:: Have You Considered Exporting?
Top U.S. trade officials plan to spread out across
the country this year to recruit small-business owners in
the administrations effort to double exports by 2015.
A year after President Barack Obama announced the export
initiative to help tackle stubbornly high unemployment,
the administration is trying to reach out to the group of
business owners that account for nearly two-thirds of job
creation but less than a third of total goods sold abroad.
to Urge Exporting
:: 4 Biggest Mistakes Small
Businesses Make With Social Media
Hate to disappoint, but Facebook, Twitter, blogs
and other social media tools are not magical. They are communication
tools and communication is hard work. Connecting with your
customers on a deep and emotional level can pay off big
time for all businesses, but it can also backfire.
Biggest Mistakes Small Businesses Make With Social Media
:: Forum Etiquette
The Internet has become a highly interactive medium.
In order to participate in discussion forums and newsgroups,
it is important to be familiar with standard and accepted
Internet forum etiquette. Here are some tips to help make
your forum participation more productive and beneficial...
Read the forum rules and terms-of-service before you begin
posting. This way, you can avoid having your introduction
to the forum being an accidental breaking of a rule or other
:: Tax Problems
Some of the biggest problems small business owners
have during income tax filing season are the result of mistakes
and oversights they made during the previous year.
Sloppy record-keeping, even when accounting software is
used, is a big reason why owners struggle at tax time. Another
problem is that owners often short-change themselves by
not being sure they are taking all the deductions they are
entitled to. That can also be the result of haphazard records,
but it also may come from not knowing some tax law basics.
:: Small Business Loans Drive the Economy
This multitude of causes for the decline complicates
efforts of policymakers to return small business credit
to prerecession levels. While many small business owners
and elected officials are looking for easy answers, boosting
bank lending to small businesses will take more than simply
intructing bankers to make more loans. And it will require
more than the recent effort to boost the Small Business
Administrations loan guarantee program, because SBA-guaranteed
loans are a tiny sliver of all bank loans to small businesses—about
44,000 of the 1.6 million small business loans made in 2009.
The implications are stark: Unless policymakers implement
effective solutions to the problem, the small business sector
will receive far less bank credit than it used to, hampering
the economy for years to come.
Business Loans Drive the Economy
:: Common Mistakes with Presentations
A PowerPoint presentation can be an extremely valuable
marketing tool for businesses in this day and age. Here
are a few common mistakes that you should try to avoid when
creating your presentations...
1. Excessive Animation
Excessive animation can really distract from a presentation.
Keep animation to a minimum. Transitions between slides
may be appropriate, but a constantly-moving animated image
on a slide can make the text on the slide difficult to read,
and can distract the viewer from the message.
Mistakes with Microsoft PowerPoint
:: Business Advice From Richard Branson
1. Enjoy what you are doing.
Because starting a business is a huge amount of hard work
and requires a great deal of time, you better enjoy what
you're doing. When I started Virgin from a basement flat
in West London, I did not set out to build a business empire.
I set out to create something I enjoyed that would pay the
There was no great plan or strategy. The name itself was
thought up on the hoof. One night some friends and I were
chatting over a few drinks and decided to call our group
Virgin, as we were all new to business. The name stuck and
had a certain ring to it.
Advice From Branson
:: Small Business Webinars
The U.S. Small Business Administration and Agility
Recovery Solutions are offering free Webinars during 2011
aimed at helping small businesses.
The Webinars will focus on potential vulnerabilities to
natural and manmade disasters to small businesses.
:: Grant Money for Small Businesses
Small business grants are closer than you think.
In fact, the small business grant you need to start or expand
your business may be available right in your own home state.
While there are still no direct small business grants available
from the federal government, many state development agencies
offer direct small business grants and other types of financial
assistance designed to encourage and assist entrepreneurs
in starting or expand a small business.
The following is a list of links to economic development
agency Web sites of each state. Whenever possible, a link
to the specific financing resources is listed as well.
:: What is Hot What is Not
in Technology for 2011
What is Hot
1. Virtual Cloud
2. Mobile Apps
3. Virtual Technology
What is Not
2. Social Noise
5. Land Lines
Read more about What
is Hot and What is Not in Technology for 2011
:: More Business Sales This Year
BizBuySell.com — one of the most popular online
sources of small-business for-sale listings — has released
its Fourth Quarter 2010 Insight Report, showing a return
to realism by sellers at the end of 2010, and some promising
indicators for improvement in the overall marketplace in
the coming year.
