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:: Small Business Owners Sacrifice in the Face of a Failing Economy

Small and medium-sized businesses played a key role in helping Canada move forward from the 2008-2009 recession, with many owners making personal sacrifices to help their businesses survive, according to a new report from The Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The report found that 62 per cent of business owners worked longer hours; 43 per cent cut their own salaries including one owner who had not taken a salary since July, 2009); 40 per cent took on more debt; and 37 per cent cancelled personal holidays to weather the economic storm. Just 20 per cent made no changes in their own behaviour at all.

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:: Facebook Marketing Tool

Sheryl Sandberg is new COO of Facebook, the same position she held at Google. Now, she is working to encourage businesses to treat each of the 750 million users as potential customers and advertise with the website.

Among the benefits of a Facebook marketing campaign is that companies can target their advertising materials, narrowing demographics down to just one zip code or gender, if they wish, the news source explains.

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:: Tips to Get Things Accomplished

All of us start the day with every intention of completing a variety of tasks, but unfortunately many of us become distracted as the day moves on. Or even worse, we are tasked with crisis management, and at the end of the day we find that we have made little progress in whittling down the days planned tasks. As well intentioned as you may be, it seems to become a routine, and one that far too many of us fall into.

Tips to Get Things Accomplished

:: Small Business Pessimism

When the country recovered from recessions in the past, small businesses were usually the first companies to start hiring. But smaller companies are so pessimistic now that they are not taking on their historical leadership position.

The National Federation of Independent Business, which issues a monthly report on small business optimism, says confidence in the future of the economy crashed in August. The group's optimism index -- which it wryly called the Small Business Pessimism index -- was down for the sixth straight month.

Complete Article

:: Small Business Pay For Regulations

Small businesses pay the heaviest price to comply with these rules. According to the Small Business Administration, mom-and-pop businesses pay 60 percent more to meet federal standards than larger corporations. In fact, the cost exceeds $10,500 per year, per employee. It's no surprise, then, that small businesses are extremely reluctant to hire new workers — even if they can — because of the cloud of uncertainty that billows out of Washington these days.

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:: IBM Lending Money to Small Businesses

IBM Corp. will provide $1 billion in financing over the next 18 months to credit-worthy small and medium businesses to help them acquire the companys new suite of advanced technologies.

Announcing the financing initiative Thursday, officials at IBM headquarters in Armonk said it is aimed at helping those businesses spur innovation and drive economic growth by making credit more easily accessible and eliminating many of the cost barriers to business growth.

They pointed to U.S. Small Business Administration reports that more than 50 percent of small businesses fail within their first five years due to lack of capital.

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:: Follow Small Business Software on Twitter

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:: Cyber Risks to Small Businesses

A band of thieves rents an office in the same building as a California law firm. They then use that address with a different suite number to have $70,000 worth of computers and office furniture delivered using the law firms line of credit. They load the furniture into a truck and disappear.

In Pennsylvania, thieves place malware on a school districts computer system and use information gained to siphon about $700,000 from its bank accounts in 74 transactions over a two-day period.

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:: How Small Businesses are Coping in Declining Economy

A vast majority of the nations small business owners expressed concern about the possibility of a double-dip recession, according to the latest Citibank survey, though many also said they are successfully coping with uncertain economic conditions.

According to the survey, nine out of 10 small business owners said they are concerned the nation could slip back into a recession. But 79% of small business owners said they are prepared if the economy were to experience another downturn.

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:: Number of Small Businesses in Decline

More than 1 million self-employed Americans are no longer in business almost four years after the last recession began, as the economy constrains entrepreneurial activity and small-business job creation.

The 18-month contraction that started in December 2007 initially resulted in more would-be business owners, as the number of people who work for themselves grew to 16.3 million in July 2008 from 15.7 million at the end of 2007, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since then, the total has fallen about 10 percent to 14.7 million in July, the data show.

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:: Social Media and Small Businesses

A pair of florists, a nutritional therapist and an aspiring coffee shop owner sat among a dozen others in a small Portland classroom on a recent evening, trying to understand a big issue. Social media.

