– Small business information, insight and resources | Thu, 14 Feb 2019 18:32:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 157446745 A Small Business on Valentine’s Day is Like a Box of Chocolates Tue, 12 Feb 2019 14:42:59 +0000

Update: 2.13.2019: If you’ve missed them, here are some heart shaped articles we’ve posted on earlier Valentine’s Days. We hope your small business is filled with love every day!

4 Ways Successful Business-Partner Couples Balance Love and Work

Together, We Can Do So Much

Office Romances Are at a Decade-Long High

Are Americans Losing Their Love of Valentine’s Day?

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Small Business Tools: Start-up Calculator Fri, 08 Feb 2019 15:45:40 +0000

This free and clever online start-up calculator from CardConnect enables a user to estimate the costs of starting a new business. Note: There are aways plenty of “gotcha” costs that you’ll likely discover along your start-up journey. So, use the calculater as a tool for estimating — loosely — but always seek advice from your professional advisors and other experts.

Click over to the startup cost calculator.

Bonus | While the promotional tool uses the term “start-up,” it can also be used for planning any major project or product launch. Just be sure to adjust for the specific costs you may — or my not — need to include in the project.

Also see | An overview of resources that can help you start a business.

What are startup costs?

Startup costs refer to any costs involved in the setting up of your business, including expenses incurred in getting your business to the point where it’s ready to start selling to customers.

Click over to the startup cost calculator.

Credit | CardConnect
  • Firstpick your startup size (bootstrap, medium or large). This choice will serve as the basis for your startup calculator. 
  • Nextname your project. Give your project a suitable name and then click the ‘Save’ icon to create a unique web link for your calculator, which you can return to at a later date.
  • Fill in your calculator. The size of startup you selected at the beginning of the process will dictate the starting point for your overall costs.

There are six broad factors the calculator factors into the start up cost:

  • Pre-trading | These are the costs you’ll incur to set up your business, including articles of incorporation and obtaining appropriate licenses.
  • Administration | Fees related to accounting, bookkeeping and insurance – plus any ongoing professional fees (legal or consultant).
  • Marketing | Market research and marketing for launch.
  • Operations |  Cost off starting inventory/materials, in addition to general supplies, postage/shipping costs, and telephone & internet charges.
  • People | Employee or free-lancer costs. (Labor)
  • Space. Rental charges for office hardware and software

Contengency funds can be reflected in “costs available” in each category.

  • Keep your calculator updated. As you discover new information or carry out fresh research, return to the calculator using your saved web link and update your figures.
Credit | Cardconnect

Examples of start-up costs by category

Each calcuator “guide” contains a link to a pre-set startup cost calculator, to help you get started.

You will need to do a little extra research into your own state/location to ensure you are able to accurately predict your expenses.

Good luck.

Also see |
An overview of resources that can help you start a business.

  • Illustrations and calculator used by permission from CardConnect
  • Start illustration | Getty Images

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What Do All of Those Icons Mean on Websites & Apps? Help us Update this List Sun, 03 Feb 2019 07:00:02 +0000

(Originally posted, May, 2011) We posted this article a few years ago as a guide to the icons found on mobile apps. In general, “icons” mean emoji for grown-up developers. If you notice a missing icon or wonder what one means, send us a link of where you see it and we’ll help all our users learn what the new or confusing icon  means:

As more and more people are using mobile devices to run their lives and businesses, the people who develop applications for these devices face a challenge. Smaller screens mean less space to use words that instruct the user where to go and how to use the mobile website or app. For that reason, a whole new visual language of small symbols called “icons” is evolving. These icons are supposed to convey to the user what will happen when they tap onto or click the image.

The only problem is, sometimes Developer A and Developer B use the same image for various things, or different images for the same thing. For instance, what does and “i” in a circle mean? How is it different from a “?” in a circle? Or, for that matter, an “!”? (We included that last one, as it’s an on-going debate we have among ourselves at

Here are some common icons and what will likely happen when you click or tap on them. The following icons are from the folks at Font Awesome who have open-sourced them as part of development framework called Bootstrap that was created at Twitter and became an open-source project in 2011.

