Blog Posts by Adrienne Burke

  • Surprising small biz election survey results—Part 1

    Surprising small biz election survey results!

    Believe it or not, more small business owners say President Obama is a better supporter of small business than Governor Romney, according to results of a Small Business Political Sentiment Survey being widely reported this week.

    The survey contradicts the findings of a Yahoo! Small Business Advisor survey, as well as another recent poll of small business owners.

    Yahoo's survey, conducted in June and July, asked 250 respondents which candidate would be best for supporting small business issues. Responses mirrored the survey's election forecast: 47 percent said Romney's positions are best for small business, 36 percent preferred Obama's.

    And a Manta poll of more than 1,900 small business owners in August revealed that a significant majority—61 percent—said they plan to vote for Governor Romney on November 6.

    George Washington University reports, however, that based on its July-August online survey of 6,164 small business users of, 47 percent of small business owners will

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  • Small businesses tell Washington they need cash

    Small business owners told legislators this week they need access to capital, or tax certainty.There’s been a lot of talk about small businesses this election season, but this week in Washington small business owners did the talking. Their focus was on access to more money to expand their businesses. Some argued for loans, others for tax breaks.
    The Small Business Majority flew in 14 entrepreneurs from around the country for two days of meetings with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chair Mary Landrieu, and members of the U.S. Small Business Administration. They discussed access to capital, healthcare reform, clean energy policies, and legislative solutions to economic issues such as jobs creation. And the entrepreneurs urged Congress to pass bipartisan legislation allowing more credit unions to lend to small businesses.
    Meanwhile, several more business owners (unrelated to the Small Business Majority) explained to members of the House Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access yesterday how uncertainty about

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  • What drives innovation? SBA seeks entrepreneurs’ input

    SBA symposium will ask, What drives innovation?

    Ever wish you could tell U.S. Small Business Administration officials directly how they could support innovation? Here's your chance.

    SBA's Office of Advocacy is seeking input from small business owners and entrepreneurs in advance of a symposium it will present in Seattle next week. The event, Small Business and Government: Maximizing Entrepreneurship, Driving Innovation, hosted in partnership with the Northwest Entrepreneur Network, the Seattle Center Foundation,, and K&L Gates, will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 19, from 8:30 am — 5:00 pm PST.

    SBA is asking entrepreneurs to join an online chat to propose questions and ideas about how best to drive innovation that will help direct conversations that will take place among SBA officials, leading entrepreneurs and innovators, and investors during the event. The public is also invited to participate in the live-streamed symposium via tweet, chat, or with comments and questions directed to the panelists and speakers.


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  • Economic uncertainty plagues small businesses, survey shows

    source: NSBA 2012 Midyear Economic Report

    "The constant barrage of negative campaigning and near-complete failure of Washington to govern is having a broad, negative effect on America's small businesses," according to National Small Business Association President and CEO Todd McCracken. NSBA today released its mid-year economic report, which reveals that, since the organization's December 2011 year-end report, the number of small-business owners who anticipate a recessionary economy has jumped from 14 percent to 34 percent and the number who anticipate economic expansion in the coming 12 months has dropped from 20 percent to 11 percent.

    Still, more than half of respondents (55 percent) expect a flat economy in the coming year and the same ratio says their businesses are already growing or will see growth opportunities in the coming year.

    Economic uncertainty was cited by 68 percent of small business owners surveyed as the most significant challenge to the future growth and survival of their business. Other significant

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  • Why every entrepreneur should build a personal brand

    Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding

    Whether you're a lawyer, a landscaper, or a lactation consultant, if you're in business for yourself Dan Schawbel says you should be using personal branding to attract business opportunities.

    Schawbel is the 28-year-old managing partner of Millennial Branding who has, by practicing his own advice, become a bestselling author, syndicated columnist, and nationally sought-after speaker on digital marketing. His target audience is his own Generation Y peers, but his followers, including 127,000 on Twitter, transcend generations. His hero and inspiration is Tom Peters, whose management book In Search of Excellence was published before Schawbel was born.

    Peters himself has said that Schawbel "has taken personal branding to a dimension a million miles beyond where I was." Schawbel credits the technologies that have become available since Peters' heyday. Social networking platforms make it affordable for individuals to leverage the same strategies marketers have used for decades to build

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  • How a tech savvy new mom runs a mobile office

    AdoraPet owner YiShaun Yang says accepting mobile payments has greatly increased her sales.

