Dashboard

A weekly roundup of small-business developments.

What’s affecting me, my clients and other small-business owners this week.

Must-Reads

These e-mails show how Steve Jobs won negotiations. Ezra Klein explains why we should stop celebrating our falling deficits.

Economy: Restaurants and Real Estate

Intuit’s profits rise on “small-business strength.” Research from Dell and Intel shows optimism among small businesses, but an index from Experian and Moody’s Analytics projects more struggles through the end of the year. Restaurant sales are at a high. Existing home sales are up 9.7 percent over a year ago, new home prices touch record highs and Matt Phillips says the hidden indicators on housing are buried in Home Depot’s “rock solid” earnings. But the Architecture Billings Index reverts to negative territory for the first time in nine months. Travel on all roads and streets (pdf) declined by 1.5 percent in March (compared to last March). The Federal Reserve chairman says Congress’s fiscal policy is hampering economic growth.

Management: Oh My Stars!

Here are eight ways to run a small business. Kat gives some advice for stepping up your work wardrobe, and Kimberly Crossland believes you should be working out every day. “Oh my stars!” is just one of 11 old-fashioned sayings Kristin Piombino wants to bring back. Here are a few tips for fighting small-business fraud. Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire offers ways for more women to get on corporate boards. Eric Yu provides a straightforward guide for value-based pricing. Mars Dorian shares five creative lessons he’s learned from his enemies, including: “Ask for that slap in the face.” The Blunt Bean Counter shares advice for finding a business partner. Bob Dahms explains why coming up with the right name is crucial for your business.

Employees: Groupon’s Giant Cat

A Florida business owner gives half of his company to his employees. Laura Vanderkam wonders if it is worth it to train new employees. A giant cat in a spaceship helps keep Groupon’s employees on task. Tim Berry explains how to calculate the hourly cost of an employee. SAP plans to hire a “whole bunch” of people with autism. A hairy, grown man impersonates a 2-year-old girl.

Youth: Be a Plumber

Yahoo buys Tumblr from a high school dropout and promises not to mess it up. This is how to set goals. An 18-year-old takes the science world by storm, a teenager develops a computer algorithm to diagnose leukemia and another teenager wins a fellowship to skip college and build a crowdfunding platform. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg recommends skipping college to be a plumber. Young entrepreneurs pitch ideas to Warren Buffett and win prizes for their businesses. A bored teenage girl plays “Eruption” better than Eddie Van Halen. Here are the best commencement speeches of 2013, and Dave Kerpen advises graduates to master these 15 simple skills.

Entrepreneurs: Dig Deep

American entrepreneurship rates reach their highest levels in more than a decade according to researchers at Babson College and Baruch College. Wade Steenhoek asks if entrepreneurship can be taught. Jeff Cornwall thinks there are industries that are ripe for the “destructive, disruptive, and opportunistic work of entrepreneurs.” Barbara Corcoran prefers to see entrepreneurs dig deep into their own pockets and put some skin in the game before asking for money. Jack Dorsey of Twitter says, if you have an idea, “get it out of your head and start working on it.” Not taking risks just for the sake of taking risks is one of seven signs of a true entrepreneur, according to Steve Tobak. Charlie Osborne reveals the one mistake every entrepreneur must avoid.

Finance: The East Coast Is Riskier

Kathy Davis lists 10 ways to increase small-business profit and productivity, and here are three ways to save money for your business. The Small Business Administration starts a new program with banks to increase lending to veterans. Patrick Clark thinks it is riskier to lend to East Coast small businesses, and Ami Kassar explains why alternative lenders should set some standards. Ty Danco and Dharmesh Shah explain the hows and whys of updating angel investors. An online software service is introduced to help manage receivables. These 31 charts will restore your faith in humanity.

Social Media: Migrating From Facebook

A new study shows teenagers are migrating from Facebook to Twitter. More family farms are becoming connected through social media. Heidi Cohen shares 31 social media marketing tips. Marsha Friedman has a few strategies for building a social media audience, and this may be why social media doesn’t work for your business. Here is how to make 100 blog posts every day. Ken Mueller shares five places where you might not want to check in online. Thomas von Ahn explains how to get 58 percent of your revenue through LinkedIn groups. Here are 30 small-business champions to follow on Twitter, and these hard-to-believe “facts” really are true (according to BuzzFeed).