Cog, Widget or Gear


We started with this one because it demonstrates some of the confusion. First off, it’s a symbol that goes by different names. In the real-world, the symbol can mean “widget,” a word that has a meaning among developers that has nothing to do with that real-world meaning. On an app or website, it typically means “settings.” Click it and you can adjust something.



This, also, is what we mean by a confusing icon, as it can, like the cog-gear-widget, also mean “settings.” For example, Google Apps used to have a wrench icon for settings but now uses a “cog-gear-widget.”



An envelope should mean email, right? It may. Or it may have a broader meaning, like “click on this to contact us.” Look for one on and click it and the latter will happen.

Right Swirving Arrow


This means share. Click on it and you’ll likely see a list of ways to post the content you’re seeing onto social media sites or email it to friends or co-workers.

Another Sharing Icon

share icon

Perhaps we didn’t mention that the internet has no governing board that controls how many symbols can mean the same thing, as this one means “share” also., but wait, there’s more.

Yet, Another Sharing Symbol


We feel certain there are some nuance differences in the two previous  sharing icons and this one, but on, we’ve narrowed it down to the middle one. This one is especially confusing because it can also mean “print.” One day, this will all be worked out by the UN.

Exclamation Point


The exclamation point in a circle means, “take note and watch out.” If it’s in a triangle, it means “TAKE NOTE and WATCH OUT.” Or, if it’s part of the logo of, it means, “here’s your answer!”



This should be obvious. It means, click here to play a game of Monopoly.



Sometimes (say, if you use Google+), you may even see a stack of ellipses. We’re guessing this icon is a visual pun that means “the stuff we couldn’t…fit here.”  Clicking or tapping on the icon will reveal options related to what you are currently viewing. (Coincidentally, the next icon means and does about the same.)

Parallel Bars (hamburger or a stack of hamburgers or hot dogs)list-760x219-2

When used as a navigational icon, either of these two “lists” mean there are lots of things the app or website couldn’t fit on a tiny screen. Typically, if you click or tap on them, some form of the navigational bar will slide in from the side or top.



This means “edit” pretty much anywhere you see it.

Triangle in a Circleplay-760x243-2

This is a play button icon. That, or a cattle ranch brand.

Circle Arrowrefresh-760x205-2

This means refresh. Refresh means stay on the same page, but try to make it work, this time.

A Dot with Two Curved Lines


This is an RSS icon. It’s a magical tool that far too few people use. If you want others to be more informed than you, ignore it.

Magnifying glass


This means “search.” Even if you don’t see a search box, click on it. In fact, you can test what we mean by looking for one at the top of this screen (depending on the device you are using). Tap or click on it. We promise a search box will appear.

Beer Mug


This icon means “turn off your computer and go have a beer.”

Infusionsoft Rebrands to Keap; Launches Small Business Services Software Fri, 01 Feb 2019 16:57:17 +0000 Infusionsoft, the 17-year-old customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation software company, announced earlier this week that it has rebranded its corporate name, Keap. The company also introduced a new product called Keap, a client management software (CMS) platform designed for small businesses in the home, personal and professional service industries.

Previously on |Infusionsoft Launches Propel, a DIY Marketing Automation Platform for Small Business

“With the introduction of our new Keap product, we are able to serve an even larger market of small service providers who have been shut out of the benefits of automation because software providers have made it too hard and expensive.” said Keap COO Keith Reed.

Targeted at small service providers such as interior design, home repair, fitness or business consulting, “Keap automates repetitive sales and client-related tasks like appointment scheduling following up on leads/quotes, and collecting payments,” according to Reed.

