Category Archives: Small Business
1. Energy costs
Do you work in an office? How old is it? When was the last time the insulation was updated? Do you turn all the lights off when you leave?
As a Texas based company, we know that you can’t get much work done in the heat. But, if you use heating or air-conditioning in your office, you should make sure your air-conditioning and heating units don’t have to work as hard when no one’s there. Turn the thermostat up or down when you leave and adjust it again in the morning when you get it. Make sure you turn off computers and lights when you leave. And, if you’re just starting out an office, think of investing in energy saving equipment, like more efficient monitors, modems, and even light bulbs.
As an entrepreneur, you are working with a limited budget. Before you go out and start hiring employees, take a look at the projects you want those employees to handle. Are they all permanent or long term? If not, you might want to hire out on contract rather than having a permanent employee.
Small businesses and entrepreneurs get a whole range of tax breaks, deductions, and benefits. We’ve mentioned some on this blog, like hiring your children. But, think about all the business expenses you incur, like travel, or business lunches, or conference fees. Are you making sure those are all reflected in your taxes? Take some time to research the benefits available to you and make sure you’re taking full advantage.
4. Shop around
If you find that you are in need of something for the office, don’t settle on the first price you find. If you’re looking for something like office furniture, you can always buy secondhand. If you need a modem or router, check more than one retailer. With the Internet, it’s easier than ever. You can also look for places that offer small business rewards programs or discounts.
What are some ways you save money around the office? What’s your biggest business expense you forgot to budget for? Share in the comments!
These days, we’re all looking for a quick way to get our business noticed. But, what if there’s a more lasting way to keep your business on the map? It’s not as hard as you might think. Here are our top three ways to make your business stand out and keep it that way:
1. Upgrade your website…and keep it updated.
You need to have a website, it needs to look like you made it in the last year, and you need to keep updating it. On the most basic level, it keeps the search engine bots happy. Your ranking in searches would be improved. Another reason you need to update your website is to make sure it is mobile ready. In January, 55% of Internet usage was on mobile technology. People will search for your business on their phones and mobile devices. You need to be where they’re searching.
2. Figure out what your customers want and give it to them.
I’m not talking about your products. You know what your customers are buying. In this instance, I’m talking about content marketing. If you make air conditioners, your customers might want to know about air conditioners, specifically the air conditioners you sell. Another way to do it is figure out what questions your customers are asking. How often have you typed a question into Google? Consider all the questions people are asking and see which ones you can provide an answer for.
3. Ask your customers for reviews
Your customers are your best advocates. If you have someone who is satisfied, you want them to shout your praises from the rooftops. Give them a forum to do that. Whether it’s a short video, a place on your website, or your Twitter account. Ask them to talk about you on Yelp or Foursquare. Get the stories out there.
How do you get your business noticed? How would you be an advocate for a business? Share in the comments!
You think you’ve made it. Your business is on top and been up there for awhile. You’ve diversified, you have franchises. But, here are 3 retailers who found out that failure is always an option, and what you can learn from it.
Always Blockbuster. Poor, poor Blockbuster. In 2002, Blockbuster was valued at $5 billion. It had even become synonymous with renting a movie. If you wanted to rent a movie for the weekend, you asked if anyone wanted to go to Blockbuster, even if you were going to Hollywood Video. Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2010.
What went wrong:
Netflix and Redbox came and pushed them out of the market.
What can you learn:
Always be ready to embrace new technologies, especially if your company’s product is technology. Evolve or perish.
2. K. B. Toys
When it filed for bankruptcy in 2008, K.B. Toys was the leading mail-based toy retailer, but even then it only represented a small percentage of the United States toy market.
What went wrong:
Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon had better prices.
What can you learn:
Downsizing is not a four-letter word. If you’re good at something, don’t be afraid to try and be the best at it. If K.B. Toys had focused on it’s mail order sales while decreasing it’s brick-and-mortar presence, would it still be around? If it had embraced Amazon’s Marketplace, or eBay would it have sold more through the mail? Maybe not. But, it’s something to think about.
In 1997, after 117 years, the last Woolworths closed its doors. It wasn’t all failure, though. The Woolworth Corporation changed its name to Venator Group and still operates some retail stores, including Foot Locker and Northern Reflections.
What went wrong:
Again, lower prices at Wal-Mart and Target helped to bury Woolworths. However, America moving out of the cities and into the suburbs was the first shovelful of dirt in the grave. As America left the city, tastes changed. And one of those tastes was a distinct lack of interest in what Woolworths had to offer.
What you can learn:
Sometimes, the market disappears.
Do you know of a company that failed? What can be learned from their failure? Share in the comments below.