1. Featured Articles

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    1. Good Hoops Player, Even Better Entrepreneur

      Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today: Meet basketball's most impressive entrepreneur. Basketball fans may remember Jamal Mashburn for his successful career with franchises like the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat, but entrepreneurs might be equally impressed with Mashburn's success with some different kinds of franchises. As Yahoo! Sports reports, Mashburn has been quite busy since his retirement from the NBA in 2006, owning an astounding amount of Outback Steakhouses and Papa John's pizza franchises. By his count, he owns more than 34 Outbacks and 37 Papa John's, not to mention a few car dealerships and a number of other assorted franchise operations. Mashburn's inspiration was the exact opposite of every CEO who ever dreamed of leaving the boardroom and playing in the NBA. As he explains, "I've ...
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    2. 5 Awesome iPad Apps For Small Businesses

      5 Awesome iPad Apps For Small Businesses
      From Dina Spector, The Business Insider: Apple’s latest addition to the “i” family, the iPad, is not just a fancy piece of hardware — it was built to transform small business into efficient mobile operations. Emerging from the growing tablet market standing just 9.7 inches tall and weighing in at 1.5 pounds, the iPad's size belies its incredible computing power.   Become a champion at work by following our picks of the top five iPad applications for small business owners.   What It is Good For: Task Management and Productivity Price: $19.99 Application: Things for iPad Things from Cultured Code is one of the more expensive applications in the iTunes store, but consider the return: a 24-hour on-call digital assistant that does pretty much everything you ask it to — no complaints, no questions asked. Thing's categories include Today, Next, Scheduled, Someday, Projects and Logbook. Check items off ...
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    3. How to Raise Money on Crowdfunding Sites

      How to Raise Money on Crowdfunding Sites
      From Elaine Pofedlt: Is lack of cash the only thing preventing you from releasing a CD of your music, turning your hand-knit scarves into a business, or opening an artists' cafe? If so, then it's worth checking out the new generation of "crowdsourced" funding sites.   These gathering places enable entrepreneurs in artisanal and creative businesses to collect small donations from friends, family and acquaintances to bring a project to fruition. Typically, fund seekers will post information about a creative project on one of the sites, then reach out to their networks on Facebook, Twitter and other social sites to ask for donations ranging from around $10 to $100, and sometimes more. Some sites, like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, are open to a range of creative projects. Others, like the music-focused SellaBand, specialize in a particular niche.   Why would anyone hand over money this way while we're in choppy economic ...
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    4. How to Succeed at Failure

      How to Succeed at Failure
      From Richard Branson, The Virgin Group: Recognizing failure and recovering from mistakes are essential skills for any entrepreneur. When I recently received several excellent questions from readers of Entrepreneur magazine and American Express OPEN Forum, it prompted me to reflect on how I've dealt with missteps in my own career.   Q: I've been an entrepreneur for four years now and would like to know, when a business is not going well, how to tell when it's time to call it quits and switch to something else? You have mentioned your financial difficulties at the beginning of your career and as Virgin ventured into all kinds of media businesses. What helped you decide whether you wanted to stick it out or change sails?   - Victor Tan   A: The impending failure of a business is something that you will instinctively recognize deep down, but human nature may prevent you from ...
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    5. Rock Star Advice from a Video-Game Hero

      Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today: Rock star advice for first-time CEOs. You might remember that back in 2008 we introduced you to Alex Rigopulos and his company Harmonix Music Systems, makers of the uber-popular Guitar Hero and Rock Band video game franchises. Today, tech blog Xconomy catches up with Rigopulos to discuss what's next for Harmonix, the upcoming release of Rock Band 3, as well as to get his advice for first-time CEOs who are in the midst of starting their own businesses. While Rigopulos stresses the familiar themes of surrounding yourself with good people and remaining optimistic, he does have one piece of advice that is somewhat counterintuitive: "It's vitally important that entrepreneurs run towards the bad news, do everything they can to aggressively confront the holes in their ...
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      Mentions: new york times
    6. 7 Pillars of Marketing a Local Business Online | Manta Small Business Center