Sales and Marketing: Publicity Stunts

Emanuel Perdis has seven rules for coping with sales rejection. Brockwell Bone says that in tough times, small trims make more sense than cutting off all marketing. Carla Johnson describes how your content strategy can thrive when marketing and technology work together, and Ned Smith believes more small businesses are becoming tech-savvy about customer management. Here are a few examples of businesses that have pulled outrageous publicity stunts. I.B.M.’s Watson gets a job in customer service.

Online: Dissatisfied?

A survey reveals that half of small-business owners are dissatisfied with their Web presences (and this bride is probably dissatisfied with her dog). A study finds more than half of American women would rather give up sex than their mobile devices. A viral Dove campaign becomes the most watched ad ever. Google Checkout will be shutting down. This is the essential small-business Web site checklist. Amazon sets its sights on men’s grooming. The Los Angeles Times wins the headline of the week award.

Around the Country: Pickpocket-Proof Pants

A Southwest Missouri bank has set up an account so local residents can donate to storm victims in Oklahoma, and this moving video captures the moment when a survivor finds her dog. Here are other ways to help the victims. Staples increases benefits for its small-business customers. A company donates $120,000 of cloud services to St. Louis entrepreneurs. John Patrick Pullen explains why even small businesses are bigger in Texas. A Long Island entrepreneur designs pickpocket-proof pants. A bill that would give Oregon distillers more opportunities to market and sell their spirits heads to the governor’s desk. These big cities are showing strong growth, while these cities are the most stressed. The National Association of Small Business Professionals adopts tougher and more stringent approval standards for its accredited business program. There are 100 different types of fungi on your feet right now!

Around the World: Greece

Global steel output was down in April. Greece is not turning the corner. Manufacturing in China contracts. A crane accident shuts down power to a third of Vietnam, and an alarming decline of frogs and salamanders is reported.

Red Tape: Tesla Pays Off

An investigation by the House Committee on Small Business finds the General Services Administration owes more than $3 million to small businesses. The immigration bill advances in the Senate, and David Bier gives five reasons that immigration creates economic benefits. The chairwoman of a leading global payment service strongly favors guest workers. Some online businesses are frustrated with “misrepresentations” regarding the Marketplace Fairness Act. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is offering training grants. Tesla pays off its federal loan.

Technology: The New Bad Guys

This is the Senate report on how Apple used shell companies to save $44 billion in taxes, and this is a chart of the company’s international tax structure. “Tech has replaced banking as the new corporate bad guy,” says Rana Foroohar. Dan Pallotta suggests five things Tim Cook should do, including, “Make a self-deprecating joke”: “Mock himself. People would love it. They would love him.” New software brings face detection to stores and streets for $40 a month. New 3-D printers may level the playing field for small businesses, and this video gives an example of how 3-D printing is changing the world. (NASA wants to use the technology to make pizza). Matt McGee gives a tour of the new Google Maps, and a card counter develops a Google Glass app to beat the house. Eric Knorr says you need to protect yourself from the coming cloud crackup, and Lucas Mearian suggests ways to keep the feds from snooping on your cloud data. These are some great apps to help you build your business, and these are the five most important online tools for small businesses. This is how to use your cellphone as a survival tool.

Tweet of the Week

@marshallk I have the smartest, best informed “to read” folder ever. It’s just sitting there, to be caught up with someday, being real smart! sigh…

The Week’s Best Quotes

Christian Pretorius explains how to set moods: “In the first second, that instant when you first establish eye contact before you say anything and before you break silence — give people your sincere smile.”

Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton reveal the secret to buying happiness: “Experiential purchases — such as trips, concerts and special meals — are more deeply connected to our sense of self, making us who we are. And while it’s anyone’s guess where the American housing market is headed, the value of experiences tends to grow over time, becoming rosier in the rearview mirror of memory.”

This Week’s Question: Are you dissatisfied with your Web presence?

Gene Marks owns the Marks Group, a Bala Cynwyd, Pa., consulting firm that helps clients with customer relationship management. You can follow him on Twitter.

Article source: http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/28/this-week-in-small-business-be-a-plumber/?partner=rss&emc=rss

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Filed under: Local News

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