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Small Business Blog - daily small business software blog

:: What is PCI Compliance and Why MUST Small Business Owners Be Concerned?

06/08/2018
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security standards, designed to ensure businesses which accept and process credit and debit card information, do so in a safe and secure environment.

No matter what industry you operate in or what size business you have, if you accept card payments and process, transmit and store cardholder data, you must host your data securely with a hosting provider that is PCI compliant.

The PCI security Standards Council was formed in 2006 by the five major credit card brands — American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Japanese Credit Bureau (JCB) and Discover. While each credit card brand has its own compliance programs, the PCI standards are the foundation for all of them.

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:: More U.S. businesses are becoming worker co-ops: Here is why

06/06/2018
According to the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI), a nonprofit that supports the development of worker co-ops, employee-owned small businesses see an average of 4% to 5% higher productivity levels and more stability and potential for growth. In contrast to traditional businesses, worker co-ops see much lower rates of employee turnover and business closure.

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:: 8 Money Management Tips For Small Business Owners

06/04/2018
Recently, American Management Services started working with the owner of a restaurant chain, made up of six locations spread across the Northeast. Since the first day they opened their doors, they approached paying vendors with a sense of loyalty by cutting checks the day the invoice was received. While being loved by their vendors, our client was receiving no discounts, and put themselves financially at risk by not safe-guarding their cash!

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:: 15 Reasons You Should Start Your Own Small Business Today

06/01/2018
Want to get really, really rich? Starting your own business is the best way. Want your upside to be unlimited? Starting your own business is the best way. Want to be free to chart your own course, to make your own decisions, to make your own mistakes -- to let the sky be the limit not just financially but also, and more important, personally?

Starting your own business is the best way.

Still not convinced? Here are 15 more reasons why you should start your own small business today:

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:: How small businesses can navigate rising interest rates

05/30/2018
The Federal Reserve says that the economy is doing well, so it has raised its key rates recently and is expected to do so again in the near future. The strong economy is great for most businesses, but higher rates will likely increase what it costs for them to borrow.

So what's a small business owner to do? Understand how the system operates and consider the ways they can manage.

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:: Is Amazon good or bad for small business?

05/28/2018
This week is Small Business Week, and on Thursday Amazon released its first Small Business Impact Report. Its position? Amazon has been good for small businesses.

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:: More Than Half of Small Businesses Foresee Revenue Growth in 2018

05/25/2018
Optimism appears to be rising among small business owners (SBOs): 53% of the SBOs who participated in TD Banks 2018 Small Business Survey said they expect their revenues will grow in 2018. That is an improvement over the 46% of respondents who said the same in 2017.

In addition, the number of small businesses -- defined for purposes of the survey as those with $5 million or less in annual revenues -- that plan to hire this year more than doubled. In 2017, only 9% of respondents said they expected to add staff. This year, 22% said they intend to.

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:: May Is For Small Business, Moms, Amazon And Mobile

05/23/2018
The month of May begins with a focus on the importance of Small Business followed by the love for Mom. The charts and analysis that follow are from Prospers monthly survey of over 7,500 Americans.

We asked Deborah Weinswig, Managing Director of Coresight Research, to provide commentary on the data from the most important deciders for the economy… the consumers themselves.

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:: The U. S. Department of Energy Announces $34 Million for Small Business Research and Development Grants

05/21/2018
U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry today announced that the Department of Energy will award 219 grants totaling $34 million to 183 small businesses in 41 states.  Funded through DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, todays selections are for Phase I research and development.  

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:: 8 Ways Leaders Waste Valuable Time and Energy

05/18/2018
Time is a valuable, nonrenewable resource that is distributed equally to each of us. We all get the same 1,440 minutes every day. Are you using your time successfully, or are you wasting your time and draining your energy?

In coaching top leaders around the world, I have discovered some patterns in how people waste their time and energy. Here are eight of the most common:

1. Being distracted.
Leaders who have a lot to do are easily distracted. No one can stay on task 100 percent of the time, but distraction can pose a serious obstacle to getting things done. It eats away at your time and causes unnecessary stress. Limit distraction by being mindful of how you organize your time and work environment and by preparing yourself to accomplish what needs doing. Develop habits and strategies to minimize your access to distraction, keep your focus on the task at hand, and improve your overall ability to concentrate.

