Ask SmallBiz

Ask the Expert: How do I make my business more energy-efficient?

Ask the Expert: Loan Options

A reader asks, "What are my best loan options if I have limited qualifications for financing?"

Ask the Expert: Picking a Restaurant Location

A reader asks, "I want to open my own restaurant. How do I pick the right location?" Jo McGarry Curran, founder of MoJo, offers her advice.

Ask the Expert: Retirement Plans

A reader asks, "What are the best retirement plans for the self-employed?" This month's expert, David S. Chang, Chairman and CEO of Chang Holding Co., offers his advice.

Ask the Expert: Flood Insurance

A reader asks, "I heard the National Flood Insurance Program is moving away from 'subsidized' rates. What does this mean?"

Ask the Expert: Franchising on the mainland

A reader asks, "My business is successful in the Islands. How do I know when I'm ready to franchise on the mainland?" Mark Duda, principal with RevoluSun, a Hawaii company with franchises in...

Ask the Expert: Online Videos for Marketing

A reader asks, "I feel like my business is far behind the new media and social media marketing trends. What can I do to keep up?"

Ask the Expert: Independent Investigations

An employee may have stolen a lot of money from our company, but we're not sure. What should we do?

Ask the Expert: Managing Delinquent Accounts

A reader asks, "Delinquent accounts are hurting my business. What can I do to get this problem under control?"

Ask the Expert: Motivating Salespeople to Sell More

New salespeople may outsell your company veterans because they are enthusiastic, fresh and still believe everyone is going to buy. How do you maintain this attitude?

Ask the Expert: Business Payment Options

What is the best way to accept payment from customers?

Ask the Expert: Setting Company Goals

Our company is having trouble turning a list of ideas into a plan. How can we get more focused and achieve our goals?

Ask the Expert: Preparing Your Successor

I founded my family business and am five years away from retiring, but I feel my daughter lacks the commitment to run the business. Any suggestions?

Ask the Expert: Buying a Home While Owning a Business

I'm a small business owner. What should I do to ensure I'm in the best position to finance a new home?

Ask the Expert: Preventing Financial Fraud

How can you protect myself from Automated Clearing House fraud? Our expert provides security tips to protect businesses against hackers.

Ask the Expert: Bring Your Own Device to Work

Beau Monday, Information Security Director at Hawaiian Telcom, suggests safeguards to take if employees are using their own devices on the job

Ask the Expert: Should I Buy Gym Memberships for My Staff?

It might seem like an added expense, but company well programs have a proven ROI.

Ask SmallBiz: Advice on Effective Selling

What's the magic behind professional selling?

Ask SmallBiz: Design Your Logo

I need a new logo for my small business. What should I do to ensure I get the most effective one?

Ask SmallBiz: Building Teamwork on Construction Projects

I am involved in a construction project whose contract provides performance-based penalties and rewards. What can I do to help get all the companies to work together?

Ask SmallBiz: Expansion

I have a successful company and am thinking of expanding to another island. What should I consider before taking the leap?

Ask SmallBiz: Grid Saturation

I'd like to put in solar-electric system to reduce my business' energy costs, but I'm concerned about grid saturation. How does it affect me?

Ask SmallBiz: Business Expenses

What's the best way to pay for my business expenses?

Ask SmallBiz: Exit Packages

One of the key, long-term managers at our family-owned company - someone who is not a family member - is asking for an "exit package" in the event she is terminated or decides to leave the company...

Ask SmallBiz: Leadership

Why do some leaders fail?

Ask SmallBiz: Hurricane Preparedness

How should I prepare my small business for hurricane season?

Ask SmallBiz: Engaging Employees

It seems like a paycheck isn't enough to keep my employees fully engaged in customer service and efficiency. What can I do?

Ask SmallBiz: Solar Tax Benefits for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, what are the tax benefits of installing a photovoltaic system?

Ask SmallBiz: Buying Commercial Property

Dennis Wong of Hawaii National Bank explains how to buy commercial property

Ask SmallBiz: Requesting Public Records for Your Business

A state agency compiled information that might be helpful to my small business. How do I get it?

Ask SmallBiz: Recruiting

I need to hire a general manager, but no one working for me now has the right stuff. How do I find the best person?

Ask SmallBiz: Conversation Starter

It feels tacky to introduce myself and start talking about my business. How can I get over my shyness?

Ask SmallBiz: Selling a Business

Our children have no interest in taking over our business, so my wife and I have decided to sell it. How should we proceed?

Ask SmallBiz: Insurance Coverage

How much business income insurance coverage do I need?

Ask SmallBiz: Picking an HR Company

What should I look for when choosing an HR company?

