Find out ways to boost your Facebook fan page engagement and build your brand online with the C-Q-H-L approach from The Small Biz Lady, Melinda Emerson.
During the 1992 presidential election, there was a sign that was reportedly hung by James Carville, Bill Clinton’s campaign manager in their Little Rock Office that simple stated “It’s the economy, stupid”. This was a reminder to everyone that worked there that the only thing that the national race was about was the economy. That year, I started my third business after failing in two others. This time, I made my own sign and tacked it up in my office. It read: “It’s cash flow, stupid”. It became my daily reminder and mantra. Starting out in my first business in 1980′s, I thought that the only thing that mattered was to sell my product to whoever would buy it. I reasoned that if you make sales, you eventually make money. This worked great until customers didn’t pay me on time or at the same rate as my business expenses grew. Unfortunately, even if my customers did not pay their bills when they were due, my employees and vendors still wanted to get paid on time. What I realized is that sales do not pay bills, cash does.
Collecting the cash from sales means everything. It is the gasoline that makes your business engine work. Without cash, your business literally suffocates. Most businesses fail because they run out of cash leaked through losses or other poor management practices.
How to improve your cash flow in your own business:
What have you done in your business to boost your cash?
By now you’ve probably made a list of New Year's resolutions and already crossed a few off your list. And it’s still January. Don’t worry; you aren’t alone. Only about 8 percent of us keep our resolutions every year, according to the University of Scranton.
Defy that depressing statistic this year by sticking to these five resolutions from small business expert Lauri Flaquer.
#1. Embrace change
Don’t be afraid to change things up this year. “Look at your opportunities to grow and look at what needs to stay the same,” recommends Flaquer, owner of Saltar Solutions, a business consultancy in St. Paul, Minn. “Invite change and growth will follow.”
#2. Evaluate your performance
How good of a job are you doing? Not sure? “Many managers live in their own little worlds and are not always able to see things the same way outsiders see them,” she says. Put together a group of people whom can interdepedently tell you the truth about how things are going and considering asking your employees for 360-degree reviews.
#3. Make work fun
“Strive to be a company that your employees rave to their friends about,” says Flaquer. Focus on upcoming holidays—like Mardi Gras—and spring for a cake, beads and masks for the whole office, she recommends. Or host a monthly birthday party.
“It really doesn’t have to cost a lot of money,” she says. “I know a company that has a barbecue every Tuesday where one person brings in all the food for the department. Each person has to bring in food about four times a year, but they get to eat for free during every other Tuesday.”
#4. Clear clutter
You know that piece of inventory that has been sitting in the corner of the break room for the last two years? Get rid of it and don’t look back. If you haven’t used it, you don’t need it. The same goes for the mountains of vendor magazines piled up in your file cabinet, collecting dust.
Parting ways with your office clutter will make you feel better. “Clutter holds you back from having new ideas, fresh thinking and getting around your workspace,” she says. “Task your employees with clearing how their workspaces, too. Everyone will breathe a huge sigh of relief.”
#5. Join a mastermind group
A mastermind group is a collection of people that get together to discuss a business topic and look for solutions to problems. Flaquer recommends small business owners either create their own group with other local business owners or join one online.
“Look for a group of people who are more successful than you,” she says. “Those are the people who will push your forward and help you achieve your goals.”
Are you building your network and obtaining new referrals? Learn how with these 4 tips from The Small Biz Lady, Melinda Emerson.
Here are 10 startups launched in 2013 that are ready to rock the world next year:
Collegefeed has a noble mission to help every college student and new grad get hired. The service has already grown to tens of thousands of users, over 1,200 schools and hundreds of employers. It was created by Google's former product chief Sanjeev Agrawal who has turned all of his passion to using technology to solve the job crisis for millennials. Students are facing skyrocketing tuition, massive loan debt and nearly 50% can't get jobs that use their degree. Users have been hired using the tool from Morgan Stanley to Facebook.
Rockbot is an out-of-home music service disrupting the billion dollar market dominated by Muzak. Many bars, restaurants and airports stream music. This service lets customers vote on the playlist and request songs. It’s the modern day jukebox from the customer’s smartphone. They recently announced their newest customer, JetBlue in their JFK terminal.
Cover is a restaurant payment application that changes the way people pay at restaurants. Using an Uber-style experience, it lets diners leave without ever "paying" the check. The app lets people prepay it or split it among diners. The product is live at about 30 top-tier restaurants in New York.
KONO was inspired and created by culinary genius, Rossano Boscolo. It has over 130 locations in countries throughout world where it offers consumers an entirely new pizza experience with its cone-shaped crust filled with fresh Italian ingredients. Launched in August 2013, KONO USA has over 15 units in its development pipeline.
Sense Health helps providers create, deliver and monitor interactive patient support plans called ‘scripts’. Providers simply answer three assessment questions about their patient: their specific condition, their goals for the month and barriers that might be hindering their ability to accomplish them. Through their proprietary algorithm, Sense Health automatically creates a 28 day script which consist of daily text messages delivered automatically. Scripts are comprised of reminders, educational, motivational and interactive text messages. Providers have a dashboard which alert them when a patient asks a question or are non-compliant.
Touchcast is an innovative video platform that brings interactivity of the web into an online TV viewing experience so users can engage with Twitter, web pages, maps, and polls inside the video without interrupting playback. It has been nominated by AdWeek as Hottest Startup in their Hot List. The company saw record downloads since launching in June.
Tok is a new social opinion network that turns online commenting into discussions and users into communities. Its networked, visual conversation interface creates a richer experience that brings people together and will offer companies with an audience an effective way to share targeted, dynamic, interactive content.
3Dagogo is an online marketplace of certified 3D designs to “print” consumer products at home. The company crowdsources “proven-to-print” designs and has an intuitive search interface that allows users to search for designs that work with their home 3D printer, materials, and skill level.
Simply Insured is a way for small businesses to find and buy health insurance online. With the problems on Healthcare.gov, many companies will be facing different requirements and options for health insurance. This company helps small businesses navigate the changing health insurance landscape, using their technology to make it transparent and easy to understand.
TestRocker brings together premier academic tutors with the best technology to make quality private tutoring available to students around the world whenever and wherever they desire. Launched by two sisters, the company's first two programs are SAT and ACT prep. Within one year of launch, TestRocker had students in 14 different countries studying on its platform.
What startups are you watching in 2014?
Make 2014 the best year ever for your small business! This week's Work Your Biz Wednesday with Melinda Emerson offers five tips to make your business more money in the upcoming year.
With Over 10,000 new business books are published each year, it’s hard to find the ones that can really benefit your small business. Here is our top list of books to read over the holidays (in alphabetical order).
Nextiva Employee All Time Book Favorites:
What is at the top of your list this year?
Are you taking advantage of referrals to get new customers? Find out how to make your business more recommendable to boost your positive word of mouth from The Small Biz Lady, Melinda Emerson.