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By Erin O'Donnell.

 

BestCities_Body.jpgIf you're a woman starting or running a business, Tennessee is the place to be.

 

Earlier this year, the online credit monitoring website WalletHub released its study of the best and worst cities for women business owners. Three of the Volunteer State's metro areas ranked in the top five, including Nashville at the No. 1 spot. Chattanooga was in second place, and Memphis was in fourth. (Knoxville even made a good showing at No. 15.)

 

Rounding out the top five were Columbus, Ohio, in third place and Milwaukee, Wis., in fifth.

 

A WalletHub analyst noted how the state of Tennessee is prioritizing helping female entrepreneurs and improving their access to capital and other resources. There are nine small-business incubators in the state that are women-focused, which is more incubators than many states have in total. And these organizations are connecting women with investors and mentors that they may not otherwise reach.

 

In 2015, Tennessee was also chosen as one of only six locations for new Women’s Business Centers, sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

 

The WalletHub survey looked at 10 key metrics to make the rankings, three of which were weighted most heavily:

  • Overall friendliness toward new business: Includes access to financing, office space availability, and labor costs.
  • Female entrepreneurship: How prevalent is female entrepreneurship in the area? Looks at the percentage of women-owned businesses, and their revenue and growth.
  • Business climate for women: Looks at gender inequality, such as the size of the wage gap between genders, and conditions for working mothers.

 

Here are a few more factors that propelled these cities to the top five:

 

BestCities_PQ.jpgNashville, Tenn.: The Music City has the third highest average revenue of women-owned businesses out of the 100 metro areas surveyed, and it had the best female entrepreneurship rank out of the top five cities. It's home to entrepreneurs such as Sarah Bellos, founder of Stony Creek Colors, which makes plant-based dyes for the textile industry to reduce water pollution from petroleum-based dyes. By 2015, Bellos had raised more than half a million dollars. She's an alumna of the Launch Tennessee incubator, a public-private partnership; about one-third of LaunchTN's recent masterclass graduates are female founders.

 

Chattanooga, Tenn.: Tennessee's fourth-largest city is home of the Jump Fund, which is the Southeast’s only female-focused angel fund. The fund's female investors put capital into early-stage companies led by women. One company they backed was Feetz, which makes custom shoes using 3-D printers. Founder Lucy Beard moved to Chattanooga from Silicon Valley. In the WalletHub survey, Chattanooga also ranked as the second most new-business-friendly metro area in the country (Tulsa was first).

 

Columbus, Ohio: Columbus ranked well in both female entrepreneurship and friendliness to new businesses. It's home to a handful of women-focused business centers, including the nonprofit Women’s Small Business Accelerator, which offers affordable office space to women along with peer-to-peer mentoring and funding resources. Thumbtack.com also lauded the city for its ease of starting a new business. And the suburb of Dublin was recognized by data-analysis firm GoodCall as the second-best city for women entrepreneurs to find "a healthy economy, a stable job market, and support from the local community and like-minded businesswomen."

 

Memphis, Tenn.: From 2007 to 2012, Memphis had the highest growth in female-owned businesses—116 percent—among the nation’s 25 largest cities, according to New York City think tank The Center for an Urban Future. Most, however, don't have paid employees, and the city's economic leaders are working with accelerators to change that and move toward female-owned firms that create jobs. WalletHub also found Memphis nearly as friendly to new businesses as its neighbor Chattanooga, ranking fourth overall.

 

Milwaukee, Wis.: The second best business climate for women, according to WalletHub, is in this midwestern city. It helps that Wisconsin ranked as a top state (seventh overall) for working mothers in another WalletHub survey, with good marks for work-life balance and childcare. Women-owned firms in Milwaukee are also attracting more investment. In July, the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp.  was one of only 15 organizations nationwide to land a $1.1 million private grant to help diverse-owned small businesses.

 

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.

 

©2016 Bank of America Corporation

 

With the first-ever nomination of a woman for president, we are hearing a lot these days about the glass ceiling.

 

The term “glass ceiling” stems from the 1970s. Back then, author and editor Gay Bryant was working on Working Woman magazine. As she told the “New York Daily News” recently, the magazine was targeting “women who were entering the executive suite, women with careers, not just a job.” Bryant worked with a lot of women who were first entering the workforce and who were finding it challenging on many fronts.

 

While Bryant did not talk about the glass ceiling at that time, she famously uttered the phrase in an interview in the mid-80s while running Family Circle magazine. Bryant had long been trying to create what she called “a roadmap to success” for these women because she found that too often her female colleagues found that their upward rise in the business world would stall for reasons of gender. It was during this time that in an interview Gay Bryant said this phenomenon was a “glass ceiling.”

 

The phrase stuck.

 

The good news is that, while not gone, the glass ceiling certainly seems to have a lot of cracks in it these days. Indeed, according to the recent Bank of America “Women Business Owner Spotlight” survey, while a majority of the women surveyed (77%) said that a glass ceiling does in fact exist, more than half (54%) said that the much-discussed ceiling does not affect them personally.

 

And while that is heartening, it must be noted, however, that 46% of the women surveyed said that they have indeed encountered the glass ceiling at some point in their careers.

