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Small Business Blog - daily small business software blog

:: 3 Tech Tools That Can Have a Big Impact on Your Small Business

Technology has started to feel like a four-letter word these days—especially in the business world. Stand by the water cooler and you might hear chatter among employees about what programs, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, will mean for the future of jobs.

As this technology comes to life, many people fear for their professional future. They worry that robots will soon sit at their desks while they’re out on the street struggling to find work.

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:: Is Email marketing good for small businesses in 2018?

Marketing has evolved significantly in last few years. Now is the era of demand-driven social marketing which makes email marketing a core part of successful small business marketing strategies. Technological advancements have given marketers no shortage of channels to leverage. Email marketing can be a powerful way for small business to market their brand and their website. It provides them with the flexibility to reach current customers, find new leads, and convert those leads into customers without making a big hole in their pocket. Email marketing can help small business to reach their subscribers and prospects as quickly as possible.

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:: 5 Email Marketing Tips to Grow Your Small Business

Are you looking for ways to use email marketing to grow your business? Then you will want to take a look at these five email marketing tips to help boost your sales.

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:: How To Ensure Your Small Business Is Not A Failure Statistic This Year

While two-thirds of Americans dream of opening their own small business, recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that approximately 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, and about 50% of small businesses fail in their fifth year.

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:: Small-Business Owners Name The Best Tools And Resources They Have Invested In

Making the right investment in your small business can mean the difference between growth and stagnation. What that right investment is – marketing, training, technology, labor, personal development – will vary from business to business and owner to owner, depending on a variety of factors.

Several entrepreneurs recently shared their best business investment from the past year, or top planned investment for this year.

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:: The 5 Most Important Negotiation Skills You Must Master

Intimidated by negotiations? Focus on these five simple negotiation skills first and get much better.

Think of all the times in your business week you negotiate:  with new hires and existing employees; with sales prospects and long-term clients; with vendors and suppliers. If you're a business owner or leader, you need to know how to negotiate. This is non-negotiable.

Here are the five most important negotiation skills you should focus on first. Each of these skills has proved to be worth millions to my clients and to me over the past 25 years. This all recently came to a head when I had 35 of my top business coaching clients join me for a day-and-a-half program on negotiation in my hometown of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. These were 35 of the most successful entrepreneurs and business owners in the United States.

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:: The Dos And Don'ts Of Growing Your Small Business

Growing your business is an exciting task. It means customers are receiving your business well and you are bringing in a profit.

But, growing your business can be intimidating. Many things have the potential to go wrong. That’s why you need a plan. When you know what to do and what to avoid, you can avoid stumbling.

Use the following seven dos and do nots to successfully grow your business.

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:: The Never-Ending Struggle to Sustain a Small Business

Delissa Reynolds, an actress, ran a popular local bar for years, until the neighborhood changed.

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:: The Retirement Income Source 42% of Small-Business Owners Are Relying On -- and Why It is a Mistake

For most of us, that means establishing a nest egg in the form of an IRA, 401(k), or both. But a large number of small-business owners have a different sort of backup plan for covering the bills in retirement: their businesses.

An estimated 42% of small-business owners say that their businesses will serve as their personal pensions, so to speak, according to data from New York Life. But that's a dangerous proposition in several regards.

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:: The internet sales tax is going to pummel small businesses

On Thursday, the Supreme Court overturned decades of law and precedent by allowing states to levy sales taxes on internet purchases. Like many things in life, the South Dakota v. Wayfair decision is a mixed bag. On the whole it was probably the right call, cleaning up an enormously incoherent and unfair tax regime that's only gotten worse as online retail has expanded.

But it will also hit many small businesses hard.

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:: 5 Ways to Improve Your To-Do Lists

To-do lists should be an invaluable part of any small business owner's day-to-day productivity strategy. They do not just help you monitor your tasks, they help keep you motivated and on track. And they seem self-explanatory: Write down a task. Then do it. But, a to-do list can too easily take a wrong turn and become exhaustive and exhausting. Here are five quick tips to help you get the most from your to-do lists.

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:: Start a Small Business by Monetizing Something You Are Already Doing

This transformation from hobby to business creates entrepreneurial avenues for people who might not otherwise have chosen this path. There are several types of activities that can be successfully monetized.

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:: The 7 Deadly Sins of Small Business Marketing

Everybody makes mistakes, but some mistakes are worse than others. Some mistakes are almost deadly—to your marketing, at least.

The following seven mistakes are dire enough to make your marketing fail. But the good news is once you know how to spot them and avoid them, your marketing has a dramatically better chance of success.

So keep reading, apply what you learn here, and carry on. You’ve got a business to promote

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:: Supreme Court decision to allow more online sales tax worries small business groups

Small business advocates largely grumbled after the nation's highest court overturned a decades-old decision on online sales tax.

