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Census Bureau report shows positive signs for minority-owned businesses

A new report shows that there are encouraging signs for minority business owners. In fact, minority-owned businesses are outpacing the results of non-minority-owned businesses in several categories. But, as the numbers show, there are still significant gaps between the two.

 

This comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s preliminary results of its 2012 Survey of Business Owners. According to the bureau, 1.75 million businesses were surveyed about “characteristics of the businesses and their owners.” Here’s a look at some of the notable statistics, as cited by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency.

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Inventive entrepreneurs should explore patent protection

When an entrepreneur’s efforts to launch a small business include an invention, seeking patent protection may be in order. This is not always a seamless process, and there has been a disturbing trend of “patent trolls” eager to try to squeeze money out of businesses that want to avoid lengthy and costly litigation.

But for small businesses pondering patents, there can be benefits. Here’s a look at a few of them.

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Success Stories: Single Mothers, Small-Business Owners

Every entrepreneur will face challenges in getting a small business started. Now, add in the responsibilities and time demands of being a single mother, and the path gets that much more challenging.

But inspiration can often come from those that have experienced such struggles. Here are a few examples of single moms that have gone on to small-business success.

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The Elements of Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is big business these days. How big? According to an industry report by Massolution, crowdfunding numbers are expected to reach $34 billion this year. It’s a trendy and often fascinating way to gain financial support for a new entrepreneurial effort.

Let’s look at the two types of crowdfunding.

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Financing Options for Female Entrepreneurs

For women interested in starting a small business, there are equal parts positive and negative to ponder. This may be best shown by a 2014 report by the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Here’s a sample:

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Managing Toxic Employees

In a perfect scenario, a small business would employ a staff of helpful and happy people. But we all know that’s not realistic, and there will likely be encounters with employees that can be best described as “toxic.”

Negative attitudes can act as a workplace poison. Take this story written by psychologist and consultant David G. Javitch for entrepreneur.com: “Like a virus, toxic employees can subtly — or overtly — spread their counterproductive attitudes or actions that can negatively impact the workplace. Their harmful, contrarious and antagonistic attitudes and actions can easily spread to other employees who then begin to agree with and identify with the toxic individual.”

Considering all the challenges that businesses with limited staffing and shoestring budgets face, the fewer toxic employees, the better.

Here are a few ways to approach it.

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The Truth Behind Being a CEO

The path to becoming a CEO is different for anyone with such ambitions. Each man or woman has their own story. But, far too often, there are stereotypes, myths and expectations about how they should lead and what image they should project. Here are a few such myths about business leaders.

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Taking Advantage of Entrepreneurial Freedoms

Though there are definite risks involved for entrepreneurs, the spirit of independence can make it all worthwhile. And the happiness that it can bring is significant. According to a 2014 Gallup survey, 80 percent of small business owners said that, if they could do it all over again, they would take the same path to entrepreneurship.

“It’s a percentage that hasn’t changed much over the past 11 years,” writes Laura Entis in an article about the survey on entrepreneur.com, “which suggests that despite the setbacks and hardships many small-business owners faced during the Great Recession, they don’t regret taking the entrepreneurial plunge.”

Here are a few ways entrepreneurs can take advantage of the freedom they encounter.

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Leading a Multigenerational Workforce

Every generation has its strengths and weaknesses, and there’s plenty of analysis to go along with that. In office settings, the good and the bad may be at play (and at odds) with each other.

How can business leaders and CEOs blend a staff made up of Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials? There can be challenges, but it’s manageable.

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Using Pop-Up Shops to Boost Your Business

For small business owners looking to increase their outreach in a fun and interesting way, a pop-up store may be the answer. Whether it’s a mobile-style approach in a trendy area (think food trucks, minus the food), a kiosk or a booth at a well-attended event, these pop-ups could provide a boost.

Megan Totka writes about this in a recent story for smallbiztrends.com. “These pop-up shops are low cost, high exposure, and very fashionable ways of reaching your audience without the use of traditional advertisement,” writes Totka. Here’s more on how to leverage a pop-up shop for your business.

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