If you're a trend-watcher like me, it's hard to know for sure.
According to The National Federation of Independent Businesses' Small Business Optimism Index's latest survey, small-business owners are still reluctant to spend or hire, their confidence shaken by slumping sales, price declines and the ongoing credit crunch. The NFIB Index fell 1.3 points to 88.0 in February and has hovered between 86.5 and 89.3 since April 2009. That's below where the index stood in the depths of the recession of the early 1990s.
Has your business received a "Your Weekly Facebook Page Update" message via e-mail? If so you're not alone. Every business with a Facebook Fan Page has started receiving those. Are they spam? Absolutely not, furthermore:
- That Weekly Facebook Page Update is legitimate.
- These update notices contain valuable information.
- You should be putting this information to good use and sharing it within your organization with key personnel.
At the end of this post is an example of the first Your Weekly Facebook Page Update e-mail message I received, which arrived unannounced just yesterday afternoon. I say unannounced, because I was wasn't expecting anything like this from Facebook and am always leery of unsolicited e-mail messages claiming to be from social network accounts I manage for my clients. (These days, phishing scams are nearly as popular as Facebook itself.)
The volume of new small-business loans amongst the nine big U.S. banks that received federal bailout money plummeted nearly $20 billion in January compared with December, the U.S. Treasury Department reports. The banks loaned nearly $36 billion, the smallest monthly total since last October, when the banks loaned $41.6 billion.
With big-bank lending still down, many finance experts point entrepreneurs toward smaller, community banks as a better option. The problem? A substantial number of those are going bust.
There are plenty of investor conferences you can attend, and maybe pitch a group of possible funders your story. But there aren't many places designed to let entrepreneurs and investors hang out in a casual setting. A new restaurant, The Venture Cafe hopes to change that.
Businesses are tripping over themselves in a rush to expand their social networks, but having a high volume of connections does not always boost sales. In fact, in his article "Social Learning in Social Networks," Visiting Assistant Professor PJ Lamberson at MIT Sloan School of Management claims that in certain situations more connections may make people more hesitant to adopt something new.
"In some cases, even though on average people would be better off using the technology or product, adding more connections can decrease how much it spreads," says Lamberson. "It's kind of surprising. We would have thought that adding connections would always help something good spread."
For the past five months, Justin Vincent's Twitter application went largely unnoticed by the social networking and microblogging site, until last week that is, when Tweetminer was randomly suspended by Twitter.
Founded in October of 2009, by last week, with little to no advertising or marketing, Tweetminer had grown to include 3,000 users. Justin, a solo entrepreneur, is constantly improving the application based on customer feedback and requests, and since he's a one-man operation, he takes a very active and hands-on approach to every aspect of his business, including customer support, where he alone answers all customer questions. And, as a programmer and stand-up guy, he knows better than most what it takes to stay in compliance when developing and managing a third-party app like Tweetminer.
Poplular author, documentarian and former InfoWorld columnist Robert Cringely would like to know. So he's holding a contest to find the 24 most interesting startups outside Silicon Valley and then hitting the road to visit them. His hope is to film the whole process and make a reality TV show out of it.
- Pull up the video in YouTube and pause it at the point where you want it to begin playing on your site.
- Below the video, note the minutes and seconds the video has played so far.
- Multiply the number of minutes by 60 seconds and add the number of seconds: (#minutes x 60) + #seconds = total number of seconds. For example: (1 minute x 60 seconds) + 40 seconds = 100 seconds
- Copy the clip's Embed code and paste it into your HTML or content management system as you normally do.
&start=[#seconds]to the end of each of the URLs in the Embed code, replacing [#seconds] with the number of seconds from Step 3. Here's an example that starts playing a video 1 minute and 40 seconds (a total of 100 seconds) into the clip:
Now, they about give them away if you join a bank. This week for Wednesday Web Resources, I'm chockablock with free online tools for getting your business up and rolling. Just starting up your business and need to get your books in order? Over at Outright, you can organize your finances with a free, simple online bookkeeping system.
Why is it out of business? It offered free waffles.
The sad tale of Blue Ocean illustrates the perils of promotions based around free stuff. They can really backfire and take your business down the drain.
"Whether you post it on a billboard, company website, or tweet, liability is triggered by false or deceptive statements of fact. In the commercial speech arena, courts are more willing to impose liability for speech that creates a misleading impression even if the words were literally true." ~ Damon Dunn, Attorney and Media Law Expert
To protect yourself and your business from legal liability related to the content posted on your website, blog or via other online social media outlets, Dunn recommends the following:
Owners income: down. Venture investment: down. Goods-producing industries: down.
I think it's time to look at some alternative economic indicators to get some new readings.
After all the talk about this iPhone killer and that iPhone killer, it's Steve Jobs who's out for blood now.
Apple filed a lawsuit today seeking a permanent injunction against HTC on the basis of 20 alleged patent infringements. The injunction would prevent HTC from importing or selling any phones that use the features patented by Apple (so, pretty much all of them).
The lawsuit itself is obviously big news. But it brings to light something that might be much more interesting: the patents themselves.