NYT: This Week in Small Business: $931 Billion in Cash

 

(This post originally appeared on the New York Times)

Economy: Still Sitting on Their Cash

Matthew Philips thinks 2013 is going to be a bummer. FedEx turns pessimistic. A Citibank study of small businesses finds that their biggest problem is a lack of sales growth. Still, retail sales rose in August. And in real estate, builder confidence and residential building growth (PDF) continued to gain momentum, existing home sales and prices went up and architectural billings turned positive. Manufacturing in both the New York and Philadelphiaregions weakened. Port traffic in Los Angeles is down compared with the previous year, and weekly rail traffic is mixed. Businesses now hold a record$931 billion in cash.

Management: Eat

These are the 50 most powerful women in business. Michelle Patterson sayswomen are leading the economic turnaround. Suzie Humphreys just loves to do payroll! Mark Cuban explains how to make $2.3 billion: “Either you know your business inside and out or you don’t. Either you’re willing to do whatever it takes to win or you won’t. Very simple.” Here are 27 everyday ways to get inspired. Here’s how to tell if you are a micro-manager. Jacquelyn Smith suggests some things you should do on your lunch break every day, including: “Eat. Don’t try to be a hero and starve yourself for the sake of being a hard worker or checking off another ‘to-do’ item.” Brett and Kate McKay offer advice on getting your kids to do their chores. The Exotic Entrepreneur says there are three steps to expanding your business online. Randall King believes every entrepreneur should read these three Kindle books. Michael Hartzell lists three ways to establish a good reputation, including: “Keep informed about fund-raisers and other events in your area and find ways to get involved. … Not only will you be embracing the needs of your neighborhood but it is a great networking opportunity.”

The Campaign: 47 Percent

Here are the 47 percent in one graphic. Gallup says the race is still a dead heat.A guy gets bored during a campaign stop. President Obama leaves a nice wedding gift and celebrates Talk Like a Pirate Day. The cast of “The West Wing” jumps into the fray.

Finance: Two Questions

Here’s what it’s like when two people are dating and start a company together. Ryan Matthew Pierson offers his thoughts on why start-ups fail. Anna Farmery has five tips for developing your freelance career. This is aninvestor’s-eye view of the Chicago start-up scene. Philip Campbell says bewarethe phrase, “Cash is a little tight now.” Caleb Wojcik says getting personal finances in order is the not-so-sexy step that every profitable entrepreneur must take: “The reason that entrepreneurs need to have their personal finances in order before they start taking risks is the freedom and flexibility it offers.” The mobile payment company Square is now worth more than $3 billion. This interactive graphic will help you understand how different financing strategies will affect you and your investors over time. Warren Berger reveals the secret phrase innovators use. Here are two important questions to answer before you invest in a small business. Is “Shark Tank” a good deal?

Your People: Forget Qualifications

Ken Oboh offers advice on finding the right people: “In our hiring, we’ve never looked at what the individual has in terms of formal qualifications; we’ve always looked for people who love the Internet and have a passion for building an online business.” Julie Rains shares the secret for finding great temps. These companies offer work-life balance. One in five job-seekers rejects employers who ban social media. Jill Jusko explains how to develop high-potential employees. An infographic shows where the jobs will be in 2020. This is how obese employees hurt your bottom line. Finally, someone explainswhy the chicken crossed the road.

Marketing Offline: A Really Sweet Halloween

Alyson Stanfield gives advice for promoting events six months out. Susan Ward thinks Halloween could be a really sweet business opportunity: “Large parties with participants wearing elaborate costumes are becoming increasingly popular — excellent news for people looking for niche business opportunities.” Here’s an interesting case study on how a high-end closet company segments its customers. Here are three reasons successful business owners still rely on print materials. This sentence will blow your mind. Hootsuite’s Ryan Holmes explains how to build a recognizable brand. Is this the sexiest, coolest, most epic bus commercial ever?

Marketing Online: Social Media Insurance

Ninety-eight percent of small businesses do not have mobile-ready Web sites. These are the six landing-page questions your visitors want answered. Studies show eye contact is the antidote to online animosity. Here’s how small businesses can use six LinkedIn marketing tools. A conference call provider, InterCall, starts a new online community for small businesses. As managing your company’s Facebook page becomes easier, AJ Kumar explains how aFacebook search engine could change the way people find your business. Denise Keller explains how to reactivate your lapsed e-mail subscribers. Andyou knew it was coming: social media insurance.

