Tag: Need

5 Small Business Magazines You Need to Be Reading #business #sign

#small business magazine

#

5 Must-Read Magazines for Your Small Business

You may be asking yourself, why am I soliciting print advice from a digital marketing resource center? Well, we at Get Busy Media find value in content that helps small businesses solve problems and grow; regardless of how and in what format this content is packaged. Today we’re going to take you through our five favorite small business magazines and why you, as a business owner, need to be consulting these resources.

Here are our top 5 small business magazines (and their tablet companions) :

1. Inc.

Inc. is the veritable bible for small business owners. If you were stuck on a desert island selling widgets and had only one magazine to consult from, I would recommend Inc hands down. This magazine is chock-full of amazing statistics, case studies, interviews and reviews about small business owners and startups who have found success and why. Too many young readers today are inundated with stories of successful tech startups. Rest assured that Inc. will provide you with a wide variety of successful small business stories. They will provide you with stories of why learning to tell jokes is good for business to a who’s who of crowdfunding platforms and which ones small businesses should leverage depending on their specific needs.

  • Get Real by Jason Fried – co-founder of 37 Signals (software company that created Basecamp) and author of Rework pens this column that normally appears between pages 35 and 40
  • Crunching the Numbers – I love the charts and graphs that are included in this section. For instance, did you know that the cities that experienced the greatest increase in the number of jobs at companies with fewer than 100 employees from August 10 to August 11 were Orlando, Atlanta and Greensboro, North Carolina (who would have guessed these cities?)
  • Tech Trends­­ – John Brandon does a great job with this column. He reviews all the latest gadgets and new technology that make your life as a small business owner easier.

iPad app: Appears that as of February, 2012 Inc. does not have an iPad app based on my extensive searches in the App. store that returned no results for this magazine.

2. Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur magazine is a must have for anyone looking to start a small business. Entrepreneur’s target is more narrowly focused than Inc’s but that’s what makes it so great. Within this magazine you will find every pain point imaginable to starting and running a profitable business (economy, work/life balance issues, co-founder discord, death of a co-founder, production issues, supply chain problems, to name just a few). You will find articles ranging from how a 14-year old kid started his own candle company based on manly scents (fresh cut grass, steak and wood chips, to name a few) to how two guys pivoted and turned their failing lifestyle website into a flash deals site and made a profit in the first month.

  • Lead Gen ­– Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs.com and Co-Author of Content Rules authors this column that speaks to the power of great content and how to reach your customers through online content.
  • Linked – Chris Brogan. Founder of Human Business Works and co-author of Trust Agents is one of the preeminent experts in relationship and digital marketing. If you have enough time to read only one column in this magazine each month, read his.

iPad app: This app needs some work. When you zoom in to read on the iPad, the text becomes difficult to read. The abundance of ads on this app is also bothersome and takes away from the overall experience.

Cost. Free (comes with Entrepreneur print subscription)

3. Fast Company

Of the three magazines we have reviewed thus far, Fast Company is certainly the edgiest and hippest. To be honest, there’s a reason why this publication is #3 on the list behind Inc and Entrepreneur. A salient example for those who like sports, is that Fast Company is to ESPN The Magazine what Inc. is to Sports Illustrated. SI is the preeminent resource in sports journalism in the United States, much as Inc. is widely regarded as the benchmark for publications for small businesses and startups. ESPN the Magazine on the other hand is flashy, heavy on images and graphics and appeals to a hipper, younger generation than Sports Illustrated. By no means is this a bad thing, but I felt that I should use this example to illustrate the difference between Fast Company and their approach versus Inc.’s approach.

One aspect of Fast Company that I enjoy much more than the previous two publications on this list is their long form feature stories. Fast Company’s featured stories tend to be much more content-rich and just plain longer in general than its counterparts. I love that I can sit down and read one of these stories and am captivated for 20 minutes.

  • Tech Edge­ – authored by Farhad Manjoo, this column is very similar to Tech Trends in Inc. just with a little more irreverence.

iPad app: Appears that as of February, 2012 Fast Company does not have an iPad app based on my extensive searches in the App. store that returned no results for this magazine.

4. Wired

Wired is an incredible magazine. I don’t care who you are, this magazine is always, always visually stunning and filled with incredible content about science and technology. There is no doubt in my mind that Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired. sits down with all departments within the company to ensure that design, content and layout all flow and play nice together. While this magazine tends to be very science and tech heavy, there are amazing pieces of information here that are applicable to small businesses, especially those who are progressive and technology-oriented.

  • Dear Mr. Know-it-all – this is an awesome column where Mr. Know it All fields questions from those looking to navigate their issues in the 21st century. Some questions may surprise you, but you’ll find the answers even more interesting.
  • Test – they test everything from Universal remotes to solar charges to ultrabooks – very neat column.

iPad app – amazing layout (which is par for the course for Wired) but loading the iPad edition by my count takes between 6 and 8 minutes (depending on the length of the issue), which in my opinion is tired not wired.

