Saturday, May 23, 2015

FTC Will Keep Consumer Product Warranty Rules in Current Form with Some Modifications

The Federal Trade Commission has completed its review of the Interpretations, Rules, and Guides under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and will keep them in their present form, with certain changes to the Interpretations as set forth in a Federal Register Notice (FRN) to be published shortly.

In 2011, as part of its systematic review of all current FTC rules and guides, the FTC sought public comments on its Interpretations, Rules, and Guides regarding product warranties under the Warranty Act, which became law in 1975. The Interpretations provide the Commission’s views on terms and provisions in the Act; the Guides help advertisers avoid unfair or deceptive practices; and the Rules specify disclosure requirements, require that warranty information be available before purchase, and set standards for any informal dispute settlement provisions in a warranty.

Friday, May 22, 2015

What Makes Your Business Plan Real? Milestones.

Milestones are concrete, specific achievements, such as a product launch, some number of customers, opening of a new location, number of reviews, presence in some list, overcoming some legal hurdle such as approval by the FDA or a patent, finishing a draft or a complete document, reaching the 1000th blog post, some defined number of likes on Facebook or Twitter followers, or some other measurable, visible, trackable achievement.

Read more from BPlans.com

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Small Business Advocate for May 2015 released

The Office of Advocacy has released the May 2015 issue of The Small Business Advocate. This edition features the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) proposed rule governing small unmanned aircraft systems (small UAS), also known as small drones. Advocacy held a roundtable to gather small business input on the proposed rule and submitted a comment letter to FAA on the rule.

In addition, the newsletter covers six comment letters that were submitted to federal agencies regarding proposed rulemakings, and three regulatory alerts on new rulemakings. The newsletter also features Advocacy's new graphic and data visualization designer, new economic issue briefs released by Advocacy's Office of Economic research, and requests for quotations.

In This Issue
Rule Proposed on Employer Wellness Programs; DHS and DOL Issue Changes to H-2B Visa Program; Proposal Expands Retirement Advice Covered by Fiduciary Protections


The entire newsletter can be found on Advocacy's website here.

Upcoming Procurement Events

Interested in government  contracting?  The following events compiled by the NY SBDC Procurement Assistance Center may be helpful.

Upcoming Procurement Events:

5/22/15 NYC College of Technology; Brooklyn, NY
Meet Representatives from the NYC Department of Education and Division of Contracts and Purchasing
Sponsored by Brooklyn SBDC
2:30 PM – 4:30 PM
sbdc@citytech.cuny.edu ; 718-797-0187

6/3/15  Niagara Falls Culinary Institute; Niagara, NY
How to Find State and Federal Contracting Opportunities
Sponsored by SBA Buffalo District Office and the Niagara SBDC
1:00 PM – 4:30 PM

6/4/15 Jacob K. Javits Convention Center; NYC
Small Business Expo
Sponsored by Empire State Development
9:30 AM – 5:00 PM

6/5/15 Rockland Community College, Technology Center; Suffern, NY
How to  Do Business with Rockland County Empire State Purchasing Group
Sponsored by Empire State Development
9:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Additional information posted on the NYS Contract Reporter under “Events” on the right side-bar:  https://www.nyscr.ny.gov/ (Must log-in)

6/5/15 Con Edison Learning Center, Long Island City, NY
13th Annual Small Business & Procurement Expo
Sponsored by LaGuardia Community College Business Services
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

6/9/15 SUNY Polytechnic Institute; Marcy, NY (Utica)
Opening Doors to Government Contracting
Sponsored by SBA Syracuse District Office, Mohawk Valley SBDC, The Business Training Institute, Inc., Women’s Business Center, North Country PTAC, SCORE-Utica Chapter
8:30 AM – Noon
Register:  https://eventbrite.com/event/16618078119 or call (315) 733-9848

6/23/15 Albany Marriott; Albany, NY
2015 SBA Albany Matchmaker
8:00 AM – 3:10 PM
Online registration is now open, with appointment scheduling opening on Tuesday, May 26th.

