10 Things Small Business Owners Need to Know


By Rieva Lesonsky


1—Most Americans Want to be a Small Business Owner

Recent research released by Vistaprint shows 62% of Americans want to be their own boss.

Other findings include:

  • Lifestyle is a bigger motivator than money when it comes to the reasons for starting a business
  • The public see risk-taking as key to an entrepreneur’s success, while actual business owners don’t consider this an important trait
  • 33% of small business owners say running a business is harder than they expected, working an average of 48 hours per week
  • 67% say their businesses are as successful as they expected it to be, and anticipate better results in 2018

Check out the infographic below for more information. And you can access the full report here.

2—Mastering the Art of Positive Confrontation

Confrontation is too often hard—even when it’s necessary. Take a look at the 11 tips in the infographic below that shows how to approach conflict the right way, courtesy of NetCredit.


3—5 Business Lessons Learned From the 2018 Winter Olympics

Guest post by Andrea Raj, Director, Strategy and Business Operations, Capital One Spark Business

  1. Know your goal: Olympic athletes always say getting to the games and winning a medal has been a lifelong dream. The Olympics was their ultimate goal and they were ruthlessly focused and disciplined on achieving that goal. SBOs could benefit from setting a similar end-state aspiration and then working backwards to achieve it. Business goals provide clarity and facilitate crisp decision making when entrepreneurs are faced with divergent paths and multiple choices.
  2. Be prepared: Similar to how athletes train and spend time conditioning for the Olympics, winning SBOs must be prepared for business challenges that come their way. Preparation comes from understanding the market of your industry, knowing your direct competitors, having business savings, actively monitoring finances, and more.
  3. A good coach and teamwork are key:Businesses, just like Olympic athletes, need a coach who can show them techniques and uncover blind spots. There are a variety of options from professional business coaches to executive education programs at business schools to organizations such as org that can offer support and advice for your business. You should also surround yourself with the right team, hiring employees who you respect, trust and know will work with you to meet benchmarks and accomplish team goals.
  4. Balance of offense and defense: Sports teams and businesses alike must maintain a balance between the offensive (selling, growth, etc.) and defense (protecting their assets, saving, etc.) to create and maintain long-term success. Though sales should be an important part of any business strategy, business owners should also focus enough time and energy around investing in assets such as customers, employees, inventory, etc. to ensure the longevity of a company.
  5. Stay persistent and stick with it: In sports, you can’t score unless you take a shot and victory does not happen overnight. The same is true in business. Whether it’s losing the game or not hitting sales for the quarter, remaining steadfast and tenacious is key in the face of any setback.


4—7 Ways Women Can Find Role Models

Guest post by Melinda Garvey, founder, On The Dot Woman

International Women’s Day is March 8. It’s goal is to create a gender inclusive society. One way that women can truly help other women is to be role models for each other. How exactly do you find those role models? See my tips below.

  1. Read books written by female leaders.The best way to understand a concept or a person is to get to the root. Read books and articles on topics that interest you. If you find an individual you admire, read what they have written. Create a deeper understanding from where their ideas stem. Seek to understand their voice and their personal story. Someone’s background can shine light on how they managed their circumstances and ended up where they are today.
  2. Do some research on those women who inspire you. The cyberworld has more of a wealth of information than many can grasp. If you see someone that you admire, parse through their internet profiles. See the material they present to the public and research their life. You can learn a lot about a person through a simple Google search. Fortunately, today, many people publish their own content on blogs and social media platforms that invite the users into their personal worldview.
  3. Attend networking events for powerful women. Quality role models are hard to come by, but with some investigating you can find leads. One of the best ways to find role models is to put yourself in situations where those around you are successful. Leadership conferences and conventions for your industry of choice are perfect hubs to hear various powerful voices in the field and gauge your interest. Don’t just pick a role model for the sake of picking one, but rather, find someone with whom you can relate and learn from their journey.
  4. Emulate qualities you like, but make them your own.When you find someone or a few people that you look up to, either physically or in the digital realm, understand which qualities you admire about them. Is it their genuine and honest approach? Is it their ability to overcome the adversities of life? Whatever the case, emulate the positive qualities. Work to achieve these goals in your own life. By no means reject your true self, but incorporate your favorite qualities of your role model into the best version of yourself. Be sure to put your own personal signature on it as well.
  5. Watch YouTube videos and take notes. The best way to learn a task or quality is to watch others do it well. Take your education into your own hands the modern way. Use the Internet, namely YouTube videos, to garner visual knowledge on a topic. If your role models have their own channel, even better. If not, just research and investigate topics of interest. For example, your role model may be into public speaking. Study up on videos of the best public speakers and their tips for improvement. The more you learn the better you will get, and seeking your own educational path is just the start.
  6. Revamp your social media. Social media is a large component of your representation of self, albeit digitally. If you want to find role models online, you have to follow content that helps you desire better for yourself. Completely refine who you follow on various platforms. Only follow content that feeds to your mission to be a better person. These digital profiles of individuals are no less role models than those you know in ‘real life.’ Due to the amount of time spent on social media platforms, this content influences your beliefs and habits tremendously. Curate inspirational content for yourself that can improve your life while learning from those you admire.
  7. Contact them directly for assistance.If you discovered a role model on the Internet or in real life, it is never a bad idea to reach out to them. Don’t expect a response—especially if they are pretty well-known. However, you never know what kind of relationship can manifest from your effort to connect. If you contact them digitally, you may foster a relationship that starts casual and ends up amounting to an in-person friendship. It is worth the risk, and if nothing else, just to express your gratitude for their impact on your life.


