Thinking of partnering? Some tips for business owners
NEW YORK (AP) — When small business owners want to take on partners, the selection process needs to be carried out thoughtfully and deliberately. The wrong choice can doom not only the partnership, but the company.
Some things to consider before entering into a partnership:
Bound to fail: Poor choices can ruin business partnerships
NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly a year after Courtney Jackson launched her clothing business, she took on a partner to help manage the company's growth. A month into the partnership, something was wrong.
Q&A: Preparing a small business for a possible attack
NEW YORK (AP) — News of another mass shooting, including the recent attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, makes many people wonder what they would do if confronted with an active shooter or other assailant. And small business owners may wonder how they can prepare their companies to deal with a possible attack.
Here are some questions and answers:
Q. What resources are available to help small business owners prepare their staffers to deal with potential violence?
Charles Schwab executive’s advice for managers
In "Pass It On," AP beat reporters ask executives to share experiences and insights that will resonate with anyone managing a business.
Signs emerge that rising rates could hinder small businesses
NEW YORK (AP) — Rising interest rates typically rank low on small-business owners' list of problems, but some warning signs are starting to emerge.
Pass It On: Booking.com CEO promotes diversity, taking risks
Back in 2002, when she was working in traditional hotels, Booking.com CEO Gillian Tans saw the potential for the internet to upend the travel business. Sixteen years later, she's the head of one of the biggest disruptors.
Booking.com rivals Airbnb for the most listings of rentable homes and apartments. It also lists rooms for hotels, bed and breakfasts, even treehouses and igloos. Right now, most of its 28.9 million listings are in Europe, but it has set its sights on the U.S. and China.
ADP report says small business hiring drops in August
NEW YORK (AP) — Small business hiring fell by more than half in August, the likely result of a shrinking labor pool.
Payroll processor ADP said Thursday that its small business customers added 21,000 new jobs last month, down from 59,000 in July. That's also less than half the monthly average of nearly 49,000 during the first seven months of this year. ADP bases its reports on payroll data from its customers with one to 49 employees.
Don’t go! Surging business sales make staff retention a must
NEW YORK (AP) — Offers of training and stock in their new employer weren't enough to keep four out of his five staffers when Dennis Chow sold his information technology firm in 2016.
Chow and the buyers learned one of the hard lessons of a business sale — despite their best efforts, some employees will leave. People departed from both companies when SCIS Security acquired Chow's Houston-based Xtec Systems, most of them workers who didn't like their new assignments.
Owners upbeat about economy, have more doubts about revenue
NEW YORK (AP) — Although small business owners are upbeat about the economy's prospects, they aren't as optimistic about their own revenue.
That's the finding of a survey of 1,000 owners conducted during June and July by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife. An index of small business sentiment compiled from the survey rose to 69.7 from 68.7 in a survey taken during the second quarter.
NEW YORK (AP) — As Amazon gears up for its Prime Day promotion, other big-name retailers like Macy's and eBay are launching deals and sales of their own. But small businesses — including those that don't sell much online — shouldn't sit on the sidelines.
While entrepreneurs may not be able to go head to head with the online behemoth in some areas, experts say they should differentiate themselves by offering unique products and experiences, whether their business is rare books or shoe repairs.
Trump calls North Carolina redistricting ruling ‘unfair’
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — President Donald Trump said Friday that the prospect of North Carolina drawing new congressional districts just weeks before the November midterm elections is "unfair."
Post-disaster, business owners find varied paths to recovery
NEW YORK (AP) — As small business owners in Hawaii and California clean up following Hurricane Lane and wildfires, they'll find there's no one formula for recovery.
The same disaster can devastate businesses in divergent ways — a hurricane might tear the roof off one restaurant, flood another and leave a third with little damage.
Back from vacations, a good time to beef up cybersecurity
NEW YORK (AP) — As people return to work after summer vacations, it's a good time to make sure everyone in the company is sensitive to the need for computer security. Here are some basics that owners should emphasize to their staffers:
Lawsuit protocol: Call attorneys, but take time for business
NEW YORK (AP) — When a small business is involved in a lawsuit, an owner's concern can't only be about winning or losing — it also has to be about making sure the company stays on track.
Small firms thrive as customers seek more unique clothing
LONDON (AP) — Claudio Belotti knows he cut the denim that became the jeans Meghan Markle wore on one of her first outings as the fiancee of Britain's Prince Harry.
That's because he cuts all of the fabric for Hiut Denim Co., a 7-year-old company that makes jeans in Cardigan, Wales. Belotti is a craftsman with 50 years of experience that gives his work a personal touch — something that's not quite couture but not exactly mass-produced either.
