Monday, January 21, 2019

How to Navigate Gaslighting at Work

By Melody Wilding

The power games started subtly. Emily’s co-worker frequently withheld key information about their shared clients and projects. When confronted, her colleague asserted that he’d sent her the reports. But each time Emily double (and triple) checked her inbox, she came up empty.

Emily found herself constantly apologizing to upper management. She feared being perceived as disorganized. She felt as if she was going crazy. "You need to get it together," her colleague would say, followed by, “And get your emotions under control. You're making us all look bad.” When Emily pushed back, her colleague told her to stop being so sensitive. The denials, lies, and passive-aggressive manipulation mounted. Soon, Emily lost all confidence in herself.

Emily was experiencing gaslighting, a form of psychological abuse that causes a person to question their self-worth and sanity. The term comes from the 1930s play Gas Light. In it, a husband tries to steal his wife’s savings by having her committed to a psychiatric hospital. He convinces his wife she’s insane by flickering their gas lights, then denying anything is afoul. The wife soon doubts her perception of reality.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Why Data Is Key to Retail Success

By Krista Garcia
From eMarketer

According to a new study by Snowflake Computing and Harvard Business Review, companies that make data-driven decisions have the best chance for longevity. Yet across industries, they found that only 5% of retail and CPG enterprises qualify as data-driven, half of the survey average (10%).

This stands in opposition to stated goals. The retail industry had the highest number (89%) that placed great importance on getting better insights into customer needs and expectations. Faster decision-making was also a priority (79%) as well as improving process and cost efficiency (68%).

What is holding retailers back? The biggest challenge cited was human in nature; 44% said they lacked the digital and data analytic skills to transform. More than one-third cited internal resistance to change while 29% blamed legacy processes.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Performance reviews don't have to be awful

By Kate Ashford
from Monster

It’s the start of a new year—time to evaluate how you’re doing and set goals for the future. For many companies, it’s also performance review time. If the thought makes you want to hide in your coat closet, there’s good news: Evaluations don’t have to be painful.

You can structure the review process a variety of ways, but the key to making everything easier is to treat it like a rolling conversation. "Companies are moving away from an annual performance review, [going] to regular check-ins and ongoing feedback conversations throughout the year," says Todd Cherches, CEO and co-founder of executive coaching firm BigBlueGumball.

Above all, employees need to understand what you want from them. "Throughout the time that I’m working for you, I need to be totally aware of two things: the expectations and whether I’m meeting them," says Laura MacLeod, an HR expert and consultant with From The Inside Out Project, an employee-morale company.

Monday, January 14, 2019

These bad habits & traits will stop you from reaching your financial goals

Written by Marguerita Cheng

 Article from CNBC

While people start out with good intentions and set their sights on meeting various financial goals, many never achieve them and instead fail miserably.

 Here are nine bad habits that will hinder investors from reaching their financial success.

 Everyone wants to be successful, but only a few are ready to take meaningful action. These habits will help you discover what has been preventing you from achieving your financial goals.

Identify your limitations and formulate strategies to address them and it will be easier to establish a plan, practice self-discipline, make sound decisions, have security and maintain assertiveness.

Friday, January 11, 2019

New 20% tax deduction for small businesses that pass through income to owners

From the Internal Revenue Service

Section 199A of the Internal Revenue Code provides many taxpayers a deduction for qualified business income from a qualified trade or business operated directly or through a pass-through entity. The deduction has two components.

Eligible taxpayers may be entitled to a deduction of up to 20 percent of qualified business income (QBI) from a domestic business operated as a sole proprietorship or through a partnership, S corporation, trust or estate.

For taxpayers with taxable income that exceeds $315,000 for a married couple filing a joint return, or $157,500 for all other taxpayers, the deduction is subject to limitations such as the type of trade or business, the taxpayer’s taxable income, the amount of W-2 wages paid by the qualified trade or business and the unadjusted basis immediately after acquisition (UBIA) of qualified property held by the trade or business. Income earned through a C corporation or by providing services as an employee is not eligible for the deduction.

Eligible taxpayers may also be entitled to a deduction of up to 20 percent of their combined qualified real estate investment trust (REIT) dividends and qualified publicly traded partnership (PTP) income. This component of the section 199A deduction is not limited by W-2 wages or the UBIA of qualified property.

The sum of these two amounts is referred to as the combined qualified business income amount. Generally, this deduction is the lesser of the combined qualified business income amount and an amount equal to 20 percent of the taxable income minus the taxpayer’s net capital gain.

