From OPEN Forum: Small Business Optimism dipped slightly during November. The dip is somewhat surprising given recent modest improvements in consumer confidence and initial signs that the holiday shopping season is shaping up to be stronger than last year.
If there’s one thing every entrepreneur will agree on, it’s that hiring great people is critical to success.
In my previous jobs in corporate America, I never thought much about the business credit card I used. Here at The Business Insider, however, the choice was mine to make.
From Entrepreneur: As the economy struggles to rebound, unemployment rates remain at historical highs and millions of Americans are still looking for work.
From Entrepreneur: If you’re reading this, you’re probably already running your own small or mid-sized business. Maybe you’re doing OK, but your competitors are doing better and you’re wondering if you could be doing more to increase sales.
Think that now is a bad time to start a business? Think again.
Disclosure is a good thing. Early disclosure of thorny issues is a very good thing (such as, “I am embroiled in a legal dispute with my co-founder over ownership of the company and here is why”). Transparency is an important quality when starting a risky new business; it builds trust. […]
: As the economy glides into something that vaguely resembles a recovery, the workplace isn’t the battleground that it was at this time last year, but employees are nonetheless bruised and exhausted. There’s no escaping that a marginal economic recovery brings with it a brand new set of human capital […]
From OPEN Forum: Proprietors’ income (income earned by owner-operated sole-proprietorships or partnerships) fell off a cliff last year. Thankfully, it has finally started to recover.
From Harvard Business Review, a reminder to stop and say thanks to your employees. Appreciation is a powerful motivator:
You might think that with budgets tight, it’s not a good time to buy pointless motivational posters for your office, that people are just going to make fun of.
: One of the all-time greatest examples of a brand turning lemons into lemonade may also be one of the first. Advertising aficionados will remember the 1960s Volkswagen Beetle campaign. As competing automakers built ever bigger cars for growing, post-World War II families, Volkswagen’s Beetle was seen as too small, […]
At TBI, the #1 collaboration tool is still the old-fashioned shout across the newsroom. As our business thrives and we add to staff, the shout’s dominance will be threatened, but not for a while: some of my colleagues can really project.
If you’re trying to implement customer development at your startup, you’ll learn more from these 3 case studies than anything else I’ve seen. I consider each of these a “must-read”. I’ve quoted some great bits from each case study, but make sure you click through and read each one in […]
If you have pitched sent your proposal to VC’s, you have probably received one of these:
This has been said many times before but I’ll say it again. It’s not about technology or innovation. It’s all about customers and sales.
takes hard work, talent, and charm. Turning it into a colossal disaster is easy, and a lot more fun.
From OPEN Forum: The number of businesses expecting to hire new employees in the following three months began falling in summer 2007, a few months before the recession began (this makes sense, as it’s a leading indicator). Fortunately, the measure recovered somewhat this summer, although it’s still in negative territory.
Mashable’s Ben Parr has a post on the OPEN Forum discussing the pros and cons of releasing your product early and often:
From OPEN Forum: This summer, expansion plans among small businesses were at the lowest they’ve been in years as most small businesses are focused on maintaining profits versus expanding to address increased demand. This will likely change quickly, though, if the economy continues to recover.
The MBA summer internship is a major part of the business school experience, and getting the right one is important. Good internships are extremely competitive, and the struggling economy has made it harder than ever.
Even if you personally consider Twitter an annoying pop culture trend, you can’t argue against its power to reach thousands of people in seconds, for free — making it a perfect marketing tool for a small business.
From OPEN Forum: After falling for more than a year, the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index has recovered to some degree, beginning in March 2009.
Restaurateur Bruce Buschel continues his list in the New York Times…
Hiring is the most important thing a manager does. And everyone makes mistakes doing it, regardless of how thorough they’ve been or sophisticated their process is.
: Finding ways to get things done with little or no money (bootstrapping) is critical when you run into problems obtaining money for your start-up or small businesses.
