Small Business Software

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Small Business Blog - daily small business software blog

:: Competitive Intelligence

Some companies compete by getting into the minds of their competitors. Competitive Intelligence is the process of collecting information about competitors in a competitive environment. These tips and tricks will help marketers better understand competitive intelligence, and how to effectively compete in their marketplace.

Competitive Intelligence

:: Take Advantage of Technology

With the surge in iPhones and iPads businesses are making the most of the new technology. Check out these new iPad and iPhone SpeckCases.

:: More Small Businesses Exporting

The Export-Import Bank says it is on pace to back 5,000 new small-businesses exporters by 2015, part of an administration-led effort to encourage smaller firms to pursue global markets amid weak demand at home.

:: Businesses Need Freedom

The U.S. government needs to get out of the way of business to allow for job creation, Rep. Renee Ellmers said in her partys weekly address Saturday.

The freshman Republican representative is a former nurse and married to a surgeon. She said their small medical practice in Dunn, N.C., is an example of how government regulations are affecting businesses.

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:: Signs, Signs, Signs

You can market your small business in a lot of sexy new ways, but hold on. Do not overlook one of the most tried-and true ways to let people know about your business.

I am talking about signs.

The concept is hardly ground breaking, but that is why they are easily forgotten. Signs are cheap and easy, but best of all they work.

Signs, Signs, Signs

:: Free Advertising for Small Businesses

You heard correct. Free advertising. If you are starting a new home-based business, advertising online is essential to your success. Advertising however, can be extremely costly. Posting ads on Free Classified sites can be a good way to start getting your name out there, learning how to position your business, and to test your ad copy.

With online ads like Facebook or Google Ads, you can quickly rack up huge costs because the wrong people are clicking on your ads. When they click, you pay. If you post free classified ads, you don’t pay anything, unless you want to be showcased on a main page or at the top of your category’s listings.

There are several free classified sites that you can use for home business advertising. Craigslist, eBay Classifieds and Kijiji are the biggest ones I know in North America. Some others are Backpages, BOCOnline and iNetGiant, to name just a few. If you search for ‘free advertising’ or ‘free classifieds’ in your country or city you may find something different.

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:: Small Business is Passion

Deluxe Corp. unveiled Thursday results of a small business survey of more than 500 social-media-savvy entrepreneurs, revealing most started their businesses as a result of personal passion.

The growth engine for small businesses used PartnerUp, the first online social network for small business owners and entrepreneurs, to survey a growing demographic of social media savvy self-starters.

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:: Small Business Pessimism

In its monthly report, entitled Small Business Economic Trends, the National Federation of Independent Businesses found that small business optimism declined for the third straight month during the month of May.

The reason for that continued pessimism seems related to reports of low sales. Indeed, when asked what single problem most concerned the surveyed small business owners, poor sales was the most frequent reply.

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:: Are You Prepared for Retirement?

Nearly two-thirds of small business owners fear outliving their retirement money and one-third plan to work into their 70s, according to a new study.

The retirement views of the nations small business owners are radically shifting, said a news release about the study conducted by the Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute. The Institute, part of Guardian Life Insurance Co., polled 1,433 small business owners who operate companies with two to 99 employees.

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:: Need Business Cards?

This is a great new site with business cards templates. Choose the business type and you will see an assortment of cards that can be customized to suit your business needs. See the Business Card Store for details.

:: SBA Export Business Planner

Want to increase your slice of the U.S. $1.7 trillion export pie of goods and services? The Small Business Administration has launched its Export Business Planner to help you.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the export is not just the province of corporate giants. Nearly three-quarters 70 percent of all U.S. exporters have fewer than 20 employees, the SBA said.

This new, free online tool will help small businesses gauge their readiness to export and help them develop an export business plan.

The Planner is downloadable PDF file that features an extensive compilation of worksheets, export research and information, including quick links to websites, video profiles, training podcasts, trade statistics, contact information to counseling resources such as SCORE and small business development centers , a list of current SBA lenders and much more.

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:: Facebook Ads for Small Businesses

The data reveals that Facebook ad offerings are making inroads with local merchants, which could put pressure on companies like Google and Groupon for share of local marketing budgets. Thanks to huge consumer adoption, ease-of-use, and low barrier to entry, Facebook continues to be the most popular way for merchants to market their business: 66 percent use the social network for marketing. Facebook Ads is benefitting from the social network’s high level of adoption with a 94 percent awareness rate among local merchants.

Facebook Ads

:: More on Small Business Social Media

For under a thousand dollars a small business owner can create their own multimedia empire and reach their target audience. This means that they do not have to hire a public relations firm to get them booked on CNBC or profiled in a glossy magazine. They can create their own broadcasts with the help of consumer grade cameras, a few wireless microphones and a felt backdrop all for a fifth of the price that a firm might charge them for one month of consulting.

The next step in the process is to flood the social media universe with your content and use it as a de-facto broadcast network for any programming you come up with.