The two words are quickly becoming a necessity when it comes to running a business. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and a host of other social media outlets promise low-cost, targeted routes to customers.

More and more companies are joining one or more social networks to learn how they work -- and how they pay. But many wonder, if likes and tweets do not lead to sales, is it all worth it? Small businesses often don't have the staff or budget to find out, leaving owners to navigate the networks themselves.

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:: Entrepreneurs Need to Keep Stress at Bay

There are many rewards in running your own business. But you must be aware of the tradeoffs and sacrifices that come with being in charge. Over time, the stress may take its toll on your physical and emotional health, affecting your business as well as your relations with employees, family and friends. Fortunately, there are good ways to keep business burnout at bay.

First, identify responsibilities or activities that are causing the stress. What regularly causes your anxiety? Perhaps you dread mundane tasks like bookkeeping and filing reports, or having to make sales calls. You may have customers who are difficult to work with or do not pay invoices on time. And, because you are responsible for everything your business does, you may obsess about things beyond your control.

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:: Going Mobile With Your Small Business

Cellphones have been around for a long time and many small businesses have them. They are good for phone calls and basic text messaging. Smartphones - more powerful cellphones - were introduced to the business world more recently, and their popularity has grown exponentially ever since.

Smartphones, such as BlackBerry, are used today for much more than phone calls and text messaging - small and large businesses alike rely upon them every day for everything from email and browsing the Web, organizing calendars and scheduling appointments, to editing documents and tracking orders and customer activity. They are essentially pocket-sized computers that have, arguably, led to a new generation of mobile workers, new ways of doing business and the emergence of a new type of office - the mobile office.

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:: Small Businesses Hit Harder By Disaster

For East Coast business owners shaken by last weeks earthquake and bracing for Hurricane Irene's onslaught, the stats are gloomy. Twenty-five percent of small businesses hit with a disaster like a flood or an earthquake never re-open.

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:: Class for New Small Business Owners

A new session of Entrepreneur School will launch early next month at Southwest Florida Enterprise Center, the city of Fort Myers' small-business incubator.

Entrepreneur School runs one evening a week, for six consecutive weeks. It boasts more than 200 past participants. This program could be right for you if:

- You are thinking about starting a business;

- You are starting a business but are confused about everything you have to do; or

- You own a business, but are dissatisfied with the results.

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:: Towns Adapting and Dropping Regulations for Small Businesses

The poor economy is prompting many cities to bend their rules to help struggling businesses. Their actions could pay off for residents as well.

In Lighthouse Point, neon-lit Open signs now are tolerated in storefront windows. Downtown Boca Raton is welcoming sandwich-board business signs on sidewalks. Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, Margate and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea now can sell alcohol at Sunday morning brunch. And in Boynton Beach, the commission in September will consider easing requirements for sidewalk cafes downtown.

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:: Small Business Scams

Scams that target small businesses come in a number of forms, and can leave your business vulnerable and exposed to a variety of threats.

Scammers will often go to great lengths to convince businesses that their offer or request is legitimate. Many scams succeed because they look like the real thing or try to take advantage of a busy office environment.

The best defence to protecting your business is by being aware of the most common scams targeting businesses, and knowing what to do if you are targeted by a scam.

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:: Disaster Survival Tips for Small Businesses

The devastation may seem overwhelming, but business must go on as quickly as possible. Here are some tips to consider to help your business bounce back and get up and running as quickly as possible in the wake of a disaster.

1. Have a Plan.
Consider what the impact will be if power and communications are down for a day…or a week. Communicate now--proactively--with suppliers, partners, customers, or other affected parties to explain the situation, and to inform them that business may be interrupted, and you may be unable to communicate reliably, but that business will resume as quickly as possible.

Disaster Survival Tips or Small Businesses

:: Business Continuity Plan

In the event of an accident or disaster, small business employees are well positioned to keep operations running smoothly while a business owner is away.

Developing a business continuity plan and sharing it with employees can prepare them to properly navigate most emergency situations while the business owner is out of the office.

Business Continuity Plan

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