Welcome to The Small Business Show!


Each week Dave Hamilton and Shannon Jean discuss topics related to starting, growing and managing your small business. You’ll find real-world advice from ourselves as well as from other business owners. Listen in and learn from our mistakes, share your successes and generally have a good time talking about small businesses.

Listen to the latest episodes of The Small Business Show below and subscribe to keep listening each week.

Connect with us on Twitter @BusinessShowCo and Facebook.com/businessshow.co

You can also leave us a voicemail message or send us a text at 401-472-4249. Ask a question, tell a story or make a comment that we can share on the show!

Small Business Employee Benefits – Maximize Impact and Minimize Cost – Small Business Show 146

small business employee benefitsHow important are the benefits that you offer to your employees? Are they valued more than cash? And how do you keep your benefit expenses down while maximizing the impact to your employees? Join us on episode 146 of the Small Business Show for all this and more!

Benefits, beyond salaries and wages can have a dramatic impact on your employees and your bottom line. Dave and Shannon spend time today discussing how to best manage the increasing costs of health care and dealing with the impact of the Affordable Care Act. We also discuss outsourcing health care management before jumping into a discussion of benefits beyond health care.

Paid time off – whether in the form of vacation, sick or personal time can be a powerful benefit to offer to your employees. We discuss using flex time and the idea of unlimited vacation and how they both impact your business.

Shannon discusses the power of food as a benefit to your employees (and yourself!) – keeping your employees well fed can be a powerful performance incentive. We wrap up the show with a discussion of Checks vs. Cash vs. giving gifts to your employees – which has the biggest impact?

Listen in for all this and more! When you’re done with this episode, join us at the Small Business Support Group on Facebook to share your stories and thoughts on employee benefits.

Chapters/Timestamps:

  • 00:00:00 Small Business Show #146 for Wednesday, November 22, 2017
  • 00:01:30 Renting an apartment in NYC
  • 00:02:04 The Benefit of Benefits
  • 00:03:03 Healthcare Benefits
  • 00:06:11 Managing Healthcare Costs
    • Handling the HR requirements for your employees – time consuming and expensive
  • 00:09:41 What is the impact of ACA?
  • 00:11:38 PTO = Paid Time Off
  • 00:12:53 Offering your employees flexibility and empowerment
  • 00:14:22 Unlimited Vacation Time
  • 00:20:02 Research the laws
  • 00:21:09 USPS Informed Delivery/Insights Can be… your friend?
  • 00:23:04 Comp Time/Flex Time
  • 00:25:38 Aim for the bellies
  • 00:30:41 Empty the trash
  • 00:31:45 Bonuses – Checks vs. Cash vs. Gifts
  • 00:37:58 SBS 146 Outtro

What to do When Your Small Business gets Sued – Small Business Show 145

small business lawsuitMany Small Business owners would agree, it’s not “if” but “when”. Will you have someone file a frivolous lawsuit against your company, or perhaps have a disagreement with a supplier that winds up in court. Or maybe a disgruntled employee feels like they were mistreated and they want to be compensated. No matter how it comes about, lawsuits can be a tricky minefield that can cause you to take your eye off your business.

Join us on episode 145 of the Small Business Show to hear how to avoid getting sued in the first place, how to respond if you are sued and where to turn for help.

Dave and Shannon discuss both sides of the courtroom – suing or getting sued and offer some sage advice about leaving your ego at home and not bringing your sense of justice when trying to settle a case. But first, learn about the mechanics and timing of a lawsuit – the more you know the more you can avoid pitfalls that can sink your chances of winning a case.

Once you know how things will unfold, we jump into the Demand Letter and what to do if you receive one. Along with how to work with your attorney, insurance company and banker to be sure you and your business are protected during the entire process.

Listen in and then visit the Small Business Support Group to offer YOUR advice and comment on our stories!

Sponsor: StoryBlocks. Get a “Triple Bundle” – images, video, and audio – for the price of one with our special deal. Visit StoryBlocks.com/sbs to get all of this for just $149 for a full year of unlimited access where all content is royalty-free!

