Business Basics

All my pages and posts (roll over for titles):

Local mentors can guide aspiring entrepeneurs
(intro) | 08-12-2013

 Local mentors can guide aspiring entrepeneurs Published in The Tennessean August 12, 2013 By Ed Rappuhn, Chairman - SCORE Nashville   “I’ve got this great idea and I want to start my own business. What do I need to do?” This is the...
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Start small, grow toward financing your business
(bootstrapping) | 08-26-2013

 Start small, grow toward financing your business Published in The Tennessean August 26, 2013 By Ed Rappuhn, Chairman - SCORE Nashville   “I need financing for my business; where do I start?”   The answer can depend on where yo...
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Ideas are great, but entrepreneurs also need focus
(focus) | 09-09-2013

 Ideas are great, but entrepreneurs also need focus Published in The Tennessean September 9, 2013 By Ed Rappuhn, Chairman - SCORE Nashville   “Other than having enough cash on hand, what is the most important thing I can do to help my b...
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Honest assessment can help chances for success
(SWOT) | 09-23-2013

Business Basics  Honest assessment can help chances for success  Published in The Tennessean September 23, 2013 By Ed Rappuhn, Chairman - SCORE Nashville   “New competition has entered my market – my profits are slipping. Any ideas?...
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Sales people must practice and persevere, not push
(selling skills) | 10-21-2013

Sales people must practice and persevere, not push Published in The Tennessean October 21, 2013 By Ed Rappuhn - SCORE Nashville “People have said I have a great product, but I’m an introvert and not comfortable making sales calls. I can...
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Handshakes are OK, but get a firm grip on contracts
(legal) | 11-04-2013

    "I prefer to do business on a handshake, rather than a written contract. What’s wrong with that?" While some verbal contracts or handshake agreements might be legal, other contracts require written agreements to be enforced. ...
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“Co-opetition” can prove beneficial for all involved
(partnering) | 11-04-2013

“Co-opetition” can prove beneficial for all involved Published in The Tennessean October 7, 2013 By Ed Rappuhn, Chairman - SCORE Nashville “My service is great and customers are happy.  How can we increase business without adding manpowe...
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Skills as a negotiator can pay off big in business
(negotiating) | 11-18-2013

Published in The Tennessean November 18, 2013 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville   “I buy from a distributer and I know my competition is getting better prices than I am. I don’t think they buy any more than I do, yet they undercut my cust...
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Ethical behavior pays off long term
(ethics) | 12-02-2013

Ethical behavior pays off long term Published in The Tennessean December 2, 2013 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville   Reader’s question: “I am buying a restaurant but I’m having second thoughts. The owners have told me that actual sal...
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Accentuate your business’s positives
(appreciative inquiry) | 12-16-2013

Accentuate your business’s positives Published in The Tennessean December 16, 2013 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “My business is doing well but I know it can do better. I have several repeat customers but others just seem to disappear....
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Expense control improves bottom line
(expense control) | 12-30-2013

Expense control improves bottom line Published in The Tennessean December 30, 2013 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville   "Our revenue is increasing, but our profit is declining. What's going on?"   Let’s look at your expenses in fou...
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Quality accounting enhances profits
(accounting systems) | 01-13-2014

Quality accounting enhances profits Published in The Tennessean January 13, 2014 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “I am starting a business but accounting is a mystery to me. I know I need to keep records for tax purposes, but am not a “num...
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Primary goal will dictate business type
(not-for-profit?) | 01-27-2014

Published in The Tennessean January 27, 2014 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville   “I’m planning to start a business that could be formed as a for-profit company or a not-for-profit. How do I decide?”   What is your primary aim f...
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Do your homework before setting prices
(pricing) | 02-10-2014

Published in The Tennessean February 10, 2014 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville "I'm starting a business. How do I price my services?"   First, determine if your value proposition (product or service) can generate enough revenue to satis...
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Value Proposition is important for business model
(biz model 1/3) | 02-24-2014

Published in The Tennessean February 24, 2014 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “What is a business model and why do I need one?”   Great question! A business model is a method of visualizing and understanding your business as a whol...
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Customers and revenue drive business model
(Biz Model 2/3) | 03-10-2014

Published in The Tennessean March 10, 2014 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville Two weeks ago I began to answer the question, “What is a business model and why do I need one?” A business model allows you to visualize your business and its interrel...
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Business model not complete without
(Biz model 3/3) | 03-24-2014

