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This Week in Small Business — Leap Year Edition!

Last week, we looked at what your customers want (whether they know it or not). This week? We’ll be looking at what thrives in a down economy, why all your emails should be mobile, and why business cards just won’t die.

10 Wildly Successful Businesses Thriving Despite the Economy

What do video games, pawn shops, and liquor stores all have in common? Well, depending on your point of view, you might say they’re all great places to squander your income. But along with Google and Dropbox, they make up half a list of businesses thriving in our still-tenuous economy. It’s an eclectic mix, one which should be inspiring more than scary. Although, now that we think of it, “correctional facilities” are on the list, so maybe it’s a little scary.

How Business Cards Survive in the Age of LinkedIn

Speaking of surprising success stories, just how are business cards still around? And how much longer do they have? On the one hand, you’ve got companies like LinkedIn and Cardcloud that hope to take the business cards out of your wallet and put them online. On the other, you’ve got people like Evan Shapiro, president of the IFC channel who says “Those who predict the business card’s demise have lost touch with its prime function. It is not a simple information exchange, it is a profound expression of identity.” They can’t both be right, can they?

Yahoo Warns Facebook of a Potential Patent Fight

While Facebook is edging closer to its IPO, Yahoo is threatening Zuckerberg & Co. with patent litigation. Both companies are being pretty tight lipped about it for the time being, but you can bet the sums you’ll be hearing in the coming weeks will be astronomical. Documents will be drawn up. Negotiations will be had. But what you can take away from it? Make sure, make absolutely sure, that if you patent your inventions, be they digital or physical. The U.S. is a “first to file” system, which means even a day’s delay could really cost you.

Who Works for a Startup?

We know what you’re thinking: ping-pong tables, beer at noon, endless stock options, company names that sound like babytalk. But the reality of startups is much different than the outmoded stereotypes. For example, they’re more likely to be started by a35-44 year old former CEO than a fresh face twenty year old. There’s a ton of great information here, but we know our favorite thing about startups: 83% plan on hiring this year.

What Does the Growth of Mobile Email Mean for Your Business

First off, this is about the coolest infographic we’ve ever seen. But what what’s inside the infographic is why we’re linking it here. As more and more of us work from our phones and access our personal emails on the go, doesn’t it make sense that you cater your email strategies to the way we live our lives? Mobile isn’t going away. It’s best to learn how to take advantage of it’s growth rather than ignore it.

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