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Small Business Blog - daily small business software blog

:: Small Businesses Staying Small

A survey of business owners finds small businesses may remain small to avoid employee health coverage required by the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare.

Oklahoma City-based staffing firm Express Employment Professionals surveyed business owners, hiring managers and human resource professionals on the ACA and its impact on hiring decisions.

The survey found that 70 percent of survey respondents whose companies have 45 - 49 employees said they would try to remain under 50 employees. Businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees do not face a penalty for not offering health coverage under Obamacare.

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:: Why Growth Can Destroy a Small Business

Small Businesses have a desire to grow – grow their sales, customer numbers and enter new markets. However unless you have adequate resources and a clearly defined strategy, then growth can lead to the demise of your small business.

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:: 11 Tax Solutions for Small Businesses

Small business owners shouldn't have to do their taxes on their own. Tax solutions provide a do-it-yourself way to easily prepare and file taxes — without all the guesswork. If you don't have an accountant, or tax services are way out of your budget, there are several tax apps, software and other tools specifically created with small business tax needs in mind. Here are 10 tax solutions to get you started.

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:: Small Business Ideas for Cities

Small towns and cities seem to be gaining popularity as locations for startups, but a metropolis like New York or Los Angeles is still great place to own a small business. With a large population as your potential customer base, there are plenty of opportunities to make your entrepreneurial dreams come true. Here are seven small business ideas for big cities.

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:: What I Learned About Business Shoveling Snow

While shoveling 8 to 10 inches of snow out of my driveway during our fourth Northeastern storm, I started thinking about running my small business. The decision process I used to clear my driveway is similar to the decisions you need to make to run a small business.

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:: Entrepenurial Nightmares

What is affecting me, my clients and other small-business owners today?

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:: How to Prepare for a Data Breach

That is the crux of the problem facing Americas small businesses and consumers: they may not think they’ll be targets of hackers looking for big scores… but all of them probably will be. It is just too easy and too lucrative for hackers to gather and utilize people’s personal information for anyone to be safe – including small enterprises with databases that seem at first blush to be of limited utility.

Reality check: hackers will always go after the weakest link. If they determine that the big guys have toughened up, they’re just going to go after easier targets, like small businesses.

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:: Plan for Small Business Success

Unfortunately, the first step that most business owners take involves sitting at their PCs and plugging away at outdated or unsuitable software technologies; and they make little progress. How can you avoid such a fate?

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:: 4 Social Media Mistakes Small Businesses Make

Social media presents a useful and viable tool for a business to build their brand and increase their visibility. In fact, it is getting to the point where you are probably going to be at a disadvantage if you do not have at least some form of an online presence through these mediums.

While online marketing spans a wide range of topics, social media has quickly become the primary vehicle through which businesses and their websites increase traffic, reach potential clients and develop their brand. When done right, it is quite possibly the single-most useful tool at the disposal of todays website admin and or small business owner.

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:: 10 Things Your Phone Can Do in Emergency Situations

Owning a cell phone has come to be regarded as a necessity in modern society, and with the great advances that have been made in smart phone technology, most of us rely on our phones to help us in an array of situations. While most smart phone owners are acquainted with the helpfulness of features such as navigation apps and mobile broadband, many people have yet to discover the array of uses they may put their phones to in the event of a true emergency.

10 Things Your Phone Can Do in Emergency Situations

:: Small Business Practices that Make a BIG Difference

I have been running a small business since 1999, and at times it has been a trip through Hell. If I were to expound upon all the challenges and trials I have faced, you might ask what monumental changes I made to make things better. Looking back, what surprises me is how much of what has improved has been due to small and simple modifications in how I managed the business.

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:: Pension Plan for Your Small Business

If you have a very small business and are looking to set up a retirement plan, you may want to consider a self-employed 401(k) plan.

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:: Moving Tips for Small Businesses

When moving your business to a new location, proper planning saves you time and money. Packing and unpacking take time, and haphazardly placing critical support equipment in your new space can result in ongoing inefficiencies.