[preserve] [/preserve] For the past four years, we have been infantry officers in the Marine Corps. We’ve each done two tours in Iraq.
From OPEN Forum: Bored on a conference call or in a meeting? Here are 10 tips for keeping your sanity and boosting your productivity.
A great list from restaurateur Bruce Buschel in the NYT.
These days, you might find yourself in a job interview in the comfort of your own home. Interviewing over Skype or a similar service isn’t all that different from interviewing in person, but there are some things you need to keep in mind. Here’s some good advice on the topic:
Business owners could face a new credit squeeze as early as next month, in what amounts to a gap period between the expiration of two popular stimulus provisions and the ramp-up of President Barack Obama’s plan to boost loans for small companies.
From Entrepreneur: These days, most U.S. markets are buyer’s markets, meaning that consumers have great leverage to get a lot of value for their dollars.
General Motors’ decision earlier this month to scrap its Saturn brand triggered frequent retellings of the many ways in which GM missed an opportunity to recast itself and the auto industry. But other manufacturers did adopt some of Saturn’s innovations, according to Wharton faculty. Indeed, they say, the Saturn story […]
From OPEN Forum: After a steep drop during the boom of 2005 to 2006, small business bankruptcies have risen sharply as the recession has progressed.
The PicTranslator app lets you translate any foreign text you come across in your travels, simply by taking a picture of it. Take a look:
From Entrepreneur: One of the best ways for an entrepreneur to get a leg up in this competitive climate and distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack is to tell your brand story.
Every major Web browser has come to the conclusion that the backspace key (or delete, for Mac users) should work as a shortcut to the back button — sending you back to the previous page. ‘Backspace’ starts with ‘back’, after all… what’s not to like?
Haven’t got the hang of copying, cutting, and pasting on your iPhone yet? This video runs you through everything you need to know:
: The great advantage online businesses have over other businesses is that you can measure almost everything about your customers.
If you want your business to live on long after you’ve retired to the links or a nice, sandy beach, you need to approach succession as carefully as you do your will. This starts with having a plan, then making sure all your family members and those with future ownership […]
Facebook’s self-service ads are very, very easy to make.
It’s common to think of negotiations and auctions as two distinct forms of deal-making.
We recently ran a feature on some of our favourite business-oriented lectures and interviews available at iTunes University, the iTunes store’s collection of free material from colleges and universities.
…Mr Covey…embodies, in an extreme form, many of the most irritating habits of the guru industry, not least the habit of producing numbered lists of habits.
In the early days of a business, an entrepreneur has no choice but to rely on his personal credit rating. But if you don’t start working on a credit rating for your business right away, it won’t be there when you need it a few years down the line.
Business Know How‘s Brad Egeland delivers advice on keeping your customer base loyal in tough times:
: When your employed friends talk about retirement, do you have a hard time relating? When you think about growing older, do you picture yourself happily still working? As an entrepreneur, you’re not alone.
Five words that Apple (AAPL) would have you believe are true of just about everything you could think of: “There’s an app for that.”
From Entrepreneur: Some small business owners are so focused on attracting new customers they forget to take care of the ones they already have. And neglected customers will certainly be ripe for the picking by the competition. Bob Green, president of The Verdi Group, an advertising agency in Rochester, N.Y., […]
If you’re trying to run a business, you probably think the global economic crisis has been a bad thing. That is, after all, why they call it a crisis.
Gmail, like most Google products, is free, making money through advertising. But if looking at ads is too steep a price for you to pay for great email, there’s hope for you.
: In the past year, the venture capital funding pipeline has gone from a gusher to more of a trickle.
If you are a CEO, you shouldn’t be thinking about running your company. Your goal, really, should be to do as little as possible, according to Isaac Getz and Brian Carney’s new book Freedom, Inc.: Free Your Employees and Let Them Lead Your Business to Higher Productivity, Profits, and Growth […]
As a startup, we try to move as fast as possible. Our chairman, Kevin Ryan, says moving fast is one of his keys to success.