Cost. Free (comes with Wired print subscription)

5. Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek is obviously a behemoth in the business and financial news sector. While this periodical isn’t tailored specifically for small businesses and startups, there’s a ton of information you can cull from Bloomberg. The great thing about Bloomberg is that it’s laid out in a format that is easy-to-read and digestible. A few sections I particularly enjoy are the Technology and Companies and Industries sections. Both contain information that is pertinent for small businesses.

iPad app – I haven’t played around much with the app on my iPad but from my limited experience, this seems like another great app for the iPad

Cost. Free (comes with Bloomberg print subscription)

What do you think of my list of the top small business magazines? Who did I miss? Do you disagree with any of my choices? We would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.

About Jim Armstrong

Jim Armstrong is the Co-Founder of Get Busy Media and a paid search specialist. Since 2008, Jim has built his knowledge around emerging media and leveraged several experiences to develop a keen understanding of internet marketing. His core competencies include search marketing, SEO, email marketing, social media marketing and online reputation management. Jim currently works for Google, as an account manager. When not diving headfirst into his next project, Jim enjoys spending time with his family, fishing and writing. Jim on Google+

Comments

I love Forbes online and have followed some of their contributors in particular.





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11 Grants for Women-Owned Businesses You Need to Know About #business #loans #for #bad

#small business grants

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11 Grants for Women-Owned Businesses You Need to Know About

In 2014, there were close to 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States, a 68 percent increase since 1997, according to The 2014 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report from American Express. This percentage increase exceeded the national average of small business growth by 1.5 times.

It also illustrated what we already know: Women entrepreneurs are having a tremendous impact on the small business landscape nationwide.

Yet to continue to be competitive and grow, these entrepreneurs have to find funding for their ventures. And, alarmingly, women entrepreneurs are increasingly being turned away by banks for small business loans. Thankfully, they still have other options, given the rise of technology-driven financial lending sources — such as online loans, peer-to-peer loans and crowdfunding.

Then there are government grants. While not widely known or used, these grants are another great option for women seeking extra funding for their business ventures. They just take a little more work.

Understanding grants

Business owners often turn to grants because they are not required to pay them back; essentially, you can look at grants as free money, but they come with stipulations. Also, understanding and navigating the grant process can be complex.

First, you have to research and find a grant for which you re eligible. Then, you have to understand the strict application and compliance guidelines you must meet, to be eligible. Third, you have to compete with other businesses for the same pool of money. Fourth, if you re awarded a grant, you must report on how you used it. Finally, you must devote time and energy to the lengthy application process, then wait for approval. In a nutshell, you need to have all of your ducks in a row, up-front and afterward.

Finding federal and state grants

Many business owners think that federal grants are just a click away. We have all seen the ads promoting free federal money to start businesses. But this is a huge misconception. While there are federal grants available in the areas of medical research, science, education and technology development, no such grants exist specifically for women-owned businesses. You may find grants that fund projects that empower women, but such funding is often set aside for nonprofit corporations, not for-profit businesses.

When researching grants specifically for a woman-owned business, start at the state level. Most states offer grants for women-owned businesses in some capacity. Each state website has a business section where you can find grant and funding opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses. A good example of this is the business section for the state of New York. which lists incentives and programs for businesses. Check out your state s site to find out what is available for your business.

Another great resource to use in your research is the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). The MBDA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that assists minorities and women in establishing and growing their businesses. On its site, you can research grants and access links to state agencies that work with women-owned businesses for funding opportunities. Click here to view all of the state agencies across the country.

Private grants for women

To help in your search, we gathered information on these private grants for women entrepreneurs started:

  1. The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program. Five grants are awarded annually. The businesses must be 100 percent women-owned and have founding principles of social consciousness, sustainability and innovation, plus be ready to move to the next phase of development. In 2014, the program awarded $125,000 in grants.
  2. Huggies Brand — Mom Inspired Grants. The grant awards up to $15,000 to advance the development of innovative products inspired by the joys of motherhood. The awardees also receive resources to further develop their products and startup businesses.
  3. FedEx Think Bigger — Small Business Grant Program. Applicants are encouraged to share their visions to receive a portion of the $75,000 awarded in grants. Part of the judging involves the general public voting for the finalists, so participants may promote their businesses while garnering votes.
  4. Idea Caf Small Business Grant. The Idea Caf is a free gateway that hosts different grants on its site. Its current grant is the 16 th Small Business Cash Grant. which awards one $1,000 grand prize to a business with the most innovative idea.
  5. InnovateHER: 2015 Innovating for Women Business Challenge. This business challenge is sponsored by the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Women s Business Ownership. The challenge awards three winners $30,000 in prize money for businesses that have an impact on the lives of women. However, be aware of the recent fraud news around the SBA .
  6. Chase Google — Mission Main Street Project. Chase and Google have partnered to award $3 million in grants. In 2014, recipients were awarded $150,000 to help take their businesses to the next level. Recipients also received a trip to Google headquarters, a Google Chromebook laptop and a $2,000 coupon toward a market research study with Google Consumer Surveys.
  7. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR): Eleven different federal agencies participate in this awards-based program, which incentivizes and enables small businesses to explore their technological potential.
  8. Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR). The STTR program reserves a specific percentage of federal research and development funding to provide funding opportunities in research and development.
  9. Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corp (WVEC) Small Business Competition. This competition, organized by Capitol One and Count Me In for Women s Economic Independence. allows participants to present two-minute pitches for a chance to participate in a nine-month business accelerator program.
  10. Wal-Mart Women s Economic Empowerment Initiative (WEE). As part of a huge Wal-Mart initiative, sourcing opportunities for U.S. and international companies will increase to $40 billion over five years.
  11. Zions Bank — Smart Women Smart Money. This Utah-based bank s grant annually awards $3,000 across six different categories, including business.

