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Howard Bank created Marylandbankingblog.com with the small business in mind. It is another way Howard Bank offers the Hands On approach to banking. If there is a specific topic you would like us to write about, email us at HBOnline@howardbank.com with your topic idea.

Should your business be in the social media space?

March 29th, 2012 | Posted by Lindsay Kelley in Marketing | Sales - (Comments Off)

As a marketer, I’m often asked about social media and the role it plays for my company. Many business people I network with ask if it’s right for every business and how would a company know if they should be a part of the social world. The answer is never simple, so I often answer, “It depends.” I bring this up, because I was just asked this question at an event yesterday, so I thought maybe others would be interested in my two cents….if not, I won’t take it personally. 

For example, let’s create a hypothetical business: Ike’s Pet shop. Should Ike be in the social space? Well, that depends. What are Ike’s business goals? Does he want to reach a mass audience? Is that audience local, national or global? For argument’s sake, let’s say Ike only sells pets to the Maryland area. What kind of pets does Ike (more…)

I’ve never quite understood the vast majority of the public’s aversion to the word “budget.” If you are one of the millions of “budget-phobes” who equate the word with such unappealing terms as “restrictive,” “limiting” and even “scary,” let me share with you some of the terms I associate with the word: “freedom,” “dreams” and “control.”

Why the drastic difference in perception? I believe the answer lies in many individuals’ lack of awareness of the budget’s potential to help them achieve their goals. Some of the soundest advice I give my clients is to examine their (more…)

Inheriting a small fortune often brings about mixed emotions. Feelings of loss, confusion and anxiety can lead to difficulty in making choices regarding your new assets. But before you do anything rash, you must first complete one important task: do absolutely nothing.

Immediately following a loved one’s passing, you are not in a place to decide how to manage your newly acquired money or property, so the smartest thing you can do is sit tight and wait. Use this time to sort through your emotions, (more…)

It’s tough enough keeping up with the latest technology as it applies to your business. The list of  technology  “Got To Dos” from the top marketing gurus (as well as those who just claim to be) are multiplying like rabbits.  It seems like only yesterday when we were told that we weren’t a “real”  business unless we had a website.  Then we were told we couldn’t stay in business unless we consistently optimized our website to come up on the first page of Google’s search engine results.  Almost immediately thereafter it was explained to us that the latest research shows that potential (more…)

Driving Desirable Sales Behavior

October 14th, 2011 | Posted by Matthew Neuberger in Sales - (Comments Off)

Many sales managers get frustrated when sales people hit a performance plateau. This typically happens when a sales person reaches a financial comfort zone. Since they are comfortable with the amount they are making they don’t make determined efforts to improve performance. To drive consistent sales improvement a sales manager needs to have a good handle on goals and make meaningful adjustments to compensation. (more…)

Protecting Your Identity.

October 11th, 2011 | Posted by Kathy Armstrong in Financial Planning - (Comments Off)

We all go to tremendous measures to protect what is ours. We install sirens in our homes to frighten intruders and alarm systems in our cars to scare off robbers.

But what steps do we take to protect our identities? (more…)

Marketing your business during a slow economy…

September 15th, 2011 | Posted by Ken Mays in Marketing - (Comments Off)

During a slow economy, many small businesses tend to either hunker down and stop marketing altogether or they dive headfirst into an advertising frenzy that leverages every new marketing tool available.  Much has been researched and written about the pitfalls of halting marketing efforts during an economic downturn.  Just remember that the marketplace has a short memory and if you stop all marketing, your branding and key messages will soon be forgotten. (more…)

Teaching Your Children About Money

August 12th, 2011 | Posted by Kathy Armstrong in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

Interestingly, the subject of how to handle money is something that many parents put off discussing with their children—often because their parents weren’t forthcoming about money, so it’s not a subject they are necessarily comfortable bringing up with their children.

If you avoid discussing money management with your children, they will likely pick up lessons on how to handle (more…)

The ABCs of Retirement Planning

July 8th, 2011 | Posted by Kathy Armstrong in Financial Planning - (Comments Off)

Are you saving enough for retirement? You know, “the golden years”, the time when you kick back, relax and enjoy a life of leisure? Studies show that a very large percentage of people who answer that question with a nod are actually mistaken.

Ouch! While whether or not you are saving enough depends partly upon the lifestyle you expect to have at retirement age, there are some general rules you should be following to help ensure you can focus on your newfound hobbies – (more…)

Are Your Financial Planning Goals in Order?

June 8th, 2011 | Posted by Kathy Armstrong in Financial Planning - (Comments Off)

Save, save, save is a message you’ll hear me drive home on more than one occasion.

But the fact of the matter is, tucking the money away is only about half of the story. The other half involves doing everything in your power to see that all those dollars you’ve so faithfully set aside are where you want them. (more…)