Saturday, February 23, 2019

how to start a small business

how to start a small business


Starting a Small Business? This $20 Class Will Teach You How to Help It Thrive. - Entrepreneur

Posted: 21 Feb 2019 06:30 AM PST

Barry Moltz shows students how to establish profitable, sustainable ventures across 15 hours of content.

2 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you'll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

To say it's difficuly to get a venture off the ground is an understatement. If you've ever considered such an undertaking, you're probably well aware of the cautionary statistic that more than half of startups fail within four years. But do you know why so many small-business owners (SBOs) are doomed?

As consultant and marketing influencer Matt Sweetwood points out in a guest piece for Entrepreneur, the reasons why the average small business crashes and burns are manifold. In the majority of cases, there just isn't a market for one's product. But SBOs can also run out of cash, be outcompeted, put together the wrong team, lack a solid business model, or just plain lose focus.

Long story short: As an entrepreneur, you're up against a lot. That's why author and small business expert Barry Moltz has worked with CreativeLive to put together the online class "25 Ways to Jumpstart Your Business," a 15-hour primer on tackling these hurdles and sustaining a profitable business.

You may know Moltz from his appearances on NPR and MSNBC, or from titles like You Need to Be A Little Crazy: The Truth about Starting and Growing Your Business, now in its fifth reprint. With decades of entrepreneurial experience under his belt as both a founder and a consultant, the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame member has seen firsthand the factors that have made small businesses thrive and fail.

Across 34 different lectures in the aforementioned class, he shares with his students these lessons he's learned and gives them practical advice on how to solve common problems faced by entrepreneurs. Upon enrolling, you'll get access to lessons on customer acquisition, vendor and team management, small business finance, balancing cost and quality, growing an online presence, building a culture, forecasting, and more — all of which are accessible 24/7 on any web or mobile device. By the time you've completed your education with Moltz, you'll be able to unlock your true potential as an entrepreneur.

Lifetime access to "25 Ways to Jumpstart Your Business with Barry Moltz" normally retails for $49, but for a limited time, Entrepreneur readers can sign up for just $19.99 — a savings of nearly 60 percent.

ASBTDC Center Offers Seminars for Small Business Owners - amppob.com

Posted: 22 Feb 2019 01:44 PM PST

The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) is hosting a series of programs throughout the state in February designed to teach entrepreneurs how to launch a small business.

The ASBTDC is an economic development program designed to help Arkansas citizens launch, manage and operate businesses. Offering free consulting and market research, the organization is committed to helping businesses from around the state.

On Tuesday, Feb. 26, the ASBTDC is offering two "Start Your Small Business Now" programs. One will be in Batesville, and the other will be in Fayetteville. The program will be geared towards teaching entrepreneurs about legal business essentials, as well as regulations and licensing.

The Batesville event will be held at First Community Bank in the George Rider Room from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The event is free but pre-registration is required. Register here or call (870) 972-3517.

The Fayetteville event will be held on Tuesday, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub. The event is $30, but military veterans and UA staff, students and faculty can attend for free. Register here.

Another event, "Starting a Business in Arkansas," will be held in Little Rock on Wednesday, Feb. 27. Led by ASBTDC Program Specialist Pamela Reed, aspiring business owners will learn essential startup steps and common business pitfalls.

This free event will be held at Terry Library from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Register for the event here.

On Feb. 27, Gurdon will host a program entitled, "Is Starting a Business Right for You?" In this program, entrepreneurs will learn what it takes to be a successful business owner and provide tips on how to make it.

This free program will be held at the Gurdon Business Center from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Register here.

On Thursday, Feb. 28, Arkadelphia will host the Small Business Startup Summit, a combination of two of ASBTDC's popular seminars. This summit will focus on the steps necessary to start and finance a business.

While the event is free, pre-registration is required. Register here. The event will take place at the HSU Community Education Center from 1 to 4 p.m.

READ MORE: Finding Business Mentors with SCORE

Tips For Being Successful as Couple-preneurs - Entrepreneur

Posted: 22 Feb 2019 03:52 AM PST

Working with your partner is a divine experience and here's how you can make the partnership successful

3 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

We all wonder how couples strike a balance between their personal and professional lives, especially when they are together all the time. In fact, working together helps determine your mutual career destinies, instead of spending many hours apart, working for someone else. This inspired us to as we see wonderful couples across India, who planned to be partners in crime in everything, and decided to build a meaningful life together by co-creating something that brings them joy and fulfilment and compile their stories in my book "Supercouples".

Be on The Same Page: Keen alignment and shared vision are the keys to success for any business. Though couples share a level of intimacy and friendship, it is important that they are aligned on their career vision and their life goals too. Because only then will both of them be able to do justice with the enterprise. Eg: Try to be a co-founder of a food enterprise only if both of you are a foodie or closely attached to the vision of starting something around food. Starting a business together just because one of you is passionate, might not be a great idea on a longer run.