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:: 5 Highly Effective Negotiation Tactics Anyone Can Use

05/16/2018
Want to be a better negotiator? Here are some simple tips.

1. Listen more than you talk.
It is easy to go into a negotiation focused only on what you'll say, especially when you are nervous.

The goal of a negotiation is not just to get what you want, but also to help the other side get what they want. (Otherwise, how will you ever strike a deal?) To do that, you need to actually know what the other side wants -- which means you have to listen.

Finding common ground means knowing common ground exists.

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:: Stop Propping Up Small Business

05/14/2018
In our age of political polarization, the right, left and center agree on one thing: Big business is wicked, and small business is noble.

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:: Digital Marketing For Small Companies Becomes Big Business

05/11/2018
Digital marketing for small shops like local bakeries, grocers and regional accountants is growing into big business.

Those small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMB) are increasingly turning to growing outside firms to handle their digital outreach, according to industry sources. Among their goals is to become more social media-savvy: for instance, drawing a Facebook user on their phone clicking on a business page into a local shop.

Several digital marketing startups focused on smaller companies are looking to capitalize on the opportunity, and they are hungry for venture capital to fund their efforts.

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:: A Small-Business Guide to Facebook Insights

05/09/2018
Facebook is more than just status updates and photo albums -- it's a major marketing tool for businesses. However, if you don't know how to use it properly and take advantage of all it has to offer, you might as well not use it at all.

From engaging customers to entertaining them, Facebook Insights provides some of the best tips and tools for boosting your business. To start, Facebook Insights will tell you information about your customer base, such as the type of people who follow you, where they are located, how old they are and more. Another important area that Facebook Insights covers is your competition. Using the tool, you can track their posts and engagement in order to get ideas for your own business.

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:: Want to Be a Great Leader? Become a Great Identifier

05/07/2018
Once upon a time I was a member of the most productive crew in the department, which meant we were considered to be the best crew, because numbers were everything. But we didn't need a Jobs or Bezos or Sandberg or (pick your personal epitome of effective leadership) to get us there.

Steve was our Bobby Hurley (yep, old school college basketball reference): Always pushing, always encouraging, always making assists. Lee was solid: Never made mistakes, helped out the entry level workers, quick to make repairs and get running again. Jeff was our glue, coaxing surprising up-time out of the least reliable machines on the line while also serving as our quality conscience. Doug was easily rattled but his nervous energy helped him catch up when he got behind, and also to help keep the end of line workers straight.

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:: Identifying What to Watch: 14 Key Performance Indicators That Matter

05/04/2018
As a CEO, it is your responsibility to pay attention to every detail of the business. From employee satisfaction to growth indicators, you need to be on top of how your company is performing at every turn. While there is an extensive range of KPIs available to you, knowing where to focus your attention when it comes to evaluating your business can make you more effective and make the best use of your time.

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:: Here is how small businesses can benefit from online marketplaces

05/02/2018
The majority of small business owners agree that online marketplaces have positively impacted their sales, according to a poll by Manta.

Nearly 70% of small business owners polled stated that marketplaces like Amazon and eBay have helped them increase sales, while about 30% believe they have had a negative impact. Most small businesses (81%) believe that online sales are critical to their companys success, but most rely on their own websites as an e-commerce channel. Sixty-six percent of small businesses sell products through their own websites, 24% sell on Amazon, and 22% sell on eBay.

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:: Employees Are 32 Percent Less Likely to Quit if They Get This 1 Thing From Their Boss

04/30/2018
There are a lot of reasons to hate a job: annoying co-workers; bad working conditions; long hours for too little pay; the stress level; and more.

But one of the worst things -- arguably the worst -- is having a bad boss.

When you don't feel seen, appreciated, or listened to by your direct manager, it can have a dramatic impact on not only your work performance, but also your sense of self-esteem. Over time, you can begin to feel anxious, worthless, and demoralized.

