Small Business Accelerator: Tips, Trends and Resources for Entrepreneurs

By at 13 January, 2018, 1:38 pm

The first two weeks of the New Year are behind us – is your business on a growth track? The economy continues to strengthen, as highlighted by a report showing the strongest holiday retail sales since the Great Recession. There continues to be an ongoing flow of news related to significant business expansion and investment, as well as positive stories regarding employee bonuses, higher wages and other investments buoyed by the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” This week’s roundup of tips, trends, resources and inspirational content focuses on ways to strengthen sales and marketing in 2018, important news from the IRS about the new withholding tables, and a host of resources that will help you and your business succeed in the year ahead! (If you missed last week’s edition of Small Business Accelerator, click here.)

Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO

Featured Event: Using Technology to Work Smarter, Not Harder

SBA Twitter Chat

Thursday, January 25, 2018

3:00 p.m. ET/ Noon PT


Please join the SBA and experts for a Twitter chat on “Using Technology to Work Smarter, Not Harder” hosted by the US Small Business Administration (@SBAgov). SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan will join the SBA for the chat (@KarenKerrigan @SBECouncil)! We’ll be sharing tips and resources to help small business owners start, grow and succeed. Follow along with the hashtag #SBAchat.


Sales, Marketing and Branding

Four Immediate Benefits of Implementing Live Chat on Your Website, Small Biz Bonfire. “Taking the lead among other software solutions, live chat has a 92% customer satisfaction rate which is more than phone or email customer support provides. Plus, between the three, live chat is the most economical choice.”

Rethinking Your Value Proposition, Small Biz Bonfire. “Who you are and what you do is your business’ identity. What you do that your competitors don’t is your value proposition. It’s why your customers should shop with you rather those other guys. You should have written your value proposition long before you ever opened your doors. But these things can change your business grows and changes.”

Get Those Quotas Moving (Upward!) in 2018! 5 Things Your Salespeople Can Do, Entrepreneur. “Whether they had a tremendous 2017 or a difficult one, sellers likely hit the re-set button with the start of this new year.”

Consider These Ten Tips When Making Your Next Sales Pitch, Small Business Trends. “You need to gain your audience’s trust early and pique their interest all throughout the delivery of your presentation. If you lose them even for a second, your chances of closing the sale diminish.”

The Story that Launched a Billion Dollar Business, GrowThink. “Does your company have a great story? If you do, great. If not, create one.”

3 Brand Trends Every Small Business Owner Should Know, Small Biz Daily. “But today trends are different. Trends are no longer regional or take time to go from coast to coast.  Trends spread like wildfires today because of social media. Trends are global, viral, and feed or soothe aspects of our human nature. And it is these aspects of our human nature, that every brand should be tapping into.”

Tax News: “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”” Implementation and other Compliance Information

Updated 2018 Withholding Tables Now Available; Taxpayers Could See Paycheck Changes by February | Internal Revenue Service. On January 11, the IRS released Notice 1036, which updates the income-tax withholding tables for 2018 reflecting changes made by the tax reform legislation enacted last month. Employers are encouraged to begin incorporating the new withholding information right away!

IRS Extends Due Date for Employers and Providers to Issue Health Coverage Forms to Individuals in 2018 | Internal Revenue Service. On December 22, the IRS announced that it has extended the 2018 due date for certain entities to provide 2017 health coverage information forms to individuals.

ACA Reporting Requirements Still in Effect for 2018: How to Comply, SCORE. “At the close of 2017, the Affordable Care Act still stands – and the IRS has sophisticated support systems in place to fully enforce it. This means all affected employers must file 1095-C reporting forms and provide copies to employees by the IRS deadlines, or face the consequences.”

Management and Operations

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


How to Set Clear and Actionable Goals for Your Business, Bplans. “You know exactly what you want—a bigger business, larger per-customer sales, more leads, higher profits—but you struggle to meet your goals.”

6 Steps to Empowered Employees and Unstoppable Growth, Startup Professionals. “… the reality is that customer and employee expectations have changed, and your competitors have stepped up to the demands for positive experiences.”

Eliminating Pain Points of Paper Filing When Switching to E-Filing, Barbara Weltman. “Changing to electronic preparation and filing of W-2s and 1099s can ease your employer burdens and let you do what you do best.”