Small Business Social Media

:: Small Business Technology

Small businesses get started for all kinds of reasons—a great idea, recognition of an underserved niche, loss of a job, boredom, desire for additional income, and plain old foolhardiness. But to succeed, businesses need to get their tech right, from the very beginning.

But where to begin? How do you get a web site and a .com address for your business? Are online email services likes Gmail the best option for communicating with customers? Do you need to invest in servers and computers for you and any potential employees? Do you need a wireless network? These can be daunting tech questions for starting a business, but they don't have to be.

The answers all depend on the type of business you are running and your business goals. Our step-by-step guide will walk you through some of the most important early steps and give you pointers for getting started on the rest.

Small Business Technology

:: No Vacation for Small Businesses

A large majority 79 percent of small business owners do not feel guilty for taking a vacation, reports the AmEx survey of 500 small business owners.

But other reasons not to get away loom large:

  -  Busy work schedules 37 percent and affordability 29 percent affect some owners hesitancy to take a vacation this summer.
  -  Entrepreneurs are less plugged in than they were in 2008, but 68 percent still check in every day while on vacation, and 18 percent say they check in several times a day.
  -  Rising gasoline costs will affect half of small business owners vacation plans, keeping them closer to home or staying home altogether.
  - The uncertain economy is affecting 57 percent of small business owners vacation plans. Still, 46 percent of small business owners surveyed say they will take a summer vacation this year.

:: Small Businesses Get Social

More than 600 million people are on Facebook, including at least 150 million Americans, or one in two adults. Twitter recently topped 300 million accounts. Small-business owners are trying to capitalize on social media to promote their businesses and broadcast messages.

Kerpen offers the following five tips for small-business owners venturing into social-media networking.

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:: Small Businesses Embrace the Cloud

Entrepreneurs and small businesses have led the way in cloud storage adoption and still comprise the largest faction of cloud users, but this is quickly changing. Larger companies are following suit, investing more in cloud technology to meet their business infrastructure needs in today’s global, distributed business environment.

Businesses have always had the need to store, share and back up data. Traditionally, this was done with on-site physical file servers, tape backups, file transfer protocol - FTP and virtual private network - VPN systems. While these methods offer high speed and performance, they are expensive and increasingly impractical and cumbersome in todays collaborative business world.

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:: Blogs are Standard for Small Businesses

Building a blog is no longer an option for most businesses. If you doubt it, just look at some of the figures below. In the first link we see an oft repeated idea that blogging is dead. It might be better to say that blogging is not cutting edge anymore. It is becoming mainstream. And, particularly when it comes to small business, it is becoming clear they are now standard equipment.

Blogs are Standard for Businesses

:: Small Business Influencers

The Small Business Influencer initiative honors contributors who have made a significant impact on the North American small business market. Nominate a Small Business Influencer.

:: Small Businesses Save Time and Money

Computer programs designed for smartphones and tablets save small businesses more than a billion hours and $17.6 billion a year, according to a new report from the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council.

The study, Saving Time and Money with Mobile Apps: a Small Business Apportunity, looks at the growth of cell phone and other mobile technologies and why small businesses are using mobile applications to solve key business challenges.

Nearly half of small businesses use smartphones compared to a fifth  of the general consumer market. Owners and their employees are using mobile apps to squeeze more productivity from their work week, reducing overhead costs, increasing revenues and sales-related activities, improving competitiveness and even allowing firms to add jobs.

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:: Benefits of Shopping Online

Why buy online? Why not buy online? Have you ever considered the pros and cons to shopping at a retail store vs shopping online? Lets take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing online...

Advantages Of Shopping Online...

1. Saves Time

If you already know what you are looking for, shopping online can save you a significant amount of time. With just a few clicks of the mouse, you can place your order and move on to other things.

Benefits of Shopping Online

:: Small Business Marketing

Total marketing spending by U.S. small businesses will expand in 2012, as an increased number of firms invests in advertising and promotional activities. According to New York-based Access Markets InternationalPartners, Inc., overall spending is expected to grow 4% rebounding from 2010 recessionary lows.

These findings from AMIs 2010 - 2011 U.S. Small Business Marketing Activity and Spending Study reveal that apart from social media marketing, which is estimated to grow a considerable 35%, most marketing categories are still slowly rebounding from the economic downturn.

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:: Small Business Tax Headache

Taxes always give small-business owners a big headache. Today, we hear there is more pain coming their way.

In Charge colleague Laura Saunders writes in an article that the Internal Revenue Service, which is moving aggressively to collect more taxes from small businesses, is now seeking small companies software files.

The IRS is telling some businesses already under audit that they must turn over records kept in popular software progams, such as Intuit Inc.s QuickBooks or Sage Groups Peachtree, according to the article.

Small-business groups are pushing back, saying the IRS should realize that they are not big firms with elaborate accounting systems or lots of tax professionals on staff Ȓ and that they ca n not easily turn over very specific files. Instead, to comply with the IRS requests, many small businesses must turn over complete electronic records Ȓ and there is no telling what the IRS might do with that, they complain.

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