Guarding Your Balance Sheet – Tips for Survival in Today’s Volatile Market

saving money in a down economyAs the recession continues to extend into 2010, we continue to be inundated by news about the challenges that face the small business community.

While we are not completely out of the woods in terms of the economy, there are several things that small business owners can do to protect their businesses during these challenging times:

Manage Collections: Outstanding invoices should be aggressively followed up on round-the-clock. Having unpaid invoices will create instability. Be aggressive and assume the worst.

Collect Upfront: Make sure that all of your contracts stipulate payment upfront. Net 30 can stretch into Net 60, then you are stuck doing work for 2-3 months without being paid.…

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Searching For A New Bank To Suit Your Business Needs

searching for a new bankThere aren’t many good news stories about banks these days so if you’re looking for a new bank you may be facing the quagmire of what to look for and who to turn to when searching for a new bank. The answer may rest upon what your personal and or business banking needs are.

For business owners, entrepreneurs and consumers seeking personal guidance, it is important to recognize that your relationship with your bank is extremely important.  This is one relationship that requires serious time and examination.

I believe the examination process is twofold. On one side of the equation you’ll want to look at the financial stability and business model of the bank to ensure it can provide the financial strength and safety needed to stay in business and serve your needs in a favorable manner to you.…

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Small Business Owners: Beware of Fraud

business fraudSmall business owners have a higher risk of identity fraud than other adults according to a recent study co-sponsored by ITAC, the Identity Theft Assistance Center, and The Financial Services Roundtable.

The Javelin Strategy & Research 2010 Identity Fraud Survey Report found that overall identity fraud grew by 14% in 2009 to 11.1 million adults, in part due to the economic downturn. Small business owners are one-and-a-half more times likely to be a victim than other adults

“The higher incidence of identity fraud among small business owners is probably due to the fact that they have more accounts and conduct more transactions,” said ITAC President Anne Wallace.…

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5 Tips to Work More Effectively From Home

tips for working from home successfullyThrough recent advances in technology, the number of individuals working from home offices has greatly increased in the past decade.   When individuals have taken the proper steps, home offices allow one to work from the comfort and convenience of home without sacrificing productivity.   There are a variety of reasons why individuals would choose to work from home.

Those who own and operate their own small business may choose to work from home because they do not have the necessary funds to afford a lease on a commercial property.   Many corporations now allow their employees to telecommute because it cuts down on expenses and the amount of office space needed.…

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Why Outsourcing Your Finance Department Makes Smart Business Sense

outsourcing finance departmentsFor many smaller and mid-size companies, the hiring CFO-level talent can be too costly and completely unfeasible.   In addition to searching for the right candidate, you have to offer a highly competitive package – even in today’s economy – to attract the top-level finance talent you need for business success.

In addition to requiring C-level finance talent, smaller- and medium-sized businesses require a dedicated finance department that can handle the entire spectrum of financial support services – from strategic financial business planning to day-to-day accounting.

So, the challenge is posed for any entrepreneur…how can I have a viable finance team without the dedicated resources for hiring talent?…

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Four Attractive Ideas for Growing Your Small Business & Bottom Line

marketing ideasHere’s the hundred and first time you’ve heard it:   it’s a tough market out there.

Small business owners are flooded with more priorities than they can handle, ranging from raising capital to streamlining processes to everything in between.   Whether a function of not enough time in the day and/or limited know-how, marketing, advertising, and promotional tasks are quick to slip through the cracks.   But they don’t have to.

Luckily, the following four promotional strategies require little time, know-how, or budget.   What’s more, they are proven concepts that will help to increase your business’s recognition, pool of customers, and most importantly, your bottom line.…

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Effective Sales Question Answered by Dave Kahle

sales question answeredQ. I’ve seen you point out the question “Anything else?” as one of your “really good sales questions”. I see it as a close-ended question. Is “What else can I do?” as effective, or more or less effective?

A. What a great question. Let me applaud you for thinking this deeply about the language in the questions that you use. This “thinking about it before you do it” is one of my key commandments for success in sales. And this kind of thoughtful discussion brings out the best in all of us.

I’m sticking with “Anything else?” as a “Really Good Sales Question.” Yes, it is a close-ended question, but that doesn’t make it bad.…

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3 Ways Small Businesses Can Compete With Bigger Names

competing with big businessBeing a small fry in an ocean of much larger fish is certainly not anyone’s idea of fun. And when you’re a small company who’s not only worried about the competition but also trying your best to just stay afloat amidst the strong currents of the business world, you feel overwhelmed and find it hard to cope.

Rather than being a drawback all the time, being small in a world of giants does have its advantages.…

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How to Build Your Competitive Advantage By Seeing What Does NOT Change

building a competitive business advantage

Have the requirements for leadership changed?

Is it true that “The time of the great leaders like Churchill, JFK, FDR, and Golda Meir, is over because the world is too complex for one individual to know everything”?

Is it true that  “One of the things that people need to master now is… not only to be like Reagan and Martin Luther King who were great speakers, but also to be a great listener”?

In  a recent video my colleague, Thomas Zweifel, argues “yes” to all these questions.   I disagree.

The Dangerous Myth of the “New.”

“Man does not live by bread alone, but also by the catch word.”
–R.…

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Branding: Authenticity Is Key To Long-Term Success

branding keys to successWe hear story after story about organizations trying to reinvent themselves or wondering why they have lost market share or stakeholder support. Often times they are so close to the root challenge that they overlook it and try to advertise or promote their way out of slumping sales. A better approach: look deep to examine and refine your true brand essence and never loose sight of the essential emotional connection your brand must make to each guest, customer or stakeholder.

Over the years we have accepted the challenge of assessing and developing strategies to both launch and expand market share for operators and their suppliers in a multitude of industries.…

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