Tools To Help Your Small Business Succeed

Small business owners are notoriously hard workers with long hours every single day of the week. Software tools and applications that make their business a bit easier have become more readily available with the current technology.  Documents, appointments, on line calendars and applications they can access through their phones or other devices have become commonplace.  Their business can truly travel with them, and can provide the much needed time to spend doing other more enjoyable things.

To read more about new business applications and other small business topics, follow the links below.


3 Financial Documents Every Small Business Needs

Columbia, S.C. (WLTX) – Happy Money Monday to our entrepreneur viewers. Today we’re covering the basics to help you understand the financial health of your business.

Here are 3 financial documents every small business needs:

1. Balance Sheet – This is a great way to provide a financial overview of your business. If you’re a visual person, this financial report will be easier for you to understand as it’s displayed as a chart. The left side shows what your company owns (aka your assets), while the right side will show you your expenses and equity.

2. Cash flow Statement – Similar to your budget for your personal finances, the cash flow statement shows how money comes and goes for your business. This helps you understand how your business is operating on a day-to-day basis and will help you answer the question, “How much is my business truly making?”


What is Yext and Can It Help Your Small Business?

It you’re looking for a way to automatically sync your business information across 50+ directories such as Google Maps, Yelp and Apple Siri, Yext presents itself as a possible solution.

Last week, the New-York based company filed paperwork with the US securities regulators to raise as much as $100 million in an initial public offering.

What is Yext?

Yext is a data management tool that is designed to keep track of your business’ location-related information on multiple directories. The software allows you to sync your:

  • Business Name, Address and Phone Number;
  • Business hours, products and services, holiday hours, photos and videos, staff bios, menus, and calendars;

Why your small business needs a mobile app

Many small businesses are unsure whether they need a mobile app, many believing that their mobile website is enough. Are you staying relevant?

Are you app-solutely missing the boat?

These days, we carry our smartphones everywhere. People are using them to play, order food, make purchases, do research, communicate, check reviews, read books, find love and generally get by day to day. Some people are even running their business from their phone! In fact, many of you probably prefer using apps over your desktop when it comes to things like checking emails, updating your social media accounts or checking your online banking.


 

Is Online Advertising Working For You?

For some small business owners, online advertising seems to be a no brainer.  You can use Facebook ads to advertise your business or products, you pay the fees, and you wait for the results to start coming. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.  Facebook advertising takes work.  You must consistently test what is working for your particular business, before you can actually get any results.  It is true that for some businesses you do not have to do too much for the ads to work, but for the majority of small businesses, testing your ads to see if they are reaching the right audience, seems to be the only way to go. 


62 Percent of Small Business Owners Say Facebook Ads Don’t Work

Are Facebook ads ineffective, or is the problem user error?

In January 2017, Small Business Trends released the results of a survey of over 2,600 small-business owners, revealing that 62 percent of them believe Facebook ads are ineffective. With complaints of little-to-no ROI, these entrepreneurs say they will not use Facebook advertising again. Some experts, however, challenge this viewpoint, saying that properly targeted Facebook ads do indeed provide results.

“When businesses don’t see the results they hope for, it’s usually because they haven’t done enough testing on their ad copy, visuals, and the ideal combination of information to target the right audience,” says Vitruvian Digital Advertising founder Kristie McDonald.

Jeanine Blackwell, founder of The Launch Lab, agrees, saying that marketers aren’t asking themselves the right questions to determine an effective target market for their ad campaigns. “The problem is that most advertisers only use the simplest of criteria to let Facebook know who they want to see their ads, such as gender, age, and income,” says Blackwell.


The Best Accountability For Small Business Owners

When Beth Savage became the owner of PQ Systems, the first thing she did was put together an outside board. “Why not have a board that is there for the sole reason of helping you and your team succeed?” says Beth.

Many business owners are reluctant to create an outside board. Some believe that their company is unique, and a board of outsiders wouldn’t work for their company.

