Monday, November 19, 2018

Choosing the Right Business Structure: Factors to Consider

Written by Marco Carbajo

 Article from Blogs. Industry Word

Choosing which business structure is right for you is a crucial step when starting a business. The entity you select has legal, financial, and operational implications. Here are three factors to consider when choosing a business structure.

 Business Taxes – Business owners must meet all federal, state, and local tax obligations to stay in good legal standing. The type of business structure you choose impacts your personal liability and which taxes your business must pay.

 For example, choosing a sole proprietorship may be the easiest structure to form for a small business startup, but it comes at a price. A sole proprietorship has less government regulations and tax obligations than all the other business structures. It’s taxed at the personal level because you and your business are considered the same legal entity. This means you are personally responsible for all the business’ losses and liabilities.

 With an entity structure such as a limited liability company (LLC), business and personal liabilities are separate, like a corporation. Depending on whether you have a single-member, or multi-member LLC, you are required to file different LLC tax forms.


 Industry – Your business structure will depend on the type of industry you operate in, because of common practices and state requirements. For example, real estate investment companies carry a higher risk. That’s why the limited liability company is widely used due to the owner’s liability protection it provides.

 Typically, companies offering professional services form partnerships because they provide flexibility and are easy to form and maintain. The liability may be limited or unlimited, depending on the type of partnership.

 Personal Liability – In order to choose the right business structure, you must understand what liability protection each entity structure offers. In a corporation, LLC, limited partnership, and limited liability partnership there are different levels of personal liability protection.

 With a corporation or LLC, only the entity can be sued — not the owners or officers of the business.

 A limited partnership is created by one or more general partners and one or more limited partners. Limited partners have personal liability for the company’s debts, but only up to the amount they have invested in the business.

 In a limited partnership, general partners have unlimited personal liability for the company’s debts. This can be limited by having a corporation or LLC as the general partner. A limited partnership is created by one or more general partners and one or more limited partners. Limited partners have personal liability for the company’s debts, but only up to the amount they have invested in the business.

 In a limited partnership, general partners have unlimited personal liability for the company’s debts. This can be limited by having a corporation or LLC as the general partner.

 In a limited liability partnership, all the partners are not personal liable for the other partners. But they all have unlimited personal liability for the business’s debt.

 Once you choose your business structure, you’ll also need to get a tax identification number and file for the necessary licenses and permits. With an employer identification number, your business will also be in a position to build a business credit identity with the major business credit reporting agencies.

 Contact SCORE mentors, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers for free business counseling and advice.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Shoppers May Shun Retailers with Poor Product Suggestions



Excerpt from an article by Krista Garcia
To read more, visit eMarketer

"Email marketing is one of the most evergreen retail tactics. It's also one of the most targeted forms of messaging since recipients opt-in and often provide solicited information or preferences. Despite these factors, personalization can still be hit or miss.

An April 2018 Evergage and Researchscape International study found email content was by far the channel that more US marketers personalized, cited by 71% of respondents. Personalizing home pages (45%) and landing pages (37%) were a distant second and third.

When asked how email was personalized, 76% of respondents said they use a first name in the message or subject line. Just over half recommend products based on audience segment, while one-quarter suggest products on an individual basis."

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

US Department Of Labor Announces Compliance Assistance Tools to Assist Small Businesses


Featured in America's SBDC newsletter

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the launch of the New and Small Business Assistance webpage and the Compliance Assistance Toolkits webpage. These new online tools assist American small businesses and workers with simple, straightforward resources that provide critical Wage and Hour Division (WHD) information, as well as links to other resources.

The webpages were established in response to feedback received from new and small business stakeholders voicing their need for a centralized location to secure the tools and information they need to comply with federal labor laws. These new webpages provide the most relevant publications and answer the questions most frequently asked by new and small business owners. These tools, in conjunction with worker.gov and employer.gov, ensure greater understanding of federal requirements and provide tools to help employers find resources offered by other regulatory agencies. Learn more.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Importance of Community Plumbing

Written by Shannon Mattern

 Article from Places Journal

 This is a vision of the hardware store as episteme. It holds (and organizes) the tools, values, and knowledges that bind a community and define a worldview. There’s a material and social sensibility embodied in the store, its stuff, and its service, and reflected in the diverse clientele.

 That might sound a bit lofty for a commercial establishment that sells sharp objects and toxic chemicals. But the ethos is palpable. (And profitable, too. The store is always busy, and Joe has been lauded by the North American Retail Hardware Association.)

