smart small business

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Girl Scouts are Smart Cookies: They Use GoPayment

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Trying new things is fundamental to the Girl Scout experience. This year, the Girl Scouts of North East Ohio (GSNEO) will lead the charge in using new technology to make it easier for Girl Scout Cookie fans to buy more of their favorite treats: They-ll be using GoPayment to ring up cookie sales by accepting credit cards on their mobile phones.

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Enabling Grassroots Innovation

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Not everyone can be a great innovator, but a great innovator can come from anywhere. While many may agree with this statement, it-s rare to find a company that attempts to live by it.

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Can You Make Money by Advertising in Social Games?

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More than 56 million Americans spend countless hours every week caught up in the virtual worlds of social games like Farmville, FrontierVille, and Restaurant City. So it-s natural to ask: How can you turn these gamers into consumers for your business? Here are some key points to consider when it comes to marketing your company in the virtual world.

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Eco Entrepreneur Makes Green Through Etsy

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Since Etsy. com’s launch in 2005, the online marketplace has been helping connect crafters and indie entrepreneurs with like-minded consumers. The site also maintains an active Twitter presence (@Etsy). While Etsy embraces crafters and artists of all kinds, eco-friendly or upcycled items have proven particularly popular.

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5 Business Tax Deductions You May Be Overlooking

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When tax time comes around, you know all of the standard expenses you can write off, like office rent and equipment, payroll, and vendor costs. But you may be neglecting to take note of dozens of potential tax write-offs that could save you thousands of dollars. Here are a few of the most often overlooked business expenses you should probably be claiming:

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At Tax Time, Help Your Employees Help Themselves

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It’s tax time, and Intuit is reaffirming its commitment to help more than 1 million low - to moderate-income and active military taxpayers prepare and file their taxes for free. And small business owners can also play a critical role in helping their employees maximize their refunds.

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What Does FrontierVille Teach You About Running a Small Business?

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When you first log on to Facebook. com/Frontierville from Zynga, the San Francisco digital game giant, the welcome message reads: “Howdy Pardner! Come join us on the frontier, where you’ll carve out a home in the wilderness and raise a family. There may be bears and snakes, but there’s gold too, and your fellow pioneers are there to help!”

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Curbside Recycling Demystified: What Goes and What Doesn-t

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More than half of all U. S. businesses are based out of the owner’s home, which can make recycling a bigger challenge than it already is. A recent post looked at how to dispose of used office equipment and supplies — batteries, ink cartridges, light bulbs, etc. — easily and responsibly. But what about other unwanted items, such as that chipped coffee mug, empty pizza box, or wet newspaper? Can you throw these things into a curbside recycling bin and call it a day?

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Egypt-s Shockwaves Hit Small Businesses in the States

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During the two weeks of protests in Egypt that led to the successful ousting of President Hosni Mubarak on February 11, the American media focused its cameras and microphones on Astoria, New York; a neighborhood in Queens that is often called -Little Egypt- because of its diverse population of Middle Eastern and North African-born residents.

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How to Be Like Zappos in 3 Easy Steps

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There was a time, not so long ago, when online shoppers would think of shoes, they would think of Zappos. Today, when online shoppers think of amazing customer service, they think of Zappos. There is a very simple reason for Zappos- success in owning -customer service- in consumers- minds, and that is branding.

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Author Liz Lynch On How To Build An Effective Online Networking Strategy

. Posted in smart small business

For the small business owner, exchanging business cards and napkins with phone numbers scribbled on them has always played a vital role in obtaining new clients and securing the future of a company. However, the overnight boom of social media and the growing pressure to establish a web presence have many small business owners scrambling to find an effective online networking strategy.

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Tax Cuts: What Do They Mean For You?

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President Obama recently signed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Acts into effect. Given that these new pieces of legislation will impact a significant portion of Americans, Intuit’s Online Payroll division decided to take a closer look at what exactly will happen for businesses and workers alike when it goes into effect. There are some very interesting takeaways here, particularly the part on expensing investments in 2011. Let us know how you see these new cuts impacting your bottom line in the comments below!

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7 Steps to Leverage Social Media for Your Small Business

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Once thought of as a frivolous waste of time with little meaningful relevance to the modern business world, social media is now firmly entrenched as one of the most powerful and cost effective promotional, branding, and research tools available to the contemporary entrepreneur. With social media-s credibility well established, today-s savviest small business owners find themselves considering not if they will use social media, but rather how. Luckily, social media is so multifaceted and malleable that it can be quickly deployed in a highly customized way for your business.

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In the Trenches: The Good and the Bad of Paypal

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I-m fairly certain that there is nothing more complicated than figuring out which credit card processor to use for your business. It seems that the industry has made this as complicated as possible in order to prevent people from actually learning how much they-re paying in fees, and that-s why people gravitate to the ease of Paypal. But there are problems with Paypal, and that-s why I-ve been looking elsewhere.

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5 Free iPhone Applications for Small Business

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You don’t have to pay a dime to take advantage of all the great iPhone applications available through iTunes; there are plenty of free apps available that can help your business succeed. From paying bills to signing contracts, there-s almost nothing your iPhone can’t do. Here are a few of our favorite free business applications for the irrepressibly popular handset.