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There were several other findings in the survey that are worth noting:

 

Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss

 

For starters, women are more optimistic than men right now when it comes to the future of their businesses. In the short-term, 52% of women surveyed expect that their businesses would grow over the next 12 months while only 48% of men felt that way. Results were even more pronounced over the long-term. 60% of women small business owners expected to grow their business over the next five years as compared to only 52% of men.

 

This all then begs the question: How do women entrepreneurs expect to grow their businesses? Of course, it is the same for any small business owner, no matter their age or sex or favorite color or whatever: they need access to clients and capital.

 

Again we see good news coming from the Bank of America research. Almost seven in ten of the women surveyed said that they thought they had the same access to capital as their male counterparts. Twenty-eight percent thought they had less access, and three percent thought it was about the same.

 

That same optimism was seen across the board when it comes to other traditional ways one might grow a business, for example:

 

  • 79% of women though they had the same access to clients as men
  • 69% thought they had the same access to business opportunities as men and
  • 75% thought they had the same access to outside resources as men

 

Given all of this, it is not surprising that when choosing words to describe their entrepreneurial journey, the adjectives leaned heavily positive:

 

  • 35% said they are “content.”
  • 49% said they are “empowered”, and
  • 54% said they are “successful.”

 

So yes, it looks like the “glass ceiling” is hopefully heading towards being a phrase of a bygone era.

 

About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2016 Bank of America Corporation

Every great business has one – that thing that they do that is unique, special and different.

 

When I was a kid there was a place down the street that advertised all over that it was home to “the world’s greatest hamburger.” I thought it was an amazing thing that I lived so close to the best hamburger in the world. Lucky us! Later I realized that of course wasn’t the case, but they sure did have the best slogan in town.

 

Great businesses do something unique. Normally it’s more than a jingle; it could be a product or service or attitude or whatever, but it is something that sets them apart. It is sort of like that old McDonald’s jingle about the Big Mac:

Steve-Strauss--in-article-Medium.png

Two all beef patties

Special sauce

Lettuce cheese, pickles, onions

On a sesame seed bun

 

Now, we really have no idea what the “special sauce” is made of, though one might guess that it’s ketchup and mayonnaise; that’s actually not the critical point. The critical point is that the Big Mac has a secret sauce.

 

Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss

 

In business terms, secret sauce has become shorthand for that thing you do, have, and/or offer that is special.

 

Do you ever watch the show Shark Tank? If you do, you will notice that one thing that the sharks are always looking for is that distinctive angle - that secret sauce. Often it is the secret sauce that will compel one of them to jump on board, and it is the lack of a secret sauce that scares others away.

 

Andy Bechtolsheim knew that he had just witnessed a super-secret sauce in 1996 after he had been given a demonstration of Google. He wrote out a $100,000 on the spot to “Google, Inc.” Fun side note: Graduate students Sergy Brin and Larry Page were unable to deposit the check for several weeks because they had not yet incorporated and there was no “Google, Inc.”

 

When I share the secret sauce secret with small business people, they are oftentimes intimidated. They worry that they have to be like Google or McDonald’s or something. That is not what I am saying at all. What I am saying is that if you want to get ahead, then it would serve you well to figure out what your secret sauce is and capitalize on it, that’s all.

 

What is it that you do – or could do – that is unique, different, and special?

 

Here in my town, there is no shortage of organic markets. But one of them has a tagline, “The friendliest store in town.” And heck if they aren’t. For us it’s a two-fer: We get great, fresh food there, and they are indeed quite nice about it (they’d better be with those prices!)

 

Given all of the competition in that arena, this market needed a niche. Instead of competing where they may not win (price, selection, or convenience), they changed the equation and compete in an area where they are strongest. Their “friendliness” is their secret sauce.

 

Similarly, there is a dentist here who calls herself, “the sedation dentist.” Of course all dentists now offer sedation dentistry, but for the chickens out there, her tagline denotes a secret sauce that they want.

 

So that is the lesson. Don’t play on someone else’s turf of location or lowest price or whatever. Play the game on your home field. Think about what it is that you do that is distinct and better and brand your business around that.

 

And if that means you need to tell people that you have the greatest hamburger in the world, then all the better.

 

About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2016 Bank of America Corporation

By Heather R. Johnson.GettingPaid_Body.jpg

 

Late payments aren’t just frustrating for a small business, they can seriously disrupt cash flow. To ensure prompt payment, follow these invoicing and collections tips:

 

1. Get it in writing

Having a signed agreement from your client that specifies invoicing terms and pricing will prevent future complications, says Mari Ann Snow, owner of small business consulting firm Sophaya. Determine the client’s billing schedule in advance and find out what information it needs for processing. Will the client need a purchase order or will an invoice number suffice? Does it need to set up your business as an approved vendor?

 

2. Invoice promptly

No matter how packed your to-do list, submit invoices immediately after or as you supply products and services. The sooner you invoice, the sooner you’ll get paid. Before you submit the first invoice to a new client, learn its processing system. If you know that the business only issues payments twice a month, you can be sure to invoice well before those dates.

