Columnist Spotlight Archives

Small Business Leadership Academy: The Harvard Negotiation Project

Small Business Leadership Academy

The Harvard Negotiation Project has developed an effective and widely-used negotiating method that changes the game and often yields better results than old-style hard ball. Instead of focusing on winning the day for your position, the Harvard method enables you to operate on a deeper level where your true interests — and the interests of… Read More →

Small Business Leadership Academy: Match Your Negotiating Style To Your Objective

Small Business Leadership Academy

“Playing hardball” is a phrase often used to describe negotiations. The point is the deal — there’s a winner and a loser — and the toughest side prevails. Hardball is a good game plan under some circumstances — if it’s a one-time opportunity, for example. But what if the client or customer with whom you… Read More →

The Benefits Of Social Media For Small Business

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing's Facebook page

No matter what product or service you’re selling, you’re always in the business of relationships. Fifteen years ago in the entrepreneurial world, all you needed was a name and a phone number. That was it; that was all you needed for customers to find you. Then, having a website became necessary for building the reputation… Read More →

Coordinating Content Marketing Creates Buzz

Content Marketing

It’s not exactly news to report that the growing influence of the Internet and popularity of social media has expanded public relations beyond the traditional methods. When taking a look at your company’s public relations strategy, it is no longer just about developing an individual or organization’s public image through news stories and public appearances.… Read More →

Strategic Procurement: Developing Supply Strategy

Small Business Leadership Academy

“Knowledge is power,” says Joseph Carter, the Avnet Professor of Supply Chain Management at the W. P. Carey School of Business, and leader of the Strategic Procurement section of the 2012 Small Business Leadership Academy. For a small company looking to bring on a large company as a client, or keep a large company as a… Read More →

Soaring College Cost And Financial Planning

Soaring College Cost and Financial Planning

Parents and students today should seriously consider saving for education cost early on. The cost of college tuition is becoming very expensive, specifically if your child is considering attending a private or out-of-state college. These costs have increased nearly 30 percent in the past decade and will most likely continue in the years to come.… Read More →

How To Avoid Non-Payment Of Invoices

How to Avoid Non-Payment of Invoices
October 9, 2012 by in Columnist Spotlight | Finance

While it is ideal if you can have your customers pay prior to or when the delivery of goods or services are rendered, it is not always possible to finalize a deal on these terms.  More often than not, goods and services are purchased on credit or on term agreements to pay in the near… Read More →

A Guide To Applying For A Bank Loan

A Guide to Applying for a Bank Loan
October 8, 2012 by in Columnist Spotlight | Finance

Every business at some point will require outside financing; his generally means obtaining some form of bank loan. For many, this turns out to be a very aggravating and frustrating process. You may be financing a new business or simply be in need of seasonal financing, but proper planning will substantially enhance your chances of… Read More →

“The Beauty Bias” Brings To Light Physical Discrimination In The Workplace

physical discrimination
September 25, 2012 by in Columnist Spotlight | Workforce

Hypothetically speaking, if Jennifer Aniston was competing against Susan Boyle for an office job and had the exact same resume, who would be more likely to score gig? And what if Aniston had less experience than musically-gifted but regular-looking Boyle? According to “The Beauty Bias,” written by Stanford law professor Deborah Rhode, nearly 60 percent… Read More →

How To Keep Employee Morale Up, While Business Costs Are Rising

How to Keep Employee Morale Up
September 13, 2012 by in Columnist Spotlight | Small Biz

In July, I shared five tips for providing great customer service. I’d like to focus on another important aspect of customer service that may be attributed to common sense but is often overlooked — happy employees offer better customer service than disgruntled ones. The cost of doing business is on the rise no matter what… Read More →

Ways To Boost Financial Performance In Face Of Economic Uncertainty

Ways to Boost Financial Performance in Face of Economic Uncertainty
September 13, 2012 by in Columnist Spotlight | Economy | Finance

Here we are in a challenging economic environment that spans almost every industry. Every day we are reminded of this with still high unemployment rates, less than hoped for corporate financial results, bankruptcies and foreclosures, low consumer confidence, etc. With this news constantly put before us, I frequently hear from business colleagues that it isn’t… Read More →

Risky Investments: How Much Of Your Porfolio Is Risky?

