Start your own e-commerce business in minutes with Shopify!

10 Jun
Shopify

Image via Wikipedia

Want to own your own online store?

Etsy is cool and so is Ebay but have you heard of Shopify?

Shopify is the most elegant, customizable and affordable hosted e-commerce platform available. It allows you to set up an incredible  online store in minutes, and you can sell just about anything. You can easily organize your products, customize your storefront, use your own domain, accept credit card payments, track and respond to orders, and they host it all for you. Even if you already have a physical storefront, your online shop is open 24/7, open for business to the entire world. Imagine the increased opportunities and revenue you can earn by broadening your business, and do it with just a few clicks.

Shopify is extremely easy to use. You don’t need a web designer, developer, or technical expertise to get your site up and running, and managing it is a breeze. Simply select a Shopify theme that suits your style, and add your products. It’s that simple. If you happen to get stuck, every Shopify store comes with helpful, friendly and fun support team to help you along the way. In addition to technical support, Shopify e-commerce gurus are at your disposal; ready to help you make the most out of your online store and maximize your business potential. This group of highly trained e-commerce experts provides hints, tips, and incentives for effectively reaching your business goals.

Shopify is full of great features:
Fully customizable- easily reflect your brand the way you want to
Content Management- made easy with our slick user interface
Store Analytics- track and view your customer activity
Promotions- Coupon codes, A/B testing, and sales
Security- Hosted on the world’s safest and most reliable servers, with free unlimited bandwidth
Support- technical and ecommerce; we’re here to help in every way
App store- take your store to the next level with integrated applications

From the stay at home mom selling handmade knitwear, to companies like Angry Birds, Tesla Motors, Foo Fighters, and even not-for-profits like Amnesty International, over 12,000 stores use Shopify.

Shopify offers a completely risk free 30 day trial for everyone who signs up. So go ahead and test out that online business idea you’ve always wondered about- it could change your life.

HOT TIP

Shopify currently has a contest going on that could win you a lot of money.
There are some serious prizes here – grand prize $100,000, and $20,000 prizes for product-specific winners. There are also small prizes for the first 2,500 to sign up, like business books and ad credits.

Enter the contest here  http://www.shopify.com/contest 

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National Association for Moms in Business Grant Competition!

12 May
Pink Umbrella

Business grant competition via crowdfunding to give mom entrepreneurs a better chance at launching a new or current business project. All participants win a half-page feature in Moms In Business Magazine, publicity on peerbackers.com and momsinbusinessgrant.com, and a $2,000 publicity toolkit from PRNewswire. When the crowdfunding competition ends, all grant applicants who raised 80% or more of their funding goal will become semi-finalists. A team of mom executives and entrepreneurs will judge each application to determine the $10,000 Grand Prize Grant Package winner. Competitors must be a member of NAFMIB.

Competition ends June 15, 2011

Enter here  http://mibn.org/site.php/spgs/read/momsinbusinessgrant-about

Win $20,000 from American Express OPEN

1 May
Image representing American Express as depicte...

Image via CrunchBase

Facebook Big Break for Small Business
Enter by May 20, 2011

American Express OPEN is giving five small business owners the ultimate Big Break. You could win a trip to Facebook headquarters for a two-day, one-on-one business makeover and $20,ooo to help grow your business.

To enter the Facebook Big Break for Small Business from American Express OPEN, small business owners need to visit

http://www.facebook.com/OPEN

and submit answers to a short questionnaire describing how they would utilize the competition’s winnings to better their business.

9 Crowdfunding Websites for Entrepreneurs and Artists (via City Girl Business Club)

1 May

9 Crowdfunding Websites for Entrepreneurs and Artists Here are 9 alternative sources of funding for entrepreneurs and artists who are trying to raise capital for their startup or project.   MicroVentures                 Also described as peer-to-peer lending, MicroVentures works with investors as well as with those who need money to get a certain project off the ground. According to their website, MicroVentures works with small companies and businesses in … Read More

via City Girl Business Club

Win $25,000 for your business!

