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Small business guru, may I sit at your feet?

You've started a small business, things have been tough, you've been staring down the barrel of failure, but you've turned it around, you made it work. How did you do it? What changes in practice and attitude really made a difference to your success? What resources did you draw upon? I'd really like to hear how you made it through the tough times. If your business is arts/craft related, even better. [more inside]
posted by M.Onniker on Apr 7, 2014 - 4 answers

 

Job hunting after small business ownership

I recently moved to a new city and am job hunting. I think I'm coming up against something in my resume and in interviews that could be handled better, but I'm not sure how. [more inside]
posted by mireille on Apr 7, 2014 - 9 answers

How to estimate website project cost when relatively inexperienced?

I have a client who has an existing website written in PHP spaghetti code and has been through a few developers. He wants to add features and upgrade to a modern framework (Django). The website is quite involved (tests, shopping cart, user authentication) and the requested features would add another layer of complexity (teachers and students). I have experience working with Django but I'm not confident enough to estimate the whole thing. Worse still, my client is non-technical and keeps asking for updates while remaining cagey about cost/ trying to lowball instead of considering technical difficulties. How does one proceed? [more inside]
posted by bodywithoutorgans on Apr 2, 2014 - 20 answers

A question about insurance.

If I go from part-time to full-time, is my employer (small business owner, <20 employees) obligated to offer me health insurance? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Mar 4, 2014 - 10 answers

Professional Looking Labeling/Packaging on the Cheap for Small Business?

I'm looking into opening an online shop with a few niche items, and I don't know how to go about packaging and labeling them. I'm very small time and this is a very small market, so I need to keep things on a budget. In theory I have a color inkjet printer and bw laser printer, but neither are cooperating at the moment, and I don't want really terrible hand made labels I've seen some people make on their printers. I can probably figure out why they're broken if there is a way to do nice looking labels on a home printer, I just haven't seen it. I can do design, but I've got little experience in the physical space. I'm also completely lost on the packaging side of things. Where can I find out about packaging and labeling cheaply for small (micro) businesses? [more inside]
posted by [insert clever name here] on Feb 27, 2014 - 7 answers

How does one start a restaurant in the US with a foreigner?

Long story short: I have a friend here in Japan who runs a ramen shop. His lifelong dream is to move to America and open a ramen shop there, and my wife and I are hoping to help him do this a few years down the road (my wife would basically run the business end of things and perhaps own it on paper, and he'd be in charge of the kitchen end of things). [more inside]
posted by DoctorFedora on Jan 29, 2014 - 13 answers

Need help & advice with Gmail business feature

I am confused with how the "business" gmail works. I do see it costs $5 which is fine. What I am seeking is to be able to send 500+ emails a day and I am limited by a regular account. [more inside]
posted by femmme on Jan 21, 2014 - 6 answers

Where can I learn modern white hat search marketing and SEO?

My small business used to rank really well for hundreds of terms. But I've dropped for some major terms and been obliterated for others. How do I fix this? [more inside]
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats on Jan 9, 2014 - 12 answers

End of World problems: disaster recovery / secure remote access for SMB?

What are IT folks doing to ensure continuity for small business customers whose offices could be affected by natural disasters? Is XenDesktop a good idea, and if so, what configuration would seem to make the most sense? Other ideas also fervently solicited. [more inside]
posted by Embryo on Dec 19, 2013 - 5 answers

Los Angeles Very Small Business Taxes

I have a very, very small business (a blog; it gets decent traffic and I made some money advertising). I have some questions, and I'd like to speak to a tax professional or attorney for probably less than 30 minutes. I'm in Los Angeles, CA. Can you recommend someone and give me a ballpark cost? [more inside]
posted by insectosaurus on Dec 18, 2013 - 3 answers

Small business IT Support

So my wife has a small business (5 employees, 3 in the USA and 2 in China), and I currently do IT support for them "for free". I'd like to get out of doing this for several reasons. [more inside]
posted by escher on Dec 13, 2013 - 0 answers

Does my very small business need a lawyer?

This question made me wonder if I need to do any legal stuff for my small business. [more inside]
posted by BlahLaLa on Dec 6, 2013 - 13 answers

Working as a petsitter

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.
posted by trillian on Nov 16, 2013 - 15 answers

Do I need professional help?

Setting up an LLC for the first time. Do I need an attorney or accountant? Or both? [more inside]
posted by kdern on Oct 21, 2013 - 6 answers

How to avoid training a competitor

My husband and I have a small business. It is beginning to do well so we are thinking of hiring a part-time commission-based sales person and even have a specific guy in mind. However, this makes us very nervous: the whole business is predicated on relationship-building within a rather small, tight-knit industry, coupled with not-commonly available knowledge of how certain things work. How do smart small businesses manage their salesforce without essentially providing paid training to a future competitor? [more inside]
posted by rada on Sep 16, 2013 - 16 answers

How to loan money between friends.