 Headlines proclaiming the death of neighborhood retail remind me of all those articles a few years back that wrongly predicted the end of the library. Despite competition from big-box stores and the internet, many local hardware stores are doing all right. In 1972, the United States had about 26,000 hardware stores.

 Their number dropped to 19,000 by 1990 and 14,000 by 1996, but for the past two decades it has been fairly steady. Hardware Retailing reports a slight annual drop in the number of independent stores, but sales are strong (even increasing) at the ones that remain.

Friday, November 09, 2018

The Minty-Fresh Way to Fail At Business

Written by Jay Hoffmann

 Article from Now I know


More than 200 years ago, a New York City man named William Colgate made a living making and selling soap and candles. Today, his name makes up half of that of a multi-billion dollar consumer goods corporation known as Colgate-Palmolive.

 They, basically, make three types of stuff: soaps (one being Palmolive itself) toothpaste and other oral care products (under the Colgate brand) and, perhaps surprisingly, pet food. In 1976, Colgate-Palmolive, via a series of mergers whose history isn’t worth going into, added the Hill’s Science Diet product line (and related ones) to their offerings.

 They decided not to re-brand the pet food under the Colgate brand because that would be, well, stupid. Who wants to feed their dog toothpaste-flavored kibble? Could you imagine pet food being included among these products?

 That’s the results of a Google Image search of “Colgate” — that’s why some logos are mixed it — but you get the point. When people think of Colgate (the university notwithstanding), they think of toothpaste, toothbrushes, and mouthwash.

They don’t think of dog food or, say, this: That’s some sort of vegetable stir-fry. It’s a frozen, microwave dinner. With a Colgate logo. And yes, it’s real — or, was.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Should Online Retailers Blacklist Serial Returners?

Written by Jen King

 Article from eMarketer
Following Amazon’s recent decision to ban consumers suspected of abusing its return policy, other retailers may follow in the ecommerce giant’s footsteps to protect their bottom lines.

 With the operational cost of returns skyrocketing, retailers can’t afford to have consumers making too many returns.

 Plus, the popularity of the try-before-you-buy model can be overwhelming for retailers not equipped for high return volume.

 A September 2018 study from Brightpearl conducted by OnePoll found that 61% of US retailers would consider permanently blocking “serial returners” who abuse free return policies.

Monday, November 05, 2018

The hostile work environment checklist: How toxic is yours?

Written by Daniel Bortz

 Article from Monster

Workplace stress is hardly a phenomenon. Everyone has a bad day (or even month) at work now and then. Your client presentation didn’t go as well as planned; your boss didn’t fall head over heels for your proposal; you had to stay late to finish a project; your co-worker’s been having a series of too-loud sales calls.

But there’s a big difference between aggravating incidents and a full-blown toxic work environment.

A toxic work environment is one wherein dysfunction and drama reign, whether it’s the result of a narcissistic boss, vindictive co-workers, absence of order, et cetera.

 In addition to harming your morale, this kind of climate can also be damaging to your health, says Paul White, co-author of Rising Above a Toxic Workplace. “Stress takes a toll on your body,” White says.

Health problems stemming from workplace stress include hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and decreased mental health, and can lead to fatal conditions, recent research from Stanford and Harvard Universities found.

Friday, November 02, 2018

The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses

Written by Sue Shellenbarger

 Article from The Wall Street Journal


After decades of screening potential leaders for charm and charisma, some employers are realizing they’ve been missing one of the most important traits of all: humility.

 In an era when hubris is rewarded on social media and in business and politics, researchers and employment experts say turning the limelight on humble people might yield better results.

 Humility is a core quality of leaders who inspire close teamwork, rapid learning and high performance in their teams, according to several studies in the past three years.

 Humble people tend to be aware of their own weaknesses, eager to improve themselves, appreciative of others’ strengths and focused on goals beyond their own self-interest.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

How Much Does a Data Breach Cost?

Written by Rob Marvin

 Article from PC MAG

Data breaches are a terrifying reality for every company that does business on the internet—which is all of them.

 No matter what endpoint protection, encryption, and security you put in place, there's always a chance your sensitive customer information might be part of the next trove of data to leak online.

 There are all sorts of things not to do when your poor server is the one that's breached, but one way or another, it's going to cost you.

 According to the latest Cost of a Data Breach study by IBM and the Ponemon Institute, in the US, the average incident could cost a company upwards of $7.9 million.

 The 13th annual report found that the global average cost of a data breach is up 6.4 percent over the previous year to $3.86 million, and the average cost for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and confidential information also increased by 4.8 percent year over year to $148 per record.