Applying for a grant

Once you find a funding opportunity, there are steps required to apply. A few tips to assist you:

  • Make sure that your business is eligible for the grant: Read the grant synopsis guidelines and eligibility requirements.
  • Create a checklist for all of the documents required.
  • Follow the rules. Grant applications can be very technical. It wouldn t hurt to have a second (or even third) set of eyes when reviewing the application to ensure that you have provided all accompanying documents.
  • Start early. Since the application process can be long in some cases, it doesn t hurt to get a jump on things.

If you find the grant application process too daunting or lengthy for your small business, Kabbage is committed to supporting small business loans for women business owners. Because our application process is fully automated and online, we can quickly provide small business loans of up to $100,000. We use simple, meaningful revenue data from your business to approve your business — not elaborate documentation that takes extensive time to gather. To learn more, visit Kabbage.com.





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What Is Disability Medicare Supplemental Insurance? #do #you #need #supplemental #insurance #with #medicare

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What Is Disability Medicare Supplemental Insurance?

by JOE STONE Last Updated: Jan 09, 2016

Joe Stone is a freelance writer in California who has been writing professionally since 2005. His articles have been published on LIVESTRONG.COM, SFgate.com and Chron.com. He also has experience in background investigations and spent almost two decades in legal practice. Stone received his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles.

Medicare supplemental insurance can help with the gaps in Medicare coverage. Photo Credit Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images

Because your Medicare benefits often require a copayment or may be limited in the amount of coverage per year, a Medicare supplement insurance plan can be purchased to cover the gaps in Medicare coverage. These supplemental insurance plans–called Medigap plans–are available from private insurers. If you are a Medicare beneficiary because you are 65 or older, you are entitled to purchase a Medigap plan. However, if you are under 65 and receive Medicare due to a disability, a Medigap plan may not be available to you. (See Reference 2 – pg. 43)

Medigap Policy Function

Your basic Medicare benefits include Part A, coverage for hospital expenses, and Part B, coverage for outpatient medical services; however, your benefits come with limits and copayments. For example, although Medicare Part B covers diabetes supplies and services such as blood sugar test strips and monitors, in 2010 you will have to pay 20 percent of whatever amount Medicare approves. Also, there are limits on how often or how much of these supplies you will get per year. (See Resource p. 15) Medigap policies are supplemental insurance plans that provide coverage for your portion of these expense and provide coverage for things that Medicare may not cover. (See Reference 1)

Disability and ESRD

If you are under 65 and receive Medicare benefits due to a disability or End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), you may not be able to purchase a Medigap policy. Although insurance companies are required by federal law to sell Medigap policies to people over 65, there is no such law regarding people under 65 receiving Medicare. Also, even if a Medigap policy is available to you, insurance companies are permitted to use medical underwriting criteria, such as a pre-existing condition, which means you could be paying more for the same Medigap policy offered to someone over 65. (See Reference 2 – pg. 43 and 44)

State Variations

Despite the lack of federal requirements, 27 states do have laws requiring insurance companies to offer Medigap policies to Medicare beneficiaries under 65. However, the laws among these states vary. For example, California and Massachusetts require Medigap policies to be offered to disabled persons under 65, but not to those suffering from ESRD. One state, Delaware, requires Medigap policies to be offered only to ESRD sufferers under 65. In addition to these variations, some companies offer Medigap policies to those under 65 on a voluntary basis. (See Reference 2 – pg. 43 and 44)

State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Programs (SHIPs)

Because the availability of Medigap plans to Medicare beneficiaries under 65 is so varied from state-to-state, the best way to obtain information on what may be available to you is to contact your State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Programs, also known as SHIPs. Each state s program is designed to answer all your Medicare-related questions, including such questions as the availability of Medigap plans, what these plans can do for you and how to choose a plan. The Medicare website has a link to all state program websites or you can call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to find the telephone number for your state s program. (See Reference 2 – pg. 49 and 50; and Reference 3)

Open Enrollment at 65

If you ve been receiving Medicare benefits before turning 65, you will have an open enrollment for Medigap plans when you reach 65. Even if you were already able to obtain a Medigap policy, you will have more policies to choose from and be able obtain a lower premium. Insurance companies cannot refuse to sell a Medigap policy to you during the open enrollment period, nor can you be charged a higher premium than others who are 65. (See Reference 2 – pg. 18)

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5 Small Business Magazines You Need to Be Reading #business #ethics

#small business magazine

#

5 Must-Read Magazines for Your Small Business

You may be asking yourself, why am I soliciting print advice from a digital marketing resource center? Well, we at Get Busy Media find value in content that helps small businesses solve problems and grow; regardless of how and in what format this content is packaged. Today we’re going to take you through our five favorite small business magazines and why you, as a business owner, need to be consulting these resources.

