Bright Ideas for Business


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Welcome. If you are here, you probably own or manage a small business or are thinking about starting one. You undoubtedly have lots of questions about what to do and when to do it. The Johnson County Public Library can help.

We have partnered with the Johnson County Development Corporation, the Franklin Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Greenwood Chamber, Discover Downtown Franklin and the City of Franklin to provide you helpful hints on owning and managing an entrepreneurial project. Each partner has lots of resources - most of them free - to help you become successful.

We have put our initial Bright Ideas for Business blog posts into a convenient eBook. Keep it as a resource or share it with colleagues and friends.

This eBook was compiled by the Johnson County Public Library staff as another service to help you grow your business.

Click here or on the book cover on the right to download your free eBook.

Keep checking back for new blogs that help your business.




Read Bright Ideas for Business

The Prescription for Injecting Personality into Your Blog

When a reader connects emotionally to the author, the blog becomes relevant. When readers sense your character traits, moods and thinking process, they become engaged.

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Does Your Tagline Percolate With Customers?

If you own a small business, what you say and how you say it should be an important component of your marketing efforts. Complementing your creative logo, a skillfully authored tagline enhances your connection to your customers.

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Here Are Your First Entrepreneurial Swimming Lessons

Are you standing at the edge of the entrepreneurial pool and wanting to dive in? So how do you jump in? Feet or head first? In the shallow or deep end? And, if you leap in, how do you stay afloat, let alone swim successfully? Get some advice from two strong entrepreneurial swimmers - Brent Tilson of Tilson HR in Greenwood and Erin Smith of Spotlight Strategies in Franklin.

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LLC Or LLP - Which One When Starting Your Business?

You have your million-dollar business idea, and you’re ready to take the leap into the world of entrepreneurship. You’ve heard pros and cons about different types of legal business entities, but you aren’t sure what is best for your business. Angela Coy, CPA and partner with Sherman & Armbruster in Greenwood, said it depends on how you want to approach your new company.

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How To Run (And Participate In) Virtual Meetings

While some people like to lament that meetings waste time and hurt productivity, thoughtfully-scheduled and well-run meetings can help us produce better work. While face-to-face meetings are always preferable for the best communication, virtual meetings can often be a great alternative. Michael Reynolds, President and CEO of SpinWeb, explains how to make this happen.

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Don't Let A Hot Lead Grow Cold

According to a study from the Harvard Business Review, businesses waste 71 percent of their leads. It doesn’t take a mathematician to know that those aren’t good odds. Since finding qualified leads can be challenging, knowing how to keep their interest is critical to your success. Tanya Smythe, Broker and Owner of Smythe & Co. Real Estate talks about best practices to follow up leads.

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You Can't Pick Apples From Behind Your Desk

Imagine if Johnny Appleseed tried to do his magic while sitting behind a desk all day. You cannot succeed in business trying to secure customers by texting or emailing from your office. .If you want to have a successful small business, you have to put yourself out there. Entrepreneurs must roam the countryside – or wherever your market is located – and plant their messages into face-to-face conversations. Jeff Owen of J Owen Media talks about the importance of networking.

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Idea, Initiative, Business Plan...And Money

Entrepreneurs with grand visions of a successful product or service often get hit over the head with a baseball bat when it comes to funding their startup. According to Forbes, 75 percent of small businesses fail because of early cash flow issues. So, how do you go about getting the money to make your small business ownership dreams come true?

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Mac or PC? Depends On Your Needs

If you worked in business, there was only one choice when it came to your computing needs. The PC was the domain of the serious adult businessperson, and the Mac was only an option for college students, graphic artists, and the type of person who wears Birkenstocks to work. That has changed, according to Virtual Branch Manager Davin Kolderup.

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Smart Apps For Your Smart Phone

Now you can carry a device in your pocket or briefcase that is as powerful and versatile as a desktop PC. The power of your phone or tablet can be greatly amplified with the use of a number of apps and online services. Virtual Branch Manager Davin Kolderup recommends some apps that can easily access your data whether you're in a Starbucks two towns over or back at your desk.

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Mind Your Manners When Mixing Food, Business

Though internet technology allows us to easily communicate from our office, meeting in person is still critical to the client relationship. So, whether you are having pancakes at Flap Jack’s in Greenwood or a light salad at Lou’s Den in Franklin, here are some tips that might make a difference for a successful client lunch or coffee meeting.