Others rationalize that they already get enough advice from employees, family members, and paid advisors—such as their attorney, accountant or bankers. Still others can’t see the purpose, and they want to hold on to what they see as their autonomy.


Abrams: Sexy small business start-ups

Looking for a small business start-up idea? You might want to look to the bedroom. Because, and I know this may shock you, sex sells.

Romance has been around since, well, Adam and Eve. Businesses related to romance continue to do well and are increasingly mainstream. This past Valentine’s Day, even Burger King got in the act. For a very limited time and only in Israel, the fast food chain included a sex toy in an “Adult Meal.” The story spread like wildfire on social media because who can resist anything to do with sex?

While most sex-based businesses are small businesses, they typically seem seedy and are, often, exploitative. But here are some sex and romance-related small business ideas you that can still tell your grandma about and that won’t land you in jail:

1. Online dating site profile writer. Ask people how they met their partner, and the most frequent response you’ll hear is “online.” But few people know how to write appealing dating site profiles. My senior editor, however, met the man of her dreams on OKCupid. “Before we write anything at work, we research,” she said. “I thought I better do the same thing.” So she figured out how to write a witty, quirky profile, which attracted her perfect match. Friends then started asking her to write their profiles. “This could be a full-time business.” If your customers break up, they need to update their profiles, which means repeat business.


 

Small Business News

News about the high optimism of small business owners  regarding the economy across the US, seem to be a hot topic of conversation. Despite the incertitude of many of the issues affecting the small business community, the optimism according to media outlets seems to be high. The promise of a quick repeal to Obamacare has some small business owners wondering whether this is going to be a good move for them.  For more about this and other stories affecting the small business community, follow the links below.


Small-business owners are full of questions and regrets about the end of Obamacare

With the repeal of the Affordable Care Act likely but its replacement uncertain, small-business owners are weighing their options for the future.

More details may come Tuesday evening when President Trump makes his first address to both houses of Congress as commander-in-chief.

Trump took executive action on January 20 to “ease the burden” of the Affordable Care Act and formally announced the administration’s policy to “seek the prompt repeal” of the law. However, doing so with any speed has proven difficult. The president told a meeting of the nation’s governors on Monday, “Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated.”

Dirk Bak is simply hoping for cost controls. His business, SDQ Janitorial in Minnetonka, Minn., has been family-owned for 34 years and had been offering its nearly 200 full-time workers coverage even before the ACA became law.

A great majority of our nation’s small business owners are old, white men

Two weeks ago the Kauffman Foundation, a well-regarded nonprofit group that specializes in entrepreneurism, released its annual State of Entrepreneurship report — and at least in one respect, the news is encouraging. The report found that, despite still being below the peak that preceded the Great Recession, private enterprise is rebounding and entrepreneurs are driving a resurgence of business activity in America.

However, most of those entrepreneurs are still mostly old, white men.

Even as the U.S. population is becoming more diverse, the changes in the composition of our entrepreneurs is not reflecting these changes: 80.2 percent are white and 64.5 percent are male (other reports have put the average age of a small business owner at around 50 years old). The Kauffman report found that minorities own half as many businesses as non-minorities and their businesses start smaller and stay smaller mostly due to capital challenges. Women are also half as likely as men to own employer businesses.


79 Percent of Small Business Owners Remain Confident, Xero Report Says

With unprecedented economic uncertainty in the US and UK, you would expect small businesses would be more pessimistic about the future. Yet, according to the second annual Make or Break 2017 report from Xero (NZE:XRO), small business owners are irrepressibly optimistic going into 2017. Both small business owners (79 percent) and accountants (84 percent) feel more confident about 2017 than 2016.

Make or Break 2017 Report from Xero: Highlights

The optimism was especially true for young businesses with 94 percent of one-year-old and 84 percent of two-year-old businesses saying that they felt more confident going into 2017 than they did in 2016. Over three quarters (79 percent) of small business owners professed confidence in their businesses’ survival in 2017. While nearly a fifth of businesses going through a tougher time said they expected 2017 to be a turnaround year for their business.


