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If you run a small business and find some of the standard accounting software too expensive and complicated, you should take a look at

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Biz Trends & Stats

According to the Pew Research Center Facebook is still the social medium of choice for small businesses to reach customers. 71% of adults use FB in 2013, up from 67% in 2012.

The American Bankruptcy Institute reported that business bankruptcy filings were down 24% in 2013, the lowest level since 2006. The climate for business startups is a little more favorable than in previous years.

Online Course: Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies… (Jan 13)

About the Course
#1 Entrepreneurship Course on Coursera*
#8 Overall Business Course on Coursera*
*CourseTalk’s “Top Rated” MOOCs (November, 2013)

This course assists aspiring entrepreneurs in developing great ideas into great companies. With strong economies presenting rich opportunities for new venture creation, and challenging economic times presenting the necessity for many to make their own job, the need to develop the skills to develop and act on innovative business opportunities is ever present.

Using proven content, methods, and models for new venture opportunity assessment and analysis, students will learn how to enhance their entrepreneurial mindset and develop their functional skill sets to see and act entrepreneurially. The initial steps to creating a business plan, and raising financial capital to launch the firm, are examined as well. Our goal is to demystify the startup process, and to help you build the skills to identify and act on innovative opportunities now, and in the future.

Course Syllabus
Week One: Entrepreneurial Perspective
Course overview
What is entrepreneurship?
Who is an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation
The world’s most innovative companies
Types of innovations
Entrepreneurs and strategic decisions
The opportunity analysis canvas

Week Two: Entrepreneurial Mindset, Motivations and Behavoirs
Entrepreneurial mindset
Entrepreneurial motivations
Entrepreneurial behavoirs
Risk taking in entrepreneurial decision-making
Risk, uncertainty, and stakeholder involvement

Week Three: Industry Understanding
Knowledge conditions
Demand conditions
Industry lifecycle
Industry structure
Competitive advantage
Learning curve
Complementary assets
Reputation effects

Week Four: Customer Understanding
Macro changes that increase new venture opportunities
Exploring real market needs
Satisfying real market needs
Strategic positioning
Strategic planning

Week Five: Business Modeling
Value innovation
Opportunity identification
Introduction to business models
The business model canvas

Week Six: Business Planning
Defining the business plan
Authoring the business plan
Sales forecasting
Managing the sales pipeline
Developing the marketing mix
Building financial statements
Sources of financial capital
Final thoughts

Online Course: The Power of Microeconomics: Economic Principles in the Real World (Jan 6)

About the Course

In this course, you will learn all of the major principles of microeconomics normally taught in a quarter or semester course to college undergraduates or MBA students.

Perhaps more importantly, you will also learn how to apply these principles to a wide variety of real world situations in both your personal and professional lives.  In this way, the Power of Microeconomics will help you prosper in an increasingly competitive environment.

Note that this course is a companion to the Power of Macroeconomics.  If you take both courses, you will learn all of the major principles normally taught in a year-long introductory economics college course.

Course Syllabus

Lecture One: An Introduction to Microeconomics

Lecture Two: Supply and Demand

Lecture Three: Demand and Consumer Behavior

Lecture Four: Supply and Production Theory

Lecture Five: Perfect Competition

Lecture Six: Monopoly and Monopolistic Competition

Lecture Seven: Oligopoly and Strategic Behavior

Lecture Eight: Land and Rent

Lecture Nine: The Labor Market and Wage Determination

Lecture Ten: The Capital Market, Interest and Profits

Lecture Eleven: Public Goods and Externalities


Review of Jamaica’s Economic Performance July – September 2013

The Planning Institute of Jamaica published an economic performance report dated November 20, 2013. This report covered the performances of different sectors of the economy such as agriculture, forestry & fishing, manufacture, construction and tourism.

Here are some of what you will find in the report:

Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing
The Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing industry grew by an estimated 5.0%, reflecting:
Other Agricultural Crops up 8.7% due to increases in six of the nine crop groups
Potatoes, up 22.2%; Condiments, up 16.1%; Legumes, up 15.2%
The smaller weighted components recorded contractions
Traditional Export crops, down 0.1%; Animal Farming, down 4.0%; and Post Harvest activities, down 51.6%

Financial Services
Real value added in the Finance & Insurance industry increased by 0.4% during the quarter, due largely to:
Increased net interest income at deposit taking institutions
Real increase in total assets at deposit taking institutions
Higher Fees and commission income
Gains on foreign exchange transactions.

