Despite language and other barriers, however, many small businesses have entered the international marketplace. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, in fact, small and medium-sized companies account for 98 percent of U.S. exporters.
There are many different kinds of office team building exercises that can be used to help improve your company's internal communications, morale, trust, and cohesiveness. Team building exercises are undertaken in a spirit of fun, but also play an important role in strengthening your ability to function as a unit.
The holidays are upon us, which means you’ll want to make the most of your marketing efforts to help secure sales success throughout the season. Here are a few budget-friendly ideas, via the U.S. Small Business Administration, to help get you started.
Many small business owners claim their greatest challenges are attracting, retaining and motivating their employees. While few, if any, employees will work without being paid a fair wage, the total benefit package is often the key element in an employee’s decision to work for your company. Salary levels are only one part of the package.
If you’ve never experienced Halloween firsthand, I encourage you to plan a trip to the U.S. for next October. Of all the holidays, it’s my favorite. Not just because I get to roam around the neighborhood in a terrifying costume (this year, I went as a creepy, middle-aged white guy), but because for one day each year, you and your children have permission to walk down any driveway, ring any doorbell and invite yourselves into the homes of people you’ve never met.
Leaders in a company can have varying titles—Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Technology Officer, and the list goes on. But one title should apply to all leaders: Chief Motivation Officer. As a leader, it is your responsibility to determine strategy, set goals, and lead the charge to reach those goals. If you take off full throttle and no one follows, you may have an unmotivated team. Understanding what motivates your team is a very effective management tool.
I’m not going to lie to you; I’m feeling pretty disappointed right now. People Magazine just came out with its list of the “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” and, once again, my name was nowhere to be found. Now to some people (by which I mean the people who have actually seen what I look like), this may not come as a surprise. After all, I’m sure you’d say, this list is heavily biased towards actors, musicians and professional athletes, and with a few hundred million people to choose from in this country alone, it shouldn’t be too big of a surprise to learn I was overlooked by the “researchers” at People.
The first time I met Rosalind Joffe, she introduced herself to me as a “leadership coach,” someone who took people from “where they are to where they want to be.” Several months later, when she hired me to help her with her E-Newsletter, we sat down together and began talking about her business.
Have you recently started a business and need to purchase new equipment? Have you been in business for years and looking to expand? You may be in the market for a business loan. No matter if it's your first time applying for a business loan or it's been a while since you requested financing, Arvest’s business bankers are here to help.
Choosing and leasing a location for your business can be a critical decision. If your business is dependent on walk-in traffic, such as with a retail business, the importance of location is obvious. Service businesses are usually less location-dependent, but location can play a critical role in creating the right business environment and in determining your ability to attract and retain both the customers and the employees you want. Be sure to consider all the factors when leasing space, not just the level of monthly rent.
Whether it is the start-up or growth phase of your business venture, sooner or later you’ll likely need to borrow money. While every loan process may be different, there are several things you can do to make the loan process easier. Most importantly, while loan officers look closely at your financial record, there are many other things they will wish to see as well.
Many business owners spend a considerable amount of time analyzing, calculating, and mapping out different techniques to improve the cash flow for their business for day-to-day operations and for growth. One area of frustration often comes with the obstacle of finding room in a budget for needed business equipment and office supplies. A common technique that that has proved popular is to lease your business and office equipment rather than buying it upfront.
One of my favorite songs is “The Farmer and the Cowman” from “Oklahoma!” Agriculture is one of the most diverse industries we have, and some of us have very strong opinions on which part of agriculture is the best. That’s why I love this song – it lightheartedly speaks the truth. While we all have an opinion on our different parts in agriculture, one thing we can agree on is they all have their place in the industry. And more and more, we are finding ourselves being involved personally in different aspects of agriculture as we diversify our operations, such as the crop farmer who is now raising turkeys and also custom combining.
Many small businesses are highly dependent on the presence of a key employee or small group of employees for the ongoing operation of the business. It may be an owner, partner or some other important person. Protecting the business against the untimely death of that person with some type of life insurance policy can be wise. In fact, some lenders may require such an arrangement.
Advertising can be challenging for a small business. It can stretch your budget and it may not reach the audience your business is targeting. In working with small business owners, I find that two of the biggest reasons small business owners find advertising non-effective and expensive are 1) the typical ad is too generic and 2) it is sent to as wide of an audience as possible with the hope that the stars will align and the right person will see your ad at the moment they are ready to buy. Most small business can’t afford this “spray and pray” method of advertising.
I visit with many people looking to start new businesses. They have spent countless hours analyzing projections, vetting vendors and suppliers, haggling with leasing agents, crunching the numbers and crunching the numbers again. I listen and ask questions and then ask them, "Have you been thinking about your buckets?
In today’s fast paced and daily changing world, the demands for more and more timely information makes daily business more complicated for small and medium sized businesses and organizations. Regulations demand better and faster information and records and the users want the information in electronic form. The majority of payroll costs are paid electronically and employees want to know on a moments notice everything about their current pay and pay history.