6/26/15 SUNY Brockport, Downtown Campus; Brockport, NY
MWBE Regional Opportunities Expo – Finger Lakes Region
Sponsored by Empire State Development
8:30 AM
Contact:  MWBE Staff; mwbeevents@esd.ny.gov ; 855-373-4692
Additional information posted on the NYS Contract Reporter under “Events” on the right side-bar:  https://www.nyscr.ny.gov/ (Must log-in)

7/15/15 Turning Stone Conference Center; Verona, NY
MWBE & Business Partner Training and Networking Opportunity
Sponsored by SUNY
10:00 AM
Contact:  Juanita Larrabee; Juanita.larrabee@cortland.edu ; 607-753-2217
Additional information posted on the NYS Contract Reporter under “Events” on the right side-bar:  https://www.nyscr.ny.gov/ (Must log-in)

8/6/15 MWBE Regional Opportunities Expo – Mid-Hudson Region
Location to be determined
Sponsored by Empire State Development
8:30 AM
Contact:  MWBE Staff; mwbeevents@esd.ny.gov ; 855-373-4692
Additional information posted on the NYS Contract Reporter under “Events” on the right side-bar:  https://www.nyscr.ny.gov/ (Must log-in)

For NYNJ Minority Supplier Development Council Certified Firms:
6/17/15 Business Opportunity Expo 2015
Meadowlands Exposition Center
Sponsored by Council Partners


Out-of-State Events:

6/16—6/18/15 Phoenix, AZ
US Department of Energy 14th Annual Small Business Forum, Expo & Business Matchmaking Session
Contact: Earl Morgan, ExpoDOE@aetherquest.com ; 571-297-4019

2015 BusinessMatchmaking Events
Check website for additional details:  http://www.businessmatchmaking.com/events.shtml
6/4/15 – Bakersfield, CA – Registration Open
August 2015 – Fresno, CA and Palo Alto, CA
9/29/15 – Stockton, CA
October 2015 – Seattle, WA
November 2015 – Long Beach, CA

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Did you get a consumer complaint notification from the FTC? It’s a scam.

Thanks to emails and calls from people who sensed something wasn't right, the Federal Trade Commission has heard that an FTC imposter scam it's written about before is back.

The email tells you there’s a complaint against your business, and wants you to click on a link. Here’s what one of the scammy emails said:

“This notification has been automatically sent to you because we have received a consumer complaint, claiming that your company is violating the CCPA (Consumer Credit Protection Act).According to our policy, we have initiated a formal investigation before taking legal action. You can download the document containing the complaint and the plaintiff contact information, from...” followed by a link.

At first glance, it might look legitimate. It has the FTC seal, the email appears to come from an FTC email address, and the web address looks like it goes to an FTC site. But if you hover over the web address, you’ll see the link actually sends you somewhere else.

If you get an email like this, don’t open it. And most important: don’t click on the links. Don’t open any attachments, either. If you do, you could install malware on your computer, causing your device to crash, or allowing a scammer to monitor and control your online activity, steal your personal information, send spam, and commit fraud. You can forward the phony email to spam@uce.gov — but then delete it.

Government imposters aren't just impersonating the FTC. If you get an unexpected email that says it’s from the government and asks you to click on links, open attachments, or share personal information, don't do it. Even if you think it’s legitimate, it’s best to look up the number and contact the agency directly to check it out.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

39 Things to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Restaurant

According to a study published in the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, approximately 60 percent of restaurants fail within their first year of business.

If you are dreaming of becoming a restaurateur, you can increase your chances of success by honestly answering all of the questions proposed in this article, as well as checking off everything suggested below.


More from BPlans.com

Monday, May 18, 2015

FTC Requests Bankruptcy Court Take Steps to Protect RadioShack Consumers’ Personal Information

In a letter to the court-appointed consumer privacy ombudsman in the bankruptcy case of the electronics retailer RadioShack, Federal Trade Commission Consumer Protection Director Jessica Rich recommended conditions the court could place on the sale of consumers’ personal information to protect their privacy.

According to the letter, substantial amounts of personal data collected by RadioShack, including consumers’ names, addresses, e-mail addresses, and purchase histories, are among the assets being put up for auction to settle the bankruptcy. Documents indicate information from tens of millions of consumers may be among the assets for sale.
In the letter, Rich points to the extensive privacy promises that RadioShack made to consumers both online and in its stores – including promises not to sell consumers’ information or the company’s mailing lists.  She notes the FTC’s previous intervention in the bankruptcy of online retailer Toysmart, which sought to sell its customers’ personal information, counter to the promises the company made in its privacy policies.