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:: Is Text Messaging Ruining Our Youth

If you have noticed the apparent omnipresence of cell phones, as most of us surely have, it likely will not surprise you that about 86% of the worlds roughly seven billion people have access to a mobile phone, or that 80% of cell phone owners use their devices to send and receive text messages. You may also be unsurprised to learn that the vast majority of texts are sent by teenagers under eighteen, and that the average teen from this group sends over 3,300 texts each month. The story that these numbers tell is hardly something we do not know: while Generation X grew up with face-to-face communication and calls from the landline, the social sphere of today's youth exists on LCD screens.

Is Text Messaging Ruining Our Youth

:: Why Does The SBA Not Help Small Businesses Export

Small business exporting has gotten plenty of attention since President Obama set the goal of doubling U.S. foreign sales in his 2010 State of the Union address. Despite the interest in helping more small companies sell abroad, only a small share of such businesses actually export, according to a report last week from the Congressional Research Service.

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:: Small Businesses Take Responsibility for Your Mistakes

There is a constant, prevalent in every entrepreneur who fails, without exception, and that is the entrepreneur unwilling to take responsibility for their own flaws, mistakes and shortcomings.
If you fall into this category and are unwilling to start taking responsibility for your mistakes, you will not be successful in your quest for prosperity and success. Because one thing is certain: No entrepreneur can have enduring, consistent success until they look at themselves and discover the real origin of their flaws.

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:: Small Businesses Not a Fan of Big Brands

Americas 23 million small businesses should represent a giant market for big companies, particularly as small businesses leave the Great Recession in the rear-view mirror and look to invest in new equipment. One problem: Main Street does not seem to like large corporations much.

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:: Will Your Return Be Audited?

Nothing sends small business owners into nail-biting mode than news that they are being audited.  Even if you have all your ducks in order and can defend your deductions and support your income, the process is still time-consuming, costly and nerve wracking.

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:: 10 Simple Ways to Cut Business Expenses

Holly Perez, senior manager of personal finance software company Quicken, shared these 10 cost-cutting solutions to help you reduce your business's budget:

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:: Why Small Businesses Should Focus on Return on Investment

With the recent controversy surround guest blog posting, it is easy to be pulled into the controversy. As always, there are contradicting viewpoints on small business SEO and the guidance from Google is, well, confusing at best.

Small business owners do not have the luxury of being wrong. They live close to the edge, and rainy-day financing is hard to come by.

For these reasons, small businesses need to be guided by statistics and analytics. They need to avoid wasting time in controversial discussions that have no end.

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:: Easiest Way to Fight Procrastination

My task management system is rooted in the way my father helped me plan my school work. I was born in India but mostly raised in Abu Dhabi by parents, who set an excruciatingly high bar for academic achievement. My particular problem with studying was focus. I was good at my work, but I seldom got around to doing it. I had a tendency to drift off, let assignments pile-up, and then work myself into a funk as deadlines began to explode around me.

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:: Crowd Sourcing and Social Media; Their Real Impact

It seems that our society is growing ever more dependent on social media; more and more people are joining social networking giants such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and more such websites and applications are springing up to meet the rising demand for them. As society and culture continue this turn towards technology, so do the operations of society, especially through crowdsourcing. A powerful tool, crowdsourcing does much good, but has also caused a number of problems. In such a situation, one must ask: do the benefits of crowdsourcing really outweigh the risks

Crowd Sourcing and Social Media

:: Small Businesses Avoiding ObamaCare Exchanges

The Small Business Health Option Plan, the Obamacare program intended to help insure employees of businesses with fewer than 50 workers, is off to a rough start. Technical problems caused the federal government, which is operating SHOPs in 36 states, to delay launching online marketplaces by a year, until this November. State-run SHOPs that managed to launch online have seen low enrollment.