Chapters/Timestamps:

  • 00:00:00 Small Business Show #145 for Wednesday, November 15, 2017
  • 00:01:43 What to do when you’ve been sued
  • 00:04:38 Lawsuits are like spiders
  • 00:07:12 Opportunity Cost of lawsuits
  • 00:08:43 Learn judgment
  • 00:10:47 Demand Letter
  • 00:11:14 SPONSOR: Storyblocks.com/sbs gets you their Triple Bundle for just $149
  • 00:12:51 Shannon’s story about being sued because he didn’t license his images
  • 00:15:19 End sponsor slot
  • 00:15:25 Avoid ego with lawsuits, leave your sense of Justice at home
  • 00:17:00 Watch your cashflow during a lawsuit
  • 00:18:23 The process
  • 00:22:24 Meet your attorney before the lawsuit arrives
  • 00:24:40 Check your insurance
  • 00:26:03 Talk to your employees, your banker…
  • 00:29:53 …and your spouse!
  • 00:31:38 SBS Outtro

How to Handle Layoffs, Firings and Exits from your Small Business – Small Business Show 144

When the time comes to let an employee go, what are some best practices to keep your Small Business running smoothly during the transition? Should you worry about how it will impact other employees? Are there rules about how you go about firing someone in your state? Should you apologize to the person you are laying off? Join us on this episode of the Small Business Show for answers to these questions and much more!

Your co-hosts have been to the party, they’ve seen this movie before and it’s not their first Rodeo. Having experiences with firing and laying off employees during their 25+ years in business has made it clear to both Shannon and Dave that how you handle these “Exit” situations can have a profound impact (both positive and negative) on your Small Business.

We start the show with Shannon’s belief that in most situations, it’s ultimately the fault of management (that includes YOU, small business owner) when you have to fire someone – listen in to find out why and then let us know if you agree with this concept. Then, we dive right into what type of message your actions send to the rest of your employees, how thinking of yourself as a Steward to your employees can help you to frame things correctly and how to handle layoffs that will impact your cashflow.

Even the eternal optimists at the Small Business Show want to warn you about being overly optimistic during these situations and how it can ruin your layoff strategy, along with tips on keeping communication flowing during this type of transition and how to embrace the “art of firing”.

Join us today – we have a lot to talk about. Then, come share your experiences on the Small Business Support Group!

 

Sponsor: StoryBlocks. Get a “Triple Bundle” – images, video, and audio – for the price of one with our special deal. Visit StoryBlocks.com/sbs to get all of this for just $149 for a full year of unlimited access where all content is royalty-free!

Chapters/Timestamps:

  • 00:00:00 Small Business Show #144 for Wednesday, November 8, 2017
  • 00:01:01 Sponsorships… in the last episode!
  • 00:01:18 Layoffs and Firing: Letting people go
  • 00:03:37 It’s a failure on your part
  • 00:04:52 Sending the wrong message
  • 00:05:16 Never take this lightly
  • 00:06:49 You are your employees’ steward
  • 00:08:13 Your employees see things differently from you
  • 00:09:35 Two different types of firings
  • 00:10:01 SPONSOR: StoryBlocks.com/sbs gets you their Triple Bundle for just $149
  • 00:12:33 Layoffs – the Burn rate vs. the Earn rate
  • 00:14:15 Don’t let optimism ruin your layoff strategy
  • 00:16:03 Layoffs: You don’t get to pick who stays, just who goes
  • 00:17:27 Communicate with everyone
  • 00:18:15 No closed doors allowed
  • 00:19:38 Sacrificing yourself first
  • 00:22:40 No “poor me” cards allowed
  • 00:23:45 Draw the paycheck and loan it back to the company
  • 00:24:37 Learn about Basis for your Investment in your Business
  • 00:25:31 The art of firing
  • 00:26:53 Employees that can’t transition with your business
  • 00:30:32 The value of exit interviews
  • 00:32:04 Do you apologize?
  • 00:33:14 Be aware of becoming too comfortable
  • 00:34:09 Don’t do it alone
  • 00:37:08 SBS 144 Outtro

Podcasts as a Small Business – Sponsors and Where to Invest for the Biggest Impact – Small Business Show 143

Podcasting as a small businessWhen is it time to turn a labor of love into a real Small Business? And what pitfalls do you have to watch out for during the process? Dave and Shannon try to answer those questions and more on episode 143 of the Small Business Show!