A friend of mine would like to loan me £5000. I would like to accept his offer and do so with a fair arrangement to repay. Help? [more inside]
posted by Callicvol on Sep 5, 2013 - 17 answers

Soliciting Angie's List reviews?

I've updated my Angie's List listing. I have no reviews as of yet, although I've been in business since 2005. Is it ethical to solicit reviews from clients? I'm thinking of sending an email saying something like, "I'm now on Angies's List. Feel free to write a review, should you wish. Here's the link." Nothing begging or hat-in-hand, of course. What's the protocol? Is there a protocol?
posted by BostonTerrier on Aug 21, 2013 - 13 answers

Accounting/Tax preparation software. Mac + Canada + idiot

I have looked at previous questions but truly don't understand what I am actually needing enough to judge suitability. Here's what I have and what I need. I don't know what to track (in the finer sense) or how best to track it but I have a fair bit of money coming in and out and I'd like to know if I am ahead this year and also whether I have (for instance) enough tax room to upgrade stuff that I can write off (ie new Macbook Pro, specific software for my stuff, specific hardware etc.). [more inside]
posted by Brockles on Jul 26, 2013 - 1 answer

East Bay Small Business Banking?

Any recommendations for small business banking in the East Bay? With one small exception my needs are pretty basic. [more inside]
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly on Jul 22, 2013 - 3 answers

How do I rent an apartment on behalf of a small business?

How do I rent an apartment on behalf of a small business? [more inside]
posted by jander03 on Jul 15, 2013 - 2 answers

Help me hang out a shingle.

Following on from this question, I have decided to start offering private, custom arts & crafts workshops. I'm hoping to find people who need someone to help them plan an art activity, bring the materials, and run the workshop-- so, birthday parties, homeschool co-ops, scout groups and the like. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to find them. [more inside]
posted by nonasuch on May 21, 2013 - 14 answers

Is it a farm if you mainly grow kids and locust trees?

Help me name my little farm business! [more inside]
posted by annathea on May 5, 2013 - 13 answers

Thriving as a small brick and mortar/e-commerce B2C retailer?

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]
posted by Foci for Analysis on Apr 15, 2013 - 5 answers

Invoicing & accounting software / methods for freelance & small biz

I'm currently looking at adopting Freshbooks or Kashoo, and would be interested in experiences with either, or other recommendations. Context: I'm a few years into freelancing (across a few different industries) and I'm working on improving my accounting, with the goals of easier tax time, smoother day-to-day operations, and better information about cashflow and budgeting. Right now I use Toggl for time tracking, and Mint for expense tracking and budgeting; I like Toggl but I'm not married to it, and Mint is starting to drive me absolutely nuts. I do invoicing and bookkeeping manually. Also welcome would be general tips on bookkeeping and accounting for small businesses / freelancers. I'm on a Mac, in Canada.
posted by sixswitch on Apr 1, 2013 - 2 answers

apparently I am not the only person who likes tiny furniture.

So, I'm running a fairy garden craft workshop in the store I work at in April. I've done this activity before when I worked at an after-school program, so I pretty much know what I'm doing with the actual crafting. However, interest in the workshop has been high enough that I would like to try running private workshops for people, and already have two people interested in hiring me for this. How do I figure out what to charge them, what do I offer to provide, and how do I find more clients if I want to make any actual money? [more inside]
posted by nonasuch on Mar 28, 2013 - 2 answers

Who to host our small biz services on the interweb and stop SERVER DOWN!

What would be the best type of provider (web-hosting, hosted exchange, cloud storage) for a small business with less than 20 employees? Would a company like Godaddy.com or our current phone and internet provider. We are currently with Cbeyond. It seems like it may be simpler to go with our phone provider but I feel like they are not really specialized in this type of thing and therefore maybe not as good or reliable. Also, we would like no more, "NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! WE HAVE NO EMAIL ACCESS. SERVER DOWN, I REPEAT SERVER DOWN!" [more inside]
posted by Che boludo! on Feb 8, 2013 - 7 answers

Bookkeeping business--can I make a living?

Accounting degree, experienced bookkeeper working for other folks, already know Quickbooks, etc. A small amount of capital ($5-6k) and a current part-time job that pays just enough to cover my expenses, but it's only going to last another year or so. I could go get another bookkeeping job, but I'm sick of making next to nothing and having next to no control over my work. How can I make myself viable as a business? [more inside]
posted by Ex-Wastrel on Feb 7, 2013 - 6 answers

Help! File for me, s'l vous plais!

Looking for a referral for a tax preparer for personal and small creative business. I am located in Los Angeles. [more inside]
posted by i_wear_boots on Jan 24, 2013 - 1 answer

In which I wish to acquire kickass organizational skills.

I have a small niche food business. I have no organizational skills. You can see where this is going. [more inside]
posted by Kitteh on Jan 9, 2013 - 15 answers

How do I assess my parents' small business situation?

Both my parents and one of my partner's parents run small businesses, and they're not doing well. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 3, 2013 - 13 answers

Should we create a business for our airbnb'ing?

