Small Business- News and reports on Small Business

 
 

 
 

  • The Profit Repairman
  • IT?S FALL-WHERE?S ALL THE GREEN GOING?

    IT?S FALL-WHERE?S ALL THE GREEN GOING?


    No, not the chlorophyll in the leaves, the green in your bottom line.

    If you had a daily metric report in place, you would be able to answer that question.

    What performance metrics do you want to monitor for your business unit on a continuous basis that are the most important and are very volatile for the achievement of operational and sales success? Also ask yourself what kind of precise micromanagement report you want, to whom should this report go to, and when and how often should this report be viewed when determining your businesses function and achievement ability.

    On no more than a couple of 8½x11-inch pieces of paper, have a ?snapshot? of the top five to ten critical statistical metrics that determine your business unit?s success available with comparisons for your daily morning review. If you do not have this report, you cannot be proactive in management. With a daily statistical data sheet/?house count?, you have the ability to spot trends, and thus, small corrections in the operations or sales can be initiated to neutralize the adverse effect of any negative component.

    When you have daily statistical sheets that are simple, to the point, and full of the ?most critical? metrics that you need, you can guide your business unit daily, which will lead to greater achievements of the business unit?s budget and stretch goals. Focus on managing your business unit today, so that today will be tomorrow and tomorrow will be your everything.


    http://theprofitrepairman.com/
  • Are You Targeting The Right Customer For Your Summer Promotion?

    Are You Targeting The Right Customer For Your Summer Promotion?


    Now that?s the Million Dollar question, are you?

    When you set out to run your summer promotion, did you perform your due diligence on which you were first going to target with this promotion, so that you can see if you have the right customer, for the right outcome?

    When you run a general promotion like ?Sizzling Summer Deals?, don?t think that everyone wants/needs it, especially if your message is not directed to any special wants/needs of the demographic that you are promoting.

    Before you commit to any promotion, you need to first ask the question and get answers to: What want/need is this promotion going to fill for a specific client, how are you going to get the message of your product information to them, how are you going to track the success of the promotion to determine the R.O.I., what ways are you going to build into this promotion a sense of urgency to commit to the purchase and finally, have you built in enough top of mind awareness to your targeted prospect, so that you differentiate your promotion from that of your competitive set?

    When you get some sense of the answers to these above questions, a more detailed and directed promotion can evolve, which will result in greater success and R.O.I. to your expenditure. If you can just break your one promotion into 3 different ways in which you are going to target different prospects, you can then start to determine which one of those three promotions where successfully taken by the prospect and by whom. Once you determine this, a greater emphasize can be placed on that promotion and the unsuccessful ones can be modified to once again track and find the ?hook? that will make your ?right customer?, produce the right outcome for your promotion.


    http://theprofitrepairman.com/
  • Stop Your NO?s, Start Your KNOWS!

    Stop Your NO?s, Start Your KNOWS!


    If you say NO to something, ask yourself, ?Why did I just say NO to that??

    Start with knowing why you said no before you actually say NO, because once you say NO, that NO may have far-reaching consequences. When you commit to something by saying NO to it, and then end up finding out that you could have done it, an opportunity for that action is lost forever. Make sure that each decision you make has been well thought out.

    Life has a rippling effect. When you always say NO to someone, soon they will start asking someone else, because they really wanted a yes from you. But, if every answer you give is yes and you cannot follow through with that yes commitment, soon your word will not hold any credibility, negatively impacting your life, career and business.

    Remember, committing to something too fast is also never the answer 100% of the time. Knowing why you say yes or NO to something is the only way to be successful in following through with your commitments.

    Do you know why you are reading this? Because, you said YES to making a difference in your life, career, and increasing the success rate of your small and mid-sized business!


    http://theprofitrepairman.com/
  • Keep IT Simple

    Keep IT Simple


    Your businesses is what is ?IT?, with all of the information and bombardment of calls, e-mails, faxes, twitters, IM?s, texts and people, a business owner can feel overloaded and get misdirected and forget to keep an eye on what really matters to their success, THE BOTTOM LINE!

