Saturday, December 20, 2014

Office of Advocacy Releases Small Business Lending Report

The Office of Advocacy has released its annual report on small business lending. Small Business Lending in the United States, 2013 describes trends in the small business lending market in general. It also provides data on more than 6,000 U.S. lenders, showing the emphasis on small business lending in their portfolios.
The report covers the time period June 2012 to June 2013 using Call Report data from the FDIC, and supplements this with Community Reinvestment Act data from 2012. During this period, small business lending improved, but at a slower pace than large business lending. Soon afterward, small business lending entered positive territory. A data update is provided to cover these trends, extending into the first quarter of 2014.
The report and research summary are available on Advocacy’s webpage, at

Friday, December 19, 2014

All the Statistics You Never Knew You Needed

Have you ever wondered what the average sales price of an item at a garage sale is?  Or maybe what percentage of homes have a a security system?  Maybe you have been looking for statistics on Angel Invsestors?  Well, this is the site for you!!!!

According to Statistic Brain, they are group of passionate numbers people, who love numbers, their purity, and what they represent.  Statistic brain compiles the data but is clear that they do not analyze the data.  Here is a look at their most popular searches, or go to Statistic Brain to search for statistics about what matters to you and your business.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Average annual expenditures on gifts of goods and services in 2013

In 2013, gifts of goods and services accounted for 2 percent of total consumer spending. Among these gifts, consumers spent the largest share on education (25 percent). Most education gifts were for college tuition.

Nineteen percent of gift spending was for housing-related items in 2013. Among housing-related items, the largest share was for housing while attending school.

Eighteen percent of gift spending went toward apparel and services. Consumers spent 7 percent on apparel and services for women and girls age 2 and older, compared with 5 percent for men and boys age 2 and older.

These data come from the Consumer Expenditure Survey.

More from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New York makes decision on fracking

The Cuomo administration announced Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State, ending years of uncertainty by concluding that the controversial method of extracting oil from deep underground could contaminate the state’s air and water and pose inestimable public-health risks.

“I cannot support high volume hydraulic fracturing in the great state of New York,” said Howard Zucker, the acting commissioner of health.
That conclusion was delivered publicly during a year-end cabinet meeting called by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in Albany. It came amid increased calls by environmentalists to ban fracking, which uses water and chemicals to release natural gas trapped in deeply buried shale deposits.

The state has had a de facto ban on the procedure for more than five years, predating Mr. Cuomo’s first term. The decision also came as oil and gas prices continued to fall in many places around the country, in part because of surging American oil production, as fracking boosted output.

READ MORE from the New York Times

READ the related Albany Business Review story

Cybersecurity for Small Businesses

Learn how to protect your business information online. This self-paced training covers the importance of securing information, the kind of information to secure, types of cyber threats and tips for guarding against online hackers and breaches.

Take the 30-minute course from the Small Business Administration HERE.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How to Use Internet Memes to Market Your Content, Your Products, and Your Brand

The Internet has gone visual. With the world moving at the speed of a tweet, getting your message out there can be tough—especially if you're only using words.

Studies show that our brains are more efficient at processing images than words. Some 75% of Americans have used emoji to communicate to others. Virtual corkboard site Pinterest has 53 million unique monthly users. Even Facebook is leaning hard into the image game, as evidenced by its recent $1 billion acquisition of Instagram, which has 300 million users itself.

Images overlaid with text—often called Internet memes—are a popular way for brands to reach their audiences. Ride that popularity wave by creating your own marketing images for distribution. As your followers and fans share the images, your products, your logo, and your brand spread to people you may not have reached otherwise.

Read more from Marketing Profs

Monday, December 15, 2014

Everything You Need to Know (Taxwise) About Year-End Bonuses

If your business can afford it and you want to reward employees, year-end cash bonuses may be the way to go. In providing this additional compensation, understand what it means from a tax perspective.

Bonuses are treated like other pay

They are subject to income tax withholding, FICA, and FUTA taxes in the same manner as regular pay. In figuring the cost of a bonus to you, factor in employment taxes. For example, if an employee earning $65,000 is given a $5,000 year-end bonus, the cost of that bonus to you is $5,382.50 ($5,000 + $382.50 employer share of FICA tax).

When withholding income taxes on the bonus (called “supplemental pay” by the IRS), there are several options.

More from the Small Business Administration

Friday, December 12, 2014

Does a College Degree Have Value for Entrepreneurs?

