smart small business

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How to Beat the Clock and Get Paid Faster

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As an employee, your mission is to make money. This can be easier said than done. If you freelance or work as an independent contractor, weeks can often go by before you see a check. In fact, not getting paid on time is one of the biggest problems writers, designers, photographers, and entertainers face.

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PEP Club Sports Wins Grand Prize $50,000 Intuit Hiring Grant!

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Our Love A Local Business grant competition judge, small business mentor and consultant Rhonda Abrams, had a tough assignment to determine which of the three in the most recent Finalists should have their $25,000 Intuit Hiring Grant doubled to $50,000. The Finalists, Buss Fitness of Northfield, Ohio, Todali Tackle of Philpot, Kentucky and PEP Club Sports of Parker, Colorado, are all women-owned businesses, and all are growing despite the tough economy.

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Going Nuts with SEO

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Imagine walking into a gift store and smelling the aroma of freshly roasted hazelnuts and vanilla being added to toffee. That is the exact experience for customers who visit Hazelnut Hill-s gift shop. Customers can stop by the small business and view the roasting and packaging process before they make a purchase. Quite a unique experience, one that is not available at places like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.

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Making Your Travel Agenda More Efficient

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I-ve written about how small businesses can reduce travel costs, but that-s really only half of the equation when it comes to keeping your budget under control. Reducing direct travel costs is good, but having a more efficient travel agenda can make the savings even better. There-s a lot you can do to set up your travels to make sure you-re getting the most out of your time and your employees- time.*

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New Intuit Future of Small Business Report - Hobbypreneurs

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Today’s passion-driven hobbyists will breed many of tomorrow’s small businesses. Stemming from the “Maker” movement, and enabled by technology, these hobbypreneurs– both knowledge and craft-based – are leading a new generation of entrepreneurs who increasingly take the step to turn fun into profit.

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How to Eject a Bad Customer

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Bad customers come in many forms. They can come disguised as unsupervised or rowdy youth, frequent freeloaders that never buy anything, individuals who love to cause a dramatic scene for the world to see, and outright crooks.

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Dealing with Sleep Deprivation on the Job

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Every day in the United States, the consequences of sleep deprivation chip away at the already degraded health and workplace productivity of millions of exhausted Americans. Unfortunately, most tuckered out employees - and employers - fail to recognize the difference between coping with sleep deprivation and actually treating it.

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The Cure for The Common Meeting

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Office meetings are perhaps both the most commonplace and most widely loathed parts of professional life. But whether you-re a small business of two or a major company of two thousand, meetings are routinely an integral part of getting the job done. But who says meetings have to be tedious or a drain on morale? In fact, there-s no shortage of ways to make your next office powwow worth staying awake for.

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PEP Club Sports in Parker, Colorado Wins a $25,000 Intuit Hiring Grant

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Amber Schweitzer, owner of PEP Club Sports in Parker, Colorado is the December winner of a $25,000 Intuit Hiring Grant on LoveALocalBusiness. com. PEP Club is now a Finalist, along with Buss Fitness of Northfield, Ohio and Todali Tackle of Philpot, Kentucky. One of these three Finalists will be selected by our judge, business advisor Rhonda Abrams, to have their grant doubled to $50,000.

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In the Trenches: Learning in the Aftermath

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The last two weeks of December were an absolute blur for our business. With so many people stranded due to the winter storms on the east coast and in Europe, we worked nonstop to get people back to where they needed to be. In the end, we did a lot of good, but now that things are back to normal, it-s time to review what happened. There-s no time like during the aftermath of a big event to figure out what worked and what didn-t.

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Home Office Tax Time Tips

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Believe it or not, it-s time to think about one of the two inevitable things in life - taxes! This can be a stressful time, particularly for small owner-run businesses.