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that states now have the power to force online retailers to collect sales tax in states where they do not have a physical presence, reversing a ruling from 1992 in a 5-4 decision. The move also revives a 2016 South Dakota law that required large, out-of-state e-commerce companies to collect sales tax, one that big e-commerce players fought. Some online retailers, such as, currently collect state sales tax on products they directly sell but do not collect taxes from many of the independent sellers on the site.

The decision removes the sales-tax savings that consumers could reap by making purchases online instead of buying from local brick-and-mortar shops. Although the move does help to level the playing field for physical small businesses, it also places new burdens on small online retailers.

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:: Why Your Employees Will Love the 90-10 Rule--and So Will You

Leaders of movements--entrepreneurial businesses included--incite followers to believe in a vision, in one another, and in themselves. To amass the power of many, they address the needs and dreams of individuals.

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:: Supreme Courts internet sales tax ruling may be a nightmare for small businesses

In the wake of yesterdays Supreme Court ruling, e-commerce companies are understandably both concerned and uncertain of their future. The 5-4 verdict overruled a 1992 precedent set by the case Quill v. North Dakota that only addressed mail-order businesses at the time, but it became a powerful legal bedrock for the e-commerce industry. It let companies without a robust physical infrastructure thrive during and after the dot-com boom by exempting purchases from sales tax, so long as the seller did not have a physical operation in the state where the customer resided. Now, following the court’s decision, states can start charging sales tax on internet purchases even when a retailer has no physical presence in that state.

A number of retailers, from Amazon to Etsy to, may be impacted. It is not necessarily because those corporations have been skirting sales tax collection, but some enable thousands of third-party sellers to do so, largely thanks to Quill v. North Dakota. In fact, Amazon, which last year started collecting sales tax in all 45 states that require it by law, may have a substantial amount of work to do to help its Amazon Marketplace sellers stay compliant.

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:: What is PCI Compliance and Why MUST Small Business Owners Be Concerned?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security standards, designed to ensure businesses which accept and process credit and debit card information, do so in a safe and secure environment.

No matter what industry you operate in or what size business you have, if you accept card payments and process, transmit and store cardholder data, you must host your data securely with a hosting provider that is PCI compliant.

The PCI security Standards Council was formed in 2006 by the five major credit card brands — American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Japanese Credit Bureau (JCB) and Discover. While each credit card brand has its own compliance programs, the PCI standards are the foundation for all of them.

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:: More U.S. businesses are becoming worker co-ops: Here is why

According to the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI), a nonprofit that supports the development of worker co-ops, employee-owned small businesses see an average of 4% to 5% higher productivity levels and more stability and potential for growth. In contrast to traditional businesses, worker co-ops see much lower rates of employee turnover and business closure.

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:: 8 Money Management Tips For Small Business Owners

Recently, American Management Services started working with the owner of a restaurant chain, made up of six locations spread across the Northeast. Since the first day they opened their doors, they approached paying vendors with a sense of loyalty by cutting checks the day the invoice was received. While being loved by their vendors, our client was receiving no discounts, and put themselves financially at risk by not safe-guarding their cash!

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:: 15 Reasons You Should Start Your Own Small Business Today

Want to get really, really rich? Starting your own business is the best way. Want your upside to be unlimited? Starting your own business is the best way. Want to be free to chart your own course, to make your own decisions, to make your own mistakes -- to let the sky be the limit not just financially but also, and more important, personally?

Starting your own business is the best way.

Still not convinced? Here are 15 more reasons why you should start your own small business today:

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:: How small businesses can navigate rising interest rates

The Federal Reserve says that the economy is doing well, so it has raised its key rates recently and is expected to do so again in the near future. The strong economy is great for most businesses, but higher rates will likely increase what it costs for them to borrow.

So what's a small business owner to do? Understand how the system operates and consider the ways they can manage.

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:: Is Amazon good or bad for small business?

This week is Small Business Week, and on Thursday Amazon released its first Small Business Impact Report. Its position? Amazon has been good for small businesses.

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:: More Than Half of Small Businesses Foresee Revenue Growth in 2018

Optimism appears to be rising among small business owners (SBOs): 53% of the SBOs who participated in TD Banks 2018 Small Business Survey said they expect their revenues will grow in 2018. That is an improvement over the 46% of respondents who said the same in 2017.

In addition, the number of small businesses -- defined for purposes of the survey as those with $5 million or less in annual revenues -- that plan to hire this year more than doubled. In 2017, only 9% of respondents said they expected to add staff. This year, 22% said they intend to.

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:: May Is For Small Business, Moms, Amazon And Mobile

The month of May begins with a focus on the importance of Small Business followed by the love for Mom. The charts and analysis that follow are from Prospers monthly survey of over 7,500 Americans.

We asked Deborah Weinswig, Managing Director of Coresight Research, to provide commentary on the data from the most important deciders for the economy… the consumers themselves.

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:: The U. S. Department of Energy Announces $34 Million for Small Business Research and Development Grants

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry today announced that the Department of Energy will award 219 grants totaling $34 million to 183 small businesses in 41 states.  Funded through DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, todays selections are for Phase I research and development.  