      By Jim Edwards When I first started writing for The Virginia Gazette in 1998, the Web was a giant mystery. Almost 13 years later, it's still a mystery for most! With the emergence of Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Google, Linkedin, and a host of other sites, getting started with online marketing seems more daunting than ever. Yet, as consumers flock to the Web daily to research local products and services, visibility for your business via the Internet literally spells success or failure. Bottom line:
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    7. HiveFire Advances Future of Marketing With Upcoming User Conference and FutureM Participation

       HiveFire, an online content marketing technology company, will explore the trends, including content curation, that will shape marketing as hosts and participants at several FutureM events next week. As a leading player in Boston's growth as a hub for the burgeoning online marketing community, HiveFire will be highly visible at Read Full Article
    8. An Entrepreneurial Safari

      Each day,Inc.'sreporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today: A start-up grows in Africa.Following Wal-Mart'sannouncementthat it plans to buy South Africa's chain of Massmart stores, today'sFast Companyexplains that this December, five of Silicon Valley's finest will travel to Kenya to take part in an "Entrepreneurial Safari" and help entrepreneurs there develop their business ideas. The founders of the program, however, hope the trip will be beneficial to the American entrepreneurs as well."By bringing Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to the continent we're exposing them to an Africa they're not familiar with--an enterprising arena full of economic potential," Garang Akau, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan tells Fast Company."Opportunities will be exposed, fruitful dialogue started, and doors opened for investments in the region." Today's CNNalso offers a few other ...
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    9. 7 Tips for Effective Networking

      7 Tips for Effective Networking
      From Ramon Ray, Smallbiztechnology.com: In the New York area, fall is the time where people stop thinking about vacation, get back to the grind, and you all the sudden find yourself not only attending, but hosting several events.   For example, as I type this I'm at BizTechDay in New York, in another few months I'll be attending NY XPO, and that's followed by New York Entrepreneur Week. In addition, OPEN just finished the New York Times Small Business event, the U.S. Chamber has a big event, and next will be the Small Business Summit coming up next year.   What about your city? I'm sure there are dozens of events happening every day. If you think about all the meet-ups, that's only scratching the surface.   What's common about all of these events is networking. Although some of you network very well, there are ...
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    10. What’s good for small business is good for the world

      What’s good for small business is good for the world
      The mid-term Congressional elections will be held barely more than a month from now and, if you’re a political junkie, it’s been a high time. This is the most interesting political landscape in my lifetime for a two specific reasons: There is an almost unprecedented dramatic line between what the two main political parties stand for. Both [...]
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    11. Why Germans Have Longer Vacation Times and More Productivity

      Why Germans Have Longer Vacation Times and More Productivity
      From Glen Stansberry, Wise Bread: It seems many Americans are born hard-wired with the belief that productivity requires time. There are no shortcuts for a good, Puritan work ethic. It's the American Way, after all. We love stories of companies who started with nothing and worked like dogs to become massive successes. The Sam Waltons, the Bill Gates—these are true American heroes.   Self-sacrifice has almost always gone hand-in-hand with entrepreneurship and small businesses. We're capitalists, and he who works the most makes the most money at the end of the day. Or so it would seem.   Yet Europeans have always seemed to have taken a different route when it comes to the work/life balance. Germans on average work around 1,436 hours per week, versus the 1,804 hours Americans work. With those numbers it would be easy to conclude that Americans do more and would ...
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      Mentions: new york times
    12. Boston Businesses Hit By Red Sox Curse

      Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today: Local businesses root, root, root for the home team. Because when they don't win, it's a serious hit to their bottom line. As the Boston Globe reports, with the Boston Red Sox failing to make the playoffs for only the second time since 2003, the businesses surrounding Fenway Park are also feeling the pain of a lackluster baseball season. According to the Globe, for each postseason game not played, businesses collectively lose an estimated $2.5 million. The past few weeks have already seen parking garages around Fenway lower their rates and t-shirt shops slash prices on their inventory. To add insult to injury, businesses are not only dealing with declining revenues, they are also facing the ignominy of rooting for a losing team. As ...
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      Mentions: new york times
    13. 5 Tips for Utilizing Skype for Business