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Beginning the Green Business Journey

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Going green is at the top of business agendas. Businesses of all sizes are making sustainability and environmental performance a default topic in board rooms, operation teams, supply chains, and communication channels, to name a few. For large corporations, the green agenda is maturing rapidly, with the Fortune 1000 companies all benchmarking each other’s sustainability metrics and communicating their green efforts to external and internal stakeholders. Equally important, small businesses have a significant role to play, and they-re increasingly looking for avenues to launch and implement a green business program. The challenges for small businesses are unique in terms of the resources - human, operational, financial - to qualify and quantify their green goals, metrics, and achievements.

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SBA Website Updated with a Slew of Sustainability Resources

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The U. S. Small Business Administration recently retooled its website to make its tools and resources more accessible to the nearly 30 million enterprises nationwide that are eligible for its services. Launched just before Christmas, the improved SBA. gov offers improved design, navigation, and — most importantly — more helpful content for businesses in all industries. In particular, a new feature called SBA Direct allows visitors to choose what information appears on their screen by providing their ZIP code and a basic company profile, and then selecting topics they’d like to know more about.

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Five Tips for Getting Organized in the New Year

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Getting organized and being productive are almost always on the top of New Year’s resolution lists, particularly for small business owners. In fact, more than 60 percent of workers pledged to keep their business email and documents more organized in the new year, according to a recent survey by Intermedia, a communications services provider.

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Small Businesses Add 57,000 New Jobs in December

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Small businesses grew employment in their establishments an impressive 0.3 percent in December, translating to about 57,000 new jobs created nationwide. Hours worked by small business employees also rose, while compensation per employee remained flat in December. Released this morning, the Intuit Small Business Employment Index December report sheds light on the state of small business employment based on data from the smallest of small businesses who use Intuit Online Payroll.

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Shutter Mom: From Teacher to Entrepreneur

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A year ago last month, Sweet Melissa Photography was born. Creating beautiful contemporary images of mommies to be, newborn babies, and families is as gratifying for Melissa Lagano as commemorating the joyous event is for the new parents.

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How to Manage Long-Term Timeframe Projects

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Most of the projects I work on are small, such as blog articles like this, newsletters, and email campaigns. However, some are huge, such as 50- to 120-page websites or copy for multi-variable direct mail projects with a spreadsheet of components that have to be tested.

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10 Ways to Protect Your Data from Hackers

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You’ve probably got a lot of important data stored on your company computers: customer credit card numbers, confidential reports for your employees, and countless emails (some of which are full of harsh zingers directed at your biggest competitors). Needless to say, none of this is information you want made public or destroyed. So are you taking enough precautions to protect your data?

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Eight Free Ways to Self-Promote Your Business

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When it comes to cost-efficient ways to promote your business, no one does it better than you! You know the inner workings of your company and the types of incentives that your employees respond to. You know your customers and the challenges that they face. So, what else do you need? A full-blown marketing team? No, you need a rock-solid plan of attack.

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Five Unusual Ways to Get Your Small Business on the Radar

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When it comes to standing out in the business world, you have to pull out all the stops. It’s not enough to simply start a blog or market to your customers through Facebook and Twitter. You need to identify what makes you different from the competition and capitalize on it.

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BNI: Great Networking Opportunity, or Waste of Time and Money?

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As a small business owner, there-s little doubt you-ve heard of Business Network International (BNI), a networking and referral membership group for small businesses, which has regional branches all over the world and more than 120,000 active members. In its local groups, members from different industries meet weekly to discuss their businesses and generate referrals for the other BNI members. The organization boasts that it will dramatically increase your new business leads — but it also demands weekly meeting attendance and hefty fees that often exceed $1,000 a year. So is BNI worth the hype?

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10 Things You Should Never, Ever Say To Your Employees

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It-s one thing to put your foot in your mouth. It-s something else to do it at the office. As they say, some things are better left unsaid and this is especially true of your employees. Although it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget you-re the boss, it-s essential to maintain a level of professionalism at all times.

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In the Trenches: Profiting By Being Human

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It-s an odd thing being in a business where you do the best when people fare the worst. With massive storms hitting Europe and now the Northeast U. S., our business has been booming. The key? Being human. Seriously.