This Week in Small Business: Predictions and Practical Advice

640px-AVE-Mizar-1973-N68X-XL (1)Success in small business is a constantly moving target and if you want to hit it, you need to move with it. Check out this current news and information to keep yourself well positioned.

Politics and Government

Small business deductions as well as the corporate tax rate are issues likely to be considered by the new Congress. Will it be gridlock-as-usual or will meaningful legislation come out of Washington, D.C.? One promising development is that among the newcomers to Congress are several entrepreneurs. Take a few minutes to get to know them.

Over in Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn just signed a law that requires businesses with more than 25 employees to have a retirement plan.

Small Businesses are snubbing the federal SHOP health exchanges when seeking coverage. Owners and brokers blame limited tax credits and few options.

Small Biz Inspiration

Beer sales are down overall by about 2 percent but craft beer sales are up 17 percent. There may be a lesson here for small business owners.

Need an “Ahhh” moment? You’ll love what this young entrepreneur did with her holiday down time.

Scroll through these 15 startup ideas if you’re looking for a new venture or plan to expand.

This really doesn’t belong under the topic of “Inspiration” – “Warning” would have been a more suitable heading. But no matter how it’s categorized, this cautionary tale of failure turned into success offers sound teaching.


January is a good time to take stock of your business and how you’re leveraging inbound marketing. And while you’re at it, see you’re using funnels properly and reaching Generation Y prospects.

Make sure your sales reps are using the marketing content you’ve taken such pains to create. And since it’s the beginning of the year, it’s time to come up with your content marketing plan.

Of course you’ll want to measure leads, sales revenue, and growth, but what other data should you consider? As we head into a new year, Geektime lists five marketing KPIs you need to track in 2015.

Here’s what the top agency, digital and brand players have to say about creative digital marketing in the year 2015. Want a quick preview? Automation and people are both up; Facebook is down. Adobe’s Suresh Vittal has a few differing views for 2015, including the “lonesome death” of organic search.

Mark your calendars and attend some of the innovative 2015 marketing events across the nation.

Economy and Finance

A big chunk of the economic good news can be attributed to improvements at small companies. For those of you who would like to take a deeper look – including graphs – review this report from Intuit.

Concern about taxes replaces sales as the biggest problem for small businesses. This is good news.

Small business lending – loans less than $1 million – continues to lag. And if you need proof, lending fell in November.

More venture capital funds were closed in 2014 (308) than in 2013 (247), but the number of funds was still lower than in any year from 2010 to 2012.

Tomorrow Today

It’s possible that the next hot career will be marketing professionals who are experts in creating 360-degree cyber experiences. At least the tech gurus behind the Oculus Rift headset think so.

The only job requirement for being a futurist is to be wrong more often than right. I wonder how many of these predictions will come true in 2015.

CES Highlights

5 things we learned at CES Tuesday: Devices are getting thinner, smarter and healthier (for us) while Sony is partying like it’s 1979.

Some say that CES is as much about how business owners will connect with their customers and prospects as it is about cool new gadgets, especially when so much marketing is channeled through those cool new gadgets…

If you’ve been stuck battling the record low temps, take a virtual vacation to Las Vegas and check out Wired’s top picks from CES 2015 and then scan what PC Magazine thinks are the best of the best…especially if you’re big into making your own roti. Also, five gadgets that may change the way you work.

Image: “AVE-Mizar-1973-N68X-XL” by Doug Duncan – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.