Today’s roundup starts with the unsettling news that many banks failed to use government funds to help small businesses, but continues with positive articles on job growth, how to maximize daily deal sites and Richard Branson’s thoughts on Steve Jobs.
Get ready to be upset. As Emily Maltby and Angus Loten of The Wall Street Journalreport, a good portion of monies given to community banks as part of the Small Business Lending Fund didn’t go to small business lending at all. Instead, 137 of 332 banks that received money (around $2.2 billion) used it to pay off TARP obligations. Apparently, there was confusion over how the funds were to be used. This news comes after Biz2Credit reports small business loans approval rates fell in to 9.2 percent in September to 9.35 percent in August. (In related news, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner says he’s surprised at the lack of bank participation in the lending fund.)
In the midst of doom and gloom news around daily deal sites, Entrepreneur’s Mikal E. Belicove injects a little positivity with a line-up of new features perfect for small business owners. Groupon is now offering timed coupons for your off-periods, LivingSocial is rolling out a phone app for timely discounts and Bloomspot has a new model that predicts consumer spending. Don’t give up on the daily deal trend just yet.
Give yourself a pat on the back. As Courtney Rubin of Inc. magazine writes, small businesses (less than 50 employees) created 66 percent of last month’s 91,000 new jobs. Cheers for positive economic news for a change!
As Richard Branson writes in The Telegraph, the Apple co-founder did have weaknesses—namely his lack of delegation—but it was his determination, passion and ability to innovate that earned him Branson’s highest admiration as an entrepreneur.
As a wrap-up to Customer Service Week, Kathryn Hawkins blogs for Intuit’s Small Business Blog on lessons SBOs can learn from Amazon.com. Echo Research reports that customers spend 9 percent more with businesses exhibiting impressive customer service, so take note: lessons from Amazon include generous refund forgives and shipping progress transparency. Translate these tips for your business and you might be the recipient of a welcome sales boost.
It turns out that Craigslist isn’t just for finding apartments and free furniture. According to a post on Kreative Marketing Group’s Blog, the site is now the 39th most viewed site on the internet. This can translate into a great marketing opportunity for businesses, as long as you follow tips such as keeping your text line down to eight words or less and creating a standout title.
SBOs spend months coming up with the perfect name for their business. But what if that name no longer resonates? As Julien Russell Brunet of The Globe and Mail writes, a name switch-a-roo can turn out positively for businesses, especially if the name no longer explains what the business does, if there is controversy associated with the name and for reasons associated with trademarks. Bottom line: if you name isn’t working for you anymore, it’s ok to make a change.