Tag: Business Management (67 articles found) - Clear Search


The Art of Raising Prices

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“There is no victory at bargain basement prices.” – Dwight Eisenhower

Prices are on the rise everywhere right now. What about yours? 

From just a few pennies to outright sticker shock, hiking prices is one of the quickest paths to losing customers. But you’ve got ends to make meet, too. 

Our inflation series continues with one of the most pressing problems for businesses today: How much you need to increase your pricing models – and what to think about before you do. 

Worry and response

Current inflation is 8.6% year over year, a seemingly endless upward direction that worries most businesses. Almost nine out of 10 have told surveys that they’re also already seeing the hit in higher expenses such as supplies and services, some by as much as 50%. Throw in employees probably wanting above-average raises and you’ve got a compound probl
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What to Know Before Opening the Door to Investors

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“The secret of creating riches for oneself is to create them for others.” - John Templeton

Everybody loves money. In your small business, you’ll take all you can get, right?

Investments in your company may seem like a can’t-be-beat gift. But taking on investors in small business means a lot more than skipping to the bank to cash a check – it means facing some hard realities about your business. 

Your plan, their fine print

After a few down years, venture capital (VC) is booming again, especially for tech and large companies – but don’t mistake “VC” for other kinds of financing that your small business might attract. Get your terms straight from the get-go – and get your financial and legal professionals involved, too. 

The other thing to get together as completely and clearly as possible is your bu
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Responding to Bad Online Reviews, Well

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"Many a man's reputation would not know his character if they met on the street.” - Elbert Hubbard

Leaving a good lasting impression is something we all want in life. In business, it’s the key to keeping clients. But leaving a bad one… well that could mean a lot of lost business. 

A recent survey showed that more than nine out of 10 consumers say a negative online review can turn them off from choosing a particular business. Other surveys have shown that often online shoppers won’t even go near a business that has fewer than three out of a possible five stars.

Wow. Losing new customers because of just one bad comment about your business? Unfortunately, that’s the reality. Even if the bad comment was slipped in by a “Karen” who just has it out for your business, figuring out how to deal with negative reviews should be a top priority.

There are a lot of platforms online where customers can bash you (or sing your praises). Google, Amazon, Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor – maybe even your own website hosts reviews. 

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Self-Direction Part 2 of 4

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This is Part 2 of our 4-part series on self-direction. In our previous blog we covered retirement accounts generally. Here, we’ll cover how to make them self-directed.

NOTE: Self-direction is an advanced real estate investing technique with a lot of nuances. This blog is meant as general information and not legal, tax or investing advice. You will certainly need more education and advice to truly understand this amazing technique.

First, if you self-direct (we’ll call it “SD” from here on) an IRA, that account MUST sit at (be deposited with) an IRS-approved SD custodian. There is no way around this. So, your first step is to set up an account at a SD custodian. This is pretty easy, or even done online. You then either make a contribution and/or move (rollover) your current IRA money. Then, your IRA money is in place that will allow you to invest it in real estate immediately by “directing” the SD custodian to make an investment in your IRA’s name. This is usually a form to fill out, submit to the custodian that will then facilitate the transaction. SD custodians typically charge a yearly fee and transaction fees for each deal. You can lower these fees with a
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Working with Contractors

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In our last blog, we covered being a better landlord on your buy and holds. Here we’ll discuss a few tips to make working with contractors a little easier, whether on a flip or rental.

First, set a plan before starting, and stick to it! The plan should have a good, clear outline of how you want the project to finish. This includes materials and a budget. Many newer investors either don’t set a budget or blow past it. This is a recipe for disaster.

Second, contact your entire list of possible contractors and get bids. Many investors, to save time, may only talk to one contractor or sub. Take the time to really explain what you’re looking for, provide the plan & budget you’ve set, and get several bids. It’s worth your time.

Third, take the time to compare and contrast the different bids. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples. You’ll need to understand how and where the contractor is making money. Is there a line-item fee? Is the contractor “padding” materials or labor? Does the contractor include labor & materials in one line-item? You may need to go back and get more specific information from the contractor. Take the time to do this.