Hotels & Restaurants
Real Value Added for Hotels & Restaurants grew by 0.8%.
This largely reflected Stopover arrivals, up by 0.7%.
Cruise passenger arrivals, down 9.8% resulting in
Total arrivals, down 2.7%
Provisional visitor expenditure, down 2.5% to US$475.6 million

Fiscal Accounts
The fiscal deficit was $0.5 billion for the quarter
This was $6.3 billion less than budgeted due to:
$0.6 billion (0.6 %) more than programmed revenue
$5.7 billion (5.5%) less than programmed expenditure
Revenue & Grants totalled $97.7 billion in July–September 2013, while Expenditure totalled $98.3 billion.

Exchange Rate
The average nominal exchange rate at the end of September 2013 was $103.60 per US$1.00, representing 2.14% nominal depreciation compared with end of June 2013.
This translates into a real exchange rate appreciation of 1.1% relative to the US dollar

SOURCE: Planning Institute of Jamaica

Agriculture Fishing Mining among Top Earners during July-Sep Quarter

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) says agriculture, forestry and fishing, mining and quarrying; and construction, topped the industries recording growth during the July to September quarter of the 2013/14 fiscal year, which grew by 0.6 per cent.

Director General of the PIOJ, Collin Bullock, who made the disclosure at a quarterly media briefing at the institute’s New Kingston offices, on November 20, said agriculture, forestry and fishing, and mining and quarrying both recorded second quarter growth of five per cent each, while construction grew by 2.5 per cent.

He noted that the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry’s growth reflected the impact of improved weather conditions and growth inducing initiatives implemented by the Government. Read more

The Most Useful Funding Technique for Funding a Business Startup Is the Oldest: Bootstrapping.


My Consumer Product Development and Marketing Consulting firm is approached almost daily by entrepreneurs seeking to launch a new enterprise. For many of these aspiring business owners their primary concern is the funding requirements they believe will be required to enable execution of a proper launch. Many assume they need to raise funding from angel investors, venture capital or banking sources. Very few will succeed by taking this path.

Capital is extremely selective in placing highly prized investments in untried startup businesses, run by anything less than experienced entrepreneurs. It rarely happens. The expectations of professional investment sources is simply too difficult for most novices to be able to satisfy steep requirements for Return on Investment, Use of Funds, Professional Management Teams or First Mover Advantage.

When we explain to first time seekers of capital the complexities and difficulties that they will face in successfully securing a funding round, we almost always are confronted by resignation. The inevitable query we hear is, “Well, how do you get started”? There are many options but the simplest, and oldest is the concept of “bootstrapping”.

Bootstrapping is simply self-funding. Some of the greatest successes in the history of business were self-funded by Bootstrapping. The most famous is Microsoft, followed closely by Hewlett Packard. Leslie Wexner launched The Limited in Columbus, OH in the 1960’s by bootstrapping a single dress shop in a strip mall. Estee Lauder created the world’s most successful Cosmetic brand at her kitchen table in the Bronx. King Gillette did much the same in the 1890’s when he launched his eponymous shaving brand. There are hundreds of publicly traded companies around the world that were nurtured to life initially by bootstrapping.

The beauty of not accepting, or seeking an equity investment partner is obvious: There is no partner to share ownership and the necessity to hit performance marks required to obtain funding is eliminated.

True, bootstrapping can hinder the rapidity of growth. But the process of bootstrapping demands discipline and enforces controls on spending that become part of the DNA of the firm as growth occurs. Expenditures are weighed and considered before very dear capital is committed.

The three Magi were bootstrapping incense merchants. Every pioneering farmer or blacksmith was initially a bootstrapping business person. Your insurance agent, realtor, most salesmen, lawyers, shop owners or artisans are bootstrapping for their income. To the extent that capital is required to open a restaurant, coffee shop, day spa, sales agency, franchise a business or set up a landscaping firm the funding required to be able to bootstrap these opportunities comes from friends, family or personal savings.

The Venture Capital community has a well-known phrase to describe the source of seed funding: “Startup monies come from Friends, Family and Fools”. Money flows easily to new, novel business concepts, but only after there is a confirmation of a proof of concept and sales traction is demonstrated.