The deduction is available for taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017. Most eligible taxpayers will be able to claim it for the first time when they file their 2018 federal income tax return in 2019. The deduction is available, regardless of whether an individual itemizes their deductions on Schedule A or takes the standard deduction.

Q. Who may take the section 199A deduction?

A. Individuals, trusts and estates with qualified business income, qualified REIT dividends or qualified PTP income may qualify for the deduction. In some cases, patrons of horticultural or agricultural cooperatives may be required to reduce their deduction. The IRS will be issuing separate guidance for co-ops.

Q. What is qualified business income (QBI)?

A. QBI is the net amount of qualified items of income, gain, deduction and loss from any qualified trade or business. Only items included in taxable income are counted. In addition, the items must be effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business. Items such as capital gains and losses, certain dividends and interest income are excluded.

Q. What is a qualified trade or business?

A. A qualified trade or business is any trade or business, with two exceptions:

Specified service trade or business (SSTB), which includes a trade or business involving the performance of services in the fields of health, law, accounting, actuarial science, performing arts, consulting, athletics, financial services, investing and investment management, trading, dealing in certain assets or any trade or business where the principal asset is the reputation or skill of one or more of its employees. This exception only applies if a taxpayer’s taxable income exceeds $315,000 for a married couple filing a joint return, or $157,500 for all other taxpayers

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

What Amazon Really Means for Small Businesses

By Max Gulker
From the American Institute for Economic Research
Who doesn’t love small businesses? They embody two classic American archetypes: the little guy and the hard worker. People treat them less as individual businesses, and more as barometer of what they find good and fair in our market-driven economy. There are few more effective ways to drum up public support for or opposition to a policy than arguing that it’s good or bad for small business.

Lost in this narrative are the businesses themselves — a diverse array of individual actors rather than a monolithic symbol of economic virtue. Asking whether something is good or bad for small business limits our understanding of how firms and markets evolve.

Nothing better embodies the array of ways revolutionary technological change reverberates through the business landscape than the impact of internet retail giant Amazon on small businesses. Thinking carefully about that impact requires us to unpack the many kinds of firms we lump under the term “small business,” as well as the different functions Amazon serves in the market. Rather than a simple cause-and-effect story, we see a reshaping over time of what it means to be a small retailer.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Crafting the Right Content for Your Next Product Launch

Provided by Rae Steinbach

A strong product launch requires a strong marketing campaign. From ensuring you’re using a verified email list to developing dynamic imagery for your new product, you need to ensure you’ll be putting your best foot forward when your product launches. If you’re trying to generate buzz for a new product, you need to determine what type of content to focus on in your strategy.

Your two main options are evergreen content and one-off content. Neither one is “better” than the other for a product launch. To determine which is best for your needs, you need to first understand the unique benefits each type of content offers.

One-Off Content Builds Buzz

One-off content associates your new product with the season, a timely event, or anything else that’s immediately relevant to a potential customer. For example, if you were promoting a new app for purchasing concert tickets, your content might focus on an upcoming festival that would likely appeal to your customers. This strategy builds enthusiasm for your product.

That said, it’s not without its weaknesses. One-off content is only valuable for a short period of time. Once that festival is over, any blogs, social media posts, or videos relating to it will no longer be relevant.

Evergreen Content Offers Ongoing Value

Evergreen content is designed to remain as valuable to customers a year from now as it is today. For instance, if you’re launching a new kitchen product, a listicle showing off simple recipes someone could make with it will stay relevant for a long period of time. Evergreen content is also easier to backlink to than one-off content. Link building is an important element of an SEO strategy.

Unfortunately, evergreen content isn’t very effective at generating buzz for a new product. That’s not to say you should definitely focus on one-off content when planning a campaign. Keeping certain factors in mind makes choosing between the two easier.

How to Decide Which is Right

The best content marketing strategy for your product launch will essentially depend on your capabilities and goals. Specifically, you need to assess the following:

*The Work Involved - You need to work hard and efficiently to design and implement a relevant one-off campaign. That said, the amount of work available for your team will reduce substantially in a short period of time. This might be a better task for freelancers who won’t need additional tasks once the project is over. Evergreen campaigns, on the other hand, involve sustained work, which may require a dedicated marketing team.

*Financial Matters - You’re more likely to generate high sales in the early months following your product launch with one-off content. The problem is, sales will drop off in a big way in the near future. Evergreen content won’t yield as many sales in the early months, but will likely yield more overall sales in the long run. Consider the nature of your product when deciding which to include in your campaign. If you can’t honestly say your product will stay useful for a long period of time (this is common in consumer tech, for example), one-off content might be the better choice.

