Monday, October 16, 2017

How to Pick the Right Location for Your Exhibit Booth

From MarketingProfs:

For more than 50% of CMOs and marketing directors, space and location on the exhibit floor are most important in maximizing ROI.

And that makes perfect sense.

With an accessible location and a major source of foot traffic nearby, a booth is likely to attract a lot of attendees. The higher the number of visitors, the greater opportunities for a business to raise awareness, get leads, and build relationships.

The location selection process, however, can be complicated, with various factors at play—from budget, to space requirements, to traffic flow and more. So here, in this handy guide, are all the important factors you need to take into consideration.

Quick Tip: Reserve Your Spot Early

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Robot Makes a Mean Caesar Salad, but Will It Cost Jobs?

From the New York Times:


Salad bars are magnets for bacteria and viruses. Even if the sprouts and ranch dressing aren’t tainted, the serving utensils may be.

The Silicon Valley start-up Chowbotics has devised what it says is a partial solution. Its device, which it calls Sally the Salad Robot, is aimed at reducing the risk of food-borne illness by assembling salads out of pre-cut vegetables stored in refrigerated canisters.

Diners use a touch screen to place their orders, choosing from a menu of recipes or designing their own salads. The machine calculates the number of calories per salad and drops the veggies into a bowl in less than a minute. There is less human contact with the food.

But as a growing number of food- and drink-slinging robots have begun interacting with diners in the San Francisco Bay Area, Deepak Sekar, the device’s inventor and the founder and chief executive of Chowbotics, has faced questions about whether his machine will put people out of work. He denies that that will happen.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Seven business continuity strategy planning mistakes

From Search Disaster Recovery:

Developing a business continuity strategy is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. Organizations must gather and validate massive amounts of data and develop and validate procedures to keep data available and protected at all times.

Employees must be trained on the business continuity plan, as well as their roles and responsibilities when a disruptive incident occurs. Senior management must be aware of the plan and be involved with its development.

Given the comprehensive nature of business continuity planning, mistakes can happen. Explore some of the most common errors to avoid before a disaster hits.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

25 Best Apps for Small-Business Owners in 2017

From NerdWallet:

Problem solver. Communicator. Financial whiz. Running a small business involves wearing a lot of hats. If you’re looking to increase productivity and organization — or just make your life as an entrepreneur a little easier — a good app might be just what you need.

To help you navigate the seemingly endless sea of business apps, we’ve compiled a list of our favorites. These 25 can help you stay organized and in charge, no matter which hat you’re wearing.

They are arranged in these categories:

Finance and accounting

Communication

Time management

Payment

Organization

In a league of their own

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Your Own Employees Can Boost Your Marketing Content

From MarketingProfs:

Imagine you just invested a lot of time and resources in your next content masterpiece. You did third-party research, interviewed industry experts, carefully crafted the copy with your target persona in mind, and pulled out all the stops to design a visually compelling piece.

You then released it into the wild through all your Web and social channels and sat back, waiting for it to become the next viral sensation.

But then the unthinkable happened: No one shared it (gasp!).

What happened?

Even the greatest content sometimes needs an early boost to gain traction in social media. Paid promotion and influencer marketing can certainly help, but those can be costly. Fortunately, virtually every organization has a captive audience that's willing—and even happy—to share content with their networks for free...

Look to your left, look to your right, look at Bob in accounting: I'm talking about your fellow employees (bet you didn't know Bob has 3,000 Twitter followers).

Increasingly, marketers are turning to employee advocacy to solve their content-promotion woes.

With organic reach now more elusive than ever, structured employee advocacy programs help brands connect with audiences in an authentic way by using their own employees.

No budget? No problem. You can build an employee advocacy program for free or at a very low cost—especially compared with paid social promotion or influencer product placement.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Industries Most Affected by Cybercrime

From IBISWorld:
The disruption caused by the rise of the internet and popularity of web-enabled devices is indisputable; industries have been completely flipped upside down as new, online businesses offer consumers products and services that were once unimaginable.

As life is moving to the cloud, however, so are the criminals. The US Justice Department estimates that more than 4,000 ransomware attacks have occurred each day since the beginning of 2016, meaning hackers engineer software programs that prevent employees from accessing their computer systems until a ransom total is paid.

