Category Archives: Business Planning

Saying “I Do” to a franchise.

Like marriage, buying a franchise is a long-term commitment.

Before you say yes, make sure you understand to the in’s and out’s of franchising what it takes to be successful.

The Commitment

franchise opportunity

Be Your Own Boss. The phrase is repeated often in franchise circles, and it can be intoxicating to those considering franchise ownership. It means freedom from the typical 9 to 5. It means control. It means you call the shots. All of this is true, but being your own boss also means that you have responsibilities.

You are responsible for your employees, your customers, and your business. Their well-being is in your hands. That is why it is essential for anyone considering franchise ownership to weigh all the factors that go into being the boss and understand what it takes to be successful. Franchise ownership is a long-term commitment much like a marriage. It’s good to treat it that way, from courtship – researching franchises – to “I Do” – signing the Franchise Agreement. Remember the goal is happiness and financial independence.  Continue reading

What is the SCORE Business Learning Center?

The SCORE Business Learning Center (SBLC) provides aspiring and existing small business owners the business strategies and tactics needed to make sound decisions and achieve greater levels of success.

The SBLC supplements the business resources available on score.org. It fills the gap between the high-level content on our website and the personalized expertise obtained from a mentor.

At the end of a course, users will feel they have a better understanding of their chosen topic and the resources available for continuous learning. They will also have a mentor they can work with to apply the learning to their business.

You will find it here… https://www.score.org/biz-learning-center

Ready to start an online store?

With all the news about people making a ton of money online, many aspiring entrepreneurs are excited at the prospect of starting an ecommerce store. However, many people don’t think through all the things that they need to consider before they even start the process of building an ecommerce site.

Here are eight things to consider before starting an online store.

1. What Products Are You Going to Sell?

One of the most important decisions is determining which products you will sell on your online store. Your best bet is to start small – with a few select products that are based around a specific niche, i.e. breastfeeding products, scuba diving gear, hiking products, travel gadgets, hemp products, etc. Start with a handful of products in that niche – you can always add more products to your store as you grow. Check out your competition and see who you’re up against.

Be sure to pick a niche that you’re personally interested in. If you’re not interested in what you’re selling, you will quickly lose your passion.

Also, look for unique products that can’t be bought at Target, Walmart or other big brand stores — you will never be able to compete with them on price or promotion.

For instance, when I had an ecommerce site, I searched for mom- or parent-invented products that weren’t available through mass market stores. Plus, these types of product manufacturers are typically more willing to work with you on terms and drop shipping (which we will talk about in a little bit.) You can also look for innovative products to sell on crowdfunding sources like Indiegogo or Kickstarter.

When you determine which niche products you’re going to sell, see if there are industry associations, trade websites or magazines. If so, join, follow and subscribe. Also, if there are product tradeshows around your product niche, attend these trade shows to discover new products, speak with the manufacturer reps directly and learn more about the industry in general. Often at the tradeshows you will be able to negotiate better pricing or drop shipping arrangements – especially if the manufacturer is launching a new product and they’re looking for new distributors.  Continue reading

Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Program.

PFML_Employer_OverviewWashington is soon to be the fifth state to offer paid family and medical leave benefits. All workers will no longer have to choose between caring for their loved ones and making ends meet. They can dedicate their time away from work to be the best caretaker they can be. In return employers have access to an inexpensive benefit, save on payroll costs while the worker is on leave, and reduced employee turnover costs.

Workers can begin taking leave in 2020, but next year employers will have some actions to take.

First, employers need to withhold premiums from paychecks starting with the first check in 2019. These premiums are split between employers and workers. Workers foot most of the bill, but employers with 50 or more employees have a portion to pay also. (Employers with fewer than 50 employees don’t have to pay premiums but are still responsible for collecting and remitting the workers share.) Premiums are paid to the Employment Security Department by employers quarterly, starting in 2019. Learn more about premiums on the Premiums page.  Continue reading

Secrets to Managing a Store Successfully: Part I

male store owner

Retail is a complex and challenging business, posing problems ranging from inventory management to theft prevention. When coupled with falling prices inspired by major retailers, like Amazon, and the rising costs of labor, there are a variety of pitfalls facing modern retail businesses.

With so many ins and outs to consider, now more than ever, effective management plays a critical role in retail success.

In this two-part blog series, we reveal the core principles and techniques you should apply to manage a store successfully.

Streamline In-Store Operations

Whether you know it or not, many of the day-to-day tasks that dominate small retail operations are based on old-school styles and strategies, like counting inventory by hand, creating manual schedules, and entering sales transactions one by one into bookkeeping software. While these methods can be useful, they cost you time that could be invested elsewhere.  Continue reading

10 Best Podcasts for Solopreneurs

podcast on mobile phoneOne of the most challenging and rewarding parts of being a solopreneur is the need to be constantly learning. Of course, every day has its own lessons to teach—trial and error is the heartbeat of solopreneurship, after all. Sometimes, though, we need to turn to proven mentors and leaders who can offer wisdom from experiences that reach beyond our own.

When we run into these situations, books seem like the obvious first choice. Indeed, there’s a book out there for any problem you may encounter, whether procrastination, apathy, branding, or crippling self-doubt. Besides, shouldn’t we be reading like fiends anyway? It’s common knowledge that the most successful business leaders all share a ravenous appetite for good books.

But what solopreneur has time to read a book every week? Between brainstorming and producing and networking and marketing, it can be hard enough to make time to eat breakfast. Granted, reading is still a great habit to develop, but it may not be your primary mode of on-the-go education.

Thankfully, the world invented podcasts.  Continue reading

Should your startup business get a loan?

approved small business loan applicationMany startup small business owners take pride in pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and not using financing to get their companies off the ground. But that approach can backfire, a new study in the Journal of Corporate Finance suggests.

The study, conducted by Florida Atlantic University faculty, assessed what happened to companies that took on debt during their first year of operation.

The authors discovered businesses that took on debt are more likely to succeed (as long as they use business debt as opposed to taking on personal debt).

What’s more, they’re also more likely to achieve higher revenues.  Continue reading