Small Business Accelerator: Tips, Trends and Resources for Entrepreneurs

By at 7 January, 2018, 12:13 pm

Is your small business ready for growth in 2018? The economy is strengthening, and policy changes from Washington have fueled consumer and business confidence.  This week’s roundup of tips, key trends in 2018, resources and inspirational content focuses on how to leverage key tax changes, and a host of resources that will help you and your business up the game for growth opportunities this year! (If you missed last week’s New Year’s Edition, click here.)

Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO

Taxes and 2018

President Trump’s signing of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” has ushered in many changes for entrepreneurs and small businesses.  Here are some resources to help you plan ahead to successfully leverage many beneficial tax changes, and to file your 2017 tax returns as tax seasons is upon us!

SCORE Webinar: Easy Tax Planning and Organizing for Small Businesses

January 9, 2018

1:00 p.m. ET

Tax season is upon us, and it’s not too late to learn new strategies for planning, organizing and filing with ease. Martha O’Gorman, CMO of Liberty Tax, will talk about the simple tools and tricks that make filing your small business taxes a breeze.

This session will help you:

● Analyze the past year, and see what tax related processes can be improved

● Understand what you need and don’t need for filing

● Learn new tips and tools to help you stay organized throughout the year


New Rules for Writing Off Equipment, Vehicles and More, Barbara Weltman. “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 made a variety of favorable changes in the rules for deducting the cost of buying certain items and making certain expenditures for business. These changes may impact your decisions for capital acquisitions and improvements this year.

How to Classify Independent Contractors When it Comes to Tax Time, Barbara Weltman. “Your business needs help. You engage a worker to meet this need. Be sure that you properly classify this worker — as an employee or independent contractor — so you can meet your tax-filing requirements and other legal responsibilities.”

What the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Means to You, Barbara Weltman. “ It [the law] makes dramatic changes for individuals and businesses. But it does not change many of the tax rules that have long been in place.”


Nominations Due January 9 for National Small Business Week Awards

Time is running out! Submit your nomination today for the 2018 National Small Business Week Awards. All nominations must be mailed or hand delivered to the nearest SBA office no later than 3:00 p.m. ET on January 9, 2018.

Read More


Management, Operations and Personal Growth

How to Understand Business Loan Rates and Fees, StreetShares. “In order to help you compare your offers and make the most informed decisions, we thought it would be best to explain some of the common rates and what they mean.”

SCORE LIVE Webinar: Is Your Workplace Safe?

January 18, 2018 | 1:00pm ET/10:00am PT

Safety and risk reduction are critical for organizations of all sizes. In this webinar produced by SCORE, a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, learn how to create and implement a safe workplace culture compliant with the Department of Labor and Occupational Safety Health (OSHA) standards.

You will learn:

● OSHA requirements and how to meet them

● How to set up a safety committee or appoint a safety coach

● How to manage accident investigations

● Available technology options

● Where to find free resources


Industry Research versus Market Research. What’s the Difference?, Bplans. “Having the deep knowledge of how your industry works and how your target market behaves will help you develop smarter strategies for growth. Instead of just guessing or relying on hunches, you can make decisions that are backed up by real knowledge and increase your chances for success.”

10 Incredible Websites that Teach Business Leadership Skills for Free, Inc. “Having a mind open to learning new things and being flexible are two hallmarks of a strong and successful business leader…And if you insist that you do not have the luxury of time or money to spend on a formal class, you will be happy to learn that the internet has a plethora of high-quality, self-paced educational resources that can help you equip yourself to run your business.”

Branding and Marketing

How to Create Videos that Show and Sell Your Products, Smart Hustle. “Above all else, company content should be so information-rich that once it’s been viewed or read, customers know whether they’re in or out on a product or service. Video answers these questions better than almost any other sales tool, and it’s the preferred resource for customers researching products. A 2015 Animoto survey revealed that four times as many customers preferred watching a video about a product to reading about it.”

Apply These Four Simple Hacks to Increase Your Facebook Reach, Small Biz Trends. “If you rely heavily on organic reach to engage with customers, you’ve likely experienced a decline in traffic. After all, Facebook is a business, so it only makes sense that those who pay to advertise are going to get preferential treatment…Bur there are ways to boost your Facebook reach.”

8 Amazing Tricks to Get the Most Out of Instagram, Small Biz Trends. “Businesses today prefer Instagram for several reasons. A visual platform to showcase products, Instagram is also a vastly popular social channel. For small businesses, it is therefore the perfect place to reach customers. But how can you use it to grow your business?”