Ask SmallBiz: Mediation Clause

As I read through the fine print of our new office lease, I noticed it stipulated that mediation would be used in case of a dispute. Should I agree to this?

Ask SmallBiz: Online Reputation

I seem to have no control over the things that are said about my business online. What can I do?

Ask Small Biz: Facebook For Business

I set up a Facebook page for my store. What should I do to engage customers and bring them in?

Ask SmallBiz

I have insurance for water damage, so why am I not covered for a tsunami?

Ask SmallBiz: Paying for a PV System

As a small-business owner, what are my options to pay for a photovoltaic system?

Ask SmallBiz: Selling the Company

I’m nearing retirement and interested in selling my business. How do I determine the value of my company and maximize its value before selling?

Ask SmallBiz: Intellectual Property

Our employees have specialized knowledge and are often trying new things. How can we harness that expertise to add value to our small business?

Ask SmallBiz: Creating a Succession Plan

My wife and I plan to retire in about 10 years. What should we do to get ready to turn over our business to our children?

Ask SmallBiz: Protecting Your Data

My business would be a disaster zone if our data were lost or stolen. What should I do to protect it?

Ask SmallBiz: Creating a Team Environment

We have great employees, but everyone seems to operate from a different agenda. How can we create a team approach?

Ask SmallBiz: Successful Women

How women can succeed in the traditionally male-dominated construction industry

Ask SmallBiz: Leadership Training

We have some great managers in our company but still need to improve our leadership skills. What do you suggest?

Ask SmallBiz: Retirement Planning

I own a small business. How do I go about planning for my retirement and for my (few) employees?

Ask SmallBiz: Remodeling a Store and Being Green

What environmental considerations should we be aware of when remodeling our store?

Ask SmallBiz: How do I invest wisely?

I’ve just sold some assets and am looking for good investments, but I don’t want to be taken in by the next Bernie Madoff. What should I watch for?

Ask SmallBiz: Collecting your debts and solving a cash-flow issue

A lot of customers are long overdue on paying me. I’m reluctant to take them to court, but I’m forced to borrow to pay my employees and bills. What do you suggest?

Ask SmallBiz: Insurance coverage for your business

I’ve worked hard to build my business and I don’t want to lose it in a disaster. How do I know if I’ve got the right insurance coverage?

Ask SmallBiz: Paying taxes when low on cash

My small business has really slowed down, and I am worried that I will not have sufficient cash to pay all of the taxes I will owe. What can I do?

Ask SmallBiz: How do Public Relations and Advertising fit together?

How do public relations and advertising fit together?

Ask SmallBiz: Securities Backed Loan

I own a successful architectural firm in Honolulu. I’d like to expand my business but am having difficulty finding a lender. I have capital assets, including real estate and a portfolio of stocks...

Ask SmallBiz: Transferring Ownership

We are growing our business and want to make sure that we are able to perpetuate it long after we are no longer active in the company. We have no children, so what are our options to ensure the...

Ask SmallBiz: Getting loan approval

I’m a small business owner and I’ve heard about the new ARC loans. How do I get approved for these loans?

Ask SmallBiz: Funding

Our small business develops content and we are looking for funding to innovate its delivery, such as over the Internet and mobile devices. Where can a small company find funding?

Ask SmallBiz: Personal Branding

How do you build a personal brand?

Ask SmallBiz: Dividing Family Stock

What should the owners of a family business consider when dividing shares of stock among their children?

Ask SmallBiz: Budgeting

I have a very small business with shallow pockets. Given the current economy, I am thinking of saving the money I originally designated for marketing and staff development/training for a rainy day....

Ask SmallBiz: Succeed in a slow economy

What types of businesses historically have done well in a slow-growth economy, and what kind of tips can you provide that will improve my chances for success if I want to start a business this year?

Ask SmallBiz: The good and bad for business in Hawaii

How small businesses strive despite bureaucracy, and where Hawaii stands amongst the nation for business.

The Pitch: Citizen Economists

Citizen Economists is a magazine for non-economists. Ten unique regular writers, each with varying educational and professional backgrounds, provide economic analyses of the different industries...

Ask SmallBiz: Tech Savvy

How to determine your business’ technology needs, and office equipment infrastructure.

Ask SmallBiz: Search for a Financial Partner

My engineering design firm is blooming. While I’m comfortable with the tech development, I need a financial partner to manage its growth. How do I begin my search?

Each month we feature a Q&A. The questions come from our readers. We select the best ones and we ask our panel of experts to respond. Their answers get published in the SmallBiz section of an upcoming Hawaii Business magazine.

Click for the panel of experts.

Click to ask your question.

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