Supporting Small Business Is the Way to Economic Recovery

America is the land of opportunity, a country where a person can pick themselves up by their bootstraps and build a better life. There is no better way to accomplish this than by creating a new firm. In fact, small businesses, companies with fewer than 500 employees, drive a majority of job growth. Our economic recovery and job growth hinge on lawmakers’ ability and willingness to support small business, says the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

  • Over the long run, small businesses account for approximately 66 percent of all net new job creation.
  • Older, larger firms are less innovative, typically meaning that job growth slows down as institutional bureaucracy increases and new firms enter the market with more innovative ideas.
  • Currently, unemployment remains at 8 percent and gross domestic product is weak, despite high stock prices and strong corporate profits.

The reason the employment sector is struggling is because policymakers are not supporting enough entrepreneurs. Pro-enterprise programs should support ethnic, social and generational changes that will continue to transition the economy into the next millennium. Programs should support immigrants, women and the millennial generation, which, based on recent measurements, may be somewhat less entrepreneurial than their predecessors.

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Small Business Week Brings New Products, Tips, Information

Small Business Week Brings New Products, Tips, Information

Link to Small Business Trends

Small Business Week Brings New Products, Tips, Information

Posted: 19 Jun 2013 04:00 PM PDT

national small Business Week announcements

It’s National Small Business Week here in the U.S.  Companies and organizations are sharing products, tips and information with the small business community to help small companies perform better. From new cloud-based services and payroll apps … to tips on using productivity tools, here is some of what’s out there.

Since we can’t write about all of them, we’re sharing short updates:

Radiate Media helps local businesses get found. Radiate Media, a maker of software for local businesses, introduces Radiate360. The company says its platform helps simplify social media for hyper-local businesses. It claims Radiate360 allows local companies to create a mobile-optimized website and promote through mobile, digital and other channels.

Pex Card releases its small business survey. Pex Card, offering expense cards for small businesses, issued the results of its first mid-year small to medium sized businesses survey (PDF). The survey says 78 percent of respondents believe their businesses are doing as well or better than expected halfway through the year.

Intuit introduces Payroll for iPad. The new app from Intuit takes advantage of the larger screen of a tablet for calculations. The app lets you create paychecks for employees and contractors. The technology allows businesses to pay by direct deposit and comply with applicable state and federal regulations.

New troubleshooting introduced for your Web services. This week, IT solutions company Anturis unveiled an enhanced cloud-based monitoring and troubleshooting solution. The company says it helps with Web services and IT infrastructure. Anturis says its solution is created with small and medium sized businesses in mind.

Facebook dishes out details. The social media giant says it is giving page administrators more information via its Insights analytics tool. Among other things, Facebook says new editions to the tool will tell administrators more about the data that makes up the “People Talking About This” and “Virality” metrics.

Microsoft offers free workshops. In recognition of National Small Business Week, some Microsoft retail stores are offering free workshops and demos throughout the week. Microsoft says the services are in support of its Office 365 small business software.

Google offers productivity tools. The Google PR team offers some tips and product suggestions to help with your productivity. Google says using its Priority Inbox helps you separate your important e-mails. The company says Smart Rescheduler, a feature of Google Calendar, helps you book times to meet that work with friends family or colleagues.

The post Small Business Week Brings New Products, Tips, Information appeared first on Small Business Trends.

Is it Possible to Create a Business Startup Right After College?

Posted: 19 Jun 2013 02:00 PM PDT

business startup

Is it a good idea to create a business startup right after college?

Before you ask this question to an entrepreneur or your mentor, you need to find certain answers yourself. Becoming self-employed is a tough task, wherever you are in life.

It is even more difficult to stay afloat once you start. Statistics say that 9 out of 10 new businesses fail within the first 5 years. Not an encouraging figure, but it is not impossible either. You need to possess the right mindset. Let’s take a look at what you need to ask yourself before you start a business after college.

Determine If It’s Possible to Create a Business Startup

Ask Yourself: What Motivates You to Take Up the Challenge?

If the prospect of self-employment allures you because you think you just need to work for a few hours from a stunning beach sipping on a martini, you are better off being employed by someone else. Let’s take this one step at a time.

