Profit Margin Formula

January 14, 2020

What is it, How to Calculate it, How to Improve Profit Margin

By Anna Baluch –

When you sell a product or service, it’s important to understand your profit margin or how much money you make by selling your product. Essentially, a profit margin shows your return on investment (ROI) for all of your expenses. A low margin indicates you’re not getting the ideal ROI for your expenses while a high one proves you’re doing well.

Ideally, you’d have a high profit margin that steers your organization toward long term growth and success. By taking the time to figure out your profit margin, you can set attainable goals and make informed decisions for your unique business. (more…)

These 5 Myths Cause Small Businesses to Fail

January 1, 2020

By Charles “Tee” Rowe –

Every year, Americans start businesses with the hope of achieving financial success, independence, and personal fulfillment. Unfortunately, many times those dreams are never realized. Too often the enthusiasm and energy that small business owners put into their business isn’t matched by the planning and skills needed to survive.

At America’s SBDCs — 62 small business development center networks nationwide and their nearly 1,000 centers — we find that a solid business plan and a brilliant business concept need to be married to a serious understanding of the financial and management needs of running a business.

Too many businesses believe marketing is their key to success, but hemorrhaging cash is the secret, silent killer. So for aspiring entrepreneurs, here are five myths small business owners believe in that lead to failure:

1. Don’t ask for help

“You’re smart, you’ve got this.” Nobody has got it. There are so many free resources out there, and the biggest mistake many small business owners make is not using those resources. There are nearly 1,000 small business development centers nationwide — why would you ignore free help? (more…)

An End-of-Year Checklist for Small Businesses

November 25, 2019

By Andriana Moskovska –

Keeping your business afloat in a highly competitive market is not exactly a walk in the park. Approximately 20% of new ventures don’t even make it past their first year, so it’s important to do all that you can to rise above the competition.

With that being said, finishing up another year without your business closing down is already a major milestone. But don’t start celebrating too soon. Now is the time to reflect on the past few months, and set goals for the upcoming year. Preparing for the year to come will ensure steady growth for your business.

Poor business planning and market research are two of the main culprits of business failure. Simply put, there’s no room for incompetence in the world of business.

It’s important to avoid procrastination. Take care of smaller tasks as they come, so you can focus on the bigger things ahead.

Here are a few things to add to your end-of-year checklist so you can start the new year with a clean slate: (more…)

Lessons Learned From Shark Tank

November 20, 2019

By Michael Patten –

Lessons Learned From Shark TankWe’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…)

The 5 Silent Killers of Cash Flow

November 14, 2019

By Cheryl Abrahamson –

Silent Killers of Cashflow

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.

1. Mis-Financing

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…)

How to Help Your Small Business Recover After the Holidays

January 7, 2019

By Connor Wilson –

Small business meetingEvery year, businesses the world over spend a significant amount of time and money ramping up for the holiday season, and then, just like that, it’s over. As quickly as Halloween seemingly rolled into Thanksgiving, the New Year is here, and the holiday rush is a mere memory. But what about your business efforts? After weeks, if not months, of running at max strength, what do you do once the inevitable Q1 lull hits?

As you close out 2018 and dig your feet into 2019, it’s important to address the unique needs of this slower period, and in doing so, prepare your business for not only the first quarter, but for the rest of the year. Not sure where to start? Here are six tips to help you decelerate business and make the most of down time. (more…)

Guide to Setting Prices

November 5, 2018

By Jennifer Lobb –

Price TagPricing can and often does make or break your business, and hastily setting prices without addressing important concerns can result in a whole host of problems, including plummeting margins, decreasing market share, or brand alienation.

Every business is different, and in many cases, the pricing strategy you choose is entirely reliant on the industry in which your business exists. However, though differences are plenty, there are some steps that, when incorporated into pricing efforts, will help you set prices that will support your financial goals while growing your business. (more…)

How to Get Enough Inventory to Make Black Friday Wildly Successful

October 9, 2018

By Jennifer Lobb –

ShoppingBefore long, the air will be cooler, evergreen and twinkling lights will deck homes and storefronts, and holiday music will begin to play – albeit earlier than seems necessary. Though the holiday season begins as soon as Jack-o-Lanterns end their month-long reign, when it comes to planning and sales most small businesses focus on what many consider to be the biggest shopping day of the year – Black Friday.

Business owners and managers alike plan meticulously for the big day, with efforts covering everything from staffing and business hour updates to marketing and sales initiatives. However, as you likely already know, when it comes to Black Friday, inventory is often the make-or-break factor. (more…)

7 Time Management Tips for New Business Owners

May 22, 2018

By Jennifer Lobb –

Time ManagementRunning a business is time-consuming work, and as a new business owner, time is exceedingly hard to come by. Though you may not be able to add an extra hour (or minute, for that matter) to your day, there are ways you can capitalize on, and make the most of, the time you do have. By following the seven tips below, you’ll be able to take charge of your day and manage your time in a way that improves both your productivity and state of mind.

1. List & Define Your Tasks & Goals

When thinking about time and how to better manage it, there are two dominating categories of obligations and to-dos and your list: operational tasks and business goals. Tasks are those mundane-yet-import requirements that happen daily, weekly or monthly, without fail. (more…)

7 New Year Resolutions You Can Make for Your Business

January 8, 2018

2018 New Year's Resolutions

A new year is upon us, and for many of us that means taking inventory of our lives, deciding where we can improve and making resolutions to guide us through our journey to improvement.

While we typically think of resolutions as personal promises, the sentiment can and should extend to professional organizations. By making company-wide resolutions, small business owners, managers or individuals in other leadership roles can promote growth, increase the bottom line and improve company morale.

Not sure what types of resolutions you should make? Here are seven that will be important for a strong 2018.  (more…)