The Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program is a business assistance program that is aimed at assisting small businesses that are owned and controlled by at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. The program helps thousands of blooming entrepreneurs obtain significant government contracts.

The Benefits
Participants can receive sole-source (or “no bid”) contracts up to a ceiling of $4 million for goods and services and $6.5 million for manufacturing. The SBA also assists 8(a) businesses with forming joint ventures and teams to bid on contracts. This encourages firms to perform larger contracts and enhances the effects of contract bundling.

Through the Mentor-Protege Program, rookie 8(a) firms can connect with experienced 8(a) businesses to learn valuable information from companies that have been…

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A recent study carried out by Northwestern Professor Rich Gordon and Syndio Social CEO Zachary Johnson notes that nearly half of the traffic to Chicago-based small business websites is from the social media giants Facebook and Twitter. Facebook refers more than 48 percent, while Twitter sends nearly 4 percent of the traffic to small business websites. These numbers of nearly three times the amount of traffic that Facebook and Twitter drive to larger sites.

What does this mean? It means that social media is important not only to update your personal status and post photos of you and your friends, but as a  major marketing source for your small business. Keep in mind, you should be aware of a number of…

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Employee handbooks are great for laying out your small business’ policies, employee expectations, and they can be particularly helpful if (for some reason) your business is ever sued. The most important thing is that these handbooks will clearly communicate your expectations and rules by which employees will be governed. Below are some tips for putting together an employee handbook for your small business.

What should you include in your employee handbook?
There are certain essential topics that all employee handbooks should cover. Here are some of the essential topics that we recommend you include in your employee handbook:

Company overview: By stating your overall philosophy and vision for the company will set the tone for the entire handbook. You can also make clear…

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Strapped for cash? Well there’s another lender in town: Amazon. I’m sure you’ve heard the name, but you’ve probably never considered Amazon as a small business lender. The e-commerce giant recently launched Amazon Lending, which offers direct financing to its marketplace sellers. Through Amazon’s Capital Service division, the program offers an alternative option for small businesses to get credit, enabling the merchants to purchase additional inventory even if cash flow is low.

How’s it work?
Sellers apply for loans directly from their Amazon accounts, and if approved, the funds will be advanced to the seller’s Amazon account within five business days. Loan repayments are taken directly from the seller’s account as they are due.

Keep in mind, this “Amazon  cash” is not cheap. …

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