This month we’ve been talking about trends and inspiration, and one big trend in small business is increasing productivity. So today we have a guest post on that topic from Danny Carlson, a business owner who works primarily online and writes about financial topics including entrepreneurship, money/time management, and productivity.

If you recently started a small business, congratulations. You’re already well on your way to enjoying the benefits of entrepreneurship. If you’re going the “solopreneur” route, your chances of success are that much better because your support costs are greatly reduced. However, if you’re “the guy” in your venture, you’re going to have a lot of hard work in front of you. Little distractions in any business can be dangerous, but for a one-person company, wasting valuable time can put undue stress on your venture. Read on for the best ways solopreneurs can get the most out of every day.

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Our Small Business Toolkit series continues today with a look at the most important tool in your arsenal: your website! If you missed our kickoff post, learn about online resources for small businesses here.

If you have found your way to this blog, you are most likely already aware of the importance of having a great small business website to market your business. If you’re not already aware of that, here are 5 reasons to create a website for your small business. If you’re not sold right now, please read that post and come right back here so we can all move on together.

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Now that you’ve decided to start your own business, explored your financing options, and come up with a name, it’s time to think about your brand.

[Ominous music here]

Fear not. While branding is a crucial part of your future success, it can also be broken down into completely manageable parts.

When you were coming up with your name, you likely already put a lot of thought into your branding without really meaning to. A great second step is to come up with a tagline or slogan. Even if it doesn’t end up being integral to your logotype or your small business website, it will help you distill down your thoughts about what you want your business to be when it grows up.

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It’s been just over a week since Microsoft launched the its newest operating system, Windows 8. The much-anticipated new offering has met with mixed reviews, as do all new tech gadgets, but over all the response seems to be positive so far.

There are tons of in-depth reviews out there (like this one from Engadget) with all the details you could possibly need about this new OS. So what we’re going to do today is a run-down of that’s new with Windows 8, who should get it now, and the nuts and bolt of upgrading.

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This is the final post in October’s branding series. So far we’ve talked about defining your unique selling proposition, finding your brand’s tone of voice, and reinforcing your brand in your online spaces. Today we’re going to discuss how to protect your brand once you’ve established it.

First, let’s talk about 3 types of protection companies can obtain which are often confusing to new business owners. These are trademarks, patents, and copyrights. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, they are defined as follows:

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In honor of Google’s 14th birthday last week the company launched a new initiative that celebrate their more important core value — innovation.

The new microsite — Google for Entrepreneurs – collects tools, resources, partnerships, and programs that support the spirit of entrepreneurship and address the needs of startups in the marketplace.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor reported earlier this year that at that time there were nearly 400 million entrepreneurs in 54 countries around the world. Are you among them?

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Another Wednesday has approached us, which means it’s time to showcase another well-made website. Today, we will be taking a look at Kikulu, a nonprofit website that seeks to create awareness and involvement among children at home on how they can each help make a difference.

Upon landing on the homepage, I could already sense how effective Kikulu’s site was going to be. The color scheme, use of imagery and content all work well together in creating a well-designed homepage.

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This week we are showcasing a site from the Westfield Music School, a privately owned music school located in Western Massachusetts.  Their website is not only an informative and resourceful tool for customers, but it looks fantastic as well.

Using thoughtful organizational design practices, including a consistent and appealing header and background imagery, this website does a great job of truly informing their audience about their services

Here are a few tips on making your website informative and resourceful for your target audience:

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We have all heard the impression that starting your own business is a labor of love. Have you ever wondered how much love does it really take to start a business. How many hours on average small business owner spends on their businesses and how these hours impact their lifestyle?

The following infographic depicts survey results that quantify the number of hours entrepreneurs work when compared to an average employee. Plus, it breaks down the impact long hours have on personal relationships, happiness and retirement.

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When asked about what draws one to a potential mate, the stock answer is usually “personality.” But one can argue that there has to be some kind of physical attraction that leads to getting to know that personality.  The same could be said about a small business website, as they could offer great services (the personality), but appear too small and unprofessional (the physical). A small business website that appears exactly that — small — can be off-putting and turn away some customers before they learn about all that is offered. This is especially true for customers that are unsure if they can trust transacting with a small business.

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