November 15, 2014

Thanks to tough legislation and widespread public education, the number of U.S. smokers has declined 50 percent since the habit’s heyday in the 1950s. Although this significant customer drop-off has hurt many tobacco companies, business has been booming over the last few years for the iconic lighter brand Zippo. The Bradford, PA-based company earned $200 million in sales last year, a record for the lighter maker. What’s more, Zippo’s expanded global presence and diversified product line has increased sales by Continue reading

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October 19, 2014

 

Even in this increasingly Internet-enabled world, the old maxim “Location, location, location” rings as true as ever. After all, a strong Web presence can only do so much for service companies like restaurants and auto shops. In order for a business to operate at its full potential, the company needs to be located in a place that is not only easily accessible to its target market, but also free of too many direct competitors.

As many frustrated businesspeople can Continue reading

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October 11, 2014

During the recession that began in 2008, traditional banks became wary about awarding risky loans. Not only had bad deals come back to hurt many institutions, but also new regulations required many banks to increase their capital reserves. With less money to lend, banks largely stopped financing risky endeavors like commercial real estate and small business loans.

To fill this void in the market, non-traditional lenders like real estate investment trusts (REITs) and online outlets increased their presence. Fueled by Continue reading

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October 5, 2014

 

Since the onset of the financial crisis of 2008, millions of Americans have looked for ways to earn additional income. For some, multi-level marketing companies like Avon and Herbalife presented a good avenue for making extra cash. In these types of operations, individuals pay the company for a bulk amount of goods that they then sell to other people. According to multi-level marketing firms and their trade groups, the system allows consumers to purchase their favorite products at a Continue reading

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October 2, 2014

 

Passion and confidence are essential traits for any entrepreneur, but these same qualities can also lead aspiring business owners to ruin. If entrepreneurs are too assured and optimistic, they risk losing sight of the enormity of the task they have undertaken. For instance, passionate people can believe so deeply in their business idea that they become blinded to its actual market viability. They are driven by the notion that since they would love to buy this particular product or Continue reading

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September 20, 2014

Although many Americans make sure to recycle their plastic bottles and aluminum cans, they’re less careful to do so with their more functional possessions. Ninety percent of the nation’s mobile devices get thrown in the trash rather than the recycling bin. The gadgets are joined there by 40 percent of the food produced each year in the U.S., along with the 12 million tons of textiles that get tossed annually.

Over the last few years, a number of new companies Continue reading

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September 6, 2014

Nobody likes to wait in line for the bathroom, but sometimes that’s just the way things are at big, busy venues like stadiums and airports. Entrepreneur Allen Klevens couldn’t accept this fact of life, however, and set out to fix it with his new product Tooshlights. These small beacons rest at the top of a bathroom stall door and glow red if the space is occupied or green if it’s free. Klevens hopes this clever stop-and-go system will drastically speed Continue reading

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August 23, 2014

 

caregivingIn order to turn a successful business into a successful franchise, an entrepreneur needs a strong concept along with good people to implement it. That’s exactly what Allen Hager set out to do when he launched his home health care company, Right at Home, as a franchise nearly 20 years ago. By expanding the business plan and setting strict hiring policies, Right at Home has grown into a company with nearly 400 locations across the world and $265 million Continue reading

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August 19, 2014

 

When Howard Schultz first joined Starbucks as marketing director in 1982, the small Seattle company made most of its money selling coffee-making equipment. Once Schultz landed the CEO position, however, matters changed drastically. Looking to bring the European café experience to American shores, Schultz transformed the regional chain into an international behemoth within two decades.

Starbucks changed again when Schultz stepped down as CEO in 2000. After a rapid expansion saw the company grow to more than 15,000 stores Continue reading

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July 25, 2014

 

loliwareFor many entrepreneurs, the best ideas come around when you least expect it. That’s what happened to Chelsea Briganti and Leigh Ann Tucker after they graduated from New York’s Parsons The New School for Design in 2010. In an effort to expand their portfolios, the pair of young designers entered a number of product creation competitions. At one event centered on Jell-O, Briganti and Tucker designed an edible drinking glass using agar, a seaweed-based gelatin that is odorless and Continue reading

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