The West Coast Advantage
Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:
Are West Coast women more entrepreneurial? Deborah Perry Piscione thinks so. The Silicon Valley transplant raised $5 million from a single female investor to start her own business — within 18 months of her move from the East Coast. "There's such a disconnect between the two coasts," she tells The New York Times, adding that women back East may work in the pinnacle of corporate America, but lack the risk-taking edge to stay relevant in today's new economy. That's why she and other West Coast women are organizing what they call "Alley to the Valley," an invitation-only event this week for 50 top-earning women, 25 of whom are flying in from the East Coast. The schmooze-fest aims to inject Wall Street women, who are often too risk-averse to invest in startups, with a dose of entrepreneurial spirit. Oh, and no men allowed.
Accidental spying. Google Street View is now under FCC investigation, just two weeks after the FTC dropped its own probe of the three-year-old service, The New York Times reports. The FCC is looking into whether or not Google violated wiretap laws when it intercepted Wi-Fi data, including personal e-mails and passwords, during its Street View campaign. Google admits the data was amassed inadvertently, but still, offers its apologies. "As we have said before, we are profoundly sorry for having mistakenly collected payload data from unencrypted networks," Google said. "As soon as we realized what had happened, we stopped collecting all Wi-Fi data from our Street View cars and immediately informed the authorities."
That Facebook post? You're fired. By now we've all heard the horror stories of employees ranting about their tasks or workplaces or bosses over social media. But when is doing so a firing offense? The Harvard Business Review thoughtfully ponders this question in the wake of a recent National Labor Relations Board complaint, which alleges that a Connecticut company wrongfully terminated an employee this week after she criticized her supervisor on Facebook. Since privacy in social media is an issue the law barely addresses, and this is the first time the NLRB has taken action on the issue, this is important news for HR and managers around the country.
Start-up advice from a peanut-butter guru. Peanut Butter & Co. grew from a tiny retail shop in New York City's Greenwich Village to a peanut-butter behemoth, whose ten varieties of all-natural peanut butter can be found in over 10,000 retailers nationwide. Prior to launching the business, founder Lee Zalben had zero experience in the restaurant or retail industries, but was determined to learn as he went along. He discusses the lessons he learned in a video interview on the American Express OPEN Forum. According to him, the golden rule is, "You don't know what you don't know, until you don't know it," meaning that newbie business owners should be prepared to deal with problems they never even imagined they would have to deal with. How exactly does one do that? "Build in enough flexibility to your plans to be able to move quickly and be nimble," he says.
Boomerang business owners. Today's Wall Street Journal identifies a number of entrepreneurs, who sold their businesses years ago when the going was good, and bought them back in hopes of saving them once the recession took its toll. The Journal calls them "boomerang business owners," and though they're rare, the story reports that the average going price for businesses is down 30 percent since 2008. That means for anyone who's recently sold a company and faced that nagging question, "What am I if not my business?" it may be an opportune time to get back on the horse.
Avoiding tax troubles early on. Getting your taxes in order might not be the most exciting part of starting a business, but a story in the LA Times reminds us just how important tax planning is to your future success. Some aspiring business people don't realize, for instance, that they have to file a tax return even if they haven't made a penny or started formal operations. Other necessities include tax deductible items, jobs credits, and income tax regulations. It's a good idea to have an accountant on hand from the beginning, the article notes. It'll save you money and headaches down the road. And here's how to find the right one for your business.
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