planning
shutterstock_161751803

When Is the Right Time to Pay Yourself a Salary?

by Kristen Gramigna

You may be the last on your list of creditors when you’re just starting a business, but at some stage, you’ve got to start earning yourself. Here are seven things to consider in order to determine if now is the right time to pay yourself a salary. 1. You’ve been better than “break even” for one year... Read more »

funding
How to impress angels

How to Impress Angel Investors and Make It into “Startup Heaven”

by Caroline Cummings

Ever wanted to ask an angel for advice? Now you can. Apart from a collection of tips direct from angel investors themselves, we're opening up our comment stream within this post. Got a question for one of the angels listed? Share it and they'll reply. Don't forget to use the hashtag #AngelTip on Twitter! Read more »

starting
startup

What’s the Difference Between a Small Business Venture and a Startup?

by Candice Landau

When I hear the word “startup,” my mind immediately begins playing a reel of a bunch of twenty-something year old web developers, huddled together in a retro office somewhere in the SF Bay Area. Drinking beer at midday, laughing about the epic, cool culture they’ve got going, and chatting about the fact that they spent... Read more »

planning
pitching business ideas in social situations

Do You Know How to Pitch Your Startup in Social Situations?

by Katherine Halek

You’ve struck stones together and you’ve finally seen a spark. You’ve worked hard to develop your ideas and build something worthy of faith and investment. But finding natural ways to pitch your startup may still seem like the most daunting task you’ve faced yet. Your elevator pitch, for all that it can be perfected,  can come... Read more »

managing
time to hire an employee

Is It Time to Hire an Employee?

by Lisa Furgison

If you own your own business and find that you simply don’t have enough time on your hands to be able to do all the things you need to do, you may be asking yourself should you hire an employee?  If you’ve already got employees, your question will be similar, when is the right time... Read more »

managing
motorcycling life and business lessons

What Motorcycling Can Teach You About Making Decisions

by Teri Epperly

It’s been a long time now, but in my other life (when I was living in Hawaii and before I worked for Palo Alto Software), I was a motorcycle safety instructor. I trained over 1,000 people through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course. The course taught not only the mechanics of how to ride,... Read more »

managing
Robin Williams died on Monday August 11, 2014.

[Slideshare] What Robin Williams Taught Us About Life

by Jonathan Michael

As we mourn the death of Robin Williams, I wanted to take a look back to remember the life lessons we’ve learned from some of his most notable performances on film. Featuring images and quotes from Hook, Dead Poets Society, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Morning, Vietnam, Jumanji, Aladdin, Patch Adams, Good Will Hunting, Bicentennial Man, and... Read more »

planning
what is an income statement

What is an Income Statement?

by Angelique O'Rourke

Learn what an income statement is including a line by line explanation of it's components, and view income statement examples. Read more »

funding
3791487536_071b8229e8_b

Got "Founder Fit?" If You Want Venture Capital, You Need It

by Candice Landau

A few weeks ago I spoke with Boris Wertz, founder of JustBooks, COO of AbeBooks and founding-partner of Version One Ventures. In as much as a scheduled interview with an angel investor can be, talking with Boris about what it takes to spark the interest of a venture capital firm was a coincidence. I’d reached out... Read more »

managing
positive workplace environment

Creating a Positive Work Environment

by Scott Huntington

When it comes to managing your employees, one of the most important things you can do for them involves setting the right tone at work.  We’ve all heard some of the horror stories about terrible jobs or bad managers, and the one thing each of these stories has in common was the negative workplace environment.... Read more »

managing
manufacturing

How to Find an Overseas Manufacturer: A Primer on Global Sourcing

by Laurel Delaney

You have a great new product that you want to take global. Now, you need to find someone to manufacture that product. Do you know where to find a manufacturer overseas? I do. Contract manufacturing is when a company arranges to have a local or overseas manufacturer make all or part of the product. Typically,... Read more »

starting
What Is the Right Age to Start a Business

[Slideshare] What is the Right Age to Start a Business?

by Jonathan Michael

It seems like today’s hottest startups and small businesses are being led by 20-something wunderkinds. So, if you’re over 30, does it mean that it’s too late to start your own business? We asked our Bplans.com executive team, as well as friends on LinkedIn, and they had some interesting answers. “What is the right age... Read more »

planning
If I gave you a $100,000 marketing budget what would you do?

If I Gave You a $100,000 Marketing Budget, What Would You Do With It?

by Cidnee Stephen

Let’s face it: developing a marketing budget for a small business is usually not a very big priority. Typically, we just don’t have enough money to warrant having a formal marketing budget. Sometimes we just ignore doing one because it’s depressing. After all, if you don’t have any money to put towards a marketing budget,... Read more »

managing
A few of the goodies Crane gives out to interested people.

Does Your Business Have Swag?

by Lisa Furgison

Promotional gear, goodies, swag—whatever you call it, items with your company name and logo are a great marketing tool. They provide a way to connect with customers, improve brand awareness, and help drive your sales up. Crane, a home appliance and wellness company, uses promotional gear to promote their brand and products at various events and trade... Read more »

starting
Fail Hard 15 Quotes on Failing to Succeed

Fail Hard: 15 Quotes on Failing to Succeed

by Jonathan Michael

Is it OK to fail? Most people believe that failure is something to be embarrassed about, or to sweep under the rug. But is there something about owning our failures that gives us the keys to succeed? Included below are 15 quotes from some of history’s greatest known thinkers and leaders on why failure doesn’t have to... Read more »

planning
5 ways to spy on your competition

5 Ways to Spy on Your Competition

by Sarah Brooks

Most companies are continually looking for ways to get an edge over their competitors, and a time-honored method is simply to spy on the other guys. Technically, it falls under the category of market research, unless, of course, it’s actual spying. But, we’re not going to get into corporate espionage here—we’ll stick with the “market... Read more »

funding
Asset-Based Lending vs. Traditional Lending: Which is Right for You?

Asset-Based Lending vs. Traditional Bank Lending: Which is Right for You?

by Lew Koflowitz

Companies seeking financing to maintain and grow their business will often look first to traditional unsecured bank loans, since that is usually the least costly form of borrowing available. However, many small businesses are either:  Growing rapidly,  Do not have a lengthy track record; or  Do not have a sufficiently high credit rating As a result,... Read more »

starting
social enterprise

What Is a Social Enterprise?

by Angelique O'Rourke

A social enterprise is defined by its mission, specifically that it makes a positive contribution to a social cause. Because of this, the structure of a social enterprise can vary. Nonprofits are certainly social enterprises, but many for-profit companies fall into this category by making the conscious decision to have their focus be an altruistic... Read more »

funding
5 Things You Should Do with a Business Loan

5 Things You Should Do With A Business Loan [Free Webinar]

by Jonathan Michael

Thinking about getting a loan? Trying to grow your business but you’re unsure of where to start? Join us on Thursday, August 14 at 1pm ET/10am PT for “Five Things You Should Do With a Business Loan”—a free webinar that will help you understand how to get the most out of every dollar you get... Read more »

planning
Should you join an industry association?

Finding an Industry Association for Your Small Business

by Arlene Soto

Industry associations, also known as trade groups or business associations, are organizations founded and usually funded by businesses in that specific business or industry. Thousands of industry trade groups are in existence worldwide, and every industry has at least one trade group. Industry associations often provide access to certification, education, information, trends, political lobbying, group... Read more »