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:: 5 Reasons Social Responsibility Is a Step in the Right Direction for Small Business

04/27/2018
The business terrain is one that changes much faster than most -- basically because the way business is done evolves based on cultural changes, changes in technology and even generational changes. It is safe to say that at all times, at least one of these things is changing.

We are in the era of giving back and social impact. Businesses should face this, and stop using the fact that they are not yet big businesses as an excuse for boycotting charitable involvements or social responsibility. Businesses that do this are missing out on the great benefits hidden on the other side of socially responsible companies.

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:: How These Four Startups Hacked Raising Money--and How You Can Too

04/25/2018
Want to turn every customer or friend into a potential backer of your business? Since regulations changed in 2016, small businesses have been able to raise money from non-accredited individual investors. While equity crowdfunding, as it is now known, can be complicated and expensive, it's also been lucrative for some businesses that have taken the plunge.

Over the past several months, Inc. followed four founders and CEOs who raised money from big groups of people. What they learned: There's no one right way to crowdfund. You can do this sort of fundraising on your own, or you can rely on third parties; three of the following startups paid a commission to use a new Indiegogo platform, which handled their technical and marketing and investor-relations headaches. You do not even have to stick to selling traditional shares of your business. Indiegogo lets the companies that use its equity platform sell debt or preferred stock or other securities instead. (Several of these companies also thanked their investors by giving them sample products, T-shirts, or other types of the rewards that crowdfunding first became known for.)

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:: How to Make Your Company Look Like a $100 Million Brand

04/23/2018
Intrepid entrepreneurs find a way to make their own success before they have the money. One way they do this is by acting as if they already have it, or the success that comes with it. While this idea sounds like fake it till you make it, it is actually rooted in fundamental concepts about consumption, perception, and scaling.

Here are some ways you can appear stronger, more successful and better funded than you might actually be.

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:: It is Going to Get Easier to Make Money the Next 5 to 10 Years, and It is Because of These 5 Technologies

04/20/2018
As an entrepreneur and an angel investor, I get really excited about the future of personal finance.

As new technologies develop, from cryptocurrencies to virtual wallets, I see advantages for businesses. I also see opportunities for everyday Americans and our families to make--and keep--more of our own money.

In meetings with financial technology startups, I am seeing so many incredible new developments on the horizon. Any innovation that improves how we live, shop, and pay sets off alarm bells--of the good kind--in my friendly neighborhood Certified Financial Planner brain.

Here is a sneak peek of why I think the next five to 10 years are going to make making money easier for all of us. It is thanks to these five emerging technologies:

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:: These 5 Barriers Prevent You From Being a Better Leader

04/18/2018
I spend a lot of time asking employees about how leaders can be more effective communicators. Just yesterday, in fact, I moderated a focus group with employees at a fast-growing consumer products company.

The people in the group provided the same feedback I hear time and time again: Leaders are pretty good at sharing information, but they are lousy listeners.

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:: Do Not Ask for a Raise If You Fall Into 1 of These 3 Categories

04/16/2018
Below I have outlined three circumstances that should give you pause about the timing of asking for a raise:

1.You have been out of school for less than a year.
2.Your job has not changed at all.
3.You have not made your company any more money.

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:: Salesforce small business tools get major refresh

04/13/2018
Salesforce may derive a grand majority of its revenue from large customers employing 1,000 or more people. But it reached out this week to the smallest of small businesses -- 20 employees or less -- with the release of Salesforce Essentials.

The new suite of Salesforce small business cloud tools, which manage both sales and customer service/support, will replace current offerings Desk.com and SalesforceIQ. The company will retire those in 2020.

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:: Why Walking Away from Shark Tank Can Make Sense

04/11/2018
Landing a coveted spot on Shark Tank is an entrepreneurs dream. They get the opportunity to pitch their business on national television in front of millions of viewers and several rich and prominent investors.

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:: 10 Places to Get Payroll Services and More for Your Small Business

03/17/2018
If your small business has a team of employees, then you need a payroll service to manage all of those payments and details. A good small business payroll service should automatically calculate how much pay each employee earns during every pay period, then process those payments and calculate taxes and reports to help you keep your financial records in order.

