Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Small Business Accountant?

A small business should be selective when choosing an accountant. An accountant can play a critical role in the company’s successes and failures. They can also help the owner to be focused on areas that need attention. Accountancy professionals should assist with corporate strategy, provide advice and help businesses to reduce costs, improve their top line, and mitigate risks.

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Winning Government Contracts for Your Small Business

Government contracts may be plentiful for big companies, but for many small businesses, they’re not. Only 22.5 percent of federal contracts go to small businesses and a dismal 4 percent are awarded to firms owned by women, according to statistics from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) from 2012. That doesn’t mean these deals are not worth going after.

Government contracts can be lucrative – or you wouldn’t see so many big companies going after them. For women entrepreneurs, winning such contracts are a well-tested way to create a high-growth business, according to research by American Express OPEN, which found that 42 percent of women-owned small business contractors generate annual revenue greater than $1 million.

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What Can We Learn from Short-Lived Startups

The truth is more businesses fail than succeed. Every entrepreneur knows that. However, every business owner can learn from the failures of other organizations. What separates Yugo from Ford Motor Company? What’s the different between Pan Am and Southwest Airlines? Their stories can teach us something.

Taken from the Valleywag blog at Gawker, here are a few short-lived startups and what we can learn from them.

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Keys to Success: Business Advice from Celebrities of Substance

An entrepreneur can learn from anyone’s experience. And Frances Bridges proves it. She is a writer I would highly recommend that you follow. In her “celebrity substance” blog series for Forbes, she looks at celebrities from a variety of professions, discussing what can be learned from their successes and failures. Here are a few lessons that stuck out:

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A Dallas Artist Works to Raise Awareness of Homelessness

Of all the projects I’ve become associated with in recent months, there’s one that has a particular resonance for me and a relevance for this blog and its mission of helping disadvantaged populations get a leg up in the world.

Even as I write this, my friend Willie Baronet is in the middle of a remarkable journey, traveling across America to raise awareness of homelessness.

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Great Entrepreneur Advice Hidden in Movie Quotes

I am pleased to have the opportunity to serve on the American Film Institute as a member of the national council. Everyone loves a good movie, and great business advice is hiding in some of our favorite movies. A few years ago, the Washington Post asked entrepreneurs which famous lines from the silver screen offer the greatest insight and advice for running a small business.

Here are a few key insights.

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Before You Kickstart: The Risks and Benefits of Crowdfunding

A number of companies have raised capital through “crowdfunding.” Crowdfunding collects money from everyday people to support an initiative sponsored on an Internet platform. The initiative usually targets a common service, project, product, investment, cause, or experience. Funders donate towards a goal in return for products, perks or rewards  much like PBS fundraisers.

Crowdfunding has disadvantages and advantages. It is easy to think of it as an ideal way to get capital for a new creative project, but it requires a good concept, adequate preparation, and an existing community to support it. We hear of so many successes that the reality can often be something of a surprise. Only 44 percent of projects from Kickstarter, the best-known crowdfunding platform, are successful.

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Keys to Success: Unique Ideas That Work

Great ideas for small businesses are everywhere. Here are three examples of entrepreneurs who followed their passions into business adventures — vitamin water for expecting mothers, fashionable socks and even potato peelers.

A business bump

Vitamin-infused water is big business these days. Small Business Trends brings us the story of two mothers from Brooklyn, N.Y., who aimed to take that a step further and create a prenatal drink.

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Traits to Admire from Forbes’ Most Powerful Women List

There’s an ongoing debate in management schools about how women may lead differently from men and whether or not gender plays a role in determining management styles. What has been firmly established, though, is that there are clearly defined traits that are common in political, business and religious heads.

To examine the characteristics of successful women leaders, the 2014 Forbes’ Most Powerful Women list is a good place to start. To compile their directory of one hundred women who make a difference in the world, the Forbes editors’ based their rankings on the metrics of money, media presence, sphere of influence, and impact.

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What SMB Owners Can Learn from Shinola?

Tom Kartsotis is an entrepreneur who thinks American manufacturing still has a future. He created Shinola, a high-end watch company in Detroit. After all, it’s a city that knows about manufacturing. But with recent economic struggles in the Motor City, some might see Detroit as the last place to start a business. Kartsotis saw an opportunity to be part of its revival.

The company says it expects to produce up to 500,000 watches annually by 2014 or 2015. With an average price of $600 apiece, Shinola watches are sold at Barney’s, Saks, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom. Besides watches, Shinola also sells custom-built bicycles and leather goods. Courageous SMB owners can learn a thing or two from Shinola and its meteoric success.

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