Intuit PaymentNetwork blog update

There will be no additional posts from IntuitPaymentNetwork. To continue reading helpful Small Business information please visit the Intuit Small Business blog here.

Turkey, Football, & Small Business

To many, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for three things: family, food…and football! Intuit recently teamed up with entrepreneur Bill Rancic and legendary NFL coach Jimmy Johnson to reward one lucky small business with the ultimate touchdown – a 30 second commercial during football’s biggest game of the year!

Small Business, Big Game launched in September with the aim of giving small businesses everywhere more visibility. At the campaign kick-off, Intuit asked small businesses to submit an online video sharing their company story. Contestants then rallied support from their on- and offline communities to increase their odds of advancing to the next round. Next, approximately 8,000 Intuit employees worldwide narrowed down the competition to the final four contestants, each of which is receiving a Small Business Big Game reward package, which includes television advertising, a professionally produced commercial, a meeting with Bill Rancic and a Game Day viewing party.

The Playoffs

Now it’s up to the public to choose their favorite finalist for Small Business Big Game. So while you’re rooting for your favorite team on turkey day, take a moment to vote for your favorite small business and get to the big game! Here are the contenders:

  • Barley Labs, of Durham, N.C. – Produces all-natural dog treats in various flavors out of recycled barley from a local brewery.
  • GoldieBlox, of Oakland, Calif. – A toy company inspiring girls to push the limits and think outside the box.

To vote for the small business you want to see take the spotlight in February, please visit the Small Business Big Game website at www.SmallBusinessBigGame.com. The polls will be open until December 1st.

To read the official rules go to www.SmallBusinessBigGame.com/Rules. To join the conversation, share on Facebook and Twitter using #TeamSmallBiz.

Show thanks and give one small business the opportunity of a lifetime!

What We’re Reading: Don’t Let Bad Advice Spook Your Small Business

In the spirit of Halloween, we here on the IPN Team wanted to share some fun ways for your small business to celebrate the day and help ensure that your small business only has ghoulish scares when it wants them.

Tricks and Treats: A recent survey showed that Halloween is an excellent opportunity for employers to boost morale around the office—nearly 60 percent of employees view in-office Halloween festivities as a great way to bond with fellow coworkers. Although you might think the associated costs of a Halloween celebration are high, don’t let the expenses spook you! Below, we’ve outlined a few of the low-cost tricks employers can use to boost morale, which can lead to better performance and in turn, higher profits!

Spooky Advice to Avoid: The recipe for small business success isn’t one size fits all – markets are constantly changing and strategies that worked for one small business owner might be a fright for another. Although it’s a great idea to seek advice from successful entrepreneurs, take their direction with a grain of salt before deciding if it’s the right strategy for your business.

Whether you’re a small business owner looking for tips to boost employee morale around the office or you’ve been looking for business advice in all the wrong places, read on to get your small business in ship shape for Halloween and beyond.

Trick or Treat!

Halloween Office Dos and Don’ts
Fox Business: article by Gabrielle Karol
While winter holiday parties are standard in most offices, many businesses have a more take-it-or-leave-it approach to Halloween. According to a recent survey by career site Glassdoor, less than half of offices hold some kind of Halloween celebration, be it a catered meal, costume party or company happy hour. And yet, Glassdoor found that 59% of employees see Halloween parties as a great opportunity to boost morale in the office, and half see it as a way to improve team building.

  • Encourage costumes.
  • Make sure employees don’t feel uncomfortable.
  • Consider letting employees leave early.
  • Know your office culture.
  • Food is always appreciated.
  • Consider allowing alcohol.

