Category Archives: Biz Tips

Inspiration: 16 Surprising Statistics About Small Business [INFOGRAPHIC]


5 Reasons to Start Your Own Business

At BizTV, it’s no secret, we’re all about entrepreneurs, small business owners, and making your own way through the financial world.

Not included on this list: wearing pajamas to work

Today, we’re going to give you an excuse to join the ranks of the self-employed (as if you need one), and, hey, if you’re already there, maybe you have some of your own excuses to share in the comments.

1. Tax benefits

Bet you didn’t think that would be number 1, did you? But, it’s true. There are many tax benefits that the entrepreneur and small business owner can call their own. If you educate yourself on tax law, or hire a good accountant, there are expenses for your business that you can write off. If you employ your family, you can keep the money within the household. If you hire your children, you are relieved from withholding income taxes and paying payroll taxes, including Social Security, until the child turns 18. Also, you don’t pay federal unemployment until the child reaches 21. If you hire your spouse or parents, you don’t need to pay federal unemployment taxes on them either, though you must withhold federal income tax and pay FICA on them. Corporations are not allowed these tax breaks. Enjoy!

2. As long as you get your own work, you’re in charge of your own job security

This might be a double-edged sword if you aren’t good at selling yourself (read: get good at selling yourself). If you have a skill or product that’s in high demand, you’re on top. No one is going to downsize your department. You’re in charge of your own employment future.

3. You can challenge yourself

Think about your job right now. Are you challenged? Are you stimulated? Do you jump into work every day with a take charge attitude because you’re excited to solve the next puzzle that falls in your lap? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, take heed: every day with your own business is as challenging as you want it to be. Are you going to integrate a new technology? Are you going to find a way to appeal to a new customer base? You have the ability to explore and challenge yourself every day.

4. You are the expert

Think about how satisfying it would be to tell someone: “Trust me. I’m an expert.”

Well, when you own a business that provides a certain product or service, you have the right to say you’re an expert in that product or service. You know what you’re talking about. You’ve learned things to trial and error. You create your own expertise.

5. You’re in control of your own networking

What’s your passion? Have you ever wanted to find people who share that passion? As the owner of your own business, you have the right to pursue the opportunities with those people who share your interests. In fact, it’s encouraged. Go to conferences. Go to meetups. You’ll find the people worth knowing in your industry.

Those are some of our reasons to get out of the rat race and join the self-employment movement. What made you leap from regular employment to entrepreneurship? Share in the comments!

3 Way to Maintain Your Entrepreneurial Attitude

So, you’ve decided you’re an entrepreneur. That’s no small feat. I liken it to Superman wearing his underpants on the outside for the first time and feeling, no, KNOWING, this is my future. But, unlike Superman, you don’t have x-ray vision, you can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, and you can’t reverse the flow of time by flying around the planet backward (I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t work, anyway.) Not having superhuman capabilities means you will experience moments of doubt during your enterpreneurial trials. How will you keep up your spirits and forge ahead? Here are some ways we like:

1. Don’t Panic

Ah, yes, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s motto is also our first little piece of advice. As unevolved life forms, we developed a fight-or-flight reflex that saved us from predators. That reflex has lasted with us to the present. Except, now it might kick in when we’re giving a presentation or preparing to meet an investor. If the walls are closing in on you and you start to feel the fear, take a few calming breaths and try to pull back from the brink. You aren’t the first person in the world to feel overwhelmed. It’s not like there’s some guy out there that’s so good at being human that’s he’s never been embarrassed, or awkward, or unprepared.

Panic is bad for you. It leads to bad decisions. Which leads to more panic. Don’t feed the beast. If you do slip over the edge into full blown panic mode, distance yourself from the workplace and avoid making any big decisions. Reschedule that meeting. Make good choices by not panicking.

2. Write Down Your Goals

If you’re a subscriber to this blog, you’ve probably read a post or two about goal-setting. It’s true. We’re big advocates of setting goals. Right now, though, I’m talking specifically about short term goals and actually the act of writing them down on a piece of paper. Stay connected to what you want in the short term and it will keep you motivated.

3. Go On Vacation

Sometimes, you just need a break. Being an entrepreneur is stressful and consuming. Sometimes it’s hard to tell when you’re body and mind are asking for a break. Go ahead and refresh yourself. It’s okay. I’m giving you permission to take some time off for yourself. You’ll come back replenished and be that much better for it.

How do you maintain your entrepreneurial attitude? What doesn’t work? Share in the comments!

5 Ways to Build and Manage a Team

As an entrepreneur, you need to surround yourself by people who encourage and support your team. How to you build and manage this group of people? Here are our top 5 ways:

1. Team balance

Every team needs balance. Sometimes an entrepreneur is a big-picture thinker, sometimes, he/she is a detail thinker. Regardless, you need to find someone to who thinks the opposite way you do. Stacking you team with people who think like you isn’t the same as gathering yes-men, but it cuts out your legs in the same way. Find people who think in a different way and you’ve got a great foundation for your team.