*Driving Momentum - One-off content is more effective than evergreen content at creating a sense of urgency for customers. This feeling has been shown to boost sales. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t identify ways to use urgency in your evergreen content. Promoting special deals and reminding customers they won’t last forever is still possible in a blog or email that’s otherwise evergreen.

Clearly, there are compelling reasons to choose either type of content. These points will help you make the right choice for your goals. Keep them in mind the next time you’re planning a product launch.
"Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course."

Twitter handle: @araesininthesun

Links do not constitute NY SBDC endorsements

Friday, January 04, 2019

Have Attitudes About Online Sales Tax Changed?

Written by Krista Garcia

Article from eMarketer

In June 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that states could impose a sales tax on ecommerce goods, even if a retailer had no physical presence in a state. The South Dakota v. Wayfair case reversed an online retail practice that had been accepted as law since 1992.

 Over the past few months, more than half of states in the US have enacted an online sales tax or will do so in 2019.

 Local governments viewed online sales tax as a boon, brick-and-mortar retailers considered it leveling the playing field, while online retailers—many which already paid sales tax—predicted it would be detrimental.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

How to Find a Franchise That Fits

Written by FranchiseKing, Joel Libava

 Article from SBA

If you’re considering becoming the owner of a franchise business, it’s important to make sure you’re looking into franchises that are the right fit.

 But finding the right franchise opportunity for you is only part of the picture.

 Finding a Fit:

 Finding, researching, and potentially purchasing a franchise is a step-by-step process. One of those steps is conducting a self-assessment. This involves compiling a list of what you consider to be your top professional strengths and skills.

 Once you’ve done that, set it aside. You’ll want to refer back to it as you find franchise opportunities that interest you. The goal is to determine if your top skills and strengths can be used in an ownership role.

 Immediate Fit vs. Long-Term Fit:

 When it comes to finding the right fit, you need to look at short-term and long-term fit. Short-term fit involves matching your strengths and skills to a specific franchise opportunity. Once you find a franchise that’s a fit for your skills, it becomes one of your major reasons for signing on the dotted line.

 Conversely, long-term fit has to do with the things that you want franchise ownership to do for you, and how they’ll be a fit for the life you want to have.

 What Do You Want?

Here’s a list of things that clients told me they’ve wanted franchise ownership to provide them with, long-term.

 1. A better lifestyle Many clients have had jobs that required a lot of travel, which caused them to miss weekday family-oriented activities. Their jobs weren’t a good fit for what they felt were the important things in life — like being there for their children’s activities. That’s one of the reasons owning a business was appealing to them.

They felt that if they owned a business, they would have much more control over their schedules. If you want more control over your hours, make sure you choose a franchise that will eventually allow you to have the type of flexibility you want.

2. Equity Most of the people I work with don’t mind working hard. It’s just that they want to have something to show for it when it’s all said and done. While it’s true that most companies have retirement plans, and you could have a decent amount of money saved by the time you retire, it’s not the same as having equity.

 But if you own a successful franchise business, you’ll be able to sell that business for a profit. That money, combined with your retirement savings, could turn out to be a great fit for the kind of life you’ve always wanted to have — one with no financial worries.

 3. Philosophy Several clients have told me that they’re tired of working for companies that haven’t been a good fit for them, philosophically. I’ve actually experienced this myself. It can be draining to work for someone who looks at the world, and business, in a totally different way than you do. One solution: buy a franchise that fits your philosophy.

 There are more than 3,000 different franchise concepts. Odds are pretty good that there’s a franchise opportunity available that fits how you feel a business should run. But you have to be willing to put in the time and effort to find it.

 Remember that franchise fit involves two things:

 Matching yourself to a franchise that fits what you’re good at

 Making sure the franchise fits what you want, long-term

Monday, December 31, 2018

The State of Blogging: Post Length, Publishing Frequency Trends

Written by Ayaz Nanji
From MarketingProfs

Bloggers are writing longer posts and spending more time crafting pieces than in years past, according to recent research from Orbit Media.

Some 46% of bloggers say the blog posts they write are typically between 500 and 1,000 words long.

The proportion of bloggers who typically write posts under 500 words has steadily declined since 2014, while the proportion of bloggers who typically write posts longer than 1,000 words has steadily increased.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Mobile Payment Trends to Watch for in 2019

By Rahul Chadha
From eMarketer

Mobile payments have been thought to be on the cusp of widespread adoption for several years now. But most US consumers have responded to the technology with a noncommittal shrug.