“As part of a multi-year company and product transformation, we set out to better understand how small businesses meet customer demands today,” said Keap CEO Clate Mask.

Some features of the new Keap software

  • Organizes and centralizes customer information and daily work in one place 
  • Frees small businesses from repetitive tasks to save time
  • Helps small businesses provide great service to their clients –

Photos: Keap by Infusionsoft, GettyImages

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Super Bowl Spending May Dip Slightly This Year, Here’s Why | 2019 Mon, 28 Jan 2019 11:57:56 +0000 American adults say they will spend an average $81.30 (or $14.8 billion total) as they watch the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams play in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday (2.3.2019), according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. The purchasing is down a bit, but there are reasons why.

Spending amounts

$14.8 billion | 2018: Super Bowl LII party related spending
$15.3 billion | 2017: Super Bowl LI party related spending
$15.5 billion | 2016: Super Bowl X party related spending


182.5 million | 2018: People saying they were going to watch the game
188.5 million | 2016: People saying they are going to watch the game

Why are fewer fans purchasing items this year?

According to the NRF, it is primarily because fewer people plan to watch the game. However, despite the viewership dip, the overall spending is still the third-highest on record, after last year’s figure and $15.5 billion in 2016.

“Spending is expected to be at one the highest levels we’ve seen. And retailers are ready whether you need food, team jerseys, decorations or a new TV.”

Matthew Shay, NRF CEO and President

$81.17 (per adult) | Superbowl LIII will be second-highest spending in the history of the survey
$82.19 (per adult) | Record high Superbowl spending (2016)

$182.5 million (2018) | Total estimated Superbowl spending this year

Super Bowl plans

24% (61 million) | Plan to attend a party
17% (44 million) | Will throw a party
  5% (13 million) | Will watch in a bar or restaurant.

Among those watching, planned purchases:

79% | Plan to buy food and beverages
10% | Plan to purchase team apparel and accessories
7% | Plan to purchase decorations
7% | Plan to purchase new television

What is the most important part of the event?

43% | The game
23% | The commercials
14% | Getting together with friends
13% | The halftime show
  7% | The food


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Nearly 10,000 Federal Contractors are Impacted by Partial Shutdown | 2019 Thu, 17 Jan 2019 16:49:51 +0000

While much has been reported about the economic impact of the partial federal shutdown on federal workers, coverage of the impact on large and small businesses that are federal contractors has been limited to anecdotal examples. Why? Such statistics are hard to gather due to the shutdown.*

The partial federal shutdown, now in a record fourth week, means missed paychecks for more than 800,000 government workers. But it also is having a similar, negative impact on workers in private companies, large and small, that do business with affected agencies.

The larger federal contracts go to the larger contractors who can weather the shutdown storm. However, shutdowns may be creating more stresses at smaller companies.

66% | About two-thirds of contracts with federal agencies affected by the shutdown are less than $10,000 a week

According to a limited analysis* of government contractor data by The Washington Post, there are 10,000 companies that hold contracts with federal agencies affected by the government shutdown.

$200 million | The estimated weekly value of the work by federal contractors impacted by the partial shutdown.

Quote from the Washington Post

“No one knows how many workers are affected, and overall estimates of total federal contract workers range from hundreds of thousands to millions. It’s also unknown how many have had to stop work, but company and industry officials say financial pressures on contractors are building.”

What do federal contractors do?

Federal government contractors are the source for nearly every item and service the government purchases, including vehicles, books, and furniture.

Contractor-supplied services can involve supporting government offices and programs, from clerical and keyboarding work to budget analysis and specialized studies. Other contracts for services range from housekeeping and security for government-owned properties to research and development for space exploration.

Top five services and goods contracted by weekly dollar amount

*(Via Washington Post: Estimates for contract amounts with federal agencies affected by the shutdown are based on analysis of contracting data from The data is incomplete and not being updated during shut down.)