In 2016, about 72.0% of large companies and 20.0% of small to midsize companies were targets of cyberattacks, according to CNBC and Microsoft, respectively, boosting demand for products and services protecting against cyberattacks. IBISWorld expects the US Security Software Publishing industry to grow 2.6% in 2017, to $12.0 billion.

However, while companies are increasingly investing in defending against cyberattacks, large attacks still occur. In fact, just this week, news broke that a cyberattack on credit-reporting agency Equifax Inc. claimed social security numbers and other sensitive information on more than 140.0 million Americans. Equifax is hardly alone; the following four industries and companies have been hit hard by cybercriminals over the past five years...

The challenge of cybersecurity remains colossal and is only expected to grow; while total internet traffic volume grew an annualized 20.2% over the past five years, it is expected to accelerate to an annualized growth of 21.7% over the next five years. In 2022, nearly triple the amount of data will be transferred on the internet compared with today, increasing the risk of cybercriminals looking to steal Social Security and credit card numbers, creative content and other pieces of sensitive information.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Be Honest: Are You the Office Bully?

From Entrepreneur magazine:

Last year [Ross McCammon] was a guest on an NPR call-in talk show to discuss workplace etiquette. Most calls were about shaking hands, conducting meetings, asking for a raise...

It was light and funny until one caller asked for advice about being shunned by her co-workers. They would gather near her desk, talking about work she was involved in without asking her to weigh in. They never invited her to lunch or after-work drinks. When she brought up her feelings, her colleagues dismissed and mocked her. She felt unimportant and ostracized. And she sounded deeply distressed.

I felt ill-equipped to answer the question. I stammered out a reply. I made a joke. (She didn't laugh.) The show's host suggested that she record these instances and, if they continued, alert a supervisor. The host labeled the behavior as “bullying.” Which at first struck me as infantilizing.

I hadn't felt bullied since middle school.

And I certainly had never felt bullied at work. And I certainly had never bullied anyone at work. (Note: Never believe anyone who uses italics to deny something.)

Or had I? The major problem with the word bullying is that it seems more tied to the playground and, these days, social media (which is a metaphorical playground)... But what about rolling your eyes every time a colleague speaks in a meeting? Gossiping? Raising your voice? The things we've all been guilty of doing?

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Improving the Public Perception of Manufacturing

From Rodon Group:
Friday, October 6th is National Manufacturing Day.

According to the MFG Day website, "MFG DAY addresses common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is — and what it isn’t. By working together during and after MFG DAY, manufacturers will begin to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry. Supported by a group of industry sponsors and co-producers, MFG DAY is designed to amplify the voice of individual manufacturers and coordinate a collective chorus of manufacturers with common concerns and challenges."

Census Bureau data

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Small business can compete with Amazon

From BizWomen:

Small businesses and startups can survive the so-called Amazon effect by being creative and innovative, said U.S. Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon.

McMahon was in Denver Sept. 28 for the sixth annual Denver Startup Week, a week of free panel discussions, workshops and networking events for entrepreneurs in all stages.

Metro Denver has recently attracted the eye of Amazon.com The e-commerce giant opened a 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in suburb Aurora this month and has broken ground on a 2.4 million-square-foot fulfillment center in nearby Thornton, expected to open in August 2018.

Now, the Seattle-based company is on the hunt for a city in which to build its second headquarters, expected to be a $5 billion project and employ as many as 50,000 people. Colorado and metro Denver leaders plan to bid on the facility.

But it’s in no way doomsday for small businesses, McMahon said. “There is no way for a small business to compete against an Amazon that has not only product development but its online services and distribution,” she said.

“But what small businesses have to do is focus on what they are doing -- what is their niche, where do they fit in, how can they be their own entity in a world that is changing?”

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Hurricane response jobs at the SBA

From the Small Business Administration:

The Small Business Administration is hiring temporary employees to assist with disaster relief efforts this hurricane season from September 1st to December 31st, 2017. Bilingual language skills a plus.

