March 15, 2014

At first glance it may be difficult to figure out what a tech giant like Google shares in common with the women’s feature-smoothing undergarment line Spanx. Although they may seem like completely different operations, both companies share one crucial element: they each have memorable founding stories. With Google, founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page hammered out their first search engine while holed up in a friend’s garage. Meanwhile, Sara Blakely demonstrated the power of Spanx by using a pair of Continue reading

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March 11, 2014

 

When Kevin Hartford lost his consulting job in the mid-1990s, the knowledge and expertise he gained after years of hard work should have been enough to land him another job quickly. However, potential employers became hung up on one particular item not included on Hartford’s resume: his stutter. While his speech impediment had never been a problem at his previous job, Hartford says that it put off recruiters as he went on countless interviews. “I applied for job after Continue reading

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March 3, 2014

 

Crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have allowed thousands to receive the capital they need to realize their entrepreneurial dreams. However, these sites tend to work out best for people whose ideas play to an Internet audience, such as artists or video game designers. That’s why U.S. lawmakers passed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act in 2012. The legislation is meant to make crowdfunding more accessible to small businesses that may not have much of a web presence. Continue reading

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January 31, 2014

In an effort to boost local economies, states and cities nationwide are amending zoning laws to make it easier for entrepreneurs to set up shop at home. For years local governments either banned home businesses outright or riddled them with red tape, such as requiring potential owners to seek approval through public hearings. But over the past decade restrictions have eased, paving the way for home businesses ranging from food makers to music instructors.

Small businesses often drive economic recoveries, Continue reading

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December 1, 2013

Although many people can think of a great business idea, not everybody has the time or money to see their product come into fruition. That is unless they’re lucky enough to have their idea produced by crowd-sourcing manufacturer Quirky. The New York-based company has built a $50 million business by turning user-submitted blueprints into marketable goods.

Each week Quirky receives more than 2,000 invention ideas from its community of approximately 500,000 members. Staffers then select the best ideas of the Continue reading

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October 11, 2013

The hierarchical structure of modern corporate offices can be traced back to 19th century railroad companies. With vast networks of track stretched across the country, transportation magnates needed to designate clear lines of communication among their far-flung operations. A system of middle managers and regional executives eventually rose to prominence and ensured that things ran smoothly. Over the course of the 20th century, businesses of all stripes adopted this top-down structure as their own, eventually leading to the Continue reading

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September 19, 2013

For many budding tech entrepreneurs, getting accepted into a prestigious business incubator is almost as important as receiving a diploma from Stanford. The jolt of capital and resources provided by accelerator programs like Y Combinator or Techstars often act as springboards into multimillion-dollar successes. But not all startups want to become the next Google. Some would rather operate more like the Bill Gates Foundation by applying their innovative skills to addressing major world problems. While these aims are certainly noble, Continue reading

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crowdfundCrowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have raised hundreds of millions of dollars for businesspeople and artists looking for quick injections of cash. But what has it done for the people who actually contributed to these campaigns? While many crowdfunding drives offer prizes and gifts to their donors, they don’t provide participants with ownership stakes like other methods of investment. That’s why a new wave of crowdfunding platforms are coming on the scene to make this burgeoning financing strategy more Continue reading

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credituThe Great Recession soured millions of people’s relationships with traditional banks, driving many to entrust their money with credit unions instead. Along with incessant media coverage of their questionable dealings, banks at the time had to contend with consumer outrage about hidden fees and supersized overdraft penalties. As a result, credit unions appeared to be safe and sensible money managers compared to their colossal, unscrupulous counterparts on Wall Street. Plus, credit unions offered perks like free checking, friendly staff, and Continue reading

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March 25, 2013

 

foamSome products in our society become so commonplace that it can be difficult to remember a time when they weren’t around. The oversized foam finger proudly waved at sporting events across the nation certainly fits that description. But the world had to wait until 1977 for this iconic product’s first iteration. A Texas woodshop teacher named Geral Fauss cut the first big digit out of poster board in anticipation of his high school’s upcoming football game against a heated Continue reading

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