PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Small Business Accelerator: Tips, Trends and Resources for Entrepreneurs

By at 27 January, 2018, 3:37 pm

The latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index finds that business owners are the most optimistic since early 2007. They have a healthy outlook on cash flow, capital spending and expect that obtaining credit will ease. The top business concerns all sound familiar – attracting customers and finding new business, finding and retaining high quality staff, financial stability and cash flow.

SBE Council’s “Small Business Accelerator” strives to address these key “pain points” by identifying and sharing fresh content, tips, resources and business intelligence found on media, education and business platforms.  This curated content is selected due to its quality and usability.  This week’s Small Business Accelerator is no different.  I hope these articles and resources provide you with insight and solutions to help your business succeed!

Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO

Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

 

Access to Capital and Financial Management

Regulation Crowdfunding Surpasses $100 Million in Capital Commitments, Crowdfund Capital Advisors/SBE Council. “Now that we have this transparency and the data and dollars to show that it is working,” said Jason Best, Principal at Crowdfund Capital Advisors, “we expect the industry to really begin to scale. We expect that over $1 billion will be funded to startups and small businesses within the next 5 years and over 25,000 jobs will be created.”

5 Benefits and 5 Keys to Raising Crowdfunding, GrowThink. “Clearly, Crowdfunding gives the key benefit of providing funding to your business. But, I have found other key benefits.”

In Business, Cash On Hand is Vital to Success, Knowledge Institute. “What do you need the cash for? Where does cash frequently get tied up? How can you get your hands on cash if and when you need it? The point is that you want to be fully aware of how cash flows “in” and “out” of your business. To do this, here are 6 tips for how you can maximize cash on hand in your business.”

Don’t Do This: Business Empires Built on Credit Cards, The Street. “Since there are more failures than success stories when it comes to new businesses, utilizing credit cards should be a last resort only if no other funding is available, said Jeff Golding, chief growth officer at IRH Capital, a Northbrook, Ill.-based financing company for small businesses. Unlike a line of credit that can be refinanced into a five-year term loan with affordable monthly payments, paying off thousands of dollars in credit card debt can be insurmountable with high interest rates.”

Branding, Marketing and Sales

Here We Go Again: Facebook Edges Businesses Out of News Feed, Susan Solovic/SBE Council. “Currently, Zuckerberg is in the mood to decrease the amount of time you spend on Facebook (this caused FB stock to drop, costing Zuckerberg $3.3 billion) and to accomplish this, he ordered his people to feature less content from businesses, brands, and media in users’ news feeds.” This is how small business can respond.

Discounts, Deals and Advance Access: Keys to Increasing Sales, THE Small Business Expert – Susan Solovic. “Are you shooting all the different kinds of ammunition you have in your sales arsenal?”

Alibaba’s Source Now Tool Makes Sourcing Super Simple, Global Biz Circle. “Your larger competitors have huge travel budgets, teams of buyers and global connections. But, Source Now, a new sourcing tool from Alibaba.com can put your small business on a level playing field with the big boys.”

Billy Mann Discusses Video Humor as a Marketing Tool, Small Business Trends. “Humor ranked as one of the highest-engagement content types when video genres were researched by BuzzSumo recently…When research confirms what you knew, it could be smart to weigh the possibilities.”

The Hidden Mystery Behind Content Marketing: These Five Tips Will Supercharge Your Website, Small Business Trends.  “Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to get your point across while making sure your readers don’t leave your site before they finish consuming your content. A Stanford University study has shown that people remember stories 22 times more than just straight facts.”

Crafting a Practical Sales Plan for Your Growing Business, Bplans. “What is a sales plan? It is a month-to-month estimate of the quantity of sales you intend to achieve, and the steps you will take to get there. It includes previous sales, market conditions, specific niches, and your customers—how you are going to identify them, communicate with them, and sell to them.”

Marketplace Trends

What Will Business Look Like in Five Years, Small Business Bonfire. “Considering the spate of fast-paced changes engulfing businesses now, brought on chiefly by the Internet, predicting the next five years is fraught with grave challenges. However, it is still reasonable to predict a macro-level outlook of how businesses would look like five years down the lane.”

“Amazon Go” Store Now Open in Seattle – How Disruptive Will it Be? Marketing Land. “The store has been described as a high-tech, more health-conscious version of 7-11 for millennials. That’s not exactly right; it’s more like a shrunken-down version of Whole Foods, with an emphasis on prepared meals and higher-end brands. And, as you already know, the store has no checkout lines or cashiers.”

Alibaba is Building Vending Machines to Sell Cars, World Economic Forum. “Customers will scan a car that they’re interested in using the Taobao shopping app developed by Alibaba. They can then pick a color, enter some basic information and take an all-important selfie. Said selfie will be used to identify the individual when they head over to the unmanned vending machine. Facial recognition technology is used to match the person with their order, and the corresponding vehicle is taken out of storage.”

These are the States Where the Most People Work from Home, Fast Company. “FlexJobs just did a state-by-state analysis of telecommuting based on Census data and found that Colorado, Vermont, and Oregon continue to top the list, as they have for the past five years.

