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Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer, Facebook, USA.
Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer, Facebook, USA.

Small Business Briefing

Facebook offers free ads to draw customers Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz

Facebook wants your money

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, is gunning for small business, USA Today reports.

"My dream is really simple," Sandberg, 42, told the media organization while seated near a framed graffiti rendering of co-founder Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook's headquarters. "I think every small business should … be using Facebook. We're not going to stop until all of them are using it to grow their business."

The company is planning to offer free $50 advertising credits for up to 200,000 small businesses. When a user clicks on an ad, there will be a set rate for the click-through that the advertiser has to pay. Facebook would pick up the tab for the first $50 under the terms of the offer.

"For $50," Ms. Sandberg claims, "most small businesses can target every single person they need to target at least once, and then they can grow their business from there."

The strategy is no surprise, given Ms. Sandberg's background. The former vice-president of global online sales and operations at Google helped build that company's advertising business, which is anchored by the popular Ad Words.

Ms. Sandberg estimates that the United States alone has about 30 million small businesses, nine million of which are already using Facebook as a marketing tool, while "hundreds of thousands" are spending money on ad campaigns as well.

She says Facebook has a leg up on Google because companies won't have to build a website, they simply need to create a Facebook page, a task that only takes a few minutes. Google, however, has its Get Your Business Online program, which allows companies to easily design and launch websites at no cost.

While the two giants will have another battle on their hands, it's a win-win for the small-business community.

Australians skip out on payments

Debt collection companies in Australia are reporting that consumers are deliberately avoiding debt payments to smaller businesses as they prioritize certain bills over others. Prushka Fast Debt Recovery, the country's biggest private debt-collection company, told ninemsn.com it experienced a 9-per-cent drop in collections in August compared with a year earlier for its small to- medium-sized business clients. Prushka has 43,000 clients, including sole traders, tradespeople and companies that hire it to chase debt repayments between $50 and $2,000. "It's not big bickies but to small business every dollar counts," chief executive Roger Mendelson said. Household disposable income in Australia has hit a three-year low and people are saving more, despite offers of heavy discounts from struggling retailers and other businesses.

PEI leaders want improved access to capital

Four of the five PEI political leaders debated improving access to capital for small business at a chamber of commerce breakfast this week, according to CBC. Island Party Leader Billy Cann was invited but he did not make an appearance. Progressive Conservative Leader Olive Crane said the government must increase access to loans and reduce red tape. NDP Leader James Rodd agreed, calling red tape a significant problem. Liberal Leader Robert Ghiz noted his government had significantly reduced taxes for small business, dropping them to 1.0 per cent from 4.3 per cent, and that the move has fostered growth. He said access to capital has to improve, and suggested it could be done through Innovation PEI. Green Leader Sharon Labchuk took a different approach: She said the province needs a new brand, Organic PEI. The spinoff from going organic, she explained, would benefit all businesses.


Learn to write a winning proposal

Keith Parker, founder and managing director of The Proposal Centre, will walk attendees along the path to proposal success at the Entrepreneurship Centre in Ottawa on Sept. 19, from noon to 1 p.m. Mr. Parker will share tips and techniques that make proposal writing bearable, if not fun, and most importantly, consistently strong. From how to make the bid/no-bid decision, to tips and techniques on how to respond to government requests for proposals (RFPs), the areas covered will be applicable to proposals primarily in the public and not-for-profit sectors. Mr. Parker is a seasoned proposal manager and certified project management professional with more than nine years of dedicated experience in all aspects of proposal preparation and solution design.

Acadia Centre helps aspiring entrepreneurs

The Acadia Centre for Social and Business Entrepreneurship hosts So You Want to Start a Business, on Sept. 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you’ve ever thought about launching a company, the centre says this is a great place to start. Designed for aspiring entrepreneurs, the workshop examines all necessary steps in an easy-to-follow and interactive format. Call 1-902-858-5627 for more information or to register for the workshop, which takes place in Hubbards Cove, N.S., at the ACSBE Job Depot, 10361 St. Margarets Bay Rd.


Ambulance maker hits expansion bumps

Within days of moving into a new facility in the summer of 2003, Terry Malley, president and owner of Dieppe, N.B.-based Malley Industries Inc., a maker of specialty vehicles and custom components, realized that the company would soon grow out of the new space. It took five more years before he began to explore a new site for the company, but timing is everything, and Malley had to overcome a few challenges before it could make a move. Nauman Farooqi, a professor and head of the department of commerce in the Ron Joyce Centre for Business Studies of Mount Allison University, examines the issues and the solutions.


How to build a website

You’ve decided to build a website for your business. It’s a smart move: All companies, big and small, benefit from an Internet presence, but a significant number of small businesses across Canada either lack a website, or they have no strategy for their online properties. In this four-part, weekly series we took readers through the initial planning and setup phase, to launch and maintenance. Here's part one, with links on the page to subsequent stories.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at yourbusiness@globeandmail.com

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