Published in The Tennessean March 24, 2014 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville   Four weeks ago I began to answer the question, “What is a business model and why do I need one?” A business model allows you to visualize your business and i...
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Business plan is a roadmap to success
(business plan) | 04-07-2014

Published in The Tennessean April 7, 2014  By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville "My Business Model is complete. Why should I do a Business Plan?”   Banks and equity investors often require a Business Plan when providing money to small bu...
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You learn by listening, not by speaking
(listening) | 04-21-2014

You learn by listening, not by speaking Published in The Tennessean April 21, 2014 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville   “What is the most important skill I need to be successful in business?”   Ask a dozen successful business peo...
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Look at it from the listener’s side
(communications) | 05-05-2014

Published in The Tennessean May 5, 2014  By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “How do I get buy-in from my customers, employees and vendors?”   I discussed the importance of listening two weeks ago. If you actively listen to the person...
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Smart goals improve success
(goal setting) | 05-19-2014

"Smart" goals improve success Published in The Tennessean May 19, 2014 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “I told my employees that more revenue is the major goal for this year. Now sales are up, but profit is down. What gives?”   Yo...
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Devour big projects one bite at a time
(priorities) | 06-02-2014

Devour big projects one bite at a time Published in The Tennessean June 2, 2014  By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville   “Help! I have too much to do and continue to fall behind."   My counterintuitive advice is to STOP what you'...
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Build top business writing skills
(professional writing) | 06-30-2014

Build top business writing skills Published in The Tennessean June 30, 2014            By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville "Can u help me i send lots of emails but 2 many r never opened.” Save the abbreviations for personal text mes...
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You’ll make an impression, now make it a good one
(appearances) | 07-06-2014

You’ll make an impression, now make it a good one Published in The Tennessean June 16, 2014 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville   A client asked me why he rarely made it past the first appointment with his prospects. On the phone I could t...
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Outsourcing often aids business owners
(outsourcing) | 07-14-2014

Outsourcing often aids business owners Published in The Tennessean July 14, 2014            By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville "My business is growing and I’m working 80 hours a week but I'm hesitant to hire more employees in case bus...
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Why no decision may be worst decision
(decision making) | 07-28-2014

Why no decision may be worst decision Published in The Tennessean July 28, 2014            By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “I’m having a hard time making business decisions. There’s so much information out there, some of it con...
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Exit planning’s value could be priceless
(exit planning 1) | 08-11-2014

Exit planning’s value could be priceless Published in The Tennessean August 11, 2014 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville ”I have a successful small business and am told I should consider exit planning. Where do I start?” The value of ...
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Choice of new owner impacts exit plan
(exit planning 2) | 08-25-2014

Choice of new owner impacts exit plan Published in The Tennessean August 25, 2014 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville Exit planning involves valuing your business and identifying potential buyers. Two weeks ago I discussed business valuation. Toda...
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Small changes can start chain reaction
(unintended consequences) | 09-08-2014

Small changes can start chain reaction Published in The Tennessean September 8, 2014             By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “If I could just fix (insert idea here) everything would be great.” Many clients come to me with a sing...
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Business degree not needed for success
(continuing education) | 09-22-2014

Business degree not needed for success Published in The Tennessean September 22, 2014 By Ed Rappuhn - SCORE Nashville “I’m thinking of starting a business but my degree is in art history. Do I need to go back to school?” A business de...
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Business debt may make good sense
(debt) | 10-06-2014

Business debt may make good sense Published in The Tennessean October 6, 2014 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “Our 3 year-old business is doing well. We have never had a loan and I believe in being debt free. My partner is pushing to get a l...
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Fight back against new competition
(business model revisions) | 10-20-2014

Fight back against new competition Published in The Tennessean October 20, 2014 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “We’ve been the ‘only game in town’ and things have been going great but now we have competition. I’m worried that our cu...
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Find great workers with smart hiring
(human resources) | 11-03-2014

Find great workers with smart hiring Published in The Tennessean November 3, 2014 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “We are about to hire several employees. Any advice?” Start with written job descriptions. Include requirements for ap...
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Businesses should plan for a disaster
(disaster recovery) | 11-17-2014

