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Small Business Solutions of the Week

BizBest 30-Second Solutions

“30-Second Solutions” – a BizBest exclusive – spotlights the best new and undiscovered profit- and productivity-boosting products and services for small business, explainable in 30 seconds or less.  Here’s our latest half dozen: 

  1. Daily Discount Deals for Biz Owners:  BizyDeal is a new site offering business owners deep discounts on products and services such as computer networking equipment, software, mobile devices, shipping, payroll, legal and accounting services, travel, car rental, banking, credit cards, insurance and more. It’s free to register and be notified when a new deal arrives.
  2. Your Own Custom Visa Loyalty Cards:  Want to turn heads with a custom designed and branded Visa loyalty, gift or incentive cards featuring your own logo or product images?  It’s easy for any small business to do with a new service from Incentive CardLab.  Arizona-based Woolaver Orthodontics uses the cards to thank patients for referrals.  For any referral that begins treatment, the referring patient receives a $100 Visa Incentive Card with Woolaver branding.  Law firm Balch & Bingham uses the cards to reward employees for years of service.
  3. Boot camp for Startups:  Startup Weekend has a simple premise: “No Talk, All Action.  Launch a Startup in 54 hours.”  So if you have startup on your mind, this is for you.  Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts share ideas, form teams, build products and launch startups. Events held at locations nationwide offer hands-on experiences where aspiring entrepreneurs can develop and test their startup ideas. 
  4. Quick and Easy Tax Filings:  Got employees?  If so, you must file quarterly IRS Form 941 reports to process tax payments and reconcile tax withholding.  FileTaxes.com – a BizBest ShortList selection – is an easy-to-use, low-cost way to file your forms online.  I’ve used this web-based tax filing service myself for years to process 1099s, W-2s and other tax forms, and it’s been a terrific time-saver.  No more tripping on filing rules.  The FileTaxes service ensures compliance and provides copies for your records that you can print or store and access anytime online. Just enter your summarized payroll data online.  Cost is just $4.95 for each Form 941.
  5. Free IBM Software Suite:  One cornerstone of starting and operating an efficient, profitable business is having the right tech tools and software. But software costs can quickly eat into capital. Lotus Symphony 3, IBM’s office productivity suite, is free and has more features than the typical fee-based office suites bundled with a new Mac or PC. With IBM Symphony, you can customize and arrange toolbars, create one-click PDFs and work in either a tabbed view or dedicated window views for applications (documents, presentations and spreadsheets).  Make no mistake: Symphony is packed with power and easy to use, and is every bit the equal (or more) of its costly counterparts. So why not break out of the costly upgrade cycle of Microsoft Office?  A unique click-to-cloud feature lets you connect directly to the internet from within the application and store or share your documents.  Symphony already has over 12 million users worldwide, and online support is easily available.  Download here: http://symphony.lotus.com.  
  6. More Gov Contracts for Women-Owned Biz:  Under a new program now underway, women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) have more opportunities than ever to snag lucrative federal government contracts.  The first contract awards are expected near the end of 2011.  The Program allows contracting officers, for the first time, to set aside specific contracts for certified WOSBs and EDWOSBs and will help federal agencies achieve the existing statutory goal of five percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to WOSBs.  The WOSB Federal Contract Program will provide greater access to federal contracting opportunities for WOSBs and economically-disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs). The Program allows contracting officers, for the first time, to set aside specific contracts for certified WOSBs and EDWOSBs and will help federal agencies achieve the existing statutory goal of five percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to WOSBsGo here: www.sba.gov/wosb.

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