      5 Tips for Utilizing Skype for Business
      From Ben Parr, Mashable: When it comes to business communication, Skype is an invaluable tool. Its impressive array of features make it ideal for sending files, checking in on business partners, holding video conferences and making international calls.   Its popularity cannot be denied; the VoIP client has over 550 million users and actually accounted for 12 percent of the world's international calls in 2009. There's definitely a reason why one-third of Skype users utilize it primarily for business.   Very few get the full value out of Skype, though. Many in the business world don't realize just how useful Skype can be or how much time it can save for those that know its best features or the tricks for getting the most of the desktop client.   We could write a book-length guide on using Skype, but here are five of our favorite tips for getting the most ...
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    14. 10 Most Common Excuses For NOT Making Ideas Happen

      10 Most Common Excuses For NOT Making Ideas Happen
      From Behance Team: As small business owners, bureaucracy is something we relentlessly strive to avoid. And most of the time it’s relatively easy to identify: emails that pass the buck, meetings just for the sake of meetings, etc. But sometimes, bureaucracy creeps in when we least expect it: when we’re trying to push bold ideas forward.   We recently polled our business-savvy Twitter following for their thoughts on the most common excuses for not making ideas happen. If any of these sound a little too familiar, it may be time to renew your team’s commitment to a “bias toward action.”   Common excuses for not making ideas happen:   1. I don't have enough time.   Extra time, like money, rarely materializes out of thin air. We have to work for it. If finding “maker time” (e.g. space for deep, focused thinking, research, building, etc.) is a struggle for ...
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    15. Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 Does Little for Small Business

      Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 Does Little for Small Business
      From Barbara Weltman: Anita Campbell suggests that small business owners be pragmatic about the new law and look to what’s good in it. I would take this a step further and say that the Small Business Jobs Act is a misnomer and not the right legislation to accomplish any of the stated goals. According to the Senate Finance Committee, the Act:   Gives small businesses $12 billion in tax cuts Helps small businesses create 500,000 new jobs Incentivizes and increases small business lending Helps small business owners access private capital to finance an expansion and hire new workers Rewards entrepreneurs for investing in new small businesses Helps Main Street businesses compete with large corporations Let’s examine the provisions within the Act to see whether they will help to accomplish these goals.   $12 billion in tax cuts   The dollar loss in revenue from the tax cuts may add up ...
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    16. 12 Ways Your Financial Statements Tell Lenders the Wrong Story

      12 Ways Your Financial Statements Tell Lenders the Wrong Story
      From Kate Lister, Wise Bread: Your financial statements may not make the bestseller list, but they do tell an intriguing story—at least to a banker. Unfortunately, the tale they tell may be misleading. Since finance is no place for fiction, you need to make sure your statements tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.   To do that, the first thing you need to know is that lenders read an abridged version of your balance sheet and income statement. Their credit department crunches your numbers to generate key ratios that make it easy to quickly assess your financial health. The more you understand about the ratios they care about and how they're derived, the better you'll be at making the story they tell a good one.   You've no doubt heard the phrase "garbage in, garbage out." If the numbers on your year-end balance ...
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    17. 4 Ways Marketing Can Help You Get Paid Faster

      4 Ways Marketing Can Help You Get Paid Faster
      From Rohit Bhargava, Duct Tape Marketing: If there is one point that should be clear to OPEN Forum readers, it is that small business owners care a great deal about getting paid faster. This point alone should not surprise anyone, and American Express has done a good job of addressing this point with AcceptPay.   While marketing can do many things for your business such as help you acquire new customers or increase your sales, helping you get paid faster is probably not among the things that you are focusing your marketing efforts on -- but perhaps you should be.    Here are four ideas for how simple changes in your marketing could help your small business get paid faster:   1.  Segment your customers by potential. This should be obvious, but not every customer of yours will be one who will be able to pay you quickly. In any business, there are customers ...
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    18. Segway Accident Kills Company Owner

      Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today: Owner of Segway company dies in Segway accident. Jimi Heselden, the 62-year-old millionaire who purchased the Segway company less than a year ago, died Sunday while apparently riding one of his own company's scooters off a cliff. Heselden crashed into the River Warfe while inspecting his Northern England estate, the BBC reports. Heselden was pronounced dead at the scene, and a rugged-country Segway model was recovered at the scene. The Segway was invented by Dean Kamen, as a two-wheeled scooter containing five gyroscopes and a set of computers monitoring the vehicle's center of gravity. Kamen dreamed of launching a transportation revolution, but the scooter failed to find a widespread market, and even made it onto Inc.com's list of the lamest products of the ...
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      Mentions: new york times
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