Ask SCORE

SCORE, "Counselors to America's Small Business," is a nonprofit organization of more than 13,000 volunteer business counselors who provide free, confidential business counseling and training workshops to small business owners. Call 610.327.2673 for the Pottstown SCORE chapter, or find a counselor online at www.pottstownscore.org

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Key Considerations When Firing an Employee

While carefully selecting employees can help prevent human resources issues, your small business might still find it has hired a staff member who is not a good fit.

A number of issues may justify termination of an employee:

How Creating Buyer Personas Can Help Small Businesses in Their Marketing Efforts

Compiling demographic information about your buyers will only take you so far in understanding how to reach and what to say to your target customers. By creating a “buyer persona” (a profile of a customer to represent a particular group of buyers) for each group of customers to whom you wish to sell your products and services, you will gain greater insight. Buyer personas help you drill down to the specifics of what motivates individual customers to buy and identify what communications channels will give you an opportunity to connect with more of your prospects and customers. 

“Success Thinking”—It’s All About Attitude

As a small business owner, you’re not just “the boss.” You’re also the leader, the person employees, vendors, customers, and prospects look to for guidance, support, and confidence. And being a leader is easier than you think. It begins with a positive, “can-do” attitude that your business delivers what it promises, and can achieve any goal.

Self-Employment Tax Basics

Going from “employee” to being your own boss brings some significant changes, professionally and personally. One of the most significant to become accustomed to is no longer having certain taxes neatly taken from your paycheck by your employer.

As a self-employed individual, not only are you responsible for directly submitting the income tax you owe to the federal, state, and local governments, you are also responsible for paying self-employment tax.

Eight Ways to Manage Your Time and Multiple Projects

As a small business owner, you must have fallen into the trap of having to juggle many tasks in a limited time. While there is no magic formula to hitting the right balance and managing your time seamlessly, you can improve your time-handling skills to accomplish more tasks on your to-do list. Here are some ways to help you keep everything in check when working on multiple projects at the same time.

1. Make a to-do list before you start your day

Record Keeping 101: Information Your Small Business Needs to Maintain

One of the most important administrative responsibilities small business owners face is keeping accurate and current records. Not only is it critical for assessing opportunities and risks that can affect your company’s profitability and potential for growth, it’s also necessary for ensuring legal and regulatory compliance.

Regardless of the type of business you are running, record keeping comes with the territory. Some types of documentation and information are required for all businesses and others may or may not be necessary depending on your industry.

Get Ahead of Your Personal Paper Chase

Forget everything you’ve read about the “paperless” office. Though our computers, PDAs, and smart phones have digitized many aspects of daily life, paper is still very much with us.

Good Habits Can Translate Into Great Sales

The longer you’re in business, the more you realize that the only constant is change.  You may be enjoying strong sales across a broad customer base, but those conditions could be far different in just a matter of months.  A competitor’s offer may tempt your customers to try something different.  Organizational and operational changes may require you to build relationships with new people from scratch.

Opportunities Abound for Sharpening Your Small Business Skills

Very few people begin the process of building a small business with a full knowledge of all the skills required for success.  Even those who extensive experience or education in business management still need to bring themselves up to speed on the added responsibilities of entrepreneurship—tax issues, employee management, business development, accounting, etc.

Email Marketing Rules Every Small Business Owner Needs to Know

According to the Direct Marketing Association, the typical ROI (return on investment) for email marketing is about 4,300 percent. With that kind of effectiveness, it’s definitely a marketing activity worth considering for your small business. But before you blast out your first message, you need to know the rules.

How The Business Structure You Select Affects Your Income Tax Treatment

The business structure you choose for your startup will affect your company from a legal standpoint, and it will have an impact on your taxes, as well. Before you decide on the structure for your small business, you should do some research and talk to tax and legal professionals for guidance. The better you understand your options, the more likely you’ll be to operate under the structure that will benefit your business the most.

An Overview of A Few of the Most Common Business Structures

Sole Proprietorship

Simple Tips for Better Time Management

With so many responsibilities to tend to as a small business owner, it is easy to get overwhelmed and fall short on what you want to accomplish. If you are a new entrepreneur who formerly worked for an employer other than yourself, you may discover managing time has become more challenging. That is natural. After all, you have gone from having your work schedule and priorities set for you to needing to prioritize every project and task related to running your business.

Tips For Choosing The Right CRM Platform For Your Small Business

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems offer technology to streamline a company’s ability to interact with current and future customers. A CRM system essentially provides a central place where businesses can store customer and prospect data, track customer interactions, and share this information with colleagues. It allows businesses to manage relationships with customers, helping the business to grow.

A good introduction to the benefits of having a CRM system can be seen at …

How To Find The Right Accountant For Your Small Business

Your business success depends on many factors. Managing your money well and understanding your finances are two of the most critical. Unless you are an accountant by trade, it is likely you will need some outside guidance and insight as you start and grow your company.

Getting help from an accountant can benefit your business in a number of ways:

Press Release Basics for Small Business Owners

Press releases remain among the most effective ways to generate awareness of your small business and its products and services. Media outlets may reproduce a press release as is (or with some editing), or follow up about creating a longer story. A press release that gets picked up by reporters, bloggers, and others who share information with potential customers can result in media attention that facilitates interest in your company, builds credibility, and ultimately leads to more revenue.

Closing Sales Starts With Building Trust

Making the sale, especially when your small business offers products and services to other businesses, demands more than being good at what you do. It also requires building professional relationships. To do that, you must earn your customers’ trust.

There’s no scientific formula for earning trust. It requires time, patience, and honest effort.

Here are some suggestions to help you lay a foundation of trust with your potential customers:

Bringing On Contractors Vs. Hiring Staff: Which Will Benefit Your Small Business The Most?

As your small business grows, you will find you cannot do everything on your own. To obtain the help you need, you can choose to outsource tasks to independent contractors or hire employees to whom you can delegate work.

To decide which will make the most sense for your company, it is important first to understand some of the key differences between working with independent contractors versus having employees on staff.

Employees vs. Independent Contractors: Four Points Of Comparison

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Organizers

  • Sylvia Landis's picture
  • Bill Haley's picture

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  • Barry Cassidy's picture