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:: Air Force to Host First Small Business Pitch Day with $40 Million Up For Grabs

Like departments and agencies throughout government, the Air Force is tuning its acquisition methods to get closer the speed of technology, and will be holding its first live pitch day in March, with an available funding pool of $40 million.

The Air Forces Small Business Innovation Research program has issued a call to start-ups and small businesses—those with fewer than 500 employees—to offer pitches on innovative technologies for secure communications, down-range battlefield operations and digital technologies.

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:: Why Small Business Owners Need To Disconnect

I am pleased to bring you my top five tricks for disconnecting – and at least temporarily escaping the job stress.

1. Make the business case.

Taking time to recharge is not just good for your mental and physical health -- it is the smart thing to do for your business. Studies have shown that increased stress leads to reduced productivity, while decreased stress levels lead to increased productivity.

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:: Small-business Retirement Plan Limits Increased in 2019.

The benefit of working for a large company is gaining access to an employer-sponsored 401(k) – a critical tool that helps millions of workers save for retirement.

But if you are a small-business owner, you should know that you have several tax-advantaged savings plans at your disposal that allow you to sock away substantial funds for your golden years.

Better yet, the annual contribution limits for all of these plans increased in 2019, so now's a better time than ever to start funding one.

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:: How to Overcome these 4 Small Business Hurdles this Year


The beginning of the year is a great time to make resolutions for your small business. Whether you’re launching a new product or implementing a new technology, you are setting goals and working hard to achieve them. The New Year could also be the perfect time to fix internal issues that are holding you back from success. Below is a list of common business hurdles that arise in small business and how you can overcome them.

Hurdle #1: Trying to do everything yourself

There are a lot of tedious tasks involved in keeping a small business running smoothly – like running payroll, approving time off requests, and so on.

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:: How to Get Your Small Business Out of Debt in 2019

Rising interest rates and high levels of corporate debt have lots of investors concerned. Should small businesses be worried?

The majority of small businesses (in most industries) are able to pay their bills on time. According to Experian/Moodys Analytics Main Street Report, overall delinquencies for businesses with fewer than 100 employees were slightly down in the third quarter of 2018. Credit utilization rates were also down slightly.

At the same time, that same research has found that rates for delinquencies of 31 to 90 days rose slightly. While it is not yet a cause for concern, the report points out that the period of consistent declines in delinquency rates for small businesses may be near its end.

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:: 3 Huge Mistakes That Can Sink a Small Business

Owning or running a small business comes with a special set of challenges that larger companies do not face. Major national brands have a lot of advantages, with the biggest one being that a single misstep probably won't derail a business.

That is not always true for owners of small businesses, where the distance between success and failure can be precarious. Sometimes seemingly small decisions can send a smaller company on a course that can't be corrected.

In some cases, however, it is possible to plan ahead to avoid certain pitfalls.

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:: The Top Five Small Business Trends To Monitor In 2019

As we welcome 2019, attention is shifting to what’s on the horizon for small businesses in the year ahead. The reality is that the nature of work is evolving. During my more than 25-year career, I have held a number of leadership positions. Early in my time in the health insurance industry, compensation reigned supreme among my employees, while health and wellness were perceived as a nice-to-have benefit.

Now, workplace norms are beginning to align more with employee wants and needs and new rules about conducting business are being established — particularly when it comes to employee health and wellness. I believe this shift, which I have witnessed within my own team, will continue to dominate work environments across the nation in the new year.

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:: 9 social media tips to boost small business brands

Establishing a strong social media presence can mean big business for your small business. But if you don’t have dedicated resources to devote to it, or you don’t have much time to spare, you might find it tough to gain traction. Use these nine social media tips to boost business and grow your brand.

Set Clear Goals

No matter how eager you are to start using social media for your business, take the time to set clear goals before you begin. Try setting SMART goals — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely — to guide your social media strategy.

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:: 5 Business Trends That Will Continue to Rise in 2019

On one hand, year-on-year improvements are what makes companies great; on the other, firms can’t control many of the factors that dictate whether, say, revenue rises or not.