    What?s the solution?

    On no more than a couple of 8½x11-inch pieces of paper, have a ?snapshot? of the top five to ten critical statistical metrics that determine your business unit?s success available with comparisons for your daily morning review. If you do not have this report, you cannot be proactive in management. With a daily statistical data sheet, you have the ability to spot trends, and thus, small corrections in the operations or sales can be initiated to neutralize the adverse effect of any negative component.

    When you have daily statistical sheets that are simple, to the point, and full of the ?most critical? metrics that you need, you can guide your business unit daily, which will lead to greater achievements of the business unit?s budget and stretch goals. Focus on managing your business unit today, so that today will be tomorrow and tomorrow will be your everything.


    http://theprofitrepairman.com/
  • It?s June 1st, How Are You Pacing On Your Year-End 2009 Goals?

    It?s June 1st, How Are You Pacing On Your Year-End 2009 Goals?


    Your 5/12 or 41.37% completed with the year, do your numbers tell you if you are going to make your 2009 year-end budget numbers today? If you had a twelve month pacing model in place for your business, you would have an accurate reading about this question.

    A pacing model can help your business unit gauge if it is on pace to meet the goals set forth and gives a quick ?YES or NO? to that pacing question throughout your goals? time frame.

    A pacing model is different than a forecasting model, since a pacing model takes your historical numbers to date plus what is pre-sold/reserved and compares that number to where you want to be at the end of your goal, which in turn can inform you if you are on pace to meet those goals in the allocated amount of time, with no variables included in its calculation (seasonality, pricing variations, external demand and supply situations, etc.).

    Think of a pacing model as a macro model that tells you yes or no to the success of finishing your goal in the time allocated. By having a pacing model in place, you can determine if your current sales activity is enough today, to generate the numbers needed to make your year-end goals, even if you are less than 50% completed to that year-end. It is not just good enough to produce your numbers TODAY; you must also look forward and make sure that today?s numbers will match your goals tomorrow. By knowing if you are ?on pace? or not to your year-end goals, management can make decisions TODAY if the marketing and pricing strategies in place now will be adequate to meet those goals, thus implement changes if they are not.

    Stopping and looking forward is the only way a good business person can guarantee that today?s efforts will lead to tomorrow?s goal achievement.

    Do you have some sort of pacing model in place for your business unit? If not, you should, how else can you make sure you will be at the 100% to goal for year-end numbers, even though you still have 58.63% to go?


    http://theprofitrepairman.com/
 
 
  • Jill Konrath's Fresh Sales Strategies
  • What Buyers Really Think

    What Buyers Really Think

    Thinking like a prospect changes everything. That was the impetus behind today's post which was written from a buyer's perspective. I hope you have fun reading it?and get the point!

  • Why Brain Science Matters in Sales

    Why Brain Science Matters in Sales

    For the past couple years, I've been reading a lot of books about neuroscience, psychology and coginitive thinking. Why? Because I think we've reached a point where the environment we live in and the ways we work are getting in our way.

  • This Brought Me to Tears

    This Brought Me to Tears

    After spending a day in DC learning about CEB's (now Gartner) latest sales research, I popped over to visit Steve Richard's office, which was just a few blocks away. He's the CEO of ExecVision.io, a new sales coaching app.

  • A Red Hot Sales Tip Straight From My Mouth to Yours

    A Red Hot Sales Tip Straight From My Mouth to Yours

    Last Friday I was interviewed for an upcoming Salesforce documentary on The Story of Sales. Velanie, a make-up artist, had been hired to work her wonders on me before filming began. I felt like a movie star.

  • The Number 1 Thing Salespeople Should Do

    The Number 1 Thing Salespeople Should Do

    What's the #1 thing you should be doing to drive more sales in today's crazy-busy world? It's something I've been thinking about a lot these days.

