America’s SBDC Blog

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Protecting Your Online Reputation

May 4, 2012

How many times have you heard someone on the radio or TV offering to protect your online reputation from malicious or fraudulent reviews? Believe it or not, with a little work, you can protect your own online reputation and keep your cash!

First, understand what we mean by your online reputation. Basically, whenever we talk about a business getting damaged by an online slight, it can be traced to a consumer-based review. Many sites exist that allow anyone to leave a review of any business. Unfortunately, these review sites are not policed or edited, creating opportunities for mischief, pranks, and outright lies.

It happened to me. One of my less ethical competitors wrote a false, scathing review about my company. I figured out it was him because he gave one-star reviews to all of the web design companies except his own (which earned 5 stars). Oh, and he used his real name when he made the review. (more…)

Taxes & Tariffs

May 2, 2012

Duties and taxes are fees imposed on goods shipped from one country to another. It’s the responsibility of the shipper to calculate them and for the buyer to pay them. This video introduces you to online tools for calculating these fees for more than 100 different countries. For more information, please visit our website:

The Census Bureau serves as the leading source of quality data about the nation’s people and economy. We honor privacy, protect confidentiality, share our expertise globally, and conduct our work openly. We are guided on this mission by our strong and capable workforce, our readiness to innovate, and our abiding commitment to our customers.

Taking the Leap into Mobile Payments

April 30, 2012

You may think accepting electronic payments at your small business gives consumers plenty of payment options. And, until very recently, accepting debit cards, credit cards and good old-fashioned cash did meet the vast majority of consumers’ payment needs. But the times, they are a-changing.

While still a relatively small segment of the market, mobile payment – payments made using smartphone – is making serious headway. How serious? Consider this: In less than a year after Starbucks launched a mobile app complete with a payment option, the company reported more than 26 million mobile payments.

Smartphone use is on the rise and is playing a larger role in where people spend—especially in urban areas where users rely on apps like Yelp to read reviews of local hotspots before taking a gamble on a new businesses. Bumping up “accepting mobile payments” on your to-do list may be a wise move. (more…)

Why Incorporate or Form a Limited Liability Company?

April 27, 2012

Incorporation is an important step in the life of a business, but unfortunately the true value of incorporating a business or forming a limited liability company (LLC) is often not realized until the business faces a negative situation, such as a lawsuit or bankruptcy.

A primary advantage of forming a corporation or LLC is the limited liability these entities afford their owners. Typically, owners are not liable for the debts and obligations of the business; thus creditors cannot pursue the personal assets of the owners to pay the business debts. Conversely, in a partnership or sole proprietorship, where the owner and the business are considered legally the same, the owner’s personal assets may be used to pay debts of the business.

Other advantages of forming a corporation include:

· Incorporating may help to establish credibility for a new business with potential customers, employees, vendors, and partners. (more…)

Three Tips for Using an Export Management Company

April 26, 2012

Tapping into the vast global marketplace sounds great in theory, but if you are like many small business owners, the logistics of making your exporting dreams a reality can be overwhelming. That’s when it makes sense to consider using an export management company for your first foray into international trade.

Yes, direct exporting—where you handle every aspect of the process — does provide the best opportunity to grow your sales and your profits. But the significant commitment in managing everything from learning cross-border distribution to establishing in-country business partnerships or joint ventures often isn’t worth the effort.

With an export management company (EMC) at your side, you can tap into international growth while maintaining your domestic business (and your sanity). The secret lies within developing an indirect exporting strategy using an EMC. (more…)