Define Your Roles and Responsibilities: Since with couple-preneurs, the line between personal and business gets very blurred, it is very important to define their roles and responsibilities. In most of the interactions, The division of roles had a great impact on making their partnership a successful one. If one of them is managing operations, then the better half would manage marketing. This not only avoids day to day conflicts but also empowers both of their decision-making power. This has brought out the best in them, and also saved them from stepping into the other's shoes. As a couple-preneur, let your better half decide on the matter they are in charge of. Day to day poking will not only create conflicts but also will impact personal life.

Maintain Work-Life (and love) Balance: It is very important to keep a check on how your business decisions are impacting your personal life. Either it can do wonders, or wreck everything. We come across many such examples during these interactions. So my two cents here would be to keep experimenting to see what works well for you as a couple, and how a decision can reinforce your love for each other. Having said that, it is also important to celebrate small business successes together. Keep rekindling your love during office hours as you might not be able to sneak out free time both being the entrepreneurs:-)

Be Kind, Understanding and Respectful: It is very important to make sure that both of you respect each other. Since here lives are way too inter-wined, conflicts are bound to happen. It is important to handle them respectfully and keeping each other's priorities in mind.  For me, it is more like being married to your work, and at the same time getting the chance to spend quality time with your spouse. Most of the couple-preneurs would agree to this. Most of them have been able to explore the other side of their spouse, which would not have been possible in the absence of this plunge. Their journey is definitely different, but as they always say: "No risk, no gain".

How to Overcome 5 Common Small Business Challenges - Business.com

Posted: 22 Feb 2019 08:00 AM PST

Image credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Regardless of industry, many small businesses struggle with these five common challenges. Here's how to solve them.

Owning and operating a small business is a significant undertaking. From strategy and marketing to accounting and HR, your plate is probably overflowing most of the time.

As a result, less important issues can get swept under the rug. But even the smallest item can turn into an obstacle if it isn't addressed. Here is a list of challenges that many small businesses face, and tips on how to overcome them.

Challenge #1: Complying with HR regulations

According to a survey by the National Small Business Association, the average small business owner spends $12,000 or more each year complying with human resource regulations. Not only is compliance costly, but it also requires significant time. Some take more time than others; for 51 percent of those surveyed, overtime is their most burdensome regulation to navigate.

How to overcome it

Automate payroll. If you haven't already, use a solution that will automate tracking work hours and overtime pay. This way, you can keep accurate time records for each employee and automatically calculate overtime payments and tax withholdings. By combining time tracking and payroll in a single platform, you can be confident that you are maintaining compliance while saving time and money.

Create resources. Thoroughly review your employee handbook and make sure it complies with the latest employment laws. Ask a lawyer to read over it if possible, as this proactive measure will cost you far less than a penalty for noncompliance. Share your handbook with each team member once it's completed. Then ask them to sign an acknowledgment stating that they have read and understood the most recent version.

Challenge #2: Working with a small marketing budget

Building brand awareness for your business can be tough with a limited marketing budget. You need to stand out so your ideal customer can easily find you, but this can be challenging when your competitor is using more expensive channels.

How to overcome it

Build a plan. To take full advantage of your budget, create a marketing plan. Start by setting specific goals that will help you achieve your company's objectives, like increasing your returning customers by 10 percent. Then, make a list of potential marketing activities and only pursue those that help you achieve your goal. Small businesses are often solicited for sponsorships and advertising, but before committing, make sure you can tie your investment to one of your objectives. It's OK to say "no," and always make sure you can track your activities.

Market creatively. Many digital services have a low or no-cost option that can help you effectively reach your target audience. For example, you can ask how your customers prefer to receive marketing messages and offers. You can then use that data to refine your strategy and spend money where it makes the most sense. 

If you've been using direct mail to promote your business, consider switching to email marketing, which performs 95 times better than direct mail and is much cheaper

You can also use blogging and social media to increase your exposure online organically. If you have room in your budget, expand your reach by boosting content or organizing a contest with your products as the prize.

Share the responsibilities. Not all marketing agencies require long-term commitments. Find a smaller agency or a professional who will work with you on a per-project basis instead of a year-long contract. Your costs will be more manageable, and you'll have access to professional help when you need it most. 

Challenge #3: Dealing with distractions

As a business owner, you not only handle your company's logistics and administrative requirements, but you also advise employees, answer phone calls, and reply to emails. With so many things fighting for your attention, it can be difficult to focus on your business.

How to overcome it

Remember the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule says that 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of the action. Identify the actions that produce the most meaningful results for your business and prioritize those over less critical activities.

Designate time. Sometimes you need to schedule time for your essential duties. Treat that time as if it were a meeting: silence your phone and mute your email notifications. You can even block off time on your calendar as a reminder.

