Most Clicked SmartBrief on Main Street Stories

1. Use grants to expand a business without debt

SmartBrief on Main Street | Nov 19, 2014

Getting large grants can be difficult, but they can be a valuable part of a funding mix, Anna Helhoski writes. She explains how to find grants at the federal, state and local levels and which types of businesses may qualify for them. NerdWallet (11/18)

2. How to close a deal when customers drag their feet

SmartBrief on Main Street | Nov 24, 2014

When a customer begins to use obvious delaying tactics before committing to a deal, it's time to take charge, writes A.J. Agrawal, CEO of Alumnify. Let the customer know you have other commitments to attend to, and give gentle indications that, while you'd like to get the deal done, you don't absolutely need to do so. Inc. online (free registration) (11/22)

3. Small firms consider self-insurance to control health care costs

SmartBrief on Main Street | Nov 18, 2014

Large businesses have embraced self-insurance in recent years, and now the trend is starting to take hold with small-business owners, who are looking to reduce health care costs and increase transparency. Employers that self-insure typically get stop-loss coverage to help protect themselves, but handling large claims can still be costly. Washington Post (tiered subscription model), The (11/17)

4. Develop an effective business plan with these tools

SmartBrief on Main Street | Nov 21, 2014

Writing out a business plan can help an entrepreneur to get a loan, gather feedback and make sure their strategy makes sense, Jamie Bsales writes. Bsales lists a number of software tools and resources that can help small-business owners in the planning process. Small Business Computing (11/20)

5. Small-business owners have options to offer retirement plans

SmartBrief on Main Street | Nov 18, 2014

Small-business owners may feel that offering their employees a workplace retirement plan is impossible, but Millennium Trust's Terry Dunne offers three viable options. (11/16)

6. How to save time when you need a loan

SmartBrief on Main Street | Nov 20, 2014

Time-crunched small-business owners can face hours of paperwork for a loan application. Ty Kiisel of OnDeck writes that asking these questions before starting the loan process will lead to being treated more seriously and having more time to focus on making your business successful. American Genius, The (11/19)

7. Don't hurt your business to minimize your tax bill

SmartBrief on Main Street | Nov 18, 2014

Managing your business' tax obligation should not just be a year-end task, writes Steve Parrish. The important thing is not to panic and make a decision that is ultimately unwise for your company, writes Parrish, who lays out four common mistakes entrepreneurs make. Forbes (11/17)

8. Dilbert creator explains how systems lead to success

SmartBrief on Main Street | Nov 19, 2014

Create systems instead of setting goals to avoid setting yourself up for failure, suggests Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip. Goals often require willpower, which is a finite resource, while systems encourage the gradual accumulation of knowledge. Inc. online (free registration) (11/17)

9. How productive people make the most of their days

SmartBrief on Main Street | Nov 19, 2014

Some of the world's most productive people shape their days to get the most out of each minute. Celebrity chef Bobby Flay makes lists, Bobbi Brown carves out personal time and Restoration Hardware CEO Gary Friedman says he's most productive when he's sharing ideas with a large group, but then he needs to regroup alone. Fast Company online (11/18)

10. How to find customers online

SmartBrief on Main Street | Nov 20, 2014

Finding customers online can be a shot in the dark, with more than 1 billion websites in operation this year, writes Single Grain CEO Eric Siu. Siu explains how to find the social networks, blogs and message boards that are relevant to your industry. Entrepreneur online (11/18)

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