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Startup and Small Business Innovation

Startup and innovation are part of any small business at one time or another. Here are some links on startup, innovation and more. We hope they will serve as resources for your business. Please feel free to leave tips and ideas of your own in the comment section below and share these links with a friend!

Tips & Tools

How to write off startup costs [1]. Startup costs are costs that normally could be deducted if you were in business. Since you do not have any revenue before you are in operation you cannot deduct them as operating costs. Some of these costs are deductible in the first year or over the first few years of operation. Open Forum

In case you wondered, a real human wrote this article [2]. Is language generation an “impossible dream”? While the field of artificial intelligence is still in its infancy, there is proof of progress, especially in the area of writing. So far the future of this technology is envisioned as a low-cost method of expanding and enriching news coverage, but as the technology improves, who knows the full possibilities. The NY Times

Operations

3 ways small firms can drive innovation [3]. Some firms have visionary leaders. Some have a lot of money. Both of these help in making innovation occur. However there are other methods since most companies don’t have these first two. Soliciting input from all levels of the company and allowing time for employees to be creative has proven to be beneficial. Other ideas are presented. WSJ

How to attract talent to a small company [4]. If you are attempting to attract talented individuals to your small business, you must recognize the advantages of working for a small business over a large company. Then you must emphasize these advantages to your perspective employee. You must also convince this person of the success and high potential of your company. WSJ

Innovation & Funding

Innovation: size matters. It is better to give customers a big idea and explain to them how and what it will do for them than to give them a small idea that you have “enhanced” as to what it will mean for them. Explain a big, game-changing idea in a way that they are sure to understand how it will be a benefit to them. On the other hand, don’t hype a small idea. What really matters is how much it will help your potential customer and the resolve you exhibit in making it work. Bloomberg Businessweek

Small firms hunger for sales, not credit [5]. Small businesses do have trouble acquiring bank loans. Are banks really trying to put small companies out of business by denying them credit and loans. True, banks have tightened the rules, but that is not the only reason for the lack of growth in small businesses. Many small businesses are not applying for loans. They do not want to take on any more debt to expand because there are not enough sales to warrant expansion and the uncertain economic conditions have small business owners wary of the immediate future. WSJ

Policy & Resources

Financial Planning Coalition to Congress: put investors and small businesses first [6]. The Financial Planning Coalition and Congress both acknowledge that there is an inadequate frequency of examinations of SEC-registered investment advisers. Congress’s answer to this problem is to add yet another layer of bureaucracy by creating a new self-regulatory organization to oversee investment advisers. The problem with this organization is that it would add costs for small businesses and would be assigned far greater powers than needed. The Coalition has many other concerns with this legislation. PR Newswire

Small biz success story: turning problems into profits in Puerto Rico. To be successful in small business, sometimes you have the flexibility to change the emphasis of your business. The two brothers in this company started a web design and development company geared to the advertising market. When the advertising business went bad, they changed the focus of their business to custom Web-based solutions. Out of this change in their business and the need to keep track of their receipts, they developed a program that organized their receipts. They marketed their program and a new business was born. Daily Finance

Marketing & Leadership

An infographic on the growth of social media [7]. If you’re a business owner, you’re probably tired of people telling you about the importance of social media. That’s why we wouldn’t dream of testing your patience with yet another long winded explanation. Instead of telling you, we’re going to show you. Follow the link above. Capture Commerce

If you want a better business get better at making decisions [8]. Ideas are great but implementation is what will either make or break your venture. Here are some tips to help you get off the bench and into the game. Remember, failing to make decisions about your business is actually the same as making decisions. Leap Zone