There's a certain exquisite irony about writing a piece on reducing stress as a small business owner while on vacation. And yet, here I am, while my family is out shopping or playing golf, sitting poolside with a laptop. Yep, I'm that guy. I hope I'm getting a good tan from the glare off the screen.
Money is the key to keeping your business going. You may be in an early stage, just planning or incorporating your business, but you should have thought through the issue of money, including how you're going to make it, keep it coming in, and keep that cash flow increasing over time. In the past, banks were a natural choice for loans, as most people had their own personal accounts in a bank and had relationships with the bankers there. While some of that has changed, there's still a lot to the idea of creating a relationship with your [...]
I attended two meetings about Community Managers this past week, and both got me thinking about how businesses always benefit from connecting with their customers like a community. What is a community manager, you may ask? Tim McDonald of the Huffington Post Live likens it to being like a "magnet" that brings people toward your business. Community managers typically work on the social media and web presences of companies, helping guide conversation with a light hand and keep fans of the company engaged. If you could add in great friendly communicator, customer service maven, metrics fan and a desire to get everyone on board with your company's brand – that would be a community manager. Sounds like a helpful role for someone who is starting a business.
If you are starting a business, you may be lucky or smart enough to have a truly unique business idea. Perhaps it is a method or product that can be patented, or a unique way of doing business. Very few people in the world know the secret formula for Coca-Cola, or the exact combination of herbs and spices that Col. Sanders put into his fried chicken.
There's a lot of techno-babble these days around the phrase "the Cloud" or "Cloud Computing." Use of the terms have made them so generic as to be almost useless. I'll provide you with a translation and give you a few simple to-dos so you can benefit from "the Cloud" as you start your business.
A recent Wall Street Journal article states "There's No Avoiding Google+." If you're starting a business, especially a web-centric or local business, you should pay a bit of attention to Google+, and for some businesses, you should embrace it fully. It has the potential to increase your exposure to customers and improve your search ranking.
Several years ago when I was running continuing education programs in business at NYU, two faculty members approached me about creating a program in coaching. As an intrapreneur, I championed the program and also took the classes. Coaching is a very valuable skill set, so as an entrepreneur, I've benefited from having coaches to hold me accountable, set and keep goals for starting a business and running it. I've been out of the "business" of coaching for a while, but I asked one of my former classmates, who has since taught in the NYU program about the best way to find a coach. Cindy Cornell, Principal of the Hoshin Group, told me that, these days, coaching can mean different things to different people.
Many of our CorpNet readers looking to incorporate or start a business are doing this for the first time. Way before you're ready to have a full outside Board of Directors, you may need some good advice, on a regular basis, from people you look up to or value in business. An advisory board is a group of people who want to see your business succeed, and who believe in your idea. They could easily be called your "sounding board."
The new year is always looked at as a "fresh start," though as an entrepreneurs most of us never stop. Starting a business is often a goal that tends to either contain or subsume all other goals. So it is worth taking a moment to focus on what we want to accomplish for the year. Many of us have goals, both short and long-term, and the beginning of the year is often a time for setting new ones or modifying old ones.
Sometimes, someone starts a business by accident. A friend bakes cupcakes for another friend's event, and they're fantastic. People at a party ask for the recipe. Even better, they ask if she'll make cupcakes for their party or corporate event. Before she knows it, your friend is baking up a storm, from her own kitchen, and bringing in money she wasn't expecting. From such humble beginnings come the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
When you start your business, it's obvious that one of the first things to do is pick a name. While CorpNet provides a way to search for your name to ensure you can get the trademark, another very important naming step is obtaining an Internet domain name. One problem is that many names, terms, and even combinations of terms are already taken in the .Com top-level domain.
Every entrepreneur has a to-do list a mile long. How you manage yours may determine success or failure in your small business.
I'm excited to join the other excellent writers here at CorpNet. As a consultant and advisor to entrepreneurs for many years, my first piece is drawn from the environment around me - namely, a coworking space in New York City. One of the startups I work with lets me use a desk here, and it makes sense for me to share the coworking experience with the CorpNet community. What is Coworking? So, what is coworking,and why is it different from "getting an office" somewhere? From the Coworking Wiki, coworking is based on the simple idea that "independent professionals and those with [...]