A weekly roundup of small-business developments.
What’s affecting me, my clients and other small-business owners this week.
The Election: A Second Term
President Obama wins but Nate Silver wins bigger. Here is one voter who’s definitely happy! Roseanne places fifth. Small-business owners are divided, and stocks plunge 300 points the next day. Small-business experts weigh in on Mr. Obama’s second term. J.D. Harrison lists five things the election will mean for small businesses. J. Jennings Moss says the re-election will bring opportunities for entrepreneurs. Michael Gowan lists five technology initiatives for the second term, and here is what’s next for Obamacare. Rich Miller and Steve Matthews say the economy is set for better times, and Ezra Klein says America could have survived with either Mitt Romney or Mr. Obama as president. Roger Johnston explains how he hacked an electronic voting machine, and dead candidates win elections in Florida and Alabama. Mark Cuban says, “you would think that the candidate with the most business experience would be best prepared to build a national organization that ran like clockwork and made the final difference in the election. You would be wrong.” Amanda MacArthur explains how some small businesses took advantage of election marketing for foot traffic. A coal company lays off workers and blames the president. This is now the most retweeted tweet ever.
Sandy: How Your Business Can Help
Bank of America projects small-business customers will need $2.5 billion to recover from Hurricane Sandy. This is how your business can help the storm victims. Jerry Seinfeld reaches out to those affected. The Internal Revenue Service extends payment and filing deadlines for companies in the disaster zone. (Don’t get too weepy: it also plans to step up its small-business audits in 2013.) Here is where business is brisk after the storm. Laurie Kulikowski explains how small businesses and social media saved her town: “the resiliency I’ve seen over the past week by local businesses has been uplifting, especially as the nation talks about the fragility of our small-business economy and how important hiring and supporting these businesses is during a difficult economy.” The Small Business Administration hosts a webinar on how to prepare for the winter. Employers struggle with how to pay people who missed work.
The Economy: Odds of Recession?
For the first time in nine years, McDonald’s same-store sales fall. The editors at Global Economic Intersection are concerned about the worsening geopolitical system, and the staff at Der Spiegel thinks America is in decline. Cullen Roche puts the odds of recession at 100 percent. Stan Collender thinks the 2013 budget debate will be “a train wreck.” Growth in the service sector slows and Suzuki ends car sales in the United States. Earnings season is ugly all around. The trucking industry continues to have driver shortage problems (pdf). But gas prices continue to drop and the National Retail Federation reports that small businesses are expecting better holiday sales. Bankruptcy filings are down.
Management: Ready to Export?
Coffee shops might do better if they just used plain English. Chuck Pagano gives an inspiring speech. David Heinemeier Hansson says that in order to “follow the goal creep” you must set small goals. Giuseppe Colombi offers five qualities of a successful microbusiness owner, including “the ability to identify qualities in others.” John A. Lizotte offers six steps to assess whether your small business is ready to export, and Jeff Haden shares seven tips for finding a great overseas supplier. A small printing company suggests 11 essential movies for entrepreneurs, and this video condenses the top 250 movies into two and a half minutes. A business owner has a wrenching battle with Sears.
Finance: Firing Your Accountant
A study finds credit has improved for small-business owners. Richard Branson has thoughts on how to delegate control of your finances: “There’s no better way to do that than through personal visits to staff and customers.” Debbie Dragon explains when to fire your accountant. Here are a few thoughts on when it is time to buy second-hand or surplus equipment. Here is what you need to know about crowdfunding. Christopher Null explains six Kickstarter nightmares and how to prevent them. Bonuses on Wall Street head up. Google Ventures increases its funds.