 

3. Consider early payment discounts

If your business can’t wait 30 days for payment, offer a one- to two-percent early payment discount. Because this option costs you money, only extend the discount when you really need the funds; for example, for a major equipment purchase or during a slow period. Be wary, however, of clients that take the discount and still wait to pay. “If you know the client is reputable and pays on time, a discount may benefit your business,” says Steven Friedman, senior vice

president, business and advisory brokerage, for Reichel Realty & Investments, Inc. in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

 

GettingPaid_PQ.jpg

4. Adopt a late fee policy

Include your late fee policy in client contracts and on invoices. “Clients will understand that they need to pay the invoice on time or they’ll get hit with late fees,” says Friedman. Whether you charge two percent per month or 18 percent annually, enforce the policy consistently. “It’s easier to reverse a late fee than it is to collect fees later on,” Friedman says.

 

5. Accept online payments

In our increasingly paperless, cashless society, more small businesses choose to make and receive payments online. Most banks and some financial software services allow customers to receive Automated Clearing House (ACH) and credit card payments. The online option means faster payment for you and an easy process for the client. Many software solutions also let you send and track invoices, which helps you manage receivables more efficiently.

 

6. Follow up

Friedman tells businesses to check in with clients at least two weeks before an invoice due date. That way, you can correct any problems or resend the invoice if they didn’t receive it. Soon after the due date, follow up with a polite inquiry. “If the client knows you’re going to call, they will put you on the top of the list,” says Friedman.

 

An efficient receivables process is a key component to maintaining positive cash flow. With friendly communication and an organized invoicing policy, you’ll spend less time chasing down the money and more time making it.

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.

 

©2016 Bank of America Corporation

SBSpotlight_DestinationAthlete_Body.jpgIn our latest installment of the Small Business Community’s spotlight feature, we meet Doug Dickison, founder and chairman of Destination Athlete, a company that offers products and services to youth and high school athletes. In a recent interview, Doug speaks about when he came up with the idea for his company, how his former career at Johnson & Johnson (J&J) helped lay the groundwork, and why he feels Destination Athlete is helping to reshape the youth sports market.

 

In 2006, Doug Dickison was living with his wife and family in Hunterdon County, in western New Jersey. He was well established in a 20-year career as a senior executive with Johnson & Johnson, charged with creating a new commercial business platform for the pharmaceutical and consumer products giant.

 

At night, however, he was deeply involved in coaching youth sports in his town. At the time, his son was playing football and his daughter was on her school’s field hockey team. As Dickison went about attending to all the things a coach is responsible for—ordering team uniforms and equipment, working with the players, and managing the logistics of game schedules—he became increasingly frustrated. “I really enjoyed coaching and connecting with the community, but I knew there had to a better way of doing things,” he says.

 

That’s when the idea for Destination Athlete came into focus. From Dickison’s vantage point as a coach there were three major problems with youth sports. For starters, he says the market was huge (more than 60 million boys and girls play sports), but wildly fragmented. “You had to deal with anywhere from three to seven different vendors just to get the uniforms, equipment, and trophies you needed,” he says. “It was tremendously time-consuming.” Customer service was nearly non-existent, and perhaps worst of all in Dickison’s eyes, there was more of a focus on the sport rather than the athlete playing it.

 

As he began to sketch out his ideas for improvement, Dickison realized he had the opportunity to radically change the youth sports market. “It was an industry ripe for disruptive innovation,” he says. He spent the next two years putting together a business plan, researching the various vendors in the space, and looking for models of exemplary customer service (retailer Nordstrom ranked high with him.) Rather than resign completely from J&J, Dickison requested a part-time schedule in 2007 in order to save enough money for the launch. “It was one of those things when you start having a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch,” he says.

 

On July 14, 2008, Destination Athlete began as the one-source solution for the youth sports market. To get the word out, Dickison began visiting with high school athletic directors, commissioners of recreation leagues, and anyone else in Hunterdon County tasked with running a youth sport or high school team. By ordering from Destination Athlete, he told them, they would have access to over 200 vendors of team apparel, uniforms, equipment, and more, from one site. The goods would be shipped directly to the person in charge of the team on time and in the right quantities. “The business went viral very fast,” Dickison says. “We did minimal advertising. It was really word of mouth and doing more business with each customer.”

 

SBSpotlight_DestinationAthlete_PQ.jpg

One of the lessons that Dickson says he took from his time at J&J was how to manage—and plan for—growth. In the case of Destination Athlete, he believed the company could work on a national level, but felt that building an army of sales reps was not the most effective or efficient way to grow. Instead, he chose franchising. “There were a lot of compelling studies that showed that a franchisee is 400% more effective than a company’s best employees for the simple fact that they have skin in the game,” he says. “Plus, I wanted people to be able to share in our success and there’s no better way to do that than to be an owner of something.”

 

Today, the company has 30 franchisees in eight states. Dickison designed the business so that it could be low cost (a Destination Athlete franchise starts at $20,000) and home-based. And like all franchises, it needed to be turnkey, with a robust vendor network, solid training, and responsive franchisee support. “We didn’t even advertise that we offered franchises until last year because we wanted to make sure all our systems were in place and ready to go,” he adds. His patience paid off. In January, Entrepreneur magazine named Destination Athlete to its list of the 500 best franchises under $50,000.