In the Toysmart case, a settlement with the company placed a number of conditions on the sale of the data that allowed the company to divest the assets while protecting consumers’ information from being used in ways they did not anticipate. Rich’s letter recommends similar conditions be applied to the sale of RadioShack customer information.
Among the conditions recommended in the letter are that consumers’ information not be sold as a standalone asset, but be bundled with other assets.  The letter recommends that consumer information be sold only to another entity that is in substantially the same line of business as RadioShack, that the buyer agree to be bound by the RadioShack privacy policies that were in place when the consumers’ data was collected, and that the buyer provide consumers with notice and obtain their affirmative consent before using data in a way that is materially different from the promises RadioShack made to consumers.

Rich asked that the ombudsman include the letter in her report to the bankruptcy court.

2 Million Blog Posts Are Written Every Day, Here's How You Can Stand Out

If you are creating 500-word me-too blog posts that get read by no one, you are completely and absolutely wasting your time.

It's not your fault. You've been told by so-called experts for years that if you blog consistently, you will see truckloads of traffic, thousands of subscribers, and millions of dollars in sales.

The thing is, a lot of these experts cut their teeth in the early years of the Web, when 500-word blog posts could win you fame and fortune.

Now? Not so much.

If you're serious about standing out from the 2 million blog posts pumped out every day, here's what you need to start doing.



Read more at MarketingProfs.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Profiles of Veteran Business Owners

The Office of Advocacy has released a new issue brief, Profile of Veteran Business Owners: 2013, which examines the demographics of veteran business owners. Using 2013 data from Census’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), this issue brief is an update to an Advocacy profile of veteran business owners released in November 2013.

The issue brief looks at a variety of characteristics of veteran business owners as compared to non-veteran business owners, such as age, gender, marital status, level of education and citizenship. It also details the features of veteran-owned businesses, including industry sector, firm size and age of business.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Basic Guide to Exporting

Exporting makes more sense than ever before and A Basic Guide to Exporting will help you navigate the global business process, with critical tips about: developing an export plan, taking advantage of free trade agreements, leveraging e-commerce in a global strategy, finding buyers, and understanding financing options.Today, it’s easier than ever for a company like yours, regardless of size, to sell goods and services across the globe. Small and medium-sized companies in the United States are exporting more than ever before.

In 2013, more than 300,000 small and medium-sized U.S. companies exported to at least one international market—nearly 28 percent more than in 2005, the year in which the 10th Edition of this book was first published. In 2013, the value of goods and services exports was an impressive $2.28 trillion, nearly a 25 percent increase since 2010. And 2014 topped the previous year, with exports valued at $2.34 trillion.

This edition includes sample forms, information on exporter services, a checklist for choosing a foreign representative or distributor, and a glossary of exporting terms. Chock full of real-life examples, A Basic Guide to Exporting demonstrates how small and medium-sized companies have grown their business through exporting. This book provides the information you need to feel confident about selling overseas.


Get A Basic Guide to Exporting.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

9 Tips to Make Your Print Ads More Effective

Sure, customers may click on ads when they’re all over their browser windows, but in the age of digital, how can you make sure that your offline campaigns are gaining as much traction? To find out, we asked nine entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) what strategies have worked best.

Read more from BPlans.com

Monday, May 11, 2015

Start a Business, Grow Your Business

The only thing small about small businesses is their name. Collectively, they’re behemoths – employing the vast majority of people in this country, and serving as engines of growth and creativity in their communities.

Starting a business from scratch is exciting – as well as a challenge. BusinessUSA's Start a Business tool will help you find information on everything from conducting market research to finding business counselors that can provide one-on-one assistance.

Need help taking your business to the next level? This collection of resources will help you with a range of complex issues and activities, from developing a marketing plan and forecasting for growth, to franchising your business and finding international trade leads.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Manicurists Face Threat of Cancer and Miscarriages From Nail Products

Stories of illness and tragedy abound at nail salons across the country, of children born slow or “special,” of miscarriages and cancers, of coughs that will not go away and painful skin afflictions. The stories have become so common that older manicurists warn women of child-bearing age away from the business, with its potent brew of polishes, solvents, hardeners and glues that nail workers handle daily.

A growing body of medical research shows a link between the chemicals that make nail and beauty products useful — the ingredients that make them chip-resistant and pliable, quick to dry and brightly colored, for example — and serious health problems.

