And the Semi-Finalists for the Ninth Idea Cafe's Small Business Cash Grant are...

Here they are, the semi-finalists for the Ninth Idea Café's $1,000.00 Small Business Grant. It was tough since there were so many super candidates. But now we've selected the cream of the crop from over one thousand exceptional applicants. 40 Grant Applicants impressed us with their ingenuity, business acumen and their intent to leverage their business and personal talents to help others. (Read below for short descriptions of our semi-finalists' businesses and ideas.) If you are on the list -- congratulations! If not – cast your vote to determine which of the semi-finalists will continue to the next stage of the grant campaign. Those five of the semi-finalists who receive the highest numbers of your votes will make it to the final round and eventually compete for the cash prize.

Online Marketing Never Stops

There's one immutable key to effective online marketing: You can't stop.


Building links, testing conversions and creating quality content is a never-ending machine, a beast that must be fed constantly. Business owners and entrepreneurs have to focus on analytics and customer interaction like there's no tomorrow.

Tax Tips: Ensure Your Business Taxes Are Perfect

With April 15 just around the corner, millions of Americans are rushing to complete their tax returns. But mistakes are easy to make. Ted Shalek, CFO of Smart Online, developers of OneBiz® suite of web based small business applications, offers a few tips on how to successfully tackle taxes:

Are You Mobile? Why Your Company Needs a Mobile Friendly Website

If you think about it, your company’s website is an extension of your business. What message is it conveying to the visitors? Is it easy to navigate through? How are people accessing your website? It is important as a business owner to answer all of these questions and have a clear idea of how your website will interact with your clients.

Surveying the Small Business Financing Landscape

Over the past month or so, there has been a noticeable shift in the dialog coming out of Washington, D.C. with regard to economic priorities. Health care reform has for the most part been put on the back burner, replaced by an emphasis on job creation.
As part of this emphasis, the federal government has proposed and launched several initiatives to help increase access to capital for small businesses. One of these would transfer $30 billion to a new Small Business Lending Fund that could be accessed by community banks.

The Ninth Idea Cafe's Small Business Grant is now closed for applications. What's Next?

The application deadline for the Ninth Idea Café Cash Grant is now behind us. The first grant campaign for this year is going very strong. We are proud that Idea Cafe's Small Business Grant Program continues to attract so many creative entrepreneurs who are designing their own worklife on their own terms and approaching business and life with zeal.

Target Audience: Who Is Your Ideal Client?

Are you trying to market to the entire world and finding it hard to get clients? Build your business, make more money and love your work by using this list of questions to identify and find your ideal clients.

Your target audience consists of the people and businesses that are most likely to need and want what you have to sell. Before you create a marketing plan for your business, it is critical that you define your target audience and create an ideal client profile so you can attract this audience with your marketing. Once you have identified your target audience and ideal clients you will find it so much easier to design your marketing plan around their identity and their needs.

Facebook Fan Pages - How To Make It More Engaging?

One cannot undermine the increasing importance of Facebook Fan Pages in the present times. What started as a casual social networking tool has evolved and transformed itself to a powerful marketing platform for businesses. Facebook Fan Pages are not only source of tremendous web traffic but also a great medium to share information and expose your content.

However, in order to leverage the maximum potential of Fan Pages, businesses need to make them more engaging and encourage more and more visitors to participate in the same. And doing this requires thorough diligence and dedication. Here are some tips:

With Consumers Spending Less, What Is Your Next Step?

Let’s face it, the economy may be getting better, but many people are still suffering from things such as unemployment, foreclosures and everything in between. With all these factors many families are crunching their finances and changing their spending habits. As a business owner it is a good idea to realize how your consumers are spending their money differently, and determine how you can get through these hard times successfully.

Superior Value Equals Superior Sales

If your car needed repair work, would you go to a garage that offers free estimates? You likely would. Today, most garages offer them.

Not only has it become a customary practice, but also everyone expects a free estimate from mechanics.

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