Monday, October 29, 2018

How to Say I’m Sorry: Apology Email Template

Written by Anthony St. Clair

 Article from Outpost

 No matter how they happen, mistakes are a fact of business. Sooner or later, you will have to send a solid apology email.

Perhaps you, a colleague, or a subordinate messed up, and the situation requires a written, professional apology.

 There can be late orders, damaged products, billing problems improper behavior, service outages to a site or app, data breaches, product recall, a canceled event, or a request your company can’t accommodate.

 Effectively apologizing via email can be the best option. Email keeps everything in writing, and everyone gets a date-stamped, time-stamped record of the correspondence. Since it doesn’t depend on setting up a meeting or someone answering the phone, email can also be quick.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Robot Takeover: Is Your Job at Risk of Automation?

Written by Alison Doyle

 Article from the balance careers

 Are you in danger of losing your job to automation? According to a study by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, nearly one in three U.S. workers will see some of their tasks or entire jobs taken over by robots and other artificial intelligence by 2030.

 Employers are expected to rely increasingly on computers to do jobs that humans currently do.

 This is because computers are generally less expensive than human employees. They can also help reduce human error, and even perform work beyond human abilities.

 While the idea of losing one’s job is scary, the study emphasizes that most human jobs will change rather than disappear completely. About half of all employees’ tasks could become automated using today’s technology.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

What Makes a Successful Loyalty Program

Written by Patricia Orsini

 Article from eMarketer

Loyalty programs have a serious retention problem. Consumers are quick to sign up, but quick to forget about a loyalty program once they get their initial discount. Members, overloaded with points, miles and free shipping offers, are not necessarily consolidating purchases with one brand in order to accrue rewards.


 A January 2018 survey from Bond Brand Loyalty found that across most industries, less than half of loyalty program members in Europe, Latin America and North America are satisfied with their programs.

 The companies most likely to offer loyalty programs—retailers, airlines, hotels, quick-serve restaurants, among other sectors—are simultaneously facing increased competition from digital upstarts that are better able to gain an understanding of consumers’ expectations and needs, and deliver on them.

A loyalty program can provide the first-party data needed to begin to understand those customers, but interactions after the initial sign up have to be strategic.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Balancing Fraud Protection and Frictionless Checkout

Written by Krista Garcia

 Article from eMarketer

 As an industry, retail is one of the most vulnerable to cybercrime. Ecommerce transactions can provide a wealth of fodder for fraudsters, including personal information and credit card details.

According to a Q2 2018 ThreatMatrix report, ecommerce companies using its digital identity network experienced 91 million attacks, which is business as usual as the figure was consistent with the same period last year.

The types of cybercrime, however, are changing. An attack rate of 24.2% means nearly one in four new accounts created on ecommerce sites in Q2 2018 were fraudulent, a 130% increase year over year.

Account login fraud using stolen credentials was the second-most common attack (10.2%) while using stolen payment credentials made up 3.0% of total attacks.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Are Your Salespeople Helpful or Just Annoying?

Written by Todd Hockenberry

Article from ThomasNet

The mindset that leads to annoying your prospects instead of helping them stems from a selfish place. If you think about the product or service first, then the logical next step is to figure out who might need this product or service, and then attack them.

Anyone who does this is not thinking about the buyers or their specific issues and goals, and is certainly not thinking about helping them first.

Salespeople are still able to control the sales process, but only if they start from a position of helping. Yes, salespeople still hold a lot of cards, but they fold right away if they lead with annoying prospecting tactics.

Many buyers do not know how to solve critical problems that your solution may be able to address. When dealing with more complex sales, buyers need a guide, an expert — someone with business smarts, not sales tricks — to help them navigate the competing visions for the future within their company.

Buyers need help not only with the product aspect of the buying process, but also with the politics they face internally. Buyers need help influencing key decision-makers and keeping the process on track. Buyers need context for their situation and a roadmap to a better future. Buyers need the right answers at the right time to keep their careers on track and to fulfill obligations to their employer

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Every Step You Take

Written by Janelle Nanos

 Article from The Boston Globe

Most of us now live at the slightly queasy intersection of consumerism and surveillance.

 The dozens of apps on our phones, most of them free, aren’t just serving up information and entertainment. Many are able to ascertain our whereabouts based on the phone’s GPS and can then sell that geolocation data to digital marketers.

 Unlike traditional print or television ads, location-based marketing has the benefit of knowing where we are, whom we’re with, and whether their ads are working.

 Geotargeted mobile marketing is one of the fastest growing forms of advertising — and one of the most controversial. It has arisen in part because, as more of us use streaming and on-demand viewing services, we’re watching far fewer television ads. And because so many of us carry our smartphones at all times, digital marketers have seized the opportunity to gather and sell data on where we are, what we do — and what we might want to buy.

