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Should You Partner with Another Company? Four Questions to Ask First

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Once your business has picked up a bit of press and is generating buzz, you’re bound to start getting calls from other businesses asking if they can partner with you. Maybe all they want to do is exchange website links. Other times, they may want to combine resources to get a better deal on supplies or services, or they might request that you promote their products in exchange for a commission.

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Finding Allies in your Community

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In more prosperous times, businesses were advised to budget a good amount of money for marketing. During this economic downturn I have learned that while businesses scrape by, money for marketing is scarce and many innovative business owners are learning to reach out to fellow small businesses as a new low to no-cost method to spread the word for their goods and services.

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From Local To Global Small Business: 5 Best Practices That Make It Happen

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Looking ahead ten years, it is easy for me to see that nearly every single person on the planet will have a global small business that hopefully will become BIG someday. This evolution will be similar to the shift from black and white television to color. If you had tried to watch black and white television for the rest of your life — which some consumers attempted to do because they didn’t have the money to buy a color set or hated change — that set someday would die. At some point, to repair it would have cost far more than a brand new color TV. So whether they liked it or not, consumers had to move with the masses and upgrade to the new color technology. They soon discovered it was the coolest invention ever and the best investment that money could buy! That’s how I envision the radical shift from small business to global small business.

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Making Time for the Family

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“It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year.” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” “Joy to The World.” “Deck the Halls.” “Jingle Bells.”

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Should You Allow Your Employees to Nap at Work?

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If a salesperson came knocking with a no-cost, scientifically proven way to help your employees be more productive, would you answer the door? If that person then told you to let your staff — and yourself — take a nap during business hours, would you send them packing?

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All in the Family

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A & J is a sheetmetal manufacturer located in the heart of Silicon Valley. The majority of the company’s business involves precision sheetmetal fabrication for high-tech manufacturing companies all over the world. Amrik Atwal started the business in 1994 and his wife, Jagtar, soon joined in 1996. The company has weathered the storms of the dot-com era and the recent economic downturn, and is focused on continuing growth.

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How to Convert Your Garage into an Office

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If you have a small business, most entrepreneurs like yourself start with a home-based office to save money. But if your home is too small to house your office, what should you do? Many people convert their garage into an office to have a quiet refuge from their kids, their pets, or a spouse who may also be working in the home.

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In the Trenches: Are Customer Newsletters Worth It?

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As someone who is frequently bombarded with spammy newsletters from a million different sources, I-m always hesitant to add another newsletter to the mix. After a year of only sending infrequent emails when news came up, I decided the time had come for our business to get started with something more formal. I just needed to make sure we did it right.

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Tech Review: Motorola CommandOne Bluetooth Headset

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With laws forbidding handheld mobile phone use while driving on the books in at least eight states and many more localities, a wireless headset is a must for anyone who needs to phone on the go. The CommandOne Bluetooth headset from Motorola is one example of the latest generation of wireless headsets that pack a lot of features and performance into a very small package.

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Using Conference Calling to Get Customer Feedback

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Despite talk this week of tax cuts and federal stimulus, the U. S. economy will face severe challenges for some time to come. Small businesses have been especially hard hit by the difficulties imposed by the current economic climate and many small business owners are trying to figure out how to help their businesses grow by using technology in creative ways.

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Small Biz in the Big Apple – Intuit Money Matters Town Hall Series

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Drew Raphael always knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur. Yet, he never imagined that after his corporate marketing job was downsized that his entrepreneurial spirit would lead him to start Dead Apple Tours. It-s a unique Big Apple experience that guides tourists (in a hearse, of course) around New York City to visit the locations where the famous have passed away. Raphael admits that some of his biggest concerns are remaining competitive in a tough tourism market and taking risks in order to grow his business.

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Small Business Owners Are Social but Not Self-Promoting

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You like your social networks, but you’re not necessarily using them to pump up your business. That’s the message of a new survey, conducted by Discover, which shows the number of small business owners who belong to at least one social site has nearly tripled during the past three years. But while 59% of respondents said they’d joined a social network site as of October, only 29% have actually used social media to promote their business.

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How To Sell on Ebay - Part 3

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In this discussion of selling on Ebay, Betsy1951, a vintage dolls and toys seller from Dallas, Texas, is providing us with her wealth of knowledge as a successful online Ebay seller. Below is the third and final article of this series. (Parts one and two are here.)

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How To Sell on Ebay - Part 2

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This is part two of a series of three articles interviewing -Betsy1951″ (part one here), a vintage dolls and toys seller from Dallas, Texas. She offers her advice as a successful Ebay online seller since 1999.

