In the past few years, crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have become dependable sources of capital for all types of ventures. 2013 alone saw startups and artists collect more than $5.1 billion in crowdfunded cash. But businesses can receive more benefits from a successful crowdfunding campaign than just money. For instance, a startup selling a Bluetooth-enabled padlock raked in $652,000 in just one month on Kickstarter. Besides the investment windfall, contributors also sent the company offers of help with Continue reading

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February 26, 2015

The recent hacks of Sony and Home Depot show just how much damage data breaches can do to big businesses. But a company doesn’t have to be multinational in order to attract the eyes of hackers. In fact, experts estimate that 44 percent of small businesses have been the victims of cyber attacks. According to the National Small Business Administration, each breach costs companies an average of $8,700 in damages.

“Cybercrime is in the news all the time, but there’s Continue reading

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February 19, 2015

Even though Rockstar wasn’t the first energy drink to hit the market, it didn’t take long for the brand to make a big impact in a crowded field. Consumers quickly responded to Rockstar’s affordable price and large serving size, which set the brand apart from more exclusive products like Red Bull. During its first six years, revenue at Rockstar soared as high as $405 million while it grew at an average annual rate of 103 percent.

By 2007, however, the Continue reading

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February 18, 2015

For many entrepreneurs, great ideas can come along when least expected. In the case of Dori Roberts, her job as a high school engineering teacher laid the foundation for her million-dollar concept. Over the course of her 11 years in teaching, Roberts noticed that many of her students discovered a love for engineering late in their school careers. She then made it her mission to introduce engineering to kids at a younger age, starting out with an after school bridge-building Continue reading

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February 9, 2015

At most Silicon Valley startups, the entrepreneur takes the role of the hero in stories about a company’s founding. Arguably, though, the venture capitalist that funds the business from the beginning also plays a huge role in its success. After all, an entrepreneur can have a million dollar idea but still lack the $1 million investment she’d need to start the company. This dependence on seed capital can become a source of great frustration for entrepreneurs. While someone can spend Continue reading

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December 10, 2014

When Michael Garrity founded CommunityLend in 2010, he thought his company was in a perfect position to capture an untapped market. After all, the 2008 financial crisis made many banks wary of lending too much cash, presenting a golden opportunity to non-traditional operations like CommunityLend. Plus, the company’s peer-to-peer model was the first of its kind in Garrity’s home country of Canada, marking a major advantage for the startup.

Despite these benefits, though, CommunityLend had trouble finding qualified borrowers for Continue reading

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November 23, 2014

From making repairs to keeping the gas tank filled, owning a car is a pricey enterprise for many people. But of all the expenses required for auto ownership, perhaps none is more frustrating than paying for insurance. Not only is the service expensive, it’s also rarely needed until something goes seriously wrong with your car. Matters are even worse for people like Greg Muender, a San Diego tech entrepreneur who works from home. Even though he clocks in as few Continue reading

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November 15, 2014

Thanks to tough legislation and widespread public education, the number of U.S. smokers has declined 50 percent since the habit’s heyday in the 1950s. Although this significant customer drop-off has hurt many tobacco companies, business has been booming over the last few years for the iconic lighter brand Zippo. The Bradford, PA-based company earned $200 million in sales last year, a record for the lighter maker. What’s more, Zippo’s expanded global presence and diversified product line has increased sales by Continue reading

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October 19, 2014

 

Even in this increasingly Internet-enabled world, the old maxim “Location, location, location” rings as true as ever. After all, a strong Web presence can only do so much for service companies like restaurants and auto shops. In order for a business to operate at its full potential, the company needs to be located in a place that is not only easily accessible to its target market, but also free of too many direct competitors.

As many frustrated businesspeople can Continue reading

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October 11, 2014

During the recession that began in 2008, traditional banks became wary about awarding risky loans. Not only had bad deals come back to hurt many institutions, but also new regulations required many banks to increase their capital reserves. With less money to lend, banks largely stopped financing risky endeavors like commercial real estate and small business loans.

To fill this void in the market, non-traditional lenders like real estate investment trusts (REITs) and online outlets increased their presence. Fueled by Continue reading

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