It’s Naive for Small Business to Expect Much From Small Business Saturday

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

Can you feel it? The building anticipation for what seems to be the small business event of the year. I’m talking, of course, about next weekend’s Small Business Saturday (Nov. 28). Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this is the day that all of America is supposed to be honoring small businesses. It’s our moment. We’re hanging signs and putting out the displays. “Support us!” we demand to our communities. “We’re small businesses!”

Really? Are we that naïve? Do you really think that Small Business Saturday means anything to your customers? Do you really believe articles like this one that report that there were “88 million Small Business Saturday shoppers in 2014” and that they “spent $14.3 billion.” Oh c’mon…where does this data come from? And how many of these shoppers would’ve been out shopping during that first unofficial weekend of the holiday season anyway? Do you think this was because of Small Business Saturday? Believe me…it’s not. But don’t tell that to some. Read More…

The Five Biggest Things In Tech You Missed This Week: 11/21


(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things that happened in the world of technology this past week and why they’re important for your business (and mine). Did you miss them?

1 – In the wake of the Paris attacks security and privacy again dominate the front page.

Hillary Clinton is demanding help from social media companies to combat terrorism and Microsoft says itwill create a Cyber Defense Operations Center and anEnterprise Cybersecurity Group for a rapid response to security threats.

Why this is important for your business: Read More…

Will The Cloud Kill Intuit?


(This post originally appeared on Fox Business)

No, the cloud isn’t going to kill Intuit (INTU). But something’s happening – something big. It’s good news for many small businesses. But it may not be such great news for the software giant.

My company serves more than 600 small and medium sized businesses. And although we mostly implement customer relationship management systems our roots are in accounting and financial management software (I’m a certified public accountant). My client base is made up of mostly established companies – distributors, manufacturers, service providers. And most of them use older versions of QuickBooks which are installed on their servers. My clients are generally people not open to change unless that change is going to make them money – or they’re forced into it. However, during the next few years, it’s obvious that they’re all going to be changing their accounting software. Read More…

To Host the Best Holiday Party Hand Out Bonuses and Go Home

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

There are people in this world who know all about throwing great office Holiday parties. Take Annette Joseph, for example.

Annette is a stylist, TV personality and author of Picture Perfect Parties She’s everywhere online giving the kind of advice that most people wouldn’t even think about. For example, in a recent post on Pinterest she showed all the great and wonderful ways business owners can throw that perfect holiday party, even when just using stuff from your local Staples’ Copy and Print Center. (And no, I’m not being paid to endorse anyone here). This woman can create a party from anything.

Me? I’m no stylist and I’m not creative enough to come up with all these great ideas. But two decades of attending both horrible and excellent holiday parties thrown by my clients have taught me a few things about throwing an office holiday party that have nothing to do with flowers and decorations and customized invitations purchased at Staples.

For starters, have it in house. Don’t rent out a restaurant. Don’t have some gala, black-tie affair in a hotel or catering hall. You’re not in the Fortune 500. The companies that do that kind of thing clearly have way more money to waste than you. Besides, most people don’t want to take an evening away from home for some stuffy affair. They want to relax in a familiar place. There’s nothing wrong with doing an office party in your office. Check out Annette’s site above and you’ll find a ton of good recommendations for decorating your office, way better than some restaurant. Read More…

3 (More) Reasons You May Not Want to Hire a Foreign Worker


(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

I have a client who runs a very well-respected landscaping company in a suburb of Philadelphia. He wouldn’t like to be featured in the article, so I’ll call him Rick. For years, Rick’s company has hired foreign workers. He says he needs to do this. The landscaping business is very competitive. He has a difficult time finding people to do the very physical work required. The work is seasonal so he can’t guarantee employment year round. The competition is so fierce (anyone with a lawnmower can call themselves a “landscaper” so the barrier to entry in this industry is very low) that he would find it very difficult to pay higher wages. And, worst of all, he has a very serious suspicion that a few his competitors uses and pays lower wages to illegal immigrants which allows them to undercut his pricing–a suspicion that he’s never been able to prove. Read More…

President Obama’s small business scorecard

As he enters the last year of his term, it’s the right time to ask if President Obama was a good or bad president for small business. He probably wasn’t the worst. But, by my grading scale, he was far from great. Let’s see how he’s done on the most important issues to small business owners like me.

Access to capital
Grade: A

Has the financing environment improved under the Obama administration? Yes. Read More…


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