Today’s round-up includes a piece about the upside to Bank of America’s debit fees, a restaurateur’s funny commentary about guest interactions and the end to a government lending program for small businesses.
Chances are that, as a consumer, you aren’t too pleased with Bank of America. Today’s announcement of a $5 monthly fee for debit card transactions isn’t good news for customers, but according to Brian Proffitt of AllBusinessDaily News, it’s great for small business owners. Starting tomorrow, the government will cap debit transaction fees at 24 cents (down from 44 cents). This will result in an infusion of $6.6 billion into the hands of retailers. Not bad!
Think that just because your business is small, it is immune to a hacker attack? Well, think again. As Smallbiztechnology.com’s Ramon Ray explains on Business Insider, a recent report from Symantec reveals that 40 percent of all attacks are aimed at small and mid-sizes businesses. How can you protect yourself? He recommends investing in a security program for your system and backing up your data, for starters.
The Small Business Lending Fund, a program enlisted by the U.S. Treasury Department designed to infuse $30 billion into banks to stimulate small business lending, ended with a thud on Sept. 27. Of the $30 billion offered, only $2.4 billion was dolled out—a disappointing turnout in today’s weak economy. As James Sterngold and Cheyenne Hopkins of Bloomberg report, the weak results stemmed from lack of demand for small business funding and stringent loan restrictions.
As a little Friday treat, restaurant owner Bruce Buschel blogs for The New York Timesabout (very funny) unsolicited guests advice he receives nightly. Restaurateurs: sit back and laugh—you are not alone.
There’s nothing like the resilience of a small business and Madison, Wisconsin’s Underground Food Collective is a shining example. As Ibmadison.com reports, the organization—which encompassed a restaurant, community support agriculture (CSA) business and a catering arm—fell victim to a fire in late June, destroying the establishment. Today, the company is rebuilding with just its CSA and catering business and hopes to open its restaurant next summer. Lessons for SBOs? Work on a lean budget and tap people for their expertise.
Consumers love daily deal sites such as Groupon or LivingSocial, but small businesses often lose money on such transactions. USA Today’s Rhonda Abrams offers a few tips on how to make those sites work for you, the small business owner. Bottom line: make sure you have a strategic plan that includes offering services (not products), stiff negotiation and continued marketing beyond the day of the deal.
Are you sick of working from home? Consider throwing your computer in its case, gathering up your to-do list and heading out to a local shared workspace—they are everywhere. John Brandon of Inc. magazine did just that on a recent business trip to San Francisco. He took out his smart phone and logged onto a shared space-finding app. Within minutes, he was working amongst strangers and drinking free coffee. You can do this, too—check out apps such as LooseCubes, LiquidSpace and OpenDesks.
The tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri in May was devastating to residents and local businesses, but thankfully some came out ok. As reported by Entrepreneur’s Diana Ransom, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is one such business. When the storm came, the owner implemented a disaster plan resulting in the survival of employees and patrons. Lessons from the disaster: have a plan, train employees and house documents away from your business.