 

Productivity In The Workplace

Small and big businesses regardless of what industry they are in, try to boost productivity in the workplace to achieve their goals.  Whether they are offering financial incentives, recognition across the company, or extra vacation days, companies will go to extra lengths to reach or boost workplace productivity.

Every company has employees that are super stars and their productivity is unparalleled.  But, as every company have super stars, they have the super “duds” in it as well.  When looking into improving the productivity in your company, you have to take into account that all your employees have to be accountable for the work they do or are supposed to do.  The superstars can only take the team up to a point. Dragging the employees that are falling way below their potential is exhausting and mentally exhausting for everyone else.

Metrics that help you measure the productivity of your employees and yourself are widely available for businesses.  Every employee believes he is productive, but remember that productivity is a very subjective concept for many of us. We do not measure time or productivity equally.  Reading and answering all emails in your inbox may seem like you are productive, even if you do nothing else.  For other people answering all those emails is only the beginning of their day.

When measuring the productivity of your employees-and yourself-take into consideration that employees respond differently to what management or they owner tells them.  For many employees a job performance review and an unsatisfactory review at that, can be more harmful that no review at all.  You have to get to know your employees before handing out advice.  Sometimes a pat on the back, or a nice word at the beginning of the day are for many employees enough to continue working hard for you.  Recognition that they are doing a good job and that you are aware of it, can increase the productivity of many of your employees.

Most workers across the United States have a life outside work. Families, other jobs, elderly parents, financial problems and a myriad of other issues, are a constant reminder that we are humans and have a limited time of hours every day.  Expecting the employee to be a happy and responsive human being every single day is expecting too much.  When asking an employee for X, Y and Z, think before and ask yourself if it is too much.  I do not believe that you have to hire a slacker and let it be, just think that a happy employee will be a more productive employee for you and your company.

Small Business News For February

The United States Department of Labor said last week that claims for unemployment benefits fell by 14,000.  That means that the unemployment benefits claims in the United States fell down more than 8% from last year. The unemployment rate is 4.7 and according to economists that can be considered full employment, making it a nine-year low in the United States.

For more about this and other news, follow the links below.


Small Business Ombudsman ‘fed up’ with banks refusing to change their ways

Australian banks have plenty of critics, and now they can add the Small Business Ombudsman to that list.
Kate Carnell, who has authored a report released today into banking practices, has found lenders are not being fair when they enter into contracts with small and medium-sized businesses.

“Across the board the contracts that were in place between banks and small businesses [were] simply unfair,” she told AM.

“Banks have all the power and the small businesses have no power at all and there need to be some change.”

The ombudsman’s report into banking practices has been released today by the Government.

It found that there is an unequal relationship between the banks and small and medium-sized businesses that borrow from them.


Local restaurants joining the coalition of Small Business United Against Hate

Mike Sherwood of Pizza Nea calls it “coming out of the closet for caring.”

Small business owners have a conundrum that cuts both ways: They don’t have the money or the clout to change laws or legislation the way big business does. All they have are their voices. But if they use their voices, certain customers could turn against them.

“It’s a big risk,” says Sherwood, who came out as proudly anti-Trump on his business social media pages early and often. “Minnesota is 50/50 [politically].”

But, as another small business owner put it in a grassroots meeting on Tuesday night, “Sometimes you just have to do what’s right.”

John Sugimura owns PinkU, the modern sushi restaurant that recently opened in northeast Minneapolis. He chose the name, which means “pink” in Japanese, because in that language, it also has connotations of “peace” and “democracy.” He wanted to always gently remind himself of where he came from. Sugimura is a longtime social advocate and activist, but his recent conversion to restaurant owner has taken him out of his usual circles.


Hiring Rebound at Small Businesses in January, ADP Says

HIRING REBOUND: Small businesses more than tripled their number of new jobs in January, adding 62,000, according to payroll provider ADP. That’s up from 18,000 in December, and in line with the average of more than 62,000 per month in 2016. ADP counted the number of jobs at its small business customers, those with up to 49 staffers.

