually seen it themselves. History has shown us that what you think you see or hear is not actually what you've seen or heard.
So, when you land on one of those slick, one page sales hype Web sites. Before you spend your hard earned money, stop and think a bit. Is the person behind the site more likely telling the whole truth -- or skewing it in a way that will make you believe what they want you to believe?
Want a Fully Operational Web Site Business in Less than 15 Minutes? Check Out The TurnKey Niche Profit Sites! http://www. GuruGazette. com/TurnKey-Profits/
About the Author
' 2002, Kathy Burns. This article is provided courtesy of The Guru Gazette Niche Marketing Blog - http://www. GuruGazette. com - You may freely reprint this article on your website or in your newsletter provided this courtesy notice and the author name and URL remain intact.
As a small business owner, it may be tough to compete with established businesses controlled by families with millions of dollars. But if you meet certain criteria, you may be able to get some additional support in growing your business through a variety of free programs. Here’s a look at a few of your options.
To grow your business, you’ll need help. But finding – and keeping – great employees can be a challenge for small businesses. Whether you’re a first-time employer or already have employees, even if you mostly hire contractors, learning the keys to successful hiring can substantially increase your growth and success.
Small business owners are not only accelerating their usage of social media platforms in their online marketing strategies, many are even creating full - and part-time positions dedicated exclusively to online and mobile marketing via Twitter, Facebook, and an expansive but still growing list of social media outlets.
Carole Maddux knows numbers: She-s been crunching them for small businesses for more than 20 years. In 1987, after 11 years in the accounting department at General Motors, Maddux founded Account Ability Accounting and Consulting Service, in part so she could work at home while starting her family.
My energy level is soaring! I-ve just finished moderating the Intuit Money Matters Town Hall small business panel, with an array of fifteen amazing East Coast based small business owners. These individuals are dreamers, risk takers and survivors, proudly wearing badges of honor for making it through the downturn.
Over one hundred million active blogs are conservatively estimated to exist today. From personal blogs and news blogs to corporate blogs and small business blogs, everybody has something to say these days. And if you-re a small business owner yet to start your very own blog, there-s a good chance you-re wondering what more you could possibly add to this already overflowing conversation.
Every March, thousands and thousands of people journey to Austin to enjoy the various original music acts, independent films, and interactive events about emerging technologies and small business conferences that comprise South By Southwest Conferences & Festivals.
Mari Takahashi and Gil Payne ran Sozai, a successful “Izakaya” in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset District for over a year. Though they enjoyed running this traditional Japanese restaurant where people enjoy Asian tapas and sake, they yearned for a larger venue and a more vibrant neighborhood.
Since you’re a business owner, you don’t have any employer withholding tax payments from your paycheck. That means you’re responsible for sorting out how much of your income should go to Uncle Sam on your own — and worse yet, you’re likely responsible for doing it four times a year, on the 15th of each January, April, June, and September. (Check out these guidelines to find out if you need to be making quarterly payments.)
Early last month, we announced the winners of our Small Business United Grant Competition. Music teacher Ioana Sherman of Chapel Hill, N. C., was the grand prize winner of a $25,000 business grant.
The Android App Market might not get the same kind of publicity that the iPhone App Store does, but if you use an Android smartphone device, you can find just as many amazing apps to manage your small business as iPhone users can. You just need to know how to find them.
By Butch Pujol
Friday, November 26, 2004; 3:10pm EST
You've seen it on TV' everything you need to start your Internet business only $59.95. It seems too good to be true! Can you actually get a Web site, hosting, search engine placement and products to sell for under $60? Can you actually begin to turn a profit within minutes of your site being loaded onto the 'Net? Hmmm' what's the old saying? "If it sounds too good to be true'"
When these types of infomercials start, the pitch is usually something along the lines of, "you can own your own Internet business for only $59.95 and become rich by only working 20 minutes a day." Granted, they do show testimonials from people who supposedly have made millions with this type of business. And, they do make a persuasive argument that this type of success is possible because the Internet is a worldwide medium. Can it be done? Yes. However, the real question is, "can it be done by your average person"?