Chart: WashingtonPost Photograph: GettyImages

Update (1.18.2019): Updated to clarify that the number 10,000 refers to the number of companies that have contracts with the federal government. It is not he number of employees at those companies.

How to Extend Your Reservation & Booking Features to Google Maps and Business Profiles Tue, 08 Jan 2019 21:51:25 +0000 Because of its dominance in web search, it is critical that information regarding your company be correctly and fully displayed wherever Google provides directory-like information about your business. Google even lets you manage the directory content on the results page with a product called Reserve by Google. Guide to Managing a Listing on Google Search and Maps

This is not the type of marketing called “search engine optimization” (SEO) that is effective, but requires time and resources to master and manage. These are basic directory features, the kind that Google allows a business owner or employee to manage directly on Google Maps and Google business profiles.

How to get your reservation and booking feature displayed on Google Maps and your business profile pages

Note how the results for a search related to this restaurant displays directory and location information, along with the ability to reserve a table. The feature is quickly being integrated into most online scheduling and booking services.

Reserve with Google is only available in certain countries to businesses that work with a supported scheduling provider and have opted to receive bookings through Google. In other words, it is not a feature that you set up directly with Google, but is integrated into your scheduling software provider.

These scheduling, appointment and booking software providers listed below currently offer (or will soon) Reserve with Google features. If you don’t see your provider listed, contact them directly as this list is fast-growing. (Click on the logos to link to a provider.)

Appointy logo
Bookatable logo
Booksy logo
CAKE logo
ChefsClub logo
Chope logo
CoverManager logo
Dimmi logo
DineTime logo
EazyDiner logo
Envision logo
FullSlate logo
Genbook logo
goPanache logo
Gurunavi logo
HungryGoWhere logo
LaFourchette logo
Libro logo
MyTime logo
Peek Travel, Inc. logo
Pike13 logo
Qraved logo
Quandoo logo
Reserve logo
Reso logo
Restaurantes logo
Restorando logo
Resy logo
Rosy logo
SalonRunner logo
Setmore logo
SevenRooms logo
Shore logo
Square Appointments logo
TheStudioDirector logo
SuperAgendador logo
SuperSalon logo
Thryv logo
TimeTrade logo
Tiqets logo
Treatwell logo
Trinks logo
vCita logo
Wellness Living logo
Yocale logo
Zooty logo

Coming soon

Accesso logo
Bookeo logo
BookingBug logo
Checkfront logo
Clickypass logo
Coubic logo
Coursehorse logo
eTender logo
EventBrite logo
Eveve logo
FlexyBeauty logo
FareHarbor logo
GetYourGuide logo
Liftopia logo
MassageBook logo
Metro logo
Musement logo
Radius Networks logo
ResDiary logo
Rezdy logo
Schedulicity logo
SeatGeek logo
Shortcuts logo
ShowClix logo
Squire logo
TheProNails logo
Ticketmaster logo
Toreta logo
Viator logo
Wisely logo
Yelp logo
ZenChef logo

State Minimum Wages | 2019 Thu, 20 Dec 2018 16:19:15 +0000 UPDATE | This listing is an update of our 2018 state minimum wage information.

What is the minimum wage for 2019?

The minimum wage rate is the lowest hourly pay that can be awarded to workers. The following information includes current state and federal minimum wage rates, exceptions, and scheduled increases.

map of usa

Federal Minimum Wage 

Note | Some employees are exempt from minimum wage requirements; for example, employees who are tipped, like restaurant servers. 

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. It has not increased since July 2009. However, many states, cities, and counties have a higher minimum wage rate. When a state, city or county minimum wage rate is higher than the federal rate, employers are required to pay workers the higher amount. 

State Minimum Wage Rates 

Twenty-nine states and D.C. have a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour):

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, Washington D.C., and West Virginia. 