Jobs include:

Damage Verifiers (Nationwide)
Lawyers, Paralegals and Legal Assistants (Sacramento, CA, Dallas, TX, or Buffalo, NY)
Loan Specialists (Sacramento, CA, Dallas, TX, or Buffalo, NY)
Program Support Assistant and Call Center Specialist (Sacramento, CA, Atlanta, GA, or Buffalo, NY)
Customer Service Representatives and Public Information Officers (Nationwide)
Customer Service Representatives (Atlanta, GA, Buffalo, NY, Sacramento, CA)
Customer Service Representatives, Bilingual (Orlando, FL)
Information Technology Specialists - Customer support (Nationwide)
Construction Analysts -Loss Verifiers (Nationwide)
Administrative Support Assistants (Herndon, VA)

Monday, October 02, 2017

Exhausted Employees Costing Companies Millions

From ThomasNet:

Recently unveiled during the National Safety Council’s Congress and Expo this week, are findings showing how a lack of proper rest is hurting the competitive efforts of U.S. companies. The research was conducted by the National Safety Council and Brigham Health Sleep Matters Initiative.

The report’s findings show that a company with 1,000 workers stands to lose $1.4 million annually due to absenteeism, diminished productivity, and healthcare costs stemming from tired employees. A key point of the survey is the growing number of these individuals with undiagnosed and untreated sleep disorders. These conditions contribute significantly to the $80 million in fatigue-related costs that can accrue on an annual basis for the average Fortune 500 company.

Additional data can be obtained by utilizing an online resource correlating with the research, entitled the Fatigue Cost Calculator for Employees.


Friday, September 29, 2017

Should you have to give up privacy to recycle a printer cartridge?

From the Boston Globe:

Kathie Florsheim is a committed environmentalist with a hybrid car and a set of rain-collection barrels outside her East Providence home.

So when the ink in her Canon printer recently ran out, she immediately thought to recycle it, just like she does her light bulbs, batteries, and kitchen waste — which she feeds to the red wiggler worms who fertilize her vegetable garden.

But what Florsheim learned on Canon’s website stopped her in her tracks. To send her clunky, foot-long cartridge back to Canon for recycling, she would have to submit her name, home address, telephone number, and e-mail address.

[What are ] the issues around companies that collect personal data?

Thursday, September 28, 2017

NAICS 2017 Revision for Table of Small Business Size Standards

The U.S. Small Business Administration issued a final rule adopting the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) revision for 2017 (NAICS 2017) for its table of small business size standards.  The final rule is published in the Federal Register at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-09-27/pdf/2017-20705.pdf
NAICS 2017 created 21 new industries by reclassifying, combining, or splitting 29 existing industries under  NAICS in 2012 (NAICS 2012).  On April 18, 2017, SBA issued a proposed rule seeking comments on its proposed size standards for the 21 new industries.  The agency received three comments which were outside of the scope of the proposed rule.  Accordingly, SBA is adopting, without any change, the proposed size standards for the new industries.
The change results in an increase to size standards for six NAICS 2012 industries: (one in Sector 21, Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction; three in Sector 31-33, Manufacturing; and two in Sector 44-45, Retail Trade) and part of one industry in Sector 44-45, a decrease to size standards for two (one in Sector 21 and one in Sector 51, Information), a change in the size standard measure from average annual revenues to number of employees for one in Sector 51, and no change in size standards for twenty industries and part of one industry. 
OMB published its fourth and latest revision, NAICS 2017, “Notice of NAICS 2017 final decisions” on August 8, 2016, stating that federal statistical establishment data published for reference years beginning on or after January 1, 2017, should be published using NAICS 2017.  As with the previous NAICS revisions, SBA is adopting the NAICS 2017 revision October 1, 2017, beginning of fiscal year 2018 following the OMB’s release of the NAICS revision.
Complete information on the relationship between NAICS 2012 and NAICS 2017 is available on the U.S. Bureau of the Census (Census Bureau) website at http://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/
The website also provides detailed documentation on federal notices involving the replacement of SIC with NAICS, and all subsequent NAICS updates and revisions, including the August 8, 2016 “Notice of NAICS 2017 final decisions,” as well as concordances (i.e., correspondence tables) between SIC and NAICS 1997 and NAICS 2002, and between subsequent NAICS revisions.

For more information on SBA’s reviews of and revisions to its small business size standards, click on “What’s New with Size Standards” on SBA’s website at http://www.sba.gov/size.    