Pass it On: Entrepreneur’s insights on running a business
NEW YORK (AP) — David Heath, the co-founder and CEO of online sock company Bombas, was an entrepreneur early on. His advice? Focus on one product before branching out. Don't copy your competition. And Heath, who meditates daily and brings his Jack Russell terrier named Cooper to work, emphasizes the importance of a healthy work culture.
Turnover: Preventing it and dealing with the aftermath
NEW YORK (AP) — A tight labor market and a shrinking pool of talented workers make "I'm quitting" some of the most dreaded words a small business owner can hear.
Staff turnover is a fact of life, but it's particularly painful at small companies competing with larger businesses for workers. Owners learn they must make staff retention efforts a priority — including mentoring or changing workplace policies — and do some soul-searching if turnover increases.
Pass It On: Home Chef CEO kept firing himself
NEW YORK (AP) — Pat Vihtelic is the co-founder and CEO of meal kit company Home Chef. He says one of his breakthroughs as a leader was repeatedly firing himself.
Vihtelic founded his company in 2013 and says it's gone from $1 million in annual revenue to $250 million in just three years as the meal kit industry grew rapidly. That culminated in the company's sale to Kroger in June.
NEW YORK (AP) — A Rhode Island software company that sells primarily to businesses is nonetheless making sure it complies with a strict California law about consumers' privacy.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Even with the U.S. economy booming and the job market strong, hiring has slowed among one category of employers: Small businesses.
Yet it isn't because these companies are hurting. Far from it. Small businesses today are generally optimistic, and most say they're enjoying healthy sales.
NEW YORK (AP) — Rod Holmes opted for simplicity when Chicago's paid sick leave law took effect.
He wanted to avoid the headache of calculating how much sick time staffers at his digital marketing company earned for the time they worked, and there was the question of what do about his employees in Cincinnati.
Levi Strauss, Yelp and Lyft are leading a coalition of 1,200 businesses and cities that are pledging not to discriminate against employees or customers based on race, sexual orientation, or other characteristics.
NEW YORK (AP) — Small companies whose success is tied to the remodeling business are looking healthy even as home sales drop.
NEW YORK (AP) — For many small businesses, the easiest thing to sell right now might be the business itself.
Buyout activity is booming, and the prices being paid are at or near records for companies up to $50 million in value, brokers say. Many small-business owners are fielding more cold calls asking if their companies are for sale, and owners who do put their businesses on the market are often receiving multiple bids.
NEW YORK (AP) — Erika Wasser and her staffers arrived for a big appointment — hair and makeup for a bridal party of 11 — to realize someone had goofed and the salon space they share in a Miami hotel wasn't available that day. And the bride was expected in an hour.
NEW YORK (AP) — When a customer calls or comes into a business to complain, an owner can use the conversation to cement rather than lose a relationship. Nancy Friedman, who runs The Telephone Doctor, a customer service consulting firm, has some tips on how to talk to someone who's unhappy with a company's service or product:
—Listen for the customer's name, and make sure you repeat it during the conversation.
NEW YORK (AP) — The plan was for Greg Goodman to sell his auto supply store and retire about the time he turned 60. Then Plan B came along — his son Chandler decided to join and eventually take over the family business instead of becoming an architect.
Goodman, now 54, is focusing on building his Alta Mere franchise in Oklahoma City rather than getting it ready for sale. He's also mentoring his son, although Chandler won't graduate from college for another two years.
NEW YORK (AP) — Time and effort have gone down the drain for Steve Gould, who is scrambling to find new customers for his gin, whiskey and other spirits since the United States has taken a tough stance on trade issues.
How should businesses respond to bad reviews?
NEW YORK (AP) — A bad review can seriously hinder a small business' reputation, but dealing with negative social media and online posts is now essential.
The popular online review site Yelp.com recently won a case in California where an aggrieved law firm tried to force it to remove negative posts. Such an action would run afoul of freedom of speech, according to internet companies, but business owners say it could leave the door open to spreading falsehoods without consequences.
Survey: Small business hiring slowed in May
WASHINGTON (AP) — Small businesses hired workers at a slower pace in June, the second straight month of weakening job gains despite an overall healthy economy.
Payroll company ADP said Thursday it counted 29,000 new jobs at its customers with 49 or fewer employees. This marks a decline from small business job gains of 46,000 in May and 50,000 in April. So far this year, small businesses have been creating on average 46,000 jobs a month.
NEW YORK (AP) — Want a loan? Advice? When an employee needs help, many small business owners are comfortable mixing the personal with the professional and willingly provide some support.
NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon wants you to deliver its packages for them.
The online retailer launched a new program this week that helps people in the United States start their own businesses delivering Amazon packages. The move gives Amazon another way to ship its packages to shoppers besides relying on UPS, FedEx and other package delivery services.
Small business lessons from Red Hen’s Sanders ouster
NEW YORK (AP) — Taking a political stand — like asking a White House press secretary to leave your restaurant — can be polarizing and risky. So experts say an owner who decides to act should do so with forethought and civility.
