All posts by Steve C

Starting Your Own Business: Getting Beyond The Excuses

Everyday as we slip further and further into recession, I’m hearing more and more complaints from my friends and coworkers about their job security and overall satisfaction in the workplace. The level of concern and panic is very real, even worse than I can remember from the dot com bust of 2002. Most of my friends depend on their day jobs as their primary source of income so they are very afraid of getting laid off. What’s worse is that some of them absolutely hate their line of work but are sticking to it because they need...

5 Misconceptions Your Child Probably Has About Your Finances

Part of the reason most kids in America have no concept of money is because parents don’t share their financial information with them. Most kids have no clue how much their parents make nor do they have any idea how much it costs to survive in the real world. Because this information is not readily available, it is only natural that kids will make assumptions regarding their household finances. Most of the time, their assumptions are grossly incorrect. Next time you have the chance, talk to your kids and check to see if they have the...

Reader Response: Do They Teach True Collaboration In Schools?

I received an extremely well written and thoughtful comment from Bleu Panda regarding my article on 5 Crucial Subjects Schools Don’t Cover That You Should At Home so I thought I’d respond to his comment in a blog entry as a token of my appreciation. Please take the time to read his comment below followed by my reply Thanks for the being open and honest in your posts. I’ve really enjoyed reading some of them and look forward to the rest, as well as future ones. Regarding your post about 5 crucial subjects schools don’t cover, I would suggest...

More Mistakes Parents Make With Kids And Money – Part 2

In my previous article on mistakes parents make with kids and money – part 1, I pointed out 3 crucial mistakes that parents make with their kids and money. 1. Parents use credit cards in front of their kids 2. Parents buy their kids stuff because other kids have it 3. Parents hide financial details from their kids If you happen to fall into any of the above categories, chances are you’re already sending wrong messages to your children about money. What’s worrisome is that this isn’t even an exhaustive list. In this article, I’m going to point out even more things...

Mistakes Parents Make With Kids And Money – Part 1

My parents came to the United States with practically no possessions and very little money. They had to take odd jobs just to scrape by and could barely afford to have a roof over their heads. Every morning my Dad had to carry 2 buckets of water with outstretched arms up a mountain barefoot in a snowstorm to the water well a mile away. Okay, my Mom and Dad may have exaggerated some of their hardships but the fact is they didn’t have many luxuries growing up. Because my parents lived a difficult life, they did their best...

How To Find The Optimal Price To Charge For Your Products

In a previous article entitled how to command premium prices for your small business, I emphasized the importance of coming up with a unique selling proposition for your products and services. A good USP grants you the ability to charge a premium for the products that you sell. Once you’ve pinpointed the strengths of your company and can effectively convey that message to a customer, it’s now time to search for your pricing sweet spot. While there’s no magical formula or quick solution to finding the right price, the techniques outlined in the article below will...

Entrepreneurship: What Is Your Definition Of Failure?

Thanks to social media sites like Stumble Upon, Digg and Reddit, I’ve been able to easily find and read more than my fair share of articles on entrepreneurship in just this past month. I really love reading about entrepreneurship because entrepreneurship emphasizes taking action through self-motivation. There’s no better way to push yourself to pursue your passions than to read about other people doing the same. Listening to their stories also reinforces the need to overcome your fears and make mistakes. In fact, every article I’ve ever read on entrepreneurship emphasizes failure at some point, but...

Reader Response: How To Prepare Your Daughter For Dating

In a previous post entitled 5 crucial subjects that schools don’t cover that you should at home, I ended the article with a paragraph describing how I was going to prepare my daughter for dating when she grows up. Below is an excerpt from the article. On a more serious note, I’m kind of resigned to the fact that my daughter will eventually start dating with or without my consent. The best way to prepare her for dating is to take her on dates myself. Once or twice a year, I plan on taking her out for night on the...

5 Crucial Subjects Schools Don’t Cover That You Should At Home

If you take the time to sit back and reflect on all of the knowledge and experience you’ve gained throughout your life, you’ll inevitably come to the conclusion that only a very small fraction of practical knowledge was actually learned in school. Looking back, I used to think school was the be all and end all of education. Growing up, I took my classes very seriously and was encouraged(euphemism for forced) to get straight As. I was the epitome of a model student and studied hard to ace my way though high school and college. But...

The Secrets to Building Wealth – Do You Have The Right Mindset?

Everyone wants to build wealth but why do very few ever succeed in doing so? It’s because most people don’t take the time to establish a proper game plan on how to grow their money. Building wealth requires planning, budgeting and an awareness of how money can work for itself. The sooner you can amass even a small amount of money, the easier it is to accumulate wealth in the long run. It all starts with the proper frame of mind. Most people try to take shortcuts and end up wasting their time...

