What the health care bill means for small businesses. Inc.com's Courtney Rubin has the details on what the passage of Sunday's health care reform means for your small business. Still, there's time to plan; most changes won't take effect until 2014.
How to judge potential investors. SpeakerText founder Matt Mireles, who started his business with $4,000 in the midst of the recession, has come up with his own formula for how to judge investors while they're busy judging you. Expect some strong language, and a lot of great advice. Above everything else, says Mireles, you need to ask yourself whether you want this person on your board. "When the $%^& hits the fan, do I want to be accountable to this guy? Do I want this to be the guy that has my back?" He also tells entrepreneurs to ask themselves: Are the investors smarter than you? (It's great if they are.) Are they secure and self-confident enough to make rational decisions? Are they reverential to entrepreneurs and understand "their place in the ecosystem as enablers"? Are they humble and self-aware? Do they know what it means to be an operator? Do they teach you things? Are they happy? And last, but not least: do they want you to lie to them? Says Mireles (who pitches his business to investors in Inc.'s April issue), "This typically manifests itself in the form of long-term financial projections. 'What will your sales be 5 years from now?' I have no $%*#@ clue, and if you're asking me that question, neither do you." (Via peHUB.)
Yelp: a business owner's guide. We've covered businesses that have found creative ways to respond to criticism on Yelp, but Mashable is filling in some of the gaps for beginners and explaining three other steps you should take to succeed on Yelp. The article recommends filling out your business information thoroughly, making offers and announcements regularly, and displaying a Yelp badge on your website. It also raises the question of the value of advertising on Yelp, a revenue stream that has put the company in some legal hot water. For more tips on how to use review sites to your advantage see our guide on the subject.
Intro to the balance sheet. Venture capitalist and prolific blogger Fred Wilson has the lowdown on reading and understanding the balance sheet. App developers hot for iPad. "Rush is on to be first in iPad Apps," declares a headline in The New York Times. The paper reports that app developers large and small are scrambling to get software ready in time for the April 3rd release date of Apple's new tablet. This is despite the fact that the vast majority of app developers haven't even used one in real life. Although a handful of big media companies have prototypes, they've agreed to "keep the iPad hidden from public view, chained to tables in windowless rooms." Seriously: chained to tables. The little guys get a software program that simulates the iPad and runs on a Mac, which means that they'll be at a disadvantage once the device is released. "Developers know from experience how important timing can be," The Times reports. "Some of the earliest developers to release programs for the iPhone were also the most successful...A developer who is out in front with an application that is tailored for the iPad stands a better chance of getting noticed."
Five things to remember about location-based social media. As apps like Foursquare and Gowalla continue to see significant growth in users, many businesses are still scrambling to figure out exactly how to leverage these tools to augment their products and services. Mashable has posted a few things to consider along the way, the most important of which is scalability for companies with a primarily local customer base. For example, while Foursquare has reached 500,000 active users, "If you apply any city's share of the total U.S. population, the results show some pretty low estimates of users in individual localities," the post says. "This shows why it is important to achieve scale if you hope to see return on investment in the location marketing space." Also, remember that getting potential customers to find your place of business shouldn't be the only goal. "It's easy to lose sight of the fact that location's real appeal to advertisers is the fact that with this functionality, you can reach the on-the-go user, who is ready to buy and consume," the article says. Once you've figured out your Foursquare strategy, click here for tips on how to bring in some actual cash.
Last updated: Mar 22, 2010
JASON DEL REY was a senior reporter covering technology, branding, and company culture for Inc. magazine. Before joining Inc., his work appeared in Newsday, The (Newark) Star-Ledger, and the Staten Island Advance, and on ESPN.com. He lives in New Jersey. @DelRey