Bootstrapping is not glamorous. It requires total commitment and focus. Fancy offices, fresh cut flowers in the reception area, expense account lunches and leased luxury automobiles are not line budget expense items for bootstrapping Companies. Credit cards may need to be tapped. Home equity utilized. Aunt Jane approached for a loan. If the entrepreneur is driven, there is nothing that will deny them the opportunity to convert their concept in to a going concern. Bootstrapping is the simplest, oldest, and in most instances, the only strategy available to start a new business.

About Geoff Ficke

Geoff Ficke has been a serial entrepreneur for almost 50 years. As a small boy, earning his spending money doing odd jobs in the neighborhood, he learned the value of selling himself, offering service and value for money.

After putting himself through the University of Kentucky (B.A. Broadcast Journalism, 1969) and serving in the United States Marine Corp, Mr. Ficke commenced a career in the cosmetic industry. After rising to National Sales Manager for Vidal Sassoon Hair Care at age 28, he then launched a number of ventures, including Rubigo Cosmetics, Parfums Pierre Wulff Paris, Le Bain Couture and Fashion Fragrance.

Geoff Ficke and his consulting firm, Duquesa Marketing, ( ) has assisted businesses large and small, domestic and international, entrepreneurs, inventors and students in new product development, capital formation, licensing, marketing, sales and business plans and successful implementation of his customized strategies. He is a Senior Fellow at the Page Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Business School, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

Article Source:

Article Source: Ezine Articles

Reliable Sources for Business Funding


Initiating a business is both a challenging and exciting prospect. What better choice can it be than to secure your future with your own business? A lot of people wish to build and become their own bosses whereas some feel the need to generate better job opportunities for others. Living with such a perspective can only help one be a better entrepreneur. Every new business needs some Business funding to flourish. Though it can be acquired by many ways, however for people seeking choices other than personal can choose from any of the below mentioned choices.

Choices for business funding
1. Bank Financing- Bank Financing has been a living option since ages, however in the present scenario these are difficult to avail. It is only granted in cases of good security or successful business track record. In fact personal guarantee and assets to compensate are given equal importance. Moreover, not all banks offer loan for start up businesses. Thus it is always advisable to look for banks that offer business funding and instead start from your bank to avail the loan.

2. Self Funding- Self funding has always been a safer option. It refers to borrowing money from your relatives or utilizing your own savings for the same. But in cases of self funding, the borrowers need to be clearer and extra careful as to when the money has to be repaid. Moreover, if it’s family, only in cases of reliable businesses and success rate should the self funding be availed.

3. Equity Finance- equity financing is the act of borrowing funds from small business owners or investors. This is an excellent option for emerging business men looking for funds for the sole reason that the amount works as an investment and not as a pay back. No guarantee or personal assets need to be put at stake except in case of success the profit shall be shared.

4. Credit cards or over drafts- a lot of emerging businesses requires only a little capital to be invested. For such cases over drafts and credit cards can be easily relied upon. In fact there are a lot of banks offering interest free loans for the first year which in itself is a very profitable and safer option for new businessmen.

Thus there are a variety of modes of Business funding available according to the feasibility of an individual. One can choose any of the above depending upon the genre and the promising nature of his/her new business.

You can find out more by visiting or call directly at 855 249 2050

Article Source: Ezine Articles



Review of Jamaica’s Economic Performance April – June 2013

The Planning Institute of Jamaica published an economic performance report dated August 27, 2013. This report covered the performances of different sectors of the economy such as agriculture, forestry & fishing, manufacture, construction and tourism.

Here are some of what you will find in the report:

Real GDP declined by an estimated 0.4% for April–June 2013 relative to the similar period of 2012

The following industries saw decline: Good Producing (-1.6%), Agriculture (-8.0%), Manufacture (-0.4%), while Mining grew 5.0% and Construction grew 1.5%.

Real Value Added in the Agriculture industry declined by 8.0% based on PIOJ’s production index:
Traditional Export crops, down 44.4%
Other Agricultural Crops down by 3.3%
Post Harvest Activities up 72.5%.

This performance largely reflected:
The continuation of drought conditions
Delay in recovery of longer term crops such as bananas, plantains, yams and other tubers from the impact of Hurricane Sandy

Real Value Added in the Mining & Quarrying Industry increased by 5.0% reflecting:
increased production of the heavier weighted alumina component as crude bauxite production declined

The increase in Alumina production (up 8.6%) reflected higher output levels at the Jamalco plant resulting in an increase of 1.1 percentage points in the Alumina Capacity Utilization rate.

Crude bauxite production (down 4.4%) was impacted by lower global demand, resulting in a decline of 4.1 percentage points in the Bauxite Capacity Utilization rate.