Around the Country: Sweepstakes

Philadelphia’s zoo will use cards and scanners to track guest behavior, and the city’s opera company gives a surprise performance at the train station. Hershey’s new plant could bring $1 billion to Pennsylvania. The Small Business Administration increases its support for Hispanic entrepreneurs, and the Morris County Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce in New Jersey celebrates its “Business Man of the Year.” New York City businesses sound offon the mayor’s sugar ban. Small businesses can go here to win a “neat” prize. JetBlue plans free Wi-Fi and other airlines add routes to the North Dakota oil patch. NCR announces a $10,000 sweepstakes for small businesses. The UPS Store makes a pitch to small businesses.

Around the World: China’s Tantrums

Japanese businesses in China are hit by protests, but Wayne Arnold says that markets are dismissing China’s “anti-Tokyo tantrums.” Here is China by the numbers. The world’s central banks flex their muscles. Russia reveals it isawash in diamonds. Small businesses in France are facing job-creation hurdles. Greece readies further budget cuts. Arctic ice melting is providing opportunities. A company in Britain builds hotels from shipping containers. Afire tornado in Australia burns up the Web. The Obama administration denies plans to invade Canada.

Red Tape: Hanging With NASA

A new poll finds that most people still don’t understand the health care overhaul, and the Congressional Budget Office raises its estimate of those who will pay the mandated tax. Health care costs are expected to continue to rise (PDF) in 2013. NASA’s chief hangs out with a small-business partner and the agency seeks more small-business proposals for high-tech research and development. It’s estimated that pending federal legislation would restrict state and local governments’ ability to levy sales and gross receipts taxes and cost state and local governments $3 billion a year in forgone revenues.

Technology: Setting iPhone Records

The iPhone 5 has record orders, and Walter S. Mossberg loves it. But Anita Li reports that the smartphone’s connectors could be a headache for businesses. Nearly half of business travelers would give up brushing their teeth before giving up their iPads. Anton Wahlman thinks it’s more likely than not that Microsoft will take a beating from Google and Apple in the wake of the Windows 8 introduction. Twitter’s chief executive says that Apple is his mentor and unveils a new look. Mile-high buildings will be possible by 2025, and this robot could transform manufacturing. Amazon Web Servicesintroduces a new hunt for innovative cloud companies. Yahoo gives employeessmartphones (but not BlackBerrys). A Web meeting scheduler, Tungle.me, closes its doors. An investment strategist names the biggest growth sector. Here’s how tablets are making cash registers obsolete. This is how to use Microsoft Excel to manage your life.

Tweet of the Week

‏@charlesarthur: Which statistics package do pirates use to count their treasure? R.

The Week’s Best

Erica Douglass writes about why 99 percent of entrepreneurs don’t make it: “I often hear teachers, coaches and even bloggers describe this as a ‘passion.’ ‘You have to find what you’re passionate about and then do that,’ they say. And to that, I say: Hogwash. You don’t need to go on a mission and find your passion to start a business. You just have to throw away much of your guilt and self-doubt … and own the fact that you were put on this planet to do this very thing that you’re doing right now.”

This Week’s Question: Do you understand how the health care overhaul will affect your business?

Gene Marks owns the Marks Group, a Bala Cynwyd, Pa., consulting firm that helps clients with customer relationship management. You can follow him onTwitter.

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About quickerbetterwiserblog

Gene Marks is a columnist, author, and small business owner. Gene writes 2 columns/week for The New York Times focusing on issues affecting the small business community. He also writes weekly columns in Forbes and The Huffington Post. His columns are read by millions of small and medium sized business owners around the country. Gene has interviewed celebrity business owners such as Donald Trump and Gene Simmons. Nationally, Gene frequently appears on FOX Business, FOX News, Bloomberg and CNBC discussing matters affecting the business community. Gene also appears quarterly on MSNBC’s “Your Business” program and weekly on various TV outlets in the Philadelphia area. In addition, Gene has appeared as a guest on numerous radio talk shows including The Sean Hannity Radio Show. Gene speaks at industry events throughout the year helping business owners, executives and managers understand the political, economic and technological trends that will affect their companies so they can make profitable decisions. Gene has written five books on business management, specifically geared towards small and medium sized companies. His most recent is In God We Trust, Everyone Else Pays Cash— Simple Lessons from Smart Business People (Create Space, 2010). And Gene is a small business owner. Gene owns and operates the Marks Group PC, a highly successful ten-person firm that provides technology and consulting services to small and medium sized businesses. The Marks Group PC, launched in 1994, has grown to help more than 600 companies and thousands of individuals throughout the country. Follow him on Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In.

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