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5 Small Biz Excuses That Shouldn’t Follow You into the New Year

76_3496375Do you ever find yourself blaming everyone around you when things don’t go the way you want in your business? Maybe it’s “the economy” that kept you from hitting your sales numbers this year. Or your lack of employees that had you in the weeds all year. Whatever your favorite excuse, put the the kibosh on it in 2015.

If any of these sound familiar, make a New Year’s resolution to strike them from your vocabulary.

 

  • I Don’t Know Enough to Start a Business. If you haven’t yet jumped into the world of entrepreneurship, stop letting excuses hold you back. You’ll never feel like a 100% expert in your field, so waiting for the “right time” may never come. Instead, make it your goal to start a business this year and learn as you go.

Continue reading “5 Small Biz Excuses That Shouldn’t Follow You into the New Year” »

Time for a Year-End Review of Your Marketing Goals

1019_4744712Remember those marketing goals you set last year? It’s time to look at them!

In between holiday parties and munching cookies, set aside some time to look at the year in review. If you’ve done your work marketing-wise, you will have achieved the goals you set at the start of the year. If not, you may need to tweak them as well as your strategy for next year.

First, What Were Your Goals?

If you did set goals at the start of 2014, what were they? Hopefully they were measurable and actionable, like “increase sales 40%.”) If they were, it should be easy enough to assess whether you accomplished them or not. If they were more vague (“increase sales”) aim for more specific goals for next year. Continue reading “Time for a Year-End Review of Your Marketing Goals” »

4 Signs It’s Time to Close Your Business (and How to Do it the Right Way)

609_3699341If you’ve been toying with the idea of shuttering your business, but haven’t been sure it’s the right thing to do, this post should help you make that decision. And it’s an important one to make now: putting it off until next year could cost you penalties and fees.

If any of these signs get you nodding your head, it may be time to dissolve that business before 2014 is over.

1. You’re Not Making Enough to Pay Your Bills

 

It’s one thing to have a slow month. It’s another for you to consistently not make enough to cover your own expenses. If you look back over the past several months and see a pattern, something’s got to change. If you’ve tried everything you can to get your business to pick up and you still haven’t seen results, it might be time to throw in the towel. Continue reading “4 Signs It’s Time to Close Your Business (and How to Do it the Right Way)” »

Join Nellie Akalp at the Entrepreneur Success Seminar in February

426_2989695If you have the goal of starting a business in 2015, get off to a great start by attending the Entrepreneur Success Seminar in Westlake Village on February 5, 2015. Nellie Akalp will be one of three guests of honor that will help attendees Find, Start, and Market a new business.

 

In Nellie’s presentation, you will:

  • Get motivated and inspired by Nellie’s personal story to go after your own entrepreneurial dreams
  • Discover the key ingredients for true success and running a successful business
  • Learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur?
  • How to Start a Business: the nuts and bolts.
  • Learn all about business structures from the most popular structures to what is best for which type of business
  • Learn about business licenses and permits and find out what you may need for your venture
  • Find out the importance of keeping your business compliant after you launch to avoid late fees and penalties
  • See what the next steps are to Start It and make those dreams a reality whether it be DIY, using an attorney or a reputable Document Filing Services.

Continue reading “Join Nellie Akalp at the Entrepreneur Success Seminar in February” »

The 5 Best Gifts any Entrepreneur Should Give Herself

775_4714108While it’s great to give your clients and staff gifts, don’t overlook another important person this holiday season: yourself. You work hard all year long, sometimes with little recognition. After all, who’s going to pat you on the back when you do a good job? Use this season to give back to yourself. Here’s what you should ask Santa for.

1. Time. Ah, were it that easy to add a few extra hours into each day. It is…but not how you think. You can give yourself the gift of time by delegating more work to others. If you already have staff, hand over more from your own plate. If you’re a solopreneur, hire a part-time employee, a freelancer, or even an intern to lighten your load.

2. The Right Tools. You’ve been using unwieldy spreadsheets to keep track of clients. Or trying to make do with the free version of software. But it’s time to admit: you need more. You don’t want to spend a lot; I get it. But some of the best small business software costs no more than $10 a month. You can afford that, if it makes you more productive, right? Here are a few affordable tools I recommend:

  • Customer Relationship Management software (Insightly makes a great one)
  • Email marketing software (I like MailChimp)
  • Social media management platform (I prefer Hootsuite)

Continue reading “The 5 Best Gifts any Entrepreneur Should Give Herself” »

4 Ways to Show Your Employees You Care During the Holidays

775_4506103Your employees are the lifeblood of your business. Without them, you couldn’t move forward! And they like to hear from you that you know how important they are to your business.

