Small business news from around the web: September 2014

This month, MP Star Financial brings you news about how to get a $150,000 grant to grow your business, plus reasons for optimism in the economy, factors that predict small business success or failure, and more. Let us know what you think!

Entrepreneur reports Google-sponsored Mission Main Street Grants

How would you grow your business if you received $150,000? If your business is located in the United States, is a for-profit company, and has 100 employees (or fewer), then apply by October 3, 2014 for your shot at funding.

Entrepreneur shares the details of the Mission Main Street Grants program. To apply, you’ll need to answer five essay questions about your business and then receive at least 250 Facebook votes to be considered. Twenty businesses will receive $150,000 each, along with a trip to Google HQ for a workshop, and a Chromebook laptop and $2,000 towards a market research study with Google Consumer Surveys.

If you qualify (with 250 or more Facebook votes) but don’t win, you’ll receive a marketing toolkit and $150 towards a Google Consumers Surveys study.

Wells Fargo president sees reason for optimism

Kent McClun, Wells Fargo president for Connecticut and small business advocate for New York and Connecticut, discusses the bank’s small-business confidence metric for Q3 2014: 49. To put that into context, that number had plunged to 28 below zero in Q3 2010, so the number is clearly increasing.

Small business owners who were surveyed also indicate feelings of optimism, with 62% of them ranking their current business financial position as very or somewhat good, up from 57% with that response in Q2 2014.

Small business owners are currently identifying the following as their biggest challenges:

  • 13%: attracting new customers and generating new sales
  • 11%: government regulations
  • 11%: financial stability
  • 11%: economy in general

Growth industries include:

  • Accounting
  • Law
  • Professional services
  • Health care
  • Green energy

Business Wire shares factors behind small business success

More than 19,000 businesses were surveyed as part of the Small Business Financial Health Initiative with 940 companies responding. Predictors of financial health of businesses ultimately came down to these three factors:

  • Knowledge of financial products
  • Credit experiences of business owners
  • Financial planning and management practices

Although it probably is intuitive that these factors are key to business health, the study also reviewed the status of women- and minority-owned businesses. They found that these businesses ranked lower on the second two bullet points but higher on the first.

The entire report can be downloaded.

Information Week focuses on keeping your site safe

Information Week shares a summary of the National Small Business Association 2013 Technology Survey that reports how:

  • Nearly two-thirds of small businesses maintain their own websites, an increase of 15% from 2010
  • Sixty-four percent of companies say that time spent maintaining the site is a “major challenge”

To add to this situation, the article reports that hackers are attacking small business sites with increasing frequency and levels of sophistication, with new vulnerabilities happening every day, 24/7. Read the rest of this article for more ways in which your site may be at risk – and what you can do to protect your site from hackers.

Why many small businesses can’t be sold

We’ll wrap up our September round up with a blog post from the New York Times that shares common reasons why small business owners struggle to sell their companies.

Does your business have a solid stream of recurring income? If so, great! If not, then your business will be harder to sell.

Are you a passive owner or one whose contributions are integral to day-to-day operations? If you’re a passive owner, the business will be easier to sell because, if you’re integral to the business, what would the new owner really be buying of value without your contributions?

Find out other reasons why your business might be hard to sell and what you can do to turn that situation around.

What are your thoughts about these news brief? What other small business news has your attention? Leave a comment below.

 

 

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