Here’s our weekly link roundup of small business buzz, musings and muchness. A curation of the best small business talk around the web.
If some in the small business community thought to themselves, “better them than us,” after hearing that hackers had breached mega chains Target, Neiman Marcus and (possibly) Michaels, their bliss was short-lived… a list of the 91 breaches reported in the first 43 days of 2014 compiled by the Identity Theft Resource Center shows not just trusted brands – Home Depot HD +0.19%, Walgreens, TD Bank – but a variety of small medical offices and other small businesses whose owners perhaps never thought they’d be targets, too.
Getting a small business bank loan is never easy, and it’s been especially difficult since the financial crash of 2008 and the lingering credit crunch. Even though small business lending is rebounding somewhat, it is still virtually impossible to get a loan to open a new business. That’s because lenders want to see a financial track record for your business that demonstrates your ability to repay the money they’re lending you. Without that kind of history, the lender has no way to know if your venture will be successful enough to make good on your obligation.
The burdens and costs related to limited liability companies, or LLCs—a popular legal category for businesses that passes profits through to individual owners’ personal taxes while shielding them from liability for corporate debts—are drawing complaints from some entrepreneurs around the U.S. They question why they should have to pay hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars just to incorporate.
Most new businesses fail–that means most entrepreneurs and CEOs fail right along with them. What makes one person pack up his desk and go home while another shakes it off and tries again? It’s all in the mindset, says Megan McArdle, author of The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success. “People with a fixed mindset believe failure is a referendum on them,” she says. “They think they’re not good enough and maybe they should just go mop floors somewhere. Those who have a growth mindset, however, think failure is a roadmap for what not to do next time.”
Spend some time in San Francisco, Boston or New York City, and it seems high-tech entrepreneurship is alive and well in the United States. Read about the clever new products and services being built in emerging technology hubs like Seattle, Denver and the District of Columbia, and you come away with the same impression. Take a look at the actual numbers, and the outlook is starkly different.
Pitching a new client or investor can be one of the most rewarding and nerve-wracking aspects of being an entrepreneur. When a pitch is going well and you’re humming on all cylinders, it can be incredibly energizing and give you renewed faith in your abilities and ideas. On the other hand, there’s nothing more uniquely painful or awkward than a pitch meeting that goes sour.
Today, venture capital (VC) is more democratic than ever. Investors are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and geography is no longer a constricting factor. Lower barriers, however, create stricter filters. With so many startups jockeying for funding, the Internet also enables investors to make snap judgments. Therefore, if you’re looking for funding, you can be sure that your online presence will be the subject of intense scrutiny.
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