Here are our top 5 small business magazines (and their tablet companions) :

1. Inc.

Inc. is the veritable bible for small business owners. If you were stuck on a desert island selling widgets and had only one magazine to consult from, I would recommend Inc hands down. This magazine is chock-full of amazing statistics, case studies, interviews and reviews about small business owners and startups who have found success and why. Too many young readers today are inundated with stories of successful tech startups. Rest assured that Inc. will provide you with a wide variety of successful small business stories. They will provide you with stories of why learning to tell jokes is good for business to a who’s who of crowdfunding platforms and which ones small businesses should leverage depending on their specific needs.

  • Get Real by Jason Fried – co-founder of 37 Signals (software company that created Basecamp) and author of Rework pens this column that normally appears between pages 35 and 40
  • Crunching the Numbers – I love the charts and graphs that are included in this section. For instance, did you know that the cities that experienced the greatest increase in the number of jobs at companies with fewer than 100 employees from August 10 to August 11 were Orlando, Atlanta and Greensboro, North Carolina (who would have guessed these cities?)
  • Tech Trends­­ – John Brandon does a great job with this column. He reviews all the latest gadgets and new technology that make your life as a small business owner easier.

iPad app: Appears that as of February, 2012 Inc. does not have an iPad app based on my extensive searches in the App. store that returned no results for this magazine.

2. Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur magazine is a must have for anyone looking to start a small business. Entrepreneur’s target is more narrowly focused than Inc’s but that’s what makes it so great. Within this magazine you will find every pain point imaginable to starting and running a profitable business (economy, work/life balance issues, co-founder discord, death of a co-founder, production issues, supply chain problems, to name just a few). You will find articles ranging from how a 14-year old kid started his own candle company based on manly scents (fresh cut grass, steak and wood chips, to name a few) to how two guys pivoted and turned their failing lifestyle website into a flash deals site and made a profit in the first month.

  • Lead Gen ­– Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs.com and Co-Author of Content Rules authors this column that speaks to the power of great content and how to reach your customers through online content.
  • Linked – Chris Brogan. Founder of Human Business Works and co-author of Trust Agents is one of the preeminent experts in relationship and digital marketing. If you have enough time to read only one column in this magazine each month, read his.

iPad app: This app needs some work. When you zoom in to read on the iPad, the text becomes difficult to read. The abundance of ads on this app is also bothersome and takes away from the overall experience.

Cost. Free (comes with Entrepreneur print subscription)

3. Fast Company

Of the three magazines we have reviewed thus far, Fast Company is certainly the edgiest and hippest. To be honest, there’s a reason why this publication is #3 on the list behind Inc and Entrepreneur. A salient example for those who like sports, is that Fast Company is to ESPN The Magazine what Inc. is to Sports Illustrated. SI is the preeminent resource in sports journalism in the United States, much as Inc. is widely regarded as the benchmark for publications for small businesses and startups. ESPN the Magazine on the other hand is flashy, heavy on images and graphics and appeals to a hipper, younger generation than Sports Illustrated. By no means is this a bad thing, but I felt that I should use this example to illustrate the difference between Fast Company and their approach versus Inc.’s approach.

One aspect of Fast Company that I enjoy much more than the previous two publications on this list is their long form feature stories. Fast Company’s featured stories tend to be much more content-rich and just plain longer in general than its counterparts. I love that I can sit down and read one of these stories and am captivated for 20 minutes.

  • Tech Edge­ – authored by Farhad Manjoo, this column is very similar to Tech Trends in Inc. just with a little more irreverence.

iPad app: Appears that as of February, 2012 Fast Company does not have an iPad app based on my extensive searches in the App. store that returned no results for this magazine.

4. Wired

Wired is an incredible magazine. I don’t care who you are, this magazine is always, always visually stunning and filled with incredible content about science and technology. There is no doubt in my mind that Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired. sits down with all departments within the company to ensure that design, content and layout all flow and play nice together. While this magazine tends to be very science and tech heavy, there are amazing pieces of information here that are applicable to small businesses, especially those who are progressive and technology-oriented.

  • Dear Mr. Know-it-all – this is an awesome column where Mr. Know it All fields questions from those looking to navigate their issues in the 21st century. Some questions may surprise you, but you’ll find the answers even more interesting.
  • Test – they test everything from Universal remotes to solar charges to ultrabooks – very neat column.

iPad app – amazing layout (which is par for the course for Wired) but loading the iPad edition by my count takes between 6 and 8 minutes (depending on the length of the issue), which in my opinion is tired not wired.

Cost. Free (comes with Wired print subscription)

5. Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek is obviously a behemoth in the business and financial news sector. While this periodical isn’t tailored specifically for small businesses and startups, there’s a ton of information you can cull from Bloomberg. The great thing about Bloomberg is that it’s laid out in a format that is easy-to-read and digestible. A few sections I particularly enjoy are the Technology and Companies and Industries sections. Both contain information that is pertinent for small businesses.

iPad app – I haven’t played around much with the app on my iPad but from my limited experience, this seems like another great app for the iPad

Cost. Free (comes with Bloomberg print subscription)

What do you think of my list of the top small business magazines? Who did I miss? Do you disagree with any of my choices? We would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.