Join us today as we discuss why we do the Small Business Show and the numbers behind our downloads and subscribers. Information that any potential sponsor of the show would want to know. We also discuss ad rates and how to go about avoiding future conflicts over advertising rates when your show is still small, but growing fast.

We then chat about how working with sponsors has us thinking of ways to invest that revenue to make SBS better for everyone. Should we invest in a new website, new advertising to grow our subscriber base or something else? Here’s your chance to give us your two-cents and offer us some advice.

Listen in for a behind-the-scenes look at the Small Business Show and the business of Podcasting. Then, join us in the Small Business Support Group to share your thoughts on just where to invest our earnings.

Chapters/Timestamps

  • 00:00:00 Small Business Show #143 for Thursday, November 2, 2017
  • 00:01:11 Tangent: the business of leasing hunting blinds
  • 00:03:26 Seeking sponsorships
  • 00:06:02 The numbers
  • 00:11:21 Managing the customer expectation
  • 00:12:25 Strategies for customer success
  • 00:14:04 Contact us at Feedback@businessshow.co and in the Small Business Support Group on Facebook
  • 00:15:12 It’s time for a new bank account
  • 00:17:57 Then what? Where to invest this back in the podcast?
  • 00:21:16 Finding the right partner… under your nose!
  • 00:23:22 Finding the right sponsors for your content
  • 00:25:09 Glasses … for nerds!
  • 00:26:27 Give us your feedback
  • 00:27:29 SBS Outtro

Tips for Choosing an Online Bank and How to Get Paid on Time – Small Business Show Episode 142

how to get paid on time

Ever have problems getting paid by your clients in a timely manner? We’ve all been there – that’s why it’s worth joining us today on the Small Business Show for tips and tricks that can improve your cash-flow by getting you paid on-time and in full.

Oh, and there’s also another rant from Shannon about online banking and restrictions – you’ve heard these before, but he’s got a bit of a different take on it this time. Specifically, the inefficiency of banks when it comes to sending wire transfers on a regular basis.

We then jump into the best way to bill for your product or service and how to make it so easy for your customers that they won’t have any excuse but to get you paid quickly. Of course, there will be those that still have problems and those folks require some special attention. Dave makes the case that an unpaid invoice is a customer service opportunity (or a disaster) and if you handle the payment collection correctly, you can solidify a customer relationship for a lifetime.

We close the show with our thoughts on when to stop providing products or services to a company that has one or more past due invoices and some ways to negotiate a payment plan.

Listen in and then send us your tips for getting paid on time! And if you’re looking for some cool Small Business folks to hang out with, jump over to our Facebook Small Business Support Group to learn more and to share your knowledge.

 

Chapters/Timestamps:

  • 00:00:00 The Small Business Show #142 for October 25, 2017
  • 00:00:36 Dave The Nerd’s Consulting Business… Kicks Back Into Gear!
  • 00:03:17 Finding the right bank
  • 00:06:16 Then the Roadblocks start
  • 00:09:28 Approving your transactions
  • 00:11:55 Wire transfer efficiency
  • 00:13:56 Contact your two favorite business geeks
  • 00:15:37 Set yourself up to be paid easily!
  • 00:21:28 What to do when they’re not paying
  • 00:22:43 Keep emotions out of the process
  • 00:25:30 An unpaid invoice is a customer service opportunity
  • 00:26:42 What to do when someone doesn’t pay?
  • 00:31:31 Radio silence is easy… and painful!
  • 00:31:59 SBS Outtro

Building a Rental Car Small Business on the Turo Platform – Small Business Show 141

turo rental car small businessEver dream of driving an exotic sports car? How about having a dozen of them parked in your garage, all being paid for by your rental customers? This week Shannon and Dave meet two entrepreneurs who have built a fast-growing and successful Small Business using the Turo car rental platform. If you’ve ever dreamed of that new Porsche or Jaguar, but couldn’t figure out a way to pay for it, this is the show you don’t want to miss!