Small businesses were part of an overall trend of stronger job growth last month. ADP reported that businesses of all sizes added 246,000 jobs last month, up from December’s 151,000.

WHAT IT MEANS: The figures suggest that employers are hiring again after scaling back their payroll expansion in the second half of last year. The arrival of the Trump administration, which was welcomed by many small business owners, may have encouraged them to take some more of the risks they’ve been avoiding since the recession, including expanding their staffs. Many owners have said in surveys they’re not willing to hire unless their revenue is strong enough to justify the added expense.

WHAT ELSE TO LOOK FOR: Employment reports later this week from the National Federation of Independent Business and the Labor Department will give different perspectives on job growth, but will nonetheless help reveal owners’ sentiment about their companies and the economy. The NFIB surveys its members, while the government report will look at hiring across the private sector. It will not break out figures by company size.


 

Small Business Saturday

small-shopNovember 26, 2016, is Small Business Saturday.   More than 16 billion dollars were spent last year at small retailers across the nation according to the Small Business Administration (SBA) and this year many believe will be bigger.  If you are a small business, this holiday weekend is sure to provide you with the extra sales you were hoping for and the extra income many small businesses need.

For more about Small Business Saturday, follow the links below for more information.


8 Ways To Boost Sales Using Social Media This Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday, was created to shift attention from big box stores to the smaller mom-and-pop shops offering carefully curated product selection and gift ideas you won’t find anywhere else. It’s a celebration of everything that makes small businesses special.

To take advantage of the spotlight being shone on Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26, 2016, make sure your business is leveraging social media to get the word out. Here are eight tactics to use:

1.Use The Hashtag #ShopSmall

On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, use the hashtag #ShopSmall to allow customers to easily find information about your business and to alert them that you’re participating in Small Business Saturday. And use the hashtag yourself to search social media for other ideas for promoting your small business during this busy time of year.


Small Business Saturday is expected to be busier than ever

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Politicians and the Small Business Administration’s District director visited several small stores in Lakewood on Monday, a grass-roots marketing effort to bring attention to Small Business Saturday this weekend.

“We were in Lakewood to highlight Small Business Saturday which comes after Black Friday and before Cyber Monday because we want to encourage people to shop small this coming Saturday,” said Gil Goldberg, the SBA district director. “But we could have been in any town, city or village in Northern Ohio to illustrate the support that merchants in the community provide.”

Goldberg was joined by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers.

Last year, Small Business Saturday packed a big punch to the U.S. economy: 95 million consumers shopped in small and local retailers and restaurants and spent $16.2 billion, nearly triple ($5.5 billion) what consumers spent  with small retailers in 2012, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The shopping day was first started by American Express. The idea came about during the recession in 2009, and officially launched a year later. At the time, the nation was still recovering from the financial crisis, and eventually lost about 200,000 small businesses.


Rosenberry: Shop small business Saturday

Black Friday is almost here, which means the Christmas shopping season has officially begun.

More power to you if you want to fight the traffic and the crowds. But don’t forget: You also can get deals on Small Business Saturday — which happens just one day later.

In the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to scope out a small business that’s new to me, someplace I’ve never been; and I found the perfect place — a cute little craft store with a big heart.

Craft Bits & Pieces is located in Fairport’s Village Landing plaza. Unlike most places you may shop this holiday season, Craft Bits & Pieces’ sole purpose is a charitable one. It raises money for Perinton’s Senior Options for Independence, care management and transportation programs.

The shop relies on more than 50 volunteers to collect, sort, clean, package and shelve thousands of items donated every week. The shop has three part-time managers and is overseen by Joanne Haag, executive director of the Fairport/Perinton Senior Living Council.

True to its name, Craft Bits & Pieces is a crafter’s dream store, stuffed with fabric, notions, buttons, scrapbooking supplies, yarns, needles, dried flowers and more. Plenty of delights for non-crafters also line the shelves, including home decor items, glassware, jewelry, puzzles and books.