Proximity mobile payments—those used at the point of sale—haven’t quite taken off the way that payment platforms hoped they would. On paper, the idea of a consumer whipping out a smartphone, tapping it against a payment terminal and going on their merry way seems like a no-brainer. The reality has been a bit different.

There are a handful of solid reasons for the case against dramatic proximity mobile payment growth. But one key way that consumers can become familiar with contactless payments is via public transit. Several major metropolitan areas in the US—including New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia—have either announced plans to install contactless payments at mass transit stations, or have already rolled them out.

Monday, December 24, 2018

7 sneaky ways restaurants get you to spend more

Written by Kendall Little for Bankrate

We’ve all been there: You go out to dinner with a set budget, having already decided what to order and set aside the perfect amount for a tip. Then, your bill comes at the end of the night and you’ve somehow spent way beyond your limit.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. There’s science behind persuading you to spend more. You can scope out the city’s best happy hour deal, take advantage of online coupons and even save on your first round of drinks at home, but restaurateurs and menu engineers have nearly perfected the psychology of making you spend money during a night out.

Here are some common tactics restaurants use to get patrons to fork over more cash.

Friday, December 21, 2018

SBA Proposes Significant Changes to Its SB Regs

By Samuel S. Finnerty

From Piliero Mazza

On December 4, 2018, the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) issued a proposed rule (“Rule”) to implement several provisions of the National Defense Authorization Acts (“NDAA”) of 2016 and 2017 and the Recovery Improvements for Small Entities After Disaster Act of 2015 (“RISE Act”), as well as other clarifying amendments. The Rule will likely garner a lot of attention in the coming weeks, as it proposes a number of sweeping amendments that could have a significant impact on small business government contracting.

Indeed, the proposed revisions address key small business issues such as subcontracting plans, the non-manufacturer rule (“NMR”), Information Technology Value Added Reseller (“ITVAR”) procurements, limitations on subcontracting (“LOS”), recertification, size determinations, and the ostensible subcontractor rule. Below, we summarize some of the more notable amendments that will impact small business procurement.

Consistent with the 2017 NDAA, the Rule states that it shall be a material breach of contract when a contractor or subcontractor fails to comply in good faith with its subcontracting plan requirements, including failing to provide reports and/or cooperate in studies or surveys to determine the extent of compliance.

The Rule provides a number of examples of what constitutes a failure to make “good faith” efforts, including, among others, (1) failing to timely submit subcontracting reports and (2) failing to pay small business subcontractors in accordance with the terms of the contract. The Rule also provides that failure to make a good faith effort may be considered in any past performance evaluation of the contractor.

SBA is proposing to implement certain provisions of the RISE Act to establish contracting preferences for small business concerns (“SBC”) located in disaster areas and to provide agencies with double credit for awards to such concerns. Under the Rule, SBA would use the existing FAR definitions to provide that an agency will receive credit for an “emergency response contract” awarded to a “local firm” that qualifies as an SBC under the applicable size standard for a “major disaster or emergency area.”

According to the Rule, a concern is “located in a disaster area,” if, during the last twelve months, it had its main operating office in the area and that office generated at least half of the firm’s gross revenues and employed at least half of the firm’s permanent employees. The Rule provides a number of factors that SBA will consider if the firm does not meet the foregoing criteria in order to determine whether the firm resides or primarily does business in a disaster area.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Providing Big Business Customer Service as a Startup

Written by Jamie Lowary

 Article from Outpost

You’re a founder or co-founder of a startup. You don’t just wear many hats, you wear them all—you’re customer support, IT, marketing, sales, sometimes even the building maintenance guy or gal when the fridge starts smelling funky.

 Not only are you pulled in eight different directions, you entered into a competitive market and you’re challenged with finding a way to stand out among the noise.

You have limited resources whether it be time, employees, or budget and are feeling unproductive by switching gears all day long.

 Providing great customer service and a positive overall customer experience is one competitive advantage that could separate you from the masses. And, guess what? You don’t need a massive budget or unlimited resources to accomplish it.

Monday, December 17, 2018

5 Key Ingredients in Creating a Small Business Website

Written by Marco Carbajo

 Article from SBA

A website is an essential element for running a successful business. A business without a website can potentially lose out on great opportunities since potential customers can’t reach you, find you and learn about you online.

Creating a small business website can lead to many different ways to market your business and help it grow much faster than relying on traditional marketing methods alone. If you’re looking for a way to reach more customers, or people to influence, the internet is where your business needs to be.

 With over 78% of adult Americans using the Internet and a remarkable 2.2 billion people online worldwide, it’s no surprise that small businesses with websites experience an average of 39% greater revenue per year than those without websites, according to the Small Business Administration.