The answer to that question is no. How do I know it can't be done? I've tried it. Before I recommend any new products or services to my clients I buy them and try them to be sure they are safe and legitimate. I investigate the companies and their products and services.
Let me share with you what I've found about these types of Internet Businesses In A Box.
Watch Out For the Small Print
Small print seems to play a major role in the advertising campaigns of these firms. For instance, satisfied customers appear showing you the checks they've received from their business. Your natural response is to focus on the rich business owner. Instead, read the small print at the bottom of the screen. "These experiences are unique and your results may vary. Dollar amounts quoted are gross sales." Some even say, "Business owners are fictitious characters portrayed by actors". It's a perception angle. You usually do not notice the small print because the company has directed your attention toward the big checks. They have you dreaming of all the money you will make when you use their product.
Another major surprise that comes from not reading the fine print is sprung on you once the package arrives. For $59.95 you receive the "how to information" - nothing is done for you' you must do it all yourself. Since most of the purchasers of this type of product are "newbies", the information does little good. When Internet business people are just starting out, they normally don't know a Web host from a Web site.
The first thing you are instructed to do is build your website. Although the company tells you that the site is easy to build and you need no programming or HTML experience, there is no doubt that the site will appear amateurish. This is by no means a slight to Internet newbies. It is simply a factual statement. I know of no one that could design a professional-looking Web site on their first attempt.
Once the Web site is completed, you will need a Web host in order for it to be viewed on the 'Net. Another surprise comes when you discover the monthly hosting fees are not included in your $59.95.
Hosting fees can run between $10.00 - $75.00 per month depending on which features you require and the amount of space needed.
What Will You Sell?
During the infomercial the company mentioned that you would have thousands of products to choose from. However, what I found was that there were only 50 or 60. When I questioned this, I was told they either fired their supplier or the contract with the supplier expired and new negotiations were underway. As for the quality of the items' it was sorely lacking. Rather cheep trinkets that had no real value.
How Will Your Customers Pay?
In order for customers to pay online, you will need a shopping cart system. However, I'm afraid I found that this application was another add on. It was not included in the $59.95 price.
In addition to the shopping cart, you'll also need a merchant account to receive credit card payments. Most merchant accounts require a 2 year contract. However, to receive a merchant account from this
company, a 5 year contract was required. I found the set up fees very high and the monthly fees just as disturbing. Not to mention, with a new Internet business, I can't imagine being tied into a 5 year agreement. If the company fails, you would still be liable to pay the monthly fees for the remaining time on the contract.
Bringing Traffic To Your Site
During the infomercial, you are told that the company will submit your new Web site to the top 1,000 search engines with automated software. However, what most people don't understand is that 90% of your search engine traffic will come from the top 20 engines. In addition, most of the major engines require manual submissions, not automated. In order to get your site positioned properly, you'll either need to buy additional software, pay a search engine professional to do the task or learn to handle it yourself. Needless-to-say, that costs even more money.
I am not going to add up all the individual cost of my investigation but I will give you the total cost that was on the contract they wanted me to sign. Not counting the $59.95 I had already paid for my Internet business in a box, they asked for another $2695.00.
This article is not meant to discourage you from starting your own Internet business. My business is to educate people about the sharks that will try to take your money.
Can you start your own Internet business, make money, lie out by the pool sipping Margaritas and only work 20 minutes a day? You bet! And it can be done for a lot less than $2,695.00. Will it happen the first week you're in business? No. Before you jump into an online business, I urge you to educate yourself, learn how the Internet works, decide what you can or are willing to do yourself and what you will have to pay someone else to do. Calculate the entire cost. You will not get rich over night. It will take time to build your business and automate it. Then, with a little luck and a lot of hard work in the beginning, you can lie out by the pool sipping Margaritas.