Whatever the threat the typical customer enjoying her weekly French tips might face, it is a different order of magnitude, advocates say, for manicurists who handle the chemicals and breathe their fumes for hours on end, day after day.

More from the New York Times.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Millennials Have Shorter Stay at Jobs

Millennials tend to stay at a job for a shorter period than the average worker, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Wall Street Journal highlighted these numbers in a story this week, also raising the question of whether all the movement in the workforce is a problem or opportunity.
According to the BLS, the median time in a job for workers 20-24 was less than 16 months, and it was three years for those 25-34, according to the story.  The median time in a job for all workers 25 and up was 5.5 years.

More from AIER.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

50 most common interview questions

During any job interview, there are some questions that almost always get asked. So, there's no excuse NOT to be prepared. To help you ace the interview, Glassdoor has compiled a list of the 50 Most Common Interview Questions.

We sifted through tens of thousands of interview questions to come up with 50 questions you're most likely to get asked when interviewing.

"What are your strengths and weaknesses?" "Where do you see yourself in five years?" Check out these questions and more that you should expect to be asked in any job interview.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

There's big pressure on New York's bitcoin regulation plan

Soon, virtual currency businesses will have to answer to BitLicense.

It’s an apt choice of name for a regulatory framework that will govern an industry whose players have included BitPay, BitGo, BitAccess, BitPagos, BitInstant, and BitWall. Companies like those, and others in the bitcoin community (and beyond bitcoin), anxiously await the final version of the policy that Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services, has spent nearly a year revising.

The policy will require digital currency companies to obtain a license in order to transmit money on behalf of customers. (Former BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem went to prison last month for operating an unlicensed money-transmitting service, among other charges.) New York will be the first state to roll out such a policy, but broad bitcoin regulation has a long way to go in the U.S., where 48 different states have their own set of money-transmitting regulations.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Small Business Payments Toolkit Encourages Use of Electronic Payments

The Remittance Coalition released the first volume of the Small Business Payments Toolkit, an educational resource to help small businesses learn more about payments. The toolkit is intended to encourage the adoption of electronic business-to-business payments and remittance information exchanges by small businesses. It explains payment types, describes electronic payments like automated clearing house (ACH) transactions, offers advice on working with bankers, and provides tips on avoiding payments fraud. It lists resources for further information and education on payments. Feel free to share this practical guide with your small business clients. The Toolkit is intended for public use, is not copyrighted, and can be shared and linked.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Kentucky Fried Secret

In 1952, the owner of a chicken restaurant named Harlan Sanders began franchising out his brand to other restaurateurs throughout the country. Colonel Sanders’ chain, then known as Kentucky Fried Chicken (and now KFC), spread quickly, and Sanders became a very wealthy man. The key to his success: a secret recipe.

It would have been easier to simply give the franchisees the herb and spice recipe mix and prohibit its unauthorized use via contracts and patents. But KFC decided not to, believing that the recipe was their biggest point of differentiation. And the recipe remains a secret even today -- in no small part because the company wants to keep it that way.

More from Now I Know.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Can Sales Make You a Better Leader?

What exactly does sales have to do with leadership? You can’t build a successful enterprise if you don’t know how to motivate a team and get them to buy into your vision. This is where the art of sales comes in.

Great leaders seem to have this uncanny ability to motivate people to take action. It might appear that this ability is natural, but that isn’t always true. Leading others is a skill, one that can be learned and that needs to be honed over time.

Read more from BPlans.com

Thursday, April 30, 2015

SBA to Recognize Mission Lenders, including NY's Pat McKrell, during National Small Business Week

SBA is acknowledging the outstanding work of Empire State Certified Development Corp. (Empire State CDC), a New-York-based CDC, as the winner of the first-ever National Small Business Week Community Advantage Lender of the Year Award.

A subsidiary of the New York Business Development Corporation, Empire State CDC is New York’s largest SBA 504 lender and consistently ranks in the top five among the 242 certified development companies nationwide. In FY 2014, Empire State CDC led the nation in approving $8.6 million of Community Advantage (CA) Loans to 66 different small businesses. Empire State CDC President and CEO Patrick J. MacKrell will accept the award.

The award will be presented as part of the National Small Business Week 2015 Celebrations in May.

A table showing both the top 10 Microlenders and top 10 Community Advantage lenders with their respective rankings and loan production may be accessed at https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/Top10-microloan-ca-lenders-fy14.pdf.