Are you motivated by the easy way to get rich premise? If yes, you are in for serious disappointment. The majority of new businesses fail to recover any money invested within a year, let alone make profits. You can only succeed with years of hard work and patience.

Are you motivated by the idea that you need not work for endless hours at an office? Well, a new entrepreneur often needs to put in as much as 10 hours of work every day. True, you can work as per your schedule, but that does not take away the effort you need to put in.

The only way to succeed as a self-employed individual is to make sure that you are willing to solve a problem, need or want of a customer, and do it in a way that beats your competitors. To do this, you need to put in hours of hard work and take care of numerous responsibilities.

Ask Yourself: Do You Love the Idea that Forms the Core of the Business?

A new entrepreneur can attain success; but only when the driving force behind it is love and passion for the business. If you are enthused and excited about the central idea, the chances of your success increase.

Does this mean that anyone who loves haute couture can start off as a fashion designer? It is not that simple. Think about something – have you designed anything for anyone? How well was it received by them? Did it find appreciation among others?

You need to find the ONE thing that fills you with fervor and zeal. Only that idea can work as the core of your new endeavor. It is much easier to start a new business when you can identify your unique selling point.

Ask Yourself: How Do You Plan to Handle the Finances?

Many first-timers start off with the funds they manage to pool in from family and friends. The lack of real experience makes it difficult for them to impress the big investors who find interest only in ‘real’ businesses.

Don’t be disheartened; the Internet gives you the best option to start up a new business right after college and that too at a negligible cost. It just needs to be a service-oriented online business, for the time being.

Another advantage of starting early is that you need not bother about things such as paying off a mortgage or supporting a family. If you are still living with your parents, you can save even more money to invest in the start-up.

If possible, continue to work part-time for someone else while you set up your business. This way you can rely on the amount you earn until your business begins to earn profits. A great thing to do is to work in the same niche in which you have your business.

Ask Yourself: Can You Be a Jack of All Trades and Master Them Too?

There is no secret to success for a new business. If you think that you can earn big and get rich without any effort, you are WRONG. It is possible to succeed only if you are capable of handling the numerous responsibilities that come with your own business.

Remember, it is YOUR business; you will have to be the manager, the marketer, the advertiser, the accountant, the vendor and every other thing, at least initially. There is no way to avoid these responsibilities.

You cannot take on employees, unless you have a huge budget, in a startup. The overhead would be too much for the fledgling endeavor. However, once you start off, you can outsource certain tasks to professionals.

Getting advice and assistance from others can help you focus on the things that matter.

You can create a business startup, not only after college, but wherever you are in life at present. Look at the brothers Shravan (12 years) and Sanjay Kumaran (10 years), the brothers who created mobile phone applications for their company Go Dimensions.

The tech-savvy brothers from India are not yet out of school and they are already making their mark on the business world. At the end, it is the zest and passion you have for the idea and the effort you put in to transform it into reality that matters.

The post Is it Possible to Create a Business Startup Right After College? appeared first on Small Business Trends.

McAfee Hires Former Apple Executive to Oversee Small Business Market

Posted: 19 Jun 2013 11:30 AM PDT

Bill-Reilly_McAfee (1)When suffering a cyber attack, small businesses lack the resources of a larger company and face different challenges. In acknowledgement of this, global software security company McAfee has created a new senior vice president position to be in charge of the small and medium size business market.

On Monday, McAfee announced filling that position with former Apple executive Bill Rielly, pictured here.  ”McAfee is building upon its experience protecting larger enterprises and establishing a dedicated team focused on protecting SMBs,” wrote Carly Listman, McAfee PR Manager, in an e-mail response to Small Business Trends about the position.

We’ve reported before on how small businesses face an increasing threat from cyber criminals.

A disproportionately high number of small firms are already the focus of cyber attacks, McAfee explained in a prepared release announcing Rielly’s appointment. These companies are also the least able to recover from the resulting damages once a data breach has taken place.

For example, in 2011 more than 75 percent of data breaches targeted small to medium sized companies, says a 2012 report (PDF) from the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).

While larger companies are generally better able to bounce back from such attacks, a 2011 report suggests (PDF) 60 percent of small businesses end up closing their doors within half a year of a breach occurring.

