Welcome to the SCORE Small Business Success Blog, where small business experts and mentors share tips, discuss trends, and provide advice on a wide range of topics affecting entrepreneurs in every industry.
Since every business has its own set of unique challenges, it can be difficult to pinpoint which legal matters you can handle yourself and which require an expert. Here are a few guidelines.
Some new businesses soar. Others languish, crawling slowly forward until their founders’ money and patience are both exhausted, their deaths sadly marked by empty storefronts. Failure is not inevitable. If your product or service is marketable, you can avoid a going-out-of-business sale by honing four critical skills.
They’re hard-working and creative, but small business owners are not natural salespeople. As a result, they tend to be vulnerable to a few key mistakes in the sales process.
It isn’t enough to simply establish an online presence. You have to maximize your contacts by ensuring you catch the attention of prospective customers. We’ve compiled a list of ideas that can help you.
To help morale, you must change your leadership focus from numbers to culture, a focus on purpose, morale, and loyalty. That boils down to engaged relationships. Three rules can help you get there.
Your website is obviously important to you. Your goal should be to make it important to your customers. If your website becomes the “go-to” site for a large percentage of the people looking for your type of product, your business will grow.
Your computer database is one of your most valuable assets. It contains your financial records, your personnel records, your customer records, and (quite often) all your business secrets (including all your intellectual properties. Given that, protecting your database must be (but seldom is) your most important job.
Small business owners usually know what accounting, production, quality control, customer service, and most other functions of their businesses entail, but many, even the most experienced, ask “Just what is marketing really all about?”
Do you have any employees who work from home? If you understand the tax rules they face for claiming a home office deduction, you can help them.
Put everything you do in writing. It might be worthwhile to look at some of the areas where businesses put themselves at risk by not using paper (electronic communications can count as paper).
What exactly does your business insurance cover? Too many businesses take out insurance that protects them from liabilities arising from accidents that cause injury to customers or employees and damages due to misfortunes like floods and fires but never ask if that is enough.
Some questions can be unpleasant. One issue some business owners must face even though it is painful is employee theft. Every business, whether small or large, can take steps to minimize (or, with luck, eliminate) this aggravating problem.