Read more

The 13 Worst Pieces of Business Advice You’ll Ever Receive
Huffington Post Small Business: article by the Young Entrepreneur Council
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

  • ‘That Won’t Work’
  • ‘Stick With Your Degree’
  • ‘Fire Your Team’
  • ‘Write a Business Plan’
  • ‘Don’t Tell People Your Age’
  • ‘Business Isn’t Personal’
  • ‘You Have to Offer the Lowest Prices’
  • ‘Keep Working Hard, and Eventually You’ll See Success’
  • ‘It Won’t Work if You Do It That Way’
  • ‘It’s Better to Be Feared Than Loved’
  • ‘If You Build It, They Will Come’
  • ‘Never Say No’
  • ‘It Was Your Idea, So Keep 90 Percent’

Read more

Intuit Brings Small Business to the Big Game

This year Intuit is celebrating passionate small businesses with a multi-million dollar campaign, Small Business Big Game. The company is teaming up with entrepreneur Bill Rancic and legendary NFL coach Jimmy Johnson to give small businesses a voice and reward them with the ultimate touchdown – a 30 second commercial during football’s biggest game of the year. This new program gives small business owners a platform to share their expertise and inspire others. In turn, the campaign will recognize their contributions with more than $25 million in rewards and offers to help them succeed.

Ready for Kick-off?

Small Business, Big Game runs from now until Game Day on February 14, 2014. Here’s more information on how to take your small business from the playoffs to the big day.

Round 1: Now through Sept. 22

Qualifying small business owners can visit the Small Business Big Game website and enter by telling their company’s story in 600 characters or less. Entrants who rally support and votes from their online and offline communities increase their odds of advancing to the next round. Entrants will receive the following as a reward for submitting their stories:

  • The Intuit Small Business Playbook – A  guide full of tips, tricks and information on the latest hot small business topics
  • Exclusive 30-day QuickBooks Online Trial – Contestants will receive a free QuickBooks Online trial version with the option to continue for 12 months at a 50 percent discount.
  • Giveaways – Entrants are eligible for random giveaways with prizes that include $1,000 business grants and footballs autographed by Jimmy Johnson.

Round 2: September 23-October 13

The twenty businesses with the most public votes advance to the next round, at which point they will be given the opportunity to tell the world more about themselves by answering a series of questions. Participation in the Q&A portion of the contest automatically enters contestants in weekly sweepstakes with prizes that include Facebook and Google advertising credits and a free year of QuickBooks Online. One lucky winner will score a trip for two to New York and tickets to the big game.

Round 3: October 28 –December 1

Approximately 8,000 Intuit employees worldwide will narrow down the competition to the final four, which will be announced on November 11. Each finalist will receive a Small Business Big Game reward package, which includes television advertising, a professionally produced commercial, a meeting with Bill Rancic and a Game Day viewing party.

After the final four are decided, it’s up to the public to vote for the small business they want to see take the spotlight in February.

To find out more information or to enter, please visit the Small Business Big Game website at www.SmallBusinessBigGame.com. To read the official rules go to www.SmallBusinessBigGame.com/Rules. To join the conversation, share on Facebook and Twitter using #TeamSmallBiz.

Go team!

Don’t let your small business be invisible: The Risks of Having a See-Through Small Business

All small business owners today are aware of the importance of having an online presence, right?

Wrong!

Despite the fact that studies show a direct correlation between sales and a company’s online activity, nearly 60 percent of small businesses today are “invisible”, meaning that they operate without a website. Since online activity can boost sales and grow business, there really is no excuse for operating under the radar.

On a basic level, investing in creating a strong online presence saves time. For instance, rather than wasting time fielding customer phone calls, a small business owner can add a simple automated contact form to his company’s website and spend this newly found time completing important business growing tasks like closing a sale or interviewing a new hire.

Implementing automated online systems to take care of the small stuff is just scratching the surface when it comes to using technology to engage existing and potential customers. Nowadays, many companies are using websites, YouTube channels, and social media to give their business a personality bigger than just the products or services they provide.

Whether you’re a small business owner looking to build your company’s online image from scratch, or you want to increase your existing web presence, read on for small business insights on creating the online visibility your business deserves.

What’s the best way for small business to grow?
USA Today: article by Jayne O’Donnell
Digital technology, websites and social media now are key tools for growing small businesses and competing with larger ones. “Even if you’re making coffee or ice pops or lobster rolls, you can also expand your business using technology,” says Small Business Administration chief Karen Mills. “It levels the playing field.” […] however, nearly 60% of small businesses still are what Google calls invisible — operating without a website.

