Blog Posts by Adrienne Burke

  • Romney leads with small business owners as healthcare issue splits parties

    Money and politicsNational election polls today show the Presidential candidates neck-and-neck, but among small business owners Mitt Romney has a clear lead.

    Just under half of small business owners surveyed by Yahoo! Small Business Advisor this month said that if they voted now, their choice for President would be Governor Romney. Only 35 percent said they would re-elect President Barack Obama. Among all small business voters surveyed, business issues, and especially healthcare reform, will be a priority at the polls.

    Yahoo! and IpsosMediaCT conducted the third quarterly online election survey of 250 owners of businesses with up to 100 employees from June 20 – July 2. The national survey polled only full or partial owners who intend to vote in November, and sought input mostly from experienced business owners: more than 60 percent of respondents have been in business for more than five years, and 66 percent represented traditional service or local storefront businesses, as opposed to online

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  • Early poll: Ryan doesn’t change small biz vote

    Romney-Ryan ticket has small biz vote

    Many small business owners are still learning what Mitt Romney's running mate stands for. But an early poll indicates that, so far, Paul Ryan's selection as the Republican VP candidate isn't influencing small business votes one way or another.

    In a Manta poll of more than 1,900 small business owners in early August, a significant majority—61 percent—said they plan to vote for Governor Romney on November 6. Manta polled 550 of those respondents again on Monday this week to ask whether Ryan's selection would sway their vote. The percent in favor of Romney changed no more than the survey's margin of error, a Manta spokeswoman told Yahoo! Small Business Advisor. Thirty percent said they plan to vote for Obama.

    The stats might change as business owners get to know Ryan. "With his Path for Prosperity, Congressman Ryan has gotten notoriety, but I'm not sure our members will know him off the top of their head," said Kristie Arslan, president and CEO of the National Association for the Self

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  • Advocate for self-employed argues for tax deductions

    NASE wants permanent full deductions for health insurance premiums for the self-employed

    Both presidential campaigns say they're best for small business, but Kristie Arslan says neither has backed up the claim with substantive plans. "They've never been specific on any of the priorities for the 21 million self-employed Americans," Arslan, president and CEO of the National Association for the Self Employed, wrote in the Huffington Post on Friday.

    Arslan challenged both candidates to respond to three of her organization's requests for specific tax deductions for the self-employed:

    1. Will you support the permanent, full deduction of health insurance premiums for the self-employed so that the self-employed will no longer pay annually, on average, nearly $1,800 in additional taxes than other business owners?

    2. Will you support legislation to make the tax deduction for startup expenses permanent, instead of letting the provision expire at the end of this year?

    3. Will you support legislation to simplify the home office deduction for home-based businesses, by allowing the

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  • What Paul Ryan wants for small business

    Paul Ryan proposes a Path to Prosperity

    In the two days since he was named GOP vice presidential candidate, most media attention has addressed Congressman Paul Ryan's proposals for overhauling Medicare, Medicaid, and other social services. But what does Governor Romney's choice of running mate mean for small business?

    Ryan has said he wants to let "individuals keep more of the money they earn and restore the certainty needed for families and businesses to plan for the future."

    Key points of his Path to Prosperity proposal included that "the free enterprise system is being stifled by an epidemic of crony politics and government overreach that has weakened confidence in the nation's institutions and its economy." His plan, he said, "revisits flawed financial-reform regulations and eliminates provisions that make future bailouts of Wall Street insiders more likely."

    In March, he wrote in the Wall Street Journal that he is in favor of spurring "economic growth with bold tax reform—eliminating complexity for individuals and

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  • Facebook caters to confused small business advertisers

    Only 1 in 10 small businesses use social media for marketing, according to a recent survey.

    We reported here earlier this week that only 10 percent of small businesses recently surveyed consider social media to be an effective method of marketing their businesses. More than half of B2C and B2B small businesses admitted to needing help with the tools. It's clear that many small business people remain confused or simply don't have time to figure out how to use Facebook and other social media platforms to win customers.

    But advertising on Facebook could be getting simpler, the tech trade publications Inside Facebook and TechCrunch reported yesterday. According to Inside Facebook, the company is "testing a new design for its self-serve ad tool that simplifies ad creation and recommends a combination of ad types that are most likely to achieve an advertiser's objective."

    TechCrunch explained that the new approach will "give more guidance to advertisers as they build their campaigns — specifically by helping them find the right mix of Facebook ads and Sponsored Stories to achieve

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  • What’s in the Senate’s latest small business bill for you

    The SUCCESS Act has some rare bipartisan support in the Senate.

