1. Featured Articles

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    1. SBA administrator takes heat from Democrats and Republicans in Congress

      SBA administrator takes heat from Democrats and Republicans in Congress

      Maria Contreras-Sweet was well-received by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle when she was tapped as the new head of the Small Business Administration earlier this year. During her confirmation hearing, Republicans and Democrats in Congress expressed enthusiasm about her appointment and lauded the vision she outlined for the agency. That was seven months ago. On Wednesday, her reception on the Hill wasn€™t so warm.

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    2. How tales of small-business credit difficulties inspired a business

      How tales of small-business credit difficulties inspired a business

      Did you ever see a storefront change hands to a parade of restaurants while a nearby shop thrived? Sebastian Villarreal says local customers often know why. He co-founded LendSquare USA Inc. to tap that collective knowledge and help customers and neighbors crowd-fund loans to small businesses. CEO Villarreal says the company launched in February and has received $6 million in funding requests from entrepreneurs nationwide, even though his platform currently remains available only to Chicago businesses. Of the loan campaigns put on the site, he said, 65 percent have been funded. He explains what he has learned.

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      Mentions: Chicago
    3. Salesforce starts $100 M venture fund for ‘Internet of Customers’ technology

      Salesforce starts $100 M venture fund for ‘Internet of Customers’ technology

      Cloud computing giant Salesforce has set aside $100 million to invest in start-ups building technology for mobile devices. Salesforce Ventures, the company'€™s investment arm, on Monday announced it had created the new fund to support companies that use Salesforceâ€'s application development platform, Salesforce1.

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      Mentions: Salesforce
    4. How is the economy looking for your business as we enter the last trimester of 2014?

      How is the economy looking for your business as we enter the last trimester of 2014?
      The Question: How is the economy looking for your business as we enter the last trimester of 2014?

      36% - This year has been great and we plan to finish strong. 29% - This hasn’t been a great year, but it looks like we’ll finish strong 14% -  We started out well, but the rest of the year doesn’t look so good. 21% - We’re not going to have a good year, first half or last half.

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    5. September 2014 Report: Small Business Optimism Bumps Up Again

      September 2014 Report: Small Business Optimism Bumps Up Again

      August’s Optimism Index rose 0.4 points to 96.1 making it the second highest reading since October, 2007. The four “hard” measures (job creation plans, job openings, capital spending plans and inventory investment plans) were collectively unchanged, and the other 6 components added to the Index a bit to produce a modest gain.

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    6. Hipster analytics: The 5 best tools you’ve probably never heard of

      Hipster analytics: The 5 best tools you’ve probably never heard of

      It’s nearly impossible to keep up with a wave of new marketing and analytics tools that have flooded the market in the past year. But my company, Segment, tries to test them all. We’ve found a few gems that are super useful but still fly under the radar. So if you want in on the underground analytics market, hop off your ‘fixie’, don your Warby Parkers, and grab a snobby coffee. It’s time for a lesson in hipster analytics; the best tools before they break.

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    7. What's wrong with your website?

      What's wrong with your website?

      Or your Facebook page or your tweets?

      Not much.

      In real life, it's not unusual for one in four people who walk into your store to buy from you. Not unusual for every friend you call on the phone to have an actual conversation with you. Not surprising that most people you ask on a date say yes, or at least politely decline.

      In direct mail, you're doing well if only 99 people out of a hundred say no. Not 25%, but 1% success.

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