 Not only does having a small business website establish credibility with consumers; it also is the first face of your company that lenders will see. It’s an important first step to complete prior to applying for credit and opening a business credit file.

 For starters here are five key ingredients in creating a small business website that are essential.

 1) Home Page – The home page is the very first thing that a website visitor will see. Make the first impression count by having a clean, well laid out, and easy to read home page. Be sure to have a navigation menu so visitors can reach other pages of your site with ease.

 Place your logo at the top of the home page and have a headline and content that enables your visitors to quickly understand what your business has to offer. Also, make a place to display any social proof such as testimonials, trust seals, awards, number of satisfied customers, stats, media appearances, reviews, etc.

 2) Products/Services Page – Create a page that highlights all of your products or services. Next, create a separate page for each product or service that provides greater details, features, benefits, testimonials, costs, terms and conditions and purchase instructions.

 At the very least you should provide a short summary of the products or services you offer along with links to other pages on your site that provide more information.

 3) About Us Page – This page tells visitors who you are, when your company was founded and what your mission is. Describe what separates you apart from other businesses in your industry. Remember, facts tell but stories sell so share your story and what led you to starting your business.

In addition to your About Us page be sure to include all the ways to connect with you on social media channels. This provides you another way to connect with your visitors and build trust and a relationship with them.

4) Privacy Policy Page – Your privacy policy page is a statement that discloses the ways your website gathers, uses, discloses, and manages a customer’s data. Many state and federal laws require a website privacy statement so be sure to create one.

5) Contact Us Page – This page is crucial since it provides your visitors a way to get in contact with you. At the end of the day, if you want to generate business from your website, make it easy for visitors to contact you.

At the very least, your contact us page should have an online submission form, your company phone number and an email address that is clearly visible. If your visitor completes the online form be sure to redirect the page to a thank-you page that explains when and how you’ll be contacting them.

 Creating a small business website is a must-have for any business whether you are a brick and mortar operation or home-based business. It’s a digital business card that provides online searchers the ability to find your business, learn about your business, and connect with your business at the click of a button.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Is Your Business Prepared for an Emergency?

Article from

Businesses and their staff face a variety of hazards:

 Natural hazards like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.

Health hazards such as widespread and serious illnesses like the flu.

 Human-caused hazards including accidents and acts of violence.

 Technology-related hazards like power outages and equipment failure.

 There is much that a business leader can do to prepare his or her organization for the most likely hazards.

 The Ready Business program helps business leaders make a preparedness plan to get ready for these hazards. The Ready Business Toolkit series includes hazard-specific versions for earthquake, hurricane, inland flooding, power outage, and severe wind/tornado. Toolkits offer business leaders a step-by-step guide to build preparedness within an organization. Each toolkit contains the following sections:

 Identify Your Risk

 Develop A Plan

 Take Action

 Be Recognized and Inspire Others

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

7 Benefits of Manufacturing in the United States

Written by Jill Worth

 Article from The Rodon Group

When looking for a manufacturer that will provide you with quality, savings, and a quick turnaround, it’s essential to consider the location of your facility.

While many companies are moving overseas in search of cheaper production and labor costs, it often pays to keep your company based right here in the United States.

 In fact, there are numerous benefits to choosing a manufacturer based in the United States over those found abroad––, especially in the long run. Below, we discuss seven of the main advantages.

 Choosing U.S.-based manufacturing means creating jobs here at home for Americans. Many customers value companies that are rooted in their communities and employ their neighbors and friends, and therefore will choose those products over your competitors for that very reason.

 By keeping your manufacturing in the United States, you can be sure that you’re supporting the local and national economy and helping American families thrive financially, which in turn further stimulates the economy at all levels.

Manufacturing currently provides some of the highest wages in the country for industrial workers. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, industries that specialize in producing goods paid an average salary of $56,799 per year—more than $10,000 above other popular working-class sectors such as healthcare or teaching.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Updated SBA Loan Chart

Written by Bob Coleman

 Article from Coleman Report

SBA has compiled a very good chart summarizing all of its loan programs with updated fees as of October 1.You may download it here.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Here are your new income tax brackets for 2019

Written by Darla Mercado

 Article from CNBC

The IRS has tweaked income tax brackets for the new year, adjusting them for inflation.

 Next year’s standard deduction will be $12,200 for singles and $24,400 for married couples who file jointly. Personal exemptions will remain at zero.

 There will be no penalty for failure to maintain minimum essential health coverage in 2019. This year, the penalty was $695.