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Take a look at the sidebar on the right side of this page (or scroll down on your phone). Look for NEWS BY CATEGORY. You can select a category in the pull down menu or in the category cloud. If you’re looking for something more specific, there’s a search box below the cloud. If you still can’t find what you need, scroll up in the sidebar and CONTACT US by phone or email. Of course, you can always request a face-to-face meeting with a mentor. We’re here to help.

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How can veterans excel as entrepreneurs?

In the course of serving our nation, veterans learn valuable skills and self-discipline that they can carry through to their post-military careers. One professional path that many veterans take is entrepreneurship. 

According to the most recent U.S. Census data, in 2012, the number of veteran-owned businesses was 2,521,682 (9 percent of all companies in the U.S.). Those businesses employed over 5 million people.  Continue reading

Get your products ready for e-commerce success.

ecommerceBefore the Internet age, small business startups had little opportunity to showcase their products right alongside major national brands. Online marketplaces have leveled the playing field for small businesses, effectively helping them leap geographic boundaries and sell their products in markets that would never have been possible.

Whether you are selling your products on Amazon, eBay or directly from your website, it is critical for you to efficiently manage your product setup and ensure you can be easily discovered by consumers. Many of the same best practices that lead to in-store success can be applied to e-commerce, with a special focus on providing consumers with a well-rounded view of your product prior to purchase.   Continue reading

Is it time to change your business structure?

The process to change a business structure (for example, change from a sole proprietorship to a corporation) is the same as starting a new business.

Use the Business Licensing Wizard to get information and links that will help you do the following:

  1. Create your business structure with the Washington Secretary of State. (Skip this step if you are changing to a sole proprietor or general partnership.)
  2. Submit a new Business License Application to apply for a new Business License. You will be given a new Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number to be used on tax returns and other documents.
  3. Reapply for any applicable specialty, and/or city endorsements (for example, Nursery endorsements).

Note: You will probably need to re-apply for all of the licenses you currently have. For example, if you are a building contractor, you will need to reapply for your contractor’s license with the Department of Labor and Industries.


This information has been borrowed from the Washington State Business Licensing Service website. (link)

Good leaders go positive.

by Mary Marshall, CEO Coach

be-1-300x300Good leaders know that inspiring people has a lot to do with focusing on the positive vs. the negative. Unfortunately, many of us are predisposed to focus on the negative and give it more worth or value than the positive. Alison Ledgerwood, a social psychologist does a great job in this TED talk showing us how that works.

Essentially, once we focus on the negative, we are much less likely to believe anything that proves otherwise. When asked how our day was we generally start with the negative. When asked how a project is going, we typically respond with what is not working. When asked how a team is performing, we often reply with explanations of how it’s not. Who knows why we do this? Preservation perhaps?

The end result is that we are discounting that which is good and leaving opportunities for happiness out in the cold.

Read more on Mary Marshall’s website.

10 reasons to keep your business blog active.

Publishing a business blog is an important part of any marketing strategy, but many businesses launch one, not realizing that maintaining it is just as critical. Quality content is key, and if you’re a business professional you have lots to offer based on expertise in your field.

Here are 10 reasons why you might want to use that expertise to keep your business blog active.

1. Drive Traffic to Your Business Website

Customers who read your blog are 97% more likely to click on your website. That improves your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) making your website more likely to rise to the top of organic searches. In addition, the more you blog, the more traffic you get. Here are five steps to build a website if you haven’t got one yet.

In addition, blog sites that post daily get almost double the traffic than sites that post monthly or less.  Continue reading

Should your startup business get a loan?

approved small business loan applicationMany startup small business owners take pride in pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and not using financing to get their companies off the ground. But that approach can backfire, a new study in the Journal of Corporate Finance suggests.

The study, conducted by Florida Atlantic University faculty, assessed what happened to companies that took on debt during their first year of operation.

The authors discovered businesses that took on debt are more likely to succeed (as long as they use business debt as opposed to taking on personal debt).

What’s more, they’re also more likely to achieve higher revenues.  Continue reading

Zero cost federal tax deduction — business use of your home.

by Joe Heinrich, Certified SCORE Mentor

Nirvana would be that a small business owner could generate a deduction from her/his business’s taxable income at no cost. Well, that situation is available for many small business owners: the business use of the home deduction. However, not all of small business owners are taking advantage of this deduction due to not knowing about it or fearing that taking the deduction will trigger an IRS audit.

First, the facts. IRS regulations allow a business owner to take a deduction for the business use of the home, provided that the space is used “exclusively and regularly” for business purposes. The space can either be a room, a part of a room, a closet, the basement or garage, or a separate building on the home’s lot.  Continue reading