Finding new clients requires new skills. Here's how to expand beyond your comfort zones.
We have a small business with a number of federal government contracts. We would like to expand to the commercial arena, but have not been able to find a service or method that would provide market differentiation (other than offering lower costs than our bigger and better-known competitors). Would acquiring a firm offering a compatible "niche" be the best move for expansion? In terms of growing federal and perhaps state government sales, would hiring a "consultant" be wise? I am interested in hearing from business owners who have tried both methods. Thanks!
Small companies have a hard enough time finding affordable health coverage for their workers. When your staff is scattered throughout the U.S., it's even tougher.
Barbara, Westfield, Mass.
We are a small company of just over 30 employees based in Massachusetts. Our employees are across the USA, working out of their homes or at clients' sites. We are having a hard time finding good health insurance. Any suggestions?
If you own your own company, you can skip a salary in favor of distributions, but the IRS still wants its share of the money you take home.
Do shareholders have to take a salary in an S corp? Can they just take distributions? How about an LLC?Aug 31, 2009 9:08 AM ET
Not sure if you're underpaying or overpaying? Third-party salary surveys can help.
Thomas, San Francisco
I have a video production company with five full-time editors. I'm always stressed thinking I'm either overpaying them and I'm going to go broke, or underpaying them and am going to lose them and/or they're going to get resentful. Because of this, I realize I manage them nervously, which is not good management. How MORE
Experts reveal the best ways to keep company information in the building when the employees exit.
Tom Goll, Owner, U.S. Diversified Tech, Nashua, N.H.
We always hear about what employees should do to prepare for layoffs. But what should employers do to ensure that company data, contacts and customer lists don't walk out the door with terminated employees?
How much should you pay your company directors? First, take a hard look at what skills they'll need to guide your business.
Paul Dzera, MGBD, New York City
What would you recommend for determining board of directors' fee levels (annual retainer, board meeting fees, committee meeting fees, etc.), both in cash and stock options? I have a small public company with revenues of about $30 million. To date, I have reviewed the MORE
Not every business owner contributes equally to a company's success, but with advance planning, you can adjust salaries accordingly.
Michele Cosentini, Baltimore
I am planning to start up an LLC with three partners. We will be designing and facilitating retreats. What is the best way to figure out how much to pay each of us? We will each spend time working both individually and together, and I'm not sure MORE
Is a court likely to uphold a restrictive noncompete agreement? It depends on where you live.
Ryan H. from Fort Wayne, Ind.
When I started my current job, I signed a noncompete agreement without really reading it. After reading it in full, I discovered that it sounds like they're trying to keep me out of the entire Web design industry, anywhere in the U.S., for two years after leaving. I MORE
If you need to cut costs, here's some tips on how to break the bad news to the staff.
Richard Ryan, Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina, Charleston
I own a small restaurant that grosses around half a million a year. I am going into my third year and I currently employ six people. Most of them live off this job. I am holding a meeting today to explain why everybody will have MORE
If you work with outside staffing agencies, both sides have some responsibility for ensuring that your workers are legal.
Sharon Rider, Lake Charles, La.
If a small business needs temporary help and uses a staffing firm to obtain hourly workers, who will be subject to penalties if the workers turn out to be illegal aliens? Is it the small business or the staffing firm?