State Minimum Wages

  • Alabama: $7.25 (Federal Minimum Wage, no state minimum)
  • Alaska: $9.84 (Annual indexing has begun)
  • Arizona: $11.00
  • Arkansas: $9.25
  • California: $12
  • Colorado: $11.10
  • Connecticut: $10.10
  • Delaware: $9.25
  • District of Columbia: $14.00 (as of 7/1/19)
  • Florida: $8.25
  • Georgia:$7.25 ($5.15 if not covered by federal regulations)
  • Guam: $8.25
  • Hawaii: $10.10 
  • Idaho: $7.25
  • Illinois: $8.25 
  • Indiana: $7.25
  • Iowa: $7.25 
  • Kansas: $7.25
  • Kentucky: $7.25
  • Louisiana: $7.25 (Federal Minimum Wage, no state minimum)
  • Maine: $11 
  • Maryland: $10.10 
  • Massachusetts: $12
  • Michigan: $10.00
  • Minnesota: Large employers are required to pay workers $9.86/hour and small employers (less than 500k in annual sales) $8.04
  • Mississippi: $7.25 (Federal Minimum Wage, no state minimum)
  • Missouri: $8.60
  • Montana: $8.50 ($4 for businesses with gross annual sales of $110,000 or less) (Annual indexing has begun)
  • Nebraska: $9 
  • Nevada: $8.25 
  •  New Hampshire: $7.25 (Federal Minimum Wage)
  • New Jersey: $8.85
  • New Mexico: $7.50
  • New York: $11.10
  • North Carolina: $7.25 
  • North Dakota: $7.25
  • Ohio: $8.55 
  • Oklahoma: $7.25
  • Oregon: $11.25 (7/1/19)
  • Pennsylvania: $7.25
  • Puerto Rico: $7.25
  • Rhode Island: $10.50 
  • South Carolina: $7.25 (Federal Minimum Wage, no state minimum)
  • South Dakota: $9.10
  • Tennessee: $7.25 (Federal Minimum Wage, no state minimum)
  • Texas: $7.25
  • Utah: $7.25
  • Vermont: $10.78 
  • Virgin Islands: $10.50
  • Virginia: $7.25
  • Washington: $12.00
  • West Virginia: $8.75
  • Wisconsin: $7.25
  • Wyoming: $7.25 ($5.15 if federal regulations do not apply)

Higher minimum wages exist in many cities and counties  

According to the Economic Policy Institute, 42 localities have adopted minimum wages above their state minimum wage. Check out the excellent interactive chart from the Economic Policy Institute for information about each jurisdiction.

  • Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Belmont, California
  • Berkeley, California
  • Bernalillo County, New Mexico
  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Cook County, Illinois
  • Cupertino, California
  • El Cerrito, California
  • Emeryville, California
  • Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • Los Altos, California
  • Los Angeles County, California
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Malibu, California
  • Milpitas, California
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Mountain View, California
  • Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, New York
  • New York City, New York
  • Oakland, California
  • Palo Alto, California
  • Pasadena, California
  • Portland Urban Growth Boundary, Oregon
  • Portland, Maine
  • Prince George’s County, Maryland
  • Richmond, California
  • San Diego, California
  • San Francisco, California
  • San Jose, California
  • San Leandro, California
  • San Mateo, California
  • Santa Clara, California
  • Santa Fe City, New Mexico
  • Santa Fe County, New Mexico
  • Santa Monica, California
  • SeaTac, Washington
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Sunnyvale. California
  • Tacoma, Washington

Information provided by the Economic Policy Institute, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the Labor Law Center.

Image | GettyImages

Google’s Tips for Reaching Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers Mon, 17 Dec 2018 19:31:52 +0000 70% | Percentage of shoppers who confessed they still had shopping to do in the last week before Christmas. Here are some retail strategy tips to capture last-minute shoppers from Google.

1 | Make it easy for last minute shoppers to discover and purchasse gifts

  • With more purchase options than ever, people feel overwhelmed by decisions, and it’s tough for brands to differentiate themselves. How do you make smart business decisions to meet customers at every moment of intent? Make discovery easy.

