By Michael Patten –
We’ve all watched entrepreneurs go onto Shark Tank and pitch their product to the Sharks. Some participants are so impressive in the way they deliver a clever pitch that instantly grabs everyone’s attention, while other participants fail miserably and make you cringe inside.
While my son and I have watched many episodes together, one business in particular stuck out to me. Two cousins from Maine pitched the idea of a food truck selling lobster. After seeing an update on the business this year, I decided to learn a bit more and picked up their book, Cousins Maine Lobster: How One Food Truck Became a Multi-million-Dollar Business. The book provided a detailed account of how they started their business, how they landed on Shark Tank, and how their deal with Barbara turned their food truck into a multi-million dollar business.
The book was a fun read and provided some great insights into starting a business and all of the work that is involved. However, one of my favorite chapters was titled “Oh, Right, Money Matters,” because it highlights the value and critical importance of understanding the key metrics of any business. (more…)
By John Sileo –
On August 12, 2003, as I was just sitting down to a tea party with my daughters and their stuffed animals, the doorbell rang. Standing there when I opened the door was a big, burly special agent from the economic crimes unit at the district attorney’s office—ready to issue a subpoena for my arrest. In a calm but ominous voice, he told me I was going to be charged for electronically embezzling (hacking) $298,000 from customers of my small software company, and that the DA’s office had enough digital DNA to put me in jail for a decade.
I was the victim of cyber crime, and I should have known better. You see, earlier that year my identity was stolen and sold to a woman in Florida. This woman purchased a home, committed a number of crimes, drained my bank accounts and filed for bankruptcy—all in my name. I learned all of this one day at the bank, right before I was escorted out by security guards.
The experience of losing my money, time and dignity motivated me to protect my personal information assets with a vengeance. Unfortunately, I didn’t apply my newfound cyber vigilance to my professional life, which is how I ended up standing on my front step holding a tiny teacup and shaking like a leaf. (more…)
By Cheryl Abrahamson –
In an economy where the stakes are increasingly high and cash progressively scarce, business owners must proactively manage the balance sheet and income statement or risk falling victim to the five silent killers of cash flow.
Did you know that a majority of businesses that file bankruptcy reported a net profit, yet had negative cash flow? Often the warning signs that a company is in trouble go unnoticed until it is too late. A business can improve its liquidity and create long-term viability by looking closely at the following potential trouble spots.
Mis-financing is defined as borrowing short-term debt to pay for long-term assets. These assets could include purchasing equipment, leasehold improvements and other fixed items, paid for with a short-term line of credit. This process drains the cash out of a business and condenses the time-frame the asset has to pay for itself. (more…)
Veterans Success Story: Maryland –
Derrell Lee and John Pace are U.S. Military Veterans who graduated from Harford Community College (HCC) with Associate degrees in Business Administration. Derrell and John had wanted to start their own business for a while, and it was finally time for them to unleash their entrepreneurial spirit.
With a passion for healthy living and fitness, the duo came up with a revolutionary idea with confidence for future success. Before pursuing this venture head-first, they sought advice on how to properly format their business and construct a business plan to enable them to receive the financing needed.
They came to Maryland’s Northern Region Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and spoke with Ryan Del Gallo for consultation on how to move their business in a positive direction. Ryan answered all of their questions while providing one-on-one counseling, and he also went a step further to assist with developing a marketing strategy, accurate financial projections, a proper loan package, and a well-developed pitch for the business. (more…)
By Bob House, President, BizBuySell –
The transition from combat to business owner isn’t always easy – luckily hundreds of organizations and groups are eager to assist veterans and help them succeed.
Veterans are an incredible asset to our country. Not only do these brave men and women sacrifice years of their lives to serve the United States, but after returning to civilian life, they bring unmatched strength, skills and perseverance.
Leaving the military holds a number of unknowns, but for nearly a quarter of veterans, entrepreneurship is the clear next step. According to the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2012 an estimated 2.52 million businesses were majority-owned by veterans, employing more than 5 million workers. While these numbers are down from the post-World War II business boom, entrepreneurship is still a popular second career option for our nation’s veterans. (more…)
With a whopping 30.2 million small businesses in the U.S, it’s no surprise they make up 99.9% of all United States businesses. Owning and running a business comes with a lot of added responsibility, one being the safety of employees — cyber safety included. With so many cyber threats running in the background of devices and the Internet, how can you keep your small business safe? Here are some steps to start the process.
Protect all devices
As companies hire, grow and expand, the use of devices is essential. Company devices should be properly protected before being actively used by employees. Plan to update all devices accordingly, to keep all systems working properly and efficiently use. Never forget to download antivirus software to help block any threats that can infiltrate your business. Viruses aren’t the only criminal making its way to your devices. Some other threats include: malware, ransomware, adware, pharming, phishing, and many more.
According to Candid Wueest, Principal Threat Researcher, Security Technology & Response team (STAR), Symantec Corporation, the warning signs of viruses are next to none: “Unless it is a ransomware threat that encrypts all your files, there are often no apparent clues that a computer is infected with malware. Some indications might be a 100% workload of the CPU or strange pop-up messages, but in most cases the user will only notice the consequences when people complain about strange emails, unusual logins or fraudulent transactions on payment cards.” (more…)
By Connor Wilson
Nowadays, when people think of credit scores, their minds often go to what they see on America’s best friend: television. Even without seeing a single commercial for a free credit monitoring service, most if not all people know that credit scores are important, and something to be watched and taken care of. They are, after all, your lifeline to some of life’s biggest milestones, like buying a home, paying for college or getting a bigger boat than your loudmouth neighbor.
From my time working in personal lending services, it became very clear that Credit Karma in particular has done quite the job getting into the minds of Americans. Almost daily I’d hear people mention what their latest credit score was according to Credit Karma, and either the confidence or doubt that came with it.
While everyone has a personal credit score and should definitely check it, business owners also have a business credit score. With that in mind, is there a Credit Karma for businesses? (more…)
By Kat Tretina –
As a small business owner, you likely wear many hats. You’re at once a product developer, marketer, and a customer service representative. But, one of the most overlooked tasks you may have is accounting.
Managing your company’s books is a time-consuming and complex process, but it’s necessary for your business’ success. If you plan on applying for a business loan, it’s important to pay attention to key financial topics and learn how to create and read balance sheets so you can secure the necessary financing.
Whether you handle your business’ finances yourself or outsource your accounting to a professional, here’s what you need to know about business balance sheets and why they’re important for business loan applications. (more…)
By Brad Wiewel –
Over a million lawsuits are filed in state courts every year. And, according to one source, all of us have a 10% chance of getting sued in any given year and a 33% chance of getting sued during our lifetimes! This is scary information given that being on the losing end of a lawsuit can be financially devastating.
As a business owner, you have special cause for concern. That’s because if your business is sued and ordered to pay a money judgment as a result, the plaintiff in the lawsuit can collect on the judgment not only by going after its assets, but by going after your personal assets too if your business does not have enough resources to pay the full judgment amount.
The good news however, is that appropriate up-front planning can protect your personal assets. For example, you can: (more…)
By ComplyRight –
October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a time for schools, communities and workplaces to get involved and take a stand against bullying.
In recent years, bullying has grown much bigger than a few “harmless” taunts from kids on the playground. It has become a type of emotional and verbal warfare that is fought at any age, in any social circle and in virtually any setting — including the workplace.
What Is Workplace Bullying?
Workplace bullying is defined as a pattern of mistreatment from others in the workplace that causes physical or emotional harm. Bullying is often done by someone who has authority over the victim but it can also be done by peers. (more…)