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When to Trade Less Money for Faster Payment

June 23, 2014

Check out this article from Bloomberg Businessweek on dealing with clients who take their time paying you:

Question: I have contracts with very large companies and they are pushing payments out to the 120-day limit. Some of them offer shorter payment cycles but I have to accept a discount on the amount owed to me. How’s a small business supposed to survive with this kind of pressure on the bottom line? Should I take these discounts for the sake of my cash flow?

Answer: Your question illustrates one of the reasons it’s so tough for small businesses supplying big companies. While larger vendors probably have at least some negotiating muscle with clients such as big box retailers or giant manufacturers, small suppliers usually don’t—unless their products are absolutely unique in the market.

Your dilemma: You need the business the big guys are offering, but that means you have to accept it on their terms—even if they don’t want to pay you for four months.

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10 Ways to Keep Your Company’s Cash Flow Alive

June 20, 2014

Check out this recent article from Entrepreneur on the importance of monitoring your cash:

Most people who have never had businesses of their own think that owning a business automatically means you have dough.

“Sure, you can get the check because you can just write if off.” Seriously?

Do these people understand that having a business is the most delicate balancing act of cash management that anyone can probably undertake? The cash we all have is as precious as air itself and writing things off does not mean free money.

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Seven Tips for Small Business Security

June 19, 2014

Check out this recent article from The Huffington Post on cyber security for your small business:

Digital defense is often a challenge for small- and medium-sized businesses. SMBs frequently lack the computer security staff and resources found in larger corporations. It’s just not economical. This article shares seven tips for SMBs, with an emphasis on low- or no-cost solutions.

1. Identify and minimize information assets. Do you really need that data? This question prompts the user to consider whether the data they collect, store or transmit is truly necessary for business operations. Sometimes, outside regulators seek to control data, as is the case with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Even when not regulated, everyone, from corporate employees to home users, should think about the sorts of data they manipulate. The best way to keep sensitive data out of the hands of criminals might be to never let it exist in digital form.

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Promote Your Business for Pennies: Affordable Marketing and PR Tips for Lean Startups

June 18, 2014

Check out this recent article from AllBusiness Experts on small-budget marketing campaigns:

Developing an effective marketing and PR strategy is a cornerstone to building your company’s success. Unfortunately, marketing and PR can sometimes be expensive, especially if you are just starting out and running a very lean operation. Luckily, there are some affordable marketing and PR tricks that can provide your small business with a cost-effective means for successfully increasing sales and growing your customer base.

You might have a great product or service, but if no one knows about it, generating sales can be challenging. Effective marketing and public relations are proactive ways for you to get your message out to the marketplace and attract potential clients and customers.

Marketing is all about finding ways to reach your target audience—those potential clients and customers who have an interest in and possible need for what you sell. PR involves getting positive publicity and press about your business regarding its latest innovations, brands, and services.

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Facebook Hopes to Turn Small Business Users Into Advertisers

June 17, 2014

Check out this recent article from Bloomberg Businessweek on Facebook’s appeal to small business owners:

Count Facebook (FB) among the throng of Internet companies courting small business customers. Today, at a converted industrial space on Manhattan’s West Side, the Menlo Park (Calif.)-based company held the first installment of its Facebook Fit program, a series of boot camps designed to help small businesses thrive—by buying advertising from the social networking giant.

There were coffee and cupcakes from local food trucks and a prerecorded welcome from Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook staff stood by, clad in blue-and-white T-shirts, ready to answer questions. Representatives from Intuit (INTU) and Square—two other companies that sell services to Main Street—were also on hand.

There’s good reason for Facebook to roll out the blue carpet. Thirty million small businesses worldwide update their Facebook pages at least once a month, the company says. About 1 million pay for Facebook ads. And just as small businesses hope to convert their Facebook fans to paying customers, Facebook wants to turn its free-riding small business users into advertisers.

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