Protecting Your Business from Bankrupt Customers

avoiding bankrupt customers and clientsMany small businesses don’t have the time or resources to adequately monitor their own financial status, no less the ability to screen the finances of their partners, vendors, suppliers or customers. However, if SMB CEOs take away one thing from the current recession – it should be a clear understanding of how important it is to have a transparent view of their customers’ financial situation.

But with so many CEOs plagued with time, money and employee restrictions, how can they effectively implement the strategies to do so? Here are a few tips to help small businesses get started:

1. Evaluate Your Businesses’ Current Financial Standing – You can’t monitor your customer until you monitor your own business.…

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How to Buy a Small Business Using Creative Financing as the U.S. Economy Recovers

using creative financing to buy a businessThe U.S. economy’s worst recession in the post-war era has begun to turn for the better. Yet, despite the fact that the doom and gloom of the past 20-plus months may be behind us, entrepreneurs seeking to buy businesses still find it difficult to get banks to finance their purchases.

Fortunately, there are a multitude of other options available to business buyers and they center on an entrepreneur’s ability to use creative financing for his or her purchase.

Using Other People’s Money

The vast majority of small business entrepreneurs do not have enough capital to buy a business outright, and banks can present insurmountable barriers.…

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Tips for Managing Remote Worker Programs

managing remote workersSpeed. It is one of the core changes about working. This speed has been written about and studied in many places, but what do we do about the “always on, always connected” and never disconnected situation we now live in? Four tips can help us navigate this remote work environment.

Rob Eleveld at Shiftboard, an online scheduling platform, recently made a comparison between the new workers with the person who volunteers (busy, but able to donate their time) and Carl Lewis, famous Olympian athlete. The point: People are moving faster and need the tools and technologies that let them manage their work lives better.…

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Simplifying IT Management for SMBs

remote cloud computingIn smaller organizations, IT management can be a real challenge. Technology changes rapidly and qualified staff might not always be on-hand to maintain mission-critical systems, support users and administer the network.

This is complicated by the fact that, given no other convenient option, users will often come up with their own “duct tape” solutions to common information management problems. This can quickly snowball into messy situation where critical business information is randomly scattered across spreadsheets, email attachments, Word documents and sticky notes.

It’s disorganized information and inefficient business processes like these that can often wind up costing companies a lot of money further down the road.…

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Five Tips For Small Businesses Hit By Natural Disaster

tips for businesses surviving a natural disasterBack in late June 2006, after a lifetime of erroneously thinking that living in the Northeast meant I was immune from natural disaster, I learned that I was wrong when the Susquehanna River flooded its banks and chased me and my family to a mat in the middle school gym.

Looking back, I could nod and agree with all the standard advice about natural disasters but I think it might be more helpful for me to tell you a few things that can help your small business in similar circumstances but that nobody is likely to tell you.

Be prepared. Most of the time, major weather events (such as storms and floods) and certain other natural events (like wildfires) will let you know they’re coming.…

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Four Challenges and Solutions to SMB Project Management

management challenges and solutionsSmall to mid-sized businesses have unique challenges when it comes to managing projects. SMB’s often don’t have the processes or systems in place to efficiently support the current size of the organization or its future growth, so projects are critical to future success. At the same time, SMB’s have limited resources and small training budgets which can adversely affect projects. SMB project failure can result in investment dollars and staff time down the drain, not to mention disruption in your organization. Don’t jeopardize your operations and profitability.

What is the best approach? Consider these four challenges and solutions:

1. Lack of full-time resources – Resources in SMB’s often have multiple responsibilities.…

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Making Every Penny Count with PPC

PPC advertising - every penny countsIn tough economic times, businesses are looking to cut corners and boost ROI in every way they can, and often the first thing to be cut is the marketing budget. The irony of such an approach is that marketing is necessary to achieve consistent sales and growth. Rather than completely cut marketing from your company’s budget, the smarter choice is to optimize your marketing strategy and calculate returns, and hiring a PPC management firm can help “¨you do just that.

The risks involved with traditional advertising

When you place a print ad in a newspaper or magazine, you are taking a risk.…

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Are Your Customers Satisfied? – Using Online Surveys Effectively

online customer surveysSmall businesses are famously agile and attuned to the wants and needs of their customers. But as they begin to grow, or as market conditions begin to change, staying on top of customer requirements can be a tricky feat. If relationships become too tenuous, an aggressive competitor will prey on those weaknesses and poach “at risk” customers.

Online surveys are an excellent tool for gauging customer satisfaction and identifying at risk customers, as well as for clarifying new trends in the marketplace and unearthing changes in the customer base. With the intelligence gathered from a strong survey program, you can modify your product or service based on real-time feedback, thereby improving satisfaction, loyalty, and profitability.…

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Social Media Strategy: Free Is Nice, But Is It Good For Your Business?

free social media marketingSocial networking technology has made it very easy for people to share their opinions, rate favorite products, and communicate with others. This activity is happening every day, everywhere, and for practically every product that exists. No matter how big or small your company is, if you have customers, you can bet they’re talking about your brand or product somewhere. So what are you doing to influence that conversation?

As a small business, you probably have limited budget and resources and you need to be sure any investment you make in social media is worthwhile. Does it make sense to pay for a branded online community or can free public social sites deliver the same benefits?…

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Juliet Was Wrong, Names Really Do Matter

choosing a domain nameNames matter … especially when it comes to your online business.

High atop her balcony, the love-struck Juliet laments her lover’s problematic surname, declaring, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” While technically she’s right, you wouldn’t want to put Juliet in charge of your online branding efforts.

In fact, when it comes to your online business, choosing a domain name is the first big step – and truly the most critical – in securing your brand and growing your business. So what separates the good, the bad, and the ugly? Let’s take a look.

Five Tips for Choosing the Right Domain Name

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