About the Author
Butch Pujol is the founder of Safe Internet Business Solutions a safe haven for Newbies and online business owners. Learn how to "Protect Yourself & Your Internet Business From Robbers, Thieves and Sharks" at http://www. safeinternetbusiness. com
Today, there are few safeguards in place for investors and consumers to distinguish the socially responsible business apart from the company that simply markets itself in a better light than it actually deserves. That-s why B Lab, a Pennsylvania nonprofit, is pushing for legislation across the nation that would officially recognize a new type of corporate entity, known as the Benefit Corporation.
Take Your Dog to Work Day occurs each June; however, some businesses operate dog-friendly offices and welcome these four-legged friends on a regular basis. “Happy employees work more productively,” explains Gary Cassera, owner of the South Jersey-based dog training and walking service Balanced Dogs. “It can make the people in your office get to know each other better, too, because they’re walking together. It gives employees something to talk about.”
-Who is your target market?-
If you’re about to launch a business, or your business situation has recently changed, you may be questioning what sort of organization structure to choose. You can elect to classify your business in a number of different ways, depending on how you’d like the IRS to treat you. Here’s a look at your options.
The collective outlook of U. S. small businesses picked up another positive notch in February, according to the latest survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Businesses. The NFIB-s Index of Small Business Optimism increased to 94.5 last month.
Where did -Keep Austin Weird- come from? While the term-s origin is unclear (and could date back decades), the term was adopted as a campaign slogan in 2002 by Steve Bercu, owner of the independent bookstore BookPeople, and John Kunz, owner of the music store Waterloo Records. The reason: Both stores, considered Austin landmarks, were threatened by the imminent arrival of a chain bookstore behemoth. As Bercu recalls,--We came up with -Keep Austin Weird- when we were fighting city subsidies to build a Borders across the street. Somehow, it became the city motto.-
The childhood pastime of following the ice cream truck on a hot summer day has been replaced with following your favorite food truck on Twitter. And grabbing food from a restaurant on wheels means more than just ice cream either – today food trucks run the gambit from Indian to creme brulee. Foodies everywhere are taking their delectable creations on the road and peddling their wares from a variety of locations all over town.
If you’ve recently launched your business and are trying to account for all of your expenses, you’ve probably come across the term “asset depreciation.” What does it mean and how does it work? Here’s a brief guide to this complex term.
UPDATE: I wanted to fill you in on a new program we-re running to help QuickBooks 2011 users get up and running quickly called Get Started Right. Within the first 30-days after registering their products, new users have the opportunity to call in to an Intuit agent for free one-on-one guidance about the product and getting started. Learn more here.
By Bob Dean Stanford (The Maverick Entrepreneur)
Thursday, June 09, 2005; 6:00pm EST
Get Product Television Exposure for for FREE, learn more in this incredible article...
Would you like to get your new or existing Internet business moving nearly at the speed of light? Do you know what is required to get your business noticed and how to build your personal credibility fast, making clients secure enough to purchase from you over the Internet?
The Simple Answer
The primary answer is putting potential clients in a comfort zone relative to your product quality and your reputation as an authority in your marketing niche.
Market it on television. There are many ways to do this, such as Infomercials, guest appearances on talk shows like Oprah, short form (1 minute and under) TV commercials, long form (2 minutes up to 30 minute infomercials), and etc. Most online businesses can't afford the expense of these types of advertising or have products that target a specific niche that just doesn't fit in the above media methods.
The secret is to find a JV (Joint Venture) partner who is marketing on TV, targeting your product niche, and interested in your product offering. One example is the national cable television show "The Screen Savers," (replaced by "Attack of The Show"). If you have a new or dynamic computer related
product, such as hardware, software, or training materials (like the "Little Professor" series), you could get tremendous exposure by presenting your product on their show. Again, the cost is often an obstacle, though some.. There are ways around this problem.