Should we create a business for our Airbnb listing? After our Mom moved into a rest home this year, we listed her (out of state) place on Airbnb and did surprisingly well. In fact, we grossed more than $10,000. But we frequently had incidental expenses - I had to fly in several times, the cleaning service was $75 each time, and there were some modest house expenses when things had to be replaced or were broken, etc. With our 2012 taxes coming up, we're wondering if it would be helpful to create a business for this, or if people have done this? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Dec 17, 2012 - 7 answers

Best shipping method for home business.

Help me decide on my small home business shipping system! [more inside]
posted by PlutoniumX on Dec 12, 2012 - 8 answers

Nail Spa 101

Someday, maybe 10 years from now, I would very much like to own my own nail salon and mini day spa. Aside from saving my pennies, what can I do now to get myself prepared to make said salon a super hygienic, super chic, and hopefully successful enterprise? [more inside]
posted by These Birds of a Feather on Dec 2, 2012 - 17 answers

Resources for starting a small business in Canada?

You started a small business in Canada. What books, websites etc. taught you how to do it? Are there any resources that you particularly recommend? What did you learn along the way that you wish you knew when you started? What techniques and software do you use to track expenses, hours worked, inventory, sales etc? Is there any common advice on running a small business that you strongly disagree with? (I'm tentatively planning to make and sell festival clothes and accessories.)
posted by fullerenedream on Nov 21, 2012 - 6 answers

Looking for recommendations for small business accounting software - your thoughts?

Looking for recommendations for small business accounting software - your thoughts? [more inside]
posted by torietorie on Nov 19, 2012 - 5 answers

How does one move from employee to independent contractor intelligently?

My husband is a computer programmer and is considering moving to independent contracting. We are researching the idea. I normally do well with Google, but I'm failing this time. Please help? [more inside]
posted by RogueTech on Nov 12, 2012 - 10 answers

Running a one-employee business

I'm curious how people hire employees for a business that only needs to have one employee present at any given time. How do you deal with sick days, lateness, etc.? Further details inside. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Nov 5, 2012 - 14 answers

Eccommerce Startup Question

I have grand ideas for an ecommerce web site and am curious about how to get where I need from an inventory perspective. [more inside]
posted by kmurray24 on Sep 28, 2012 - 8 answers

Lack the inspiration for a fancy title

How can I expand my business from a 1 person independent freelance/contractor to a few people (or with an assistant?) While simultaneously maintaining high quality and being able to trust the project or parts of the project to others. [more inside]
posted by Dances with sock puppets on Sep 27, 2012 - 6 answers

Square deposit limits

Experiences with getting Square to raise card-not-present transaction limits? [more inside]
posted by Salvatorparadise on Sep 25, 2012 - 1 answer

Books about day-to-day operations of a small business

Book recommendations requested: I liked My Korean Deli, which went into considerable detail about the day-to-day operation of a small convenience store. [more inside]
posted by enn on Sep 21, 2012 - 9 answers

how is kickstarter formed?

Kickstarter advice: Have you done a successful Kickstarter? An unsuccessful one? What do you wish you had known in advance? And does my Kickstarter sound likely to succeed? [more inside]
posted by nonasuch on Sep 5, 2012 - 17 answers

How to deal with possibly litigious client

We're a small auto-repair business. How do we deal with a potentially litigious client? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Aug 11, 2012 - 23 answers

Mac tech-support in Indy?

Mac small-business tech support in Indy? [more inside]
posted by Thorzdad on Aug 10, 2012 - 3 answers

How can I launch a vintage repro line?

I'm interested in getting reproductions of vintage clothing made. Am I better off finding a local seamstress, or should I scale up? [more inside]
posted by nonasuch on Aug 6, 2012 - 14 answers

Technical Writer Seeks Non-Conglomerate for Employment-based Relationship

How can I find a job at a smaller company given my recent work experience (technical writing)? [more inside]
posted by eggplantplacebo on Aug 1, 2012 - 3 answers

What is an alternative to a 301 redirect when switching domains without owning the old domain?

My successful small business website is on a subdomain owned by the website template provider. I want to switch providers and domains without loosing my websites search engine rankings. Since a 301 redirect isn't an option, what else can I do to maintain my website's Google rankings? [more inside]
posted by gwen1234 on Jul 25, 2012 - 3 answers

Small Business 101

Today's fantasy: buying the small business my husband works for. Talk me through the steps like I'm a 5-year-old. [more inside]
posted by Laura Macbeth on Jul 25, 2012 - 4 answers

stories about working for yourself; achieving success.

stories about working for yourself; (fearing and achieving) success. [more inside]
posted by ebesan on Jul 16, 2012 - 4 answers

How do first time business owners find out all the things they need to do before they can open their doors?

A hypothetical business like a pizza place (but it could be something else) wants to open up shop. How do the hypothetical first time business owners find out all the things they should or need to do before they can open their doors? Things like.... [more inside]
posted by Feel the beat of the rhythm of the night on Jul 14, 2012 - 18 answers

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