Recent Articles Published by Bplans


Infographic: Startup activity since The Great Recession

This infographic from the Kauffman Foundation presents an interesting look at the state of entrepreneurial activity in the United States. The good news is that more new businesses were created in 2011 than in the several years leading up to the recession that began in late 2007. The bad news is that new business activity... Read more »


Three Titanic business mistakes to avoid

The RMS Titanic sank 100 years ago today. In that time, do you know how many businesses have sunk? Neither do I, but I’m sure it’s a lot. There are lessons learned from the Titanic disaster that prevented future shipwrecks, but what about lessons that can prevent business failures? Lesson 1: Expect the unexpected. The... Read more »


How to use customer service to differentiate your business – Small business Spotlight

Every business needs to differentiate itself, to find a way to show the world how it’s unique and different. If you were to ask the owners of 10 hair salons which products or service they sell or provide, most would probably start with “hair styling and coloring” or something along those lines. And you wouldn’t... Read more »


Your desk job is hazardous to your health

If you and/or your employees spend a significant amount of time sitting at your desks working on computers, you may be shortening your lives. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? According to a recent  New York Times article, your chair is your enemy. It doesn’t matter if you go running every morning, or you’re a regular at... Read more »


MassChallenge offers startups chance for funding, mentorship, and more

MassChallenge, now in its third year, is the largest-ever startup accelerator and competition. It’s open to high-impact, early-stage entrepreneurs from any industry and anywhere in the world, with no strings attached. The 2012 Startup Competition and Accelerator launched on March 1 and the final application deadline is on April 11 at 12:00 Noon ET (you’ll... Read more »


Tax day is just around the corner. Are you ready?

If you’re a U.S. resident and you haven’t done your taxes yet, what are you waiting for? Why are you reading a blog about taxes when you should be compiling receipts, filling out forms, and scrambling to get it all done??? Taxes are due on April 17th this year, which means you’ve got just over... Read more »


Why are local businesses so good for the economy?

Congressman Peter DeFazio (Oregon, D) stopped by the Palo Alto Software office yesterday and discussed the important role small businesses play in their local economies. While many cities and regions spend time and resources trying to attract and convince large corporations to relocate to their area, DeFazio says a focus on the local businesses can... Read more »


How to Create a Niche: Small Business Spotlight

How many times have you thought “somebody should make…” or “why doesn’t anybody sell…”? Palo Alto Software customer Kelly Chaney had a moment like that, but instead of just wondering why nobody was making cake mix for dogs, she decided to solve the problem by becoming the somebody who does. And so Puppy Cake, innovative... Read more »


7 Reasons You Have Trouble Getting Things Done (and 7 Easy Solutions)

Ever wonder why you don’t get more done every day? You might be trying to do too much, and competing demands in the office aren’t making it any easier to accomplish what you set out to do. One interesting study showed that after an interruption, it took office workers an average of more than 23... Read more »


What makes a great marketing plan?

If you’re writing a business plan, you should at least be considering your marketing plan at the same time. A good business plan includes a marketing component, and most successful businesses have entirely separate marketing plans to guide them. So what makes a good marketing plan? Recently on Tim Berry’s AmEx OPEN Forum blog, the... Read more »


How a simple change decreased costs and grew a business – Small Business Spotlight

With colleges receiving record numbers of applications each year, any edge students can get helps increase the chances of getting in to their chosen schools. And that’s where The Edge in College Prep comes in. Started in late 2005 by Palo Alto Software customer Jessica Brondo, The Edge in College Prep provides in-person and online admissions counseling and tutoring... Read more »


Hard lessons lead to success – the story of RealLead

A few years ago, LivePlan customer Caroline Cummings considered herself an “entrepreneur in recovery.” After her first tech startup dissolved in 2009 (costing her a significant amount of money), she knew she needed some time to figure out what her next venture would be. “I’m an entrepreneur at heart, so I knew I’d eventually jump... Read more »


6 ways to send the right signals with your website

It’s time for entrepreneurs to lift their game when it comes to website design and maintenance strategies, says Palo Alto Software UK General Manager Alan Gleeson. With countless options competing for Web surfers attention and more savvy users, the bar has been set a lot higher in terms of Web design and content, and if... Read more »


5 ways to prepare for Facebook Timeline

If you’ve got a Facebook page for your business, you’re probably aware of the big change that’s coming on March 30, when all Facebook pages will switch over to the new Timeline design. The change will make your Facebook page a more visual representation of your brand. It will also allow you to tell your... Read more »


Wanted: More women franchise owners

The Franchise King® Joel Libava says the franchise industry could use more women franchisees, so he’s  taken it upon himself to make sure that more women start looking into franchise ownership as a viable option to traditional corporate employment. Joel’s just announced a contest specifically for women that are interested in pursuing franchise ownership –... Read more »


Microbrews and business plan competitions?

At Bplans, we’re proud of our home state of Oregon. We’re known in this part of the country for our casual way of life, great microbrew beers, and endless recreational opportunities. But there’s another way we’re unique, and that’s our abundance of business plan competitions and angel investment groups. Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto... Read more »


A small win for Bplans = huge win for small businesses

It was a close contest, but Bplans is happy to report that we won the Startup America Sign up Your Startup Master Challenge! Anita Campbell and the crew at Small Business Trends gave us a run for our money, and we want to thank all of them for joining us in this fun event. It’s... Read more »


Get in on the revolution in venture funding

The social web is drastically changing the way young companies get noticed, and getting noticed by the right person or network can mean investment, growth, and ultimately business success. If you’re not keeping up to date on innovative new ways to find funding for your business, including crowd sourcing and  Internet-based campaigns, you’re missing golden... Read more »


Join the Sign up Your Startup Challenge and get free tools to help your business succeed

Business is all about competition. If you’re not competing against other businesses for customers or market share, you’re competing against yourself, trying to beat previous revenue figures. To make it as a small business owner, you’ve got to have that competitive spirit. We’ve got the spirit here at Bplans. In fact, we’ve launched a fun... Read more »


Build Trust With Your Customers to Increase Web Sales

Security and trust-mark badges are important elements to display on your website. Lots of testing has been done on the subject and results have shown that badges are signposts that shoppers look for when deciding whether a particular online retailer is a safe place to make a purchase. At Palo Alto Software we wondered, how... Read more »

Get the Bplans newsletter:

Expert business tips and advice delivered weekly.