 In 2017, marketers spent $17.1 billion on geotargeted mobile ads, and the research firm BIA Advisory Services forecasts that number will more than double to $38.7 billion by 2022.

Monday, October 15, 2018

For Certain Types of Purchases, Influencers Have More Sway

Author: Krista Garcia
For the full article, go to eMarketer

Even with recent reports of fraud and fake followers, influencer marketing continues to be big business. According to measurement firm Points North Group, influencer ad spending by brands in the US and Canada totaled $211 million in Q2 2018. Nearly three-quarters ($150 million) was devoted to Instagram.

A February 2018 survey by influencer marketing agency Activate found that 88.9% of influencers worldwide said they were using Instagram for influencer marketing campaigns more than they did a year ago.

Despite Instagram's growing prominence in influencer marketing, an April 2018 CPC Strategy study showed Facebook was the leading platform where US internet users heard about new products, events or services from people they follow. Nearly 70% cited the ubiquitous social network, while Instagram (11.3%) and YouTube (9.5%) ranked a distant second and third. This survey was comprised of all age ranges, though, and many influencer campaigns are targeted at younger consumers. Gen Z has different preferences. To wit, Instagram was the most influential among internet users ages 13 to 17 and nearly on par with Facebook among those ages 18 to 24.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Early signs of Christmas make people crabby

Written by Anne Stych

Article from bizwomen

It’s only October, but Christmas decorations are already in stores — and a lot of people find that annoying.

  According to a new Coinstar Holiday Survey, more than a third - 36 percent - of people surveyed say it's irritating that retailers put up holiday decorations and merchandise as early as September or October, although CBS reported some studies show that people who put up their Christmas decorations early are healthier and happier than those who don’t.

 For those who are out of sorts it may be because the decorations remind them they have a lot of shopping to do. And for one in five people, just thinking about holiday shopping stresses them out.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

How Long Does It Take to Start a Franchise?

Written by Joel Libava

Article from the Small Business Administration

Purchasing a franchise involves many steps — and a lot of time and effort.

But, if you’re organized, and you’ve taken the time to learn all you can about franchising, you’ll be able to speed up the process.

Purchasing Steps:

1. The Search

Typically, you’ll visit several different franchise opportunity websites until you narrow it down to a few franchises that look interesting. Here are three things you should be looking for in a franchise.

2. Contacting A Franchisor

This step is a big one, because it involves formally requesting information about a specific franchise. Expect to get a phone call from a franchise salesperson.

3. Research

This step involves reading the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) and calling franchisees so you can request earnings information, as well as conducting other basic market research.

If you’re still interested, you may be invited to visit franchise headquarters for what’s known as a “Discovery Day.” This is your chance to meet with the team face-to-face, ask questions, and watch the business operate in person.


Monday, October 08, 2018

Wallets Full, Shoppers Ready to Crank Up Holiday Spend


Written by Jen King

Article from eMarketerr

A survey from adtech company OpenX conducted last month by The Harris Poll found that more than eight in 10 shoppers say they will spend at least as much as they did last year. Fully 26% of respondents said they plan to spend more; 18% plan to reel in spending.

Millennials (those ages 18 to 34) and parents were particularly ready to open their wallets. On average, parents estimated they’ll spend upwards of $1,000 on gifts, compared with millennials’ planned $860 spend.

Underpinning shoppers' willingness to spend is a sense of financial stability. More than half of respondents (55%) believe the economy is better now than it was a year ago, and three-fourths are confident that economic improvement will continue.

Interestingly, millennials were a bit less sanguine about the economy, with slightly less than half (48%) saying things are better now compared with last year. But like shoppers in general, they are optimistic, with 77% seeing improvements on the horizon.

The Minty-Fresh Way to Fail At Business

Written by Dan Lewis

 Article from Now I Know

 More than 200 years ago, a New York City man named William Colgate made a living making and selling soap and candles.

 Today, his name makes up half of that of a multi-billion dollar consumer goods corporation known as Colgate-Palmolive.

 They, basically, make three types of stuff: soaps (one being Palmolive itself) toothpaste and other oral care products (under the Colgate brand) and, perhaps surprisingly, pet food.

 In 1976, Colgate-Palmolive, via a series of mergers whose history isn’t worth going into, added the Hill’s Science Diet product line (and related ones) to their offerings. They decided not to re-brand the pet food under the Colgate brand because that would be, well, stupid.

Who wants to feed their dog toothpaste-flavored kibble? Could you imagine pet food being included among these products?