Mobile, Text and E-Mail: A Sneaky Trick
With enterprises equipping employees for mobile work, sales of smartphones and tablets will surpass the one billion mark in 2013, according to Gartner Research. New research indicates that mobile local ad revenues will grow to $5.8 billion in 2016 from $664 million in 2011. Google’s Osama Bedier explains why the digital wallet is key to the marketplace, and Square is now accepting payments for Starbucks lattes. Here are five ways to track calls generated by mobile ads. Matthew Johnson argues that when done properly, text-message marketing can work for your customers. Josh Grillo has a sneaky trick for making e-mails stand out in a crowded in-box. Here are some great ways to use photos in e-mails to get more subscriber action.
Social Media: Viral Video
Here are 11 “shocking” social media statistics. Siobhan Baranian explains what happens when companies don’t use social media in a professional way, and here’s some advice on creating a social media policy for your company. Here are seven lessons in creating a truly social business. Chris Marentis thinks that you can increase your fan base exponentially with Facebook’s promoted and sponsored stories. This spoof of viral videos went viral, and it seems as if Google’s “House View” may be going too far! Philip Nowak explains how to manage Klout scores. Here are 20 content marketing lessons from Jimi Hendrix. Paige Arnof-Fenn shares some secrets for content branding.
Sales and Marketing: Gerber Babies Meet
John Jantsch has a three-step approach for finding profitable clients. Misty Young says this is the second easiest customer to acquire. Ilana Rabinowitz says her favorite “Mad Men” clip explains “why we do marketing.” Ashley Furness shares the secret to Ritz-Carlton’s customer-service mojo. A marketing company suggests that e-books should be part of your marketing strategy. The oldest and newest Gerber baby meet each other (neither one would want to mess with this baby).
Around the Country: A Favorite Small Business
Valpak looks for North America’s favorite small business. Cloud-based VoIP provider Phonebooth plans to award $20,000 to the most innovative small business. Skype introduces a small-business community. Here’s why a Dutch start-up chose to make its home in New York. Staples plans to become Amazon’s national “locker room.” This is your official unofficial holiday calendar.
Around the World: Grinding to a Halt
This is Global Entrepreneurship Week, and the president proclaims November National Entrepreneurship Month. Factory orders slump in Germany. The service sectors in China (pdf) and Britain expand at a weaker pace. Athens grinds to a halt. Here is everything you need to know about China’s mysterious leadership transition. Nestlé predicts that 50 percent of its sales will come from emerging markets. Miami, Dubai and London are among the top global cities enjoying double-digit property appreciation.
Technology: Tablet Wars
A paperlike display can show video, and a Twitter-activated vending machine wows the crowds. Here are five strange scientific breakthroughs to make you think. Researchers at Rice University and Lockheed Martin may have developed a low-cost method of creating longer-lasting, high-capacity lithium-ion batteries. Many small businesses are willing to dump their iPads and Android tablets for the Surface as competitors challenge Apple’s grip on the tablet market. Gizmag has a good tablet comparison guide. Pearlie Davis shares a few awesome smart phone apps for entrepreneurs and small businesses. PC Magazine updates its list of the 100 best iPad apps. More small businesses are tapping into the cloud for efficiency. Jonathan Feldman has ways to survive the coming I.T. apocalypse.
Tweets of the Week
@KnowledgeBishop If today’s customer has a question, they don’t visit your website, they search Google.
@gitomer: It’s not about right or wrong — it’s how you react to and handle the problem
@mikevanhorn: Growth killing attitude: “I need skilled employees,” but “I’m afraid I’m training my own competition.”
Bests of the Week
Mark Thoma warns that Hurricane Sandy is testing our resolve to preserve capitalism: “If inequality and the economic and political power that come with it continue to grow, the belief that capitalism is unfair could become widespread. This, in turn, could bring about the kinds of changes to the market system that free-market advocates fear so much.”
Mike Myatt explains five things every leader should know to preserve his or her span of control: “Don’t focus on the team you inherit, focus on the team you need — if they happen to be one and the same, consider yourself lucky. Are you looking for doers, thinkers or teachers? Do you want to build a team of tactical geniuses, or brilliant strategists, or sage mentors? Compromise has its place, but not where matters of talent are concerned.”
This Week’s Question: Would you buy a Surface?