Need hosting for your business' web site? Take your pick from the best providers

Every small business needs a web presence. Often, the quality of a website and its ability to attract and retain customers is directly dependent on the web hosting provider. Take a look at our sister site's Annual Web Hosting Awards, and choose the best company for your web hosting needs.

Small Businesses Respond to Obama's Emergency Relief Plan

The majority of small business owners approve of the economic measures proposed by Barrack Obama, found a survey by SMB software-as-a-service provider Smart Online. Here are some key findings:

WOMbeat! is the Winner of Idea Cafe's Innovation and Originality Grant

WOMbeat!, an online source of recommendations for local businesses from people you know and trust, and an enterprise sparked by a dream, is the winner of the latest Idea Cafe grant. Congratulations! WOMbeat! submitted their nomination in November, and during the month-long voting phase of the grant they emerged as the leader, with 25.66% of the votes. They are followed by another exceptional business, PALS with PAWZ, who got 20.86% of the votes.

The grant winner votes so far

The poll for deciding the winner of the Idea Cafe Innovation and Originality Grant has been online for almost a month now, and we have received a significant number of votes. Below you can see the current distribution of votes. Trends are starting to appear, with one company pulling ahead as the strongest candidate for winning the grant, but there is time until January the 15th for the overall picture to change. See the preliminary results below.

Eight Great Tax Tips for Businesses and Self-Employed Individuals

Below is the annual Eight Great Tax Tips for Businesses, by C.P.A. Bernard B. Kamoroff. It is excerpted from the 2009 Edition (8th Edition) of Mr. Kamoroff's book 422 Tax Deductions for Businesses and Self Employed Individuals.

Tax Tip #1. Your business expenses are deductible even if you paid them from your non-business bank account, personal credit card, or cash. Take a few minutes and go through all of your expenses for the year. If the expenses were for your business, deduct them. (Does not apply to corporations).

Get QuickBooks Pro for free today, Monday 22nd, at

Intuit and Staples offer an exclusive deal for small business owners--today, for one day only, QuickBooks Pro 2009 is free at all Staples stores. So if you need a complete accounting and finance solution for your business, act now!

The regular price at Staples is $199.99. Customers who buy today receive $40 in instant savings and a $159.99 mail-in rebate, which essentially makes the product's cost zero. You need to pay sales tax, but shipping is free. The offer is limited to one copy of QuickBooks Pro per customer.

You can find the nearest Staples store at or buy on-line.

Voting for grant winner has started

Just in case you missed it, the voting page for choosing the grant finalist is now open (you need to register with Idea Cafe in order to vote). From here, you will be able to choose your favorite finalist. We've presented almost all the contestants on this blog, so that you can browse an exclusive selection of business ideas.

Votes are already being submitted. The campaign will continue into the new year, and we will announce the winner in the second half of January 2009.

I also would like to say a big and sincere "Thank you" to all the finalists who took the time to answer our questions.

Finalist Q&A: The Playground Guide

The Playground Guide publishes directories of playgrounds for busy parents and caretakers. Their books are professionally designed, with included hundreds of photos and they tell parents everything they need to know to plan healthy, wholesome, low-cost outdoor activities with their kids. The books include directions, insight on bathrooms, parking, picknicking, equipment, ground cover and more. The books also tell you about cool places to visit like museums, art studios and kid-friendly restaurants and shops.

Finalist Q&A: SafeLyfe Personal Security

Safelyfe provides a free service that allows individuals to contact family, friends or neighbors in case of an emergency by just pressing a single button on their cell phones.

Finalist Q&A: Luhrs Media Co.

Luhrs Media Co. creates the easy-to-use, fun ColorCode ModeTM Journals to help people of all fitness levels color their way to healthier habits.

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