Personality Traits That Can Doom A Would Be Entrepreneur

Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. When I look back and analyze some of the startup companies that my friends tried to start and why they failed, I can immediately recognize certain character traits and decisions that doomed their companies from the start. All of my friends possessed the drive and passion to succeed and they had great ideas to pursue as well. So what went wrong? You can have all of the discipline and focus in the world, but there are just some character traits that are incompatible with entrepreneurship. If...

How To Build Wealth By Saving Money Without Sacrificing Your Livelihood

Let’s face it. There are only 2 ways to build wealth. Either you can make more money or you can save more money. In a previous article, I already discussed why you should worry about your topline more than your bottom line. But just because you’re focusing on making money doesn’t mean you should neglect saving either. For most people, saving money is easier than making money because all aspects of saving it are under your control. So why is it so hard to cut back for most people? Unfortunately, the answer is not clear...

Customer Stories: Storing Credit Card Numbers

We take our privacy policy very seriously with our online store. Due to liability reasons, we make an active effort to not store any payment information or credit card numbers in our database. This way, if our website ever gets hacked, the hacker will only be able to obtain a few names and addresses that we have on file. We also never sell customer information to any third party. Most customers expect a strict privacy policy when shopping at any online store which made it surprising when this one customer called in asking us to blatantly violate our...

Why Writing A Business Plan Is An Overrated Practice

All of the books I’ve read on how to start a business always focus on writing a thorough business plan prior to taking any other action. Having read quite a few of these books and having written a fair share of business plans, I’ve found that writing these documents have largely been a waste of time, especially for small businesses. While the principle of writing down a business plan is fundamentally sound, I’ve found that things rarely go as planned and that your business plan practically goes obsolete the minute you are done writing it. Sure, you...

Customer Stories: The Customer That Was Too Nice

It’s always refreshing to have a nice, considerate customer every now and then. I really enjoy speaking to our customers when they are polite on the phone, even if they are just calling to complain about something. 90% of the time, if they state their case clearly and politely, I’ll try and help them out in some way or form. The tactics that I wrote about here on how to negotiate with vendors applies to small businesses as well and is worth a read if you have the time. In any case, the customer I’m going...

5 Ways To Get New Customers And Grow Your Online Business

Is your business growth starting to plateau or stagnate? Once your business is making a good profit, it’s easy to sit back, slack off and watch the money roll in, especially if you are satisfied with how well you’re doing. But keep in mind that if you slack off too much, your competitors will soon catch up and eventually put you out of business. With that in mind, you need to be constantly innovating and making active efforts to grow your business. There are 2 main ways to do so. Find new customers and new untapped markets to pursue. Sell...

Are You Cut Out To Be An Entrepreneur?

I used to think that entrepreneurship was only about creating unique and groundbreaking technologies and coming up with new and innovative products. Having studied entrepreneurship in graduate school, I was always surrounded by gung-ho entrepreneurs. Some of my peers went on to start web technology companies whereas others created startup companies in biotechnology. Almost every one of them had some unique idea or take on a particular technology and ran with it. Having studied entrepreneurship in this environment was quite intimidating. Looking back, the main mental barrier I had to starting my own...

How To Determine If Your Online Business Idea Even Has a Chance

Before you begin any sort of implementation, it’s important to assess the viability of your business plan. Is there a large enough market for you to take a small slice of the pie? Are there too many competitors for you to be successful? Determining your target customer and the size of the market you are pursuing is crucial in determining whether you can make enough money to sustain a profitable business. Instead of just guessing, you should try and make a concerted effort to quantify your earning potential as best you can. Figure Out...

How to Burn Yourself Out in 2 Weeks When Starting Your Online Business

Entrepreneurs love creating businesses from scratch because of the excitement and unfettered determination of starting something brand new. I remember when my wife and I first started our online store, we ate, drank and slept with the business 24/7. Practically every meal, we discussed at length our products, our strategy and our execution plan. Even in bed, we constantly came up with new ideas and discussed our goals for the following day. The atmosphere was intense, almost too intense. Intensity is good but there’s always a fine line that you must not overstep or you...

How to Negotiate With Vendors When You’re Just a Small Business or Individual

Because you will be purchasing many items throughout the life of your online business, it is inevitable that you will run into a dispute at some point in time with a store, vendor or service that you regularly use. Especially in the early stages of your business, you’re likely to have very little clout with your vendors which makes even showing up on their radar screen a challenging task. The unfortunate reality is that small business owners and individuals often get screwed by customer service reps of larger companies because they simply do not know how to...