• 4 Financial Tips from a Community Banker

    Entrepreneur Ken LaRoe had been in the banking industry for more than 15 years when he founded First Green Bank in Mt. Dora, Fla., in 2009. With a mission to promote positive environmental and social responsibility while operating as a traditional community bank, LaRoe says First Green has made loans to a solar-powered catfish farm, an organic blueberry farm, numerous medical practices, and many other small business in Lake County, Fla.

    LaRoe calls his community bank the first “values based financial institution” in the eastern U.S., and one of a breed that he hopes to see expand. Small business owners stand to benefit, he says.

    On the whole, LaRoe says, the shrinking banking industry has been bad for small business. He points to a Wall Street Journal report that revealed that the number of banks in the U.S. dropped below 7,000 last month, from a high of over 18,000, for the first time since the FDIC was formed in 1934.

    Ken LaRoe, CEO of First Green Bank

    Though it wasn’t the small community banks that crushed the

    Read More »from 4 Financial Tips from a Community Banker
  • Goals

    New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for personal improvement. For businesses, the New Year is an opportunity to set goals, both big and small. But what’s even more important than the resolutions is the ability to follow through.

    Set goals. Goals provide accountability and help gauge the necessary efforts to achieve results. Set a long-term, overarching goal, but also set smaller, more manageable goals that you can review on a weekly or monthly basis. This is where follow-through comes into play.

    As a business owner, at the end of the month or fiscal year, ask yourself if you are meeting the goals set at the beginning of 2014. If so, great; keep going and keep improving! If not, reevaluate and continue to strive for those ultimate goals, so 2014 is great and 2015 is even better.

    Here are three goals some businesses set in 2014:

    Rebrand the company. This is a big change and certainly doesn’t apply to all businesses, but for those who choose to rebrand, the move can breathe new life into a

    Read More »from Companies Set New Year Goals For 2014
  • Hubspot tool a boon for ‘blogger’s block’

    Hubspot, the hot online marketing platform has created a fun little toy that actually could be useful for any regular bloggers stuck with a deadline and a content requirement but suddenly without any ideas. The tool, called the 'Blog Topic Generator' could just as easily be called the blog title generator since that is what it does. Given a few nouns to use as seeds from which to grow possible ideas it kicks out five suggested blog post titles for you to use.

    Here's an example. I seeded the tool with the nouns 'small business', 'sales' and 'startups'.

    The tool gave me the following.

    Blog Topic GeneratorNow, allowing for the obvious singular versus plural issues, these aren't necessarily bad suggestions. The first one is probably a bit more in line with an investment blog than one devoted to advice for small businesses. The second is kind of interesting in an abstract way, but perhaps not really helpful right now. If we turn the third one to a plural then it's a great idea - although a lot to pull off if I'm

    Read More »from Hubspot tool a boon for ‘blogger’s block’
  • Content Marketing

    Corporate media has been a booming business in recent years. Now it also represents an attractive investment, at least in the opinion of venture capital firms that today are pumping a new round of funding into Contently, a New York company that connects freelance journalists with corporate media gigs.

    The new round is worth $9 million, three times what Contently has raised in total over the past three years. It represents a vote of confidence from investors, and an indication that demand for content inside big corporations is not a fad, but rather represents a growing and sustainable business.

    “This is a big one,” says Shane Snow, one of three co-founders. (He's the guy in the photo.) “We’re really committing to taking a big swing.”

    Contently is still a small outfit, with only 30 employees. But it has a network of 30,000 freelancers who provide services to A-list clients like American Express, Philips, Ghirardelli, Coke and Pepsi. Contently says 40 of the Fortune 500 companies are clients

    Read More »from Contently, Riding Corporate Media Wave, Raises New Funding
  • That Old Idea to Shutter SBA is Back

    Shutter SBA ImageA debate about the wisdom of folding the U.S. Small Business Administration into the Department of Commerce has been simmering ever since the idea was proposed by President Reagan nearly three decades ago. The notion has remained on a back burner even with the current administration, as President Obama appointed SBA Administrator Karen Mills to his cabinet as part of a broader plan to merge SBA with several other agencies, but then failed to appoint a new administrator after Mills departed last August.

    A year ago, we reported here on some small business advocates’ stances on the folding SBA into Commerce (hint: they’re vigorously opposed). And now a new proposal has brought the conversation back to a boil.