 

Since starting, the company has also added services that help teams with fundraising as well as Complete Athlete 360, a performance platform that focuses on nutrition and conditioning for individual athletes and teams, an area often overlooked in youth sports. With 10 full-time employees, Dickison says the company’s structure can support up to 50 franchises before it needs to hire additional talent.

 

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from Dickison’s experience as a small business owner is his belief in the business. When he launched Destination Athlete, the country was in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. “Plenty of people told me all the reasons why this business wasn’t going to succeed,” he says. He never let the naysayers get to him, and not just because he had a passion for the business. “Passion is good for about the first 90 days,” Dickison says. “After than you have to have a good business plan and a complete understanding of the economics of the market you’re going after. I spent two years planning this business before launching it. I certainly took the time to do my homework.”

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.

 

©2016 Bank of America Corporation

A few years ago, an associate of mine who is a real estate broker got clobbered by the housing crisis. But instead of folding up shop, he decided that if he was going to do fewer deals that they better be bigger deals. So he switched from selling single-family homes to commercial real estate. Not only did he survive, he thrived.

 

“Less work, more money,” is how he put it to me.

 

It’s a strategy any of us who have a small business can employ. The problem with selling to consumers or other small businesses is that they generally have small budgets. By targeting corporations – fishing for bigger fish – you have the chance to make more money because you are dealing with entities that have bigger budgets.

 

Not only, that, but by getting your foot in the door with a big business you can create a revenue stream that comes from co-branding with an impressive corporate partner. This can lead to even more corporate clients.

 

So, how do you catch the big fish? Here are the five steps to take:

 

1. Understand the corporate client: Before you make the decision to devote the time, effort, and money necessary to get a corporate client, you need to understand how big businesses operate.

 

It is key to understand that it is not called a “big business” for nothing. Everything about big businesses is big. Their needs are bigger, they have bigger budgets, more resources, more expertise, more people, more products, more services, more customers, and more vendors.

 

The good news is also the bad news: Because big businesses are big, they move slower. They are bSteve-Strauss--in-article-Medium.pngureaucratic. And perhaps most importantly, finding the right person within the organization who has the need and budget to buy what you sell is not always easy.

 

A solution to this is to think of the company as the smaller units that make it up. Viewing the company as manageable, bite-size divisions (which it is) will make it easier to understand and will allow you to best figure out where to start.

 

Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss

 

2. Choose a business (or businesses) to target: There are a lot of big businesses out there that could use your products or services. How do you know which ones with whom to try and do business? You want two things from your potential big business partner:

 

  • A company that needs what you have to sell
  • A place where you will have a high likelihood of success

 

This is where the Internet and social media come into play. Do your homework.

 

3. Identify the right person: Trying to figure out who to pitch in a big company can be a challenge. Here are three ways to figure that out:

 

The “About Us” pages on corporate websites offer a wealth of information. Start there.

 

Data.com Connect is a directory of decision makers.

 

LinkedIn has a great advanced people search tool that not only analyzes data but lets you know how many connections away you are.

 

4. Get ready to pitch: If you want to sell to corporations, you must be prepared to answer this simple question: How does your business, product, or service help the big business? Note that the question is not, what do you have to sell that a big business will buy? It is a critical distinction.

 

Once you are ready, there are many ways to approach the identified decision maker. You can e-mail him or her. You can cold call. You can leave a clever voicemail. You can use your network to get an introduction. Or you can reach out to them on social media (a surprisingly effective method these days).

 

  1. 5. Pitch away: As you well know, there are some “magic phrases” that business people like and it would behoove you to use some of them:

 

  • Less expensive
  • Quicker, faster, better
  • Higher quality
  • Improved efficiency
  • Increased customer loyalty
  • Increased market share
  • Less risk

 

Final tip: Your pitch needs to focus on helping them solve a problem or meeting an objective they want to achieve. That’s the key.

 

Good luck!

 

About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2016 Bank of America Corporation

Who is Martha Matilda Harper?

 

Unless you are a real devotee of business trivia, you may not know that the International Franchise Association (IFA) named Ms. Harper the first franchisor ever, for her 1891 invention of Harper Method Shops, a hair salon franchise system that, at its peak, numbered more than 500 shops.

 

However, despite the IFA’s designation, the actual first recorded franchisor in U.S. history is none other than Benjamin Franklin. In 1731, Franklin entered into a partnership with Thomas Whitmarsh, so he could carry on Franklin’s printing business in Charlestown, South Carolina. Among other requirements, Whitmarsh was obligated to reprint some of Franklin’s writings, work exclusively for Franklin, and buy all of his printing materials from Franklin as well.

 

What Ms. Harper and Mr. Franklin have in common is that they both knew that the way to grow their business was by teaming up with the right strategic partner.

Steve-Strauss--in-article-Medium.png

So what exactly is a strategic partnership?

 

A strategic partnership is an agreement between two companies where both businesses team up to share resources, information, finances, and so forth for mutual benefit. Typically, one partner provides expertise, customers, services, or products needed by the other partner and the other offers something synergistic in return.

 

Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss

 

The result is that the two businesses can do more together than they ever could alone. Martha Matilda Harper could have never opened a chain of 500 beauty salons without teaming up with those early franchisees. Franklin was able to expand his reach by having a partner in what was then far off South Carolina.