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

New Materials: Restaurants & Coffee

The National Restaurant Operations Report 2016

This is another item we get annually for our reference collection. If you are not familiar, it looks at the restaurant industry and provides details like:

  • average check for full-service restaurants
  • average check for limited service restaurants
  • cost per dollar of sales
  • ratio to total sales
  • amount per seat and ratio to total sales
  • annual employee turnover
  • amount per square foot


The National Coffee Drinking Trends Report 2017


  • daily, weekly, yearly consumption by age
  • consumption by type of coffee
  • consumption by region
  • where and when coffee is consumed
  • drinking coffee at home vs in restaurants
  • consumer attitudes
  • year to year trends


The IHRSA Profiles of Success 
The Annual Industry Data Survey of the Health and Fitness Industry

This report provides an industry overview for fitness and health club including club operating benchmarks.
  • membership and attendance
  • leading club data & market share
  • health club member demographics
  • equipment and activity usage data
  • club growth by region
  • financial and operational benchmarks
  • membership agreements
  • profit center analysis


Again, we don't circulate these items but we can provide research using it in answer to your requests.

Voluntary dissolution of a New York corporation


From the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance:

A New York State business corporation may voluntarily dissolve. By doing so, the corporation ends its obligation to pay future taxes and fees to New York State. The dissolution process involves both the Tax Department and the New York Department of State.


Background

New York business corporations must pay franchise and other taxes to New York State. The corporation pays the taxes in exchange for the privilege of exercising its corporate franchise, doing business, employing capital, owning or leasing property, or maintaining an office in the state.
When a New York business corporation decides it will no longer conduct business in New York, it will want to be sure that it ends its obligation to pay state taxes and fees. The process of voluntary dissolution:
  • brings the existence of the corporation to an end; and
  • ends the corporation’s obligation to pay future state taxes and fees to New York State.
Dissolution by proclamation

If a New York corporation doesn’t voluntarily dissolve and doesn’t file franchise tax returns or pay franchise taxes for two or more years, the New York Secretary of State may dissolve the corporation by proclamation.
  • With dissolution by proclamation and voluntary dissolution, the legal entity of the corporation ceases to exist. The important difference is that dissolution by proclamation occurs without a request by the corporation.
  • A corporation dissolved by proclamation must continue to file returns and pay taxes or fees until they:
    1. Have the corporation reinstated
    2. Complete the voluntary dissolution process described below
Procedure for voluntary dissolution

Voluntary dissolution is a two-step process:
  • Obtaining written consent from the Tax Department (which will check to see if the corporation owes back taxes and if it has filed all its returns); and
  • Filing paperwork with the New York Department of State, including a Certificate of Dissolution.
  1. How to get consent from the Tax Department:
    • File a final corporation tax return. Use the form you normally use, but mark an X in the box marked Final at the top of the return.
    • You may also choose to e-file your final return. You must use e-file software that’s been approved by the Tax Department.
    • If the current tax year form is available, you must file using that year’s tax form. If the current year’s form is not yet available, taxpayers may file a short period report using the prior year’s form. The computation of the tax on the final return needs to take into account any tax law changes that are effective for that final tax year. Payment of the tax must be submitted in conjunction with such report.
    • Mail your returns and payments to the appropriate address (see list below).
    • When we receive the final return, we’ll check to see if the corporation is up-to-date with its returns and taxes. This includes any taxes and returns due for any part of a year in which the corporation was in existence.
    • If your corporation has filed all its returns and paid all its taxes, we’ll issue a written consent to dissolve the corporation.
    • If not, we’ll send you a letter telling you what you need to do before we can give our consent. 

  2. How to create a Certificate of Dissolution
    • The Department of State has blank certificates, as well as detailed instructions on how to complete and file them. 

  3. Complete the process by filing with the New York Department of StateOnce you’ve obtained our consent and prepared the Certificate of Dissolution, you’re ready to file with the Department of State. Your filing must include:
    • written consent from the Tax Department (Form TR-960, Consent to Dissolution of a Corporation);
    • one Certificate of Dissolution; and
    • a check for $60 payable to the New York Department of State.
You may file in person or by mailing to:
NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DIVISION OF CORPORATIONS
ONE COMMERCE PLAZA
99 WASHINGTON AVE
ALBANY NY 12231

Once the Department of State accepts the Certificate of Dissolution for filing, they’ll issue your corporation a filing receipt. The filing receipt establishes the date that the corporation’s existence comes to an end.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Small Businesses Crowd Facebook, Twitter for Marketing

From eMarketing:

Small-business owners are often constrained by limits on resources as they balance different needs competing for a slice of finite budgets. But new research from business and marketing services provider G2 Crowd found that despite potential financial restrictions, marketing remains a priority for these decision-makers.