    Just before Congress departed for summer recess last week, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.), introduced legislation designed to spur small business job growth and boost entrepreneurship.

    Her so-called SUCCESS Act of 2012, cosponsored by seven other Democrats, is notable because, when it was previously introduced as an amendment to the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act (which remains on the Senate calendar), it got support from five Republicans to achieve 57 votes in the Senate—close to the 60 needed to invoke cloture and get to a vote. Landrieu, who chairs the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, called even that small bit of bipartisanship a "monumental feat in today's political climate."

    She said in a statement that the bill "is made up of numerous bipartisan provisions" offered by members of her committee to "get our small businesses the assistance they need to grow our economy."

    So what's in the SUCCESS Act? The bill is a mashup of measures from 14 other

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  • Small businesses prefer old-school methods to social media marketing

    In-person interaction is most effective marketing method, survey says

    Despite the plethora of digital marketing methods available—from email, to websites, to online advertising, to social media—the old-fashioned in-person interaction is still the marketing approach that most businesses consider to be the most effective.

    The small business marketing and social media company Constant Contact polled more than 1,000 members of its Small Biz Council. Its findings, published yesterday, reflect the responses of 728 business owners—280 B2B (business-to-business) operations, and 448 B2C (business-to-consumer) companies.

    From a list of nine marketing-communications-related small business worries, including securing funding, 70 percent of respondents named "how to attract new customers" as their top priority. Cash was their second greatest concern—45 percent of respondents admit to losing sleep to thinking about how to get more of it. (More than half of all respondents, however, said cash flow is no problem right now, and 63 percent of B2B companies are in that

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  • A “cruel summer” for small biz jobs growth

    NFIB Job Creation Plans ChartNews headlines are trumpeting the Labor Department's report this morning of a better-than-expected increase in hiring nationally in July, but the National Federation of Independent Business has issued a grim report on small employers and job growth based on its latest monthly random survey of 1,803 NFIB members.

    U.S. employers overall added 163,000 jobs in July—the biggest monthly uptick in five months. But small businesses eliminated jobs for a second month in a row "at a time when growth is needed," NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg reported in a statement. The NFIB survey results indicated a net job loss per small firm over the past few months (seasonally adjusted) of .04. "Readings had been on the rise; from December to May they were zero or positive, suggesting that employment might be turning around. But June, and now July, have ended that possibility," Dunkelberg stated.

    To be sure, nearly 80 percent of small business owners surveyed made no net change to employment in

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  • How Mitch Goldstone’s lawsuit could be your gain

    Mitch Goldstone, CEO of ScanMyPhotos.com, won a $7.25 billion settlement against credit card companies in favor of merchants.

    While politicians have been arguing over who's doing more for small business, one independent businessman with no campaign agenda has dedicated the last seven years of his life to pursuing a lawsuit advocating for merchants like himself. Mitch Goldstone, the CEO of ScanMyPhotos.com, became a small business hero last week when he won a $7.25 billion settlement—the largest private antitrust settlement in U.S. history—that promises to put large sums of money back into the pockets of millions of businesses that accept credit cards.

    Goldstone, of Irvine, Calif., was the lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit filed in 2005 that alleged that Visa and MasterCard illegally fixed interchange fees—the so-called swipe fees that U.S. merchants pay the card companies for the privilege of accepting consumers' credit payments.

    Yahoo! Small Business Advisor spoke with Goldstone as he celebrated his legal victory last week.

    Yahoo! SBA: This is a real David vs. Goliath story. How did it start?

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  • Tax cuts, credit cards, and an entrepreneurship incentive

    More business owners are getting credit with personal cards

    Small business issues continue to hold center stage in election season. Here's a roundup of current events and reports from around the web this week related to small business and politics, including new legislation that would support immigrant entrepreneurs, various explorations of the access-to-credit crisis, and a discussion of tax cuts and small business.

    Supporting immigrant entrepreneurs

    A Democrat and a Republican in the House have teamed up to introduce a bill that would offer green cards to foreign entrepreneurs who live in the U.S. and establish and invest a minimum of $125,000 in a business here that creates and sustains full-time employment for at least three U.S. workers over two years. The National Small Business Association blogged its support for the legislation, which it says would also modify the EB-5 visa program to attract additional foreign investment.

    Fewer debt delinquencies

    Small business lending in June hit its lowest point since October, but was up two percent

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