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The Small Business Year in Review and Outlook 2011

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As we reached the final days of 2010, we took the pulse of small businesses in America to hear both their biggest challenges and greatest rewards from 2010 as well as their perspective of what’s to come in 2011. While small businesses are still feeling the brunt of the recession, they enter 2011 motivated to grow and with realistic expectations.

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O Christmas Tree: A Closer Look at the Industry

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For those who celebrate, it wouldn-t be Christmas for a lot of folks without the smell of pine in their homes. For others, evergreens mean allergies, high price tags, or a lot of set up effort, so they opt for artificial trees.

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Will Retail Rebound This Holiday Season?

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The jury-s still out on whether or not we can declare the 2010 holiday shopping season as a rebound year for retailers, but early indicators look promising. The average U. S. holiday shopper spent $22 more during Black Friday weekend this year than last year, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales grew 9 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

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Should You Hire a Contractor or an Employee?

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Have you ever wondered whether you should hire an employee as a full-timer or as a contractor? In this next installment of our payroll * - series, sponsored by Intuit Online Payroll, Rhonda Abrams tells you what you should be thinking about as you make this decision.

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Tips for Managing Your Online Reviews

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More than 95 million messages are tweeted via Twitter each day. People spend 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook. And to date more than 12 million reviews have been written on Yelp.

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Finally Open for Business

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I can hardly believe Harmony Music Studio has been open for well over a month now. The last few months have been overwhelmingly busy and stressful, but the reward has far outweighed any hardship.

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5 Ways to Use Less Paper (and Save Money) Around the Office

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Reducing or eliminating paper at the office has so many potential business benefits that it’s hard to believe companies of every size still consume so much of it. According to CNN, American workers print, copy, and fax trillions of sheets of paper per year. When you consider the other pulp products — sticky notes, notepads, envelopes, pamphlets, business cards, calendars, paychecks, and legal documents — that routinely cross our desks, we really do use an inordinate amount of paper.

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New Intuit Green Grants for Small Businesses

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As part of Intuit-s celebration of Earth Day 2010, we introduced the Local Hero Challenge, a small business sustainability assesment tool. It was developed in partnership with B Lab, a non-profit that certifies and supports a new type of company, called B Corporations, which use the power of business to solve social and environmental issues. The Local Hero Challenge looks at five attributes – environment, consumers, community, employees and accountability - to help small business owners assess and promote the positive impact their business has on their community.

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IRS Offers New Guidance on Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

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The taxman cometh, and the taxman will most certainly taketh — but in the meantime, the taxman giveth. The IRS recently issued final instructions and forms for small businesses hoping to take advantage of the new health care credit for the 2010 tax year. The credit, created as part of the recent federal health care reform, allows eligible businesses to claim up to 35% of their employee health insurance costs on their tax return.

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The Next Decade-s Growth Industries

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The U. S. Bureau of labor Statistics released a report forecasting the industries that will experience the greatest job growth and declines over the next decade. Their top 10 growth industries are:

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Making Your Small Business -Word of Mouth- Worthy

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I recently attended the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Summit in Las Vegas. It-s an annual get-together of corporate-types from large companies, advertising agencies and consultancies for the purpose of -sharing best practices on creating talkable brands.- I listened to presentations from marketers of well-known brands ranging from Coca-Cola and ESPN to Jamba Juice and Best Buy and now I-m bringing that wisdom back to you.

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Local Hero Challenge - Sustainability Assessment for Small Businesses

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Small businesses owners often are recognized as leaders in their community, but we expect many of you will learn that you-re much more important - you-re Local Heroes. The Local Hero Challenge starts with a brief, 10-question survey. Your answers are used to assess the positive impact your business has on your community, and to provide a way to promote the good your business does.

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How Shell Company Fraud Works

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It was the perfect crime. For only $35, Paul was “in business.” That small investment bought a fictitious-name or DBA (doing business as) certificate — which was the key to his grand plan to defraud his employer.

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Small Business Job Growth Up 0.24% in November

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Our Intuit Small Business Employment Index showed that small business employment continued a healthy rise in November, growing 0.24 percent over the prior month. The smallest of small businesses in America that use Intuit Online Payroll added 49,000 jobs in November.

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10 Hiring Do-s and Don-ts

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The holiday season can be a quiet time for many businesses, which makes it a great opportunity to spend some time looking for new staff members.

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What Are Your New Year’s Resolutions?

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As the end of 2009 nears, the majority of small businesses remain optimistic despite having faced one of the most challenging economic downturns in recent history. In fact, per a <a href=-http://smallbusiness. intuit. com/blog/where-small-is-now/2009/10/are-the-clouds-beginning-to-part. html->recent Intuit survey</a>, 80% of small business owners see opportunities and over 60% expect to grow in the next year.