Financing and Access to Capital

Small Business Lending at Big Banks and Institutional Lenders Up Again, Biz2Credit Says, Small Business Trends. “For the month of December, Biz2Credit reported small business loan approval rates for big banks came in at 25.2 percent, a 0.1 percent increase over November. Compared to 2016, the jump for 2017 was 1.3 percent, which is the highest amongst all segments from the Biz2Credit index. The monthly numbers saw Institutional lenders hitting new heights at 64.3 percent, a 0.2 percent increase from the previous month. The yearly number was also higher, going from 63.4 percent in 2016 to 64.3 percent in 2017.”

The 7 Keys to Raising Funding in 2018, GrowThink. “Raising funding is hard. This is actually a good thing. Because if it were easy, everyone would raise money and start a business, and competition would be ferocious.”

Venture Capital Investment Soars in the U.S., Smart Brief. “Venture capital firms in the US invested $84 billion in more than 8,000 startups last year, the biggest total since the dot-com boom, according to data provider PitchBook and NVCA.”

10 Startup Strategies to Minimize Cash Flow Disasters, Startup Professionals. “In reality, the financing valley of death tests the commitment, determination, and problem solving ability of every entrepreneur. It’s the time when you create tremendous value out of nothing. It’s what separates the true entrepreneurs from the wannabes.”

Entrepreneurship, Trends Impacting Business

Can the Wave of Boomer Entrepreneur Retirements Create a Surge of Worker-Owned Businesses?, Fast Company. “In part, the interest in a new model is driven by a practical reality: Nearly half of the privately held businesses in the area are owned by baby boomers who are getting ready to retire. In many cases, an owner’s children may not want to take over, and with a glut of businesses on the market, a buyer might not be found. Moving to worker ownership is a way to keep a business from shutting down.”

10 Step Checklist to Rank Your Startup Ideas, John Greathouse. “…big ideas generally result from the collision of many small hunches. In isolation, a particular hunch may be worthless, but when combined with other ideas, at the right time, the result can be a game-changing innovation. We all have hunches, but if we do not diligently document them, we risk losing them. Hunches cannot be combined if they are forgotten.”

28 Ways Artificial Intelligence will Affect Your Business and Life, CrowdSpring. “Whether you’re excited, indifferent, or stocking a bunker with dry goods, there are a number of ways that your life is likely to be impacted by artificial intelligence in the coming years. And, if you’re a small business owner, you need to be thinking about how your business is likely to be impacted by AI. You can’t afford to ignore the opportunities presented by utilizing artificial intelligence technologies in your business.”

The Transformation of Global Business, Small Biz Daily. “Essentially, there’s a global business revolution going on, and small business owners should be eager to join it. Estimates vary (and are hard to find) but there are more than 202 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs or SMBs) in the world. And with a global population of 7,530,103,737 at the end of 2017—that means there are a lot of businesses and even more potential customers for you to do business with. But how do you reach them?”

The Economy and Policy

Strongest Holiday Sales Since the Great Depression, CNBC. “Over the holidays, the strongest performers were building materials and supply stores (8.1 percent growth), furniture (7.5 percent growth) and electronics (6.7 percent growth). Clothing/accessories and health/personal care clocked in weaker growth, up 2.7 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.”

The Regulatory Outlook for SMBs in 2018, Oracle SMB Experts Blog/Karen Kerrigan. “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.”

2018 Policy Agenda for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses – Issue Two: Access to Capital, SBE Council. “SBE Council expects solid progress for advancing bills and regulatory initiatives that improve capital formation and access for startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses.  Thankfully, the issue has become a very bipartisan one, which has withstood even the most partisan political periods.”

Personal Growth and Inspiration

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet Reveal the Secret to Success in Just 1 Word, Inc. “They choose to view events through a particular lens. In one word: optimism.”

A First-Time CES Entrepreneur, Age 82. Carol Staninger Comes to Vegas, EnGadget. “More than 170,000 people from 150 countries are at this year’s CES, but it’s rare to see an 82-year-old startup entrepreneur. For Staninger, president of Ancer LLC — a blend of her name and her two children’s, Andrea and Eric — it’s her first CES.”

8 Habits of the Most Successful People, Inc. “When you’re around successful people, see if you can notice each principle in action. This combination of awareness and focus will help you create habits that stick.”

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