Gurjit Singh and Kevin Chou started The Gentleman’s Garage about two years ago and have expanded it to a dozen sports cars with availability in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Vegas. The guys share their story today, talking about the challenges of getting started, dealing with problems and removing obstacles to growth.

You’ll learn about managing risk, protecting yourself (and your cars) and the importance of having a strong platform that backs you up with insurance and background checks. We discuss how Gurjit and Kevin divide up their duties and how they have fine tuned their rental business to insure that each car is profitable – removing older, slower performing vehicles and adding newer models to keep their fleet fresh.

One key aspect becomes clear during the interview, Singh and Chou are focused on creating and managing the customer experience for customers that value convenience over price. By distinguishing there rentals with concierge style service, they have built a strong reputation with continued plans for growth.

Join us today to learn about these topics and more, then join the discussion on the Small Business Support Group!

Chapters/Timestamps:

  • 00:00:00 Small Business Show #141 October 18, 2017
  • 00:01:36 Gurjit Singh & Kevin Chou – Using Turo as a Small Business platform
  • 00:03:46 It all starts with two Mustangs … and a BMW
  • 00:04:25 Turo covered the repair!
  • 00:05:36 Beware the damage claims
  • 00:06:47 Think about how people will drive your vehicles
  • 00:07:58 Turo manages the risk
  • 00:08:46 Turo valet service
  • 00:09:20 Each car makes 2-3x monthly payment
  • 00:11:31 The logistics of management
  • 00:13:34 One-way fee
  • 00:14:41 With affluent customers, you’re managing an experience
  • 00:17:17 If you’re going to rent it out, don’t buy new!
    • Certified Pre-Owned works very well for Turo
  • 00:20:23 Managing the fleet – new cars, selling cars, registrations
  • 00:21:38 The bankers slow you down!
  • 00:24:46 Did making it a business ruin your hobby?
  • 00:25:44 “The cars are still a thrill to drive”
    • Converting to a membership business
  • 00:27:45 Visit Gurjit and Kevin’s The Gentleman’s Garage on Turo … and Facebook
  • 00:28:57 SBS 141 Outtro

Small Business Contracts and Getting Paid on Time – Small Business Show 140

small business contractsEver been surprised by the small print in a contract that you signed for your Small Business? Join us today for episode 140 of the Small Business Show for tips on how to respond when companies try slip egregious terms and conditions into their contracts, how to shut down automatic bank withdrawals by using the Revoke Authorization tactic and much more.

Dave and Shannon then jump into a discussion about setting up clear and concise payment terms to be sure you get paid quickly for your products and services. Setting a clear payment policy that is shown up front to your customers is critical to avoiding problems with getting paid in full and on time.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for part 2 of our Getting Paid discussion when we’ll discuss the best ways to manage debt collection.

Next week, we’ll be joined by a pair of Small Business owners running their company on the Turo car sharing platform. Listen in and then jump over to the Small Business Support Group to comment and ask your questions.

Chapters/Timestamps:

  • 00:00:00 Small Business Show #140 October 11, 2017
  • 00:01:20 Follow-up on Phone systems – Get enough data!
  • 00:04:20 Credit Card Follow-up
  • 00:06:51 Pay attention to contracts
  • 00:09:50 Learn about “Revoke Authorization” compliance
  • 00:13:46 Send important emails with the recipient on the phone – to confirm verbal receipt.
  • 00:16:45 Watch out for the arbitrary fees
  • 00:17:52 Mind the details
  • 00:19:15 Things you can do to make sure you get paid
  • 00:20:32 Have a very clear payment policy
  • 00:23:56 Get comfortable discussing money
  • 00:24:45 “The value of your skill drops precipitously once you perform it”
  • 00:27:12 Have a pre-services info sheet/agreement
  • 00:28:16 Make sure to bill for your time
  • 00:30:12 Debt Collection coming up!
  • 00:30:40 Turo.com car sharing platform interview coming up next week
  • 00:31:00 SBS 140 Outtro

Small Business Phone Systems – PBX, VOIP and Mobile – Small Business Show 139

small business phone systemWhat’s the best Small Business phone system? Join Dave and Shannon today on episode 139 of the Small Business Show to hear about options ranging from pricey PBX systems, to Voice Over IP services like Phone.com, RingCentral and Grasshopper.