Could your marketing system use a spring cleaning? Most small businesses have marketing “clutter” – materials or information that is no longer used, outdated, or no longer relevant. Spring is almost over (although it feels like it just started in the Midwest) but it’s never too late to purge the clutter from your marketing system.
Small businesses, and their owners, have many retirement plan options. Choosing the right plan, or combination of plans, can be helpful as part of running the business and helpful to the owner for his or her retirement planning. The rules can get complex and you should consult with a retirement plan professional as part of the decision making process. This guideline provides some basic information and can help make the discussions with the professional more effective.
Choosing the appropriate legal form for a business is one of the first issues most entrepreneurs face. It is an important decision at the formation stage and also as a business grows. Sole proprietorships usually are the easiest. Corporations offer some different advantages, but often with additional complexity.
Acquiring another business can make good sense in many situations. The target firm might be a competitor, a complementary business or a company with core technology, customer base or products that would help your business. Understanding both your motivation and the seller's can help you negotiate an acceptable deal.
Football season is in full swing and the days are getting shorter…fall is here! As the calendar flips to a new season, it’s a good time to take a look at your small business and take stock of where you are. Here are a few tips that can help you do a little "refreshing" for your business.
It takes time and thought to get your marketing message right, which is why so many small businesses tend to fall back on their "About Us" page and product descriptions to describe what they do and for whom. The problem with this approach is that this message is generally more about the message itself, and not about those that you are trying to connect with – your customers.
The holiday season is upon us, which means that it’s a good time for businesses to think about sending holiday cards. If you’ve never sent business holiday cards, or don’t make a point of sending them out every year, here are a few reasons why you should start.
Arvest is introducing added protection for Arvest Purchasing Credit Card and Corporate Credit Card customers with EMV chip-enabled cards. These chip-enabled credit cards provide a higher level of fraud protection and better security for cardholders by using an embedded microchip to protect your information by creating a unique transaction code each time you conduct a transaction at a point of sale.
Being "green" or environmentally friendly is probably not a new idea to you and as we approach Earth Day in April, you'll be hearing more and more about it. In the last few years especially, the discussion of green business practices, services and products has become so prevalent that it’s often no longer the exception – but expected – to run a more earth-conscious operation. Consider these ways to green your business without breaking the bank.
What's your small business brand identity? Sure, you’ve got a logo, a website, business cards, signage and perhaps even a storefront – but your brand is so much more than the "look" of your business. While all these can help you project a carefully crafted image to your customers, true branding runs a lot deeper.
So you have successfully started your own business and have it up and running. And you have planned your exit strategy, right? Your answer is probably "no", which is typical of many people who have taken that huge step of working for themselves for the first time. But remember, every owner will eventually exit their business ... even if they run it until they die. So just like an employee making long range plans for retirement, you want to consider and plan for what happens next.
The old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" is taking on a whole new meaning. In a world of constant stimuli – with texts, emails, alerts, and other marketing messages coming at us from all directions – it’s getting harder and harder for your marketing message to stand out.
Along with home ownership, early retirement is a long-held American dream. But in recent years, planning for retirement itself, let alone an early one, isn’t getting any easier. In 1991, half of all American workers planned to retire before they reached the age of 65. Today, that number has plunged to less than 25 percent.
But if you are 10-20 years away from your desired retirement age, there are still some things you can do now as a small business owner to make it easier for you to retire on your terms.
Key person insurance is simply life insurance on the key person in a business. In a small business, this is usually the owner, the founders or perhaps a key employee or two. These are the people who are crucial to a business--the ones whose absence would be detrimental to the company. You definitely need to consider key person insurance on those people.
Small business plays a vital role in today's economy. It is now easier than ever to establish a new business. According to the US Small Business Administration, small businesses pay over 45% of the US private payroll. Small businesses also employ over half of all private sector employees and have provided 60-80% of new jobs over the past 10 years. With about 28.5 million small businesses in the US alone, virtually all financial institutions now offer small business loans to qualified business customers. So why apply for a small business credit card?
Nobody enjoys paying taxes, whether they're personal, corporate, capital gains, self-employment or something else, but they're a part of life that can't be taken lightly.
And yet playing games with taxes is common. The Fiscal Times reported in 2012 that back in 2006 (the most recent year for which data was available) businesses that log income on individual returns -- mostly small businesses--were $122 billion short in their tax payments.
Many small businesses start out in an extra room or in the basement of an entrepreneur's home. The space is available, cheap and convenient. In addition, with current technology, renting office space can seem unnecessary. But setting up an office at home isn't for everybody. Here are some issues to consider as you ponder your work environment.
Business email compromise (BEC) is defined as a sophisticated scam targeting businesses working with foreign suppliers and/or businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments. The scam is carried out by compromising legitimate business email accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques to conduct unauthorized transfers of funds.
Marketing experts consistently suggest a content-first strategy for businesses of all sizes. With the right strategy in place, businesses have the ability to reach customers and prospective customers quickly and easily in order to grow brand recognition and loyalty. While the method itself isn’t about selling products, this loyalty builds the relationship between customer and business, which ultimately leads to sales.