Blog Posts

A Few Words for Focus Blog Post Image

A Few Words for Focus

By Mark Julian

“When I started a business back in the 1980s, I was fortunate to have a caring friend and advisor that had more life and business experience than me; someone that was easy to talk to and confide in. It didn’t hurt that they too, had owned and operated a small-business and, so could relate to the challenges that a new business owner encounters. In hindsight, they’d taken on the role of being a mentor – an experienced and trusted advisor…”

Preparing your Business for Cinco De Mayo Blog Image

One of the best celebrations in America, Cinco de Mayo is almost here. Annually celebrated to honor the culture and heritage of Mexico. Every celebration is an opportunity for small businesses to bring in more customers, enhance the brand, and have greater community engagement. In a post-pandemic spring season, with our communities carefully gathering again, a small business can prepare ahead to welcome patrons and new customers! Here are a few ideas that small businesses can implement ahead of May 5th to get customers and your businesses ready for the celebrations.

Your Business is your Mental Health Blog Image

Since March of 2020, mental health challenges have been at all-time highs. One study by Mental Health UK headlines: Four In Five Small Business Owners Experiencing Poor Mental Health. Daniel Amen, MD, founder of the Amen Clinics notes, “Brain related conditions affect 200 million Americans at some point in their lives.”

Start your Business Performance Measurement Dashboard with a Simple Stop Light Blog Image

It is generally understood that strategy is realized through measurement, or to use the lexicon of business, “what gets measured gets “done”. In that series of discussions on building dashboards, we speak of creating a handful of prioritized strategic imperatives and then linking them to dashboard metrics that monitor and drive performance. Picking up the thread where strategic imperatives end and measurement begins is the focus of this topic entitled “Start your Business Measurement with a Stop Light!”

A Strategic Framework for Small Business Blog Image

Today in a consultative role as a Senior Business Adviser for early-stage businesses across the spectrum of technology startups to community-based businesses, I find myself thinking that a current version of that anecdotal piece could be called “The Biggest Mistakes Early-Stage Companies Make.” Among those is the failure to develop simple strategic imperatives, campaigns, actions all measured and linked directly to quantifiable metrics. It’s the old adage, “what gets measured gets done” – – or not, unfortunately in some cases.

Tax Return Time Blog Image

Tax Return Time!

By Bernard Ferret

Sole proprietors, single-member LLCs, independent contractors, it’s time to think about your yearly business income tax return! The “Sole Proprietor” tax classification includes all of the above, except if you’ve elected the “S-Corp” tax classification. Multiple-member LLC’s do not file as “Sole Proprietors”. Here’s how your income is reported to the IRS, and how taxes are calculated.

The Value of Competitive Comparisons for Small Business Blog Image

Putting substitutes or competition in focus is not just an academic exercise. At Mason SBDC, we are all about creating actionable steps to become a Subject Matter Expert, SME. There are real benefits in being an SME. We suggest that founders, CEOs, business owners and their core teams become Subject Matter Experts. So, one exercise to help become that SME is the development of a simple yet powerful competitive comparative matrix.

The Life of a VC Funded Startup Blog Image

Discipline and rigor will have to be increased in the work processes, for example in the way product releases are prepared, how marketing briefs are presented, and how sales calls debriefing are handled. The audience, both internal and external, is now larger.

The Life of a VC Funded Startup Blog Image

Now that a few millions are in the bank, things are becoming really serious. After a couple of days of euphoria and parties, well earned after grueling sessions with lawyers talking about valuation, dilution, full ratchet protection, and how many board seats the investors will have, it’s time once more to change the strategic objectives, and realign the organizational structure to these new objectives: revenue and customer happiness

The Life of a VC Funded Startup Blog Image

After angel money has been found, the first step in the organizational evolution of the company is to redefine roles and realign power and rewards to match the new strategic objective (raising the first round of venture capital). To achieve this, three tactical objectives come into play: two internal, and one external.

The Life of a VC Funded Startup Blog Image

The life of a VC-funded startup does not follow a continuous straight line, but is chaotic, follows ups, downs and sharp turns, and crosses chasms. The success of a startup depends on many parameters, but in the end, it depends mostly on two: the personalities of the founder or founders, and what type of organization and culture they create.

Building Your Business Performance Dashboard Blog Image

In our webinar, we provide a complete set of 10 guiding principles to follow before taking on the task of actually building the business performance dashboard. Specifically, we speak to a checklist of best practice considerations before creating your first draft…

5 Scenarios When You Will Need a Briefing or “Pitch” Blog Image

One of the popular and regularly scheduled no-cost webinars the Mason Small Business Development Center (Mason SBDC) hosts is focused on the topic of building and successfully delivering a business briefing, sometimes called a “pitch”. The audience for these webinars is a range of startups, growth, venture and mature business CEOs and founders…

Why and How to Balance Working on and in your New Business Blog Image

As a pre-venture, all your time should be spent working on the business, because there is no pressure to work in the business. Before starting is the best time to think long and hard about the value proposition that will underpin the product or service you will deliver…

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