25 January 2018
Does your marketing work? Prove it.

As a small business owner, you’re told to sell your brand, market your product, target your demographic, advertise on social networks, email your fans, and above all, build brand awareness. So you branded and targeted and blasted and built. Now what? Well, now it’s time to ask if any of that worked. Numbers don’t lie, but they DO hide in plain site. You have to ask the right questions and collect the right data to find out how to make sense of it all.

If you’re wondering just how to gauge if your efforts are working, check out this article by our sponsor, The UPS Store®. It discusses key performance indicators, return on investment, and breaks down how you can track last year’s performance and results. And knowing what you should be looking for in the past will help you plan for a great year ahead. Read the original article here.

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16 January 2018
The Startup Support Group Next Door

There’s a coffee shop in Chicago that looks like any other, filled with entrepreneurs hustling away on laptops, sipping Americanos. This one is different though, in almost every way. Sure, you’ll pay for a latte or lunch, but not for the free financial education class, the free business coaching, or the free meeting spaces. You won’t pay to join this tight community of entrepreneurs and small businesses that teach each other things, nor the expert coaching to help you grow and succeed. It’s called Next Door and it’s a resource offered at no cost, by State Farm. The unique business does double duty, acting as a customer-research and marketing operation for State Farm and a small business community and co-working space for entrepreneurs. It’s a fusion of corporate outreach and start up bootstrapping. And it’s fantastically popular. Learn how Brett Myers, the Next Door Program Director, helps startups find their footing, stay on track, and grow their businesses using Next Door. Collaboration never tasted so good. #NextDoor #StateFarm.You can get financial and entrepreneurship education and resources from Next Door, even if you’re not in Chicago.  Subscribe to State Farm® Next Door® and try out their Free Online Financial Tools. Want to know even more? Read it here.

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11 January 2018
How These 2 Entrepreneurs Turned Their Minimum Wage Jobs Into a Multimillion-Dollar Brand

A lack of "real" jobs turned into a big opportunity for these college friends.

Chris Lynch and Michael Samer were friends in college, graduating at the start of the greatest recession since the 1920s. They scored jobs doing ocean kayak tours near San Diego, and after a couple of years, they borrowed $50,000 from family and bought the kayaking license for what became Everyday California. They put every penny back into the business and have since started a retail clothing line, a juice bar and even their own beer. A few smart decisions turned their minimum wage jobs into a multimillion-dollar brand.

READ THE ENTREPRENEUR STORY HERE

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10 January 2018
Water leaks could mean revenue leaks

Here at the START UP studios in Detroit, it’s cold. Likeminus 10° wind chill cold. Cold temps can lead to frozen pipes, and ice dams from damaged roofing materials. In addition to clean-up hassles, water damages can slow—or even shut down—business operations. Proper maintenance of appliances, pipes, drains and roofing materials are basic preventative measures you can take. Make sure you protect your business and your bottom line. Our show sponsor State Farm® can help you determine just what you need to get you through most small business challenges. That’s because State Farm offices are small businesses, too. 

Read more about ways to prevent water damage at your business location here

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