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:: When Big And Small Business Pay It Forward, Communities Thrive

04/09/2018
Koch wanted to give back in the most meaningful and valuable way he and his team could. Ten years ago, the company started the Sam Adams Brewing the American Dream (BTAD) program to mentor and provide funding to food, beverage and hospitality startups. Many of these companies are founded by African American women, including Jessica Spalding of Harlem Chocolate Factory.  During the past 20 years, African-American women’s rate of starting businesses was 605% versus 44% for all businesses, according to The 2017 State of Women-Owned Businesses* commissioned by American Express.

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:: Tax Reform Provides Boost To Small Business Retirement Plans

04/06/2018
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was signed into law by President Trump near the end of 2017 and it mostly took effect in 2018. While the TCJA impacts almost every single individual taxpayer to some degree, the changes also significantly impact corporations and small businesses. In some areas, the impact was purposeful and directed. However, in other ways, the TCJA will have both positive and negative secondary effects. One area that could see a secondary or unintended boost due to a new tax deduction (IRC § 199A) for pass through businesses is retirement plans with small business employers.

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:: 10 Pro Techniques to Improve Your Business Blogging

04/04/2018
Use a Content Scorecard to Publish Better Blog Posts
When it comes to creating blog content for your business, quality is just as important as quantity, if not more so. To make sure all of your posts are up to professional standards, use the content scorecard included in this Social Media Examiner post by Garrett Moon.

Choose the Right Keywords for Your Blog Niche
If you want readers to be able to organically find our blog content, you need to include some relevant keywords. Choosing those keywords can be a challenge, so check out the recent Abtech Blog post by Abasifreke Etop for some useful tips.

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:: She Was Told No 100 Times. Now This 30-Year-Old Female Founder Runs a $1 Billion Business.

04/02/2018
So much of success is knowing when to stay the course, even when you’re met with rejection after rejection.

30-year-old Melanie Perkins has been launching creative businesses since she was a teenager. Her first venture, designing and selling handmade scarves to sell in her hometown of Perth, Australia, was launched when she was just 14.  

At the age of 22, Perkins founded her next company, an online system for schools to design their yearbooks called Fusion Books. Today, Fusion Books is the largest yearbook publisher in Australia and has a presence in France and New Zealand.

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:: The Seven Factors Lenders Use To Measure Small Business Credit

03/30/2018
Why does qualifying for a small business loan have to be such a mystery?

According to a CB Insights study, cash flow issues are the second most common reason startups fail, accounting for 29% of failures. In many cases, access to capital would make a big difference. Yet the loan application process is notoriously opaque for small business owners. Research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows the average small business owner spent 26 hours searching and applying for credit, contacted three financial institutions and submitted three credit applications. Despite this time-consuming work, only half of small-business applicants end up being approved for the loan amount they applied for.

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:: Feeling Stuck? Here Are 34 Quotes on Creativity from the Worlds Most Inspirational Leaders.

03/28/2018
Every successful leader or entrepreneur has used creativity to help them get to where they are today. In fact, creativity is a core component to anyones success. Take a look at J.K. Rowling -- using creativity and imagination, she created a successful franchise full of witches and wizards. Or how about Steve Jobs? Without creatively thinking about the simplest, sleekest way to create products for consumers, Apple would have never been born.

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:: 6 Businesses That Need to Be Launched Right Now

03/26/2018
Entrepreneurs always need more -- more help, more time, more insight. So we asked: What is the one product you wish someone would create to help your business? Now maybe someone (you?) will make it.

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:: Survey: 64% of Small Business Owners Believe Trumps Policies Have Helped Their Business

03/23/2018
A majority of small business owners, 63.8 percent, believe that President Trump's policies have helped their business, according to a survey from the Job Creators Network.

More business owners—57.5 percent—believe Republicans do a better job of managing economic issues than do Democrats (14 percent). The survey finds the support is likely due to Trump's ability to roll back regulations and red tape on businesses.

A majority of businesses also support the tax reform package that was signed into law and believe media coverage of the proposal was biased.

Sixty-eight percent of small businesses view the legislation favorably or somewhat favorably. Fifty-eight percent said the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will benefit their business.

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