Small business and startups: great reads from the business press

I have been spending some time recently with the online business press. Lots of great articles and information out there, so I thought it was time for another edition of the Business Press roundup! It is an incredibly dynamic time in the world of startups and small business: the economy continues to freak, but at the same time we are seeing a record number of new businesses formed every month. Entrepreneurs benefit greatly by staying on top of the news, seeking out disparate opinions, and sharing their own analysis and judgements.

The 13 articles listed below are organized by category: Small business news, Small business and the economy, Starting a business, and Running your business. Let me know your thoughts and please share links to any great articles you’ve come across recently.

Small business news

NY Times
A Wave of Chinese Money Gives a Lift to Companies Struggling in Tough Times
“Chinese investment in American companies amounted to $5 billion in 2010 and is expected to rise; for some smaller companies, it has been a lifeline.”
Intuit Program Awards Grants to Help Spur Local Jobs
“Over the past 18 months, Intuit has been awarding hiring grants in $500 to $25,000 increments to U.S.-based small businesses. The company has pledged to bestow $1 million in grants over the course of the program, which runs in three-month increments.”

Small business and the economy

American Public Media: Marketplace
Small biz lending fund is a bust
“The Small Business Lending Fund was designed as an answer to small businesses that said banks were too scared to lend them money.”

The American Nightmare: Student Debt Will Be A Long-Term Drag On The Economy
“Amid budgetary constraints, state funding for public universities is drying up. To make up the shortfall, those universities are raising tuition and making per student funding cuts”

American Public Media: Marketplace
Small business owners on front lines in tough economy
“Why exactly do companies not want to hire these days, even if given some incentives?”

NY Times
A Slowdown for Small Businesses
“In the latest sign that the economic recovery may have lost whatever modest oomph it had, more small businesses say that they are planning to shrink their payrolls than say they want to expand them.”
Three Years After Lehman: Small Business Still Struggles
“Three years ago today, Lehman Brotherscollapsed, turning what had been a mild recession into the worst economic disaster in 70 years. The Great Recession hit bottom five months later, and in some ways things have improved for small business owners since then.”

Starting a business

Bloomberg Businessweek
The $32,000 Startup
“In an age of outsourcing, starting an online business or improving an existing one means founders don’t need technical skills or outside funding. ”

NY Times
Some Ways to Get Started as a Social Entrepreneur
“With the economy still struggling, it may seem like an impossible time to start a do-good social venture. It can be hard enough to operate any business profitably — let alone one that also tries to improve the world. But some observers believe that the tough times may be increasing interest in social ventures.”

Running a business

Is Your Budget Ready for Worst Case Scenario?
“Thanks to credit crunches and slow sales, experts say the key to budgeting for 2012 is being prepared for the worst. Here are the simple steps to building a bulletproof budget.”

Bloomberg Businessweek
When Your Business Can’t Repay a Bank Loan
“A business turnaround adviser explains why small and midsize companies are having trouble servicing their debt and offers advice on defusing tough situations.”

Harvard Business Review
Learning Presenting Skills by Learning to Swim
“I have learned over the years to teach delivery skills in progressive stages, very much in the same manner that swimming coaches teach swimming; an approach that produces an unexpected benefit for presenters in the development of their stories..”

Four Common Startup Money Mistakes
“Startup businesses come in myriad different forms, but each have one thing in common: They need proper financial management in order to survive. Small-business finance expert Steve Strauss outlines four common money mistakes everyone should avoid.”

Photo: Keith Ramsey