Battling the Big Boxes ... and Winning! Part 2 of 2

Nothing -- and I mean nothing -- frightens small-business owners more than hearing that one of the big-box retail chains -- WalMart, Costco, Lowe's, Home Depot and the like -- is moving into town (well, maybe that Amazon is moving into their business ...).

In last week's column, I gave you an overview of what you have to do to beat Goliath. ...Read more

Battling the Big Boxes ... and Winning: Part 1 of 2

Nothing -- and I mean nothing -- frightens a small-business owner more than hearing that one of the big-box retail chains -- Walmart, Costco, Lowe's, Home Depot and the like -- is moving into town (well, maybe that Amazon is moving into its line of business).

It has never been easy for a small retailer to compete with the big chains for two ...Read more

Dealing With Commissions in Consulting Contracts

"After being laid off from a company last year, I've started my own consulting business.

"Things have been going pretty smoothly, at least until now.

"I struck an agreement with a local company to perform services for its clients. They are willing to pay me by the hour, plus a commission. When I received their consulting agreement, however, ...Read more

A Basic Business Lesson

"I have been a hair stylist for over 20 years.

"Last year my salon shut down and I decided to start my own salon since I had over 100 customers. I rented some space in town at a very affordable price, and the good news is that almost all of my customers stayed with me.

"The bad news is that I know nothing about running a business.

"I hired ...Read more

12 New Year's Resolutions for 2019: Part 2 of 2

Here are seven more New Year's resolutions for business owners.

Find Three New Sources of Salable Product. If your business is selling stuff online, one of your biggest challenges is finding high-quality stuff to sell at a profit. If you're not currently taking consignments, you're out of your mind. Take out an ad in your local newspaper that...Read more

12 New Year's Resolutions for 2019: Part 1 of 2

When you stop to think about it, New Year's resolutions are all about habits, breaking some bad ones (smoking, drinking excessively, binging on fast food when you've had a bad day) and starting new ones (working out, eating more Brussels sprouts).

Businesses, like individuals, develop bad habits over time that need correction, while success ...Read more

When You've Bought a Franchise but the Numbers Don't Add up

"A partner and I invested in a franchise last year. The franchise offers a variety of healthy foods, but focuses primarily on soups and salads.

"We were offered a number of territories, but chose a large downtown area in an upscale Midwestern city.

"The problem has been finding the right location for the first restaurant. We have found a ...Read more

Fame Is Fleeting, So Write a Christmas Song

My recent column "Christmas Music and the Socialist Agenda" got lots of feedback, most of it positive, some from folks trying to sell me holiday-themed videos. So it should come as no surprise to my readers that I have a little more to say about Christmas music and what it says about our times.

I try to avoid writing seasonal or holiday-...Read more

When the Telephone Stops Ringing

"I run a small service business. The past several months I've been busy enough, but I'm getting a lot fewer jobs than I did this time last year when my phone was ringing off the hook. I know the economy's tough, and people just don't have the money they used to, but I'm worried that this is not just a short-term situation but a more permanent ...Read more

Christmas Music and the Socialist Agenda

It was with some dismay (but not surprise) that I read recently about a Cleveland radio station's decision to ban the song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" from its holiday playlist. You knew this was coming, right?

OK, I admit I always found the song a little creepy. When you get right down to it, it's about a guy trying to persuade his date to -- ...Read more

Building a Successful Authorized Rep Program

"My wife and I have started a line of all-natural cosmetics. We launched our website a while back, and have received several inquiries from customers who love our products so much they want to become sales representatives for us.

"Both of our mothers were 'Avon ladies' when we were children so we know a little bit about how this works. What ...Read more

Dealing With a Nonsolicitation Agreement

"I was laid off from a corporate job after 10 years as a sales and marketing executive, and am thinking of striking out on my own as a marketing consultant for large corporations. There's just one problem (well, maybe two).

"The good news is that my employment agreement with my former employer does not contain any sort of 'noncompete' clause ...Read more


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