 
 
  • Inc.com
  • The 'Quantified Self' Craze: Tracking Your Own Data Can Be Dangerous

    The 'Quantified Self' Craze: Tracking Your Own Data Can Be Dangerous

    These days, you can digitally track pretty much everything about your health. But how you interpret that data might be problematic.

    With growing numbers of digital health trackers on the market (the wearable tech craze adding more fuel to the fire), it is not surprising that more and more consumers are tracking their health on their own.

    An awareness of one’s health is by no means a bad thing, but according to USA Today, there may be some downfalls to this new trend of the "quantified self"-- this idea that one can use data to monitor oneself.

    Dennis Nash, president of Data Speaks Health Solutions, told the outlet that the data aggregated by tracking technology can be hard--even dangerous-- to analyze without a doctor. Additionally, he said that the act of tracking can consume users.

    “Once you start doing it, you can start to get addicted to collect more data,” he added, saying the stress of monitoring can actually harm a person's health. Even with those obvious dangers in mind, the outlet profiled several data-tracking-to-better-health success stories.

    Dangerous or not, just how big is the "quantifiable self" movement?

    A recent survey done by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project found that seven out of 10 people have regularly tracked some aspect of their health. The survey also found that 60 percent of adults track their weight diet and exercise routines, with just 33 percent of people tracking health indicators or symptoms. Tracking has influenced 46 percent of trackers’ approach to their health and it has affected how 34 percent of people tracking their health data have responded to an illness or condition.

    And from sleep patterns to weight loss--even a dog's health--it looks like this need for tracking has been somewhat a boon for start-ups.

  • Silicon Alley Hiring on the Rise

    Silicon Alley Hiring on the Rise

    After four consecutive quarterly declines, hiring is creeping back up in New York tech.

    Silicon Alley hiring is back in a big way.

    According to the New York Internet and Digital Media Jobs Index, conducted by talent search firm Cook Associates, New York City's job market showed a 7.3 percent uptick in the second quarter of 2013, its highest point since the second quarter of 2012.

    It may not sound like much, but that percentage means the NY tech scene added approximately 2,200 jobs in the second quarter alone. According to Cook, the businesses surveyed represent more than 90 percent of the Internet and digital media workers in New York.

    Comparatively, last quarter’s jobs index showed 4.8 percent in growth. Looking back at 2012, when the New York tech boom was slowing, the study showed four consecutive quarterly declines, starting with 6.2 percent in the first quarter and ending with 3.4 percent growth.

    "It appears that the digital media and Internet sectors in both Boston and New York are running on all cylinders right now," said John Barrett, the managing director at Cook who conducted the study.

    Cook surveyed only pure-play Internet and digital media companies -- from goliaths like Google to up-and-comers like Rent the Runway -- with 10 or more employees. Nearly all companies were financed with venture capital.

    The overwhelming majority of hiring is happening in the digital ad tech and consumer web sectors. Unsurprisingly, Google ranked number one among the ten companies showing the largest headcount gains, adding more than 600 jobs over the past 12 months. Amazon came in second with about 330 jobs. The rest included AppNexus, Facebook, Spotify, eBay, ZocDoc, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and TD Ameritrade.

    Barrett attributed the trend to a "perfect storm" of factors: As the Internet disrupts established media, advertising, and financial services companies, a massive influx of venture capital money is fueling their companies' growth.

    "Venture capital investing in NYC has been surging for the past three to four years, but now the overall economy is strong enough again to help accelerate the growth of many of those start-ups who've received venture funding," he said.

    Not all of this is good news, however, as all these employees can't hack their jobs.

    "New York City is inevitably headed toward a talent gap," explained Barrett, adding that the digital headcount is projected to double in the next four years. "The surge in growth that's been happening the past couple of years in unsustainable unless the city has the right talent to fill these jobs."

    Most of the hiring has been for sales and marketing, with the biggest gap being in software engineers. But Barrett said the VC community should invest in tomorrow's tech leaders. "The VC investors perhaps have the most to gain from making sure there's an adequate talent pool to make the most of their investment dollars."