Are Your Investments Safe Or Risky?
September 12, 2012 by in Columnist Spotlight | Finance

It’s been only four years since our Great Recession, and the investment world has changed drastically. Many investors are thinking, planning and attempting to grow their wealth more cautiously. In many cases, it’s not about growth but preserving what one already has. It wasn’t long ago when general planning of life was much simpler. We… Read More →

Show Me The Money: How Much Is The Marketing Budget?

marketing budget
September 5, 2012 by in Columnist Spotlight | Marketing

One of the most common questions I get from people starting a new venture is how much should they plan to spend on marketing; and one of the biggest mistakes I see with new businesses is a tremendous amount of time and money invested in opening the doors making the new office, restaurant or retail… Read More →

Increasing Cash Flow, Becoming A Debt-Free Company

Increase Cash Flow, Reduct Debt
September 4, 2012 by in Columnist Spotlight | Finance

How much debt financing is right for a business? In today’s low-cost money environment, the “easy” answer might be “as much as you need” because it is inexpensive (depending on a company’s financial situation). However, the credit environment has tightened significantly during the past two years because of the stress that has been placed on… Read More →

Solar Power Is Not Just About Saving the Planet

Solar Power
August 29, 2012 by in Columnist Spotlight | Green

We believe that aside from the political hype, solar technology as an energy alternative is a fiscally healthy change for many businesses. Solar is a proven technology, and business should understand how they can take advantage of the long-term energy solutions that solar can provide. When it comes to energy efficiency, reducing expenses, or planning… Read More →

“MACH” A Match For Whistleblowers

"MACH" A Match for Whistleblowers
August 28, 2012 by in Columnist Spotlight | Finance

In 2002, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) breathed new life into whistleblower programs for U.S.-listed public companies. This legislation had a particular impact on audit committees, handing them the responsibility of, “establishing procedures for The receipt, retention and treatment of complaints received by the issuer regarding accounting, internal accounting controls, or auditing matters; and The confidential,… Read More →

Intern Season: The Six Criteria To Allow Unpaid Internships

Intern Season: The Six Criteria To Allow Unpaid Internships

Here’s the six criteria a business must meet in order to allow unpaid internships. It’s no secret that today’s economy is tough. Students are working hard to learn needed skills in the career of their choice, while current members of our workforce are going back to school and training to learn a new trade. The… Read More →

New Technology Makes Financial, Inventory Management Easy, Affordable

New Technology Makes Financial, Inventory Management Easy, Affordable
August 27, 2012 by in Columnist Spotlight | Finance

The expansion of the Internet and the growth of online financial tools continue to change the way we do business. With the development of Web-based and online tools, it is easier than ever for small business owners to manage day-to-day operations, track financial transactions and measure performance. Unlike the more costly software packages many companies… Read More →

5 Common Small Business Challenges

5 Common Small Business Challenges

In working with small, growing entrepreneurial businesses, I have discovered several common financial-related issues with which they struggle. When I first start working with these businesses, most if not all of these issues exist. All of them are critical to their success in managing and growing their businesses. The good news is that with time… Read More →

Business Awards: Are They Worth The Effort Of Applying?

Business Awards: Are They Worth The Effort Of Applying?

What does the Inc. 500|5000 list, Ranking Arizona and Arizona Corporate Excellence (ACE) Awards all have in common? They’re a mix of local and national business awards from incredible companies. There are several organizations that extend prestigious business honors to companies every day. So many, in fact, that a simple Google search for business awards yielded… Read More →

As Renewable Energy Makes Process, Energy Policy To Be Explored

solar panels, renewable energy
August 15, 2012 by in Columnist Spotlight | Green

An unlikely group of bedfellows gathered for a private meeting last month to discuss the future of energy policy in Arizona. While they didn’t solve any issues, there is a measure of success in simply convening dialogue among this small but powerful group of diverse stakeholders representing the governor’s office, state legislature, Arizona Corporation Commission,… Read More →

5 Tips To Providing Great Customer Service

Customer Service

Are customers important to your business? They sure are to mine. If you find them to be important, I suggest reviewing the details of your customer service touches, process and ability to help customers as needed — even if that means working outside of the normal channels. 5 Customer Service Tips: 1. A business owner/supervisor/manager/employee… Read More →

Know Your Customer: Gathering Data To Build Marketing Campaigns

Know Your Customer: Gathering Data to Build Marketing Campaigns

There was a time when we relied largely on focus groups and surveys to learn who was buying the products and services we were touting and what they thought about the experience. Thanks to technology, today we have access to a wealth of data to help build marketing campaigns that will catch the attention of… Read More →

Office Fragrance’s Becoming Real Issue

office fragrances

Office fragrance is becoming a real issue. Asthma. Fragrance sensitivity. Allergies. It may sound “rash,” but many types of fragrances in the workplace can trigger anything from breathing issues to hives to nausea to headaches — and everything in-between. These reactions can be so bad, in fact, lawsuits are being filed — and won —… Read More →