Today’s roundup starts with a report that Halloween-time spending will set records and includes stories about a nonprofit that will help spur job growth and how small business owners are not happy with the NBA lockout.
This year’s ghoul-tastic holiday is only a few weeks away, which means it’s time to get your business decked out in the spirit. As Karen Axelton of Small Biz Daily reports, consumers are expected to spend a whopping $6.86 billion around Halloween this year. This includes more than $1 billion on children’s costumes and—get this—$310 million on pet costumes (Not that I’m surprised; my beagle is going as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz—trust me, she’s ecstatic about it). Regardless of your business model, you can cash in on the mad spending with Halloween-inspired promotions and events.
While sports fans are glued to the news of the impending NBA lockout (the season is expected to start Nov. 14 instead of Nov. 1), small business owners are sweating it. As Geoff Williams of The Huffington Post writes, many small businesses rely on basketball games for business during the winter. And while some SBOs are trying to stay optimistic, others are peeved about the situation.
Now here’s a great idea. What if promising college grads—instead of immediately being syphoned into investment banks and private equity firms—worked for startups in struggling cities for two years post-graduation? Just think of how many jobs would result in the brightest minds being put to the entrepreneurial test. As Jessica Bruder of The New York Times reports, Andrew Yang plans to facilitate those types of experiences. In August, he started accepting applications for his new nonprofit, Venture for America (think Teach for America, but for startups). For the inaugural class of 2012, he wants to place 50 fellows in startups located in struggling cities, and by 2025 he expects the program to produce 100,000 new jobs. Wow, now that is an economic recovery idea to get behind.
Not sure what type of company to start? If you are looking to make big money, consider diving into the cloud computing industry. As Sarah McBride of Reuters writes, investors are keenly interested in cloud-based startups these days. Case and point: business software company Box just won $81 million in funding and business intelligence startup Domo received $33 million in July. Time to write your business plan.
Good news: small business owners may soon be able to hire promising foreign-born residents to help with their startups. Bloomberg Businessweek’s Nick Leiber blogs that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is launching a program that will bring together business leaders and agency officials to discuss improvements to the visa process.
Think about how you perceive your competitors. Do you see them as annoyances—companies not worth your time learning about? According to Mark Suster, a venture capitalist, this is the wrong approach. As he writes on his blog Both Sides of the Table, it is important to look at what your competitors are doing right to see what you can learn from them. Time to swallow your pride and do some research.
Image credit: C. Jill Reed