Rielly comes to McAfee from Apple where he served as leader of the SMB division for the Apple Online Store. He seems to have been chosen primarily for his experience with marketing to small and medium sized businesses and with managing global brands, rather than for any specific knowledge about online security issues.

Michael DeCesare, president of McAfee, pointed to Reilly’s results in marketing to SMBs as a key reason for his appointment, noting he has had, “phenomenal success in taking some of the most notable brands in the industry and expanding their share of the SMB market worldwide.”

McAfee is a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation, a multinational maker of semiconductor chips headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif.

Image: Businesswire

The post McAfee Hires Former Apple Executive to Oversee Small Business Market appeared first on Small Business Trends.

How to Use Google Analytics to Tell Where Your Website Traffic Comes From

Posted: 19 Jun 2013 08:00 AM PDT

The Google Analytics Dashboard can be scary and confusing.  I am going to break down how to use Google Analytics to tell where your traffic is coming from, and how to isolate one source from another to understand whether traffic from certain sources is growing.

How to Use Google Analytics

How to Get to Your Traffic Report

When you log into Google Analytics, you see something like this.  Click “Traffic Sources” near the bottom on the left:

how to use google analytics

That will expand the “Traffic Sources” accordion.

Next Click “Overview” and you will get a screen that looks like this:

how to use google analytics

Different Types of Traffic

In the overview, you will see a pie chart that highlights 4 traffic sources: Search Traffic, Referral Traffic, Direct Traffic and Campaigns.

  • Search Traffic: Traffic that comes from a Web search.
  • Referral Traffic: Traffic that comes from someone clicking a link to your site from another site.
  • Direct Traffic: Traffic where the “referrer is unknown,” such as directly typing a URL into the navigation window or clicking on a link in an email newsletter.
  • Campaigns: Traffic from an adwords campaign.

Diving Deeper Into the Sources

To dive deeper into a particular traffic source, click “Sources” just under “Overview:”

how to use google analytics

This will take you to another set of menus where you can take a closer look at a particular source.  You will see a chart that looks very much like the overview chart, except it will be a chart for only the traffic source you choose.

In this case, I am going to click “Search Traffic… Overview:”

how to use google analytics

This gives me a closer look into my search traffic, how it is trending.  In this case, my traffic is bumping along with no major trend up or down.  If I were embarking on an SEO project for this site, this is where I would go to see the fruit of my labor.  After all, if I am optimizing for search, then my traffic from search should increase.

Where to Look in Specific Scenarios

The first few paragraphs were a basic overview of the structure of Google Analytics and where to go to see traffic breakdowns.  Now I am going to talk about specific scenarios related to web traffic and where you would go to see the associated traffic trends.

Scenario 1:  I Just Guest Posted on a Popular Site

When you guest post on a popular site, provided your profile/bio at the bottom of the post contains a link to your site, the expected increase is in the “Referrals” category.

Scenario 2:  I Just Put Out a Press Release

A press release is a wonderful way to get publicity for your company, product, or service.  It is also one of the best-kept secrets (if not controversial) of SEO.  When you distribute a press release over the wire, you should see an increase in the “Referrals” category.

Scenario 3:  I just Spent $1M on Google Adwords

If you have your customer lifetime value calculation down to a science, that is a good time to embark on a paid search campaign.  You can track the results of this campaign in the “Paid Search” section of Google Analytics.

Scenario 4:  I Just Revamped my Content Strategy

You just finished a refresh of the copy on your website and put together a load of new, exciting and insightful content on your blog based on long-tail keyword search terms.

You should see an increase in the “Organic Search” section of Google Analytics.

Scenario 5:  I just Got Featured on Oprah

Congratulations – Oprah is about to melt your servers.  Its a nice problem to have.

When oprah says, “Go to www DOT yourwebsite DOT com” and 1 billion people hit your site at the same time, you will see an increase in the “Direct Traffic” section of your website.

Google Analytics is a powerful tool that has become more useful and more complicated over the years.  For a free tool its awesome, but don’t expect Google to hold your hand and explain to you how to use Google Analytics.

