Want a prosperous, productive New Year? Here’s how…

Small Business Health Tips

As an entrepreneur, every hour of your day is precious. So whether you are planning out your time or trying to capitalize on the time you have, here are some tips to help you be more productive:

Stay Fresh – You can’t accomplish much if you are battling to stay awake. You will be working twice as hard for half the productivity if you try to work while sleepy.

Work with Rock Stars – It’s a proven fact that people who work around successful, productive co-workers, tend to be more productive themselves.  Check who you interact with and do your best to work with those that will hold you accountable and positively reinforce your mindset.

Exercise – The healthier you are the more likely you will be able to endure your work sessions. Get up and move around, get more oxygen in your system. You will find clarity in your thoughts.

Productivity Overload – Don’t make productivity the goal above all else.  You may find yourself spending more time trying to be productive than actually getting things done!

Track your time – You can’t manage what you don’t measure. If you identify the time you are wasting or mis-using, you can redirect your efforts and be more productive.

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Business Insurance, You just gotta have it…

In case you hadn’t noticed, the world can be a dangerous place. Small business owners not only risk personal funds and their livelihoods just to own and operate their company, they also take on the risk of disasters, litigation and employee errors.

Regardless of the type of business you run there is risk and you should consider what type of coverage makes sense for your company. Here are some of the most basic types of insurance you should consider:

  • Commercial Property Insurance – Your computer, manufacturing equipment, and/or inventory may not be covered by your standard insurance and without the ability to replace these items, you are most likely unable to produce revenues.
  • Liability Insurance – Somebody slips and falls in your store; an employee forgets a crucial line of code and crashes a client’s network; you accidentally crush a priceless piece of artwork at a client location – All of these situations may be covered with specialized liability policies. In many cases, you will be required to carry liability coverage when working with third parties.
  • Auto Insurance – Don’t assume your vehicle is covered for business use under your current policy. You may need a rider or a new policy if the vehicle is primarily used for business.
  • Employment Related Insurance –  Workers’ Compensation, Unemployment, Disability, Health, and Key Person insurance all fall under this category. Talk to an expert to determine which are required by law and which simply make sense for your business.

If you have a good agent for your personal accounts, they should be able to guide you on your business coverage. That said, don’t be afraid to shop around for the best deals.

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TED talks make for a great marketing exercise…

TED talks are quite common. It is pretty safe to say that nearly everyone reading this article has heard of, watched or participated in a TED or TEDx event. Many of us have our favorite TED talks and pass them on to others. But have you ever considered how TED talks might improve your marketing abilities?

While TED talks themselves are meant to be eye-opening or gut-wrenching, you might consider the story behind the stories. How do speakers prepare? What makes a great topic? What causes millions to view one TED talk and others to just fade away?  Speakers get 18 minutes to change our world. Most of us take that long to describe last night’s dinner in a Yelp post.

Could you present the purpose of your business in a meaningful way in 18 minutes? Would it be inspiring? Is there a standing ovation or a yawn at the end of your presentation? Take a moment and put yourself in the position of a TED speaker. Challenge yourself to craft a meaningful, inspiring story about your business. It could be the most powerful marketing tool you have.  Need help? Check out the book, “TED Talks” by Chris Anderson, Head of TED.

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Posted in Business Planning & Strategy, Sales & Marketing

Business Planning – Have you done it?

Whether you are a new start up or a seasoned entrepreneur, you should have a plan. Many of the clients we speak with enthusiastically nod in agreement with this statement but, when asked to see their business plan, they just smile, point to their head and say, “It’s ALL in here!”

Well, how many of you can tell me what you had for lunch last week or, more importantly, how much you have budgeted for your next marketing campaign. Do you know the details of your next marketing campaign?

Without a plan, things just tend to happen. You don’t control your business, you just react to your surroundings. This can be costly and time consuming.  You need a formal plan, whether that is a business plan, marketing plan, strategic plan or succession plan, you need to formally write one down.

Here are some tools to get you started:

  • SBA.gov – This site has an online tool that will produce the shell of a business plan for final edits.
  • Census.gov – Narrow down your market, quantify the potential market and find niche demographics within your geographic area of influence.
  • BizStats.com – This site will help you benchmark an existing business or more precisely project your sales growth and expense trends. Competition information is also available from this website.

Need help? Email us with your questions and we will get you started on the right path to solid business planning.

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Amazon Prime Day… You gotta love it, or NOT!

If you are an Amazon Prime member, you probably can’t avoid Amazon Prime days.