17 Apr
Money Stinky Feet Bankroll Girls February 08, ...

Image by stevendepolo via Flickr

Verisign is sponsoring a new contest that could net one lucky small business owner $25,000.Enter the contest, and you could win $25,000 by explaining where a .com/.net will take your business

What does it take to be eligible to win $25,000? Below is what you will need to get ready to enter the contest
Be an actual small business (fewer than 50 employees)
An uploadable photo of your company

Your pitch (video or essay)
Video submissions (must be no longer than two minutes or larger than 2 GB†)
Essay submissions (must be between 100 and 300 words)

For more information and to register, visit http://www.dotnetforsmallbiz.net/

Startup Boot Camps Looking for Entrepreneurs

10 Apr
Celena's Pink Waltz

Image by snupped via Flickr

 

Business accelerators are spreading across the U.S. as early stage investors, entrepreneurs, and policymakers try to speed how long it takes to create new ventures—from years to months.

Launchpad Ignition

Launch Pad Ignition is a new startup accelerator. An exciting leap for the New Orleans startup ecosystem, Ignition creates a framework to help founders refine their product offering, invigorate their business plans, and raise funding to fuel their growth. Launch Pad Ignition is a program of Launch Pad, a co-working & incubator space in downtown New Orleans. With 12,000 sq ft of shared workspace and more than 60 companies, Launch Pad is at the heart of the entrepreneurial renaissance in New Orleans and is one of the most successful co-working spaces in the country.

Techstars

TechStars is a mentorship-driven seed stage investment program. They run a three month long program in Boston (MA), Boulder (CO), New York City (NY) and Seattle (WA) once each year. They’re very selective – hundreds of companies apply and we only take about ten companies per city. These companies get up to $18,000 in seed funding, three months of intensive top-notch mentorship, and the chance to pitch to angel investors and venture capitalists at the end of the program.

DreamIT Ventures

The DreamIt founders designed DreamIt to be the startup accelerator program they wish existed when they started and sold their first companies. New startups today need only a little funding, but they need more help and support than ever before. They need a community of fellow entrepreneurs to share ideas and inspiration, technologists to join their team, Mentors and coaches who have struggled on their way to a big success, legal and accounting services that don’t cost precious cash, and opportunities to meet and pitch angel investors and venture capitalists.

Incubate Miami

Incubate Miami is a public/private partnership between Digiport http://www.digiport.com and The Enterprise Development Corporation of South Florida (EDC) http://www.edc-tech.org that supports emerging science and technology companies in Miami.

Conceived of by Marc Billings, CEO of Digiport, Incubate Miami provides multiple layers of support for entrepreneurs. The mission is to accelerate the growth of startups and innovation and to develop a vibrant technology-based community that creates high-skill, high wage jobs in industries that drive the global economy.

NYC Seedstart

NYC SeedStart Media is a 12-week summer program designed to provide seed funding to technology companies to build a product and launch their company. SeedStart is interested in companies focusing on advertising infrastructure, e-commerce, digital content, and mobile technology. Companies will work with an incredible network of mentors, professionals, and experienced technology entrepreneurs. Venture Capital Partners include Contour Venture Partners, Comcast Interactive Capital/Genacast Ventures, NYC Seed, Polaris Venture Partners, RRE Ventures.

500 Startups

500 Startups provides early-stage companies with funding ranging from $10K to $250K via seed investments, our startup accelerator program, and new micro-fund models like the Twilio Fund. With over 120 experienced startup mentors around the world, creative 10,000 sq ft working space in the heart of Silicon Valley, and a vibrant community of startup founders, they help companies succeed in ways other venture firms do not.

The 500 Startups Accelerator experiments with early-stage startup formulas for explosive growth with a mixture of up to $100K in funding, superhuman mentors & designers in residence, platform-specific strategies for customer acquisition, a creative workspace and more.

Excelerate Labs

Excelerate Labs is an intensive summer accelerator for startups driven by proven entrepreneurs and investors. Led by world class entrepreneurs Sam Yagan (OKCupid, Sparknotes) and Troy Henikoff (SurePayroll), the program is unique in attracting dozens of mentors from around the country to work with the teams in direct 1-on-1 meetings.

The program selects ten companies every spring to participate in the 13-week intensive summer program. Starting on June 1st, the ten companies build connections and their business during the program. The program culminates in an Investor Demo Day on August 31st, where the companies showcase their progress and plans to more than 200 angel and venture investors from around the country.