Understanding, measuring and tracking your traffic sources should be a fundamental part of your SEO strategy and hopefully this guide on how to use Google Analytics gave you some help.

The post How to Use Google Analytics to Tell Where Your Website Traffic Comes From appeared first on Small Business Trends.

5 Ways Social Media Can Make Your Trade Show A Success

Posted: 19 Jun 2013 05:00 AM PDT

Social media is becoming a popular way for customers and businesses to interact. If you’re not using social media to its full potential, you’re missing out on a world of promotional possibilities.

Incorporate social media into your next trade show and you’ll find that it can boost trade show success in many ways.

5 Ways Social Media Can Lead To Trade Show Success

Social Media is Easily Integrated into Your Contests

trade show success

Social Annoucement Photo via Shutterstock

Giveaways are standard at trade show booths, but you don’t have to stick with boring swag. Include a few big-ticket items that will draw more interest to your booth.

To snag these top prizes, visitors must interact with your social media sites.

There are lots of creative options. Tweet that the first person to come to the booth and share your code word will get the prize.

Allow prize entries for a brief period for each item. Post the schedule on Facebook.

You Can Continue Promotions Beyond the Trade Show

trade show successSpecial Offer Photo via Shutterstock

Encourage trade show visitors to follow your social media sites by letting them know that you’ll run a whole week of special promotions after the trade show. Each day offer a new deal such as 25% off certain services, free upgrades, BOGO offers, and more.

This strategy will keep your potential customers involved long after your booth’s dismantled.

Social Sites Offer a Powerful Destination for QR Codes

trade show successQR Code Photo via Shutterstock

If your trade show booth space gets swamped with visitors, passers-by may not want to stop and wait for personal attention or push through the crowd to peruse your giveaway pens and notepads (after all, the next table has similar stuff.) Include a large QR code on your booth that makes it easy for visitors to snap and move on.

Make sure the page you direct them to has easy links for following all your social media sites. In the days and weeks after the event, direct your posts to your new and hopefully curious followers who want to get to know who you are.

Include lots of features that will help them find out what you’re about.

Event Pages Hype the Event

trade show successLike Photo via Shutterstock

Set up an event page on Facebook that’s focused on the event alone. This is a great way to get attendees excited and promote the many activities that will be going on. Interacting with customers before the show will give you a better idea of what they want to see.

Don’t waste time lugging all your multimedia equipment along if a survey shows that they’re most interested in one-on-one conversations with sales reps. Use the funds to take more people along with you instead.

Blogs go In-Depth Where your Booth Can’t

trade show successBlog Megaphone Photo via Shutterstock

Trade show attendees want to hit a lot of stops in a limited amount of time. You can send them home with a pile of literature, but it’s likely to get lost in the cavernous swag bag. Instead, blog about common questions before and after the event and direct your leads to this resource as an informative way of getting to know you better.

Integrate your social media marketing strategy and your trade show event for a seamless promotion that will draw in lots of new customers. Never underestimate the power of a well-managed social site.

Did you create a social media campaign for your recent trade show event that brought the attendees to your booth? Or have you seen some great uses of social media at recent conference or convention? Would love to read it.

The post 5 Ways Social Media Can Make Your Trade Show A Success appeared first on Small Business Trends.

How Important Are Small Businesses to Local Economies?

Happy Mother’s Day 2013

Help Yourself with our Helping Hand!

While small businesses may not generate as much money as large corporations, they are a critical component of and major contributor to the strength of local economies. Small businesses present new employment opportunities and serve as the building blocks of the United States’ largest corporations.

Contributions

A small business is defined as a business (corporation, limited liability company or proprietorship) with 500 employees or less. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms. Since 1995, small businesses have generated 64 percent of new jobs, and paid 44 percent of the total United States private payroll, according to the SBA.

Economic Growth

Small businesses contribute to local economies by bringing growth and innovation to the community in which the business is established. Small businesses also help stimulate economic growth by providing employment opportunities to people who may not be employable by larger corporations. Small businesses tend to attract talent who invent new products or implement new solutions for existing ideas. Larger businesses also often benefit from small businesses within the same local community, as many large corporations depend on small businesses for the completion of various business functions through outsourcing.

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