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:: 7 Proven Small Things That Can Deliver Big Results in 2019 for Small Businesses

When Mandy Bass speaks to business leaders and professionals who want to improve sales, productivity, teamwork, customer satisfaction and profitability she consistently finds that they are working way too hard to achieve the results they seek. With that in mind, for the New Year she has compiled a list of seven small or low-cost things that could get small business owners, solopreneurs and sales professionals big results in 2019.

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:: More Than 50 Percent of Record-Setting Amazon Holiday Sales Made By SMBs

The 2018 holiday season is in the books, and small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) sold big on Amazon. In fact, SMBs had their best holiday shopping season ever.

The e-tail giant itself had a record-setting holiday season as well: More items were ordered worldwide on Amazon than ever before.

But it was not just corporations like LEGO that benefitted from all this shopping. More than 50 percent of all items sold came from small and medium-sized businesses.

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:: The Surprising Challenge Small Business Owners Are Facing Today

A healthy economy means many small businesses are thriving -- but they're also having a hard time hanging onto employees. A good 24% of small businesses lost at least one employee in 2018, while 11% of small businesses lost 10% of their workforce, according to Bank of America. Not only that, but 58% of businesses had trouble finding qualified candidates for open roles, and 25% said it took more time to fill open positions in 2018 than it did in 2017.

And there lies the problem with a strong job market: When employment is plentiful, workers have more options to choose from, so getting them to join or stay with your team becomes more challenging for companies across the board, but particularly for small businesses with limited resources.

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:: Top 30 2018 Facebook Trends for Small Business

Here are the statistics and headlines that you should be aware of.

Facebook Popularity
Facebook has more than 2.2 billion active members around the world.
More than 1.6 billion people around the world have used Facebook to connect with a small business.
More than 80 million businesses use Facebook to connect with customers.
But it’s not all about growth. 42 percent of U.S. adults have taken a break from Facebook for a few weeks or more.
44 percent of younger users have deleted the Facebook app from their phones in the past year.
But only 12 percent of older users have done so.

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:: For Most Small Businesses, 2018 Was a Good Year

While December has been a lousy month for the stock market, 2018 has generally been a good year for small-business owners. Over half (55%) of owners or decision makers at small businesses in the United States said that their business is better off today than it was a year ago, according to a new survey from Fundera.

Another 33% said their business has remained steady, leaving only 12% that saw their fortunes decline in 2018. Those are very strong and encouraging numbers, but that does not mean it should be assumed the good times will continue to roll.

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:: 3 Lessons Learned from Helping a Small Business Invest

As a Texas real estate broker, one of the things I do at my company, Goodwin Commercial, is educate our clients on the commercial investment process. We offer a step-by-step process evaluation to protect our clients when making the decision to go from leasing to purchasing a property for their business. That process often includes making recommendations about how they might leverage a good situation or opportunity into a great one, often via strategic financing and purchasing decisions. In this case, the couple initially tried to go the SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration) route but were turned down by the first national bank they approached. They were definitely discouraged!

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:: Top 5 Small Business Marketing Automation Trends of 2019

2019 Marketing Automation Trends

If you want to use marketing automation to help your business succeed in 2019, your approach to automation will predetermine much of your success. To start out strong, consider bringing the following marketing automation trends into your strategy for the year ahead:

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:: 4 Workplace Trends Every Small Business Should Know About for 2019

Many of us are wondering, for example, how the U.S. economy will impact business. Will hiring finally ease up? How will younger generations change our workforce?

Without a crystal ball, it's tough to answer every question. But, given trends we saw this year, it is possible to make a few educated predictions about what small businesses should prepare for as 2019 approaches. Here are my top four predictions:

2019 is the beginning of the Gen Z takeover.

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:: Four Small Business New Year's Resolutions For Success In 2019

The end of the calendar year is a natural time to reassess how your business did in the previous 12 months and then devise a plan for improving. By almost every measure, 2018 was a good year for the economy. Small business optimism is high, holiday sales were the strongest in years, unemployment is low, and consumer confidence hit an 18-year high in September before tempering a bit in November.

