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Supporting Veteran Owned Small Businesses

This video shares examples of a few veteran owned small businesses. Feel free to comment and share your own examples with website link belo...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Results Councils ....Team Approach To Solving Small Business Problems

Results Councils of Albertson, New York, specialists in enhancing business success, has developed a program to assist the owners of small and mid-sized companies to solve business problems through a team based approach.

The American economy is dependent upon the growth of small and mid-sized businesses to create new jobs. Smaller companies are the leading source of job creation for the U.S. economy . It is crucial to the success of the U.S. economy that small and mid-sized companies fuel future economic growth.

The owners of smaller companies are often times the loneliest people on the planet. Most have no one to turn to for help in solving business problems. They cannot discuss problems with their employees. Smaller companies normally have no Boards of Directors to rely upon for guidance.

Results Councils has developed a program that joins 8 to 12 small and mid-sized business owners as a business solution team that meets one day per month for 4 hours, with a business leader and a professional business coach, to review the problems and challenges confronting each team member. The other members of the team, with the business coach and business leader, review each problem and offer their advice as to a solution.

Each of the team members serves as part of board of advisors for the other team members. This combined with the input of the business leader and professional business coach provides a powerful approach towards building the businesses of all the team members.

Team members over time develop relationships with each other creating a problem solving mechanism that benefits all participants and enhances the performance of each company. The ability to effectively resolve problems contributes to enhanced profitability leading to business growth and the hiring of additional employees.

RC differs from theirr competition in several areas:

1. Each Results Council is headed by a business leader and a business coach. None of their competition provides as much experienced management talent.

2. They offer the flexibility to adapt their meeting agendas to meet the specific needs of the team members on the day of the meeting. They do not use a standard program as used by theirr competitors which often have little relevance to the needs of the team members.

3. Their relationship with the largest business coaching company in the world provides their members with access to a library of successful business techniques that gives insiight on all types of challenges faced by companies on a day to day basis. They are able to tap into the expertise of 1,200 business coaches throughout the world .... and gain access to successful solutions that they have taken in similar problem areas.

4. Their monthly fee is significantly below the range of fees charged by their competitors.

Results Councils is setting up councils in to meet the needs of small companies and to contribute to the growth of the American economy.

For additional information please contact Martin Hoffenberg at mhoffenberg@mhoffenbergllc.com or 516-626-2292.

You can also go to their website at Results Councils

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Redirect Toll Free Service For Small Business

This Simple Tool Makes Small Business Easier....AND More Profitable

What is Kall8? Kall8 is a toll-free number, but the definition of Kall8 service doesn't stop there. In fact, it only starts there because Kall8 adds a lot more features and capabilities with the toll-free service. Consider for example:

* The user can go online at any time and change where their Kall8 toll-free number rings to. This is ideal for sales reps, real estate agents, etc who need to be always available to their customers.

* The user can setup a schedule, so that the Kall8 number rings in the office during business hours Monday through Friday, and to his cell phone or home phone after business hours.

* Kall8 also will take a voicemail message for you, which you can listen to by calling your voice mailbox from any phone, or have your voicemail emailed to you.

* Calls can be recorded, so that if you are doing a conference call for a great business deal, you can listen to the call afterwards to make sure everything is covered based on exactly what was said. This feature can also be used for training new employees or capturing important weekly training calls.

* If you have multiple locations, Kall8 can route the incoming call to the nearest location, based on where the caller is calling from.

* International toll-free numbers are available for many countries if you have a customer who is trying to create a professional international image.

* Detailed billing is provided every month.

* Vanity numbers are available.

All of these features make the Kall8 service much more than simply a toll-free number, but make this service a true "business partner" to increase productivity. Allow your customers to spend less time playing "voice mail tag" and more time being in touch with you!

Re-Direct Toll Free Service

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How Small Business Can Be More Efficient With Their Time And Effort

One of the problems that seems to plague small business is when they grow beyond the point where they can do everything themselves. Most businesses start out with the owner and they do it all. As they grow it becomes much more difficult to do everything, on-time and well. Things start to get dropped and forgotten. Some of these things include, billing, returning phone calls, follow-up on sales opportunities and missed appointments.

In the past you would hire someone to take care of the less important tasks while you continued to deal with the important details of running your business. Still trying to keep the important things close so they get done with the professionalism that you and your customers expect. While this does help, it comes with its problems too. You may work from home and not want a stranger working in your home while you are not there, or while your family is. You could hire a relative or friend but that has even more problems attached to it.

Answer: Hire someone who knows all about running the operational side of business. Someone who is available all day, every day and has the tools and skills to get the job done right, on-time and professionally. Someone who can talk to your customers with the skill level required, someone who has the same focus and intent that you do with your clients; keep them happy with your services, communicate with them, follow-up on sales opportunities, drive your revenue opportunities higher.

You can now outsource these services for a small fraction of the cost of hiring someone. You have none of the complications of hiring personnel such as managing them (while you are out producing revenue), sick-time, lack of skill, just to name a few. They will tie their fees to your revenue with no fixed fees. Because they are tied to your revenue they are as motivated as you are to make sure you are paid for the work you do and no opportunities are left behind.