 

Productivity In The Workplace

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There are many factors that affect the profitability of a firm.  For managers and directors of firms, one of the most important factors is to increase profitability for their stakeholders.  The income a company earns over a fiscal year must exceed the expenses they incurred.  Profitability is then one of the many reasons management tries to increase the productivity of their workforce.  Productivity in the workplace is a major challenge for many companies, and research over the years have shown that happy employees are more productive than non happy or stressed employees. But how about working remotely? How is the productivity level compared to those working at the office?  For more about this, follow the links below.


Study: Whopping 93% Say They’re More Productive Working Remotely

Catherine Conlan’s spent her fair share of time in offices. These days, though, the rural Minnesota writer clocks in from home to a content marketing agency in Baton Rouge, La. Still, many of the work-life balance challenges are the same.

“There are days where I’m still rushing around to pick up the kids or the laundry just doesn’t get done, because I’ve put a priority on my work productivity,” Conlan says. “But working remotely, especially with an employer who embraces a project- or results-based approach to work and is dedicated to supporting employees’ lives away from work, can make finding a sense balance a lot easier.”


Boosting America’s Workplace Productivity

Here’s the plain truth: whether at home or at work, productivity tends to suffer under stress. And while stress triggers are highly personal, one thing many workers seem to have in common is uncertainty around how to handle personal finances. In fact, according to a recent study commissioned by MassMutuali, while most Americans say they prioritize understanding the importance of their personal finances, many admit they actually know little or nothing about them, and half say they don’t know how much to spend on benefits. Worse, 37 percent of those surveyed find managing their personal finances “somewhat” or “very difficult” and 40 percent say personal financial problems are a distraction at workii.

It’s clear from the research that personal finances bedevil many Americans, especially when it comes to understanding and making the most of their employee benefits. And employee stress doesn’t just affect employees – the prevalence of distracted employees in the workplace poses a huge productivity issue for employers that, if left untreated, will likely become worse.


Productive mobility is poised to give business a virtual boost

Throughout history, new technologies have constantly changed the way we’ve worked. They’ve been responsible for full-scale revolutions. And continued investments have come as corporate demand for worker productivity drives tech spending.

We should expect augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to eventually attract increased spending in the enterprise as they combine with new mobile network advancements to make an emerging trend called “productive mobility” a reality.

Productive mobility is about being as productive out of the office as inside, and as productive in a virtual instance as a physical one.

Consider Boeing’s use of augmented reality glasses to streamline plane assembly workflows, decreasing assembly time and reducing errors by 25 percent. This is amazing. It’s also just the beginning of this reality-transforming workplace future.

That’s where critical mobile network developments come in. Many of the most exciting AR applications require instant environmental interpretation, and rapid delivery of contextually relevant information and functionality. VR, in particular 360 stereoscopic video, greatly raises the payload overhead of rich media.

Fixed and mobile broadband network advancements like fiber and 5G, along with service provider-centric content delivery topologies, deliver higher throughput with lower latencies. New convolutional network designs find patterns among previously insurmountable massive data sets, enabling rapid, intelligent predictions about the network, the things connected to it and the users engaging with it.


 

Branding Your BusinessThe Right Way

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As a small business owner, the branding of your business may not seem important enough for you to worry about it just yet.  Getting the business off  the ground seems to take all the time you have to worry about branding your business, or the social media aspect of it.  But, remember that having a brand that customers identify quickly, can be a great boost to your business.  Having your business logo, colors and fonts form a cohesive image that translates to social media can help customers identify your business online, and perhaps begin a relationship that can last for many years.

For more about branding, follow the links below.


Despite being a branding company, how we failed and sailed with our internal branding

We all know that a brand is an intangible asset. It’s a heavy word though. Branding is what makes or breaks a brand, isn’t it? Well, it’s certainly an exercise that can help you differentiate yourself from your competitors. For instance, with consistent advertising, and a decent product, you can create a brand image that is way above your competitors. It can help you make your brand aspirational. What’s more? It can influence people to associate with your brand. Even if that means they have to pay a premium to associate with your brand. So, the power of branding cannot be ignored.

Unfortunately, more often than not, we think that branding is all about external communication only. But to cut a good picture externally, companies tend to forget that branding is a lot about what’s done internally too. It’s only after burning our hands that we tend to really understand the power of internal branding.


Branding feelings: Why marketing leaders do it

A name. So you think that a brand is about remembering a name. A company, product, or service. True, but there is more. When you hear a name, how do you feel? Strong brands evoke strong feelings. Including the “I gotta have it” urge that propels buyers to the checkout counter. What about other feelings?

Trust. Trust is the foundation feeling. We bond with businesses, products, people, and places we trust.

“Great companies that build an enduring brand have an emotional relationship with customers that has no barrier. And that emotional relationship is the most important characteristic, which is trust.” – Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO

Feeling dominoes

One good feeling leads to another. When we trust a brand, other feelings are added. Positive feelings about quality, special features, usability, service, and overall value.

Loyalty. That is the sticky feeling that keeps us coming back for more. The stronger our composite feelings about a brand, the more we are inclined to continue buying from that company and their products. Even when a competitor has strong offerings.


6 Ways Personal Branding Is Your SEO Secret Weapon

Search engine optimization (SEO) has a lot of potential angles and strategies associated with it. Though there are some universal best practices you’ll need if you want to rank higher (such as cleaning up your technical on-site SEO and building natural inbound links), there are variable approaches you can take to find success in your own niche.

For example, you may adopt a local SEO strategy to gain more traction against your larger competitors, or you could opt for niche, long-tail keyword targeting to get a faster rise for lower-volume queries.

But there’s one angle—my personal favorite—that can propel almost any SEO strategy forward, and I don’t see nearly enough companies and organizations using it to fuel their ongoing efforts. Personal branding is your secret weapon, and it’s time you integrated it into your campaign.


 

Small Business Hiring And News

64002400Small business owners across the United States are being careful after the dismal reports of hiring across the country.  They are holding off any hiring they may do, and are still reticent to make any moves that will put their financials in jeopardy.  Economic growth seems to be inching forward a bit slowly, and some small business owners are still holding off till elections are over.

To read more about this and other stories follow the links below.


Dear Donald Trump: I’m a Small Business Owner, and I Want More Regulation

We love the election-year attention but the presidential candidates are focusing on the wrong things

In election years, I love calling myself a “small business owner.” It’s the one time when the act of selling falafel, building a website or otherwise trying to make a buck comes off as heroic. We’re the “backbone” of the economy, you know, and the “heart and soul of equal opportunity,” as Fran Tarkenton told the Republican convention.

It’s the season when politicians shower us with love and policy papers. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have put forward proposals to make our businesses great again, together. I prefer Clinton’s, but mostly I think the election-year pandering to small businesses misses what really matters.

 Trump, like most Republicans, focuses on tax relief. He proposes lowering the top rate for pass-through business income to 15%. This doesn’t move me. Why? My company doesn’t earn enough for the proposal to make much of a difference, as is true for most small business owners. The lion’s share of pass-through income is earned by a small percentage of businesses, which means wealthy individuals would catch a giant tax break while the majority of small business owners are unaffected.

Columbus, Ohio: A growing mecca for small business

In a prior life, Joe DeLoss worked as a banking analyst, but today, his day job couldn’t be more different. DeLoss owns the wildly popular Hot Chicken Takeover in Columbus, Ohio, serving up Nashville Hot Chicken, a spicy style of fried chicken.

 But it’s not the leap from banking to fast food that makes his story so interesting. It’s the fact that his two-year-old restaurant is staffed by a nearly 50-person workforce that has largely experienced incarceration. Some employees have criminal arrest records, while others have served time for everything from misdemeanors to felonies. DeLoss admits they might be overlooked by other employers, but he’s a firm believer in second chances. Make no mistake, though; it’s no charity.

“We created Hot Chicken Takeover to be a fair chance employer. A large part of our workforce has been affected by incarceration in the past, but it’s not what defines our future. We have a team that works harder, is more productive and more motivated than most people in our industry,” DeLoss said.


 State lawmakers OK parental leave for small-business workers

SACRAMENTO — California parents who work for small businesses would be eligible for six weeks of job-protected leave under a bill heading to Gov.Jerry Brown.

The bill was among the myriad of proposed laws sent Wednesday to Brown on the final day of the two-year legislative session. Brown has until Sept. 30 to act on the hundreds of bills on his desk.

With Wednesday’s adjournment, lawmakers concluded a year in which they raised the minimum wage, extended greenhouse gas reduction targets to 2030, added gun control measures and approved $2 billion in bond money for housing and treating mentally ill Californians who are homeless.

On a lighter note, lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday declaring denim as the state’s official fabric under AB501 by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael.

 


Business News For The Small Business Owner

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It is perhaps the ability of a small business owner to keep optimism at high levels to be able to do what they do every single day.  There is no other people telling you what to do, or what jobs require top priority.    As a small business owner, the credit and blame stop with them.  There is no employee that works in a small business, that is not the responsibility of the owner.  The successes and the failures mean something else for them as well.  To be a small business owner is to be different.  To have the courage to do what many others wish to do, but are afraid to take the first step.  Read more about business news by following the links below.


Abrams: Small businesses have already won the gold

Small-business owners: If you’ve been watching the Olympics, you may be getting the wrong message. I’m here to tell you that you’re winners, even if you never get the business equivalent of an Olympic gold medal.

For the past week, I’ve been mesmerized watching swimmer Katie Ledecky breaking world records with ease. Usain Bolt running faster than any man on Earth, and smiling as he does it. Those amazing, fearless gymnasts, led by Simone Biles, risking life and limb.

But one aspect of Olympic coverage that frustrates me is when someone asks a silver- or bronze-medal winner if they’re disappointed because they didn’t win the gold.

Most of these fantastic athletes react the way American swimmer Nathan Adrian did when asked whether he was upset that he “only” got a bronze. He looked surprised, then, with an endearing grin, he reminded the correspondent that hey, he was at the Olympics and he won a medal. How great is that?


The Truth About Hiring Friends in Your Small Business

Hiring friends must be done with care to be successful.

Small business ideas are often mulled over by friends long before you take the plunge and say, “I’ve made the decision. I’m starting my own business.” Friends’ reactions may range from encouragement to total negativity, but there’s a good chance at least one friend might be interested in working for you or with you.

While mixing business with friendship can work out, many people choose to keep business separate from friendships. Business relationships gone sour can ruin relationships, and some people avoid this risk by starting out with a “no hiring friends” policy. Most people fall between the two extremes of wanting to hire friends and refusing to do so. With strict boundaries, it’s possible to successfully hire friends for your business.

Hiring a Friend Will Be Fine, Right?

Maybe? After deciding to start your own business, it’s intuitive that many people want friends on board to help build the business. And since close friends tend to be vocal supporters of your ideas, and may be willing to work long hours with little or no pay it makes the choice a quick solution.


Aetna ditching 70% of its ObamaCare business

Insurance giant Aetna won’t be offering coverage under ObamaCare next year in 11 of the 15 states it now serves — an announcement that instantly became an issue in the presidential race.

Aetna’s decision led Donald Trump to charge that President Obama’s health care reform was “imploding.”

“Aetna’s decision to leave the Affordable Care Act’s public marketplaces is the latest blow to this broken law that is slowly imploding under its regulatory red tape,” said Trump campaign deputy national policy director Dan Kowalski.

“Millions of Americans have lost their health coverage under this disastrous policy, eliminating their ability to choose their doctors. Thousands of businesses have been forced to cut employment or shutter their doors in response to Obama’s signature achievement,” he added.

The company had previously warned that it expected to lose more than $300 million this year on the 900,000 patients it covers under the Affordable Care Act.

Aetna said it is pulling out of ObamaCare markets in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.