 

With a strategic partnership, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

 

The value of a strategic partnership will vary for each company and the benefits one business gets from the other will likely differ. In the franchisor-franchisee example for instance, the franchisor provides the franchisee with a proven success system while the franchisee gives the franchisor exposure and income. Each brings something different to the table, but each is also better off by virtue of the partnership.

 

Strategic partnerships have additional benefits as well:

 

A shared customer base: Small businesses are always looking for ways to find new customers and a strategic partnership is a great way to do that.

 

Increased viability: The fact that your partner is willing to co-brand with you creates instant credibility in the mind of their customers. Not only will you gain immediate exposure, but that exposure will be via the always-great word of mouth.

 

Better data: It’s no secret that we’re in an era of big data. Another benefit of a strategic partnership is that it offers both companies the opportunity to construct a much more comprehensive customer profile.

 

Potential expansion: Another great part about strategic partnerships is that they give both businesses an increased opportunity to expand into previously unreachable areas. By utilizing the resources of their partner, each company is able to harness the power of two sets of established customer bases while also reaching an entirely new set of customers.

 

Shoring up weaknesses: Every business has its strengths and weaknesses. The solution to weaknesses are strategic partnerships. By identifying your weaknesses and finding strategic partners to complement them, you can fill your gaps.

 

So yes, finding the right strategic partner would be a good investment of your time or as the wise old Ben Franklin might put it,

 

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

 

About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2016 Bank of America Corporation

 

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One thing that is true in business is that nothing ever stays the same. People’s taste’s change, habits change, customers come and go, the economy gets worse or better, employees leave, new technologies emerge, and more. It’s not a matter of if things will change, it’s a matter of when will things change.

 

This begs the question, “how will you manage that change?”

 

For example, it’s especially important during this time of year to make sure you continue to market your business in new ways, because 1) people are certainly not getting their information they way they used to, and 2) folks are busy outside and on the road doing other things. That tired old marketing campaign that you have used forever might need some freshening up.

 

Indeed, relying on old habits when new and better tools have emerged is only one mistake small business owners can make. There are plenty more, that’s for sure, especially this time of year.

 

Here then are the top traps you need to avoid this summer:

 

Discounting too much: For many businesses, it is easy to get so caught up in the slowness of the season that they are tempted to have, say, a “sidewalk blowout sale!” as a way to grab attention or gain more business.

Steve-Strauss--in-article-Medium.png

Don’t fall for that trap.

 

Customers shop with you for many reasons, and only one is the price. Of course you need to be sensitive to price, but remember that there are other facets that go into the buying equation that are equally, if not more, important. Unless you are the low price leader, your customers are your customers for a lot more important reasons than your low prices.

 

And this leads directly to a similar mistake:

 

Not competing on your turf: We all love big box retailers for a few reasons, generally speaking they offer:

 

  • Great selection
  • Competitive prices
  • Professionalism
  • Reliability

 

That said, we cannot and should not play on their turf, especially in the summer when they may be advertising more to get noticed, and gain more traffic. It is far smarter to make them compete on your playing field. Your friendliness, convenience, and personal touch can’t be beat. That’s your secret sauce.

 

Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss

 

Not giving or taking time off: If this is your busy time of year, it is understandable that you and your staff will be working hard. Just keep in mind that all work and no play not only makes your employees dull, but also makes them unhappy. If this is not your busy time of year, then it’s important to be sensitive to the fact that employees expect extra free time right about now.

 

Be sure that your team (including you!) get some time off to partake in the great weather.

 

Relying too little on social media: With a little extra time on your hands, a social media marketing campaign just may be that new idea that you need to try this summer.

 

Not being mobile ready: Even if your business does not engage in e-commerce, people will still find you, or be able to look for you, via their phone. This is especially true when customers are out and about more in the good weather. The thing to remember is that right now, at this very moment, people are searching and shopping via their mobile device.

 

Combined, this means you must have a strong Web presence, and your site must be search engine optimized, full of key words and phrases and content, and has to be mobile optimized. Being listed in Google My Business, and Bing Places is similarly vital.

 

Similar to golf, summer is a lot more fun when you don’t hit the traps.

 

About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2016 Bank of America Corporation

Women small business owners are feeling more optimistic about annual revenue and growth expectations than their male counterparts, according to the inaugural Bank of America Women Business Owner Spotlight, a study based on a survey of 1,000 small business owners across the country, focusing on the aspirations and pain points of women business owners.

 

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Click here to download a PDF version of this infographic.

 

 

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Small Business Checking

One summer, I was interning at a law firm in San Francisco hoping to impress the partners enough that they would offer me a job after I graduated the next year. This was back in the day, when law firms really wined-and-dined their potential associates.

 

Man, I loved that summer.Steve-Strauss--in-article-Medium.png

 

They took us river rafting, we had drinks at partners’ homes overlooking the bay, we were invited out to fancy dinners, and we even went hot-air ballooning one day. Oh yeah, we did a little work too. Needless to say, I really wanted to work for these folks. “They really know how to treat their employees well!” I thought.

 

  1. Ha.

 

I thought wrong. What they knew was how to recruit well. It actually turned out to be a terrible place to work, and in that sense is was a lesson in reverse. What employees want and what makes for a happy workplace and great culture is treating employees right – not only right from the start, but all along the way.

