Small businesses moving to the cloud: a Q&A

Cloud computing is coming to small business, and it brings benefits in terms of price and stability. A number of different services, necessary for running a small business, can run as a hosted (cloud) service. We explore the issue in an exclusive Q&A with Scott Kinka, Senior Vice President at EvolveIP.

Idea Cafe: What is the cloud and how can it help small businesses? What types of services run in the cloud?

Join Idea Cafe on the major social web sites

Here at IdeaCafe we were thinking of possibilities to create new networking opportunities for the thousands of Idea Cafe Regulars. And then it hit us: we can use the existing social platforms! So, you are hereby cordially invited to join Idea Cafe on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Click on the links to join the Idea Cafe community on the respective online service.

Small business optimism up, salaries down in March

An optimistic outlook towards the economy prevailed among small business owners in March, according to a study by online payroll service SurePayroll. In the same time, salaries dropped 0.89 percent in one month. The survey was completed on March 30th and consisted of 234 respondents randomly selected from the 25,000 small businesses.

Position a Small Biz for Stimulus Loan: Q&A with Wall Street Journal bestselling author Steve Kaplan

As we’ve reported previously, the government is concentrating on securing loans for small business. Steve Kaplan—an entrepreneur and Wall Street Journal bestselling author—presents all of the steps necessary to get a small business loan in his upcoming book Sell Your Business For the Max.

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. (...)

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