Panera's Powerful Message: SBA Loans Can Make a Difference

Every so often, I'm reminded of the power of SBA loans.

Some of the country's largest companies got off the ground thanks to an injection of small business funding through one of the U.S. Small Business Administration's finance programs. That list includes companies like Apple, Intel and AOL.

A New Year’s Resolution: Five Small Business Mistakes to Avoid in 2010

The past couple of years have been an especially challenging time for most business owners as they’ve struggled to maintain sales and profitability in the face of one of the worst economic downturns in our nation’s history. As a result, many owners and entrepreneurs have been only too glad to say goodbye to 2009 and welcome in a new year.

Tough times call for tight measures

The global recession may be coming to an end, but it’s not time to crank open the bubbly quite yet; unless, of course, it’s a bottle of Walmart’s cheap sparkling wine.

You see, if anything is to be gleamed from the past twelve months, it’s that we shouldn’t take anything for granted. Whilst things may be rosy one day, they might not be tomorrow; so by being thrifty when times are good, this will help take care of things when times are tough.

Six Tips To Boost Trust and Your Conversion Rate

If your site doesn’t solve a consumer’s problem, you’ve got a big one of your own. Getting viewers to your website is a win all by itself. But solid traffic won’t necessarily put dollars in your pocket. There’s both an art and a science to converting site visitors into actors, and you’ve only got a few seconds to seal the deal.

The 9th Idea Cafe's Small Business Grant Now Open For Applications!

You, small business owners, are the main engine that drives the economy. And despite the difficulties that you all faced this past year mainly from an economic perspective, we believe the passion and creativity that drive entrepreneurs to success is as strong as ever. This is why we are announcing a new contest, where good business ideas for small business will compete against each other.

Accounts Receivable Collections: How to Get Late-Paying Customers To Pay On Time

A year or two ago, your business was probably running pretty smoothly, with sales and profits growing. And then the recession and credit crunch hit—a brutal double-whammy—and everything started slowing down almost overnight, including your accounts receivable collections.

A Website That Fills A Customer's Wishes

What Is The Need?

There are numerous successful websites that offer daily deals on various types of products. Sites like and are some of the most popular. However, all these sites use a "push" strategy. That is, they "push" or promote a specific product or type of product to their potential customers, on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. They partner with various manufacturers or importers to offer certain items at a good discount, with no input from their audience.

Back to Basics: Focus on the Fundamentals of Your Business

Here’s one thing about a recession or economic downturn that most people don’t think of: It forces most business owners to focus like a laser on the fundamentals of their business. You know, things like making sure you deliver quality products and great customer service.

Moth Attack is the Winner of the Idea Cafe’s Eighth Small Business Grant

We take pleasure in announcing that Megan Dean, the owner of Moth Attack, is the recipient of the current Small Business Grant. With her impressive enthusiasm and love for building and designing custom steel bicycles and components, she instantly grabbed the hearts of our regulars and stood out amongst hundreds of other small business owners. Congratulations!

Is Search Engine Advertising Worth It For Small Businesses?

Over this past year I have noticed a huge resistance between small businesses and online advertising. Business owners feel that online advertising is no place for their brick and mortar business and the cost to do so would be more than they could afford. That couldn't be farther from the truth.

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