I left a cushy job 7 years ago to start my own business in IT. The company posted huge losses during the first three years of operation and I even had to sell my house in order to survive and keep the company afloat. Although the business is doing increasingly better, the hardship of the past years has taken its toll on my morale and I sometimes feel that I cannot take it anymore. How do I motivate myself to keep going? [more inside]
I'm a Canadian working in Toronto with an incorporated business, a business chequing account with one of the major banks (Canadian currency only), and a Paypal account connected to that chequing account. What should I consider when deciding whether to invoice American clients in Canadian or American dollars? [more inside]
I have what I think is a really good idea for a social networking website, kind of along the lines of airbnb or meetup. If it was done right, I think it could be very popular. But the problem is that I have zero business knowledge and zero computer/coding/web design knowledge, and therefore I have no leverage with those I'd have to partner with. All I have is an idea. [more inside]
How does an on-demand streaming site pay a cast and crew? [more inside]
One of my favorite colleagues has a cat, and it is dying. She is just waiting on tests to come back from the vet so they can decide if palliative care is an option or not. I'd like to do something nice to let her know that I'm thinking of her, but need ideas that won't memorialize me as "That girl who did that crazy thing in a misguided attempt to nice." Also looking for a sanity check - if this is a bad idea, please say so (and why). [more inside]
I'm working on a novel (yeah, yeah) in which the bad guys are, among other things, a couple of rival business-criminal assholes. I know nearly zero about business, finance, and politics, and I don't want to talk about these folks in ways that show me to be the faffy prancing buffoon I really am. [more inside]
At a picnic with some friends, I gave everyone ten-ish minute massages (I am a massage therapist). It was a spontaneous gesture and I really enjoyed doing it. As I was leaving, a friend slipped an envelope in my bag. When I got home and opened it, there was a card with money inside, thanking me for their "first session". I feel like this turned a spontaneous act of goodwill and friendship into a business transaction. I'm hurt, saddened, and a little offended. I didn't want money or ask for it, and I don't think that I said or did anything implying otherwise. Now I feel like I'm not their friend, I'm hired help. How do I address this?
How nice is too nice of an electronic use policy? [more inside]
I live in a smallish (Canadian) city an hour outside of a large city. I moved for work four years ago, and for a variety of reasons am feeling an increasing urgency to move back to the Big City. I am trying to figure out ways to do this, weighing my options, and am curious if anyone has any suggestions, or can point out repercussions of each option I hadn't considered? [more inside]
What is the best topic with lots of reference material that deals in International Business Ethics? Something like a review on international bribery or the sale of vaccines or baby formula for profit. I'm looking for the topic that will be the easiest to write because there is so much reference material available. [more inside]
I am going in for an interview at the place I am currently temping. What should I wear? [more inside]
My dad runs a small business in the Bay Area, California, repairing laser printers and copiers and selling toner cartridge. The repairs take place on-site, and usually are for other small businesses; home printers are generally too cheap to be worth repairing, and you can't get parts. The company consists of him, a printer repair technician, the occasional contract technician, and an answering service for backup. My dad is not technologically saavy, but he can use email (Outlook, arrgh), ACT (sort of), and our user-friendly scanner. He recently got interested in DemandForce as a possible marketing company to attract new business, but the reviews I have read have made me deeply skeptical. So, does anyone know of a great marketing company for a small business providing services and supplies? What should my dad look for and look out for? Advice is welcome, but specific recommendations of marketing companies (especially that you still use) are what I'm most looking for.
Do you have suggestions for a system that will help me track the many new contacts I'm making as I start up my business? At the moment it's a mish-mash of notebooks, my phone, email, google docs and my (increasingly full) memory of conversations and phone calls. These might be people who've contacted me for a proposal, or it could be someone who says 'You should talk to my friend who does X - I'll put you in touch' and I want to remember to follow up with them later. [more inside]
On Monday, I start my first non self- or under-employed job in five years. It is with a very large (4000+ employees) company that's a big player in their field, and I am very happy and grateful to have the job. But, as I'm sitting here filling out the employee paperwork I'm faced with a "New PC Employee Acceptance Form". It seems I will be issued a company laptop, but I will also be charged $70/month that "covers XXX Company's standard for PC hardware, software and maintenance". This was never discussed in my salary negotiations. Questions: Is this normal? and, Is this an expense I will be able to write off at tax time?