2. A mix of extroverts and introverts

Much like the first item on our list, you’re going to want both extroverts and introverts, and you need to be aware of which team member is which. Extroverts tend to talk and talk and talk, blurting out the first thing on their minds. Introverts are more reserved and resigned, internalizing ideas. They may have the greatest idea, most innovative solution, or most brilliant cost saving measure, but you’re never going to know if they never speak up. Give both introverts and extroverts a comfortable setting to share their ideas.

3. Teambuilding exercises that actually work

Yep, there it is. The dreaded teambuilding exercise. How great would that be if they actually worked? Well, some do. For instance:


Non-contact sports

Field trips

Shared meals

Maybe consider a bowling trip. Take the company out for a museum day. Have one day a week where everyone goes out to lunch together. Find something that everyone can enjoy and be a part of. Remember, this isn’t what the CEO likes best and wants to do. You’re growing your team cohesiveness, so get the input from the team.

4. Find out if you need a virtual team or a local team

Studies show that, in some industries, virtual teams work better than having your team all in the same building. Some ways to keep your remote team on track is by keeping up communication and holding them accountable for the work they’re supposed to be doing. Check in every once in awhile. Schedule a weekly call. Let them know they are valued. Your team is about your people; not your office space.

5. Brainstorming is the enemy

Brainstorming leads to social loafing (where everyone works less thinking the group will pick up the slack), production blocking (where everyone has to wait until the person before them is done), and evaluation apprehension (knowing your idea will be judge, and, therefore, hesitating to give one).

If you want to get a brainstorm to work, don’t try to find your brilliant idea, just try to get a lot of them out and on paper. Break out of the brainstorm session and let everyone consider the best ideas and how to improve them. Come back together later and see where improvements will work and what needs to be ditched.

What approach do you take to building a team? What was your best teambuilding activity? Share in the comments below.

4 Branding Tips to Boost Recognition

Before you start branding, you’re going to need a few steer…no, wait. Wrong kind of branding.

Brands and brand recognition are now more important than ever. With social media and Google Image searches, your logo could be every where. So, what can you do to boost your brand and make it more recognizable? Here are our thoughts:

1. Stay true

There’s an idea out there that services like Groupon and LivingSocial are going to help your business and it’s true. There are plenty of cases where this has happened. However, it’s not necessarily going to help your brand. Likewise, if you run contests, it’s not really a brand booster, it’s just a contest.

If you want your brand to flourish, you have to stay true to your brand stands for. Don’t know what your brand stands for? Figure it out. Like Apple standing for sleek design and being user-friendly, something that they follow through with in the whole setup of the Apple Store.

Write out a mission statement. Make it your tag line.

From top to bottom, make your brand recognizable for its authenticity.

2. Be reachable

Some people don’t want to get on social media. They think it’s a waste of time, something that takes them away from what they should be doing. If one of the things you should be doing is interacting with customers, you need to be on social media.

It’s not really a question of whether or not you have time. And, even if you aren’t going to use social media as a marketing tool, you should still make yourself available to people who have questions, thoughts, or concerns with your company and your product.

3. Work on your writing

Has your company ever sent out a press release? Shouldn’t you? Sometimes, sending out a press release can be costly. That’s an excuse. But, it’s not a good one. You can still put a press release on your website or out on the Internet. You could even target a few people with similar interests and ask them to share or retweet your info. News travels fast these days.

Now, the hard part. Get better at writing.

Nothing falls quite so flat as an uninteresting press release. What can you do to convey your info as quickly, efficiently, and interestingly as possible? Work on it.

4. Participate

This isn’t another social media push (still, guys…get on social media). No, instead, what I mean by participation is interacting with your local community. Sponsor high school events or marathons. Go to conferences and conventions. If you don’t have the money to be a sponsor, find some way to get involved. It’s a way to get your name and your brand out there.

What do you think is a good branding technique? What has worked for you in the past? Let us know in the comments.

Video: BizTips with Robert Scheutz of Float Storage

Check out our latest BizTips!

Lisa McKibben sits down with the co-owner of Float Storage, Robert Schuetz.

Visit for more info.

The 7 Deadly Sins of Entrepreneurship

When you’ve started a new business, there are many traps you can fall into. More than others, here are our 7 deadly sins of entrepreneurship. Avoid them as much as you can.

1. Putting personal needs ahead of business needs

You know there are going to be some lean times ahead, but you’ve got to be ready to stick it out for the long haul. Are your personal needs getting in the way? We’re not saying you should ignore your personal needs. Feed your family. Pay your bills. But, what are the desires you have that aren’t needs? Can you do without? Be prepared to cut back before you even get started.

2. Expanding too fast

As a small business owner, remember this: you are a SMALL business owner. You don’t have to conquer the world in a day, month, or even year. Give yourself time to grow with proper nourishment instead of trying to expand too quickly.

3. Failure to communicate

This is our way of saying: embrace the technology of the age. If your not up to date on software, social, and any other technology your industry uses, then you’re behind and you don’t want to be behind.

4. Negative advertising

You’re bound to have competitors out there. Don’t put them down. If you spend your time saying negative things about your competitors, don’t be surprised if it backfires. Stay positive.