While I try to let my staff know how much I appreciate them throughout the year, the holidays just provide even more opportunity to do so, and in a fun way.

1. Give Them a Bonus

 

If your company can afford it, the end of the year is the ideal time to share with your team a little of the wealth your staff has helped generate. Even if you can’t afford much, any monetary gift can be appreciated.

You can give your sales team bonuses based on their sales numbers, or spread the joy around to your entire team. Consider setting up a scale so that the bonuses are in line with how long each employee has been with your company. Continue reading “4 Ways to Show Your Employees You Care During the Holidays” »

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Giving Business Gifts

185_2592505If you’re planning to give your staff, vendors, or your clients gifts this season, think twice before you do. Many businesses make these blunders, which are completely avoidable.

 

  • Giving an Inappropriate Gift

 

You may not think there’s anything inappropriate about giving a fluffy robe and bath oils to your client or employee — of the opposite sex —but he might raise an eyebrow. If the gift can in any way be construed as inappropriate, avoid it like the plague.

Instead…aim for “safe” gifts. Candles, Starbucks gift cards, food…these are all generally well-received and won’t put you at risk of losing a client or have a sexual harassment case brought against you!

 

  • Giving a Gift to Someone Who Doesn’t Celebrate Christmas

 

It may be easy to assume everyone celebrates Christmas, but there are plenty of Americans who instead celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or nothing at all. Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, don’t celebrate Christmas, and may be offended if you try to give them a gift. If possible, make sure your gift will be well received.

Instead…don’t center your message around “Christmas” but rather “Season’s Greetings.” This will serve as a better blanket for all holidays celebrated this time of year. Continue reading “5 Mistakes to Avoid When Giving Business Gifts” »

Why You Should Consider a Delayed Filing Option for Your Business Structure

83_3230618I’m a neat freak. I like starting new endeavors right at the start of a new year, rather than 5 weeks in. That’s why I love CorpNet’s Delayed Filing Option. If you’re considering forming an LLC or incorporating your business, you can actually do so and be up and running as your new business structure on January 1.

How it Works

You submit your application for whichever business structure you’ve decided on now and delay your actual incorporation date until the new year. This gives you control over your date of incorporation or LLC formation. Maybe you want to launch it at the start of Q2 in 2015. You can do that with delayed filing.

If you’re approved for a January 1 start date, you avoid having to file more than one business income tax statements (your personal statement from when you were a sole proprietor for part of the year, then the tax paperwork under the new structure) come tax time.

Another benefit is that you mark filing your business structure paperwork now off your list. Who doesn’t want to kick off the new year with one less task to do?? Continue reading “Why You Should Consider a Delayed Filing Option for Your Business Structure” »

5 Signs That Your Hobby is Ready to Be a Business

488_3054905You’re passionate about your hobby, whether that’s hand sewing baby clothes or creating terrariums. And maybe you’ve started to make a little money selling these items. So when should you take your hobby to the next level and build a real business?

Here are five signs that it’s time to take your hobby up a notch.

 

  • You’re Super Busy Filling Orders

You might have started out just making products for friends and family, but now you can’t keep up with demand. If your hobby is taking over your world, it might be time to consider doing it full time.

Continue reading “5 Signs That Your Hobby is Ready to Be a Business” »

10 Holiday Content Marketing Ideas You Can Use Today

775_4777198While your broader holiday marketing campaign may have been planned weeks or months ago, you may still be looking for last-minute holiday-themed content ideas for your blog, or for ebooks or whitepapers. Using the holidays for some of your content can attract more readers, as well as help you find more customers before the end of the year.

Ready for the list? Take notes!

1. Highlight Your Top Products

While you don’t want all your blog content to be promotional in nature, a few product-centric posts this time of year may introduce blog readers to your products and give them gift ideas. Link to your top sellers, or make a list of “Top Gifts for {insert person here, like Boss/Mother in Law/Precocious Child}” to make it even easier to cross everyone off their shopping list.

2. Create Free Giveaways

Content is a wonderful gift for your audience, and is relatively inexpensive (especially if you write it yourself). Write an ebook or whitepaper chock full of useful statistics or tips that your audience will be eager to give you their email address to get their hands on. Use those email addresses in your email campaigns. Continue reading “10 Holiday Content Marketing Ideas You Can Use Today” »