Alex Wayne writes for Bloomberg News today about just how slow the uptake has been. Kentucky, which garnered praise for the launch of its state exchange amid healthcare.governments rocky rollout, had enrolled just 14 companies in SHOP plans. Colorado had enrolled 101 companies, and Connecticut 106. In New York, about 5,000 employees at companies with fewer than 50 workers had signed up for Obamacares small business plans.

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:: Leadership is Essential to Small Business Success

Do an Internet search on leadership and you will find no shortage of articles, books, and quotes about what it takes to be a successful leader.

That’s because no two leaders, or leadership situations, are alike. Each of us brings different skills, talents, and experiences to the table. How we apply them depends very much on the circumstances at hand. So while people like Theodore Roosevelt, General George Marshall, or Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates are all considered great leaders, their respective approaches to particular problems might have been quite different.

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:: Protect Your Small Business With Insurance

You invest a great deal into starting and growing a business, so it makes sense to protect it. Many types of insurance are available, but not every business needs the same type of coverage. What's more, your needs may change as your business grows.

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:: Small Business Spending Predictions

One of the best indicators of how well an economy is doing is the strength of small businesses. With that standard, 2014 is looking to be a good year for the U.S. Two optimistic signs are that small businesses created 102,000 new jobs in November and 89 percent of small businesses increased their travel from fall 2012 to fall 2013.

Optimism is high for small business owners, with 37 percent declaring their coming year's business prospects as excellent and 45 percent as good. Eighty percent plan on increasing hiring in 2014 as well as increasing the number of products and services.

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:: One Small Business Will Win Big at SuperBowl

Super Bowl suspense is building — for the game and the commercials. With an audience of over 100 million people, advertisers covet this space, but at a reported $4 million a spot, only the mightiest corporations can afford Super Bowl exposure. This year, though, there is an exception. One lucky little business will get one of those primo slots — free.

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:: 10 Hiring Tips for Your Small Businesses

Hiring is one of the most important things an entrepreneur will do to grow her company. For a small business, each new hire has a tremendous impact and influences the company's culture far more than a new hire at a 200- or 500-person company. The stakes are high, so you need to ensure that each of your new hires is a passionate, engaged and committed team player.

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:: 5 New Year Resolutions for Small Businesses

1. File all of that legal paperwork.

2. Re-Analyze your ROI.

3. Get your estimated tax payment in.

4. Explore social media.

5. Update your site.

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:: Big Issues Facing Small Businesses

Small-business owners are probably glad to put 2013 into the books.

For many, it was a frustrating year of waiting. Waiting to learn about the new health care law. Waiting for lawmakers to solve budget disagreements. And waiting for the economy to improve. Many put off big decisions like purchasing equipment and hiring as they sought clarity. But in the end, owners fought inertia and appear to be looking forward to 2014. Hiring seems to be showing an uptick and lending to small businesses is improving.

Here is a look back at some of the big issues small-business owners faced this year:

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:: 6 Ways Small Businesses Can Do Big Business

I learned a lot about selling to corporate America from a mentor, who once worked as a sales professional focused on business-to-business customers. He sold telecommunications systems and services to large corporations in the highly competitive retail market. Although million dollar deals were common for him, he taught me that the fundamentals of sales are the same when closing any sized deal. Here are six ways small businesses can do business with corporations.

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:: 5 Small Business Mistakes to Avoid in 2014

Believe it or not, it is creeping up on the end of the year again, which means it is time to start lying to ourselves about how few carbs we are going to eat and how many sit-ups we are going to do in the coming year. December is also the time when small business owners should be taking stock of how things have gone over the past 12 months and looking ahead to the future. The things we vow to do and do better at in our professional lives are to be taken seriously. Below is our list of 5 things we think are likely mistakes for small business owners to make in 2014. Read, avoid, and be ahead of the curve.

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:: Why Do New York Politicians Hate Small Businesses

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed a commission to figure out how to make the Empire State more business-friendly and change its reputation for high taxes. The New York state government is now running commercials on national television touting the tax breaks that businesses can get by relocating there.

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