    In late December, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) proposed legislation to form a single Department of Commerce and the Workforce that would encompass the functions of the Departments of Labor and the Commerce. One of five undersecretaries at the newfangled department would oversee all

    Read More »from That Old Idea to Shutter SBA is Back
  • 142 Ideas for using Pinterest for Business

    This fantastic infographic (well really a huge categorized list) from Andrea Ayers of Launch Grow Joy is chock full of ideas for using the hot visual social platform in clever ways to help promote and grow your business. The only thing I am going to add to her fantastic advice is that you need to make sure your images and visuals are as good as they can be. Be clever and smart to make them stand out from the pack.

    142 Fantastic Pinterest Board Ideas for Business

    Original at http://www.launchgrowjoy.com/142-pinterest-board-ideas-entrepreneurs/

    Read More »from 142 Ideas for using Pinterest for Business
  • Word of Mouth

    One of the most common questions I hear from small business owners is “How do I leverage social media as part of my marketing campaign?”

    It’s a fair question, for both business owners who launched their companies pre-Y2K and those who launched their companies yesterday. Social media is relatively new to everyone, even though Facebook has been around nearly a decade, and remains unexplored by many small businesses.

    But social media marketing is fairly simple and fundamentally straightforward.

    “At the risk of over simplifying, social media marketing is word-of-mouth marketing at its core,” says Adam Fridman, CEO and found of Mabby, a digital marketing agency that focuses on small businesses and startups.

    Experts agree that the tricky part is executing and creating the “buzz” that drives word-of-mouth marketing. Chicago-based social media professionals Fridman and COO of Mabbly, Vlad Moldavskiy, share three tips for amplifying social media marketing efforts through word of mouth:

    Read More »from Word of Mouth Drives Social Media Marketing
  • Four Ways to Build a Mobile Payment System That Works

    Mobile Payment
    If you’re in the retail business, the holiday spike in mobile shopping likely has you restrategizing your e-commerce—or m-commerce, as mobile-based e-commerce is now known. Yahoo Small Business reported in December that Americans broke mobile shopping records on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, spending $1.1 billion in three days via their smartphones and tablets.

    Even before the season got underway, a Deloitte survey indicated that 68 percent of smartphone owners planned to use their devices for holiday shopping. And eMarketer forecasted that mobile devices would drive 16 percent of 2013 retail e-commerce sales—more than double the 2011 rate. By 2017, eMarketer predicts, m-commerce sales will nearly triple to $113 billion.

    But retailers beware: “Those sunny prognostications ignore a giant fly in the ointment,” warns Ralph Dangelmaier, CEO of BlueSnap, a payment processor whose goal is “to convert more shoppers to buyers worldwide” and whose main competitor is PayPal. The
    Read More »from Four Ways to Build a Mobile Payment System That Works
  • Are special interests hijacking small businesses’ advocates?

    Hidden Agenda?

    The National Federation of Independent Businesses calls itself “America's leading small business association, promoting and protecting the right of our members to own, operate, and grow their businesses.” It’s the group that took its lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act all the way to the Supreme Court, arguing that the law was unconstitutional and that it would stymie growth among small businesses, and even force some to shut down.

    Another small business association, the non-partisan Small Business Majority, filed a Friend of the Court brief in defense of Obamacare. It said the Affordable Care Act would save small businesses money and potentially increase their competitiveness. But that group has already been linked more strongly to liberal causes and the Democratic Party than to small business interests.

    Still, it seemed curious that NFIB would go to such lengths making the complete opposite argument on behalf of its members, when most of them would not be impacted by the new

    Read More »from Are special interests hijacking small businesses’ advocates?
  • An entrepreneur’s app helps you hunt down your next collaborator

    PeopleHunt at work

    Maybe it’s the result of being born in Mexico City, raised in New York City, carrying an Irish passport, and living in Berlin, Copenhagen, Eindhoven, London, and San Francisco by age 34, but Adrian Avendano is obsessed with meeting and collaborating with new people.

    So, as a software engineer and self-proclaimed hacker, he set out to master the science of connecting: What conditions need to exist for like minded people in a crowd or a city to find each other and create something together?

    With his partner and fellow hacker Ellen Dudley, an Irish biomedical engineer, Avendano developed an iPhone app called PeopleHunt that aims to facilitate useful human introductions. A bit like Meetup, but for enabling spontaneous, one-on-one interactions, the app has spawned numerous business and personal relationships among more than 2,500 users. It has also captured $40,000 in equity-free financing, and sparked interest in the Bay Area investment community, he says.

    With the slogan "life's a

    Read More »from An entrepreneur’s app helps you hunt down your next collaborator


(602 Stories)

Popular Blog Posts

Friend's Activity