Archive for the ‘success’ Category

What’s In A Personal Company Name? A Lot Of Goodwill, Value

February 13, 2016

Another American business name icon is going by the boards.

The venerable publishing company McGraw-Hill will cease to exist this spring.

After its next board meeting the company will be known as Standard & Poor’s.

For almost a century McGraw-Hill publishing was noted for providing information across a broad spectrum of industrial sectors.

Its name bespoke of integrity and honesty. Not the least for its rating services under the Standard & Poor’s name, known to most of us as S&P.

All of the publishing units, including Business Week and Aviation Week are gone.

S&P is under siege for its role in the financial meltdown.

McGraw-Hill is the latest of many companies in today’s world abandoning their founders’ name for different titles.

A recent analyst done by Information Strategies, Inc. (ISI) revealed this is a growing trend.

But there are lessons to be learned by small- and medium-size businesses from this trend. In a famous speech Harold McGraw Jr. once estimated his name on the door was worth ten dollars of the firm’s stock price.

So too is a person’s name on the company worth money. They include:

  1. It meant something to consumers that someone stood behind the company’s offerings.
  2. A personal name forged a bond between seller and buyer.
  3. In today’s world it is easier to get a unique internet domain name.
  4. Adding a son or daughter meant longevity.
  5. Going world-wide eliminated any offensive connotation in other languages.
  6. Your company appears affordable.
  7. Makes your company transparent and personal; available to respond to your client’s needs.
  8. Can be memorable: if people can remember your business name, they can remember you name and vice-versa.

Choosing a personal name can jump start a company in any sector.

Bear this in mind when choosing a name for your company.

Small- and Medium-Business Employee Healthcare Insurance: Yes Or No

September 11, 2015

Shock waves are hitting a majority of smaller businesses receiving notices about the premiums due for employee healthcare insurance policies in 2016.
The new rates exceed 20% for many enterprises based on surveys done by Information Strategies, Inc. and other organizations.
An average 23% increases were reported in ISI’s survey of 233 randomly selected businesses under 50 employees. Other soundings surfaced similar increases ranging from 19% to 24%. One respondent reported a 49% increase.
Many companies are pondering alternatives such as providing stipends in lieu of benefits, increasing deductibles, reducing coverage to the minimums required by the Accountable Care Act (ACA), or doing away with any coverage.
For companies with under 50 employees, this last alternative does not involve government sanctions.
Organizations with 100 or more employees have weighty penalties for abandoning employee healthcare insurance.
Perhaps hardest hit are enterprises with 51-99 employees who are seeing massive increases in healthcare insurance premiums.
During the past two years, companies have held down premium costs by shifting the burden to employees either through higher deductibles, increasing the percentage paid by employees, or trimming benefits.
Most of these savings have been wrung out and there are few other alternatives.
While last year, only 6% of respondents said they were considering eliminating healthcare insurance benefits (believed important for employee recruiting and retention), in 2015 the number more than doubled to 13% in ISI’s survey and two other surveys reviewed.
Here are two ways small businesses can attack the cost hurdle.
The first involves a government program offering subsidies to smaller enterprises. This program is complicated and less than 100,000 companies have attempted to use it. The program is called the Small Business Healthcare Options.
The second involves setting up a private exchange enabling employees to purchase individual policies and obtain government subsidies under the ACA.
It has been reported that such programs can save companies significant dollars while providing individually tailored healthcare insurance. To learn more about this approach small business leaders can go to
If you know of other alternatives, please share them.
No matter what course of action is taken for 2016, small- and medium-businesses can expect 2017 premium rates will be higher.

Warning Signals Abound; Are Small Business Leaders Listening?

May 22, 2015

When Staples opened its first store, stationary establishments were amongst the most profitable retail operations in America.

Within 15 years they were losing money and have almost disappeared from most shopping areas.

For those owners who did not heed the warnings blared at them by their fellow owners and trade press at the time they lost everything.

It is no different in today’s rapidly changing world.

As consumers and business purchasers change their buying habits, many small-and medium-size businesses are getting left behind.

Therefore it is important that even the most successful small business leader should take lessons from birds.

A recent study of wild birds found that different species learn the warning calls of other forest creatures.

Moreover, they learn what the calls mean and if the predator can be targeting them.

The landscape is evolving quickly and even the most mundane small business will be affected.

There are many venues preaching the need for change.

They are the distant drumbeats warning of danger to profits that can’t be ignored.

However, for many managers buried in day-to-day activities these warning signals are not being heard.

Only when the threat of a new technology approach becomes immediate is action taken.

By then it may be too late.

Warning calls are all about us, it is important to hear, heed them.

In business there is a need to be familiar not only with one’s industry and competitors but other sectors.

Then too, economic, social, and financial trends also affect any small businesses.

When the economy shrinks, some small businesses are affected to a greater extent than others.

Likewise, as the economy expands, some small businesses are negatively impacted.

For an individual small business the first warnings signs come when customers stop reordering; phone calls are ignored; products are returned; store traffic slows; etc.

When this happens, it is important to listen to:

* Customers

* Suppliers

* Employees

* Other industry participants

* Trade press

* Family/friends

What is heard may shock, but it is the key to learning.

Today, small business leaders need to learn quickly or get left behind.

Keys To Small Business Success

April 25, 2015

Keep innovating, choose good staff and watch cash flow are the three most repeated keys to success gleaned over the years from successful entrepreneurs.

Consistently, when successful entrepreneurs and business executives are asked to tell small business leaders what they consider most important three traits these are cited most often.

For instance, John Sculley, the former Apple CEO, even wrote a book arguing small business leaders must constantly strive to stay innovative.

“Don’t become comfortable in your niche. There are always people coming up with new ways of doing what a company is based on,” he said in a recent interview on our Small Business Digest radio program.

Likewise, Jim Fowler, who created and sold Sawbuck to Salesforce for more than $1 billion thought focusing on finding the right people was important along with managing cash.

Other successful entrepreneurs almost always mention cash management as the cornerstone of success.

Despite this constant mention of these three key components, small leaders often ignore them.

They focus on the product and/or immediate sales. Which they rightly should. But even the most successful small business can be destroyed if they are not aware of how innovation from other entrepreneurs can damage their enterprise.

One reason is this revolution in technology is making innovation possible for very little cost.

In today’s world, technology allows start-ups to focus on the product/service with much of the infrastructure easily obtainable and managed.

Given that much of infrastructure management is now in the clouds, small business leaders should stay focused on innovation.

It is not enough to have a successful product/service, he or she needs be aware of what, where, and how their company could be in danger.

Here are some way of keeping ahead of the curve:

  • Listen to what customers are saying
  • Talk to buyers who are no longer buying
  • Stay abreast of technological changes that may affect the company
  • Review pricing, marketing, sales strategies at least once-a-year
  • Hear when staff report on potential clouds/issues
  • Take a break from day-to-day routines and ask what is happening outside the company
  • Put aside monies for possible lean years Invite in others with ideas for the company to share them

The world always changes but right now it is evolving at an unbelievable pace and small business leaders should not be content with the status quo.

Share with us what you are doing to succeed in your business.