It would be hard to duplicate the atmosphere that prevailed in 2018. The impact of President Trump’s tax cuts will lessen, interest rates have risen again, and the Dow Jones dropped from 25,862.43 on December 3 to 21,792.20 on Christmas Eve, a sign that the economy may be slowing.

Small business owners need to take all of these factors into account.

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:: How to Handle Late Paying Clients with Ease Using These Tips

The holidays puts everyone in a celebratory mood — or almost everyone. For small business owners, the celebration may be tempered by stress over unpaid invoices. My business is lucky: Lots of our clients are scrambling to issue payments before year-end to finish off their fiscal years. But for other small businesses, freelancers and entrepreneurs in the B2B world, getting paid this time of year is an ongoing struggle.

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:: Americas Love Affair With Small Business Rekindled

Bloom Brewery is the kind of Main Street business that shut its doors a generation ago when shopping malls lured customers to their mega-buildings with well-lit parking lots, extended hours and everything imaginable under one roof.

The brewery, which offers 24 artisanal beers on tap, sits near the Great Allegheny Passage, a 335-mile bike trail that has connected Washington, D.C., to Pittsburgh since 2013. And with it, a new kind of customer is being drawn through its doors, seeking comfort and community instead of big-box discount deals.

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:: 5 Ways Small Business Owners Can Start Preparing For Retirement

Small business owners are often so involved with the day-to-day operations of their business, many feel they don’t have the time to look down the road and plan for retirement.

And as a result, some entrepreneurs may never be ready to retire. According to a survey by Manta, one-third of business owners don’t have any retirement plan, and 75% of respondents to a BMO Wealth survey said they had “$100,000 or less” saved for retirement.

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:: How Much Does Building a Website Cost?

Estimating the cost to build a website is like asking how much it costs to construct a building. The obvious answer is, It depends on what you want to do with the building.

For small businesses, the answer depends on the main purpose of your website: Is your website solely for marketing purposes? Or do you plan to sell goods and services on it? While one site can certainly do both, its main purpose should guide your selection as to which hosting platform and design software are best suited for your business.

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:: 15 Examples of Augmented Reality to Inspire Small Business Owners

Incorporating augmented reality (AR), whereby an interactive experience of a real-world environment is created by computer-generated perceptual information, into business operations, marketing and functions, is not confined to big businesses with big budgets to play around with.

On the contrary, many small businesses are jumping on the burgeoning AR bandwagon, as a means of attracting new customers, retaining existing ones, and ultimately becoming more competitive and profitable.

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:: Top Small Business Manufacturing Trends in 2018

The global manufacturing market has experienced a myriad of changes in recent years. Particularly in the U.S., automation, offshoring and technology have made a major impact on manufacturing businesses of all sizes.

Manufacturing Trends
Here are some facts and statistics that illustrate these prominent industry trends.

Manufacturing Market Size
The median annual revenue for manufacturing companies is between $50 and $100 million per year.
About 7 percent of manufacturing companies have annual revenues under $1 million.
In the U.S., manufacturing makes up 12 percent of the national output.

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:: Innovation is Hot, Hot, Hot! Expect More of It in the Small Business Sector in 2019.

This past year, 2018, has been a very good one for innovation. We've seen the blockchain boom, the increase in low-code and no-code app development, the start of the rollout of 5G technology and AI and AR: All came into their own with countless programs and applications for both business and consumer life.

On the coattails of such a year, I believe that 2019 has the opportunity to show even more promise. Here are the trends I predict we will see in small businesses and across the industry as a whole:

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:: How to Boost Post-Holiday Sales

For businesses large and small, the annual holiday season really is the most wonderful time of the year, to quote the classic tune. Customers looking to spread a little cheer among their loved ones come out in droves to get the newest toys, try out the latest services and end the year spending more money than they did the previous year.

