Today’s snapshot starts with news that the Stop Online Piracy Act may hurt small businesses and includes a story about how small business owners are struggling to pay health care premiums and a piece on how to legally spy on your competitors.
New online piracy act may seriously hurt small businesses
For those of you who haven’t heard of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), it is a bill that will prohibit those without rights to publicize (or sell) items online (think stolen music, pirated YouTube videos). Yes, this sounds great for the entertainment industry, but it can also have negative ramifications for small business owners who don’t know their suppliers are selling pirated items (counterfeit handbags, for example). As Stephanie Rabiner writes on Reuters, the law will require all small business owners with an online presence to seriously look at what they are broadcasting and selling—or face the law. Google CEO Eric Schmidt testified before Congress this week, saying the law is ‘draconian.’ What do you think?
SBOs struggle with rising health care costs
The numbers are staggering. Average family health care premiums have risen a whopping 113 percent since 2001. As Kristen Gerencher of The Wall Street Journal reports, small business owners are struggling with one question: whether to invest in the health of their business or the health of their employees. The answer isn’t an easy one. Government is trying to make things less stressful by paying 35 percent of employee premiums—but that is only for small businesses that qualify. Do you offer health care to your employees? If so, how do you pay?
Discrimination is present in Silicon Valley
Sunday’s ‘Black in America’ program on CNN sure did stir up a lot of talk about discrimination in Silicon Valley. Freada Kapor Klein, founder of the Level Playing Field Institute, talks to John Tozzi of Bloomberg Businessweek about how the Valley is not a meritocracy. She describes how venture capitalists demand referrals for entrepreneurs, putting those without a pedigree at a disadvantage. For more, check out my articles on the topic: The Real Story Behind Being Black In Silicon Valley and Is Silicon Valley A Racist Community?
It’s easy (and legal) to spy on your competitors
Wouldn’t you just love to be a fly on the wall during a strategy meeting at your biggest competitor’s office? Well, as Entrepreneur’s Carol Tice writes, it is easy to spy on your competition; you just have to get a little creative. Consider acting like a secret shopper, going to trade shows, checking out their Facebook and Twitter posts, looking at their job ads and investigating public documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
How to turn your child into an entrepreneur
Entrepreneurship is sooo in these days; all the kids want to be business owners. So how do you turn your child into the next Bill Gates? As Geoff Williams of The Huffington Post writes, it is important not to be a buzz kill—just let their minds run free with ideas, consider how you will raise money for a patent (it costs from $6,000 to $10,000) and try helping them with marketing.
Why the CEO should be the chief experience officer
As the CEO, you should concern yourself with one thing: your customer’s experience. As Dharmesh Shah of On Startups writes, CEOs can do this by re-labeling themselves 'Chief Experience Officers'. What does the new title entail? Putting yourself in the shoes of your clients: how does it feel to interact with your brand? What is it like to go through the sales process? What is it like to cancel an agreement with your company? Answering these questions will not only make you a better leader, it will also make your company more attractive to consumers.