  • The Start-up Giving Factory Workers a Voice

    The Start-up Giving Factory Workers a Voice

    LaborVoices helps companies like Walmart end labor abuses in overseas factories by giving employees a safe way to speak up.

    Labor rights around the world are in a sorry state. So sorry, in fact, that last week, when China Labor Watch released a damning account of conditions inside the Pegatron factory where some Apple products are manufactured, the tech community all but ignored the labor issues listed. Instead, they breathlessly buzzed about the low-priced, plastic iPhone revealed in the report.

    The fact is, the pitiful working conditions in many of the world's factories seem to be such an insurmountable problem that when news of this sort breaks, it's typically met with a collective shrug or considered old news in the developed world. It seems to take a total catastrophe like the factory collapse that left 1,132 dead in Bangladesh this April to get people's attention.

    Kohl Gill is one entrepreneur who's not looking away. As founder and CEO of LaborVoices, a six employee company based in Sunnyvale, California, he wants to change factories from the inside out by arming workers with information and an anonymous way to report abuses. LaborVoices has created what Gill refers to as a "smartline," a number workers can call to get access to information about their rights as well as services that can assist them with things like transportation and childcare. LaborVoices also conducts automated surveys with the callers, asking them questions about the how they're being treated and compensated and gives them the opportunity to report any urgent issues. Each caller is given an anonymous profile so LaborVoices can track these workers over time.

    For this trove of data, major brands are willing to pay LaborVoices handsomely. This May, the start-up announced its first corporate partnership: a $600,000 deal to work with Walmart on cleaning up 279 of its factories in Bangladesh.

    "These companies care about being able to provide work, and decent work, to everyone in their supply chain. They just haven't had access to real-time metrics to measure social responsibility," Gill says. "We think having a real-time view of the supply chain will give brands more control over whether those rights are being respected."

    The Backstory

    When Gill was growing up, his own mother, who had come to the United States from India as a teenager, worked at a local garment factory in Sherman, Mississippi. As outsourcing became more common, however, the factory eventually shut down. "We began shifting our jobs overseas, but not our working conditions," Gill says. "It got me thinking that if we're going to outsource jobs, we need to also ship over our labor and environmental standards."

    In 2008, he began working in the State Department as an international labor affairs and corporate social responsibility officer. It was in that position that he traveled to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to ensure both countries were upholding international labor rights provisions. Though the factories, themselves, had been cleaned up for his arrival, Gill says he heard story after story of employees who had spoken up about labor abuses and been subsequently blacklisted.

    "They essentially couldn't get a job anywhere because all of the factories were sharing that list of workers," he says. "I thought, if employers are sharing information on workers, shouldn't the opposite be possible as well? At least we could try to make it a level playing field."

    It wasn't until 2010, when Gill's State Department fellowship ended, that he returned to the Bay Area, and thanks to the encouragement of some friends, decided to launch LaborVoices.

    How It Works

    In order to engender trust with workers, LaborVoices partners with non-governmental organizations on the ground to spread the word about the service. The company also informs the factory managers, themselves, that they are being monitored.

    "The last thing we want is to surprise them," Gill says. "We want them to know we're listening."

    Workers can then call in to the automated line either to get assistance or report an abuse. Customers like Walmart get feedback on all of their factories, compare their conditions, and use that information as a bargaining chip to improve them if necessary.

    "The brands can get suppliers to change their practices with the understanding that they could always shift their business to another supplier," Gill says. "The flip side is workers can drive each other to the best in class employers and away from the worst, thereby providing two incentives for employers to improve conditions."

    Though Gill says it's too early to disclose the number of calls LaborVoices has received, in pilot programs, he says the company has gotten reports of everything from verbal abuse to an infant death in a Bangalore factory (Fair Labor Association reported the latter took place in a factory manufacturing Gap clothes).