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:: 8 Ways Leaders Waste Valuable Time and Energy

Time is a valuable, nonrenewable resource that is distributed equally to each of us. We all get the same 1,440 minutes every day. Are you using your time successfully, or are you wasting your time and draining your energy?

In coaching top leaders around the world, I have discovered some patterns in how people waste their time and energy. Here are eight of the most common:

1. Being distracted.
Leaders who have a lot to do are easily distracted. No one can stay on task 100 percent of the time, but distraction can pose a serious obstacle to getting things done. It eats away at your time and causes unnecessary stress. Limit distraction by being mindful of how you organize your time and work environment and by preparing yourself to accomplish what needs doing. Develop habits and strategies to minimize your access to distraction, keep your focus on the task at hand, and improve your overall ability to concentrate.

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:: 5 Highly Effective Negotiation Tactics Anyone Can Use

Want to be a better negotiator? Here are some simple tips.

1. Listen more than you talk.
It is easy to go into a negotiation focused only on what you'll say, especially when you are nervous.

The goal of a negotiation is not just to get what you want, but also to help the other side get what they want. (Otherwise, how will you ever strike a deal?) To do that, you need to actually know what the other side wants -- which means you have to listen.

Finding common ground means knowing common ground exists.

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:: Stop Propping Up Small Business

In our age of political polarization, the right, left and center agree on one thing: Big business is wicked, and small business is noble.

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:: Digital Marketing For Small Companies Becomes Big Business

Digital marketing for small shops like local bakeries, grocers and regional accountants is growing into big business.

Those small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMB) are increasingly turning to growing outside firms to handle their digital outreach, according to industry sources. Among their goals is to become more social media-savvy: for instance, drawing a Facebook user on their phone clicking on a business page into a local shop.

Several digital marketing startups focused on smaller companies are looking to capitalize on the opportunity, and they are hungry for venture capital to fund their efforts.

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:: A Small-Business Guide to Facebook Insights

Facebook is more than just status updates and photo albums -- it's a major marketing tool for businesses. However, if you don't know how to use it properly and take advantage of all it has to offer, you might as well not use it at all.

From engaging customers to entertaining them, Facebook Insights provides some of the best tips and tools for boosting your business. To start, Facebook Insights will tell you information about your customer base, such as the type of people who follow you, where they are located, how old they are and more. Another important area that Facebook Insights covers is your competition. Using the tool, you can track their posts and engagement in order to get ideas for your own business.

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:: Want to Be a Great Leader? Become a Great Identifier

Once upon a time I was a member of the most productive crew in the department, which meant we were considered to be the best crew, because numbers were everything. But we didn't need a Jobs or Bezos or Sandberg or (pick your personal epitome of effective leadership) to get us there.

Steve was our Bobby Hurley (yep, old school college basketball reference): Always pushing, always encouraging, always making assists. Lee was solid: Never made mistakes, helped out the entry level workers, quick to make repairs and get running again. Jeff was our glue, coaxing surprising up-time out of the least reliable machines on the line while also serving as our quality conscience. Doug was easily rattled but his nervous energy helped him catch up when he got behind, and also to help keep the end of line workers straight.

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:: Identifying What to Watch: 14 Key Performance Indicators That Matter

As a CEO, it is your responsibility to pay attention to every detail of the business. From employee satisfaction to growth indicators, you need to be on top of how your company is performing at every turn. While there is an extensive range of KPIs available to you, knowing where to focus your attention when it comes to evaluating your business can make you more effective and make the best use of your time.

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:: Here is how small businesses can benefit from online marketplaces

The majority of small business owners agree that online marketplaces have positively impacted their sales, according to a poll by Manta.

Nearly 70% of small business owners polled stated that marketplaces like Amazon and eBay have helped them increase sales, while about 30% believe they have had a negative impact. Most small businesses (81%) believe that online sales are critical to their companys success, but most rely on their own websites as an e-commerce channel. Sixty-six percent of small businesses sell products through their own websites, 24% sell on Amazon, and 22% sell on eBay.

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:: Employees Are 32 Percent Less Likely to Quit if They Get This 1 Thing From Their Boss

There are a lot of reasons to hate a job: annoying co-workers; bad working conditions; long hours for too little pay; the stress level; and more.

But one of the worst things -- arguably the worst -- is having a bad boss.

When you don't feel seen, appreciated, or listened to by your direct manager, it can have a dramatic impact on not only your work performance, but also your sense of self-esteem. Over time, you can begin to feel anxious, worthless, and demoralized.

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:: 5 Reasons Social Responsibility Is a Step in the Right Direction for Small Business

The business terrain is one that changes much faster than most -- basically because the way business is done evolves based on cultural changes, changes in technology and even generational changes. It is safe to say that at all times, at least one of these things is changing.

We are in the era of giving back and social impact. Businesses should face this, and stop using the fact that they are not yet big businesses as an excuse for boycotting charitable involvements or social responsibility. Businesses that do this are missing out on the great benefits hidden on the other side of socially responsible companies.

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