I'd like to start on online-base media/information/advice business, and I'm having trouble deciding on where to incorporate. [more inside]
I recently started a business and have registered the business name with various municipalities. The relevant Twitter account name is already taken, but has never tweeted and has 3 followers. Is there any chance I could get this handle from Twitter? [more inside]
I am a free-lance bookkeeper seeking new clients. I would like to meet prospects at a Brooklyn restaurant. Ideally it would be moderately priced, available for lunch or dinner, quiet, well-lit and have wi-fi access. Anything that has 4 out of those 5 would be super, and anyplace with all of them is superb.
I'm trying to recall a business/self-help book. The main idea was that setting goals and pacing yourself is counterproductive, and that accomplishment happens by immersing one's self in a big idea. Steve Jobs, etc. I believe the cover was an illustration of a businessman opening a shirt to reveal a superhero costume. There may have been a critique of Tony Schwartz' energy management model inside. It was probably written in the last ten years. Can anyone name the book?
What's the cheapest and easiest way to get a business's credit report? It's my business (USA corporation.) I'm mainly interested in the overall score and the list of items affecting the score more than the details of each item.
Can anyone recommend a good 'affordable' accountant that could reach out to the IRS and get the straight scoop on an IRS mishap (on my part mostly) from 2007-2008? Would like to get this straightened out as soon as possible. [more inside]
A fellow aspiring entrepreneur and friend of mine is in desperate need of help. Time is of the essence! Here's the story: Two years ago he created his own business that sells custom hand-made clothes and products. He owns a website and is on all of the normal social media. One of his most effective tools to connect with customers is through instagram. He's worked hard over the years to develop a fan base of over 27K followers. Mysteriously, last night this account was hacked. They changed the password, hacked the business email, and have taken control of the brand. This account is the business' main source of revenue and advertisement. Although he's trademarked the company and taken all the normal preventative measures, the admin. at instagram claims there's nothing they can do to help. Assuming this is true, what are his available options? Essentially, my friend's ship just got hijacked by some evil bastards and he's going to need a seal team to get it back. [more inside]
I work in e-commerce at a large national retailer. We have at least four other B2B divisions at some stage of e-commerce, and we all know it's time to get our act orchestrated. The question: the head of one of the groups-- my boss-- has asked me to provide internal or external content that makes the case for not only getting our omnichannel presence together online, but also combining our processes and customer-facing (CRM) act together, too. Anyone been to this rodeo? Have any resources you can point out?
For years I have wanted to be a professional petsitter. Right now I work 30 hrs./week in an office. I would do it the "right way," getting insured, learning pet CPR, paying self-employment taxes, etc. Ideally it would be my main job, along with maybe freelance writing on the side (which I have done). Have you done this? Is it possible to make an OK living doing this? I have a lot of marketing experience and animal-related contacts, so that will help.
I'm looking for recommendations for a piece of software that automates printing and tracking quarterly bills to a few hundred customers that receive an ongoing service from a small business. I want to be able to import all the customers from Excel or something, place them in groups that pay different rates, and then EASILY print invoices once a quarter. Each invoice should come out automatically with the current rate for the group the customer is in. As the checks come in, I want to be able to enter those against the customers so I can track who has paid and who is behind. [more inside]
I lean to the insane side of life when it comes to always trying to change. I have tried three times now to change from an enterprise programmer to SOMETHING! ANYTHING else... Here I am trying again... bound for failure? [more inside]
Business Networking for a nervous nellie who wants to be a natural [more inside]
How would I go about finding a failing business/company in real life for a homework assignment? Bonus points if it is in the area of fashion or crafting. It cannot be in the air travel or auto industries. I have done a lot of looking online, but don't know where to look to identify said businesses. Thanks MeFites!
What do I need to know about promoting my small online business using Google AdWords? [more inside]
I am running a Chinese school in Beijing now to teach mandarin. Even it can not earn a lot of money right now, I still love this job and want to help more people learn Chinese and experience life in China. I really need help to develop the school, so that will be good if any one can give me some ideas for marketing on low budget to expats in Beijing for a mandarin school. Thanks!
Help a business-illiterate engineer formulate an approach for evaluating an exciting business/career opportunity. [more inside]
Computer illiteracy among top executives: there has to be a solution [more inside]
My friend is looking for a resource that will identify by states buyer contact information for large retail companies. She is a "key account representative" for a national company with a presence in half of the states in the US, and wants to find information regarding buyers for large national retailers. Years ago there was publication called "Contact Influential" that supplied this sort of info. I'm marginally familiar with Hoover's, and believe it is along these lines. Does the hive have any other suggestions?