 

The savvy business owner knows this. Indeed, one of the smartest things you can do, especially this time of year, is to take advantage of the natural rhythms of the season and treat employees to some summer fun.

 

Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss

 

Here are a few effective ideas:

 

1. Flexible work hours: I saw a survey not long ago stating that 45% of entrepreneurs surveyed said that they reward their staff with flexible hours and/or they let them work from home. While this used to be a far-fetched idea, it is now easy and commonplace today. Between the cloud, smart phones, apps, and laptops, anyone can work anywhere, anytime.

 

So let them.

 

Especially during the summer, it makes sense to give employees some extra flexibility, some time to enjoy the nice weather and get work done at a time that’s maybe more convenient. They will appreciate it and reward you with their loyalty and hard work.

 

2. Amenities like free lunch, massages, etc. When you see a television segment about successful Internet companies like Google or Facebook, one thing that is very noticeable is the amount of free (or subsidized) things available, like food, massages, foosball and so on.

 

For the small business, you might consider installing a basketball hoop in the parking lot or offering free, healthy snacks like fruit and water. Affordable, and appreciated.

 

3. Team building events: Especially in the summertime, when everyone is thinking about a lot more than just work, a fun event together, away from the office, is often just what the doctor ordered. Whether it’s going to dinner, a game or concert together, a team-building event, well, builds the team.

 

4. Encourage break time outside: One easy, affordable way to recharge the troops is to encourage them to take breaks outdoors with coworkers. Encouraging health and well-being is always appreciated by employees, especially in the summer.

 

5. Mix up the routine: Changing up daily routines reduces stress, boosts morale, and keeps people engaged. Try having a ‘bike to work’ day.

 

6. Unexpected freebies: Have a spontaneous contest and give the winner a pair of seats to a sporting event. Buy gift cards and hand them out. Give everyone an unannounced afternoon off.

 

This is the time of year when people like to take advantage of the outdoors. Let them. You will all win.

 

About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2016 Bank of America Corporation

 

 

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GreatLogo_Body.jpgBy Cathie Ericson.

 

McDonald’s golden arches. Coca-Cola’s script. Nike’s swoosh. Each of these logos is synonymous with its company name, no other identifier needed. Says Laura Wallis, an online marketing consultant at Webnavigatorgal.com: “A logo is an extension of your branding, and as the key image of your business, it sets the tone for who you are as a company.” Here are five key elements a small business owners should consider when developing a logo:

 

1. Appropriate for your audience

You want your logo to speak to your target market, to let them know your company is for them, says Jessica Lyon, senior designer at Pivot Group, a full-service marketing and advertising agency in Portland, Ore. One exercise she recommends is attributing descriptive adjectives to your key audience and comparing them to the qualities of your logo. For example, a retailer primarily serving tween girls might say its target market is youthful, trendsetting, playful, creative and feminine. “If you compare those qualities to their logo, it would be fair to say they match up well,” says Lyon.

 

2. Thoughtful color choice

Limit the logo to three or fewer colors for design simplicity, Lyon suggests. Also, consider the associations behind color choices. “There are basic attributes we ascribe to most colors, and we’ve learned to make assumptions based on them,” says Lyon. For example, red is associated with passion and power, and blue with peace and loyalty. “It can be helpful to use those complex psychological associations to your advantage when choosing colors for your brand and logo,” she says. If your logo uses more than one hue, make sure they work well together.

 

GreatLogo_PQ.jpg3. Reproducible/functional

The logo should work well in color versions as well as black-and-white, and should be usable in any format and size. “With the advent of mobile, it's very important to test how a logo will look online in thumbnail size,” Wallis says, noting that logos are now consistently viewed at a much smaller size than when they were primarily used in print advertising or on signs.

 

4. Fresh

“Even well-designed logos can look out-of-date eventually,” Lyon says.  So although you may have a design you love, consider updating it occasionally to keep up with visual trends, without being so trendy that it quickly becomes obsolete. A great example of a recent logo refresh is Google, which updated its typeface and other elements.

 

5. Professionally designed

Feeling overwhelmed by the elements described above? Most small business owners quickly discover that professional design assistance can make all the difference. “We often work with clients who have tried to develop a logo too quickly and have moved forward with design work without fully considering their ideal audience and how they can differentiate their company in the marketplace,” Wallis says. “I see so many logos that have been designed by the brother of someone in the accounting department, and it usually doesn’t go well,” adds Lyon. “A professional can apply overall design principals and make sure the result is both functional and aesthetically pleasing,” she says.

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.

 

©2016 Bank of America Corporation

Steve Strauss

The B Word

Posted by Steve Strauss Aug 5, 2016

I have a question for you: Would you ever get in your car, put a blindfold on, and drive away?

 

Well, of course not.

 

With a blindfold on, you would never know if you were headed in the right direction. You would be unable to see if a red warning light popped up on the dash. You wouldn’t even know if you had enough gas to get where you are headed; you would be completely lostSteve-Strauss--in-article-Medium.png.

