Small business blog posts we liked this week

By Samantha Garner | September 13, 2014

From competition to dog food trucks, here are four small business blog posts we enjoyed reading this week. We hope you’ll like them too!

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Small business commercial lease checklist

By Samantha Garner | September 6, 2014

Ready to take the plunge on leasing a location for your small business? Review the following components that should be stated in your commercial lease or rental agreement, and consider your requirements for each. Also consider which of these may give you leverage during negotiations, and which you can afford to back down on.

  1. Names of Landlord & Tenant
  2. Address of the premises
  3. Rent amount, payment terms, late payment penalties and any allowable or scheduled increases
  4. Items included in rent:
    • Description of rental space: square footage, available parking
    • Utilities – phone, water, internet, gas, electricity
    • Taxes, maintenance fees
  5. Lease term – start and end date
  6. Damage deposit requirements
  7. Any representations made (statistics or even promises about certain aspects of the site like foot traffic estimates, average utility costs, competitive restrictions)
  8. Zoning information
  9. Permitted uses of the premises
  10. Subletting terms and conditions
  11. Build-outs – Restrictions on and ownership of additions, modifications, improvements, or fixtures added while the space is occupied
  12. Repairs – terms and conditions
  13. Insurance and security requirements
  14. Non-compete clause (restrictions on leasing/renting to your competitors nearby)
  15. Dispute resolution
  16. Lease termination options
  17. Renewal options
  18. Signing incentives
  19. General legal provisions
  20. Additional rules and regulations
  21. Signatures and dates of signing

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How to better understand your small business’ industry

By Samantha Garner | August 30, 2014

food-services-industryExploring an industry involves gathering large amounts of data, as well as talking to members of the industry – the ones who know most about it. Important information to get about your industry includes:

  • Is the industry growing?
  • Where are the opportunities in the industry?
  • How is new technology being used in the industry?
  • Are there young, successful businesses in the industry?
  • Who are the key players in the industry?
  • What are the typical financial results for businesses in this industry?

Do research, both primary and secondary, to learn more about your industry. Make sure you can answer the questions above before you start or expand your business.

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Quick eight-part customer survey

By Samantha Garner | August 23, 2014

Want to get preliminary feedback on your product or service idea? What better way than to ask your customers directly? Administering a small convenience sample of 20-30 consumers or industrial buyers is a good starting point to get well-rounded feedback.

Here’s an eight-part sample customer survey:

  1. Describe your product or service idea to the respondent.
  2. Note their reaction to your idea – what they liked/disliked about it, problems it would solve for them, needs that would be satisfied, and other comments about your idea.
  3. What benefits would they get from buying your product or service?
  4. What price would they pay?
  5. How often would they buy your product or service?
  6. What level of service and support would they expect you/your company to provide?
  7. Do they currently buy a similar product or service to yours? If so, from whom? Why? What do they like/dislike about the company that offers the product or service they currently buy?
  8. Collect demographic information (things like age, sex, and income) from your respondent to help you analyze your data and, later, to segment your market more conclusively.

There you go – quick, painless, and infinitely informative!

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Quiz: How’s your personal productivity?

By Samantha Garner | August 16, 2014

Do you wonder if you could be more productive? Take our Personal Productivity Quiz. Answer yes or no to each question below.

  1. Do you waste time looking for papers that you need?
  2. Do you waste time looking for information you know is on your computer?
  3. Would an impending audit make you nervous?
  4. Do you have very little uncluttered space in your office?
  5. Do you have difficulty prioritizing your daily workload?
  6. Are you frequently overwhelmed by what you need to accomplish at work?
  7. Do you lose important slips of paper, usually with customer contact info on it?
  8. Do you often feel unproductive?
  9. Do you waste time looking for phone numbers?
  10. Do you procrastinate on handling paperwork?

If you answered yes to any of the questions then you may need to review your personal productivity tools, skills and strategies for staying organized and on top of your game. Invest in the right technology, office equipment and office space to help you deliver top quality work, each time, every time.

Check out a previous blog post outlining some useful personal productivity tools for the entrepreneur.

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