1. Featured Articles

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    1. 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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    2. 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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    3. 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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    4. 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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    5. 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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    6. 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
    7. Glenn Brendle: Experiment, Tweak and Love What You Do

      Glenn Brendle: Experiment, Tweak and Love What You Do
      From Ed Levine, Serious Eats: Glenn Brendle is riding around his dozen acres on his tractor, showing off the bounty of his farm, Green Meadows, in Gap, Pennsylvania. His favorite things to grow and that have proven successful, he says, are "the unusual, hard-to-get stuff."   There is a kaffir lime tree; you can smell the fresh, bright citrus when standing next the hourglass-shape leaves. There is a hops plant, which shoots its green blossoms into the sky. Glenn grows cipollini onions with deep red flesh; coriander; fire-colored sumac; and white tarbais beans. He grows so many varieties of basil he can't remember all the names. He has a passion fruit tree, its branches studded with incredibly intricate flowers.   "I'm satisfied by all of it, everything I do," he says. But the best part is being able to work with his family. His son labors with him in the ...
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    8. Start-up Odds of Survival Depend on Industry

      Start-up Odds of Survival Depend on Industry
      You’ve probably heard the oft quoted statistic that half of all businesses are gone within five years. While the number is true, it’s an average of what happens to start-ups in all industries, from biotechnology firms to dental offices to taxi services. And new business survival rates differ pretty substantially across sectors of the economy. To show you how much difference industry sector makes, I have plotted the five year survival curves for the 2000 cohort (the most recent available)Read More From Small Business TrendsStart-up Odds of Survival Depend on Industry
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    9. Finding your hidden treasure: international campaigns with AdWords

      Finding your hidden treasure: international campaigns with AdWords
      In 2000, Antoine Assi founded Middle Eastern export website www.aldoukan.com—it was one of the first e-commerce business in the Middle East. He was just 20 years old and he made time to develop the business in between computer science classes at his university. He needed a way to advertise his website from the comfort of his own dorm room, so he decided to test out Google AdWords.His friends didn’t believe him when Antoine said he was going to sell and advertise traditional Middle Eastern foods and goods online. However, by 2004, his business had grown so rapidly that he decided to take leave from school to run it full-time. He then started his second company, www.mosaicmarble.com, which sells handcut decorative tiles online internationally.Antoine believed there was a gap in the mosaic market and he wanted to share these artistic and historic decorations ...
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    10. Ode to an Office

      Ode to an Office
      From Chris Brogan: As one of the writers at workshifting (a client blog), you'd think that offices would be archaic, a thing of the past. The truth is, I've only recently settled back into having an office. I'd been workshifting for so long that I got used to the life of a nomad: working in coffee shops and bookstores, working in hotel rooms and airports. And it was fine for what it was. But I have a little ode to an office space that might be interesting to those solo entrepreneurs or small business types out there.   An Office of One's Own Choosing   I used to be a cubicle farmer for a wireless company. I had one of many offices in a sea of offices, where the way we pretended we stood out from each other was with decorations. There was no privacy. There was no ...
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    11. How to Choose the Right Bank Account for Your Business

      How to Choose the Right Bank Account for Your Business
      From Shira Levine, Business Insider: Growing your small business’s money in a savings account isn’t as quick and easy as it used to be. Unfortunately the options don’t offer the same ease and confidence they did a few years ago.   In today’s market, safety and speed are critical when choosing the right place to put your money. Here’s what you should look for to get the best of the lot:   Look online.  Some of the better savings accounts can be found online. Cast aside any fears of online banking and recognize that these days, the online experience is as safe as the in-person bank visit. Online banking offers the same services with even higher interest rates. Many don’t require a minimum balance either.   Protect your money. Putting your money into a savings account is a safe move. A good savings account insures up to ...
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    12. Mark Zuckerberg Gives Newark an Education

      Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today: The Facebook-funded school system. Mark Zuckerberg will appear on Oprah tomorrow to discuss his plans to donate $100 million to the Newark, New Jersey school system. Zuck was born and raised in Westchester County, and by all accounts has no roots in Newark, but The New York Times reports that the 26-year-old CEO was moved by a meeting with Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker in July. Booker has, according to the story, been campaigning lately to raise money for the Newark school district, which was deemed a failure in 1995 and has since been controlled by the state. So far, Booker's received millions of dollars from Oprah, herself, and sources say Zuckerberg is hoping his $100 million will lay the groundwork for a future education foundation ...
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      Mentions: new york times
    13. 6 Ways to Be More Productive

      6 Ways to Be More Productive
      You’re busy. I’m busy. As small business owners, we’re all busy and we’re all looking for ways to get more done in less time. And that means doing everything we can to increase our productivity. Below are six ways that I’ve been able to be more productive. I’d love if you could share your own tips. 1. Use the right tools. One way small business owners kill their productivity is by using the wrong tool for the job. They keepRead More From Small Business Trends6 Ways to Be More Productive
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    14. Breakfast With Richard Branson

      Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today: Everything you've ever wanted to know about Richard Branson. And probably some stuff you didn't as well. The American Express OPEN Forum has a wide-ranging Q & A with Sir Richard, the British entrepreneur, adventurer, and man behind the Virgin empire. In addition to some slightly mundane questions, like what he eats for breakfast (fruit salad and muesli), the post dives into a handful of business-related questions such as what are the keys to his success and what motivates him to carry on. When asked if he were given $60 to start a business, how would he do it? The ever-clever Branson replied, "If I was still well known, I'd sign the dollars and sell each of them for $20. I would then sign the ...
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      Mentions: new york times
    15. Why Business Will Grow Again: 'We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us!'

      Why Business Will Grow Again: 'We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us!'
      From John Mariotti, Small Business Trends: Most business people who read about the recent U.S. governmental policies, new legislation and Presidential “findings” are likely to become either depressed or discouraged.  Reports of the global financial crisis and massive de-leveraging yet to happen can also be daunting.    Walt Kelly’s old comic strip “Pogo” put it very succinctly in its now famous line, “We have met the enemy and he is us!” Pogo’s comment is profound.  We tend to get what we expect a lot of the time.  Negative expectations lead to negative outcomes—and vice versa.  Adding to this challenge is the fact that American business has not operated in such an anti-business political climate in decades.   Adapt, Evolve, Innovate & Succeed   The one characteristic of American business that consistently wins is its ability to adapt, evolve, innovate and compete in the face of all kinds of adversity. It ...
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