Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today.
Facebook to hire Robert Gibbs? According to The New York Times, Facebook is courting the former White House press secretary to manage its communications department. Though no definitive plans have been made, sources close to the deal tell the Times that Gibbs could receive a cash salary and shares of the company, which is expected to have the biggest initial public offering in history in early 2012. The Times writes, "While Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's co-founder, often acts as the public face of the company, Mr. Gibbs may be able to help communicate the company's message in the media, to investors and policy makers."
The ultimate office makeover. In 2005, Dominick Sansevero and Richard Cronk purchased a former Masonic Temple in Montclair, N.J. And what replaced the former meeting place of the secret organization? A hair salon of course. The Wall Street Journal takes you inside.
What to do when profits plateau. So, you've launched your business, and things are going steady. Perhaps too steady. "It's no fun on this plateau, just 'making payroll,' and watching some employees make more then you as the founder," writes Martin Zwilling in Forbes today. "At this stage you were expecting to be working on creating a good business valuation to attract future buyers, or at least funding college accounts for your kids." Zwilling offers six tips to entrepreneurs on how to break from this plateau, and the most compelling is this: Make everyone a salesperson. "Ask employees what they would do to grow your business, fix business issues, or cut costs," he writes. "Mix things up. Break the mold of the 'rigid job description,' and open the door for employees to be involved in sales, profit-generating actions, and idea development."
Will Facebook Questions be good for business? Why, yes. At least according to Mashable. It mostly functions as a recommendation engine, but also "presents a major opportunity for businesses to conduct market research and crowdsource in a far more elegant way than was previously possible." Despite the existence of other question-and-answer sites, such as Quora and Yahoo Answers, there's more room in the space, says Ben Grossman, a communication strategist for Oxford Communications. "We know from Nielsen that recommendations from friends and family and opinions of strangers online are "the top two most trusted forms of advertising," he says.
SBA chief Mills talks small business. Small Business Administration administrator Karen Mills took over in April 2009 during the United States' worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. With start-ups and small businesses back on the rise—albeit unemployment levels remaining stubbornly high—Mills is focusing on the SBA providing capital for smaller firms until demand picks up. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the 57-year-old former venture capitalist discusses SBA-backed loans, the Small Business Jobs Act, and plans for next phase of the recovery.
A taxing experience. As an entrepreneur, you're probably inundated with the day-to-day operational nuances associated with your business. Even so, it's crucial to make sure that you maintain organized records for tax purposes. Entrepreneur lets us in on three common tax mistakes that small businesses make that you should take every opportunity to avoid. The first is poor record keeping, especially when it comes to paying businesses expenses out-of-pocket and failing to track said expenses. The second mistake involves misclassifying independent contractors and virtual assistants as labor and not as outside services. Finally, you should be aware that business taxes are due quarterly – 4/15, 6/15, 9/15, 1/15 – not only on April 15th.
Social sites face tough ethical questions. The New York Times reports on the increasingly difficult questions many social networking sites must face when it comes to how to handle political activism on their sites. Flickr, the photo sharing site, recently came under fire for removing photos of Egyptian police officers. In that situation, Flickr claimed the photos were removed because they were not taken by the person who uploaded them, but the scenario points to a growing need for social networking sites to beef up their policies about these types of political quandries.
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