All Articles Tagged "small business"

The Price Of Doing Business: Ways To Cut Your Business Costs

August 22nd, 2014 - By Michelle Alerte
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So you’re starting a business, you’ve lined up your supplies, established your business plan, but now, you need money, money, and more money. Every small business owner has struggled with the balancing act of managing the needs of a burgeoning business and decreasing the cost of doing business. Let the following list of nine ways to cut your business costs help you keep the scale from tipping into complete and total chaos.

Pooka Pure And Simple Founder Dawn Fitch Offers Tips For Expanding Your Small Business

July 9th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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DawnPookaIt’s not too often these days that you hear about an entrepreneur expanding with brick-and-mortar outlets, but that’s exactly what Dawn Fitch has done. The founder of Pooka Pure and Simple, a 13-year-old line of natural bath and body products, just announced a new store in Newark.

“There is so much development and so many new initiatives going on in the City; especially for the business owners on Halsey Street,” Fitch said in a press release statement about the expansion. Pooka Pure products are also available online and at more than 40 Whole Foods markets.

Black women are building businesses faster than any other demographic in the US. But it’s not just about launching a company. For many, it’s about taking it to the next level, growing the brand and making more money and a bigger name of your product.

Pooka2With this latest expansion, we asked Fitch for three tips to share with aspiring entrepreneurs on the rise who are also looking to make their business flourish further. Here’s what she told us via email:

I feel like there are 3 things you need: Faith, so that you know and believe your business is going to make it; Perseverance for when it seems like its taking forever; and Support, it’s hard to make it alone  :-)

Start your business on the right track.

1. Go to your local college or university and visit their small business department, I’m pretty sure they all have one. The appointments are usually free, they will help you register your business, set up your business entity and file any paper work you need.

2. Keep good records. Even if you aren’t ready for an accountant, make sure you use Quickbooks or Excel spreadsheets to keep track of your finances.

3. Protect yourself and your ideas. Get your trademarks done early so that when your business takes off there are no issues.

If you’re still on the ground floor in the startup stage, you might want to begin with these bits of advice from Delisha Grant, an attorney with her own law firm who launched The WeBelieve Initiative to help others launch their businesses. During a panel discussion at the most recent National Action Network Annual Conference, she also talked about the importance of trademarking your idea and gave a few tips for starting a business with a partner.

7 Tips For Using Pinterest To Build Your Small Business

May 13th, 2014 - By Janel Martinez
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nordstrom pinterestSure, Twitter and Facebook are great for marketing your small business online, but have you considered Pinterest? Many people think Pinterest is only for home décor collages and party-planning tips. Not true! Small business owners have the potential to take their brand marketing to the next level if they use the social media site wisely.

Last week, Pinterest unveiled its new business site where entrepreneurs can check out Pinterest buttons and widgets to add to their website, sign up for the business newsletter and read how brands such as Nordstrom have grown using the visual discovery tool. Pinterest announced last week that the company is working with a small group of brands across various industries, including Kraft, Target and ABC Family, to help the company test out its Promoted Pins feature. “We hope Promoted Pins give businesses of all sizes a chance to connect with more Pinners,” said Joanne Bradford, head of partnerships, in the company’s blog.

Once you’re signed up on Pinterest, you can begin leveraging the network. You can sign up for a business account and create a custom URL to align with your business name. Business pages provide valuable analytics. For brands just starting out on Pinterest, here are five ways you can pin your way to the top:

Visualize your brand

For businesses that automatically have a visual nature (i.e. culinary, cosmetics, or travel), it’s rather simple to get started. But for other businesses, the connection might be a bit more difficult, but not impossible. Think of visuals that represent your business and begin pinning attention-grabbing pins. If you’re selling a product, upload high-resolution photos (with your company’s logo/watermark) so people become familiar with what you have to offer. Infographics perform well on Pinterest, too. Turn industry/company data into a cool infographics and share it with the Pinterest community.

Etsy is a great example of a brand that promotes its numerous sellers via strong visuals, driving traffic to their website and, ultimately, revenue to the sellers.

Connect Your Pinterest Account to Other Social Media Accounts

Some people are for connecting it, while others are not. However, connecting Facebook and Twitter will allow you to carry over your customers and followers from each to your new platform. When you sign in to Pinterest from either Facebook or Twitter, Pinterest will place an icon on your profile that links your followers to each of those networks. There’s nothing wrong with cross-platform promotion.

Add a Pinterest “pin it” button on your WordPress site for easy integration.

Promote deals

Graphic coupons are a great way to inform your audience of deals/sales. You can design the coupon yourself or tap coupon-making sites like easycouponmaker.com or coupontank.com to upload to your Pinterest board. You can then cross-market the deal on your other social networking sites for greater exposure.

Check out the competition

There’s nothing wrong with seeing what other businesses within your industry are doing to market their offerings to their customers. It can both be a source of inspiration, as well as a way to see what’s already being done and improving upon that.

Keep content organized

That’s simple. Use more than one board and be sure to click the appropriate category for each.

Link blog posts and videos to Pinterest

Pinterest drove nearly four percent of traffic to publishers last September, which is the second highest of the social networks according to Mashable. In fact, Pinterest’s share of overall visits increased by 66 percent year-over-year, more than any other social network. Pinterest reportedly drives more traffic to publishers than Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit and Google+ combined. For entrepreneurs with a blog, it’s a great way to generate traffic to your site.

Guest pinners are welcomed

Like guest bloggers, you can enlist the help of fellow small business owners or even loyal customers. It helps to select individuals with a large following on Pinterest.

How do you use Pinterest? Let us know in the comments section below.