One of the most basic decisions an entrepreneur has to make is whether to take outside capital.
For a new small business, loading up a number of computers with software all at once can be a serious setback.
From Entrepreneur: Carl L. Gould touts his firm, CMT International, as the “farthest reaching business mentoring organisation in the world.”
Study after study shows that you become much more efficient if you go for substantial periods of time without interruption.
At a time of economic distress, it is all too easy to imagine that supposedly wise leaders and elite experts—usually, for some reason, residents of Washington, D.C.—should take charge of major decisions and put things right, imposing order and correcting the errors of a chaotic free market.
Brian Carney’s new book, Freedom, Inc.: Free Your Employees and Let Them Lead Your Business to Higher Productivity, Profits, and Growth , explains how innovative companies are embracing radical approaches to employee freedom. The companies he describes in the book have seen profits rise and have a happier workforce.
From Entrepreneur: Twitter, the social media micro-blogging service, just received $100 million in new funding from T. Rowe Price and New York’s Insight Venture Partners, according to recent reports.
Reading and evaluating resumes is a time-consuming process. You don’t want to cut corners and end up with sub-standard employees, but you should jump on anything that helps you do the job more efficiently.
For almost 30 years, Yale professor Edward Tufte has waged a crusade against poor chart design.
: Going forward, businesses must succumb to the power of the consumer.
Everyone would like to make more money. But if your workforce is unhappy, paying them more won’t magically make their problems go away.
The internet is a dangerous place for your brand. Anyone who wants to can write anything they want about your product for all the world to see.
Charity for profit is strange beast. How do you tame it?
From OPEN Forum: I’ve gotten a lot of good business advice over the years, but a simple phrase from my first boss, Jonathan Morgan, takes the cake:
: It’s a paradox: So many online merchants, yet so few willing to reach for the stars by thinking beyond the American market. They don’t call it the World Wide Web for nothing–as an online merchant, you are but a few mouse clicks away from a global customer base.
Here’s some communications’ advice: Keep everyone on a need-to-know basis, all the time.
Talk may be cheap, but sometimes it’s cheap and effective.
How can you compete with free?
In an interview with the New York Times, Continental Airlines CEO Lawrence Kellner shared some managerial wisdom he’s picked up over the years:
As an employer, should you be worried about your employees contracting swine flu? A survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit suggests that if you aren’t, you’re in the minority.
Pay very close attention to this post. Ignore the seven other open tabs in your browser, the IM window that just lit up, and the television in the background. Multitasking is all the rage, but it might be bad for you.
From Entrepreneur.com: After all the rumours and last-minute botched deals over the years, it’s finally happened: Microsoft and Yahoo have reached an agreement to merge their search services in hopes of finally being able to compete with the grand search overlord, Google.
Making promises you don’t expect to keep to reel in prospective hires might not be the most ethical recruitment strategy, but research suggests it might not be bad for morale.
Earlier this summer, American Express launched a new version of its OPEN Forum, an online resource and networking site for business owners.
Anita Campbell makes a persuasive case that the secret to start-up success is to spend every nickel as if it were your last.
Famous musicians are not resting on collecting just royalties from their records and selling concerts tickets anymore.
Curtis Jackson, aka 50 Cent, knows a thing or two about surviving failure on the way to success.
Advertising doesn’t have to be boring: throwing a party to hype your product can be effective, fun, and cheap.
Even if no one ever buys it, offering a ridiculously expensive product can make your business money.
Marketing via social media is all the rage these days. But while it’s easy to spend money on it, getting a return on your investment is tricky. Understanding the different demographics of social networks is a good first step.
From Entrepreneur.com: In general, the best choices for debt negotiation and settlement are unsecured loans and credit cards. Since there is no collateral that can be attached to satisfy the debt, creditors are more likely to negotiate to avoid writing off the entire debt.
Of all the worries you might have about employees working from home, this probably isn’t near the top of your list.