 

The reason I bring this up is because this is exactly what happens to small business owners who run their businesses without a budget. Doing so is akin to driving with blinders on. Are you headed in the right direction? Who knows? Do you have enough cash flow to get you there? Maybe. Is there a warning sign of which you should be aware? Hope not. If you don’t have a budget, you just won’t really know – until you crash.

 

Oh, I get it. You don’t want to create a budget. Join the club. People start their own business for all sorts of reasons – epiphanies, freedom, passion, boredom, bosses – you name it. But I think it’s fairly safe to say that one reason is not because they love budgeting (unless of course you are an accountant).

 

Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss

 

The fact is, there are two parts to any small business: what you love to do (the designer is great at web design, the jeweler makes stunning jewelry) and then everything else (the legalities, budgeting, marketing, and so on.)

 

Unfortunately, the “everything else” is crucial. The jeweler cannot just make rings. Those other parts must be mastered because they are what allow him to do that thing that he loves to do. Without marketing, he won’t have any customers. Without incorporating, he opens himself up to personal liability. And without budgeting, he can run out of money.

 

For many small business owners, the financial part of the business is not their strong suit, yet it’s almost more important than the more glamorous parts of running a business. Getting a loan, forecasting cash flow, having enough money set aside for quarterly taxes are the mundane tasks that are critical to the success of a small business.

 

This begs the question, is there some way to make these less glamorous parts of running a business easier? You bet.

 

Part of the problem is nomenclature; for many people, the word “budget” has negative connotations. A budget is a strict set of restrictive rules and guidelines that dictate certain actions and forbid others. It is a constricting, unforgiving formula.

 

No wonder people don’t like budgets.

 

And that is why I would like to suggest that instead of the word “budget,” you try using the word “plan” instead, because really, that is all that a budget is. It is your plan for how you can best use your money. Instead of thinking of a budget as a restrictive covenant, the better choice is to think of it as a permissive plan.

 

Would you like to spend more money on pay-per-click ads this year? Great, then do so. Look at your plan, decide how much you want to spend on pay-per-click, and then decide how to pay for it. If that means less for independent contractors this year, then so be it. You decide what your priorities are.

 

So go ahead, take the blindfold off. It’s OK. It is your plan after all.

 

About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2016 Bank of America Corporation

 

 

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MultipleLocations_Body.jpgBy Erin O'Donnell.

 

When your small business expands beyond its original location, consistency and communication are key to continued success. We spoke with Los Angeles-based management consultant Ray McKenzie, founder of Red Beach Advisors, about the best practices for managing a small business with multiple locations.

 

Duplicate success

McKenzie says the first thing a business needs to do before it expands is to determine what already works, and make that the template. In addition, small business owners must be clear on their company culture so that they can duplicate it easily. "They need to make sure that whatever location they branch out to or build, it needs to be exactly like the one they've been successful with so far," McKenzie says. "Use the formula that works. Have a concrete mission, values, and culture."

 

Use consistent systems and processes

And, make sure those processes work for the remote locations. If you have a cabinet full of physical customer files, how will your satellite managers access them? If your business is not already using a digital system for filing, orders, invoices, and the like, it's time to adopt new technology. Then, train all employees to use them the same way. McKenzie says to make sure all managers are reporting on the same metrics at the same intervals. That way, you as the owner or founder can get an overview of the company quickly and make intelligent comparisons about performance.

 

MultipleLocations_PQ.jpgBe present

High touch is critical in the beginning. When your new locations launch, McKenzie says it's important for owners or founders to spend at least three days in person with the new manager and staff. While getting everyone up to speed on your systems and processes, you are also infusing them with your energy and culture, he adds. Going forward, small business owners must be prepared to spend more time with satellite locations than at headquarters. If that gives you pause, it could be a red flag. "You don't ever want to expand if you don't have the home office running smoothly," McKenzie says.

 

Standardize reporting

Plan a weekly one-on-one meeting with each location manager, McKenzie recommends, to assess performance. Then have a meeting or call with all site managers at least once a week. This will give you a chance to give each location individual attention and allow them to discuss common concerns as a group. Be sure to give them clear guidelines on the types of information you want to know: sales reports, client growth or loss, progress on goals and projections, staff issues, customer feedback, and so on. And make sure all managers follow the same standards for their reports. Cloud CRM services such as Salesforce or Domo, or even QuickBooks, can help streamline this, McKenzie suggests.

 

Remain accessible and supportive

Hire managers you can trust with the day-to-day details and resist any urge to micromanage. But make sure they have direct access to you as the business owner whenever they need it, and communicate this clearly. "You can pass along energy from headquarters to the satellite offices," McKenzie says. "They're on remote islands, and you want to close that gap as much as possible." In addition, be clear with your home office staff that the new locations need their full support, and encourage your new staff to ask for help when they need it. "Everyone needs to understand that, for us all to be successful, we have to do whatever we can to help the satellite grow as much as possible."

 

With consistent practices, clear expectations, and robust communication, your new locations will be well prepared to carry on your brand and grow your business.