    As a young corporate attorney, YiShaun Yang dreamed of creating a business that would contribute to society by fostering a love of reading in children. She broke out of the corporate world faster than many with such aspirations, launching her book publishing company AdoraPet before age 30. By the time she had her first child this year at age 32, she had sold thousands of books and was operating in the black.

    Her experience as a solo home-based entrepreneur and traveling saleswoman has made her an evangelist for technologies that have enabled her to be flexible and do business anywhere. In particular she is a fan of mobile payment technology.

    Yang's pocket-sized books, priced at $5.95 each, detail the adventures of Pima and Pico, puppy characters that visit the dentist, work on the farm, fight fires, meet mermaids, play as pirates, and explore space. She sells the eight-book series on her company website, at Amazon, in some bookstores, and at gift fairs and conventions in New York City

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  • #StartupLab engages young entrepreneurs to mentor peers

    StartupLab will offer entrepreneurial mentorship on Facebook

    The Young Entrepreneur Council with funding from Citi today launched #StartupLab, the beta version of a free online program that will engage age-40-and-under business founders to mentor fellow entrepreneurs.

    The program, developed in partnership with dozens of colleges, business organizations, and government agencies, will offer aspiring and existing business owners access to online mentorship via interactive video chats, how-to content, and weekly email lessons. Participating organizations will be able to request in-person mentorship events with young entrepreneurs.

    Young Entrepreneur Council founder Scott Gerber says the program aims to disrupt and democratize the delivery of business mentoring. "We need to get smarter about how we connect with people at the right stage to ensure the right outcome. This is the beginning of a new trend in the digital dissemination of mentorship resources," Gerber says, adding that the initiative is also a step toward alleviating youth joblessness and

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  • Romney’s 5 steps target business, but lack detail

    Romney's acceptance speech offered a 5-step plan for recovery

    Republicans trotted out two more entrepreneurs at the GOP convention last night to reinforce the party's argument that Mitt Romney's business experience makes him better suited than the incumbent to turn around the American economy and create better conditions for businesses.

    When Governor Romney at last took the stage to accept his party's nomination, he too emphasized what he called President Obama's lack of understanding about entrepreneurship and job creation, and outlined his own five-step plan to create 12 million American jobs. The plan was short on details, and at least one report this morning points out that economic analysts predict a gain of 12 million jobs by 2016 regardless of who is in office.

    But a poll of 250 small business owners conducted this summer by Yahoo! and IpsosMediaCT showed that Romney is the candidate favored by more small business owners. And the key issues of concern to those polled are the same ones Romney promised in his speech to address.


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  • Businessman says Romney would boost exports

    photo credit: sakamencho via flickr

    GOP conventioneers appeared to take a break to mill around between speeches by Ohio Senator Rob Portman and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty last night. What they missed was Ohio businessman Steven Cohen's speech explaining how American businesses would benefit from a Romney administration.

    Cohen is President of Screen Machine Industries, Inc., one of the largest manufacturers of construction and mining machinery—portable crushers, screeners, trommels, and conveyors—in North America with dealers worldwide. In July, Governor Romney made a campaign tour stop and speech at the 45-year-old family-run business' Pataskala, Ohio, plant. Cohen returned the favor with a visit to Tampa, Fla., to voice his support for a Romney presidency.

    Cohen stressed that business people like him "need a president who will protect America's patented inventions, guard the value of our currency, and open up new markets for American products."

    Patent protection is a big concern for Cohen, who said products

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  • Top traits of college students who launch startups

    Yale Entrepreneurial Institute helps college students launch startups

    For undergraduate students with a yen for starting their own business, a Yale Entrepreneurial Institute summer fellowship can be a true career igniter. Fellows selected from the Ivy League university's student body receive a stipend, mentorship, legal and accounting advice, and access to Yale's alumni network of successful entrepreneurs and investors.

    Established in 2007, the YEI, as it's known on the New Haven, Conn., campus, has helped launch close to 100 companies, 52 of which are currently active. Among the successful startups to its credit: an online wedding resource for brides-to-be, a forest inventory management software business, and an early-stage medical diagnostics company. Many YEI fellows launch their businesses while simultaneously pursuing full-time studies.

    Yahoo! Small Business Advisor spoke recently with YEI Director James Boyle and Program Manager Alena Gribskov, who both had real-world entrepreneurship experience before joining YEI's leadership, about what makes

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