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How To Protect Your Invention

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Let’s say you’ve invented something that you believe has a potential market. Perhaps you only have a napkin sketch, a slightly better drawing that’s not exactly to scale, or a non-functional prototype you built in your garage.

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Maria Luisa-s Boutique Expands Thanks to Love A Local Business Grant

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An avid supporter of community and philanthropic causes, small business owner Maria Whittingham experienced firsthand that it really can pay more to give than to receive, after more than 300 supporters rallied together to reward the Nyack, New York business owner for her years of giving with an Intuit $35,000 Love A Local Business grant in February 2011.

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Truth About Stuffing Envelopes and Home Assembly. SCAMS: SPECIAL INVESTIGATION SERIES

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By Dean Phillips

Monday, November 22, 2004; 7:40pm EST

Two of the oldest scams around appear to be as popular as ever. I'm referring to stuffing envelopes and home assembly programs. Let's talk about stuffing envelopes first.

Ads for envelope stuffing "opportunities" seem to be everywhere--from your mailbox to your newspaper to your e-mail box. Promoters usually advertise that, for a "small" fee, they will set you up to earn big money by stuffing envelopes at home. And they claim that they will pay you a dollar or more for each envelope stuffed, resulting in hundreds or thousands of dollars for you each week.

Now I want you to think about something very carefully. Why would any legitimate company, pay you a dollar or more for each envelope you stuff, when they can use high-tech mailing equipment that can stuff thousands of envelopes at a time for only pennies apiece?

The answer is, THEY DON'T PAY YOU! Here's how the scam works: After you send in your money, you will receive a letter telling you to place the same "envelope-stuffing ad that you originally responded to, in newspapers or magazines, or to send the ad to friends and relatives. The only way you'll ever earn any money is if other people fall for the scam like you did, respond to your ad and pay the fee.

Home assembly scams work pretty much the same way as envelope stuffing scams. This scam requires you to invest money in instructions and materials and many hours of your time to produce items such as baby booties, toy clowns, and plastic signs for a company that has promised to buy them.

Once you have purchased the supplies and have done the work, the company often decides not to pay you because your work does not meet certain "standards." You are then left with merchandise that is difficult or impossible to sell.

If you have spent money and time on a work-at-home program and now believe the program may not be legitimate, contact the company and ask for a refund. Let company representatives know that you plan to notify officials about your experience. If you can't resolve the dispute with the company, file a complaint with the following organizations:

The Federal Trade Commission works for the consumer to prevent fraud and deception. Call 1-877-FTC-HELP

(1-877-382-4357) or log on to:

http://www. ftc. gov

Also contact:

* Your state's Attorney General's Office.

* Your local consumer protection offices.

* Your local Better Business Bureau.

* Your local postmaster. The U. S. Postal Service investigates fraudulent mail practices.

* The advertising manager of the publication that ran the ad. The manager may be interested to learn about the problems you've had with the company.

About the Author

Dean Phillips is an Internet marketing expert, writer,

publisher and entrepreneur. Questions? Comments? Dean can be

reached at mailto: dean@lets-make-money. net

Make Money Online! Internet marketing expert, Dean Phillips

will teach you how to make money online, starting

today...Guaranteed! For details just visit my website. Website: http://www. lets-make-money. net

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7 Small Businesses You Can Start in Your Living Room

. Posted in smart small business

Got that entrepreneurial itch but don’t know what to do with it? Consider launching a business that you can run right from your living room. Just because you start a company doesn-t mean you have to rent an office and put a sign out front. In fact, according to Business. gov, -Over half of all U. S. businesses are based out of an owner’s home.-

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I joined Intuit-s Inner Circle

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The Intuit Inner Circle is a vital part of the Intuit Small Business community – where members can join us in advocating for small business success. As an Inner Circle Insider, you can:

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Intuit Hiring Grant Whips Small Business into Shape

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Christen Tranchito, owner of Northfield, Ohio-based Movement Matters Health & Fitness, may be used to getting her clients fit, but thanks to a recent $25,000 hiring grant from Intuit, Tranchito managed to similarly whip her small business into shape.

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The Top 10 Songs About Business

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The recent 53rd Grammy Awards lived up to its claim of being the -biggest night in music.- Lady Gaga hatched from an egg. Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger rocked the audience without breaking any hips. And against all Bieber odds, the Grammy Awards panel awarded lesser-known musicians with several of the night-s prestigious awards, including indie rock band Arcade Fire winning Album of the Year for The Suburbs, and jazz singer Esperanza Spalding being crowned Best New Artist.

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Tech Review: HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus

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If you’re shopping for a multi-function office device that combines printing, scanning, fax, and copying in one unit, you can’t go wrong with the market leader, right? Maybe not, because our experiences with the HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus were disappointingly lackluster.

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Grant Competition Winners

. Posted in smart small business

We are thrilled to announce the winners of our Small Business United Grant Competition this morning. Congratulations to Ioana Sherman of Chapel Hill, N. C., the grand prize winner of the $25,000 business grant! She will also receive $2,500 in Intuit products and services.