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Get Your Business Connected On Social Media

Many people turn to social media sites to learn about everything from “National Donut Day” to the news happening in our community. Does your business have a Facebook page? Do you have an account on a social media site that isn’t getting a lot of attention? Here are some helpful tips that will help your business page to be more “likeable” and engaging.

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 Tips For Working From Home Sweet Home

There's no place like home - even in business. There are advantages of working in a home office - such as wearing your pajamas during an early morning conference call. But there are disadvantages as well - such as the dogs needing to go outside right in the middle of that early morning conference call. Here is some advice to consider before going to the basement.

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Be A Big Show Off In Your Store

In order to get customers in the door, and keep them coming back, your business needs to tell an ever-evolving story that immerses them in your brand, engages, and inspires. When done right your store just about sells itself and converts your customers into advocates. So how do you create a magical experience for your customers and your bottom line? Here are a few tips to get you started.

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Connect Culturally In The Small World Of Business

It's a small world when doing business in Johnson County. Many companies such as NSK, Endress + Hauser, KYB, and Mitsubishi Climate Control have international roots. While these and others usually follow traditional Western business customs and practices, it is important to understand and respect traditions that are important to foreign partners. Dana Monson, Director of Business Development for the Johnson County Development Corporation shares how to communicate respectfully with other cultures in the business community.

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Five Marketing Mistakes When Starting Your Business

You set up shop, thanks to help from a bank. You hang a sign that announces you are open for business. You unlock the door on your first day and stand ready to sell and/or serve. (Cue the cricket sounds.)  You wonder why no one is buying your product or calling for your help. Avoid the opening day cricket sounds. Here are five common mistakes new entrepreneurs make when marketing their business.

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Do A Midyear Checkup On Your Small Business

Can you believe it? We are half way through the year! What a great time to look at that business plan and see how you are doing. There are at least three areas that you should review at this critical halfway point: sales, cash flow and marketing effectiveness. Let’s take a short look at each one.

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Office Space At Home Is Deductible, Dog Beds Are Not

The biggest issue with home office tax deductions is -- this is true -- not enough home entrepreneurs take their due deductions. Although an estimated 26 million Americans have home offices, just 3.4 million taxpayers claim home-office deductions. So, what qualifies?

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Where To Meet A Client In Johnson County

Space - the final frontier of closing the deal for entrepreneurs. GoTo Meeting allows us to virtually talk and view computer desktops anywhere in the world. Yet, even the most technologically advanced customers still want to meet face to face during important phases of the business development process. But where are some good places to meet your clients in Johnson County?

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Type Of Website Depends On Your Tech Skill, Need, Budget

Anyone can build a website for your business. Before asking your kid or relative to make you one, answer these questions: Can a middle schooler accurately capture your brand and message? And who solves the mystery when cousin Eddy throws away your site's administration access password with his candy wrappers?

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5 Ways Small Businesses Can Get Sued By Employees

There are a million and one different legal issues a small business could face ranging from breach-of-contract actions to environmental compliance issues to labor and employment challenges. Who has the time (or paper) to write (or read) a book covering all that? So we settled on a more specific topic: mistakes small business owners make giving rise to employee legal claims.

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Where To Follow The Business Of Politics

Remember that "All politics is local" - as the late Associated Press Washington Bureau Chief Byron Price wrote in 1932. If you own or operate a small business, what are the top legislative issues you should know about? What are the hot issues being discussed in Johnson County?

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Get Your Paperwork In Order Before Starting Your Business

Wait, wait, wait! Before you serve your first customer (and certainly before you hang up a sign), you need to take care of some paperwork. (Cue the groans...) You need to reach out to an attorney and/or a certified public accountant to help you through the process. When starting a business in Johnson County, here is a checklist that helps make it bonafide.

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What To Do When Told 'No Thank You'

Being told "No thanks" by a prospective client or customer is hard. The rejection not only dampens your business plans, it hurts emotionally. So, quit beating up yourself. Here are five ways to handle rejection in the world of business.

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How to Conduct a Purposeful Meeting

Wasteful meetings happen more than they should in business and within organizations. As Capt. James T. Kirk in Star Trek once said: "A meeting is an event at which minutes are kept and hours are lost." If you are charged with leading meetings, here are a few tips on conducting purposeful ones.

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5 Common Elements of a Winning Game Plan

It's shocking how many businesses don't have a Game Plan. More than 90 percent of failed businesses either did not have a Strategic Plan or had a poorly designed one.

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