• A company that keeps talent by letting them go away

    The TableXI team at their annual Costa Rica retreat

    Free espresso bars, bean-bag chairs, and office scooters are standard perks at tech companies nowadays. But imagine working for an organization that keeps its employees happy by helping them pursue their dreams.

    Employees of the web development and design company Table XI (pronounced “Table ex eye”) have taken months-long sabbaticals to explore South America and Spain, have shifted to part-time status to study dance with Martha Graham or pursue a PhD in cognitive and neural systems, and take annual retreats to Costa Rica together. One got help starting a nonprofit to educate the coding community about bipolar disorder and depression. Another got support to volunteer with Girl Develop It.

    One partner, who calls himself a digital nomad, didn’t step foot in the office for 18 months as he and his wife worked while wandering to wifi-enabled locations throughout the US (including Hawaii), Central America, and Argentina. CEO Josh Golden just asked that he keep within a time zone radius that

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  • Effective social media marketing for your small business

    The team at Lexity (now part of Yahoo) asked some of its SMB community members what tools they use for social media marketing and how effective they are for their ecommerce stores.

    One responder mentioned that the reason her business wouldn't delve into new features due to the lack of a dedicated social media employee. She explained that new features are great but take too long to figure out.

    Do you feel the same way? Check out our guide to managing your social media channels for an easy way to juggle multiple platforms. Last month's big changes to several key social media platforms may be overwhelming but we've got you covered! Read our guide to the new Facebook hashtag as well as a side-by-side comparison of Instagram Video and Vine.

     

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  • Only 23% of small businesses that need capital get it

    This infographic from OnDeck Main has some really fascinating information in it. Although it has an obvious bias toward capital and financial needs, there is some really solid value for a small business owner here. For example - the number in the headline - only 34% of small businesses that need capital get it. How does that come about? Well, only 55% of businesses applied to get capital from some source (15% didn't need any and 30% didn't even try although they needed it). That's already a pretty low percentage, but the next number shows why 30% of small businesses don't even bother to apply for financing. That number is 36% - the number of small businesses that apply for financing that actually get it.

    Some other numbers that show why this is so hard - of those that applied, 83% were denied by their bank - 82%! Some (18%) clearly find financing another way (most likely friends and family financing).

    The only thing I disagree with is that the infographic states that of the people they

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  • Infographic shows the same issues still face Small Business

    Most people seem to feel that we are either in an economic recovery or headed into one or at least pulling out of recession. So with the improving economic climate in mind and new initiatives to help boost small business buying around the big Thanksgiving shopping period (the 'Shop Small' initiative as part of Small Business Saturday on November 30th), BizFilings took a survey of some small business attitudes and combined them with other data into this infographic. Perhaps not surprisingly, they found that even in times of economic recovery, challenges like customer retention and consistent revenue still exist. The BizFilings poll, (BizFilings is an online incorporation provider for more than 500,000 entrepreneurs) 80% of small business owners wish they could solve the challenge of a consistent cash flow.

    State of Small Business
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  • Lawyers create ice cream for carb counters

    Halo Top Creamery founder Justin Woolverton

    Their buttoned-down professional photos and corporate law backgrounds give no clues that Justin Woolverton and Doug Bouton could be the next Ben & Jerry. But if these fitness-oriented Gen-Yers succeed, their Halo Top Creamery could be to health-conscious indulgence what the now-famous Vermont hippies were to socially conscious consumption.

    When they met in a Los Angeles lawyers’ basketball league a few years ago, Woolverton was keeping trim eating an all-natural, high protein, low sugar, low fat ice cream that he made at home in a Cuisinart. “I couldn’t find what I wanted, so I made it myself,” he says.

    Halo Top COO Doug Bouton

    He was getting enough positive feedback on the taste and so much sympathy for his notion that no one ever eats a single serving of ice cream from a pint, that he was thinking about going into business with his low-calorie concoction. In Bouton he found an enthusiastic entrepreneurial partner who was committed enough to quit his law firm job to launch the company while Woolverton

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  • Intern Sushi’s Co-Founder and CEO answers questions via live chat

    This live chat is now over - you can see the video highlights from it here.

    Intern Sushi Co-Founder & CEO Shara Senderoff was named one of Forbes’ “30 under 30” leaders in Tech, Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business 2012,” Fortune’s “7 Gen-Y Employment Champions,” and CEO.com’s “14 Most Creative CEOs.” She is a contributing writer for The Huffington Post and LinkedIn’s Influencer Program. With a passion for Film and Television, Shara began as an intern for mega producers Scott Rudin (THE SOCIAL NETWORK), Dan Jinks & Bruce Cohen (AMERICAN BEAUTY) and Kevin Bright (FRIENDS). She went on to quickly climb the ranks in the film business where she grew to Vice President status and paved innovation at The Mark Gordon Company (Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds, Speed, Saving Private Ryan, 2012), where she created a new media department that leverages technology, the social dynamics of the web and the company’s expertise in storytelling to develop new properties with cross

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  • Degrees don’t make a difference to many small employers

    The cost of a college education has parents and students alike questioning the value of a diploma these days. But small business owners have apparently known all along that the job candidate holding the degree isn’t necessarily going to be the better performing employee.

    A recent survey of nearly 1,000 small business owners revealed that half employ some staff without a college degree, and 62 percent say they don’t notice any performance difference between staff with or without college education. The study was done by Manta.

    Business owners themselves, however, are more likely to have post-secondary education. Nearly 70 percent of those polled have a bachelor's degree and most said college was important to their success. Still, 39 percent reported they’re indifferent or do not see any value in higher education for success in the business world.

    Access the full survey results at Manta’s website.

    Infographic: Manta

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  • What Is CRM? [FAQs]

     

    Today’s question of the day: What is CRM?

     

    Everyone in marketing tosses this acronym around. If you run a small business or work in sales, you've probably heard of CRM. But maybe you're sitting there wondering what those letters could possibly stand for.

    Crazy Red Monkey? Champion Runner Man? Corn Row Marketing? Can’t Read Maps?

    Well, no. It’s Customer Relationship Management.

    See? That clears things up, right? Er, no. The annoying thing about CRM is that even when you find out what the letters stand for, you might still have no idea what this stuff is.

    But fear not, dear reader. Hang in for a few hundred words more, and all will be revealed.

    What Is CRM?

    Customer relationship management refers to a set of software programs that let companies keep track of (that’s the “management” part) everything they do (that’s the “relationship” part) with their existing and potential customers.

    At the simplest level, CRM software lets you keep track of all the contact information for these

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  • Controlling outside legal costs can be daunting for even the most sophisticated small business.  While many counsel brilliantly represent their clients, at times, some counsel fail to supply prompt, clearly efficient billing statements to the same clients. This can result in frustration, and deplete time and resources that entrepreneurs don’t have to spare. The solution is simple: setting clear, written billing expectations – in advance – so that all involved have a clear path.

    Creating clear billing standards, however, is not as easy as it may sound.  The marketplace is filled with consultants and others who offer varied types of help. Business owners can be barraged by an extraordinary variety of urged solutions: some are well-founded, while others only provide partial help.  Pushing past the well-meaning advocates of Alternative Fee Arrangements, e-billing software and various methods of rate control, there are several basic strategies that can prove effective in setting a sensible

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