This Week in Small Business: Floyd Mayweather, Ben and Jerry, and Net Neutrality

fight for successIt looks like we have a neutral net now – whether it’s good or bad, time will tell – but both sides are presented below. I hope it makes us more productive, but in any case, this weeks’ edition includes a lot of productivity tips you can use right now.

Leadership, Management and Productivity

I suppose the FCC had to pass the new “Net Neutrality” regulations so we could find out what is in them. Some entrepreneurs think they will be beneficial to startups. However, many oppose the sweeping change and a legal fight is in the offing.

Have you considered attending a small business conference conducted by the US government? Here are five reasons it may be worth the trip.

What kind of vibe does your business give its customers? That may have something to do with why small biz owners admire Ben & Jerry’s more than Uber and even more than Apple.

Do you have some customers that you just need to fire? Customer service guru Shep Hyken puts the situation in perspective and tells you when it’s okay to move on with a contentious customer.

There’s even a business magazine called Street Fight, so maybe these leadership lessons from Floyd Mayweather are just what the doctor ordered. But if you’re fighting to keep your employees productive, is it time to employ some digital snoops?

More on productivity: All harried small biz owners need to take a deep breath and review these 7 tips for better productivity. And before we leave the subject, small business owners are boosting productivity and lowering overhead by leveraging remote teams. Here are four ways to manage them.

Every so often we need to take a look at how Obamacare is impacting small businesses and entrepreneurs. Here’s the view from the insurance industry. Also: If your business is offering employees a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) the IRS says it won’t start levying the $100-per-day-per-employee fines until July.

Some of the big players in retail are investing heavily in both “clicks and bricks.” What can you learn from their strategies and challenges?

See if you have these 15 websites bookmarked. Every small business owner should browse these and check out what they offer.

Although she’s writing explicitly about clothing startups, much of what Liam Massaubi has to say about the main causes of failure apply to a wide range of small businesses.

Marketing and sales

Did you “work and play well with others” in Kindergarten? If so, you should be a natural at using “Together Marketing” in your business.

If you can understand all the dimensions of social validation you’ll be better able to leverage it for the promotion of your business.

Pinterest can be a difficult beast to tame. Here’s how one marketing firm is attacking the challenge. While we’re on the topic, here are more Pinterest insights.

Is a Vulcan mind meld the next step in marketing? That may be going a little too far, but the science of neuromarketing and social influence is bringing new understanding and changes.

Avoid these traps if you want to hire the best sales people for your team.

Locally owned camera shop George’s Camera in San Diego has managed to stay relevant despite being surrounded by the big box world. Here’s how they’re doing it.

Take advantage of these three easy ways to leverage user-generated content in your marketing. More news you can use: 7 tips to help you improve your email opt-in rates.

Stephen Key, inventor, author, speaker and co-founder of InventRight, LLC, learned everything he knows about sales by selling on the street. Lessons learned the hard way are lessons well learned.

Apple Pay and other digital wallet apps could be great marketing tools, but marketers have some work to do first.

Food companies are fattening up their bank accounts with these marketing strategies aimed at various specialized diets. There may be some ideas here that will be a marketing recipe for success in your business.

NPR took to the streets and gathered up a group of Millennials to see how to best market to them. Here’s a hint: Beyonce.

Entrepreneurship and startups

To create real market disruption with your B2B startup, you need to be selling to small business, not the big enterprises, says Thomas Bartman in the Harvard Business Review.

Are you wondering if you’d make a good entrepreneur? Here’s an online test to find out. And if you want to start out as a digital nomad, this site gives you all the info on cities around the world. Finally, how can you know if your startup idea is investable? VC Christina Bechhold offers some guidance.

When some people are given lemons, they make lemonade, Melissa Ben-Ishay made cupcakes and started an empire. Here’s her story in her words.

Entrepreneurs aren’t saving for retirement. You need to understand why before you can fix the problem.

We have certainly been going through a Golden Age of Startups, but Neil Blumenthal thinks it’s about to end. Some will survive, some won’t. Here’s how Blumenthal predicts the winners. (Anyone know how his Oscar picks did?)

Not every startup has to be centered on bringing the next killer app to market. Sometimes industries that have been around since the dawn of civilization can use updating, like funerals. Others are new-ish: Marijuana legalization has created an entire new…well, new legal business sector. Sam Becker says it’s the most innovative in the country.

Erica Nicole, founder of YFS Magazine (Young, Fabulous and Self-Employed) takes a look at where entrepreneurship is headed this year and beyond. The folks at CrowdSpring take a different approach, looking to the Supreme Court for guidance. Really.

Politics, government and the economy

There’s a bill in Congress that would increase the capacity of trucks but not increase their allowable weight. It could boost efficiency and lower fuel consumption.

If you make big cash transactions understand how the IRS can make seizures first and ask questions later…maybe way later.

Despite the fact that leaders of both parties say they want to make the small business tax breaks permanent, it’s not going to happen, says J.D. Harrison in the Washington Post.

Small business loans have been a major headline in recent months. Positioning themselves to ride that wave of interest, Staples has teamed up with online lending portal Lendio to facilitate small businesss loans.

The latest quarterly small business index from Gallup and Wells Fargo shows that small business owners started the year in a very good mood. Further, the positive outlook ratcheted up every quarter in 2014.

The Experian/Moody’s Small Business Credit Index hit a new high, but many small businesses just don’t want to take out a loan right now.

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