Fourth, ask and learn how the contractor handles changes, whether those come from you or them. This seems to be one of the bigges
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A Financial Systems Check-Up For Your Business

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As A Real Estate Investor, This Is  Where The Rubber Meets The Road

Usually, keeping track of numbers is tedious.

Check it out! What are the bene’s that make this task more attractive than the usual alternative…”Oh Geez. I’ve got a closing on Monday and I need financials.”

Your business obviously makes and spends money. The pluses and minuses add up (you hope) to being able to stay in business, and a look at the books tells you if your business is doing okay or headed for trouble.

What are your books telling YOU?

In our experience, it’s often the company’s financial system (or lack thereof) that makes the answer easy to discover or downright difficult.

Have you looked at your own business’s financial system lately? Would you know how to read between the lines to interpret what you see there?

Because a financial system for business s
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Janet Behm’s Tips for Building a Business Emergency Fund

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“Luck is what you have left over after you give 100 percent.” - Langston Coleman

Prior to the economic fallout from 2020’s happenings, the typical American small business only had 28 days’ worth of cash reserves on hand.

Meaning, the average small business in this country couldn’t survive for a full month if revenue were suddenly turned off. As a result, Congress had to prop up small businesses through programs such as the EIDL and PPP loans that you’re sick of hearing about by now.

As the economy rebounds strongly, it’s a good time to set aside a business emergency fund for your business to tide you over during the next period of economic upheaval. This isn’t doom and gloom thinking, it’s simply the reality of the business cycle: There will be another recession at some unknown point in the future.

You Need To Know How Much Is Enough
In many ways, your business eme
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5 Cybersecurity Steps all Business Owners Should Take

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“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” - Margaret Thatcher

Whether your business is in full-on work-from-home mode, or your business is such that this is a totally foreign concept, the reality is that cybersecurity steps are something you absolutely need to address.

Your office computers, employee laptops and tablets, cloud services (which can be accessed remotely), and even company cell phones all have an insane amount of information on them that hackers would love to get their digital hands on. Along with customer credit card numbers and employee SSN’s and DOB’s, your digital records contain a wealth of valuable information. Even something as seemingly innocuous as customer estimates and invoices can look like hidden treasure to the world’s digital pirates.

Taking basic cybersecurity steps is cheap protection against potentially embarrassing and expensive data breaches.

If you do have employees working remotely, it’s your responsibility to protect customer and employee data. Just like the IRS sets minimum requirements for us to protect YOUR private information, you should als
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Businesses Win That Are Controlling Costs

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“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.”  - Beverly Sill

Depending on the type of business you run, you have a myriad of things you need to pay for to stay in business from rent to office supplies to payroll to inventory (not to mention all those pesky taxes).

When a business is brand new, most business owners go over the top controlling costs. But over time, they tend to loosen their grip on such things and inevitably experience “cost creep.” Sound familiar?

Every dollar you spend on a business expense means one less dollar in profit for your business (think renovations). So, it’s a good idea to periodically check in on your expenses to make sure you’re controlling costs where needed.

But where do you start?
Looking at your income statement may just give you a headache. Plus, that P&L is a summary of categorized expenses and doesn’t tell the full story about individual costs racked up throughout the year.

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Janet Behm's Building Your Brand Update

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"A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts." - Richard Branson

Unfortunately, many small businesses brainlessly ape big corporations with their marketing, by (wrongly) believing that "if these huge companies built their businesses by that kind of marketing, then it surely should work for us." Build the brand,” they say.

The thinking behind that kind of marketing is that you "get your name out there," and the clients and customers will pour in. "It's all about word of mouth," they say.

Well, if you choose to go down this road, far better is real word-of-mouth advertising.

And that is something that can actually be stimulated and stewarded. And one of the best companies to learn from about this is Disney, specifically about their parks.

(And this is still true in 2021, btw, with all
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