About Jim Armstrong

Jim Armstrong is the Co-Founder of Get Busy Media and a paid search specialist. Since 2008, Jim has built his knowledge around emerging media and leveraged several experiences to develop a keen understanding of internet marketing. His core competencies include search marketing, SEO, email marketing, social media marketing and online reputation management. Jim currently works for Google, as an account manager. When not diving headfirst into his next project, Jim enjoys spending time with his family, fishing and writing. Jim on Google+

Comments

I love Forbes online and have followed some of their contributors in particular.





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What You Need to About Small Business Templates #sell #my #business

#business templates

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What You Need to About Small Business Templates

There was a time, long ago, when the company opened a new process which was relatively unexplored. When you look back to the colonial times it was not very many businesses. The town Baker was not very competitive because it was probably the only baker around. Fast forward to today, and the small business has become a very big business. Small companies have already started so often that there are many small business templates available when starting a business or perform functions within the company.

There are templates out there today to help a person in the process of launching new businesses. If you look at the franchises available today, many of them are opening every store in a certain way. It help investors to rationalize certain functions and marginal costs. If you do not do something the same way every time you all can do it much faster and often save a lot of money at the same time.

Small shops, where the ownership remains in the hands of large corporations are well known to the following pattern. They are able to benefit even more from the individual store, because the corporation owns a very small store fronts. Many times they ensure the creation of new shop windows and buy in bulk. This saves even more money. Creating a cookie cutter store and perform the same function, and save a lot of time.








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Why Your Business Phones Need an Upgrade #business #advertising

#business phones

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Why Your Business Phones Need an Upgrade

The big issue for business is staying on top of its communications requirements. New technology is driving old phone systems beyond their design capabilities. The need now is for business phone systems which are scalable and customizable to manage real business operational needs.

The simple fact is that the baseline needs of business commercial systems are expanding. They need to be able to do a lot more, and manage much bigger demands. The office in your pocket approach to mobile systems alone is creating a reciprocal need for much better phone systems in-house. The big shift in commerce to eCommerce is adding a gigantic extra load on its own.

The point here is that more business equates to more demand for communications and increasing diversification of the need for different services. The time is long past since the days when a simple phone system of the old type can handle the multi-level range of communications a typical business experiences every day.

If you put all your different communications through a single stream system, the result is a range of obstacle courses. The new approach is to create dedicated servers (also known as private servers in the communications industry) to separate and manage the workloads. This is infinitely more efficient and far more productive than the stunningly slow and seemingly procedurally-obsessed single stream systems can ever be.

Consider this situation:

  • A call center receives 5000 calls a day for multiple clients.
  • On the receiving end of these calls are specialists, trained to manage specific tasks.
  • If these calls are managed on a single stream basis, the result is instant inefficiency. It s an entirely inappropriate system for a big call stream.
  • The calls need to be efficiently split up into their proper streams by definition.

This is just a bigger version of the basic issues for any business phone system. Whether you re NASA or a local grocery, you need your calls to get from A to B ASAP. It s impossible to justify the sheer waste of time and money in a phone system which effectively creates delays and a working backlog of business which could and should have been done a lot faster.

Upgrading for Better Business

The new options for telephone systems include two fundamentally different improvements. These are significant upgrades by nature, and they can set up a business system to operate on a fully customized, business-specific configuration with almost no effort required.

  • Private Servers: These are the real fixers for any business phone issues. Dedicated servers are not simply more efficient . They re real managers of communications workloads. They improve response times and service quality dramatically.
  • Contact Centres: The contact centres will ring more than a few bells with project managers and other businesspeople who know what managing a very diverse range of business operations involves. Contact centres are virtual phone systems, configurable to any operational requirements. They can literally create a working call center out of a box. If that sounds a bit different, you can also see the instant business applications.

Add both private servers and contact centres to your phone system, and you’ve achieved a major upgrade, scalable and appropriate for your business, both now and in future. This is good business, and these are the communications systems of the future.

Kushal Tomar is a valued contributor for CosmoBC’s TechBlog. You can follow him through the buttons below. View all posts by Kushal Tomar





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5 Small Business Magazines You Need to Be Reading #business #funding

#small business magazine

#

5 Must-Read Magazines for Your Small Business

You may be asking yourself, why am I soliciting print advice from a digital marketing resource center? Well, we at Get Busy Media find value in content that helps small businesses solve problems and grow; regardless of how and in what format this content is packaged. Today we’re going to take you through our five favorite small business magazines and why you, as a business owner, need to be consulting these resources.

Here are our top 5 small business magazines (and their tablet companions) :

1. Inc.

Inc. is the veritable bible for small business owners. If you were stuck on a desert island selling widgets and had only one magazine to consult from, I would recommend Inc hands down. This magazine is chock-full of amazing statistics, case studies, interviews and reviews about small business owners and startups who have found success and why. Too many young readers today are inundated with stories of successful tech startups. Rest assured that Inc. will provide you with a wide variety of successful small business stories. They will provide you with stories of why learning to tell jokes is good for business to a who’s who of crowdfunding platforms and which ones small businesses should leverage depending on their specific needs.