    The Challenges

    Gill's cause is undoubtedly noble and has earned him recognition as a 2013 Echoing Green fellow for civil and human rights innovation. Still, LaborVoices runs the risk of being a victim of its own success. Though Gill espouses the start-up's commitment to anonymity, it is possible that some factory owners could punish workers en masse for negative feedback. While Gill acknowledges this as a risk, he hopes that maintaining a long-term relationship with workers will encourage them to report any employer retribution, as well. Of course, gaining that trust in the first place will be equally tricky.

    Still, Gill says, no amount of surveillance cameras or inspections could ever be as effective as giving workers, themselves, a platform to share their stories. "You can never have an inspector everywhere all the time," he says. "If you really want to understand what's going on inside a factory, you need to have an empowered work force. Then they can stand up for themselves rather than having a huge multinational attempt to do it for them."

  • Why Our Worst-Selling Item Is My Favorite

    Why Our Worst-Selling Item Is My Favorite

    Warby Parker sells a monocle. Which just about no one buys. But don't underestimate the value of a great brand statement.

    One of my favorite products at Warby Parker also happens to be our worst-selling item: the monocle. When we launched in 2010, our debut collection featured 27 pairs of eyeglasses and one monocle--a handsome tortoiseshell model named after Colonel Mustard. Despite dismal sales and growth prospects that roughly equal zero, the monocle has remained in rotation ever since. My wife Rachel even waged a bet with my co-founder Jeff that we'd never sell out of our first order.

    Her skepticism made sense. On its face, a monocle is a strange item for a 21st-century company to sell. It seems like the equivalent of Apple unveiling an iTypewriter or Schwinn manufacturing a penny-farthing bicycle (the kind with the gigantic front wheel). Or SanDisk rolling out a line of floppy disks. In general, obsolete technology is obsolete for a reason. Monocles are no exception.

    But that's exactly why I love it. Nobody expects to stumble across a monocle while shopping in 2013. We have a showroom right inside our office headquarters in New York, and one of my favorite things to do is catch sight of customers discovering the monocle. A familiar behavioral arc follows: it starts with a "What the hell?" expression, proceeds to a smile, and usually ends with trying on the monocle, forcing various companions to try on the monocle, imitating a historical figure, and/or snapping a picture.

    The truth is that the monocle creates a sense of surprise in customers while maintaining an intuitive connection to our core products--which is an important distinction to make. It's not a random gimmick. We could sell fly-fishing rods or bean bags and provoke an equally surprised response, but it would also be a mystified response. The goal is to surprise customers, not confuse them.

    The monocle is also a succinct and quirky way to represent what Warby Parker stands for--in other words, a brand piece. It's unexpected, it starts conversations, and it's fun to share. (Where else can you buy a monocle?) And because it lives entirely outside any remotely relevant trend cycle, it's also, in its own peculiar way, sort of timeless. A handful of chefs have even told me that they use the monocle in their restaurant kitchens to read recipes; it's easy to store in a pocket and doesn't fog up as easily as glasses. I think of it as our own version of the stick of gum that used to come in packs of baseball cards--a small gesture that sets the brand apart.

    My wife still owes Jeff ten dollars.

  • 4 Smart Ways to Keep Things Cool When Tempers Flare

    4 Smart Ways to Keep Things Cool When Tempers Flare

    A new study says: As temperatures rise, so will arguments. Here, Inc. columnists give you their suggestions for keeping your cool in business.

    Rising heat and extreme rainfall, both related to climate change, will also make people emotionally heated and more likely to get into fights. At least, that's the takeaway from an extensive new study from U.C. Berkeley. Three respected researchers studied the historical correlation between extreme weather and interpersonal conflict. They claim that their results point to large increases in anger, violence and unrest likely to come over the next 50 years.

    I suppose it's possible that, when people are uncomfortable with their physical environment, they are likely to show it in anger and frustration, especially when the cause is totally out of their control. If nothing else, the prospect of tumult is a great excuse to start making your office a happier place to work. So ramp up the pleasantries and the air conditioner before conflicts occur. Make plans for more social activity where people can lighten up and laugh a little. That way you'll keep things cool and good-humored in any kind of weather.