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2016 Bank of America Corporation

 

 

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A very nasty computer virus that can destroy all of your files called “Cryptolocker” has been in the news a lot recently:

 

“Cryptolocker partially shuts down Pinal County, Ariz. government network” (SC Magazine)

 

and

 

“Internet ransom a booming business for hackers.” (Toronto Sun)

 

and if that’s not enough, this one should really get your attention –

 

“Major Sites Including New York Times and BBC Hit by Cryptolocker” (The Coin Telegraph)

 

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Cryptolocker is a form of ransomware that does exactly as advertised by its very name: It encrypts, locks, and then holds your computer hostage until you pay a ransom.

 

The specific way this happens is unfortunately quite easy (but also quite easily prevented, see below):

 

Usually the bad guys send out what seems to be a legitimate and innocuous email and hope you open the infected attachment. Alternately , they may send you a link to an infected website and hope you click on it.

 

Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss

 

Either way, once the malware gets into your system, you are in trouble. The virus will go through your entire hard drive and begin to infect various file extensions, like .doc (Word documents) and. xlxs (Excel files), among many others. A popup will then inform you that you have 72 hours to pay a ransom (usually between $300 - $500) or all of your files will be deleted.

 

Many businesses decide that they would rather pay the ransom than deal with the problem. Obviously, a far better step would be to prevent getting infected in the first place.

 

Here are my top 5 ways to prevent a “Cryptolocker” attack:

 

1. Invest in a security software suite: You need to find a cloud-based comprehensive security solution that includes a firewall and anti-spam filter. The software needs to cover all of your computers, tablets, as well as mobile devices.

 

2. Update your software regularly: The bad guys are always trying to figure out new ways to get ransomware on your computer. If you use a cloud-based security solution as suggested, your software will always be up-to-date. You need to also keep your operating system and o

ther vital software current as well.

3.  Create security policies: You need to become educated as to how cybercriminals operate. Then you need to create standards, protocols, and policies for your business with regard to emails, attachments, suspicious sources, software updates, and the like.

 

4. Teach your employees well: Once you have a process and proper policies in place, you need to teach your employees what is and isn’t acceptable. Educate them on how to spot cyber-threats. Let them know what safe computing looks like for your business.

 

5. Back up, back up, back up: It is imperative that you back up all of your data in the cloud on a regular (i.e. at least daily) basis. This will give you a clean backup should you ever unfortunately need one.

 

The reason I suggest you do all of this is that ransomware attacks on business are on the rise, small business owners get this (according to the most recent Small Business Owner Report, almost one in five respondents cited cybercrime as a major issue), and finally, you don’t want to be like the business in this final headline:

 

“Ransomware takes files at attorney's office hostage.” (KPHO Broadcasting).

 

About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2016 Bank of America Corporation

 

 

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A few months ago, a colleague wrote to me asking if I knew of anyone who could edit a book she was writing. Immediately, I thought of my middle daughter, Sydney, who was getting ready to graduate from college at the time. As an English major, Syd didn’t really know what was next for her. What she did know is that she loved to write (and does it very well, says the proud papa) and was planning to go to Europe this July with her boyfriend.

 

So I asked her whether I should recommend her for the gig. She was nervous:

 

“I’ve never really edited a full book before, Dad.”

“Well, do you think you could do it?”

“Yes, I think so.”

“I think so too.”

She said, “OK, I’m willing to try, especially if I could do it part-time.”

 

Long story short, she got the gig, just finished editing the book, and with some money in the bank she is now getting ready to head off to London.

 

Sydney had unknowingly stumbled upon exactly what employers are looking for these days in prospective employees: people who can work part-time and who have skills. According to the most recent Bank of America Small Business Owner Report (SBOR), these are two things small business owners want when looking to make a new hire these days.

 

A detailed look at the survey can actually be seen as a roadmap on how recent graduates can get hired in this tight and competitive jobSteve-Strauss--in-article-Medium.png market. Here is what I mean:

 

For starters, according to the Small Business Owner Report, here is the breakdown of the type of worker entrepreneurs are hiring:

 

  • Part-time: 54%
  • Full-time: 51%
  • Freelance: 26%

 

As you can see, part-time is at the top.

 

Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss

 

In addition, the general preference amongst small business owners is to hire Gen X employees (47%), more than a quarter of the small business owners surveyed (26%) said that they prefer to hire Millennials. Additionally, it also turns out that, despite conventional wisdom, you don’t need to be a STEM major to get a job (science, technology, engineering, and math). You know the drumbeat of course – STEM majors are supposedly the most sought-after grads out there.

 

Except when they aren’t.

 

According to the SBOR, a knowledge of STEM was the least important hiring criteria (10th of 10 categories.) Only 3% considered education level to be the most important factor when evaluating job applicants. What is far more important actually are these three things:

 

  • Skill level (49% said it was most important)
  • Fitness with company culture (24%)
  • Experience (24%)

 

Sydney is a perfect example of this. While she had little experience editing an entire book by herself, she did have the skills to do it. Being young and inexperienced actually worked in her favor; the author was able to get her for much less than it would have to hire a more experienced editor.

 

And that is what small business owners are looking for upon careful consideration of the SBOR. What they want are hard-working, trustworthy people whom they can afford, who can adapt and fit in, and who are coachable.

 

If recent grads have the right attitude and are flexible, that elusive post-graduation job can be theirs.

 

And with that I say, congratulations on graduating, good luck, and happy job-hunting!

 

About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2016 Bank of America Corporation

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