Great reads on small business and entrepreneurship

The fragmentation of mass media comes with its own set of benefits and detriments.  So while there is more and more great content available to us, it gets more difficult to track down the best bits. Starting with this post, I am compiling some of the articles I most enjoyed, found most thought-provoking, or felt would be of value to those of us who run our own businesses or are engaged in starting one. The 12 articles listed below are organized by category: Small business news, Small business and the economy, Starting a business, and Running your business.

Small business news

NY Times

Governments Clearing the Way for Small Business Creation, Report Says
“Governments have responded to the financial crisis by making it easier for entrepreneurs to start new businesses, paving the way for employment growth amid an uncertain economic outlook, according to a World Bank report released late Wednesday.”

American Public Media: Marketplace

Small businesses see benefits in going green

“While the U.N. summit in Cancun undertakes big environmental initiatives, some small businesses are already taking up the green cause. What they’re discovering is that beyond the environmental factors, going green is helping out their bottom line, too.”

Small business and the economy

Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Why AmEx Wants You to ‘Buy Local’
American Express is leading the way with it’s efforts to promote local businesses with its “Small Business Saturday” promotion, launched just after Thanksgiving. (Another BusinessWeek article can be found here)

Small business ‘surge’ in hiring – ADP
“The nation’s engine of job growth is revving up: small businesses were responsible for 58% of the private sector hiring in November, according to a report released Wednesday.”

American Public Media: Marketplace

Can start-ups help the economy?
“We hear all the time how important small-business growth is to job creation — and the signs so far aren’t good. The Labor Department reports the total number of businesses in the U.S. economy shrank during the recession. And new businesses that are opening their doors are adding fewer jobs.”

American Public Media: Marketplace

Lack of unemployment funding could hurt local businesses

“Funding for unemployment benefits officially runs out today, although Democrats are pushing for a $12 billion extension. In the meantime, the two million long-term unemployed could find themselves cutting back drastically, and this could affect local businesses in a big way.”

Starting a business


Four Home-Based Business Myths
“The home-based business industry is buzzing with new startups, products and services. If you are considering launching a home-based company, it’s a good idea to have all the facts. There are a lot of misconceptions about what it takes to run a successful business from home.”

NY Times

Trained for Battle, Now Operating A Small Business
“While combat veterans face countless challenges in their transitions back to civilian life, [many veterans] credit the military with giving them the courage, discipline and determination to start businesses. They believe even harrowing experiences, if managed and overcome, can lend perspective and fearlessness in commerce and provoke that “healthy discontent with the status quo” that galvanizes entrepreneurs.”

Running a business


Party On for a Tax Break
“The holidays are here, and for many people this is a season of gifts and parties. For entrepreneurs, this is the time of year when business protocol dictates sending gifts to clients, hosting dinners with potential clients and throwing holiday parties for employees. Lucky for business owners, many of these expenses are tax-deductible.”


Three Tips to Design a Sales Compensation Plan
“How to set commissions that motivate your team. As we begin a new year, many business owners will consider revamping or creating a new sales compensation plan. It can be one of your most critical undertakings. The best plans serve as strong motivation for your sales reps and help you recruit top producers, which ultimately will boost your bottom line.”

NY Times

Case study: Background Checks, and Their Boundaries

OfficeDrop scans paper documents into digital files. Its clients include hospitals that want to archive patient records and a minister with too many hand-written sermons. Prasad Thammineni started the company in 2007 and opened his doors to clients a year later.”

Fox Business News

Leveraging Loyalty: How to Keep Customers Hooked
“Attracting new customers is an obvious way to grow your business, and often the primary focus of a small business owner. But like any important relationship, experts say it’s what you do after you win the business that really determines long-term success.”

Photo: Jason McHuff