    And here's more cool-headed advice from my expert colleagues:

    1. Plan Ahead

    Anyone who's been in or near New York City for the past few months is familiar with the mood-altering effects of extreme heat interspersed with torrential rain. Be aware of this dynamic and address workplace conflicts early, before they escalate. But there's a much darker side to this: a warming Earth can mean disruptions from power outages, severe storms and global unrest. What would you do if electricity, Internet, phone lines, key personnel or key supplies were temporarily unavailable? Companies that have thought out the answers ahead of time will do better than those that haven't. Minda Zetlin--Start Me Up

    Want to read more from Minda? Click here.

    2. Build Bridges Before Troubled Waters Flow

    It's not in the easy conversations that your company is truly tested--it's in how you handle conflict. Dealing with inevitable conflict is one of the most important skills you can develop as a leader and nurture in your company culture. Start by reminding everyone involved that you have the same goal: the very best outcome. Doing so unites all parties and diffuses the tension that can build up when people feel they aren't being heard. Use this common ground as a way to move the conversation forward productively. Eric Holtzclaw--Lean Forward

    Want to read more from Eric? Click here

    3. Promote Health and Serenity

    Frankly, this whole theory pushes my hot button. Researchers can link violence to just about anything if they look hard enough. Why waste valuable resources to predict tragedy and upheaval instead of focusing on the evolution of technology and the human mind? Whatever the future brings, mankind will manage to thrive. Added dimensions of corporate social responsibility will help. Empower employees with programs that promote a healthy and peaceful environment. Teach advanced communication skills, educate on diversity and bulk up the benefits package to offer tools that improve stress levels and brain function, like meditation and life coaching. Marla Tabaka--The Successful Soloist

    Want to read more from Marla? Click here.

    4. Gratitude Is the Perfect Remedy

    When you're feeling angry or upset, drop everything and handwrite a thank-you note. You'll instantly feel better, as it's physiologically impossible to experience both anger and gratitude at once. You can even institute a thank-you note writing program at the office, as Likeable did last summer. We went from feeling heated to feeling appreciative and appreciated--and so can you. Dave Kerpen--Likeable Leadership

    Want to read more from Dave? Click here.

    Like this post? If so, sign up here and never miss out on this weekly roundtable.

  • Small Salons
  • You NEED a good website!

    You NEED a good website!
    This article is fromLifehack.org, a great resource that you should be reading! They have articles for business and for life. Please check them out! For most businesses, a web site is one of the most important investments you can make. Entrepreneurs are either overspending or underspending on their web sites, and many have no idea […]
  • How to keep your employees from wanting to kill you

    How to keep your employees from wanting to kill you
    This is a post from That Guy With The Nametag. He has great stuff all the time.  Cick on over and check out his blog (and subscribe while you are at it!) 1. Let people finish what they have to say. Most interruptions are derailments, and as such, most interrupters are avoided. PRACTICE: On a […]
  • It is not about the hair, people!

    It is not about the hair, people!
    Click on over and read this article in Business Week magazine. How to Sell More Than a Product In a coffee showdown with McDonald’s, Starbucks’ tried?and?true strategy has a lesson for entrepreneurs: Don’t sell products. Sell an “experience” By Carmine Gallo Read the article here.
  • Get off the phone!

    Get off the phone!
    Image by Noonch via Flickr Are you spending time on the phone booking appointments that you could be spending pampering the clients in the salon?  It is time to join the 21st century and get an online appointment system! An online appointment system works 24/7.  It doesn’t call in sick and it never comes to […]
  • Recession busting strategies

    Recession busting strategies
    I have mentioned to you before that our primary advertising tool for the salon is Citysearch.  It works well for us and so we keep at it (in good times and bad.)  I wanted to share with you an email I got from my Citysearch account manager.  I was impressed with the personalized service and […]