For a list of Startup Bootcamps around the world, visit Robert Shedd’s blog at http://blog.shedd.us/321987608/

6 Hot Industries for 2011

27 Feb
DIY Business Card

Image by The Bottomless Paddling Pool via Flickr

6 Top Performing Industries for 2011 according to our friends at Inc.com

The Best Bets

Looking to launch a business in 2011 but not sure where the best opportunities for success lie? IBISWorld has targeted six industries heavily concentrated with small- and medium-sized businesses that are poised to grow in the year to come. The market researcher judged sectors based on a set of criteria including revenue growth, employment growth, current profits, and barriers to entry. Some, like e-commerce and advertising, may be old news at this point. While others, such as real estate appraisal, may surprise you.

 
Debt Collection Agencies

It’s nearly impossible to owe money these days without getting a barrage of phone calls on behalf of your creditors – thanks in large part to the rise of third-party collection agencies. The debt hounds will have plenty to chew on next year, as recoveries in employment and the housing market should free up cash to pay back outstanding loans, says IBISWorld. All they have to do is go get it. While the average agency now generates a profit margin of about 5.9 percent, the number will grow slightly in 2011 and eventually climb to 10 percent by 2015. This is due to some companies not wanting to chase down debtors themselves, instead preferring to give agencies a larger bounty.

2011 Revenue Growth: 4.1 percent
2011 Employment Growth: 0.5 percent
Barriers to Entry: Low

E-commerce and Online Auctions

If record sales during the holidays are any indication, online retail will continue booming and achieve double-digit revenue growth in 2011. Due to the increasing ease in setting up a website, small vendors are further penetrating the market. E-tailers have also upped the savvy factor with widespread discounts, targeted advertising, and elegant, efficient site design—all created to lure customers out of brick-and-mortar stores and onto the Web. Popular product categories include clothing, footwear, jewelry, electronics, sporting goods, toys, and furniture, often sold through online commerce communities such as eBay, Newegg, and Etsy.

2011 Revenue Growth: 11.4 percent
2011 Employment Growth: 6.1 percent
Barriers to Entry: Low

Environmental Consulting

Thanks to the confusion over increasingly strict environmental rules, these consultants should be in high demand. Companies in fields like construction and waste management turn to consultants to navigate the various environmental waters, while others simply hire them to enhance their image. As economic conditions improve, consulting firms will be needed to audit new buildings and the underlying land for environmental safety. And with sustainable homebuilding on the rise, a growing number of homeowners will enlist environmental services as well.

2011 Revenue Growth: 7.5 percent
2011 Employment Growth: 7.2 percent
Barriers to Entry: Low

Real Estate Appraisal

Recovery in the battered real estate market is likely to be slow going, but this area should be among the first to improve. Existing home sales are expected to pick up, giving appraisers plenty of work. Additionally, as the recession wanes and low interest rates persist, businesses looking to expand will boost the commercial markets as well. And don’t let the relatively weak employment forecast fool you: most firms in the industry are single-owner operated or small independents that don’t need to take on employees to grow.

2011 Revenue Growth: 8.8 percent
2011 Employment Growth: 3.8 percent
Barriers to Entry: Low

Advertising Agencies

Agencies that create online, targeted, and integrated ad campaigns will compete for a healthy allotment of ad dollars in 2011. IBISWorld projects improvements in consumer sentiment, and corporate profits in the coming year to drive an increase in media expenditures. Digital media in particular will be the recipient of an increasing amount of ad dollars, with some experts expecting spending in the space to double in the next five years. Companies able to reach the nascent mobile market and targeted niches will be the big winners.

2011 Revenue Growth: 3.5 percent
2011 Employment Growth: 3.9 percent
Barriers to Entry: Medium

Job Training and Career Consulting

With only mild job growth expected next year, workers competing for limited openings will need to differentiate themselves with improved skills or develop new ones if they’re forced to switch careers. The job training industry will also get a big boost from government funding for programs focused on putting the unemployed to work and creating new jobs. Much emphasis has been placed in recent years on gaining new skills, which will both help people get jobs and improve business performance.

2011 Revenue Growth: 3.4 percent
2011 Employment Growth: 2.1 percent
Barriers to Entry: Medium

For more information visit www.inc.com

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