Small Business Articles

I’ve been contributing a series of articles on how small businesses can improve their financial situation through frugality and thoughtfulness to the Open Forum. Below is an index of these articles.

More Money, More Happiness? Not for Your Employees
Several years ago, I spent the better part of a year involved in a team project that was filled with almost every flavor of poison you can imagine in a workplace. Gossip. Tension. Missed deadlines. Sucking up to supervisors. Secret meetings that only included some of the group. Continue reading…

Harnessing the New Age of Customer Frugality
The last year has been filled with breathless stories – like this BusinessWeek one – describing how consumers have responded to the rapid economic downturn of 2008. Namely, they’re going frugal. They’re spending less and saving more. Continue reading…

Five Free, Effective Ways to Make Your Employees Better
Not long ago, the hot water heater in our home went on the fritz. I knew enough to try to light the pilot light on my own, but in the end, I ended up having to call a repairman. Continue reading…

Ten Ways to Easily Reduce Small Business Energy Bills
Like clockwork, utility bills drop unwanted news on your desk on a monthly basis. Communications bills, supply bills, and energy bills all amount to a big chunk out of the bottom line of your business – and a smart businessman will look for effective ways to trim away some of that spending. Continue reading…

The Little Things
A few weeks ago, I stopped in a local office supply and copy store in my area. I had an unusual special request, so I explained what I wanted to the guy behind the counter. As I began to speak, he picked up a rough-looking little notepad and began to jot down what I was saying. When I was finished, he took a tiny piece of Scotch tape, tore off the note, and taped it to the front of the CD I gave to him. Continue reading…

Making Your Employees Into Your Advocates
A few weeks ago, I was attending one of those wonderful small-town community festivals that pop up all over the United States during the summer months. Continue reading…

Minding Your Nines and Zeros
It’s a trick that we’ve all seen dozens of times. “It’s a bargain for only $19.95!” “The beef Burgundy is $20.” One pitch indicates value and the other indicates quality – and the number might be the biggest indicator of all. Continue reading…

Can Social Networking Really Save a Small Business Money?
After reading OPEN Forum for a while, it’s pretty clear that many small business gurus have social networking on the brain. It’s Twitter this and YouTube that. Continue reading…

Core Competencies and Saving Money
Herbert Bayard Swope once said “I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody.” This rule holds especially true for small businesses. As small business owners, we’re constantly confronted with ideas for how to “improve” our business, but often those improvements don’t gain us much at all and cost us a lot. Continue reading…

8 Simple Rules for Practicing Frugality While Traveling for Your Business
Whenever I have the opportunity to take business trips, I’m often stunned at the endless opportunities to rack up expenses. Tickets. Meals. Cab fare. Hotels. Entertainment. Pretty much anything in an airport. Sure, most of these expenses are tax deductible, but they still eat directly into the bottom line of a small business. Continue reading…

Getting Maximum Value from Your Local Small Business Association
There’s a small business association in my local town. For the first few years I was in business, I largely ignored it. After all, most of my business effort focused on reaching people outside of my community. What did I really have in common with these people? Continue reading…

Five Essential Reads for Small Businesspeople – And How to Get Them for Pennies
Here are the five most useful business books for my small business that I’ve read in the last year. Keep reading…

Six Ways to Improve Employee Morale Without Breaking the Bank
Happy, engaged employees are the lifeblood of any small business. Sure, there are the folks that always do their job happily and with great quality (keep them at almost all costs!) and the folks that aren’t happy no matter what you do (weed them out!), but most of your employees are somewhere in the middle. If they’re engaged and happy, they do great work and produce great value for you. If they’re unhappy, they don’t work nearly as well – and the value produced for you is much less. Keep reading…

What Does Your Business Really Need? Get the Basics Right First!
Lately, I’ve been sorely tempted to invest in a mobile broadband connection for my business. I conduct quite a bit of business online and the ability to simply jump online anywhere I am seems extremely tempting. For mobile computing, I currently use an old laptop and simply jump on wireless where it’s available. So I sat down and started pricing out my various options. I found a package through Verizon which met my needs very well and sat there for a moment with my credit card data already entered and my cursor hovering over the submit button. Then I asked myself “What am I doing?”, promptly logged off, and walked away. Keep reading…

A Culture of Empowerment
When I was younger, I was a part-time employee for my father’s commercial fishing business. He would pay me one dollar for every fishing line that I would clean up by removing the knots and arranging the hooks in a special tray for easy baiting, plus fifty more cents for each line that I would bait. Not only that, I would also get a small cut (about 5%) of the profits from fishing from those lines. Keep reading…

Dreading the Cost of Software for Your Business? Try These Free Solutions
Several years ago, one of the biggest costs for small businesses was software. Accounting software? Expensive. Word processing and spreadsheets? Expensive. Contact management software? Expensive. Calendar and scheduling software? Expensive. Quite often, the total bill would be enough to make you wince in pain. Keep reading…

Loading Disqus Comments ...
Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>