2 | When it’s too late to purchase and deliver online, be available offline

  • Shoppers use mobile to search for local businesses, store hours, directions, wait times, contact information, and increasingly, product availability.

Source: Google/Ipsos, U.S., Omnichannel Holiday Study

What is a ‘Nonemployer Business’? | 2018 Wed, 05 Dec 2018 18:16:21 +0000

In the past, we’ve been extremely precise in explaining why we believe small business is the term best used to describe a small business. One reason is that terms or acronyms other than “small business” weaken the “institutional brand” of the second most trusted institution in the United States. However, the most important reasons are ones we’ve explored before that are related to the importance of knowing whether the people who work with you are employees or independent contractors.

Independent contractor or nonemployer businesses?

Here’s the first thing you need to know: Independent contractors and nonemployer businesses are the same things. Most U.S. government agencies use the term “small business” exclusively, like the Small Business Administration and congressional committees. The U.S. Code of federal statutes (where all the laws are stored) contains the term “small business” 1,034 times. “Nonemployer” is found only once there.

Terms like microbusiness or biz or independent contractor or freelancer are mentioned nowhere in the tax code but show up occasionally in IRS guidelines.

The agency that uses it most (in our unscientific research) is the U.S. Census Bureau who use the term “nonemployer business often.”

Recently, the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy put out a “fact sheet” on the topic of nonemployer businesses. We can understand how their usage helps clearup some confusion, but believe that using the term “nonemployerbusiness” only adds to the confusion.

How the U.S. Census Bureau defines a “nonemployer” business

According to the SBA Office of Advocacy fact sheet, here is the definition of a nonemployer business “derived from administrative record sources”:

“A business that has no paid employees, has annual business receipts of $1,000 or more ($1 or more in the construction industries) and is subject to federal income taxes. Most nonemployers are self-employed individuals operating very small unincorporated businesses, which may or may not be the owner’s principal source of income.”

40% | Percentage of nonemployer businesses that are the primary source of income of their owners
20% | Percentage of  nonemployer businesses in which the owner spends between 20 – 40 hours a week
50% | Percentage of  nonemployer businesses in which the owner spends less than 20 hours a week
30% | Percentage of nonemployer business owners who spend 40 hours a week on the business

80% | Percentage of all businesses that are nonemployee business

15.4 million | Nonemployee businesses in 1997
24.3 million | Nonemployee businesses in 2015

58% | Growth in the number of nonemployee businesses
6% | Growth in the number of businesses with employees since 1997

The chart above reveals that the number of net non-employer businesses has been growing about 2% a year during the past 15 years, reaching 25 million in 2016. Steve King, a partner in Emergent Research and a regular contributor to, explains some possible reasons for the disparity in the growth.

  • It’s easier and cheaper to start and operate a non-employer business today.
  • More people are starting part-time businesses to supplement their income or pursue a passion
  • Small businesses no longer need to hire traditional (W2) employees when they can use contract labor, outsourcing, freelancer and automation.

So what’s wrong with the term “nonemployee business”?

Frankly, it’s not a big deal except for a few folks like me. Many years ago in a book I can’t recall, I read a comment that has stuck with me for decades:

Rarely does great marketing come from telling the customer what a product isn’t. Of course, there are a few exceptions that prove the rule: de-cafe coffee, mirrorless cameras, smokeless tobacco. On the other hand, there are positively names that fail, like Google+.

So what should the name be, if not nonemployee business?

Again, when compared to all issues small businesses face, this is the least one you’ll encounter (unless you run int the buzzsaw with the IRS over an issue related to employee vs. contractor. However, I think “nonemployer business” is government agency gobbledegook.

What about the term, “One-person small business.”?

Do you have a suggestion? Share it on Twitter with the hashtag #OnePersonSmallBusiness