This Week in Small Business: News and information to boost the financial state of the union

money-public-domainWhile President Obama and the Republican Congress argue over who has the best plan for the middle class, small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs continue to take matters into their own hands.

If you’re in that group, some of these articles and news stories from this week should help you achieve your goals. Find the topics that concern and interest you most, then dig in.

Leadership and Inspiration

Are you looking to pick up some college coursework to boost your small business success, or need to give college degree advice to a family member or friend. Here are five degrees good for small business success. And while you’re at it here are seven marketing skills you should pick up and how/where to learn them.

Women, including Millennials, are taking the reins of leadership today and changing the way business is done.

In this three-minute video, Inc. President and Editor-In-Chief Eric Schurenberg details several very successful businesses that got started on the proverbial shoe string…and some very short ones at that.

Of course, it usually comes down to working with a great team. Here are ways to keep them motivated.


Add together the data from your apps, your fitness band, your car’s onboard GPS and other devices, and the picture marketers have of you will be virtually complete! On the other hand, much of our data still delivers a great quantity of information, but few qualitative insights. We need to get beyond demographics and “likes.”

Revenue Marketing: How to get your sales and marketing departments to not only communicate but collaborate. And here’s a primer on the differences between sales and marketing.

Content comes in a variety of forms. Dan Newman thinks a Podcast is one form that your small business should be using, NOW! Maybe you can use a podcast to help you achieve micro-fame. And if you’re using visual content, understanding and managing these metrics can boost engagement. Finally, here are four very practical examples of Youtube videos you can be publishing.

Email marketing tenaciously holds its ground in the digital world. Here’s why it works and here are 10 ingredients for a successful campaign.

Social media marketing continues to evolve quickly and Signpost CEO Stuart Wall thinks small business may be losing interest in Facebook and Yelp. On the other hand, the sharing economy – think AirBnB, Uber, Etsy – may be the bigger player.

“I love it when a plan comes together.” – John “Hannibal” Smith, The A-team, and if you want to create buzz for your small biz, first you must write a killer marketing plan. Jim Joseph, North American president of the New York-based communications agency Cohn & Wolfe, lays out step number one and you may want to keep it agile.

Government, politics, money and the economy

The way the SEC treats small business seems to be sending the message: We’re just not that into you! Congress needs to act. In that spirit, House Small Business Committee chairman Rep. Steve Chabot says he’ll focus on reducing taxes as well as cutting regulations issued by the IRS and EPA.

Gallup has been watching the trends in startups and business failures for decades. It looks like a clear winner has emerged, and it’s not very good news. However, in these 14 cities perhaps things are a little better.

The sudden drop in the price of oil is reverberating throughout private enterprise, public spending and personal finances. AP writer Henry C.J. Jackson does a good job providing an overview of economic impacts.

Venture capital and crowdfunding can both contribute to the success of startups and expansion projects. They aren’t mutually exclusive. But your ultimate success may depend on your ability to raise money like a rockstar.

Analysts continue to ponder the impact a weak European economy will have on the US, while the IMF cuts its global economic growth forecast.

Operations and Practical advice

There’s a lot of competition in mobile payment technology so small business owners have many options. And with the partnership between PayPal and Microsoft’s Surface operating system, the playing field just got a bit bigger.

Keeping customers is so much more cost effective than drumming up new ones. Learn these five loyalty lessons from the biggest customer experience headlines of 2014.

2015 should be a year of growth. Be sure you manage it right and maintain your company’s culture and train people properly. Also, be sure any graphics you develop this year look up-to-date.

Are you reluctant to get outside help to deal with your back office accounting/bookkeeping chores? Consider bringing someone in for a few hours who might know today’s systems better than you. A consultant might be able help you decide how much cash on hand you should have.

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