For our recommend resource for these types of services … we strongly recommend

Technical Service Support

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Real Affect Of Obama’s Proposed $5,000 Tax Credit To Small Business For Hiring New Employees …. Don’t Be Fooled

In a down economy, where many businesses are having difficulty staying open -- much less generate a profit -- does a tax credit like this have any real and sustainable impact on generating new, incremental jobs?

If you sit back … separate rhetoric from reality … you should easily arrive at the true answer to this question.

NO!

This is just another example of the Obama Administration feeling they have to do something, and something that will "appear" to be successful.

By proposing a tax credit for hiring, the government is actually distorting the market, and shrewd small business owners will wait for the distortion to resolve (either by the tax credit's being made permanent or discontinued) ….. before making such relatively significant financial commitments as hiring a new employee.

But it’s much more complicated than that. Dig deeper.

This just doesn’t pass the sniff test. Further … it’s an obvious irresponsible use of funds.

Are there any countermeasures to ensure the employee stays working for a determined amount of time? If I were an unethical employer, I could hire people just to get the tax credit and then tell them that some contract didn't go through and I don't need them anymore. I would also likely hire at the entry level …. Much cheaper and still gets me the same tax “credit”. So under that scenario what happens to all those skilled, experienced, well trained but unemployed fellow Americans out there? Nothing …. Still no job for them.

I didn't do anything to lower the real unemployment rate. I just lowered my tax exposure. I agree it's great to have incentives to try to boost the economy, but without certain guidelines, it allows unethical people to take advantage of things without obtaining the intended result.

It’s also important to note that more than likely it is going to cost the small business way more than $5000 to find, hire, train and then pay a new employee. With the economy in the state it’s in … this would amount to more money going “out” at a time when not enough is coming “in”.

My biggest fear is that the US will throw 33 billion at this program and it will generate jobs on paper ….. but not affect the overall employment rates much. Not unlike the Cash for Clunkers program. The Obama administration itself is concerned about being able to tell the difference between a true new hire and the constant fire / rehire that normally goes on.

The Obama administration, for its part, acknowledges that it does not expect perfection. “Even if only a small portion of the total jobs that are being rewarded by this tax credit were created because of this tax credit, you have still created an enormous number of jobs. It’s not just designed to help small business create jobs, it’s also designed to reward higher wages, good jobs, and just generally cut taxes for small businesses at a hard time for this sector.”

The above is taken from a NY Times article dated 1/29.

Friends I’ve spoken to who are small business owners ALL say no, this wouldn't prompt them to add a new employee they wouldn't otherwise add. But like the Cash for Clunkers, if they were considering hiring, they may delay the hire (if possible) until the program was approved to make sure they get the benefit.

I simply don't see this “tax credit” as an incentive to hire (unless you already were planning on hiring). The only thing that will really drive hiring is increased demand for products (or services). Until we stimulate demand for goods and services, why would anyone add people? Absurd. This is the type of logic that comes from those who have no real world work experience. Any small business owner will tell you the same thing - "I can't afford to hire someone until my sales increase enough to justify their wages".

Businesses need stability for medium and long term planning before they'll hire. Credits are short term solutions. When the current administration vilifies business and profit, it sends the message that it's best to hunker down and maintain cash flow. Until the administration acts like it wants to partner with business, both large and small, in creating sustained and long term economic growth based on free markets, there is a substantial disincentive to growth and hiring.

For those of us who live and build small businesses in the real world, we see this for what it is - politics.

Instead …. Why not advocate for a payroll tax moratorium. A reduction or elimination of payroll taxes for a window of time would give every single small business in the US (that employs people) immediate access to capital to either hire directly or reinvest into growth - which in turn will lead to hiring at other firms.

A $5,000 tax credit for hiring someone is like offering a $5 rebate for the purchase of at $2,000 flat screen TV. I'm just not motivated by the $5 rebate even though I would love to have the TV.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Helping Small Business Leverage Time And Work Smarter

ProResource offers a toolkit that has 50 templates, checklists and worksheets that help small business owners hand off work to virtual assistants and freelancers.

It's called the Help Without Hiring Toolkit.

Here's some text from the press release:

The toolkit provides a system for helping any small business owner or self-employed professional:

• Decide what to outsource,
• Find a qualified person to do the work,
• Get that person up to speed quickly, and
• Ensure that the project is completed successfully.

The documents in the toolkit include a list of the top 12 projects that are most often outsourced successfully, project checklists, tips for writing a great job posting, interview questions, an applicant screening checklist, an ROI calculator, a project definition template, a training plan, a creative brief, status report templates, tips for giving constructive criticism, and a list of free software tools that improve long-distance collaboration.

The toolkit also includes instructions for seven “Easy Projects.” The business owner simply fills in the project worksheet and gives the instructions to a virtual assistant or freelancer. These projects are easy to outsource successfully and provide an ideal starting point for a new assistant.

