By Rieva Lesonsky

1. Meetings are one of the biggest time sucks business owners face. But I just interviewed an entrepreneur who has come up with a great solution. Jason Shah created when, for the short time he was a corporate employee, he found himself feeling “disengaged, unproductive and frustrated” sitting in meetings. (We’ve all been there, right?) He figured this “was a problem that didn’t need to exist” so he created Do, which works through Google Apps (an Outlook integration will be available at years’ end) to give users a platform to get everyone in the meeting informed and on task.

After you create a meeting, you can add an agenda, which all meeting participants can access and comment on. You can take notes (public and private), make comments (in real time) and share file items or URLs. There’s also a dashboard that shows you all your calendar meetings for the next few days. After signing up (it’s free) you get an email every morning showing you any appointments you have for the day.

Once the meeting is over, all participants have a permanent record of what went on and what they need to follow up on.

Try Do. I think you’ll come up with additional tasks Do can handle for you.

2. Underscoring Shah’s point and showing Americans can’t resist a sale—one of the findings in The State of Online Shopping: 2014 Survey from Clustrix, an ecommerce database company, says nearly 70 percent of consumers would either shop online during a meeting, or actually leave the meeting to shop a “limited-time offer”. Other findings of note:

  • 81 percent of consumers subscribe to flash-sale websites (like Gilt Groupe and Joss & Main)
  • Almost 75 percent plan to shop on Cyber Monday
  • Nearly 50 percent shop online in the morning
  • 40 percent shop online every day

3. MBO Partners has released its 4th annual State of Independence in America workforce study. According to the report almost 18 million Americans are “solopreneurs” operating their businesses full-time, and another 12.1 million “work independently” part-time to augment their income. This independent workforce is expected to grow to nearly 40 million by 2019. Solopreneurs generated total revenues of more than $1.1 trillion in the past year.

4. Want to launch a kids’ line? (It’s a market with huge potential.) Read how one Brooklyn mom did it.

5. Should you follow Costco’s lead and start a sampling program? Handing out pizza samples gave Costco’s pizza sales a 600 percent boost!

6. Today’s new startup mantra: Fail fast and learn.

7. Speaking of startups—What fuels success? A Drive to win or fear of failure?

8. If you love bacon, you’ll want to check out this fascinating article from Businessweek that tells how bacon went from being “almost doomed” in the 1970s to a $4 billion business today.

9. Business owners’ economic optimism has reached its highest point in three years, according to new research from the Principal Financial Group. The Principal Financial Well-Being Index: Business Owners, says 40 percent of American business owners feel optimistic about 2015’s economic outlook.

10. Need more rest? (What entrepreneur doesn’t?) Here are some easy ways to improve your sleep.

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at, follow her on Google+   and