5—Americans Spend More at Businesses with Clean Restrooms 

New research from Wisconsin-based restroom fixture manufacturer, Bradley Corp.,—the  annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey reveals almost half of Americans say they will “definitely” or “probably” spend more money at businesses that have clean, well-maintained restrooms. In addition, nearly 60% of Americans make a conscious decision to visit a specific business because they know it has nice restrooms.

“The inherent correlation between restroom conditions, businesses and customers extends even deeper than we realized,” says Jon Dommisse, director of strategy and corporate development for Bradley Corp. “Our survey has previously highlighted how well-maintained restrooms increase patronage; learning that people also reward these businesses with their spending power was further confirmation of how consumers respond positively to clean restrooms.”

Part of the problem is 82% of consumers think a restaurant with dirty restrooms is “extremely” or “fairly” likely to have a dirty kitchen. Further, out of all types of facilities, restaurants and health care establishments cause Americans the most concern about workers not washing their hands.

Untidy restrooms send business down the drain: The survey also shows when businesses let restroom maintenance slip through the cracks, they are at a high risk of jeopardizing customer satisfaction and sales. “More than half of Americans are unlikely to return to a business after experiencing a poorly maintained restroom,” Dommisse says. “Others will complain to management, tell a friend or leave right away without completing their business.”

The concern is widespread—70% of Americans say they’re had an unpleasant restroom experience—a number that has steadily increased over the past three years. In fact, 42% said they had a bad experience within just the past two months.

When asked about the biggest pain points in restrooms, an overwhelming majority identified the following circumstances as “extremely” or “very” aggravating:

  • 83% Toilet clogged or not flushed
  • 78% Toilet paper dispenser empty or jammed
  • 74% Partition doors don’t latch
  • 73% Unpleasant smells
  • 72% Overall appearance is old, dirty or unkempt

Top restroom frustrations include having to walk across a wet floor (women in particular), reaching over someone to access soap and waiting in line for a hand dryer.

Flu-conscious Americans increase hand washing: The survey of 1,035 Americans, which was fielded Jan. 2-5, also delved into perceptions about this year’s pervasive flu season. Almost 60% of Americans are “extremely” or “quite” concerned about contracting a new or particularly resilient strain of the flu. This elevated concern appears to prompt more diligent hand washing, as 65% of Americans say they wash their hands more frequently or more thoroughly to avoid getting germs or passing them on to others.


6—On-Demand “Muscle”

If you need help moving something, Dolly is here to help. It’s an Uber-like service that allows users to request help with local deliveries from their smartphones. Users who download the app can order a Dolly whenever they need help. You can select a 30 minute pickup window between 8am-9pm, 365 days a year, as quickly as 90 minutes out. There are two general options—Truck & Muscle or Just Muscle. Definitely worth checking out.

Check out the infographic below to see some of Dolly’s craziest asks.

Quick Takes


7—You Could Win $10,000

Levi King, Co-Founder of, knows that getting a business loan is one of the top struggles of small business owners. So he’s launched “Legitify Your Small Business” Grant. And one lucky small business owner can win $10,000 to take their business to the next level.

Check it out.


8—Loans for Minority- & Women-Owned Businesses in NYC

TD Bank has committed $10 million in loan financing as part of a collective $40 million initiative that offers loans to minority- and women-owned businesses (MWBEs) in New York City’s five boroughs.

TD Bank will specifically fund the Contract Financing Loan Fund, which provides MWBEs with cash to help them grow and stay in business. Bank of America also committed $10 million to the fund and Amalgamated Bank has loaned $20 million to the Emerging Developer Loan Fund, totaling $40 million across both funds.


Cool Tools


9—Training Modules

SAP has launched SAP Learning Hub, Solution Editions, a package of eight new SAP solution-specific training modules geared toward SMBs. Customers can now retrieve focused training content and access 10 hours of hands-on practice in a live SAP training system, via SAP Live Access.

Users can “walk through” the software—from implementation and configuration, to operation, best practices and uses—allowing all involved in implementation and deployment to accelerate and maintain SAP solution-specific proficiency.

If you’d like to learn how to best make the most of your SAP solution, you can read more about SAP Learning Hub, Solution Edition, here.


10—Online Bookkeeping

Bench is an online bookkeeping platform that balances AI with human bookkeepers.

Bookkeeping is easily one of the most time-consuming back-office tasks. If you’re looking for a solution, check out Bench, an online bookkeeping platform that helps SMBs using with the help of an AI-enabled platform and a dedicated team of bookkeepers providing enterprise-level support. A few features that Bench offers to its customers:

  • Detailed financial statements with visual reports
  • Syncs with all major banks and payment platforms
  • Software that is easy to use, without a steep learning curve
  • Support for tax season with support for CPAs hired by businesses
  • The same level of data encryption used for online banking and online shopping