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites

Can Business & Friends Mix? 9 Tips To Have A Successful Partnership With Your BFF

April 30th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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It’s not unusual for friends to think alike, have similar tastes and like many of the same things. And sometimes such relationships can spark incredible business ideas. But going into business with a friend can either strain a relationship to its breaking point or be the best move ever.

But before even considering going into a joint venture with your BFF there are some steps to take to insure the venture will run smoothly and the relationship will remain in tact.

Here are nine tips for going into business with a friend.

We Run This! Women Leading In Owning & Supervising Businesses

December 10th, 2013 - By Madame Noire
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From Black Enterprise 

A new infographic released Tuesday by the National Women’s Business Council illustrating the economic clout of women-led businesses.

“Successful women-led businesses have a variety of trajectories and strategies for growth, and there is no one right way to grow a business,” said Emily K. Bruno, Research and Policy Director for NWBC.  “We’ve seen that in many cases, successful women entrepreneurs running high-growth companies have chosen to give up equity in order to raise capital. While women-led businesses are less than 51% owned by women, women still have a significant leadership position and ownership within the company, and this matters.”

The infographic is the second in a series that NWBC is producing utilizing its original research and new data sources from the Census Bureau.

Important highlights from the infographic include:

  • Women have a greater economic impact than most think – 36% of employer firms are either women-owned or women-led. 17.5% of employer businesses are 51% owned by one or more women. Yet, 18.8% of employer firms are at least 30% owned by women and have a woman in a leadership role. When those two numbers are added together, women’s economic impact is much clearer. That makes 36% of employer firms either women-owned or women-led. When not focusing on women’s leadership roles within a company, the numbers look even better. 42.4% of businesses are at least 30% owned by women. These firms capture 26.1% or $2.6 trillion in receipts.

Read more at BlackEnterprise.com 

Time To Shut It Down: End Of Year Prep Tips For Your Small Business

December 5th, 2013 - By Tanvier Peart
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Congratulations on making it another year small business owner! If this is your first year in business, raise a glass of Champagne and celebrate your company launch in 2013! For that reason alone, it’s been a good year.

Now that we are almost finished with the final quarter of the year, it’s a good idea to start getting ready for the new year. But before you jump ahead to 2014, there are certain preparations and things that need to be in place to bring 2013 to a proper close. Here the steps you should take at the end of the year to prep your small business for the 12 months to come.

The 5 People You Need In Your Entrepreneurial Circle

December 4th, 2013 - By Madame Noire
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From Black Enterprise 

Your connections in the business community are critical to the success and sustainability of your small business. You network can provide valuable contacts, opportunities for deals, and crucial knowledge about best practices. Networking is one of the key principals of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and 76% of its graduates are now actively working together to better grow and manage their businesses, reports the HuffingtonPost.com.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is a $500 million investment to help entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing them with greater access to education, financial capital and business support services. The ever expanding program is currently operating in Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City.

In the program, participants are taught that networking should always be focused around a key goal, whether that’s increasing sales, expanding into new markets, or raising awareness about your business. For instance, if you’re planning to expand product distribution into a new region and you can connect with someone with logistical experience in that area, then that could help you meet your warehousing and transportation needs or put you in touch with suitable vendors.

Ideally, you want to create and sustain an entrepreneurial network that supports your business through good and bad times.

According to the HuffingtonPost, here are five of the types of people you want in your network to help grow the business:

1. The Veteran: Someone who’s been long established in their field and knows the ins and outs of an industry can be a huge asset, particularly if your business is relatively young. Knowing someone with years of experience can help you understand the challenges you’ll be facing down the road and how to tackle them.

2. The Innovator: If you’re looking for ways to stay on the cutting-edge, try to find an early-adopter with tech expertise who can keep you informed about the latest platforms and tools that can improve your operations.

Read more at BlackEnterprise.com 

Make Sure You Give Uncle Sam His Due! Here Are Tips For Your Estimated Taxes

December 3rd, 2013 - By Tanvier Peart
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Working for yourself can have wonderful perks as you are your own boss, you call the shots and you get to pursue the dream of entrepreneurship. Yet there are parameters we must function within in order to stay in the good graces of the government. One requirement that is pretty mandatory is paying estimated taxes throughout the year.  But what happens if you don’t? What are the consequences and what should one do if they find themselves in this predicament? Here are some tips on what to do if you’re short on estimated taxes.

Help Out The Little Guy: The Benefits Of Small Business Saturday

November 27th, 2013 - By Tanvier Peart
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According to American Express, Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting the endeavors of small businesses. Founded in 2010 by the credit card giant, Small Business Saturday occurs the Saturday after each Thanksgiving. Small businesses and entrepreneurship  are the cornerstone to our society as even the smallest of dreams can turn into something extraordinary. How many times have we heard stories about a mom and pop shop hitting it big, eventually launching multiple locations and even branching out to franchise opportunities?

Regardless how big or small a business gets, it’s important to support their endeavors as our commerce gives them a chance to succeed. Here are the benefits of Small Business Saturday. Hopefully you will allocate some of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday dollars to the little guy.

Get Your Business Holiday Ready

November 19th, 2013 - By Michelle Alerte
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Many business owners are eagerly awaiting the effects of the holiday season on sales. October to New Year’s marks the busiest shopping period in the United States and any sensible owner should remain a step ahead to reap the full benefits. Whether revenue becomes slow during this time and you need to batten down the hatches until it passes or there is an impressive explosion of profit, you’ll need to prepare for the upcoming seasonal changes. The following tips are geared toward helping you gain and hold customer attention and make the most of the holiday shopping frenzy.