NEW YORK (AP) — It's not me, it's you: Though it can be painful, sometimes, a business owner needs to break up with a customer.
When Gil Gildner's big client started paying more slowly and stopped communicating well, cash flow was at stake.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration's new health insurance option offers lower premiums for small businesses and self-employed people, but the policies are likely to cover fewer benefits.
Another caveat: if healthy people flock to the new plans as expected, premiums will rise for those who need comprehensive coverage.
NEW YORK (AP) — Starting a food truck to sell tacos or barbecue on downtown streets may seem easy or fun, but owners are finding they need more sophisticated plans now that the novelty has worn off.
A decade ago, business owners had only a few choices if they wanted to buy a van for commercial use. But in recent years, automakers have been coming out with new, smaller vans to complement traditional full-size vans. These small cargo vans are less expensive to buy and get higher fuel economy than bigger vans, yet are still versatile enough to take on many types of jobs. They're also ideal for navigating tight city streets and parking spaces. Here is Edmunds' take on the 2018 small cargo vans and why each is worth considering for commercial use.
NEW YORK (AP) — The age-old issue came up again recently: A potential client asked Nate Hartmann, "Hey, how old are you?"
Since Hartmann founded Yellow Box in 2010 at age 18, he's encountered skeptics who doubted his company could design websites and create online marketing strategies. Some clients even set out to teach them.
"They tried to run us, instead of working with us to achieve their goals," says Hartmann, whose company is based in Chicago.
Many small companies in the United States can expect to pay more for steel and aluminum following the Trump administration's imposition of tariffs on imports from Europe, Canada and Mexico, small business advocacy groups say.
Fewer small employers sought loans and other financing toward the end of last year as many companies dealt with fiscal challenges.
That's the finding of a survey of more than 8,100 companies released last week by the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks. The survey showed that demand for financing fell, with 40 percent of companies seeking funding, down from 45 percent a year earlier.
NEW YORK (AP) — The smallest companies have packed twice the punch of their bigger brethren in the last few months, but it might not last.
Rising trade tensions between the U.S. and China have battered the stock market overall recently, and the S&P 500, which tracks large U.S. companies, has yet to recover the steep losses it took as investors worried about a possible trade war that could slow the growth of the global economy.
NEW YORK (AP) — Five months after massive federal tax changes became law, many small business owners still don't know whether they'll be winners or losers.
Mike Kaeding would like to know how his real estate development and management company will be affected by two big changes — the deductibility of business meals, and a 20 percent income deduction for many owners of what are called pass-through businesses.
LONDON (AP) — Lisa Meyer's hair salon is a cozy place where her mother serves homemade macaroons, children climb on chairs and customers chat above the whirr of hairdryers.
The eruption of Mount Kilauea in Hawaii is a reminder to business owners, even those nowhere near any of the 169 volcanoes in the U.S., that they could be vulnerable to nature's most destructive forces. And that they need to be sure they're insured against disasters like tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes and flooding.
It's a good news-bad news situation for small businesses when interest rates rise.
The Federal Reserve says that the economy is doing well, so it has raised its key rates recently and is expected to do so again in the near future. The strong economy is great for most businesses, but higher rates will likely increase what it costs for them to borrow.
So what's a small business owner to do? Understand how the system operates and consider the ways they can manage.
PUBLIC RESTROOM ACCESS
Starbucks, trying to recover its reputation after two black men were arrested in one of its locations, has decided to open all its restrooms to people in its stores for now whether or not they make a purchase. While the owners of other businesses might want to follow suit out of kindness or community spirit, many may decide to stick with a "customers only" policy.
Small business owners are a generally upbeat bunch, but their optimism may be leveling off because of the tight labor market and uncertainty about taxes.
A quarterly small business sentiment index released last week by Wells Fargo and Gallup registered at 106, down from 107 in the first quarter. The index, based on a survey of 603 owners, is still close to its highest level in more than a decade, but a component reflecting future expectations fell to 61 from 65.
BOSTON (AP) — Robots can't yet bake a souffle or fold a burrito, but they can cook up vegetables and grains and spout them into a bowl — and are doing just that at a new fast casual restaurant in Boston.
Seven autonomously swirling cooking pots — what the restaurant calls a "never-before-seen robotic kitchen" — hum behind the counter at Spyce, which opened Thursday in the city's downtown.
NEW YORK (AP) — It's a scary but sometimes necessary way to operate — with only a few clients, and perhaps just one. But what if any of those customers leave in a short time span, erasing a significant chunk of revenue?
"We are reliant on a few large clients, and it is the key concern that keeps me up at a night," says Brian Cairns, CEO of ProStrategix, a management consulting group and Cairns Consulting, a marketing company, based in New York.