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Should You Run an E-Commerce Store on Facebook?

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These days, almost every company has a Facebook page. And while Facebook can be a great place to announce events, sales, and daily specials, is it really the best platform to use when it comes to actually selling your products?

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Duck Duck Moose Taps Kids with Innovative iPad Apps

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Three years ago, Caroline Hu Flexer saw how appealing her iPhone was to her then two-year-old daughter. But at the time, Apple-s App Store was just getting off the ground and there were few apps for children, much less young toddler and preschool-aged children.

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Read a Book, Plant a Tree

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Comedian Tina Fey’s best-selling memoir, Bossypants, features many humorous endorsements on its back cover, but one of them doubles as a reminder of the environmental costs associated with consuming printed materials such as books: “Totally worth it.” —Trees

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In the Trenches: How to Stop Working So Much

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Last week I wrote about the importance of an inviting workspace. This week, it-s time to talk about the perils of making it too inviting. That-s right. If you work at home, you probably work too much. I certainly do, and that-s not something that-s sustainable over long periods of time.

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In the Trenches: Designing A Workspace

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You wouldn-t think it would make a big difference, but over the last few months, I-ve learned that the design and location of your workspace makes a huge difference in productivity. This is particularly important for a home-based business like mine.

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How Long Do You Need to Save Those Tax Files?

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April 15 has come and gone, the taxes are filed, the checks are written, and you-re finally kicking back with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc to plot the year ahead. Eventually the question creeps into your head: What do I do with all those files of documents I used to prepare my return? Payroll information, business expenses, and various other documents take up vast amounts of space in the typical small business file cabinet and are rarely, if ever, re-opened. Do we really need to keep it all? And for how long?

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Del Conner Revisits American and Family History With Country-s First Soda Pop

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In 1807, Dr. Philip Syng Physick, the -Father of American Surgery,- began prescribing artificially carbonated water to his Philadelphia patients as a remedy for upset stomachs. Physick later suggested to local pharmacist Townsend Speakman that he add fruit syrup to the remedy to make it more palate friendly. And the first American soda was born.

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Blue Sky Farms Nurtures Fresh Thinking

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Sally Coverdell isn-t afraid of hard work. As the owner and manager of Blue Sky Farms in Half Moon Bay, CA, she gets up at 3 a. m. at to start baking for the breakfast rush at her cafe, tends the plants in the adjacent nursery, and even closes up shop each evening. We were fortunate enough to spend an hour with Sally to hear what motivates her and what sets her business apart.

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Small Biz Employees Worked More, Took Home More Money in April

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Small businesses coast-to-coast continued to add jobs in April, according to the Intuit Small Business Employment Index. The April report found that small business employment grew 0.3 percent, translating to 60,000 new jobs. Not only did overall employment grow, but small business employees worked more hours and earned more money. The Index is based on figures from the country’s smallest businesses that use Intuit Online Payroll.

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Why You Should Hire Older Workers

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It’s true that the over-55 set might not be as up to speed on programming the latest iPhone apps as their younger colleagues. But if you receive job applications from older candidates, they’re well worth bringing in for interviews. The conventional wisdom about older workers is more wrong than you might think: Here are a number of reasons why older workers could be great for your business.

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Fourth Down and Out of Luck: The NFL Lockout and You

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After Uncle Sam and Jersey Shore, there-s no more essential a part of American culture as football. Pro football has entire industries that live around its core business: food and beverage, merchandising, travel, and more. As a sport that bands together members of a city to identify themselves with the team (-Steeler Nation,- -Cheeseheads-), football generates a ton of revenue for local businesses that capitalize on people-s hometown pride during football season.

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Summer Thrills: America-s Overlooked Amusement Parks

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With April showers finally behind us, folks are no doubt ready for the clouds to break and the sun to shine. Summer-s just around the corner, and for plenty of people the season means a favorite American pastime: a trip to the local amusement park.

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Intuit PayTrends Lets You Compare Pay Rates With Other Businesses

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When it comes to hiring a new employee or thinking about giving an existing employee a raise, the first question on the minds of most small business employers is, -Am I paying too much? Or am I paying too little?- Making informed pay decisions is a dilemma for every business, and it-s especially for new employers.

