Why doesn't the SBA lend directly to small businesses? It's a reasonable question, according to a recent blog post by the New York Times, which details Obama's explanation to an entrepreneur during a Tampa, Florida town hall meeting last week. Steve Gordon, owner of local environmental company, detailed his frustration with not being able to get a bank loan -- despite his business' potential to create 500 jobs. "Lending [money] to the banks to lend to us is not the answer," said Gordon of the President's recent $30 million pledge to small businesses. "Why can't you use the S.B.A. just like you lent directly to Wall Street?" Obama's answer? There's simply not enough infrastructure to analyze the business plans, financial projects, etc., of applicants across the country. "Now, if the S.B.A. were to suddenly take over that entire function, we'd have to stand up a massive bureaucracy," he explained. "And we'd have to train all those people, and it would take too long, and you'd be frustrated." Do you think this is a function the government should take in-house?
Steve Jobs, pre-sound bite. Apple's CEO didn't always speak in carefully managed quotes designed to boost stock prices. Before the iPod or the iPhone, Jobs, then the head of the short-lived NeXT Computer, sat down with Rolling Stone's Jeff Goodell. It was 1985, Jobs had recently been booted from Apple, the internet was still the province of geeks and academics, and the personal computer revolution looked like it might be over. But even at one of the low points in his career, Jobs still had sublime confidence in the limitlessness of personal computing. Read on to get Jobs' prescient take on PDAs, object-oriented software, as well as his relationship with Bill Gates and why he wanted the internet in his den, but not living room.
Forget the e-store--sell within your ad. Advertising on social media sites like Facebook can be a great way to target specific audiences, but ads on these sites have a notoriously low click-through rate. New start-up Alvenda lets companies sell their products without the daunting task of enticing customers away from profile pages. "We literally pack up an e-commerce store into a banner ad," says CEO Wade Gerten. Reuters reports that the company recently raised $5 million in funding to expand the new advertising format.
Sun Microsystems CEO Resigns by Haiku. "Financial crisis/Stalled too many customers/CEO no more." That was the message Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz posted on his Twitter page last night, adding--in prose--"Today's my last day at Sun. I'll miss it." TechCrunch flags the Tweet and notes that Schwartz's resignation was something of a fait accompli after the EU's approval of Oracle's acquisition of his company. In any case, we think Schwartz deserves credit for making the quitting-by-Twitter look classy.
Small businesses hoping the proposed tax credit for new hires comes through. January was another bad month for job losses with businesses that have fewer than 50 employees losing 12,000 workers. However, during that same time period, companies in the 50 to 499 employee range added a net of 9,000 jobs writes CNN Money. Many businesses feel Obama's recent proposals, including a $5,000 per worker hiring tax credit would make just enough of a difference. "We needed more people, but we simply put it off. We all worked longer hours to hit our revenue goals and profit goals, and we just can't keep doing that," says Steven Cox, the owner of the music instruction provider TakeLessons.com.
Monster buys Hotjobs. For a cool quarter billion. HotJobs was founded during the tech boom and then sold to Yahoo in 2002 for $436 million. Yahoo then went on a buying spree, picking up startups like Flickr, Delicious, and Right Media. Now times are tough and the company has been unloading some of these companies in an effort to raise cash and refocus its efforts.
Marketing to affluent African Americans. Luxury marketers can often be ridiculously inept at catering to or even acknowledging the affluent African American market. AdWeek reviews an upcoming book titled "Black is the New Green: Marketing to Affluent African Americans," which puts the disposable income numbers for that demographic in the vicinity of $87 billion. So why do the ad men bomb so miserably? The article notes that, "one problem is that marketers often seem to adopt adopt a hip-hop approach as their default mode in addressing black consumers, irrespective of the age or social class of the audience they're hoping to reach." Learn more about why demographics are crucial to your business and how one pizzeria revamped their brand to reflect that.
How to succeed in social media in 4 easy steps. Whether you're looking to use social networking sites to grow business or take advantage of online review and answer sites for customer feedback, there are plenty of ways to become a social media success story. Mashable highlights four essential tips, including developing authentic relationships in your online communities, learning to be a digital trendsetter, taking risks by recognizing opportunities, and giving back, for example, by raising money for charity through social media platforms. Check out Inc.'s list of 30 business-centric tips to using social media.