Monday, December 23, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

Early Adopters

Lessons learned from the New Mexico SHOP small biz Obamacare exchange.

Jealousy List

Best journalism of 2013 - that we didn't write. Great reading for the longest night of the year.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Truth in Advertising

TINA, a nonprofit that targets deceptive marketing, has posted its Worst 10 Offenders of 2013 list. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Business Research

Large corporations claim the federal R&D tax credit far more than small businesses, including startups. Guidance on how it's used.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Death as a Side Dish

Two organizations are encouraging dinner conversations about end-of-life care. Macabre, but important. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

All About ... Me!

The Reynolds Center for Business Journalism reveals the secrets of my freelance success in today's Q&A column.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hotel Boom

My article on Pasadena hotel expansion continues to reverberate around greater Los Angeles.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

$1.5 Billion Problem

Troubles with SBA franchise loan programs that often include high default rates.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Amazon of Africa?

Great story about a Nigerian start up capitalizing on Africa's growing oil economy.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Shanghai to San Gabriel

Immigrant entrepreneurs are cashing in on the boom in Chinese tourism. I talk to a few in my column today.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Quarter Century Later

Have women truly achieved equality in the business world? My column on 25-year anniversary of HR 5050.

Mapping the Pay Gap

How much less do women in tech make than their male counterparts? Depends on where they live.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

Try, Try Again

Opponents of the multi-level marketing industry have submitted a petition calling for FTC investigation and regulations.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Going, Going, Gone

Fees on the smallest of small business loans are going down or going away, part of the SBA's efforts to boost its lending programs.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013


Dreaming of an IPO? Here's a list of practical things you can to to prep now.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It Takes A Rocket Scientist

Okay, this is brilliant! Gotta love the creativity of that Curiosity team.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How The Mighty Fall

Think that marketers, MBAs and the denizens of Wall Street are smarter than the rest of us? Think again.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

Taxing Reality

If you're a freelancer hoping to qualify for Obamacare subsidy, here are tax facts you should know.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Big financial corps have been doing Obamacare advising for months. Now small biz are getting into the act.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Worth the Read

Wonderful travelogue/essay from my author pal, Désirée Zamorano. Check it out.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Forget Smoking

Right now, it's all about vaping. Small retailers are opening shops catering to e-cigarette customers.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fluctuating Income

Subsidies defray health insurance expenses for lower-income people, but how will self-employed estimate income?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

Take A Break, Already!

Some disturbing facts to digest as I get ready to go on vacation:
- American workers waste approximately $34.3 Billion in paid vacation time each year.
- 82% of Americans work on Vacation
- On Average, 2 out of 14 vacation days go unused.
- 42% of workers have cancelled or postponed a vacation because of work.
- 65% of workers have taken part in a virtual meeting on vacation

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Don't Retire, Consult

Join the crowd of Boomers - and others - who decide to become consultants after retiring. Here's how!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

Inside Small Biz

Small business owners are sharing advice and lessons learned. Watch their videos here.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Bank Shopping

Banks are raising fees and lowering minimum balances. What's a small biz owner to do?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Minimum Wage

Is it a labor violation if the workers don't care about getting paid? Rhea Lana Riner said "No."

Friday, August 9, 2013

Happy Birthday, Curiosity

The mission to Mars just passed its first anniversary. Celebrate here.

The Oracle of Albuquerque?

Yes, Warren Buffett's (and my) favorite show is back for its final season this Sunday.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Yes, Really

Management lessons from "Breaking Bad's" Walter White? Read about them here.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Give Me 5

Women business owners interested in securing more federal contracts can attend this free webinar on Wednesday for practical advice.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Friday, August 2, 2013

Weighing Obamacare

Do provisions of the health care reform law provide cost-saving options for small employers? They just might.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Franchise Advice

Thinking about investing in a franchise? It's a big commitment, so you need due diligence and a reality check, too.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Do's and Don'ts For Family Biz

Family business succession is fraught with difficulty, and it can be even tougher when generational disconnects are involved. Expert advice here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Get Creative

Babysitting? Renting out your bed? When they needed money to fund their startups, these entrepreneurs would do just about anything.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Take That Deduction

If you're not taking advantage of the home office deduction, perhaps you should be! Here's how.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Summer Help

Hiring summer interns or temp workers? Here's how you should classify them for tax purposes.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Monday, July 8, 2013

Avoiding Obamacare

Employers are reportedly cutting workers' hours to avoid paying for insurance under Obamacare. Can they give two part-time jobs instead?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Family Businesses Now

A gay-owned business is now officially a family business, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's DOMA ruling. Does that mean more government contracting work, too?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

DOMA Explained

Here's how the DOMA ruling changes benefits law for employers large and small.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Up Your Website

Some techniques and tricks for boosting performance from your small business website.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Zoc Doc

This tech company thinks it has a solution to Obamacare's doctor shortage problem.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Financially inKleined

I'm one of the 14% who answered all five personal finance questions correctly. Whew. Now I don't have to change my blog.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Taking The Pulse

What did small business owners think about and do during this Small Business Week?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rule Changes

Innovation SBIR grants will soon have game-changing new guidelines affecting commercialization and small business.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Don't Fear Obamacare

What state officials, tax experts and insurance companies are telling small employers about ACA implementation.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

Brand USA

How to market your company in a patriotic, but not pushy, way.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Re-Up Now

Small biz can renew their insurance coverage now, ahead of Obamacare implementation. Here's how.

