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Hungarian sculptor Erno Toth holds up a wax model of the face of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs for a new bronze statue of Jobs in Budapest November 18, 2011. (LASZLO BALOGH/REUTERS)
Hungarian sculptor Erno Toth holds up a wax model of the face of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs for a new bronze statue of Jobs in Budapest November 18, 2011. (LASZLO BALOGH/REUTERS)

Small Business Briefing

CEOs see themselves as ‘creative builders’ Add to ...

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Portraits of leadership

Inc. has released the results of its 2012 survey of 500 CEOs.

The entrepreneurs were asked about how they run their companies and how they manage their private lives, and they weighed in with their thoughts on the U.S. economy, government, leadership and fundraising.

No. 1 on the list was Oleg Firer of Unified Payments, which was founded in 2007, when Mr. Firer was 29. The company processes $10 billion (U.S.) worth of transactions for 100,000 merchants a year. He spoke to Darren Dahl about his life and business dealings. “We make money no matter what the economy is doing,” he says. Which is a nice position to be in.

To choose the top 500, Inc. measured revenue growth from 2008 through 2011. “To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2008. Additionally, they had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent — not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies — as of December 31, 2011.”

In a quiz, more than half self-identified as “creative builders,” prompting Inc. to pop up the amusing heading: “They lead like Steve Jobs.”

Sharapova’s sweet new venture

Professional tennis player Maria Sharapova has launched her own candy brand, Sugarpova, which features names such as Sporty, Cheeky and Flirty. “I’ve learned so much from different brands, whether it’s advertising or marketing,” Ms. Sharapova said in an interview with Bloomberg this week in New York. “Their knowledge kind of came together in my brain and it was that inspiration that led me here.” You can learn more about the company in this video.

Find those Snooki fans. Cheap

Saif Ajani, the founder of Toronto-based Visibli, told GigaOm this week that online services such as bit.ly highlight shared links, and others like Radian6 can analyze and monitor social media conversations, but there’s a need to pull the information together to guide advertising decisions. The company’s new division, Sling Digital, comes up with cost-effective keywords for businesses to buy that will enable them to find an audience at a much lower price than if they were to buy traditional (read: expensive) keywords. In one entertaining example, the story points out that MTV has been testing out the tool and found it was able to advertise to Snooki fans at a lower cost.


Turn your entertainment idea into reality

New from the Canadian Film Centre Media Lab: ideaBOOST. Canadian digital media hopefuls will compete for the chance to turn their “engaged entertainment idea” into reality if they are selected. The highest rated ideas will be shortlisted and chosen contestants will spend four months working with industry-leading mentors to define their business model and develop a commercialization path. Canadians are encouraged to take an active role in the process by selecting their favourite submissions.

Ottawa awards for immigrant business owners

The new Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards celebrate the contributions of immigrant business people and are designed to inspire and encourage other immigrants in the city to consider starting or operating companies. They will be presented on Oct. 1. Nominations can be submitted by e-mail to entrepreneur@ottawa.ca no later than Sept. 14. Submissions should include the nominee’s contact information, their year of immigration to Canada, their current number of employees, a description of their business products or services, and a concise summary of no more than 500 words of the entrepreneur’s contribution to business development and the local economy. Two references should also be named, with contact information provided, who can corroborate the claims of the nominee.


Workaholic needed to take her life back

Frances Weldon, co-owner of Cattail Ridge Family Market, was set to celebrate four years of running her entrepreneurial venture. However, what had begun as an exciting entrepreneurial venture for the husband and wife team did not turn out the way she expected. The only way to continue was to figure out what had gone wrong and fix the problem.


The productivity tool box

What are the tricks to being ultra-productive? How can each working day be as fruitful and as prolific as possible? Here are a few tips from the Mark Evans productivity "tool box."

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