Daniel Fine is the founder and chief executive of Glass-U, a two-year-old, 10-employee maker of foldable sunglasses bearing the licensed brands of universities, music festivals like Lollapalooza, and the World Cup soccer tournament last summer. He arranges for the manufacture of the glasses in China and their distribution around the country. He’s also a senior in college.

Mr. Fine financed Glass-U, which operates out of off-campus housing, in part with proceeds from a tutoring company, NexTutors, that he started right after high school. He has also founded Fine Prints, a custom apparel company he started during high school, and Dosed, a health care technology company that is working on a smartphone app to help diabetics.

In a recent conversation that has been condensed and edited, Mr. Fine, who is 21 and attends the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, talked about how he got started in entrepreneurship and why he decided not to complete his application for a Thiel Fellowship, which rewards students who leave school to start companies.

More from the New York Times.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Why Millennials Engage With Brands on Social Media

Some 84% of Millennials say they like companies on Facebook as a way to show their support for the brand, according to recent research conducted by Nora Ganim Barnes, PhD, and Ava Lescault, MBA, at The Center for Marketing Research, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

Other common reasons for liking brands on Facebook include wanting to receive updates (83% of respondents) and a desire to get coupons/discounts (66%).

Read more from MarketingProfs

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wages of retail salespersons, by state; explore employment and wage data for more than 800 occupations

In May 2013, almost 4.5 million people in the United States were employed as retail salespersons. Nationally, retail salespersons earned an annual mean wage of $25,370. The annual median wage for retail salespersons was $21,140. Among the states, retail salespersons in Washington had the highest annual mean wage of $28,920. Alaska had the highest annual median wage for retail salespersons, at $24,030.

On average, retail salespersons in West Virginia earned the least in May 2013, at $22,920. The median wage for retail salespersons in West Virginia was $19,450.

These data come from the Occupational Employment Statistics program. For maps exploring employment and wage data for more than 800 occupations, see the OES interactive map changer tool. A percentile wage divides the workers in an occupation into two groups: those earning less, and those earning more. For example, a 10th percentile wage indicates that 10 percent of workers earn less than the stated amount, and 90 percent earn more.

More from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Content Marketing: The Leftovers Trick

In the wake of Thanksgiving, no doubt we all lived on leftovers. I, for one, could lunch on turkey sandwiches and snack on pumpkin pie slivers for weeks...

Few meals take as long to prepare as Thanksgiving dinner, so it's a good thing all that food doesn't go to waste. And it struck me this Thanksgiving that marketers could take a lesson from turkey gumbo—what I call the "leftover trick":

After you put all that work into creating that whitepaper, for example, think about what else you can make out of the asset.
Can your marketing team make a meal out of that webinar on social media?
How many weeks of "content slivers" could you eke out of a new survey?
Here are five simple ideas to get you started, all of them so easy you can even do them in a somnolent state induced by too much tryptophan in your system:

Read more from MarketingProfs

Monday, December 08, 2014

The Employment Situation – November 2014

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers), at 6.9 million, changed little in November. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

In November, 2.1 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They
were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 698,000 discouraged workers in November, little different from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.4
million persons marginally attached to the labor force in November had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

More from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Student Debt Among Young Entrepreneurs

The Office of Advocacy has released an informative fact sheet entitled "Student Debt Among Young Entrepreneurs." This publication examines how student debt is affecting self-employment trends among younger individuals. The report finds that student debt is rising and is having a negative effect on the rate of self-employment. It also looks at other characteristics of individuals with student debt.

Find the full fact sheet here.

Friday, December 05, 2014

New Year’s Predictions: 6 Trends That Will Impact Small Businesses in 2015

What does the New Year have in store for small business owners? We asked a few pundits to predict the trends that may affect your small business in 2015.

Small Business Impact: “Being a company that ‘does good’ for its employees, customers and community is a smart and effective focal point, I think that in this era of social media, a company that is solely a bottom-line entity will lose good employees, good customers and goodwill. While some of the ‘too big to fail’ companies may withstand this type of negative public opinion for some time, small businesses do not have the reserves to pivot and rebuild their reputations.


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Get discovered: Two SEO Tips to Get Your Small Business Website Found

Like a prehistoric masterpiece scratched into the far recesses of an undiscovered cave, it doesn’t matter how awe-inspiring your website is if nobody can find it. Search engines are the archeologists of the digital landscape. An estimated 90 percent of consumers searching for local businesses online use search engines like Google® Bing® and Yahoo® to find them. If you want your business website to get discovered, you need to tap into the power of search.