Businesses should plan for a disaster Published in The Tennessean November 17, 2014 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “Floods, tornados, hackers, Ebola … how do we protect our business?” You’ve been following the news and are rightf...
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Hard numbers matter in plan
(financial projections) | 12-15-2014

Hard numbers matter in plan Published in The Tennessean December 15, 2014 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “My business plan is almost complete. All that’s missing are the financial projections.” That’s like saying, “My masterpie...
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Resolve to improve your business in 2015
(resolutions) | 12-29-2014

Resolve to improve your business in 2015 Published in The Tennessean December 29, 2014 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “I need to improve my business. Where do I to start?” That’s a huge question and the answer differs based on wh...
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Don’t push ideas; focus on solutions
(SLATE) | 01-11-2015

Don’t push ideas; focus on solutions Published in The Tennessean December 1, 2014 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “Coworkers, customers, and even my wife, say I’m a bit pushy but I can’t help myself. How can I come across as having...
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Invest in excellent customer service – it’s worth the cost
| 01-12-2015

  Published in The Tennessean January 12, 2015 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “We have some tough customers. They complain about everything, much of which we can’t control. Some ask to return things after warranties have expired. We ...
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A look at options for turning around your struggling business
| 01-26-2015

Published in The Tennessean January 26, 2015 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “My business is in serious trouble. We are losing money, unable to pay our bank loan, and my house is on the line. Any advice?” Having recognized your situation, ...
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Small price hikes foil sticker shock
| 02-09-2015

Published in The Tennessean February 9, 2015 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “We provide high quality, custom products to homeowners and contractors. Our sales are increasing but profits are down. Our competitors’ prices are considerably hi...
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Franchise ownership carries risks and rewards
| 02-23-2015

  Published in The Tennessean February 23, 2015 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “I want to start a business and am considering a franchise instead of an independent start-up. Is this a good idea?” Maybe. Let’s look at the plusses a...
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Don’t mix business with politics, religion
| 03-09-2015

  Published in The Tennessean March 9, 2015 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “I’ve been told to avoid politics and religion in my business discussions. I own the business and have strong views, why can’t I share them?” You most ce...
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How to protect your property
| 03-23-2015

  Published in The Tennessean March 23, 2015 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “I've been told to protect my intellectual property. What should I protect and how should I go about it?" Intellectual property includes original works, names...
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Before starting a business
| 04-06-2015

  Published in The Tennessean April 6, 2015 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “I just lost my job and have several ideas on businesses I can start. Where should I begin?” Focus on your best idea first. Then consider the following: ...
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Successful marketing is a multipart process
| 04-20-2015

Published in The Tennessean April 20, 2015 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “I thought word-of-mouth and Facebook would be sufficient to grow my business, but I was wrong. What should I do?” Word-of-mouth helps grow a business, but it’s r...
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Harness the power of crowdfunding
| 05-04-2015

  Published in The Tennessean May 4, 2015 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “I have a great idea but need some money and will probably not qualify for a loan. Tell me about crowdfunding." Crowdfunding comes in four varieties. One popular...
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Set sales goals with long term in mind
| 05-18-2015

Published in The Tennessean May 18, 2015 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “How do I set goals and sales quotas to maximize profits?” Previously I’ve addressed SMART goals - goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Tim...
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Affordable company logos can be found
| 06-01-2015

  Published in The Tennessean June 1, 2015 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “Tennessee just spent $46,000 to create a logo. I need a new logo and brand name but can't afford to spend that much and I don’t even like what the state got....
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Alternative office space can offer flexibility
| 06-15-2015

  Published in The Tennessean June 15, 2015 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “I’m starting a new business. I can do a lot of work from home, but I need a professional space to meet with clients; Starbucks won’t cut it. What are my al...
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Body language paves way for success
| 06-29-2015

Published in The Tennessean June 29, 2015 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “I can sell my product on the phone or over my website, but repeatedly fail when face-to-face. I am clean and well-dressed but something goes amiss.” What does your ...
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7 ways to minimize nerves before your presentation
| 07-13-2015

  Published in The Tennessean July 13, 2015 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “I enjoy meeting with prospects and customers one-on-one and have been successful growing my business this way. Now I’ve been asked to do a presentation in fr...
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How to turn your hobby into a business
| 07-27-2015

  Published in The Tennessean July 27, 2015 By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville “I’ve been running a business as a hobby and am ready to get serious. Do I need to form a company and what do I do?” By running the business as a hobby, yo...
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