During the discussion, Shannon spends some time pointing out how critical your phone auto-attendant can be when showing your customers what type of company you are. Current and potential clients will quickly learn about your business, based on how they are treated when calling your Small Business.

We then jump into a discussion about mobile phone plans using traditional carriers, along with new offerings from Xfinity Mobile. Watch out for hardware compatibility issues and be sure to do the math correctly when comparing plans.

Join us today and then share your phone tips at the Small Business Support Group!

Chapters/Timestamps:

  • 00:00:00 Small Business Show #139 October 5, 2017
  • 00:01:08 Beware of too much time on your hands
  • 00:02:30 Gone is the $10,000 PBX Phone System!
  • 00:05:25 Are wired phones obsolete for your business?
  • 00:12:14 Your phone system’s auto-attendant defines you
  • 00:15:53 Question your existing systems
  • 00:18:57 Beware the snowballs
  • 00:23:26 Xfinity Mobile
  • 00:27:15 Make sure you do the math!
  • 00:29:14 SBS 139 Outtro

Mistakes to Avoid and Tips about Small Business Financial Statements – Small Business Show 138

Mistakes to avoid small business financial statementsHow important is it to understand and review your Small Business Balance Sheet, Profit and Lose Statement and Cash Flow Statement and how often should you be doing it? Join us today on episode 138 of the Small Business Show for our thoughts on these issues and more!

Your financial statements are a window into your business. Failure to understand and review them frequently can lead to some massive headaches (take it from our own experiences!). On today’s show, we discuss where to get help in understanding what the data in your financials means and how to spot red flags that can be addressed early, before they become major issues. We then discuss the pitfall of focusing solely on Revenue instead of Cash flow that is the blood of your business. Many “profitable” Small Businesses have closed up shop for lack of cash.

Then it’s time to roll out the idea of sharing your financials with your employees – in ways that protect your information but help to explain just how your Small Business makes money and where that money goes. There’s no doubt that your employees think your making more cash than you actually are, so it’s important to let them in on the data that shows how much it really costs to run your company.

Finally, we discuss how often you should be meeting with your accountant – definitely NOT just at tax time.

Join us for these topics and more and then click over the the Small Business Support Group to comment and provide your own tips!

 

Resources mentioned on this episode:

The Balance: Guide to understanding financial statements
QuickBooks: Warning signs in your financial statements

The Balance: How to prepare a Cash Flow Statement

Small Business Website Names and the Exciting World of Credit Card Merchant Processing – Small Business Show 137

small business credit card processingShould you be worried about only using a .COM domain name for your Small Business? How do you deal with coming up with a domain name if your Small Business name is not available as a .COM web address? Join us for episode 137 of the Small Business Show to find out what longtime, serial Small Business owners Dave Hamilton and Shannon Jean think about this and much more.

We then jump into a riveting discussion about old-school merchant credit card processing vs. newer solutions from Stripe, Square and Paypal. Dave shares his story of having to dig deep into actual paper reports to find out just how much his business has been getting charged and what roadblocks are being put in his way to keep his customers ongoing, subscription based payments intact when he changes processors.

In the end, we agree with Paypal COO Bill Ready when he says “Talking about payment processing just for the sake of payment processing is just not that interesting.” The discussion needs to be about how transparent, contextual and portable can payment processing become.

Listen in and then visit the Small Business Show Support Group on Facebook to ask your questions or comment!

 

Chapters/Timestamps:

  • 00:00:00 Small Business Show #137 September 20, 2017
  • 00:01:00 The concept of limited willpower
  • 00:03:04 Todd-URLs for your Company name 
  • 00:07:25 Changing Merchant Providers
    • Traditional gateway/bank processor vs. Stripe, Square, Paypal
  • 00:11:06 The power of printing reports on paper to find out what’s going on
  • 00:13:07 Watch the numbers!
  • 00:15:27 Authorize.net tries one last time to screw Dave
  • 00:17:50 Watch out for old-school, handcuff business models
  • 00:23:19 Payments should be a boring thing, with the price going down
  • 00:24:54 SBS Outtro