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Sustainability. It’s what every business leader strives to achieve. But when your mission involves serving the poor, finding a business model that works can be all the more daunting.

Of all the things I’ve tried, my weekly newsletters, sent via email, have been, by far, my most effective tools for branding and customer engagement. But do you know the rules for engaging in electronic communication with clients?

Unless we are fortunate enough to achieve overnight riches like some of the Internet rock stars we read about, most of us must be content to build our businesses despite the inevitable failures.

A common mistake business owners make is saying too much, says Joe McCormack, a Chicago business consultant who has written a new book, “Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less.”

After decades of watching others thrive, merchants in Historic West End have taken up the branding cause. In shops and local businesses, they meet to brainstorm ideas they hope will spur economic growth. The effort is part of a broader initiative sponsored by Historic West End Partners, a nonprofit formed in 2010 to promote the area’s culture and development while honoring its history and heritage.

When we hear the phrase “small business,” rarely do you conjure an image of a company engaged in global trade. But as technology renders the world ever smaller, more and more small business owners are fixing their sights on overseas markets to find new customers.

If you’re looking to set up a home-based business, the Internet is brimming with practical advice. This column is meant to give an insider’s view.

Glenn Burkins is editor and publisher of Qcitymetro.com, an online news site targeting Charlotte’s African American community. He is a former Wall Street Journal reporter and Charlotte Observer business editor.
CharlotteObserver.com