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How Not to Get Hooked By a "Phishing" Scam. SCAMS: SPECIAL INVESTIGATION SERIES

. Posted in smart small business

By Dean Phillips

Monday, November 22, 2004; 7:50pm EST

First of all, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, "Phishing" is a high-tech scam that uses spam or pop-up messages to deceive you into disclosing your credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or other sensitive information.

Phishers send an e-mail or pop-up message that claims to be from a business or organization that you deal with--for example, your Internet service provider (ISP), bank, online payment service, or even a government agency. The message usually says that you need to "update" or "validate" your account information.

It might even threaten some dire consequence if you don't respond. The message directs you to a website that looks exactly like a legitimate organization's site, but it's not. The purpose of the bogus site is to trick you into divulging your personal information so the fraudsters can steal your identity and your money and run up bills or commit crimes in your name.

Recent phishing victims include Yahoo, Citibank, eBay, Best Buy and Bank of America among others.

The Federal Trade Commission, (FTC) the nation's consumer protection agency, suggests these tips to help you avoid getting hooked by a phishing scam:

If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply or click on the link in the message. Legitimate companies don't ask for this information via email. If you are concerned about your account, contact the organization in the e-mail using a telephone number you know to be genuine, or open a new Internet browser session and type in the company's correct web address. DO NOT click on the link in the e-mail message.

Don't e-mail personal or financial information. E-mail is not a secure method of transmitting personal information. If you initiate a transaction and want to provide your personal or financial information through an organization's website, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a lock icon on the browser's status bar or a URL for a website that begins "https:" (the "s" stands for "secure").

Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some phishers have forged security icons.

Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to determine whether there are any unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balances.

Use anti-virus software and keep it up to date. Some phishing e-mails contain software that can harm your computer or track your activities on the Internet without your knowledge. Anti-virus software and a firewall can protect you from inadvertently accepting such unwanted files.

Anti-virus software scans incoming communications for troublesome files. Look for anti-virus software that recognizes current viruses as well as older ones; that can effectively reverse the damage; and that updates automatically.

I personally use Norton AntiVirus and have never had any virus problems whatsoever.

A firewall helps make you invisible on the Internet and blocks all communications from unauthorized sources. It's especially important to run a firewall if you have a broadband connection.

If you haven't already done so, I highly recommend installing Microsoft's Service Pack 2. SP2 tightens your PC's security with a new Windows Firewall, an improved Automatic Updates feature, and a pop-up ad blocker for Internet Explorer. Plus, the newly minted Security Center gives you one easy-to-use interface for keeping tabs on your PC's security apps.

In addition, be extra careful about opening any attachment or downloading any files from e-mails you receive, regardless of who sent them.

Report suspicious activity to the FTC. If you get spam that is phishing for information, forward it to spam@uce. gov.

If you believe you've been scammed, file your complaint at:

http://www. ftc. gov, and then visit the FTC's Identity Theft website at:

http://www. consumer. gov/idtheft, to learn how to minimize your risk of damage from ID theft.

About the Author

Dean Phillips is an Internet marketing expert, writer,

publisher and entrepreneur. Questions? Comments? Dean can be

reached at mailto: dean@lets-make-money. net

Make Money Online! Internet marketing expert, Dean Phillips

will teach you how to make money online, starting

today...Guaranteed! For details just visit my website.

Website: http://www. lets-make-money. net

 

About the Author

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Sustainable in Seattle: Mighty House Construction Goes Green Beyond Building

. Posted in smart small business

For entrepreneur Laura Elfline, sustainability isn’t just a practical means of doing business, it’s a way of life. In 2009, Elfline co-founded Mighty House Construction, a Seattle-based residential construction company with her husband, Doug, a second-generation builder. The pair routinely goes beyond LEED and green building considerations to take a truly holistic approach to new projects, which range from spot remodeling jobs to ground-up original structures.

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How to Say Yes When an Employee Asks for Raise

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Eventually every employee comes looking for a little more money. And sometimes they actually deserve it. Promoting people and upping their compensation is key to keeping your best people happy, motivated, and well-paid. But giving a raise doesn-t just mean writing a bigger check. Here-s how to think about responding when an employee asks for a raise:

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How to Develop a Mobile Strategy for Your Small Business

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Mobile marketing is not only changing the way major companies target consumers, it-s also making it easier and more affordable for small businesses to compete against much larger brands across a broad number of industries. For this reason, the adoption rate of mobile marketing among small businesses has grown substantially in recent years. Madison Avenue now widely regards mobile marketing as an integral part of contemporary marketing for businesses both large and small.

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Weighing the Options: To Franchise or Self-Start

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More than 700,000 small businesses in the U. S. are franchises, meaning they apply another firm-s business model to their individual businesses. The franchisee adopts everything from the franchisor-s brand name to the goods and services it offers for a fee or a cut of sales. While the franchisor-s success hinges on the success of its franchisees, franchisees own direct stakes in their businesses. Well-known franchises include Subway, The UPS Store, and Cold Stone Creamery.