 

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Operations and Management

9 Product Management Tools the World’s Top Startups Actually Use, Inc. “The right project management tool lets you organize your team to do its best work. It lets you plan sprints or tasks and track who’s doing what to make sure you’re working in the most efficient way possible.”

ICYMI: Standard Mileage Rates for 2018 Up From 2017, IRS. “The business mileage rate and the medical and moving expense rates each increased 1 cent per mile from the rates for 2017. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.”

10 Outsourcing Myths Jeopardize Too Many New Ventures, Startup Professionals. “We are in the age of outsourcing, by any of many popular names, including subcontracting, freelancing, and virtual assistants. These approaches allow your startup to grow more rapidly, save costs, but costly mistakes can lead to business failure.”

Explore These New Free Business Courses That Start Soon, Susan Solovic. “Several new, free, online courses were recently announced. I’ve gone through them to find the ones that would benefit business owners and leaders the most. Many of these start soon, so don’t delay in checking them out.”

Four Surprising New Ways Companies are Using Drones, Inc. “Like other founders, Jordan has found drones can be used creatively, to make doing tasks faster, cheaper, and safer–even for businesses that don’t seem like a natural fit for the technology.”

Startups

OK, So You Have a Business Idea. Here’s What to Do Now, Inc. “Here are some answers to some of the most common questions that can hang you up and delay your entry into the world of entrepreneurship.

6 Strategies to Build Traction and Validate Your Plan, Startup Professionals. “The challenge is to convince investors that your business will attract real customers, before you have a revenue stream that exceeds your expenses. Even if you are funding the project yourself (bootstrapping), you should be asking yourself the same question before you have burned all your resources.”

How to Start a Food Truck in 9 Steps, Fit Small Business. “Some enter into the food truck business with the misconception that running a food truck is much easier than running a full-service restaurant, only to find out that this industry is equally demanding in its own way. But with the right upfront plan you can successfully join the fast growing billion dollar food truck market.”

How to Map Out an e-Commerce Business Plan in One Hour, Bplans. “You may have been told that the more detail you can include in your business plan, the better, but this is not necessarily the best strategy for everyone. Digital businesses need to be agile and reactive too. It can be hard to be nimble if your business plan is 200 pages long and has been in a drawer since you finished it.”

Bleisure is real guys, this startup makes combo outfits for work travel and vacations, Fast Company. “Laura Choi, who spent her early career at Bloomingdales and Warby Parker, has just launched a resort-wear brand specifically geared toward the business-slash-pleasure traveler.”

I’m in My 60s – Proof That It’s Never Too Late to Launch a Startup, Entrepreneur. “What I learned in my 40s and 50s helped me become a successful innovator, so like judgment and wine, entrepreneurship gets better with age. Here are my five hard-earned lessons, which apply to every entrepreneur and work across all industries.”

The Small Business Marketplace

Go Daddy Acquires Main Street Hub to Boost Small Business Social Media Presence, Small Business Trends. “GoDaddy has 17 million small business customers with an online presence, which makes the addition of Main Street Hub a perfect fit with the website building and SEO managing services it offers.”

The Economy and Policy

The Regulatory Outlook for SMBs in 2018, Oracle SMB Blog. “Last year, the small business community witnessed something different from Washington: A period of limited regulatory actions and a scaling back of rules—both big and small—from federal agencies…So What does this mean for SMBs in 2018?”

2018 Policy Agenda for Entrepreneurs and Small Business: Issue Three – Tax System Modernization, SBE Council. “The tax code needs to work for entrepreneurs and small businesses in a modern and ever-changing marketplace.”

Fourth Quarter GDP: Economy Poised for Acceleration in 2018, SBE Council. “The latest topline number of GDP growth from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis was a little disappointing given the strong two previous quarters and positive momentum in the economy. Our optimism now means we have higher expectations for great numbers and performance, which, in itself, is a good news story.  However, when you drill down into the fourth quarter data, the story is a good one.”

Supreme Court Will Hear Arguments for State Internet Sales Tax, Small Business Trends. “Thirty-five states filed a brief supporting South Dakota’s [pro-Internet sales tax] position, a startling number given that the states often divide over contentious questions at the court.”

Thought Leadership

Why Failing Fast Fails, Standford Business.  “Despite his innovations, [Chamath] Palihapitiya downplayed his creativity during a View From The Top talk in early November. Urging his audience to “be good copiers,” he said: “A lot of my life, quite honestly, is just copying things that I see. There’s not a lot of original thought here.” Here are some of his insights on socially conscious investing and where Silicon Valley gets it wrong.”

Hackers Founder Jonathan Nelson Says Venture Capital is Broken. His Answer? An Ethereum-Based Fund, Forbes. “Nelson, who is 44 and is a member of the SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies, has launched Hack, a venture-capital fund on the blockchain that will use digital share certificates to get funding to early-stage startups. It’s a high-risk investment idea – in the U.S. only wealthy accredited investors will be permitted to put their money in – but it’s an intriguing way to get seed funding to startups.”

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