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How to Make Sure Your Employees Are Legal

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U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently began cracking down on employers of illegal immigrants, enforcing steep penalties. During its 2011 fiscal year, the ICE audited the hiring records of nearly 2,500 businesses to verify workers’ status. Businesses that employ unauthorized workers may be fined and blacklisted from receiving government contracts, and owners may be subject to civil and criminal charges.

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Facebook Timeline: More Ways to Craft Your Brand

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Although it isn’t yet available for business pages, Facebook’s new graphical user interface for personal profiles offers entrepreneurs a chance to explore the creative possibilities for personal branding as a business owner. The interface, called Timeline, features a large banner image with an inset portrait and organizes content in historical, story-telling fashion. This gives small-business owners new options for crafting -a personal brand,- says Dan Schawbel, author of Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future and founder of Millennial Branding in Boston.

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How to Craft a Killer White Paper

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Can your company solve a problem for other businesses or individuals? If so, publishing a white paper can demonstrate your expertise to potential customers — without giving them the hard sell.

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Greening Your Supply Chain

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Much of your business’ environmental footprint may seem beyond your control. Vendors and other partners may use unsustainable materials, packaging, and processing techniques, but their manufacturing decisions still ultimately affect your company’s environmental impact. Greening your supply chain can seem challenging, but here are a few ways to introduce green initiatives to your vendors and partners, encouraging and supporting their efforts to operate more sustainably.

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The High Cost of Printing

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Despite the meteoric rise of online solutions to conduct business coupled with the powerful -go green- movement, small businesses still heavily rely on old-fashioned printing for key functions like marketing and invoicing. And they-re not just users of printed materials; 85 percent of commercial printers are small businesses. But printing on paper is a surprisingly pricy endeavor. Click the infographic for an enlarged view of how high the costs can be.

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What Is an LLC?

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No goal seems unattainable at the start of a new year, and that includes starting a business. With plenty of entrepreneurial spirits now finding the inspiration to finally make their small business dreams a reality, today we look at one popular business model: the limited liability corporation, or LLC. Click the infographic for an enlarged view of how it breaks down.

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Steve Blank on Launching a Lean Startup

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Steve Blank, a retired serial entrepreneur, has had his share of hits and misses: He founded the business software firm Epiphany, which was later acquired for $329 million, and he-s also started duds, such as the * - game company Rocket Science.

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Small Businesses Shouldn-t Waste Their Time with Social Media

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Those of you who use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even Yahoo Groups, for personal use know these social sites can be addictive - you find yourself still online well after midnight, wondering how it got to be so late. Even though social media usage is quickly increasing among small business owners, the vast majority still aren-t using social media at all.

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When To Take A Vacation From Your Business

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Do you have a week or two during the year when your services are not in high demand? Do your biggest clients seem to always take vacations during the summer or winter holidays? Are you being pressured to join your loved ones on a ski vacation, cruise, college tour, or family reunion?

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10 Useful Websites for Hiring Your Next Employee

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You-d like to hire an employee to help take your business to the next level, but you-re overwhelmed by the sheer number of employment websites out there. Which ones are reliable? Which are most popular? Which have a solid track record?

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Tech Review: Microsoft Office Hub for Windows Phones

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Juggling documents on your mobile phone is never a pleasure — in fact, it’s usually a downright pain — but on-the-run edits are a necessary evil for many small-business owners. When it comes to productivity, Windows Phone handsets have a hidden ace up their sleeve: a mobile version of Microsoft Office baked right into the operating system. Is it really that useful? Yes, especially if your business uses Microsoft’s cloud-based services.

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How to Select the Best Employees with Cara France - Part 2

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You-ve described the perfect candidate. Now it-s time for screening applications and conducting interviews. Join us for the second segment in our three-part webinar series about how to select and hire new employees. Cara France, CEO of Sage Consulting Associates, works with many prominent Bay Area firms to help them select the right employees. She shared her expertise with us in a one-hour webinar sponsored by Intuit. In this segment, Cara reviews the steps to select candidates and conduct effective interviews and shows us how to get important information from candidates without asking illegal questions.

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5 Effective Ways to Boost Your Networking Efforts

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Looking to drum up business in your community? Networking is crucial to generating sales leads and new customers — and it should go beyond passing out business cards at Chamber of Commerce mixers and introducing yourself at local BNI meetings.

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In the Trenches: Tipping

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I’ve never really thought of our business — air travel assistance — as a service for which people would leave tips, but over the holidays I was proved wrong by one very grateful client. I realized that I needed to decide exactly how to handle gratuities.

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4 Small Business Scams to Avoid

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Have you ever fallen prey to a small business scam? If not, consider yourself lucky: There are plenty of con artists working to separate business owners from their money, especially small business owners, who likely don-t have the time and money to provide every last accounting check and balance that larger companies do. Here are some of the most common frauds to watch out for.

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Tread Carefully with Online Pawnshop Loans

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Your bank loan was denied. Your friends and family are as cash-strapped as you are. You-re wary of peer-to-peer and other lending scenarios that require credit checks. Have you considered borrowing from an online pawnshop?

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3 Ways to Win at Negotiation

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Negotiation skills don’t come naturally to every small-business owner, but with a little effort anyone can acquire them. Robert Mnookin, a Harvard law professor and author of Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight and Beyond Winning: Negotiating to Create Value in Deals and Disputes, offers three basic strategies for successful negotiation.

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5 Creative Ways Small Businesses Use iPads

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More than half of U. S. firms that employ fewer than 50 employees intend to purchase tablet PCs this year, and Apple’s iPad tops the list, according to a recent survey by the NPD Group. Thinking of buying one or more iPads for your small business? Here are five creative ways that entrepreneurs are putting them to work.

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Go Beyond -Click Here- for a Winning Call to Action

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Whether customers are browsing your website or reading your marketing missives, you ultimately want them to buy something. The process by which this happens is known as the “call to action,” or CTA. Regardless of how elegant your site looks, or how well your email or newsletter content reads, the CTA is probably the most important element of any marketing campaign.

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How to Get Paid and Collect Money You-re Owed

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Sometimes doing the job is the easy part. Those of us who often work on assignment or contract know that for a select few engagements, it’s actually getting paid by your employer that’s the most difficult part of the equation.

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The Small Business Year in Review 2011, Outlook 2012

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As 2011 winds down, we checked in with small businesses to hear their reflections on the year and what opportunities they see in the new year. In our annual survey of small businesses, we learned that they-re as resilient as ever. Despite a slow year, small business owners are cautiously optimistic about 2012 with 67 percent indicating that they expect to grow their businesses in the next year.

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5 Things You Should Never Say to the IRS

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Some truths in life — and business — are better left unspoken, particularly when it comes to federal taxes. If an unexpected tax bill or audit comes your way, bear in mind these five things you should never say to an IRS agent.

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Where Do Payroll Taxes Go? CPA Michael Borenstein Breaks ’Em Down

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Typical payroll check stubs include five key withholding categories, from income tax to disability insurance. Where do all these deductions end up? Which ones are employers responsible for? The Intuit Small Business Blog asked Michael J. Borenstein, a Los Angeles-based Certified Public Accountant, to give us the low-down in laypeople’s terms.