Some small businesses have figured out how to use Amazon to their advantage, some, not so much and therefore see Amazon as a monster competitor. Whether you have made money, lost money or spent money on an Amazon Prime day, here are some stats that might be of interest:

  • Sales increased 60% over last year’s Prime Day (2017 vs. 2016)
  • 700 Million promotional emails were sent by Amazon
  • Amazon Echo was the No. 1 selling item (2017)
  • 40% of buyers made purchases of $100 or more
  • Consumer Electronics was the most popular category

Oh, and the last stat… there are estimates of over $10 billion lost in productivity resulting from at-work shopping on Amazon Prime Day. You know you are looking forward to the next one!

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Time to cash in on your hard work? – Sell your business!

The past three years have shown a steady increase in the sales volume of small businesses across the United States. The business brokerage firm, BizBuySell recently published sales trend data on small business buy/sell transactions and the numbers point to an average of nearly 6% increase. According to BizBuySell brokers, the 2017 numbers look to continue the growth trend.

2016 Q4 Insight Chart

According to BizBuySell’s December business broker survey, 79 percent of respondents expect transactions to improve in 2017.

If you want to learn more about buying or selling a business, check out the BizBuySell.com website.  The founder’s book on how to buy/sell a business is also a good quick-read primer for those thinking about their future as a business owner.

Amazon Recommendation:

Guide to Buying a Small Business

Produced by BizBuySell, the Internet’s largest and most active marketplace for businesses and franchises for sale, this guide provides a detailed overview of the business buying process.
Buy it on Amazon

Guide to Selling Your Small Business

Produced by BizBuySell, the Internet’s largest marketplace for businesses for sale, this guide provides a comprehensive overview of the small business sales process including actionable advice and step-by-step instructions to help maximize selling success.
Buy it on Amazon

Full Disclosure: Small Business Right is an Amazon Affiliate and receives referral commissions if you purchase any item we recommend. Hey, we gotta pay the bills, right!

 

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Before you let that domain name expire, better check it’s value!

Clients have come in with website issues varying from content creation to technical difficulties to general design. In some cases, clients have accumulated so much web “property,” it’s hard to figure out how everything fits together. Web domains for example, can pile up over the years if you are constantly grabbing URL’s that catch your attention or fit a new direction for your business. So, what do you do with all those web names?

The cost of maintaining domain names is relatively low so, it’s easy to justify hanging on to them for, “just one more year” until you get around to using them for their intended purpose.  Over time, however, a long list of domain names can add up, come renewal time.  Most people just switch on the auto renewal or let the domain names expire without giving them a second thought but, there are more productive ways to manage your list of URLs.

Once you decide which URL’s are just too valuable and relevant to your online strategies, you should indeed, turn on auto renewal.  Then, you should make sure each URL is pointed to a functioning website. Most hosting companies allow you to do this at no charge.  By doing this, if someone inputs one of your URLs to their web browser, they will be directed to a website instead of getting a generic “not found” or “under construction” message from the host. You can point as many URL’s to a website as you like.

The URL’s you decide are not worthy of maintaining beyond their expiration date should be assessed for possible sale. Many hosting companies offer the service of listing your URL for sale so if someone comes along looking for it, they will list it with a price for purchase. If your host doesn’t offer this service, there are brokers and sites that offer auction solutions to sell your URL. Flippa.com is an example of this type of auction site.

Some URL’s are more valuable than others obviously. Short, common phrases or brand names are more valuable than long, nondescript phrases that don’t reach a specific audience.  URL’s that have been registered for a long time or, are being sold in conjunction with a high traffic website, will also command higher bids. As an example, the domain name technicaljobs.com was originally purchased for $75 by the original owner. Upon retirement, that same URL was sold for $75,000 after it had already earned the owner a decent living on her website.

Another criteria that affects value is the extension. Since .com is still the most popular extension, phrases without it are just not as valuable. A recent sale of jobs.ca (Canada) brought in $450,000.  According to an article in the Business Journal archives, the broker for the sale, Dave Evanson of Sedo, said if the domain had been jobs.com, it could have sold for 20x that price.

Now, you may not be sitting on a goldmine of URLs but, before you assume there is no value, you might do some research and see if a sale is more sensible than an expiration. Brokers and auction/sales services will take a commission but compared to simply allowing the domain to expire and receiving nothing, it is a good way to bring in a few extra dollars.

If you pull off a successful sale of a URL, let us know!

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