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5 Big Marketing Disasters - And What You Can Learn From Them

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Social media has accelerated the speed at which businesses communicate with customers. But a faster pace also means it’s easier to rush and say something you’ll later regret. And it’s not just small businesses that fall into this trap, nor is it confined to social media.

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Kiva. org’s New Green Loans Support Sustainable Startups

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Small loans can often make a big difference in whether or not a startup succeeds. Kiva. org, a San Francisco-based pioneer in micro-lending, last week introduced a new category of financing for entrepreneurs looking to launch green businesses worldwide. The Kiva Green Loans proved so popular that all 65 of its initial projects have already been funded. Kiva. org spokeswoman Krista Van Lewen says that 700 lenders purchased “shares” in the loans worth a total $31,000. She estimates that Kiva. org will post another 30 to 60 Green Loans per month over the next few months.

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In the Trenches: Building Our Own Tech Tools

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When I first started Cranky Concierge, the focus was not just on getting set up to make sure everything ran but ran smoothly. It was an arduous process, but things run pretty well now. Notice I say -pretty- well. It-s not perfect, and that-s why it-s time to start building.

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How to Find a Qualified Small Business Advisor

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Business planning, financial projections, employee management, and customer acquisitions are just a few of the issues that small business owners wrestle with. Startups and fast-growing companies have even more challenges - and that-s where a business advisor is most valuable. Whether they-re helping with starting a new business or managing an existing enterprise, small business advisors are seasoned professionals that help with strategic business planning and crucial operational decisions.

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Local Pubs and Breweries See Green on St. Patrick-s Day

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March 17 marks the day when everyone in the U. S. is Irish. Americans show their Irish spirit by donning green apparel and celebrating the holiday with friends at their favorite local haunts. In this infographic, we examine the affect of St. Patty-s Day on the beer and bar industries. It may come as a surprise that St. Patrick-s Day is not the top earning day for breweries and bars. Nonetheless, today-s holiday certainly is a boon for certain small businesses. Click the infographic for an enlarged view.

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5 Secret Weapons for Providing Better Customer Service

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Our partner site, Mint. com, recently shared some advice on secret weapons that consumers can use to get better customer service from the businesses they frequent. But if you’re on the other side of the counter, what tools of the trade do you need to give better customer service to your clients? Here are five weapons to win over any skeptics.

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Greening Your Mail Can Reduce Costs, Save the Planet

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Many entrepreneurs would like to make environmentally friendly choices, but when push comes to shove, the only green they really care about is making money. Business, after all, is about the bottom line. With this in mind, Minnesota-based ecoEnvelopes develops mailing solutions that help companies cut expenses, increase cash flow, and protect the planet at the same time. Its first retail product, due in office-supply stores in April, is a reusable two-way envelope manufactured by Quality Park. It was created specifically for small businesses that seek to streamline their billing processes.

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When Should You Outsource a Small Business Project?

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Outsourcing some of your small business’ tasks can save time and money, and these days, it’s easier than ever to contract with workers all over the world. But if you rely on contractors too heavily, you could be putting the security and reputation of your company at risk. Here are some factors you should consider when deciding whether to outsource a role or use an employee in-house.

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How to Secure Small Business Government Contracts

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As with most things that involve the government, it can be a hassle to fill out the paperwork to become a registered government contractor and bid for jobs. But it may be well worth it: The U. S. government contracted with American small businesses for a whopping $96.8 billion in federal contracts in 2009. If you want a piece of Uncle Sam’s pie, here’s what you’ll need to do.

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Turning Clicks into Conversations and Business Relationships

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How do you make money with this stuff? That-s the question I hear from a lot with respect to social media and social networking. And I bet you-ve heard it plenty of times too - maybe you-ve asked it a few times yourselves. It-s a good question to ask, but the better question to ask may be how to use -this stuff- to create and extend business relationships - because if we can do that we stand a better chance answering that first question.

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15 Free Twitter Apps and Tools for Better Small Business Marketing

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If you use Twitter for marketing (and you should, or you-re missing a huge opportunity to connect with existing customers, prospective customers, and influencers), then you know there are a few drawbacks to it: Twitter can take up a lot of time, and it can be difficult to measure the results of your efforts.

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In the Trenches: The Agony of Credit Card Fees

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Once I decided to start looking beyond Paypal, I found myself in a world of pain. The credit card processing industry seems to be built on confusion, and that has made me want to rip my hair out every time I delve into this area.