1. Featured Articles

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    1. Start-Ups 2010: Turning a Passion for the Slopes Into a Business

      Start-Ups 2010: Turning a Passion for the Slopes Into a Business
      FlyLow Gear Co-Founders: Dan Abrams, 33; and Greg Steen, 32 Location: Denver Employees: Six full time; about six part time, plus three owner-operators Funding: $38,000, borrowed on credit cards 2009 Revenue: $375,000 Start-Up Year: 2004 Breakeven: Winter 2004–05 Insider Insight: Sell to yourself. Abrams was at the heart of the changing ski scene, so he understood the trendsetters to whom he would be selling. Blind Spot: At first, it was hard to get manufacturers to fill small and out-of-the-ordinary orders. He learned to sell them on his company's future: "I'd say, 'FlyLow is going to be the next North Face.' " The first few rips didn't bother Dan Abrams. In fact, the flaws in his backcountry skiwear could feel downright rewarding: the sound of a crotch seam tearing while taking that final step atop an 11,000-foot peak; the worn out Cordura knees that proved ...
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    2. Start-Ups 2010: A Company Cashes in on the Gluten-Free Trend

      The Passion In 2007, Seth Mendelsohn quit his job as an IT consultant. "I figured I love cooking, so why not just make a career out of it?" he says. The Plan Mendelsohn -- who was adept at creating tasty dishes for friends on gluten-free diets -- knew that the market for natural foods was growing, as was an awareness of gluten-related disorders. But gluten-free sauces were hard to find, so he decided to start his own line, which he called Simply Boulder. The Strategy Mendelsohn, 32, figured that the $50,000 he had saved would be enough to get his sauces to market -- and that profits would fund growth from there. Costs would be minimized by outsourcing manufacturing and sales; distributors would ship and warehouse his product; and he could offset the high cost of using premium ingredients like extra virgin olive oil and agave nectar by buying concentrated versions of ...
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    3. 7 Easy Steps to Bootstrapping Success

      In this economy, you can pretty much forget about financing. And it's probably just as well, says marketing guru Seth Godin, author of The Bootstrapper's Bible. People often ask him for advice on raising venture capital for their start-ups, and "nine times out of 10, I advise them they shouldn't," he says. Instead, take these seven steps to self-funded stardom. 1. GET CLOSE TO YOUR CUSTOMERS Most entrepreneurs want to supply established retailers, but Dameion Royes has always preferred having his own stores, in which he could be sure his Big It Up hats were being promoted properly. In college, he talked the campus bookstore into letting him open a boutique and manned it himself. After his retro designs became a sensation, he rented kiosks in upscale malls, in which he could convert passersby into impulse buyers. Today, celebrities such as Naomi Campbell and Wyclef Jean sport ...
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    4. Reader Mail: October 2010

      Revitalizing the American Dream As an eight-time serial entrepreneur, I loved everything in Inc.'s article about saving the American economy ["Bring On the Entrepreneurs!," July/August 2010]. I am passionate about the importance of entrepreneurship to the survival of the American dream, and I applaud Inc.'s efforts to champion business creation. Mike Ross President, 4PSA Orlando Thank you for sharing your ideas for creating jobs in this country. The Obama administration recognizes, as you do, the vital importance of small businesses in our economy. The important role start-up companies have in creating jobs is a crucial piece of our ongoing recovery. Your article mentioned many good ideas about ways we can create more jobs. In fact, many of those ideas were included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009. For example, in an effort to increase access to credit ...
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    5. Would You Buy Underwear By Subscription?

      Ken Johnson and Andrew Draper are on a mission to save the world's men from worn-out underpants. "When guys buy these basics, they hang on to them forever, and it's usually our mothers, wives, and girlfriends who replenish them," Johnson says. In January, Johnson and Draper launched Manpacks, a Providence-based company that sells men's underwear, socks, and undershirts on a subscription basis. Men sign up to get a delivery of new undergarments every three months. Each pack costs about $14 to $70, depending on the number of items and the brands customers order. So far, 500 people have subscribed. Johnson and Draper hope to make Manpacks the go-to service for men who don't want to have to think about shopping for the basics. To that end, Manpacks has promoted its services mostly through social networking sites and online ads. The company has also received mentions in ...
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      Mentions: new york times
    6. Which Is Better for Your Business: Debt or Equity?

      Which Is Better for Your Business: Debt or Equity?
      From Ken Kaufman: Is debt or equity better for your business? The answer depends on several criteria, although the stage of the business and the use of the funds are usually the best determining factors.   Pre-Revenue   This is the stage of a business before you have paying customers. Equity is almost always the better way to fund a business in this stage because debt causes three main problems. Consider this example: Let's assume you receive a $100,000 SBA loan to start your business. You receive terms that include a 6 percent interest rate, a monthly payment of $1,933 for five years, and you have to put the equity in your home up as collateral to secure the loan.   Problem #1 — Since the business has no cash inflow, you will have to use the proceeds from the loan to service your debt facility at a rate of almost ...
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    7. 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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    8. 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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    9. 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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    10. 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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    11. 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
    12. 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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    13. 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
    14. 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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    15. 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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    16. 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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    17. 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
    18. 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
    19. 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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    20. 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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