Most Clicked SmartBrief on Main Street Stories

1. "Shark Tank" builds buzz for NYC bagel-ball business

SmartBrief on Main Street | Jan 20, 2015

The idea to create stuffed bagel balls came to Nick Oleksak in the middle of the night, and he started a company with his wife, Elyse, to sell the treats. The Oleksaks have a store in New York City called Bantam Bagels, and they offer their products online. Their business has gained attention since being praised by Oprah Winfrey and receiving a $275,000 investment on "Shark Tank." Entrepreneur online (01/19)

2. Does your business qualify for these tax breaks?

SmartBrief on Main Street | Jan 22, 2015

Small-business owners have ways to reduce their taxable income, Tony Armstrong writes. You may be qualified for these benefits if you enrolled your staff in health care via the SHOP Marketplace, are consistently on the road for work, have hired veterans or ex-felons or use a home office as your primary place of doing business, Armstrong writes. NerdWallet (01/21)

3. How a sub-shop owner got invited to the State of the Union address

SmartBrief on Main Street | Jan 23, 2015

Carolyn Reed and her husband received financing with the help of the Small Business Administration to enable them to open their third Silver Mine Subs franchise a few years ago. After writing a thank-you note to President Barack Obama, Reed and her husband were invited to dine with the president and sit in on the State of the Union address as guests of the first lady. Washington Post (tiered subscription model), The (01/21)

4. Keep detailed records to protect tax deductions

SmartBrief on Main Street | Jan 19, 2015

Small-business owners must document tax deductions, especially those related to travel and entertainment, consultant Peter DeMarco writes. A recent court case shows that the Internal Revenue Service "expects to understand the amount, the time and place of the travel or entertainment, the nature of any gift, the business purpose for the expense and the business relationship of any persons entertained, visited or given a gift," DeMarco writes. Crain's Cleveland Business (01/15)

5. How Obama's plans could affect entrepreneurs

SmartBrief on Main Street | Jan 21, 2015

President Barack Obama included a number of proposals in his State of the Union Address that could be relevant for small-business owners. Gene Marks breaks down some of the president's ideas, which include tweaking the tax code and offering paid sick leave to workers, and discusses the likelihood of their approval. CNNMoney (01/18) National Public Radio (01/20) Inc. online (free registration) (01/21)

6. Strategies to find online leads

SmartBrief on Main Street | Jan 19, 2015

Small-business owners need to find ways to add customers without spending too much money, writes J.P. Maroney, CEO of Marocom Group. Maroney advises entrepreneurs to develop an in-depth understanding of what customers want, to provide them with information to build trust and to stay in contact with prospects. Huffington Post, The (01/15)

7. A 5-step guide to giving negative feedback

SmartBrief on Main Street | Jan 20, 2015

Nobody likes discussing poor performance, but it's among the most important conversations that a leader can have, writes Randy Conley. Be prepared -- not just to show shortcomings but also to examine where the employee was led insufficiently. Once in the meeting, Conley advises, empathize with the employee and offer positive solutions for the problems you raise. Leading With Trust blog (01/18)

8. How to make the most of a limited budget

SmartBrief on Main Street | Jan 21, 2015

Reviewing your expenses, empowering your employees and setting a positive example can help your company make the best use of its resources, writes John Hall, CEO of Influence & Co. Also, keep track of important data points, and look for partners who can help your company expand, he writes. Inc. online (free registration) (01/16)

9. Weigh these factors before selling your business

SmartBrief on Main Street | Jan 19, 2015

Although the history of your business is important, expectations for the future will be the main focus when you put your company up for sale. Having a reasonable valuation and planning for a seamless transition in ownership will help, writes Michelle Brennan Hall, founder of Brennan Wealth Advisors. Entrepreneur online (01/16)

10. New shop replaces decades-old Ind. camera business

SmartBrief on Main Street | Jan 19, 2015

Dawn Ross and Rena Aiken launched Camera Outfitters in Lafayette, Ind., in 2013, replacing Ross' previous business, Berry's Camera Shop. The new business takes up less space, has fewer employees and carries less inventory. "We had to figure out the cost to keep the doors open every single day," Aiken said. Journal and Courier (Lafayette, Ind.) (tiered subscription model) (01/16)

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