Crude But Funny

Dollar Shave Club follows up its razor ad campaign with something for your "other cheeks."

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Doing the Calculation

Self-employed individuals may qualify for subsidies to buy health insurance on Obamacare exchanges in 2014. See if you add up.

Friday, May 31, 2013

I Never Had Time

Turns out EBay functions a lot more like Amazon these days, as the online auction model is fading.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Education, Mentors, Money

How to boost the number of black tech entrepreneurs? Some ideas from those on the front lines.


Alternative financing is faster, and easier to get, than conventional credit. It's also more expensive. Now there's another alternative.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Startup Entrepreneurs

Special help is available for Native Indian, Alaskan and Hawaiian entrepreneurs through the SBA and Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Best In Class

How can small businesses appeal to this year's top grads? Some practical advice.

Friday, May 24, 2013

It's (Not) People

Reinventing the way we think of and eat food? I'm not feeling particularly "soylent," sorry!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What Can You Buy?

Some advice on integrating Pandora radio ads into a small biz marketing mix.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Friday, May 17, 2013

You May Qualify

Worried about having to purchase health insurance under Obamacare in 2014? A lot of freelancers will get subsidies to help.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Pot, Meet Kettle?

When one business group calls foul on another, it's time to look behind the curtain, as my editor did recently with hilarious results.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pregnant With Possibilities

My column today is on women who pitched their tech startups to investors while secretly pregnant. The verdict: It's not easy but it can be done.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tax Burdens

What options do small biz owners have when property taxes are cutting into profits? Here are some Smart Answers.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Selling The Salon

How do you price a small business for sale? And what if you have to liquidate instead? Smart Answers!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Obamacare Questions 2

I'm answering questions from panicked readers about compliance with Obamacare in 2014. Here's a new set.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Imagine That

A new study shows that VCs who back women-led firms do better than their counterparts that do not. Interesting.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Go The *!*%^ To Sleep

Advice for authors, from the man who earned at least $11 million (and got a movie deal) for an hour's worth of writing.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Health Care Costs

With Americans increasingly postponing retirement, small business owners get employees with experience and maturity. They may also have increasing insurance costs.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Loans For WOBs

Women are less likely to get business loans, partly due to the nature of the companies they start. Rejection can trigger a vicious cycle.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Confused About Obamacare?

Answers to some common questions from small business owners on health insurance exchanges, mandates, requirements.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Small Biz, Big Data

Small business interest in big data grew after Obama's 2012 campaign. Find out what they're doing with it.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Back to the Table

Can you renegotiate your lease if a big competitor moves in down the street? Check out Smart Answers.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Win for Journalism

A federal court judge sides with the AP over a company that strips original content for its own profit without paying up.

Here's the crucial argument of the ruling:
Paraphrasing James Madison, the world is indebted to the press for triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression [...] Permitting Meltwater to take the fruit of AP’s labor for its own profit, without compensating AP, injures AP’s ability to perform this essential function of democracy.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Working From Home

If you work from home, you may qualify for a home-office tax deduction. But taking it can be tricky.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sending an Email Blast?

This site gives you pricing, ease of use and available options for the top eight email marketers in a handy one-stop chart.

Friday, March 15, 2013

You Just Have To Write

Fascinating interview on the writing life from an author who tried it all and wound up self-publishing. Long but worth it.

My freelance group will enjoy this particularly:
I spent a lot of years trying to turn myself into a brand because they told us self-branding is a way to success. And I kind of believed the hype. It’s just not true. To this day, I see writers publishing their first book or their second book and I can just see them going overboard with the marketing and getting all hyped up about it. You just have to write. If something good happens for you, post it on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or wherever you make your social-media home, but don’t overdo it. Enough with the marketing! Enough with the goddamn marketing already! I’m sick of it. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

No More Shoe Boxes

Is your tax appointment coming up? Follow these guidelines and it should go smoothly.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Top Ten

ComScore, an Internet analytics company, says Americans spend most of their online time on 10 popular websites. How many do you visit daily?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Top Blogs

How many of these popular blogs do you follow? Interesting demographic analysis.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Small Exporters

My column today: What the Ex-Im Bank is doing to boost exporting among small biz; only 1% sell overseas.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

For Richer or Poorer

Could you continue running a business with your ex? It's not all that uncommon and can be done if you trust.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

American Ingenuity

Entrepreneurs are finding ways to sell U.S. goods overseas, using coupons and sales to keep costs down, and meeting foreign demand.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pound Foolish

Watch my friend and former colleague Helaine Olen on The Daily Show's extended interview. She did a fantastic job last night!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Steve Jobs Did It

Should founders take breaks from their companies and then return to the helm? It's tricky to arrange but provides new perspective.