Just about every website owner today understands the basic concept of search engine optimization (SEO): taking steps to attract the attention of search engines in order to drive traffic to your site. Search Engine Land defines SEO as “the process of getting traffic from the ‘free,’ ‘organic,’ ‘editorial,’ or ‘natural’ search results on search engines.” The paid ads you often see at the top of search results don’t figure in.

You’ve likely already taken the fundamental steps to improve your SEO. Your website brims with unique and compelling content. You use relevant keywords all over the place. You optimize title tags and other metadata. You covet backlinks.

But there’s always more SEO-related work you can do to draw visitors to your website. Here are two big SEO tips:

More from ASBDC.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

The Holidays Are Here! Where Are Affluents Shopping?

Who wants to push their way through crowded stores (let alone find a parking spot) during the holiday season? Based on an August 2014 study by Shullman Research Center, affluents are trying to avoid this. Among US internet users with a household income of $75,000 or more, online-only stores such as and eBay were the shopping venues of choice, cited by 71%.

However, affluents won’t shun brick-and-mortar shops completely. The majority planned to head to discount stores to save a few dollars, and 53% said they would also visit mainstream department stores, likely so they can check off gifts for a wide range of people all at once.

Still, while in-store holiday shopping certainly isn’t dead among affluents, results from September 2014 polling by Time Inc. and YouGov support Shullman’s finding that online may beat out brick-and-mortar this year.

See more at: eMarketer

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Marketing Tips for 2015

We may have barely crossed into the second half of 2014, but if you want to have a big year in 2015, you should jump on your game plan now. As you lay the foundation of your 2015 marketing strategy, here are five marketing trends to give you a jumpstart on your big projects for the rest of this year and next:
Five Marketing Tips for 2015

Monday, December 01, 2014

Challenges with Crowdfunding

It seems that almost every day, there's another startup proudly announcing that it has reached its crowdfunding goal. With so many success stories out there, it's easy for other aspiring entrepreneurs to believe that sites like Kickstarter are their golden ticket to launching a business. But the reality is, crowdfunding isn't always as simple as it seems.

"New entrepreneurs often believe that crowdfunding their venture or project is an easy endeavor," said Sang Lee, founder and CEO of Return on Change. "However, it requires much groundwork as well as a strong support network to truly make it a success. As they say, there's no such thing as a free lunch."

Crowdfunding Challenges

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Top 10 Mistakes for Businesses to Avoid When Dealing With a Disaster

Let’s say you created an amazing disaster recovery plan for your small business, and you were able to reopen shortly after a ferocious storm. Meanwhile, your employees’ homes were damaged during the storm, and several roads are closed. So you’re open for business minus the team that keeps your operations running.

Failure to inform and prepare your employees for disasters is one of many common mistakes entrepreneurs make when doing business continuity planning. Not being adequately insured is another oversight that can lead to the failure of your business. Get free tips on ways to avoid these and other costly errors at a free webinar hosted by Agility Recovery and the U.S. Small Business Administration on Tuesday, Dec. 9. True stories about business owners’ pre-disaster missteps, plans not followed and lessons learned will also be discussed.

SBA has partnered with Agility to offer business continuity strategies through its “PrepareMyBusiness” website. Visit to access previous webinars and for additional preparedness tips.

The SBA provides disaster recovery assistance in the form of low-interest loans to homeowners, renters, private nonprofits and businesses of all sizes. To learn more, visit

WHAT: “The Top 10 Most Common Mistakes During a Crisis”
WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014 -- 2 to 3 p.m. EST
HOW: Register at

Friday, November 28, 2014

Five Ways to Turn New Holiday Customers Into Loyal, Year-Round Patrons

As 2014 winds down, the results of your retail holiday strategy will slowly come into focus. Hopefully, you're having a merry old time, reaching record heights in sales, customers, revenue, website traffic—all the things that help to make a holiday marketing season bright.

However, now is no time to rest on your laurels (or lick your wounds, as the case may be). As every retailer knows, there's no off-season in retail marketing, especially in the online world, where if you're not moving forward... you're automatically falling behind.

Even before the ball drops in Times Square to mark 2015's official start in the US, it's critical that you begin cementing the customer gains you've made during the 2014 holidays.

If you want to ensure a truly happy new year in the e-commerce space, make sure you take some or all of the following steps.

Read more at MarketingProf