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:: The Biggest Reason Why the U.S. Needs Small Businesses to Thrive Has Nothing to Do With Taxes or the Economy

Despite recent stock market turmoil, everywhere you looked this year someone was heralding the strength of the economy, which grew at 3.5 percent in the third quarter. However, not all economic growth favors small businesses, and some even detracts from it. The Inc. Entrepreneurship Index, which measures the quarterly health of the U.S. startup economy, currently sits at 83 out of 100 for the third quarter of 2018. This is down two points from the second quarter and a full nine points from the first quarter of 2017, when our Index peaked. Our indicator sees one factor in particular still dragging like an anchor on the startup economy: job growth.

Even though overall economic conditions have been largely favorable, small businesses have hit a growth ceiling as larger companies--bolstered by generally strong market conditions, favorable tax policies, support from local governments, and easing federal regulations--have been gobbling up talent. This is why, for the past year, the Index has shown a startup economy that is strong but slowing.

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:: The Clock Is Ticking: Small Business Tax Strategies to Do This Year

Tax season can be stressful for anyone, but given a number of changes made in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), as well as ongoing legislative changes, the 2018 tax year stands to be especially difficult for small business owners to navigate. However, by making a few smart moves now and being mindful of strategies that will allow you to to capitalize on existing tax benefits, you can close out the year with the peace of mind that you made the best tax moves for your business.

In order to set yourself and your business up for success, know the current tax law and take advantage of what changes are coming and going.

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:: Small Businesses Lose $80K on Average to Cybercrime Annually, Better Business Bureau Says

The growth of cybercrime will cost the global economy more than $2 trillion by 2019, according to the Better Business Bureau’s 2017 State of Cybersecurity Among Small Businesses in North America report.

Cost of a Cyber Attack
When it comes to small businesses, the report said the overall annual loss was estimated at almost $80K or $79,841 on average. And as more small businesses become equal parts digital and brick-and-mortar, securing both aspects of their company is more important than ever.
The risks small business owners face in the digital world has increased their awareness of the dangers of this ecosystem. A survey conducted by GetApp in 2017 revealed security concerns ranked second as the challenges small businesses were facing.

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:: Small business holiday marketing tips for 2018

The holiday season is already in full swing. And, I believe, you would have already pushed all the right buttons, at all fronts, be it your website pages, social media pages, marketing emailers and all, before things might get too hot to handle for you.

However, a checklist will always come handy, I believe. It will not only keep you on your toes but will remind you of the pending activities that might need your attention, now or later on.

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:: 4 Reasons To Support Small Companies On Small Business Saturday® And Beyond

Whether you are a small business owner, a consumer, or the CEO of a big corporation, you likely know that small companies are a pretty big part of the economy. This year, show your support for small enterprises by participating in Small Business Saturday® (SBS).

My accounting and payroll software company, Patriot Software, is an advocate of Small Business Saturday. And personally, I am a major supporter of small businesses. I know how much time, dedication, money, and hard work entrepreneurs pour into their small companies.

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:: Small Business Profile: DejaVu Designs

Custom handmade surf tumbled sea glass and tumbled stone designs, jewelry, hair clips and ornaments. #seaglass #tumbledstones #jewelry #handmade #homemade #dejavudesigns #smallbusiness #smallbiz #stonejewelry #seaglassjewelry

:: 10 Wealth Management Tips For Small Business Owners

As a small business owner, it can be a point of pride to watch your dreams translate into equitable profits. However, the road to success has many potholes to avoid and expressways to take — if you recognize them in time.

With the vast array of personal finance knowledge out there, it can be tricky to figure out which advice is the best fit for small business owners. Ten members of Forbes Finance Council weighed in with their own personal wealth management tips to help you keep your personal and professional finances in good shape.

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:: 4 Ways Small Businesses Can Internally Prepare for Holiday Shopper

Savvy small businesses are already looking ahead to the holiday shopping season, including Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Here are four things you can do to prepare your business for the holidays.

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:: Struggling to Get Motivated? Don't Ask for Advice--Give It

There's a lot of advice out there for the lazy and unmotivated: Take baby steps! Set a timer! Enlist an accountability partner! But what if the best way to tackle lack of motivation is not to give any sort of advice at all, but to ask for it instead?

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