7 Marketing Resolutions to Make This New Year, SBA. “What can your small business do differently in 2018 to boost the results of your marketing efforts? Here are seven marketing resolutions every entrepreneur should make for the coming year.”

Women and Entrepreneurship

Data Doesn’t Lie: Tech Firms Need to Hire More Women to Succeed (and Why Motherhood Makes You a Better Leader), Wired. “First Round Capital, a venture firm that’s backed hundreds of startups at the earliest stages, including Uber, Birchbox and Blue Apron – produced a report of its internal data in 2015. A key finding was that the female-founded companies in its portfolio performed 63 per cent better than those founded by men. The Kauffman Foundation reported that on average, female tech entrepreneurs generated 35 per cent higher returns than male counterparts.”

How Three Small Business Owners Think Big, Forbes. How these three successful women entrepreneurs did it (quick read, great advice and inspiration.)

Marketplace Trends

Insurance and the IoT Report: How Insurers are Using Connected Devices to Cut Costs and More Accurately Price Policies, Business Insider. “A new report from BI Intelligence explains how companies in the auto, health, and home insurance markets are using the data produced by IoT solutions to augment their existing policy pricing models and grow their customer bases. In addition, it examines areas where IoT devices have the potential to open up new insurance segments.”

How 8 Trends Will Change the Way Your Business Approaches Brick and Mortar Retail, Small Biz Trends. “Preliminary reports show retail had a very good year in 2017. CBS News reports total sales for the holiday season hit a record $598 billion, up $33 billion from 2016. While we don’t have year-end totals yet, it’s a good bet that overall retail sales were up in 2017 as well. Hopefully, 2018 will be even better for retailers. Check out these predictions for what retailers can expect in 2018.”

Here’s How People Say Google Home and Alexa Impact Their Lives, Fast Company. “Ultimately, there’s several reasons we’re increasingly adopting devices like Amazon’s Echo and Dot, and Google Home. First, people say they think having one lets them multitask more easily than before. Second, it lets them do things more quickly than devices like their phone or laptop. Third, they like getting fast answers to questions. And finally, it leads to an easier daily routine.”

5 Trends that will Impact Small Business in 2018 and Beyond, Inc.  “If you’re thinking about starting a small business in 2018, you aren’t alone. In fact, an estimated 42 million small businesses will be in operation in the U.S. by 2026. As you formulate a plan, it’s important to keep tabs on the macro trends that could impact your new business.”

Politics, Policy and Government

Small Business Group Welcomes Proposed Rule on Association Health Plans, SBE Council. “The crushing cost of health coverage is a massive pain point for entrepreneurs and small businesses, and as such the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) welcomed today’s release of a proposed rule by the Department of Labor aimed at making Association Health Plans (AHPs) or Small Business Health Plans (SBHPs) a reality for the millions of businesses and self-employed Americans that desperately need affordable options.”

Startups and Inspiration

How to Validate Your Innovation Product as a Business, Startup Professionals. “In the investment community, this work is called proving the business model. It starts with validating a business opportunity (a large customer segment willing to pay money to solve a real problem), in much the same way as your proof of concept or prototype validates your technical solution. Here are seven steps I recommend for establishing the right business model.”

Starting a Side Project in 2018? Here’s How to Make it Successful, Fast Company. “So what makes a personal side project successful? After reading the stories of 10 creators, I found these 7 common “ingredients” for starting, building, and launching a successful personal side project.”

Finally Starting Your Business This Year? Here’s Your Ultimate 12-Point Checklist, Inc. “Where do you start? We asked some of the top business minds what you should do in the first 90 days, a crucial time in your business’s life. Get these early steps right and you’ll create a sound foundation for a profitable, growing business.”

These Poverty Fighting Startups are Slaying Silicon Valley Sacred Cows, Fast Company. “If you want to tackle one of society’s most intractable problems, you have to start by ignoring some of the tech industry’s most cherished mantras.”

A Startup Stord is Building an On Demand Warehouse Service for Companies Competing with Amazon, Forbes. “Getting products into stores, accurately and on time, is one of those nightmares that every consumer-products company, manufacturer and retailer needs to confront. Storing the stuff along the way is a $163 billion industry worldwide, says Sean Henry, the 21-year-old cofounder of Stord—but one you rarely see young entrepreneurs trying to address. That’s why Forbes put Henry and his cofounder, Jacob Boudreau, 20, on this year’s 30 Under 30 list in the Manufacturing and Industry category. Their two-year-old company, based in Atlanta, provides on-demand, flexible warehousing.”

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