The fourth quarter tends to be a busy time for business
brokers in general, as buyers and sellers want a transaction
completed by the end of a calendar year — although here
is my recent take on the market. According to the report,
there was moderate, but steady improvement during
the fourth quarter, which saw an increase in total transactions
of 11 percent compared to the same period in 2009, some
of which may be attributed to uncertainty surrounding the
expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts. The total number of
closed transactions for 2010 was up 3 percent, largely as
a result of a strong fourth quarter.
Small-business valuations, however, continued their downward
trend, with average revenue multiples down 2.1 percent and
the average cash-flow multiples down .6 percent.
:: Veteran Business Certification
To further advocate for Veterans, VA announced
that companies identifying themselves as small businesses
or Veteran-owned businesses to gain priority for some Department
of Veterans Affairs contracts must now provide documentation
verifying their status within 90 days of receiving notice
from the agency.
:: Are Small Businesses Hiring?
The jobs drought in the U.S. saw some rain in December.
And small business owners across the country have varying
reactions to the precipitation.
The U.S. unemployment rate fell to from 9.8 % to 9.4 % in
December with the economy adding 103,000 jobs, the Labor
Department reported Friday. That was the biggest one-month
drop since April of 1998, and the last time it was this
low was in May of 2009.
Of the 103,000 jobs added in December, 47,000 were in the
leisure and hospitality sector, and 36,000 were in the healthcare
Things may be looking up, but what are business owners themselves
actually saying about hiring?
:: 11 Social Media Resolutions
This list is meant to be a list of goals to accompany
your social media plan – not serve as a standalone social
media blueprint. Remember that there is no end-all-be-all
social strategy for all companies, so make sure that you
are not making your brand the square peg forcing itself
into a round social hole. So, onto the social media resolutions
Social Media Resolutions
:: A Look at 2010 in Business
The year of 2010 was considered a rough year for
the United States. There was a variety of economic issues,
a tragic oil spill, and two tumultuous wars. The world's
troubles were no less; they also included evident with failing
economies, political struggles and natural disasters.
The environment faced both natural and man-made disasters
in 2010. An earthquake in Haiti rocked the country to its
roots early in the year. European travel and United Kingdom
travel was suspended, disrupting travelers schedules for
the better part of a week. When a volcano in Iceland erupted,
making it too dangerous for commercial flights to fly. The
Gulf of Mexico was tainted by an oil spill of massive proportions.
Destroying a way of life and ecosystem throughout
the Gulf. The oil gushed unchecked into the serene waters,
for more than 100 days.
Reflections, 2011 Predictions
:: New Years Tech Resolutions
for Small Businesses
Theres no telling what the future will bring, but
one thing is sure: In the world of technology, nothing stays
the same for very long. The year 2010 wasn't terribly turbulent
for tech, but 2011 is shaping up to be more of a thrill
than you might expect. From Androids scorched-earth march
across the industry to malware threats that we have yet
to wrap our arms around, it seems as if everything is about
With that in mind, here are nine resolutions for the small
business operator to think about for 2011.
Resolutions for Small Businesses
:: Innovative Small Business Funding
Funding extended through 2018 for the Small Business
Innovation Research Program and the Small Business Technology
Small businesses in the science and innovation field got
good news recently when the U.S. Senate reauthorized two
National Science Foundation programs, aimed at helping entrepreneurs
gain access to capital.
In one of the final moves of the year, the Senate passed
a bill which will extend funding for the Small Business
Innovation Research Program and the Small Business Technology
Program, both of which were established in order to help
small businesses get better access to federal dollars and
development funds. Thanks to the passage, the program will
be funded through 2018, after relying on short-term funding
to solve the issue.
Small Business Funding
:: Small Businesses Heros
Over the last two years, it has been widely reported
that small businesses create more jobs than big businesses
and thus are critical to the recovery. It has also been
widely reported that small businesses are getting squeezed
— by the credit freeze, by skyrocketing costs like health
and unemployment insurance, and by cheap imports, to name
a few examples.
So, if you own a small business, is the deck stacked against
you? Can you overcome all of the obstacles? Is it harder
than it used to be to start a business? Is it going to continue
to get harder? Are the banks going to loosen up? Is the
recovery ever going to reach small businesses the
way it has big businesses? Which is it: Are small businesses
going to be saviors or victims?