To promote the toolkit, ProResource is making one of the documents in the Help Without Hiring Toolkit available at no charge each week for the coming year. You can download the free template from ProResource Free Template

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ProResource also offers a 4-week course to help get business owners started on the path to outsourcing work to virtual assistants and freelancers.

The course is called Outsourcing Fundamentals.

This course shares techniques, strategies, tools and templates developed over 16 years of being on both sides of outsourcing – from a company that provides outsourced services and delivers them by outsourcing to subcontractors.

It covers the 4 critical skills a business owner needs to master to get outsourcing to work. It includes dozens of tips, tricks, techniques and shortcuts that help business owners save time, get the most for their money, and avoid painful mistakes.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Small Business Advice From The Heart

My friend Amy Posner offers the following advice … straight from her heart and wealth of experience.

My experience in working with small business owners (and being one!) is that you really have to learn how to prioritize your tasks and your efforts. For example, it's important to know what your marketing and promotion tasks are going to be and make sure you allot enough time in your week to get them done.

Unless you already have all the business you need, I think it's critical to make marketing a scheduling priority. Even if you're on a shoestring budget, there are plenty of productive things you can do to get your marketing message seen. The New Year is a good time to really assess your business and think about what sets you apart and how you can use that to focus your marketing efforts. I've got a few articles on defining your USP (unique selling proposition) on my blog Amy Posner. It's an exercise that many of us don't do often enough.

The day-to-day demands of running your business can easily get in the way of creative thinking, especially if you’re a one-woman or one-man show. I have two accountability partners. I use this term loosely -- they are both small business owners and we get together and help each other brainstorm new ideas, and keep our eyes open for opportunities for one another - that can be a very productive and simple way to incorporate other people's ideas and get perspective on your business. It can help to keep you on track with your goals.

Another thing I think is critical for small business owners is to have some kind of follow up database so as not to lose touch with any potential business or any good ideas. It’s time consuming, but I believe it can be the difference between a good business and a great one. Too many people let follow up fall by the wayside – it’s can really be the lifeblood of business. Use any system that works for you – but use it consistently.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Help With Public Relations For Small Business

Lotus Public Relations helps companies in fast moving industries to utilize PR strategies for the media and social media to drive sales and revenue. They work with companies from start-up to grown-up, helping them energize their PR programs to get noticed by the people that matter most to them.

They have developed two programs for small businesses that help get them a jump start on their own PR efforts. The first is a PR Boot Camp that covers all the basics of a solid Public Relations and Social Media strategy that small businesses can follow. The second offering is a Mastering The Media Huddle that teaches spokespeople the tools and techniques for working with the media and nailing the interview time and time again.

Here are brief descriptions of the programs from Lotus Public Relations:

PR BOOT CAMP …..

Public Relations has become one of the most effective ways to grow a company brand, promote products and gain customers. With the changes in the media landscape, the rise of social media and the decline of newspapers over the last few years, many business owners are left unsure of how to approach PR to help build their business. Lotus Public Relations' PR Boot Camp is aimed at helping small businesses understand the media and social media landscape and the practices and techniques of a good public relations strategy.

Participants will learn all the elements that go into a solid PR and social media strategy, how to write key messages that will resonate with the press and how to run their own PR and social media campaigns.

MASTERING THE MEDIA HUDDLE …..

As entrepreneurs, you are the spokespeople for your own businesses, the visionaries in your industries and pundits of what’s happening right now; and if you’re not, you should be. As Chief Executive Spokesperson, you need to practice the delivery of your own key messages and how to deliver them to the media, so that they reach your audience, every time.

The “Mastering the Media” huddle, is Lotus Public Relations' signature communications training session that is taught each semester at NYU’s Graduate School of Journalism ….. and to top executives from clients around the world. In this huddle you will learn:

- 5 Unbreakable Rules of Media Relations
-10 key tactics to get your message across with polish and passion
- 8 kinds of journalists, and how to uncover their secrets for getting you off message

Participants will walk away with the basics of working with the media, handling tough reporters and becoming a proactive advocate for your company.

Note The “Mastering the Media” 1-day training normally retails for $5,000 per person.

For more information go to LotusPR

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Highs And Lows Of Starting A Small Business

Book - Brand New Day - The Highs and Lows of starting a small business by Lara Solomon

This book is a great read if you are having one of those days where nothing is going right, you feel that you are never going to succeed, and everything bad happens to you, and you can get nothing right.

It is a diary of an Australian female entrepreneur over the period of 4 year from when she first quit her job to having a successful business. It shows that the bad things that you think only happen to you .... do in fact happen to others, and no it's not your fault. Unfortunately small business can be like that.

Lara gives a very open and honest account of her business with details each month of how she feels, how much cash she has in the bank and how her staff are going - in 1 year Lara had staff turnover of 20 people for 4 roles!

It is a very inspiring read, and will definitely motivate you to get up and get back there fighting!

To get the book for yourself go to:

Brand New Day