Find a media that will work with you for a percentage of the profit and provide ALL the production and airtime costs. Who offers these types of shows? Local Indie (current term meaning Independent) producers that provide programming on your local cable lease access stations. This is NOT the Public Access non-commercial stations, but programming on a legitimate commercial station. Local cable TV networks usually have at least one station enabling them to sell low cost quality airtime to Indie producers.. Call your cable network and ask them for referrals of local producers and to list any locally produced shows.
Often, there are local business, music, talk, and variety shows that could feature your products. The producer would make the interview or TV commercial and insert it into his TV show, for a percentage of any sales, at no upfront cost to you. You receive double benefit from this approach. The first is possible sales. The second is instant credibility, providing you material to use for future promotion as a video presentation on your website and on CDs and DVDs for direct mail. You can even beef up your personal online BIO (Biography) adding to your credibility as an authority in your chosen niche. Once you accomplish this successfully, you may locate other Indie producers nationwide, producing similar TV shows and offering them the same concept. Possibly, you can use the original interview or commercial from your first show to eliminate any additional production costs.
Are these ideas really attainable or just theoretical? The answer is, it's being done everyday, across the nation. What is a great way to locate Indie producers across the nation? Visit http://www. indieclub. com and http://www. mindy. com becoming a member for free. This will give you access to considerable free related information and thousands of Indie producers. Contact them with your offer. Also, new online television stations and networks are springing up with instant video presentation capabilities that may represent your product as an affiliate or feature your product. You can locate these through major search engines. A little creative thinking on your part can give you a competitive edge in the Internet marketplace.
About the Author
Bob Dean Stanford, aka Maverick, age 58, is host of the upcoming television show "The Maverick Entrepreneur," scheduled to air in September 2005, targeting aspiring entrepreneurs and home business individuals. His new Internet radio show of the same name is scheduled to air in July 2005. He specializes in creative and backdoor (creative) marketing techniques with emphasis in business consulting, marketing, new product development, and newsletter publishing. Subscribe to his FREE newsletter "The Maverick Entrepreneur" at http://maverickentrepreneur. com (TV show support website) or http://stanfordtc. com (Stanford Trade Center, Inc.) email mavnewsletter@maverickentrepreneur. com
In the American workplace, Facebook is the proverbial double-edged sword. In one sense, Facebook has emerged as one of the most efficient, effective, and affordable marketing and customer relations tools ever devised for businesses large and small. On the other hand, Facebook also represents a potentially gargantuan waste of time and productivity, not to mention an inviting gateway to costly and otherwise damaging security threats.
Kris Fillat, owner of GoodOnYa Bar (and Deli-s) in San Diego, California, is the February winner of a $25,000 Intuit Hiring Grant on LoveALocalBusiness. com. GoodOnYa Bar is now a Finalist, along with Out of Proportion Studios, to have their grant doubled to $50,000. One more $25,000 Finalist will be chosen in March. It could be you!
For emerging bands and musicians, a performance in Austin during South By Southwest (SXSW) can be a once in a lifetime opportunity to grab the attention of hotshot record executives. Unfortunately, performance space is limited during SXSW, and without a great marketing team, the chances of being heard are slim.
Telecommuting has advantages — you may save on office costs, and employees tend to work longer hours. But working from home also carries legal implications you may not have thought about. Here are some of the top issues to think about if you-re considering allowing employees to telecommute.
Thanks to today’s mobile technologies, many jobs can be done away from the office. So why not live on the road full-time?
No one ever said dating was easy. Likewise, no one ever said using social media to grow your business was easy, either. And as they say, if dating (and social media) is a game, then just like any other game, there are rules you need to study, learn, and follow.
If you’ve ever considered hiring an independent contractor, you’d better make sure you understand the classification rules. The IRS has recently begun cracking down on small businesses that misclassify their workers, forcing them to pay back benefits to workers who’ve been improperly claimed as independent contractors.
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- Digital Media Guru Dishes on How to Start a Podcast Business
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- 10 Unique Austin Businesses To Visit During SXSW
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- 3 Ways To Give Ownership to Your Employees
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