5. Lying

Okay, that sounds a bit obvious. Don’t lie about your business. But, people still do it. Especially with buzzwords like “all-natural,” “recyclable,” or “green.” You’re not helping anyone out when you lie about your product, least of all yourself. Make sure you know what the word means before you use it. People will find out. And you definitely won’t look good when that comes around.

6. Kneel before Zod.

You started a business, founded a company, came up with the idea, invented the product. That doesn’t make you all powerful. You can maintain control over you business, but you still need to be aware of what your investors, customers, and coworkers think. Don’t let all the power go to your head.

7. Party pooperness

Work can be fun. Heck, look at you! You went out with your ideas and your passion and started your own business. You’re already breaking away from the stereotypical rigidity of the rat race. Let your carefree passion shine through. Not everything needs to be super serious working. Have some fun.

What is your deadly sin that entrepreneurs should avoid at all cost? Share in the comments!

Inspiration: Mixergy Interview with Ryan Scott – What Happens after the Startup’s Exit

What would you do if you built a tremendously successful (and profitable) internet company and sold it?

I interviewed Ryan Scott to find out what he did after he sold Netcreations, the email list management company that he co-founded. (Curious about how Netcreations was built? Listen to this this interview.)

Ryan is now an angel investor and the CEO of Causecast, an interactive community for people and brands that want to leave a positive impact on the world. Here’s some of what I learned about his post-sale journey:

“Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”

Isn’t this the part most people dream of: throwing great parties, buying fun toys, hobnobbing with celebrities? Ryan got to enjoy it all. There was a part of him that did that to overcome some lingering insecurities from when he was a nerdy kid.

Eventually, he says, the “Rich and Famous” lifestyle wasn’t for him because most of the people it attracted were either after something or just wanted to be around that environment.

Igniting the entrepreneurial need

After being disenchanted with the easy life, Ryan refocused on what got him started: the need to build something. I think there are two kinds of entrepreneurs: The “wannabes” try to build companies so they’d never have to work again. But the “real” entrepreneurs build companies when they don’t have to work.

If you download my interview with Ryan to find clues on how to build your own success, notice how many times he says he wants to build something that lasts.

Angel investing

He also started investing in companies like Tesla Motors, Mahalo, and

If you’re reading this site, there’s a good chance you’ll either need an angel to invest in your startup or you are an angel investor. So I asked Ryan how he make his investment decisions. He said he looked for ideas that have legs and can leave an impact on the world.

He also said that he considers the personality and reputation of the entrepreneur behind the company. Will s/he crumble in a crisis? Do people think s/he is a jerk? Is this someone I want to work with? (Peter Pham has more on that.)

The power of celebrities

The aha moment that led Ryan to create his newest startup, Causecast, came when he realized that celebrities are powerful attention magnets. They make it easier to draw traffic to a web site. I always forget about the power of celebrities because I’m much more interested in business stars than movie stars, but the rest of the world doesn’t think that way. Ryan realized that there was an opportunity to work with celebrities to pull together a big community that supports causes.

Inspiration: Chris Rodriguez Growth with Facebook Ads, Twitter, and LinkedIn

Chris Rodriguez is the Growth Marketing Manager at Knewton.
In this episode Chris breaks down growth hacking. Then he gives us an awesome trick to get more out of your Facebook Ads. He also goes over how he organically generates growth from both Twitter and LinkedIn. Lastly he drops knowledge on us about infographics and Google Plus.

5 Things Almost Every Startup Forgets

We understand. When you make the decision to launch your startup, you go in with guns blazing. But, while you might be charging in full speed ahead, what are the things you’re forgetting to take into consideration?

We have a list of things you might have forgotten.

1. Your budget

Okay. You probably spent a lot of time preparing a business plan and gathering information for your presentations, but have you really scrutinized the budget? Have you considered all the expenses? There are always costs you haven’t taken into account. The best way to deal with unexpected budget upheaval is to leave a little wiggle room. If you’re not the kind of person to waste time with the fine-tooth comb, make sure you leave some extra money around just in case.

2. Your management skills

For some, management skills come naturally. They instinctively know how to handle all their employees. In case you aren’t that person, take some time before you start hiring people to research some management styles. When a startup is right out the gate, it’s hard to focus on everything at once. You’re just getting into the rhythm of things. Don’t let management get out of hand. Check in with your people. Don’t ignore your employees.

3. Delegate

Like I said above, some people have natural management skills. If they work for you, let them manage. You can’t be around all the time. Make sure you have a chain of command that doesn’t rely on you being around all the time.

4. Office Space

Are you ready to move into an office? If you want people to take the seriously, you probably need to get out of the garage. Before you jump at the first cheap office space you find, do some research. What kind of neighborhood is it in? What does your office look like to someone coming in from the outside? Make sure that office space ends up in the budget.

5. Stay true to yourself

When companies and startups start to grow, they oftentimes lose sight of their original purpose. Your company should evolve naturally, but, now and again, take some time to see where your headed. You should stay on top of your mission statement. If it needs to change, change it. If it should stay the same and you’re diverting, pull it back on track.

What did you forget when you launched your startup? What do you have to remind yourself about? Share in the comments!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,027 other followers

%d bloggers like this: