The United States Unemployment Rate

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website gives you a clear idea of the United States unemployment rate in this country.  Certainly, it is the lowest unemployment rate for the last ten years in the United States and many economists predict the economy still has room to grow.

So, if employment is not an issue for many workers, what are some of the perks you can offer to attract and keep quality employees for your business?

Businesses across the globe understand that employees can make or break a business, which one do you want to be? What are some of the benefits you can include in hiring an employee for your business?

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


The Smaller the Small Business, the Bigger the Insurance Discontent: J.D. Power

Not all small businesses are the same when it comes to customer satisfaction with their commercial insurance. There are actually widening satisfaction gaps among small businesses of different sizes, according to the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Small Commercial Insurance Study.

The study found that the gaps in overall satisfaction among micro- (fewer than five employees) or smaller-size (five-10 employees) small businesses and larger-size (11-50) small businesses have never been wider. While there has been significant year-over-year improvement in overall satisfaction among customers in the larger-size group, there have been sharp declines in satisfaction among customers in both smaller-size groups.

“The small business market has been the best growth area for property and casualty insurance carriers in a stagnant, soft cycle marketplace,” said Greg Hoeg, vice president of U.S. insurance operations at J.D. Power. “Our data shows that the small commercial market is still ripe for competition. While looking at the small business market in aggregate shows relatively steady levels of customer satisfaction year over year, the serious gap between very small businesses and larger small businesses could present an opportunity for those carriers that get the small business formula just right.”


What Kind Of Small Business Employees Do You Need To Grow Your Company?

Many small businesses benefit from hiring employees. At some point, you may decide that you need more hands on deck at your company. When that time comes, you might not know where to start. You want individuals who will make a difference in business operations. What kind of small business employees do you need to grow your company?

Knowing what to look for in a candidate is not as easy as it might seem. After 30 years in entrepreneurship, I’ll be the first to admit that looking for employees to hire can be tough. When hiring an employee, you need to know what characteristics to look for.

What Kind Of Small Business Employees Do You Need To Grow Your Company?

There are many different types of employees in a business. Companies have leaders, followers, go-getters, and employees who do the bare minimum.

You will have employees who struggle from time-to-time or lose motivation. Highs and lows are inevitable in life. But with the right attributes, your employees will use their skills to grow your company.

Whether you’re hiring your first employee or ready to give a pep talk to your current workforce, consider the following characteristics.


 

Small Business and The Market Place

Depending on what news outlet you read or watch, you are going to learn how the economy is booming or businesses are disappearing. The fact is that small business owners in the United States face many challenges through out the lives of their business.  The many challenges they face spring from government legislation or economic changes they have to face every year. This week many small business owners that sell through Amazon learned that the items they sell will be “automatically authorized” for return.  Unlike big companies that can offset this return policy change, many small business owners are thinking differently.

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


Amazon’s new refunds policy will ‘crush’ small businesses, outraged sellers say

Amazon sellers are up in arms over a new returns policy that will make it easier for consumers to send back items at the merchant’s expense.

Marketplace sellers who ship products from their home, garage or warehouse — rather than using Amazon’s facilities — were told this week by email that starting Oct. 2, items they sell will be “automatically authorized” for return.

That means a buyer will no longer need to contact the seller before sending an item back, and the merchant won’t have the opportunity to communicate with the customer. If a consumer is returning an electronic device because it’s difficult to use, for example, the seller won’t be able to offer help before being forced to pay a refund.


Ransomware attacks hit small businesses the hardest

It’s just one of the grim findings in Malwarebytes’ new ransomware report.

If it seems like reports of ransomware attacks — malicious software that holds data hostage unless a ransom is paid to the person or organization behind it — are increasing, Malwarebytes agrees with you. The company released its Second Annual State of Ransomware Report recently. Among the findings is that 22 percent of small business that were hit with ransomware attacks were crippled to the point they had to cease operations immediately.

It’s a somewhat staggering figure, but it makes sense once you think about it; large corporations often have the resources to work around (or, let’s be real, pay off) these types of attacks. Small businesses, especially ones that rely on day-to-day operations to function, can’t cope in the same way. “To make matters worse, most of them lack the confidence in their ability to stop an attack, despite significant investments in defensive technologies,” said Marcin Kleczynski, CEO of Malwarebytes, in the press release. The survey also found that small business owners and operators are less likely to pay a ransomware demand.


Survey: Small business optimism reaches highest point in a decade

Small business optimism continues to climb in the third quarter as business owners said they are the most optimistic in more than a decade, according to findings from the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, conducted July 10–14.

In the quarterly survey, which measures the optimism of small business owners, the overall Index score jumped to 106 in July – an 11-point increase from 95 in April and the highest since 113 in April 2007. The increase in optimism was driven by several factors, including:

  • Strong financial situation – Seventy-six percent said their current financial situation is very good or somewhat good, up from 73 percent in April.
  • Healthy revenues – For the second quarter in a row, almost half (46 percent) said their business’s revenue increased over the past 12 months, up from 41 percent a year ago.
  • Ease of obtaining credit – Nearly half of small business owners (48 percent) said credit will be somewhat easy or very easy to obtain over the next 12 months.
  • More hiring – Twenty-one percent said the number of jobs at their company increased over the past 12 months, up from 19 percent in April.

 

Ohio Small Business News

For small business owners, tax breaks come as a way to help them stay afloat, and in some other  circumstances to use that money to invest it in their business. 

With Ohio’s legislative leaders appointing a panel to take a serious look into the state’s tax breaks, we wonder whether they will look into the tax breaks granted to special interest groups only, or whether this action will cause the small business owner to be left out.

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


Small Business Cybersecurity Insurance Is Vital, House Panel Told

The nascent cybersecurity insurance market can play an important role for smaller businesses, which remain a prime target for hackers and cybercriminals, witnesses and congressmen said at a House Small Business Committee hearing July 26.

Larger corporations have already begun to learn to shift and mitigate cybersecurity risks through insurance, but smaller companies need to get on board, they said. Companies should also follow federal cybersecurity guidance and understand that they must control cybersecurity risks when acting as third-party vendors to larger companies, witnesses said.

Large-scale cyberattacks, such as Petya and WannaCry, made larger companies take note of the need for insurance, witnesses and lawmakers said at the hearing.


Home is where the heart is

There’s no place like home.

That’s the theme of this piece on VentureBeat.com written by Cleveland native Robert Hatta, a partner at Columbus-based VC firm Drive Capital. The headline: “Why Midwesterners leave Silicon Valley and go home for better opportunities.”

He begins with a focus on Travis McCleery, who earlier this year left Netflix, where he led interactive product design, to move back to Columbus to lead product design for Root, an insurance company that uses data collected from drivers’ smartphones to more fairly price and sell auto insurance.

From the piece:

When Root first contacted him, he was skeptical. He left Columbus for a reason, after all. “In Silicon Valley, everyone is trying to invent the future – it’s in the DNA,” he told me “You’re surrounded with all of these brilliant, driven people. It’s hard to resist the call. I just couldn’t find that here in Columbus a few years ago.”

His first questions were about the quality of the team and the size of its ambition, and what he learned convinced him that it was time to return. “Here’s this super-scrappy, talented team trying to completely disrupt the $200 billion auto insurance industry. And they weren’t messing around. They had built an impressive technology platform in a short time.” So he moved his young family back to Columbus.


Editorial: Time to look at those tax breaks

Ohio’s legislative leaders have finally appointed members to a special panel that is supposed to take a critical look at the many state tax breaks granted to special interests. That would be a lot more encouraging if they hadn’t so obviously been avoiding it.

Ohio’s legislative leaders have finally appointed members to a special panel that is supposed to take a critical look at the many state tax breaks granted to special interests. That would be a lot more encouraging if they hadn’t so obviously been avoiding it.

Ohio’s tax credits, deductions and exemptions divert about $9 billion from the treasury every year. Some no doubt serve a worthy purpose, but just as surely many others are unjustified giveaways to powerful interest groups or well-meant ideas that don’t actually work.


Small Business and The Senate’s Health Care Bill

As a small business owner, do you offer health insurance to your employees?  Many businesses do not offer health insurance for their employees, and small business owners specially feel the pinch when offering health care coverage to them.  The Senate Health Care  Bill-if it passes-would alleviate some of the burden these small businesses feel, keeping in mind though that some other people would have to pick up the tab for it.

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


Senate’s Health Bill Would Make Life Easier For Some Small Businesses

Some small-business owners burdened with high health care costs would get a break via an obscure provision in the health bill proposed by the GOP Senate. The provision would offer less regulation, more bargaining power and better prices.

But those benefits could come at a cost to others.

The clause, included in the proposal advanced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., last month, would exempt insurance policies sold through “associations” from most Affordable Care Act mandates and state regulations. To be able to offer these plans to their employees, small businesses join an association, which may be loosely based on certain types of professional, trade or interest groups that offers insurance to members.


New Senate Healthcare Bill Slams Small Business Owners And Savers

Senate Republicans today released version 2.0 of their Obamacare “repeal and replace” bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).

This version of BCRA is a major lurch to the Left from the original BCRA and conservatives supporting this process have some things to think about.

A Tax Hike on Small Businesses and Savers

The major departure from the original BCRA is that v2.0 fails to repeal the 3.8 percentage point Obamacare surtax on capital gains, dividends, and other savings (the “net investment income tax,” or NIIT). It also fails to repeal the 3.8 percentage point tax bracket for the self-employment tax and the payroll tax ostensibly earmarked for Medicare

In failing to do so, v2.0 of BCRA raises taxes by over $230 billion over a decade relative to v1.0 of BCRA.


US small-business optimism dips in June, remains near high

A gauge of U.S. small-business confidence fell in June as business owners expressed frustration over gridlock in Washington, according to a National Federation of Independent Business report released on Tuesday.

The group’s Index of Small Business Optimism fell to 103.6 last month from 104.5 in May, although it remains near its highest level in more than a decade. The index surged following the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president last November, and in January hit its highest level since December 2004.

The rise was largely attributed to business owners’ optimism surrounding Trump’s promises of deregulation, tax breaks and infrastructure spending.

But Congress’ inability to deliver on those promises has muted confidence as business operators grow wary of political infighting over the health-care reform legislation, and prospects for tax reform are uncertain.


 

Ohio Small Business News

According to The Ohio Department of Taxation, Small Business tax breaks introduced back in 2013 by Gov. John Kasich is costing the state close to a billion dollars in 2015, and is expected to be much higher for 2016.  Talks to repeal the tax break are underway, with Governor Kasich pushing back against repealing it.

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


Ohio Democrats: State should end small business tax break to generate $1.1 billion a year

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Senate Democrats on Thursday pitched their idea to patch the $1 billion state budget hole — eliminate Ohio’s small business tax break.

Repealing the business income tax deduction, phased in since 2013, would generate $2.2 billion over the next two years, according to analysis from the nonpartisan Legislative Service Commission.

Democrats said the money would cover the expected revenue shortfall without making cuts and leave another $1 billion to spend on education, health care, local governments, libraries and Ohio’s opioid addiction and overdose crisis.

“Some people will tell you there’s not enough money to go around, but our real problem right now is irresponsible tax policy,” Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko of Richmond Heights said at a news conference.

Specifically, Democrats would spend the additional $1 billion on the following over two years:


Kasich Pushes Back Against Repealing Small Business Tax Cut

An income tax break for Ohio’s small businesses in recent years is under fire from Democrats and some Republicans. They say the current budget situation shows it’s time to end that tax cut.

Governor John Kasich is firmly rejecting those suggestions.

Recently, state lawmakers in Kansas ended that state’s tax break for small businesses, saying it didn’t create jobs and cost the state too much money. A similar tax break is costing Ohio more than a billion dollars, but Kasich says he’s not for ending it.

“To raise taxes? Nah, we don’t raise taxes in this state,” Kasich said.

Kasich says the case in Kansas is different because that state didn’t cut spending at the same time the tax breaks were enacted, and he says Ohio did.

Ohio’s revenues $841 million short of projections for this fiscal year.


Small businesses in clean energy sector still hope for best

NEW YORK: Small-business owners who install solar panels or help customers use clean energy don’t seem fazed by President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, saying they expect demand for their services will still keep growing.

They’re confident in two trends they see: A growing awareness and concern about the environment, and a desire by consumers and businesses to lower their energy costs.

“It’s an economic decision people are making, although it also makes environmental sense,” says Suvi Sharma, CEO of Solaria, a Fremont, Calif.-based company that designs and sells solar energy panel systems.

Trump said he was putting U.S. interests ahead of international priorities in leaving the agreement that would, among other things, require the United States and other countries to report greenhouse gas emissions. The United States is the world’s second-biggest emitter of carbon after China, and carbon is one of the gases that scientists cite as a key factor in global warming.


 

Small Business Lending

Looking for a new small business loan?  How about Free business tools for your business?

According to new reports, the loan approval rate has increased this last past month to an all time high.  Which means, it’s a good time for you to apply for that new business loan you were hoping to get. 

Looking for new ways to grow your business?  There are twenty business tools for free you should be using if you want to grow your business.  From shopping carts to accounting apps, these free business tools can make your business a bit less difficult.

To read more, follow the links below.


Small Business Lending at Big Banks is On the Rebound, Says Biz2Credit

Loan approval rates at big banks rebounded after a setback month, the latest Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index has revealed.

Biz2Credit Lending Index April 2017

Big Banks, Small Banks and Institutional Lenders Give Businesses a Reason to Cheer

According to the newly published report, loan approval rates at big banks grew by two-tenths of a percent to a new all-time index high of 24.3 percent. This marked recovery from last month’s stagnant percentage, which ended a seven-month streak of increases.

Rohit Arora, Biz2Credit CEO said, “Recent interest rate hikes and the Fed’s announcement that it will start unwinding the $4.5 trillion in bonds on its balance sheets signals a strong economy. Since most small business loans are tied to U.S. prime interest rates, there will be more incentives for banks to approve loan requests as lending in this sector will be more profitable.”


Billionaire Richard Branson reveals his best tips for making great business decisions

If Richard Branson is your dream mentor, you’re in luck — the billionaire entrepreneur just revealed some of his best tips for making business decisions.

Everyone knows how important first impressions are when meeting someone — in fact the subconscious decisions people make within a tenth of a second are so strong that often contradictory facts can’t change them. But you have to fight the urge to rely first impressions when it comes to business decisions, says Branson. “You mustn’t allow that first reaction to influence your ability to objectively weigh the cons as well as all the pros when they are presented,” he advises.

Branson also suggests uncovering an idea or project’s “hidden warts.” They’re there, he assures, because nothing is perfect. You want to know about them early in the decision-making process while you still have the time and ability to deal with the issues. According to Branson, more learning is almost always better, just don’t get into “‘paralysis by analysis’ mode,” he says. At some point you have to decide, “screw it, let’s do it,” as he’s famous for saying.


20 Free Tools Your Small Business Should Be Using Today

Software doesn’t have to be expensive for small to midsize businesses. To help you celebrate National Small Business Week, here are 20 free tools to get your SMB up and running.

Although your small business needs a healthy amount of software to conduct operations, it’s not necessary for you to spend a fortune on web-based products. In our comprehensive testing of business and consumer software, we’ve come across dozens of incredible and free solutions that can help you get the job done. We’ve tested free tools in almost all facets of business — from email marketing to endpoint protection to project management.

To help you celebrate National Small Business Week this week, we’ve compiled this list of 20 free tools that your small business should be using. Fortunately for you, all of the software listed below offer premium versions to which you can upgrade once your business grows. So don’t shy away from the products on this list under the false assumption that you will eventually scale out of this category.


 

Best Cities For Small Businesses. Where Are They?

Even though the number of added jobs for the first quarter of 2017 was not what analysts were expecting, the fact that businesses — if not hiring yet-are compensating employees with higher wages or other type of incentives is good for the economy.

The optimism small business owners indicated were feeling at the beginning of this administration, has not translated completely to added jobs.  When the second quarter arrives, we hope to have a clearer view of added jobs that will boost the optimism of the small business owner for 2017.

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


The best city for small business in America is not in Silicon Valley

New York City surpassed Silicon Valley to become the top city for small business, according to Biz2Credit’s annual study of the Top Small Business Cities in America. New York’s growth has been fueled by the booming real estate market and the construction industry, banking and finance (including fintech), and the city’s thriving technology sector.

New York City overtook last year’s small-business city leader, San Jose, the hub of Silicon Valley, which dropped to the No. 4 spot on the list. Technology companies in Silicon Valley are still thriving, but it’s the supplementary companies that are faced with challenges of growing. The skyrocketing cost of living in Silicon Valley impedes the profits of many firms. Commercial rents, housing and labor costs weigh down non-tech businesses dramatically. Furthermore, taxes are higher in California, in general. Lacking that economic balance in the area has prevented San Jose from reigning as the leader in top small-business cities this year.


Small businesses hired fewer workers in April but gave their employees raises, Paychex survey shows

Small business hiring fell in April, but wages continued to rise for workers, a report by human resources firm Paychex said Tuesday.

The Small Business Jobs Index decreased 0.22 percent from the previous month to 100.50. The pace of small business employment growth is down 0.27 percent from a year ago, the company said.

“The decline in the April index mirrors what was reported last month by (the Bureau of Labor Statistics), which showed deceleration of job growth,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. “At the same time, the wage report shows continued growth in both hourly earnings and hours worked over the past year.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last month that nonfarm payrolls grew less than expected, but average hourly earnings were up by 2.7 percent on an annualized basis.

Paychex said national hourly earnings for the month were $25.67, increasing 2.73 percent, or 68 cents, from last year. Weekly earnings were up 2.92 percent from last year.


These 4 tips will help small business owners drastically boost their earnings this year

Whether you’re running an established small business or just starting your journey toward entrepreneurship, it’s safe to assume most business owners are on the hunt for new ways to grow their enterprise and improve their bottom line.

And we should all want to help them do so. Why? According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses create nearly 70 percent of net new jobs nationally, and drive tremendous growth in our local economies. When small businesses flourish, everyone wins.

My father-in-law is a small business owner. As a result, I have seen first-hand the sacrifices they make on a daily basis, and am driven to design products and provide resources to help small businesses meet their goals and fulfill their dreams.

 In honor of National Small Business Week, here are four ways small business owners (SBOs) can drive business growth this year.


Healthcare and Small Business Borrowing

Businesses in the United States  are still waiting to see what happens with healthcare, and other policy changes in the new administration before they commit to investing or hiring, or any other change that can affect their business.  The euphoria of the Election is passing, and with it the high optimism businesses felt.  Numbers are not as promising as analyst predicted, jobs felt short by more than 100K, and the business community is waiting.

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


Small-business sentiment declines as post-election euphoria runs out of steam

Small-business owner optimism declined in March as sales expectations and earnings came back to earth after a post-election surge.

The National Federation of Independent Business said its monthly sentiment gauge fell 0.6 point to 104.7, a slightly larger decline than the 0.5-point dip forecast by economists surveyed by Econoday.

The post-election surge was the biggest in the four decades NFIB has been conducting its survey. The gauge rose again in January but then receded in February.

In March, some warning signs appeared. The uncertainty index rose to 93, its second-highest reading on record. “More small business owners are having a difficult time anticipating the factors that affect their businesses, especially government policy,” noted Bill Dunkelberg, the groups’ chief economist.
But pessimism was widespread in March. Of 10 survey components, only three notched an increase.


Trump just said small businesses were ‘unable to borrow from banks’ — but small-business owners disagree

In a meeting with some of the most powerful CEOs in the world on Tuesday, President Donald Trump argued that small businesses were struggling to find financing.

“So many people come to see me — I see them all the time — small businesses that are unable to borrow from banks,” Trump said. “They never had a problem five, six, seven, 10 years ago. They had great bankers, great relationships, now they can’t borrow.”

The president blamed the post-financial-crisis Dodd-Frank banking regulations, which were enacted in July 2010, and higher capital requirements for the largest financial institutions. Trump said he planned to “streamline” or “eliminate” Dodd-Frank to allow small businesses to borrow again.

Trump’s narrative, however, is the opposite of what small-business owners are saying.


How small businesses are dealing with health care limbo

Republicans have called it quits for now on any plans to do away with Obamacare.

But while it may remain the law of the land, President Trump and GOP leaders in Congress don’t want it to stay that way.

That’s a lot of uncertainty for small business owners like Dr. Vicki Bralow and her husband Dr. Scott Bralow to handle. The couple is less than a month out from opening up their joint primary care office in Philadelphia. Until now, Vicki co-owned a practice downtown where she voluntarily offered her employees insurance.

“One year I’m paying $650 for a family policy and then the following year I’m paying $1,150 a month for a policy,” she said. “That’s a really, really big deal.”

Vicki’s old business is one of nearly 2 million nationwide that employs three to nine workers, by far the group of companies most vulnerable to Obamacare premium spikes.


 

Information You Must Know For Your Small Business

If You Think Education Is Expensive, Try Ignorance – Famous quote

And, for many small business owners, knowing the rules and regulations concerning their business can save them a lot of money they can then invest in their business.  Tax incentives, or other type of changes that affect how they do their business, are opportunities they cannot pass up. 

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


Medicare rules differ for small business owners and employees

They must enroll when they turn 65 or face lifelong penalties.

Financial advisers who work with owners or employees of small businesses that employ fewer than 20 workers should be aware of a special rule that affects these clients: They must enroll in Medicare when they turn 65 or face lifelong penalties.

Normally, workers age 65 and older can delay enrolling in Medicare, the government-run health insurance program for people 65 and older and certain people with disabilities, if they continue to have group health insurance through their employer or through their spouse’s employer.

If the employer has 20 or more employees, the group health plan generally pays first, according to Medicare.gov. But the rules are different for small businesses and the self-employed. In this case, Medicare is the primary payer and if you don’t sign up for Medicare at 65, it will be as if you have no insurance at all, warns the Medicare Rights Center.


Avoid Business Burnout: 10 Real Small Business Owners Share Their Coping Secrets

Let’s face it: nobody starts a small business so that they’ll work less and have more free time. One thing I’ve heard consistently over the years from small business owners is how much harder it is to run a business than it is to work for one. In fact, many of them describe business ownership as a job that means working from morning till night, seven days a week. A friend of mine who owns a small café recently admitted to me that he hasn’t taken a single vacation in the seven years since he opened!

All of this sounds like a surefire recipe for serious “business owner burnout.” So I decided to ask 10 real-life small business owners how they stay energized. How do they cope with those moments when they feel overwhelmed by the constant pressure, the lack of time off, and the worries that come with being in business for yourself? This is the question I posed to them: “What tactics do you use to re-energize yourself and reinvigorate your passion for your business?”


10 Reasons Why Marketing Training for Small Business Owners is Essential

It’s no secret, at the core of business success is marketing. For small businesses, marketing goods, services and their brand, is essential in reaching customers, selling products and services and generally staying afloat. Though as with any discipline, marketing is achieved more effectively when you have the knowledge and expertise about the most effective forms of advertising, promotion and public relations, hence why marketing training can prove invaluable for many marketing-naïve SMEs.

If you run a small business and your marketing efforts are either non-existent or aren’t getting you very far, it could be worth investing in marketing training. Take a look at the following 10 reasons why marketing training for small business owners is essential.

Open new doors

Being up-to-date with the latest trends, innovations, technology and developments in the world of marketing, can help open new doors for your business. You will be able to implement such innovations into your own marketing strategy, and by doing so, grow your businesses organically by reaching out to new and existing customers.



 

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.