Challenge #4: Compensating your employees appropriately

If your staff is leaving for higher paying jobs, there are significant costs incurred each time you hire and train a replacement. To recruit and retain good employees, you need to remain competitive in the job market. A report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 3.4 million U.S. workers voluntarily left their jobs in November 2018, often for more money in a new position. On average, job-hoppers saw a 30 percent higher pay raise than workers who stayed where they were.

How to overcome it

Offer personalized perks. Compensation extends beyond wages. Small businesses have the unique flexibility to offer specific incentives to employees. Consider simple rewards, like company swag, holiday bonuses, flexible work hours, or buying lunch for the whole crew during the busy season.

Try performance-based compensation. It might not be feasible to give your whole team regular raises or bonuses. Instead, try implementing a performance-based compensation system.  You'll be able to align your staff's individual goals with your business strategy and encourage your employees to exceed expectations.

Challenge #5: Burning out

Small business owners tend to work long hours and be involved in every aspect of the business. The nature of their work makes them highly susceptible to burnout and related health consequences, like depression and even heart disease. Here are some of the common signs you may be headed for burnout:

  • You're feeling exhausted and overwhelmed all the time
  • You don't sleep well
  • Your relationships seem to be suffering
  • You think about work even when you are not at work

How to overcome it

Delegate where you can. It's difficult to take time for yourself with your substantial to-do list, so consider delegating less critical tasks. Some of your employees might be driven to take on additional responsibility. Capitalize on employees' talents in your marketing endeavors. Good writers can help with blog content, organized individuals can take over event planning, and tech-savvy staff can design market research surveys. You can also use inexpensive project management software to keep track of deadlines and easily assign new tasks to your staff, so nothing falls through the cracks. 

Schedule personal time. Start small by scheduling gym time, a date night with your significant other, or a family game night. Remember: when you're taking time for yourself, turn off your phone and don't check email, so you come back to work refreshed and motivated.

It can be difficult as a small business owner to focus on growing your company while dealing with challenges. By using easy tactics, like offering personalized perks or delegating tasks, you'll be able to overcome any challenge and have your most successful year yet.

Dennis O'Keefe

Dennis O'Keefe is the Product Director for Workful, a new cloud-based human resources and payroll employee management suite made for small businesses. Dennis has a rich history in the payroll, banking and small business management space, with a specific passion for helping small business owners streamline financial and record keeping processes so they can get back to what they'd rather be doing, growing their business.

About.me acquired by mobile-first small business startup Broadly - TechCrunch

Posted: 21 Feb 2019 09:00 AM PST

Personal homepage startup About.me has been acquired. Again! The company, once bought by AOL for a reported $35 million, decided a couple years after the deal to go it alone, and spun About.me back out to become an independent company. Today, About.me announced it's being acquired by the Oakland-based startup Broadly.

About.me founder and True Ventures partner Tony Conrad called the deal "definitely a meeting of the minds," as About.me has been more recently focused on helping people and companies showcase their professional talents and skills, while Broadly creates tools that help small businesses stay connected to their customers.

Today Broadly offers web chat, text, email, online review collection and team messaging — all in its own mobile app.

However, its biggest draw is its online review platform that makes it easier for happy customers to quickly leave the business a positive review on any review site, including Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor and others.

Last September, Broadly raised $10 million in Series B funding, co-led by original investor Foundry Group and new partner Calibrate Ventures. The funding was allocated toward further product development and hiring — both things which an About.me acquisition can now help to expedite. The company also last year launched its small business-focused web chat feature in its app, and snagged the No. 107 spot on the 2018 Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., which cited its 2017 revenue as $4.7 million.

Terms of the About.me deal were not disclosed, but it is an all-stock acquisition we understand, and one Conrad feels positive about.

In addition, the majority of About.me's team is joining Broadly as a result of the acquisition, which will bring Broadly's total team to more than 75. This includes About.me's CEO Mindy Lauck, whose background includes time at Adobe Systems, NBCUniversal and E*Trade Financial. She becomes Broadly's vice president of Product following the deal's closure.

Conrad said he wanted to find About.me a new home with a company that was a good fit.

"It was important to the About.me leadership team to join forces with a company that had a strong go-to-market strategy and a similar level of passion for serving small business owners, who are an integral part of
keeping our economy strong and vibrant," said Conrad. "We found that in Broadly and see the very real potential for powerful future growth as a result of this alignment," he added.

At Broadly, Lauck will be focused on expanding the company's existing product suite to support the full range of the small business owners' needs — that will include About.me's technology. The plan is to offer the About.me pages to Broadly's small business user base going forward.

"The About.me product is another frictionless mechanism for helping small businesses promote themselves and start capturing leads, which aligns well with our mission and brand," said Josh Melick, CEO and co-founder of Broadly, in a statement. "More personally, we're thrilled to welcome the About.me team to the Broadly family – we're even stronger together," he added.

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