I have a question, which I think is about morals and philosophy. I'm pretty sure I can elucidate the thing I'm looking for pretty clearly and hope this doesn't turn into chatfilter. Mainly I'm wondering if formalized discussions of this exist and looking for resources to read up on it. I call it "The Sign Painter's Dilemma" but it could also be a Tattoo Artist's Dilemma... [more inside]
I read a business book about five years ago that was about creativity and success in the workplace. It was a creative approach to business for hip young professionals. I remember it had red/pink drawings/scribbles on the cover and came out some time around 2008. It had a rather clever title. Do you know what I'm talking about? [more inside]
Which of these laptops should I get? It is a personal preference or is one better than the other? This will be mostly used for business. But I will be taking it home with me in the evenings and it will be my main primary laptop for everyday use. Both laptops have 8 GB ram, 256 SSD hard drives. 15" screens. The Lenovo has a optical drive and more ports. The Macbook Pro doesn't have an optical drive and only two USB ports.
What's a good giveaway for attendees of a mid-sized business meeting (50 people) to mark the "beginning of a new era"? May be symbolic or something useful, as long as it's not tacky. Maximum value ~25 USD.
How important is having a .com suffix to the perceived legitimacy of a website? How does it affect traffic/success, etc? Does holding onto .com as the ideal make sense in this world of domain squatters? Can we make a list of good and bad choices?
Help me name my little farm business! [more inside]
How can a small (3-5 employees) brick and mortar/e-commerce B2C retailer survive and thrive in an increasingly competitive market (outdoors/sports products) when it cannot compete on price? Any good examples of small companies doing just that? [more inside]
Sometime in the last week or two I saw (on Twitter? On Tumblr?) an image of a chalkboard coffeeshop sign. In addition to the regular menu & prices, it had a breakdown of costs (ingredients, supplies, overhead) and broke out how much profit the store was making. At least that's how it is in my memory, which might be mistaken. Can you find me this image (and attribution, if possible)? [more inside]
I am attending a two day long event at a graduate program in International Affairs in my local area. It is for students who have made it through the first round of admissions. Interviews and some other assessments will be conducted at this event, but there will be many opportunities for them to try to sell their graduate program to us. The event is this Friday and Saturday, and the dress code called for is simply business casual. For what it's worth, this program is in the South. The problem is that since I am a local candidate, I will be biking to the event. I don't fancy biking in my dress shoes, and somehow carrying my leather portfolio along the way. I imagine I'll be bringing my backpack in order to switch out my shoes and carry my portfolio. How much of a faux pas do you imagine this might be?
Writing a script, need a few believable, throwaway lines for a character. A guy running a TGI.Friday's-like bar praises his bartender, a math genius, for giving him an idea that saves money and improves the business overall. An example of outside-of-the-box thinking that enforces that our math-genius-in-disguise really is a genius. Bonus points if the idea skirts the line of legality -- something funky with accounting, maybe? [more inside]
I want to start a business while helping people in my city. One option would be to purchase a homecare franchise, such as Visiting Angels, Home Helpers, Senior Helpers, Comfort Keepers, etc. I understand that these franchises might cost anywhere from $50k - $150k plus ongoing fees. Alternately, I could hang out a shingle and start my own without any outside support. I have financial experience, but I have never done homecare and I have never owned or operated my own business. Does anybody have experience or advice with related to buying or operating a homecare franchise? Does your franchise treat its members well? Does it make sense to purchase one from a well-known provider or start from scratch? I welcome all feedback and advice!
What annoying words and phrases are popping up too often in the US workplace? Whenever I try to think of an example, it is at least 5 years old and people aren't really using it anymore. For example, "hit the ground running" or "the competition ate our lunch". (But those are too old.) [more inside]
Brother-in-law wants a loan to start a home-based business. Please evaluate if his plan seems profitable? [more inside]
How do we find who owns a specific business in a city?
Building (and purchasing) a website for a friend's company in Africa - am I legally responsible if his company gets sued for something unrelated to the site? [more inside]
Are a small corner market and a major grocery chain store typically subject to the same licensing requirements? [more inside]
Business etiquette landmines to avoid when making a sales pitch to Japanese business owners. [more inside]