Happy Holidays - Yes a Little Late

Happy Holidays even if it is a little late.  Just like my birthday (happens very close to Christmas) I got caught up in the swinging of things and let a few others go. But never fear I am back and here is another fascinating edition of small business news for Southeast Missouri.

I got a bit of good news today - a client of mine was able to obtain a small business loan. This client is one of six clients whom I feel are very fundable but the banks in the area are just not making loans to them. We did all the work, prepared the client for the bank's requirements and they still wait. Maybe this one client will be a signal that they are going to loosen up in 2011. 

I hope you will let me know what you want to read about in this column as I improve my skills in blogging. Please remember this is my first blog attempt and I am sure there are many others much better than me.

Well here is my weekly tip for you taken from INC Magazine October 2008 issue. Norm Brodsky is a very wise person having been an entrepreneur many times over and now serves as an advisor to INC magazine. In his monthly article, he writes the following tips on how to best run your small business:

Tip #1 - Know how to read the financial statements and then use them to help you make decisions on running the business.

Tip #2 - The sale is not a sale until you collect on the sale.

Tip #3 - Don't let your short term liabilities grow bigger than your short term assets. If you do, you are headed towards bankruptcy. I talked to a client about this very topic today.  They did not realize they had done this but once we did the financial analysis, there it was just like the wart on Cinderella's wicked step-mother.

Tip #4 - Always look for the long term implications of your decisions. You should always ask yourself - what will this decision do to my company 5 years down the road? Remember, building a great company takes time and there are no shortcuts to greatness.

Tip #5 - Always make sure you have cash in the business before you go spending it.

Tip #6 - You have only associates in business no friends. A lesson that is hard to learn but  once learned it can save you a lot of money and pain. This is true for your suppliers and employees.

Tip #7 - Focus on the gross margin not sales as it tells you the real story of your business's performance. It can be found on the income statement.

Tip #8 - Know your competition - the direct and indirect competitors. Don't let them sneak up behind you and catch you by surprise.

Tip #9 - Make sure you, as the owner, pay attention to the culture example you are setting for your employees and your customers.

Tip #10 - Always remember you have a life outside of work. Give work its due but your personal life is also deserving of attention.

Well happy holidays and look for more in the near future.

Welcome to my first attempt at blogging

Welcome to this effort to reach out to more of the entrepreneurs and small business owners of Southeast Missouri.  I hope you will come back to this blog from time to time as I plan on weekly updating it with tips and news about the small business world.  I really would like for this to be a vehicle for you to communicate to me also.

For my first entry, let's talk about  making money online with a green slant. I was reading the other day in Success magazine about six websites you can take your talents to and market them online.  I know from my many discussions with prospective and current small business owners, getting the word out on their products at a low cost is incredibly important to the success of their business. So I thought let's talk about these websites and see what you have to say. So feel to share your experiences with them and help us all.

Website #1 - etsy.com - is aimed at the arts and craft section of entrepreneurism; people who want to sell their arts and crafts can work with this website to have their product posted and offered for sale; right now around 800,000 items are sold each month on it for about $12.6 million; the website charges a listing fee and percentage of the sale price. Any experience with this? I do know they will not take certain products so make sure you check out the list before you try to submit.

Website #2 - clickbank.com - this website is all about the digital world; if you sell ebooks, software or other digital products this is probably the place to be on; the topics vary from a to z so go in look around and see what you can add.

Website #3 - fotomoto.com - reminds me of a song from my high school days in 80's; but it helps you sell your photography by processing development orders, arranging payments and making prints of the order picture or other products using your picture; they will even ship to your customers; so if you are an amateur photographer like I was at one time, this might be a way to get your pictures out there for sale.

Website #4 - liveperson.com - if you have a question about a business topic or any topic, then you can go to this website and find an expert  person willing to talk to you about the topic on a cost per service basis; you could be one of those experts charging others for your time while talking to them about a topic you have in depth experience with.

Website #5 - associatedcontent.com - if you like to write, then why not get paid for it; this website pays contributors to write articles on a variety of topics that consumers want to know about; while you need to know the topic, you also need to be able to write in a way to optimize your article.

Website #6 - volusion.com - if you want to sell your product on your own website (not like etsy.com) then you might want to take a look at this site; they help you build, grow and manage your online store; they will help you create your own website, help market it and provide ongoing consultation and support. 

So if you have had any experience with these website, share with us and start up a chat. I know I will learn from you.

Until next week, take care and have a happy Christmas.