Friday, February 15, 2013


Did you know Islamic law forbids interest on debt? I didn't either, until I wrote about how observant Muslim entrepreneurs use "halal finance."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

State of Small Business

Did you watch last night's speech? My colleague, John Tozzi, looks at the big promises Obama has made for small businesses.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How'd She Do?

SBA Chief Karen Mills is stepping down. My editor, Nick Leiber, takes a look at her tenure.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Popular Clique

LinkedIn reports that mine is one of the top 5 percent most-viewed profiles for 2012. They have 200 million profiles: Guess that I and 10 million others are in the cool kids' club.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why India's Growth Has Stalled

"India has been celebrated for its steep growth and rapidly expanding middle class ... Yet it has achieved these gains with astonishingly low economic participation by women"

A fascinating look at the downside of being a professional woman in India.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Where I Work

A while back, blogger Karin Bugge did a series about work desks, grouping them into messy, neat and fanatic (guess which category I was in!?)

Here's another take on that topic, from LinkedIn, that surveys the workspaces of people from Richard Branson to David Cameron and Arianna Huffington.

Clearly, Branson's got us all beat!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

No Longer a Curiosity

As banks tightened standards on small business loans, peer-to-peer lending has stepped in to fill the demand.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Go Ahead, Take the Deduction!

Do you take the home office deduction? New rules are making it easier for home-based businesses to do so.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Useless Business Help

Thousands of Americans are scammed out of millions annually in work-at-home scams. A look inside one investigation.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pricey Penalties

Do you owe your employees or contractors a tax form for 2012? Get with it or face a tough penalty.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Protect Yourself

Some proactive ways to prevent identity theft, from CatalogChoice:

Restrict access to your social media profiles. Pay close attention to your privacy settings and the information you post.
Don't give out your zip code at the register. Your zip code allows retailers to easily find your entire address so they can send you mail.
Make it difficult to unlock your smartphones and tablets. If your mobile device goes wandering, someone else might be a simple finger swipe away from information meant for your eyes only. Be it a PIN, a clever password or zigzag swipe pattern, use it!
Stop the flood of junk mail. After the holiday season, enormous amounts of unsolicited mail fill our mailboxes. Reduce the amount of junk mail you receive with our free opt-out service.
Update Pa$$_w0rDz! There is no better time to update passwords than the beginning of a new year. Create strong, complex passwords that are difficult to hack, even for a professional.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Dark Side

I'm proud to say that my friend, Helaine Olen, has a hit on her hands. 

The former Los Angeles Times personal finance columnist (we both worked for the business section there in the 1990s) has a new book, Pound Foolish, that is racking up some terrific reviews (as I knew it would!) from some very prestigious sources.

I haven't read it yet, but I'm looking forward to downloading my Kindle copy!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Retail vs Etail

Should online sellers collect sales tax from all their customers - even those living out-of-state? The issue pits bricks-and-mortar vs Internet outfits.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Flu season is looking serious this year. (I got my shot!) Here are some quick tips from the CDC aimed at protecting your general health.

One minute or less:
Wash your hands
Protect your skin
Buckle up
Check cruise ship inspection scores before you travel
Place infants back-to-sleep

Five minutes or less:
Test smoke alarms
Do a skin and body check
Make an appointment (for medical exams, screenings, and immunizations)
Know the signs and symptoms for heart attack and stroke
Take care of your teeth and gums
I heard Jared Diamond lecture last weekend; he's amazing. His No. 1 health worry is not cancer, diabetes or an exotic disease he might pick up on his travels. It's slipping in the shower.

Sounds silly, but it's not. Statistically, a fall in the shower leads more elderly people to decline and death than anything else. Happened to my mother and she was never able to live independently afterwards; she died within a year.  

Note to self: Buy shower mats!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Making some resolutions for 2013? Here is a list of five things you can do to reduce your risk of identity theft, provided by Experian's Protect My ID website.

1. Lock up your social security card! Get it out of your wallet! Put this valuable card, along with all other important personal documents, in a safe, locked box or safety deposit box.
2. Don't share your Social Security Number (SSN) unnecessarily. Ask questions: Why do you need it? What happens if I don't give it to you? Who gets to see it? What are you going to do with it? Legitimate reasons to provide your SSN are limited and include: verifying identity for employment; establishing new lines of credit; participating in government benefit programs; and for tax purposes.
3. Invest in a good cross-cut shredder and USE IT! Destroy all documents that include personal identifying information (account numbers, birth dates, SSN, etc.). This includes those pre-approved credit card offers that fill your mailbox. When in doubt, shred it!
4. Consider investing in a locked mailbox. Additionally, make it a habit to take out-going mail to the post office and stop using your "come steal me" red flag.
5. Take the time to place passwords on all your accounts and change the old ones. This includes bank accounts, investment accounts, credit card accounts, etc. Be creative and use something that cannot be easily guessed by someone who may know you. A good verbal password is NOT the last four digits of your SSN, your mother's maiden name, your pet's name or anniversaries or birthdays. A random word, not associated with you or your life, is highly recommended.

Thursday, January 3, 2013