Export Compliance Introduction

April 16, 2012

Who is the U.S. Principle Party in Interest (USPPI)? What is a shipment and when you must file in the Automated Export System (AES)? For more information, please visit our website: http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/.

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Do you know how your brand rates online?

April 12, 2012

There is increasing pressure for SMBs to have an online presence. After all, Facebook alone claims consumers spend 700 billion minutes per month on the site, and Twitter has reported 190 million tweets per a day. But what does that really mean for SMBs? How can you tell if being online is helping or hurting your brand?

While people worldwide use the Internet daily to get information and interact, there is no one right way for businesses to approach their online presence. One thing you can do as a small business owner is understand what’s being said about your businesses online.

From controlled information that you approve and publish, to user-generated information including customer reviews that can be true or untrue, it’s imperative that companies know how their brands are represented and perceived, digitally. Yet many small businesses avoid monitoring their online presence because it can be a time consuming, expensive and overwhelming endeavor.

Making it quick, easy and affordable (it’s free!) for small businesses to understand and manage their online presence is the promise of an exciting, new tool, Brandify. (more…)

Start a Business on the Cheap Using the Internet

April 11, 2012

Starting a small business has never been easier, especially if you know some of the incredible tools on the Internet. This month, I go over some of my favorites.

Free PDF Business Cards (http://www.freepdfcards.com/)

One of the first steps in starting your business is to have some business cards created. Well, now, instead of paying some printer for these essential promotional pieces, you can make them yourself. At the aptly named, FreePDFCards.com site, you can easily upload a logo, choose numerous lines of text, and, in the end, create an 8.5 by 11 PDF sheet of cards ready to print. At that point, all you have to do is buy a bunch of Avery pre-cut cardstock. Simple!

Gliffy (http://www.gliffy.com)

One of the ingredients of a good business plan is a clear explanation of EXACTLY how it will operate. And what better way to communicate that idea than a professional flow chart or diagram. Instead of going out and buying expensive software like Visio, check out Gliffy.com, a free site that allows you to create beautiful Venn Diagrams, floor-plans, and business process charts. See their site for even more ideas! (more…)

Tips from the Trenches: A Young Business Owner’s Take on Entrepreneurship After College

April 6, 2012

In our last Youth Entrepreneurship blog post, we brought up several points to consider when mulling over whether enrolling in college or starting your own business is the right post-high school choice.

Of course, the end of high school isn’t the only time you’ll be presented with two roads diverging. For those of you who attend college, “What’s next?” resurfaces in four short years—or in just a few weeks for some of you. So the question is now, in LeBron James-speak, “Where should I take my talents after college?”

While most young entrepreneurs tend to think they should acquire some real-world experience at full-time jobs before embarking on their business ventures, we recently spoke to a young entrepreneur who might encourage you to reconsider the merits of obtaining that “real-world experience.”

David Comisford, 26, started buying back college textbooks from fellow undergrads at Capital University in winter 2006. Since then, he’s transformed his dorm-based business into Frewg, Inc., an online storefront where college students can buy, sell back and rent college books. And he did it all without any full-time work experience under his belt. (more…)