How to Survive Accelerate Business Growth

How to Survive Accelerate Business Growth

  • Building a network of like-minded professionals helps with startup navigation.
  • Establishing strategic recruitment practices ensures high-quality hires.
  • Actively engaging your customer base safeguards service quality.
  • Hiring for values protects your company culture and mission.

When you run a small business, every decision you make has its consequences. Even the most benign decision can impact your reputation for years to come, so it only stands to reason that many small business owners feel a lot of pressure when hiring their very first employee, then their second, their third, and so on.

I can certainly attest to the pressure of hiring each new employee for Luxury Presence. In the beginning of my business, it was just me, my partner and a freelance developer. After six months, we brought on our first part-time salesperson. That pretty much set the pace for our internal growth for the next two years, as we racked up a total of nine employees. Then, the business took off, and we grew to 37 team members over the course of 12 months.

Growing the right way

That’s a lot of growth and a lot of decisions. It’s also a lot of room to make mistakes. Not that I wasn’t happy with the expansion, but growing at an accelerated rate exhausts your resources, placing even greater importance on your hiring practices. Every new hire has the potential of upsetting the applecart.

Recently, I had to figure out how to scale a sales team. We were shifting focus from product to sales, so I explored commission structures and staffing. With that came the need to hire a VP of sales, something we didn’t have. I taught myself how to build a sales team to be successful.

In the past, I’d be more on the defensive, reacting to whatever the marketplace threw

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Smart Ways Female Entrepreneurs Can Protect Their SMB

Smart Ways Female Entrepreneurs Can Protect Their SMB

October is National Women’s Small Business Month, a celebration of the more than 11 million woman-owned businesses in the United States and their fearless leaders. According to research conducted by SCORE in a recent infographic, 1,071 woman-owned firms are started every day. Since 2007, women have started businesses five times faster than the national average.

As more women pursue entrepreneurship, it’s important that they conduct their due diligence. They must understand which legal steps to take so they can protect their small businesses and intellectual property. There are several items all entrepreneurs must be able to cross off their legal to-do list, including covering these key areas:

  • Incorporate or form a limited liability company (LLC) to protect the business.
  • Register for trademarks to ensure exclusive rights to the marks.
  • File for necessary business licenses.
  • Obtain an employer identification number (EIN) to hire employees.
  • Determine who will act as your registered agent.
  • Keep up with annual maintenance to stay in compliance with the state.

You’ve drafted a business plan, reviewed the viability of your business idea and accessed how much capital you’ll need to start your business. Now, it’s time to protect your startup.

1. Incorporate the business.

This is one of the basic, first steps many entrepreneurs take to protect their small businesses. An unincorporated business struggles to establish credibility, and it does not receive liability protection like an incorporated formation. An incorporated business receives liability protection. This allows personal and professional assets to remain separate from each other. It also ensures that personal assets, like houses and cars, are protected in the event of an unforeseen circumstance that may negatively impact the company.

Entrepreneurs may choose to incorporate as one of several different types of business structures. Here’s a look at some of the most common, and popular, options

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Tips on Creating and Maintaining a Business Plan

Tips on Creating and Maintaining a Business Plan

One of the most important tasks any new entrepreneur has on their plates is drafting a business plan. This essential document lays out all the basics of a company, including financial projections, short- and long-term goals, and more.

And while writing a business plan can seem like a daunting task, there are plenty of tech tools, templates and approaches available that can help you streamline the process. To learn more, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) about their favorite ways to easily build or maintain a business plan. Here is what they said.

1. Evernote

“I really like the flexibility that Evernote offers when it comes to jotting down ideas and just plain old throwing paint up on the wall. You can quickly compile assets like spreadsheets, images and even video to help make your plan incredibly detailed.” – Nick PonteOffline Sharks

2. Business Model Canvas

“The Business Model Canvas is a straightforward and visual way of mapping out a business plan, without the need to write long paragraphs in a long-form traditional word document. It ensures you think of the core limitations, customers and value propositions of what you’re looking to accomplish, which is the core benefit of business planning.” – Keith ShieldsDesignli

3. An online business plan template

“Instead of starting from scratch, I prefer using a business plan template. Using a template helps you ensure your business plan has everything it needs, and it helps speed up the business plan creation process. You can find a ton of quality business plan templates online. Or, if you’ve created a business plan before, turn it into a template to save time.” – Stephanie WellsFormidable Forms

4. SCORE

“The website SCORE has a plethora of business plan templates you can take advantage

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How to Keep Your Job and Your Side Business

How to Keep Your Job and Your Side Business

Millions of employees work hard for the companies that hired them but hope to launch their own side businesses one day. Even though they may dream of nursing their side businesses into full-fledged commercial operations, for now they need to keep their day jobs.

Before launching a side business, it’s important to remember that many employees who begin small projects end up getting fired thanks to their inability to attend to their primary responsibilities.

How do you start a side business without losing your primary employment? Here are some tips that can help you stop your side business from getting you fired.

Have you signed an employment contract?

The first and most important consideration when checking if you can establish your own side business without getting fired is to determine if you signed an employment contract when you were hired. If you did, you’ll want to read through it in its entirety to understand what limitations may have been placed on you by your current employer. Many companies prohibit their workers from launching side businesses as they don’t want your attention and creative energy to be used elsewhere, so failing to check your contract could end up costing you big time.

It’s important to understand how important these contracts can be. If you have indeed signed a contract guaranteeing that you won’t start a side hustle or pledging not to compete in the same industry if you suddenly resign, you’ll find it incredibly difficult to achieve your ambitions. Employees who have been boxed into a corner like this are encouraged to seek out legal expertise, as only a clever lawyer can help you after you’ve signed a contract which narrows your future opportunities and mitigates your ability to pursue them.

While you may not be explicitly banned from launching your

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How to Accept Credit Card Payments

How to Accept Credit Card Payments

Credit and debit cards are a common payment method favored by many customers. It has become an expectation that your business will accept cards, a standard you are all too familiar with if you must repeatedly explain to customers that your business accepts cash only. Luckily, accepting credit and debit cards is as easy as partnering with a credit card processing company.

This guide will walk you through the ins and outs of the credit card processing industry, and highlight the important factors you need to look for when choosing a card processor. It will also cover the different credit card processing platforms, from point-of-sale systems to mobile devices.

How do you accept credit card payments for your small business?

Accepting credit and debit cards begins with selecting a processor. To choose the one that is best for your business, it’s important to understand the different types of companies that are out there. In addition, you should always look for a credit card processor that offers low rates, few or no fees and month-to-month contracts.

Unfortunately, the credit card processing industry is a crowded field that can often be confusing to navigate. With varying pricing models, complicated fee structures and different types of processors for different platforms, it can be a gargantuan task to find the right partner for your business. Breaking the process down into several steps can help simplify your decision-making:

  1. Determine the type of processor you need. Choosing the type of credit card processor you want to work with is based on two main factors: whether you want to partner with a service for individuals or businesses, and your average monthly volume of credit and debit card payments.
  • If you’re an individual accepting payment from a handful of trusted sources, using a peer-to-peer application like Venmo is
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