  • Get Real by Jason Fried – co-founder of 37 Signals (software company that created Basecamp) and author of Rework pens this column that normally appears between pages 35 and 40
  • Crunching the Numbers – I love the charts and graphs that are included in this section. For instance, did you know that the cities that experienced the greatest increase in the number of jobs at companies with fewer than 100 employees from August 10 to August 11 were Orlando, Atlanta and Greensboro, North Carolina (who would have guessed these cities?)
  • Tech Trends­­ – John Brandon does a great job with this column. He reviews all the latest gadgets and new technology that make your life as a small business owner easier.

iPad app: Appears that as of February, 2012 Inc. does not have an iPad app based on my extensive searches in the App. store that returned no results for this magazine.

2. Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur magazine is a must have for anyone looking to start a small business. Entrepreneur’s target is more narrowly focused than Inc’s but that’s what makes it so great. Within this magazine you will find every pain point imaginable to starting and running a profitable business (economy, work/life balance issues, co-founder discord, death of a co-founder, production issues, supply chain problems, to name just a few). You will find articles ranging from how a 14-year old kid started his own candle company based on manly scents (fresh cut grass, steak and wood chips, to name a few) to how two guys pivoted and turned their failing lifestyle website into a flash deals site and made a profit in the first month.

  • Lead Gen ­– Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs.com and Co-Author of Content Rules authors this column that speaks to the power of great content and how to reach your customers through online content.
  • Linked – Chris Brogan. Founder of Human Business Works and co-author of Trust Agents is one of the preeminent experts in relationship and digital marketing. If you have enough time to read only one column in this magazine each month, read his.

iPad app: This app needs some work. When you zoom in to read on the iPad, the text becomes difficult to read. The abundance of ads on this app is also bothersome and takes away from the overall experience.

Cost. Free (comes with Entrepreneur print subscription)

3. Fast Company

Of the three magazines we have reviewed thus far, Fast Company is certainly the edgiest and hippest. To be honest, there’s a reason why this publication is #3 on the list behind Inc and Entrepreneur. A salient example for those who like sports, is that Fast Company is to ESPN The Magazine what Inc. is to Sports Illustrated. SI is the preeminent resource in sports journalism in the United States, much as Inc. is widely regarded as the benchmark for publications for small businesses and startups. ESPN the Magazine on the other hand is flashy, heavy on images and graphics and appeals to a hipper, younger generation than Sports Illustrated. By no means is this a bad thing, but I felt that I should use this example to illustrate the difference between Fast Company and their approach versus Inc.’s approach.

One aspect of Fast Company that I enjoy much more than the previous two publications on this list is their long form feature stories. Fast Company’s featured stories tend to be much more content-rich and just plain longer in general than its counterparts. I love that I can sit down and read one of these stories and am captivated for 20 minutes.

  • Tech Edge­ – authored by Farhad Manjoo, this column is very similar to Tech Trends in Inc. just with a little more irreverence.

iPad app: Appears that as of February, 2012 Fast Company does not have an iPad app based on my extensive searches in the App. store that returned no results for this magazine.

4. Wired

Wired is an incredible magazine. I don’t care who you are, this magazine is always, always visually stunning and filled with incredible content about science and technology. There is no doubt in my mind that Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired. sits down with all departments within the company to ensure that design, content and layout all flow and play nice together. While this magazine tends to be very science and tech heavy, there are amazing pieces of information here that are applicable to small businesses, especially those who are progressive and technology-oriented.

  • Dear Mr. Know-it-all – this is an awesome column where Mr. Know it All fields questions from those looking to navigate their issues in the 21st century. Some questions may surprise you, but you’ll find the answers even more interesting.
  • Test – they test everything from Universal remotes to solar charges to ultrabooks – very neat column.

iPad app – amazing layout (which is par for the course for Wired) but loading the iPad edition by my count takes between 6 and 8 minutes (depending on the length of the issue), which in my opinion is tired not wired.

Cost. Free (comes with Wired print subscription)

5. Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek is obviously a behemoth in the business and financial news sector. While this periodical isn’t tailored specifically for small businesses and startups, there’s a ton of information you can cull from Bloomberg. The great thing about Bloomberg is that it’s laid out in a format that is easy-to-read and digestible. A few sections I particularly enjoy are the Technology and Companies and Industries sections. Both contain information that is pertinent for small businesses.

iPad app – I haven’t played around much with the app on my iPad but from my limited experience, this seems like another great app for the iPad

Cost. Free (comes with Bloomberg print subscription)

What do you think of my list of the top small business magazines? Who did I miss? Do you disagree with any of my choices? We would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.

About Jim Armstrong

Jim Armstrong is the Co-Founder of Get Busy Media and a paid search specialist. Since 2008, Jim has built his knowledge around emerging media and leveraged several experiences to develop a keen understanding of internet marketing. His core competencies include search marketing, SEO, email marketing, social media marketing and online reputation management. Jim currently works for Google, as an account manager. When not diving headfirst into his next project, Jim enjoys spending time with his family, fishing and writing. Jim on Google+

Comments

I love Forbes online and have followed some of their contributors in particular.