Read more

How To Get Big-Brand Search Visibility For Your Small Business
Forbes: article by Jayson DeMers
If you’re finding that big brands are creeping into the search results for your key terms, don’t assume that all hope is lost. You know the saying: “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” As you continue to work to build your online search visibility and improve your rankings and brand awareness and exposure, think about contributing to a big brand site in the form a guest blog post. You might be surprised at the results this single effort brings for your brand.

Read more

What We’re Reading: Independence Day is Sweeter for Entrepreneurs

With the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, Americans stepped out from under Great Britain’s shadow and were free to forge their own destinies. What better way to embrace freedom than becoming your own boss? Self-employment is self-empowerment, and the spirit of this holiday is what drives many entrepreneurs to carve out their own path. Small businesses are vital to local communities by creating jobs and supporting local efforts and it’s important that Americans understand how precious our freedoms are that allow us to be independent and self-employed. And let’s not forget the men and women who fought for these freedoms! So in light of Independence Day, we want to solute our nation’s entrepreneurs and especially our nation’s veteran entrepreneurs. Read on to learn more about the importance of entrepreneurship and resources for veterans thinking of taking the next step in starting a business.

Happy Independence Day to America’s Entrepreneurs
Business2Community: article by Susan Solovic
Experts report that for every $100 spent with a local business, $70-80 is returned to the community. So this week, as the country celebrates its independence, it’s a good time to celebrate the independence of the small business owner too. Make sure you support your local independent businesses. And, if you are a small business owner, celebrate your own independence. Give yourself a high-five.

Read more

Take Time this 4th of July to Learn about SBA Programs & Initiatives for Veteran Entrepreneurs
U.S. Small Business Administration: article by Rhett Jeppson, SBA Official
And, as we look at how to help those who are dreaming of owning their own business, SBA is laying down the foundation to help service members transitioning from active duty to learn more about entrepreneurship and franchising through its Operation: Boots to Business Program.  Many service members will apply the skills and experience they developed in the U.S. Armed Forces to their civilian communities as doctors and police officers, engineers and entrepreneurs.

Read more

What We’re Reading: Small Businesses and Economic Recovery

We recently blogged about how spring is bringing small business expansion due to signs of economic recovery, but in the past two weeks, new reports from business and economic analysts have revealed that many small businesses are still hesitant to take steps towards a long term sustainable plan. Some reports say the hesitance from small business owners actually plays a role in slowing the economy’s recovery, because small businesses are so vital to economic growth. Add this into the news cycle from late 2012 and early 2013 (the Fiscal Cliff and concerns about sequestration budget cuts) it’s understandable that many small business owners view putting time and money into long-term goals as a gamble. Below are some articles on the subject that outline some improvements worth considering if you’re thinking of taking the next step in growing your business. Do you have a story about how taking a chance helped your business? Tweet it to @IPNTeam.

Is Small Business Ready For The Recovery?
Forbes: article by Frank Sorrentino, contributor
The constant barrage of grim headlines continue to remind us of the past, dissuading small businesses to position themselves for long-term success. We need to look beyond the sensationalism and ask ourselves, “What does today’s economic environment actually look like.”…The good news is, the fundamentals are pointing to a recovery.  However, if we continue to follow the popular perception, the result will be inaction and immobilization. Rather than focusing on the here and now – the positive changes and economic trends emerging – small business owners are still operating in a wait and see mode, rather than preparing their business to be on track for the recovery.

Read more

Number of the Week: Small Business Causing Spring Swoon?
The Wall Street Journal: article by Phil Izzo
Even now that things have improved, small businesses remain cautious. J.P. Morgan Chase Chief Executive James Dimon noted on Friday that their balance sheets have improved and that they are well-positioned for growth. But “small businesses remain cautious about the recovery and fiscal uncertainty, and are not investing their capital,” he said in the bank’s earnings release…That hesitancy has translated into more muted hiring. Since the economy started adding jobs again in early 2010, large private-sector firms have boosted their payrolls by nearly 8%, according to ADP. Businesses with fewer than 50 workers, meanwhile, have only increased employment by 4.7%.

Read more

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