WOMbeat! -- Putting Word-Of-Mouth (WOM) on Warp Speed

The good news keeps on coming...and we owe it all to you! Thanks to Idea Café and our winning their “Innovation & Originality Grant” in January, the interest level in WOMbeat! continues to rise. Just this past week, we learned that WOMbeat! founder, Linda Olson, was honored as one of the “Tampa Bay 100” by Tampa Bay CEO Magazine. You can read the full story here if you like.

Idea Cafe grant campaign going strong

Registration for the current Idea Cafe small business grant is ongoing with significant interest on part of small business owners. Entrepreneurs from all across America are submitting their applications. Did you submit yours? It's free.

What Credit Crunch? -- Financing Alternatives in Today's Tough Credit Environment

With the credit crunch in full force, many small businesses are finding it harder and harder to land traditional bank loans. Even business lines of credit are being squeezed tighter—often yanked right out from under companies that have long established histories with financial institutions.

Fast-growth companies are especially vulnerable in the current credit environment. Those with 20 percent or higher annual growth rates can make banks nervous even during the best of times, since fast growth can knock their ratios out of whack and result in temporary periods of unprofitability.

WOMbeat! – Tapping Into the Power of LinkedIn for Small Business

Are you one of those business owners who continue to resist “the pressure” from well-meaning friends and peers to join LinkedIn? Maybe you actually signed up once, but are you having a hard time find any value in it? If this sounds like you, you are not alone…but you may be missing out on a very powerful tool. WOMbeat! owes much of its early growth to LinkedIn , so let me share a few of the pearls I found in Linkedin.

Never need to lookup a phone number again

What's In a Name?

As a business owner, one of your first decisions is the name of your company/product/service. It is, after all, your corporate identity. There is nothing worse than being forced to change your name once you have begun doing business because of a cease and desist letter or an application refusal from the US Patent and Trademark Office. The first plan of action: do not get attached to your trademark until it is yours officially.

Here are a few best practices in finding that name:

Government to pump "a significant amount" of money into small business lending

CNN Money reports that the new administration will be concentrating on making lending to small business more attractive.

There was a 57% drop in the number of loans through the Small Business Administration's main lending program for the last three months of 2008, compared to the same period one year ago.

"The stimulus bill passed last month included $730 million for direct spending on small-business initiatives, including expanded financial support for the SBA's two key lending initiatives, the 7(a) and 504 programs. Under those programs, the SBA guarantees loans made by banks to small-business borrowers. If the business defaults, the SBA picks up the tab for the insured portion of the loan. (...)

Announcing the new Idea Cafe small business grant

Recession or not, the spirit of entrepreneurs will continue to be celebrated on Idea Cafe. This is why we announce a new contest, where good business ideas for small business will compete against each other. That is right, the seventh Idea Cafe grant opens this week. We will award $1,000.00 and heaps of free publicity and national recognition to the entrepreneur, who comes on top in the competition against hundreds of other small business owners.

WOMbeat! -- Helping Small Business Owners with Word-Of-Mouth (WOM)

So far, 2009 has been just an amazing year. After winning the Idea Café’s “Innovation & Originality Grant,” we continue to be blessed with so much good news and press. Not only did we make a guest appearance on the CEO Lounge (listen to the program here) in January, but we were also selected to present at Startup Riot 2009 last month in Atlanta, GA (the only company from Florida and the only female presenter selected!).

A Dose of Retail Recession Relief: 12 Ways to Implement the “Maximize the Customer” Cure-All at Your Store

In this article, business expert Rick Segel shares advice for maximizing your customers.

Downward slanting sales. Check. A depleted customer base. Check. Constant stress, worry, and handwringing. Check, Check, Check! If these symptoms are all too familiar, then it’s likely your store is suffering from Recessionitis, a disease plaguing many good-intentioned retailers just like you. Thankfully, there is a cure. And international retail expert Rick Segel has the prescription: Start maximizing your customers at every opportunity throughout the recession and beyond.

Tell us your business story, and we'll feature it online for 90 days, for free

Previously, Idea Cafe's Biz Profiles stayed online for 45 days, but we know that in a tough economy entrepeneurs need promotion and networking opportunities more than ever. This is why the period, during which your Biz Profile will be featured on Idea Cafe, for free, went up from 45 to 90 days.

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