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Buying a Business: What You Need to Know #small #business #assistance

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Buying a Business: What You Need to Know

For some people, buying an existing business is a better option than starting one from scratch. Why? Because someone else has done much of the legwork for you, such as establishing a customer base, hiring employees, and negotiating a lease. Still, you’ll need to do some thorough research to make sure that what you see is what you’ll get.

What Type of Business Should You Buy?

Look for a business that has some connection to types of work you’ve done in the past, classes you’ve taken, or perhaps skills you’ve developed through a hobby. It’s almost always a mistake to buy a business you know little about, no matter how good it looks. For one thing, your lack of knowledge about the industry might cause you to overpay. And if you do buy the business, you’ll have to struggle up a steep learning curve afterward.

But do try to choose a business that you’re excited by. It’s easier to succeed in business when you enjoy the work you’re doing. To learn more, read Start the Right New Business for You.

Finding a Business to Buy

As you begin your hunt for the perfect company, consider starting close to home. For instance, if you’re currently employed by a small business you like, find out whether the present owner would consider selling. Or, ask business associates and friends for leads on similar businesses that may be on the market. Many of the best business opportunities surface by word of mouth — and are snapped up before their owners ever list them for sale.

Other avenues to explore include newspaper or online ads, trade associations, real estate brokers, and business suppliers. Finally, there are business brokers — people who earn a commission from business owners who need help finding buyers. It’s fine to use a broker to help locate a business opportunity, but it’s foolish to rely on a broker — who doesn’t make a commission until a sale is made — for advice about the quality of a business or the fairness of its selling price.

Research the Business’s History and Finances

Before you seriously consider buying a particular business, find out as much as you can about it. Thoroughly review copies of the business’s certified financial records, including cash flow statements, balance sheets, accounts payable and receivable, employee files including benefits and any employee contracts, and major contracts and leases, as well as any past lawsuits and other relevant information.

This review (lawyers call it “due diligence”) will not only help you understand how the company ticks, but will alert you to potential problems. For instance, if a major contract like a lease prohibits you from taking it over without the landlord or other party’s permission, you won’t want to finalize the deal without getting that permission.

Don’t be shy about asking for information about the business, and if the seller refuses to supply it, or if you find any misinformation, this may be a sign that you should look elsewhere. For an extensive list of questions you’ll want answered before committing to a purchase, see The Complete Guide to Buying a Business . by Fred S. Steingold (Nolo).

Closing the Deal

If you’ve thoroughly investigated a company and wish to go ahead with a purchase, there are a few more steps you’ll have to take. First, you and the owner will have to agree on a fair purchase price. A good way to do this is to hire an experienced appraiser. Next, you and the business owner will agree on which assets you’ll buy (such as a building and equipment) and the terms of payment. Most often, businesses are purchased on an installment plan, with a sizable down payment.

After you have outlined the terms on which you and the seller agree, you’ll need to create a written sales agreement and possibly have a lawyer review it before you sign on the dotted line. One good resource is The Complete Guide to Buying a Business . by Fred S. Steingold (Nolo), which contains a fill-in-the-blank sales agreement. Or if you’d prefer to hire a lawyer for help with this document-intensive process, Nolo’s Lawyer Directory will provide you with detailed personal profiles of lawyers in your area — all of whom have taken a pledge to treat their clients with respect.





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What You Need to Know About Stock Markets Today #bank #business #loans

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What You Need to Know About Stock Markets Today

By Anne Kates Smith | October 2010

Thanks to electronic trading, the stock market is wilder than ever.

Editor’s Note: We are re-featuring this guide to understanding the markets in light of the announcement on February 15 that the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange has agreed to merge with Deutsche Boerse. The merger would create the world’s largest operator of financial markets. Deutsche Boerse shareholders would own 60% of the merged company; NYSE Euronext shareholders, 40%. The text below has been updated since publication in the October 2010 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and the data is as of February 16, 2011.

1. There’s no “there” there. You may picture a bustling exchange, where commerce begins and ends with the clang of a bell. But the “stock market” is an increasingly fragmented collection of more than 50 trading platforms, almost all electronic, with various protocols, rules and oversight.

2. The Big Board has shrunk. Images of the New York Stock Exchange still dominate business-news broadcasts. But, in fact, just 34% of the trading volume in stocks listed on the NYSE actually occurs on the exchange, down from 79% in 2005. Nasdaq, the first electronic exchange, accounts for about one-fifth of all U.S. stock trading. Newer exchanges, such as Direct Edge, in Jersey City, N.J. and BATS Exchange, in Kansas City, Mo. each account for about 10% of trading volume. About 30% of U.S. trading volume takes place off exchanges.

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3. ECNs are the new matchmakers. Electronic communication networks match up buy and sell orders at specified prices for institutional investors and brokers. This is where “after-hours” trading occurs. In addition, hundreds of broker-dealers execute trades internally, filling orders out of their own inventory.

4. Some trades are shrouded in mystery. You’ve heard of dark stars. Now there are dark pools — private networks, sponsored by securities firms, where professionals trade without displaying price quotes to the public beforehand. Such dark pools account for more than 10% of stock-trading volume. The Securities and Exchange Commission wants to make dark pools more transparent to avoid a two-tier market that denies the public important pricing information.