Real Value Added in the Construction Industry grew by 1.5%, reflecting:
Growth in Building Construction due to:
Higher levels of Residential Construction:
Increases in the number of housing starts (up 219.6%), housing completions (up 37.4%) and the volume (up 17.7%) and value (up 25.3%) of mortgages for the period.

A contraction in the Other Construction component which includes Civil Engineering (road works) due to lower expenditure by:
NROCC down 92.1 per cent to $0.2 billion
NWA down 69.4 per cent to $1.4 billion
Increased expenditure was recorded by:
NWC up 112.2 per cent to $1.8 billion Telecommunications up 224.1 per cent to $639.4 million

The fiscal deficit was $5.4 billion for the quarter. This was $4.8 billion lower than budgeted due to:
$5.6 billion (1.0 per cent) less than programmed expenditure
$0.8 billion (0.7 per cent) lower than programmed revenue

Revenue & Grants totalled $87.03 billion in April–June 2013, while Expenditure totalled $92.44 billion.

Exchange Rate
The average nominal exchange rate at the end of June 2013 was $101.38 per US$1.00, representing 2.5% nominal depreciation compared with end of March 2013.

SOURCE: Planning Institute of Jamaica

Basics of Creating a Web Presence for Your Business

Unless specifically a web based business, a fairly large number of new startup businesses tend to ignore this aspect of branding and building a business. And though it is probably still possible to be successful without having a web presence, the importance of having a presence online is increasing so fast that not being there will essentially prove to be suicide for your business. If nothing else, not being online will no doubt stunt your growth and longer term survival significantly.

The amazing thing about this is that it is really much easier than you think. A few suggestions of how to achieve the best possible results include:

    • Online telephone directories. There are numerous out there including Yellow Pages, and several others that may be more local to you. Make sure to submit your basic business information including contact information to as many of these as you can find. People are using online searches to find even telephone numbers. Phone books are definitely the past.
    • Blog. This is simply one of the easiest ways to start building your business and brand online. There are loads of free options out there with simple submission capability that will allow you to establish your business as the go to business. Write articles, add photos and videos of completed jobs or just showcase anything you think your customers may be interested in. If you do not know how to do it, search for the answers on Google. Search for “how to blog”, “blog hosts” and run from there. Then start creating your masterpiece. Sooner or later the search engines will find it, and before you know it your name will start popping up everywhere. One of my favorite blogging hosts for doing this would be WordPress. It is easy to use and works like a charm. It could also easily serve as a website if you do not intend to set one up, for the time being.
    • Social media. Make sure to get a profile on as many of the social media sites as you have time for and create company and profile pages on each. A few that come to mind are Facebook, Google+ and Linked In. You can also use these to connect with customers and not just friends and family. And I would urge you to do so vigorously.
    • Profiles. Most of the places where you are able to submit articles, blog or just add things about yourself, will provide an opportunity to do a profile write up. Make sure to use this to properly showcase your business and who you are. This will all add to credibility, which will grow with the age of your submissions.
    • Expert forums. There are simply loads of forums out there for every possible topic under the sun. This means you can simply join a few of these and start answering questions about your field. Do make sure to participate in the forums that are related to what you are selling. And remember to have a proper profile on each of the forums where you participate. People do read profiles of people that seem to have some idea.
    • Article submission. If you are so inclined, write a few articles and submit them to article submission sites like EzineArticles. There are several, and they also allow for a profile that enables you to promote your business, and contact information.
    • Your own web page. Although this could be an expensive endeavor if you decide to hire someone to do it for you, for the most part it is not difficult to do. This so since more often than not web hosting companies offer free web creation software with their packages, making it possible for you to create spectacular pages yourself without knowing a single word of code. If you have any experience with some of the Microsoft packages, most of them will allow you to create a decent presentation and then save it is a webpage file, which you can then simply upload. I would most certainly recommend that you have something. Not having a website will give advantage to your competition and quite possible lose you a lot of business. And do not worry about keeping it simple. A few pictures, some basic information about your business and clearly marked contact information will often do the trick for a start.

Notably there are several more things that you could do to get your business established online, however starting with this will likely have a significant impact on the success of your business forward.

I wish you all the best with your ventures and invite you to share comments and stories here.


Pieter Heydenrych is the President of NetMecca, an online, free to participate, Multilevel Network Marketing company, dedicated to the creation of various income streams, including passive income streams for it’s members. Get your share now by going to:

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