5. You’re sure to get the best price — most days. According to an SEC rule, your trade is supposed to be routed to the platform with the best price at that moment. But when some venues aren’t functioning as normal, exchanges may override the rule. The rule didn’t apply during the “flash crash” of May 2010, when an intentional slowdown on the NYSE caused orders to be routed elsewhere, at lower prices.

6. There are fewer traffic cops. In the old days, specialists and market makers kept markets liquid by stepping up to buy — or sell — when a stampede of investors headed the other way. Now, not all exchanges require market makers. High-frequency traders, who program computers to profit from minute price discrepancies and can execute trades in milliseconds, were supposed to fill the void. But they don’t have to, despite the fact that they often account for 50% or more of total trading volume.

7. Stoplights are coming. A pilot plan, recently extended until April, calls for stock-by-stock circuit breakers that would be applicable across all trading platforms. The plan currently applies to stocks in Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, the Russell 1000 index and certain exchange-traded funds, and calls for a trading pause if the share price changes by 10% within a five-minute period. Since December, market makers in exchange-listed securities have been required to maintain continuous buy and sell quotes within a certain range of a security’s most recent share price, putting an end to occasionally ridiculous quotes, far removed from prevailing prices, that were never meant to be executed.





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How to Name Your Business: 10 Things You Need to Know #office #depot #business

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Picking a killer name for your business is harder than it might seem.

One of the things to think about when choosing a company name is how it will look in the subject line of an email, according to cloud-based analytics company DataHero. Then there’s how it will sound when it’s said aloud. A number of leading companies in recent history have chosen names with between five and 10 letters and at least one hard consonant: Google. Starbucks, Verizon.

Before naming your company. check out these tips from entrepreneurs who have been through the process, some of whom have even named the same company more than once.

1. Don’t rush the process.

There’s no set amount of time it should take for you to settle on a name for your company, but know that it could take six months of iterating before you make a final decision. An important thing to remember is to continue working on other aspects of the business as you get closer to picking a name, says Charlie Miner, founder of furniture and lighting e-commerce company WorkOf. “You don’t want the process of naming to prevent you from moving the business forward,” he says.

2. Think about your audience.

Venture capital database CB Insights was initially founded under the name Chubby Brain, something co-founder Anand Sanwal says represented his attempt to come up with a name that was cool, funky, and “startup-sounding.” Sanwal’s philosophy changed after he heard from the investment banks and other institutional clients that would be citing his startup’s data in their marketing materials. “Nobody wanted to put ‘Source: Chubby Brain’ at the bottom of a deck, because it’s not a real big credibility builder,” Sanwal says.

3. Make it easy to spell.

It’s okay to use unique spelling, a la Chick-fil-A, but don’t make your company’s name so unconventional that it’s hard to remember. “I’ve seen some startup names where I’ll think, was that four ‘E’s’ or three?” CB Insights’s Sanwal says.

4. Short is better than long.

Not every company can have a short, simple, one-syllable name like Box, Dell, or Lyft, but if you come up with a great long name and a great short name, you should probably go with the short one. Acquiring the rights to short web domain names, however, can be pricey, if not impossible, so make sure to check the availability of your desired URL first.

5. Factor in search engine optimization.

Making your company easy to find in search engines is an important consideration when picking a name. If you’re going to use a proper noun for your name, you should think about how that decision will impact SEO. Choosing a common term like “Bell,” for example, would make it hard to place your company on the first (or second) page of search results on Google.

6. Enlist a focus group (or groups).

Once you have a shortlist of names you like, it’s a good idea to see how other people respond to each one. “Survey as many people as you can,” says Bridie Loverro, co-founder of QuadJobs, an online marketplace connecting college and grad students to local employers. “The name to choose may not necessarily be the one people like best, but the one they remember most.”

7. Keep your options open.

Having to change your name after pivoting from one business model to another isn’t the end of the world, but if you can pivot and still retain the brand identity you’ve already built up, that’s ideal. Picking a name that doesn’t pigeonhole your company to one specific service will help. “The goal is to create something that is broad enough to intuitively answer who you are and that speaks to your core customer base, but also gives you room to grow into other areas,” says Logan Sugarman, co-founder of wellness concierge service Refresh Body.

8. Keep mobile in mind.

If customers can buy your products through a mobile app, you might want to factor in how your company name will look on a mobile app icon. A friendly sounding name like Shopify might also lend itself better to mobile users compared a three-letter acronym that doesn’t convey anything about your brand.

9. Don’t obsess over a descriptive name.

The name of your company doesn’t have to make it clear what your business is. While it helps to reference the spirit of your brand in some way (think: food delivery company Seamless), avoid a name that sounds specific to an entirely different industry. As Neil Patel, co-founder of web analytics company Crazy Egg writes, the name NomNom suggests food, and therefore doesn’t work if you’re starting a financial services software-as-a-service company.

10. Make the name visually distinctive.

After you pick your name, you should consider adding a custom feature that makes the brand more than just the word or words in the title. Some examples include unconventional capitalization, combining two words into one, or adding a unique design touch, like the curled “C” in the first letter of the bedding startup Casper. “It’s about developing a more fully fleshed out visual identity,” says WorkOf’s Miner.





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