In March, G2 Crowd surveyed small-business owners and managers in the US. (The company defined a small business as one with 250 or fewer employees.) Some 24% of respondents said they planned to prioritize investments toward marketing and advertising in 2017. That was more than the number who planned to concentrate funds on other areas such as sales personnel, new facilities, and software and other IT systems.

Social media platforms have emerged as popular marketing channels for small businesses, according to G2 Crowd’s poll. It revealed that 80% of respondents used Facebook for marketing purposes, while a little more than half (51%) turned to Twitter. While it’s possible that small businesses are buying ads on these platforms, it’s more likely they’re using low- or no-cost functions like Facebook Pages and tweets to connect directly with their customers.

Monday, September 25, 2017

New Materials: HOST Almanac 2017

We've received some new editions in the library. These are sources we use frequently. One of the latest is the HOST Almanac 2017 (with 2016 data). It is published by Smith Travel Inc. The report covers limited and full-service hotel operations, labor analysis, costs, and expenses such as wages, taxes, golf operations, and maintenance among others. 

You can see how the lodging industry is performing overall, trends,  revenue and expense growth, and transaction volume. A map of profitability change by market offers a very broad view of the US. The markets are broadly by state with some more detailed market information in populous areas.

For the summary tables, hotels are split out by "chain-affiliated" and "independent" and by region in our case, "Mid-Atlantic" as well as split between "full" and "limited" service. You can also see hotels by location types such as urban, suburban, interstate, resort, and small metro/town and class, such as luxury, upper upscale, upper midscale and midscale/economy.

This item does not circulate but can be used for reference. If you have a hotel-related request, get in touch and we can refer to this and other resources to answer your question.

Can Brick and Mortar Compete with Digital on Price?

From eMarketer:
Brick-and-mortar retailers may be able to wow shoppers with wonderful touch-and-feel experiences and in-person customer service, but they are still at a big disadvantage when it comes to price—a key purchase factor for many consumers.

From apparel and furniture to televisions and sporting goods, prices of goods are declining. But online prices are dropping at a much faster rate than in-store price tags, according to Adobe’s Digital Price Index study, which compares the prices of baskets of comparable goods online against those in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measured by the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. The study, which looks at a total of 18 product and service categories, suggests that price deflation can be seen in most categories, whether online or in physical stores, but the declines are more distinct online...

For instance, online apparel prices in June fell 4.1% from a year earlier, compared with a 0.6% decline in-store during the same period. Prices of televisions sold online declined 13.2%, vs. an 11.4% drop at physical stores.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Startup Firms Created Over 2 Million Jobs in 2015


From the US Census Bureau:
 In 2015, the nation’s 414,000 startup firms created 2.5 million new jobs according to data from the Census Bureau’s Business Dynamics Statistics. In contrast, this level of startup activity is well below the pre-Great Recession average of 524,000 startup firms and 3.3 million new jobs per year for the period 2002-2006.
Other highlights include:
· Job creation in the United States totaled 16.8 million with job destruction equaling 13.7 million. Job creation minus job destruction equaled net job creation of 3.1 million in 2015.
· Young firms (those less than 6 years old) accounted for 11 percent of employment and 27 percent of job creation.
· Old firms (those more than 25 years old) comprised 62 percent of employment and 48 percent of job creation.
· The job creation rate for young firms, excluding startups, was 20 percent in 2015. This rate is above the Great Recession low of 15 percent in 2009, and it has recovered to its average level of 20 percent during the period 2002-2006.
· The net job creation rate for establishments in metro areas was 2.7 percent. For establishments in nonmetro areas, the rate was lower at 1.2 percent.
· States with the highest net job creation rates in 2015 — 3.4 percent and above — are in the South Atlantic, Pacific and Mountain divisions. There were significant differences in net job creation rates at the state level, ranging from about 5 percent to just below 0 percent.
The Business Dynamics Statistics are based on Business Register data, which covers all employers in the U.S. private nonfarm economy. The Business Register is based on administrative data combined with data from the Report of Organization (formerly known as the Company Organization Survey).

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Small business owners file class-action suit against Equifax

From BizJournals:

An Atlanta firm filed the first class action suit brought against Equifax on behalf of 28 million American small businesses. The suit, filed on Sept. 19 by the Atlanta division of The Doss Firm LLC, claims that small business owners were disproportionally affected by the breach, as the availability of small business credit is often directly linked to its owners’ creditworthiness.

The suit notes that “about 60 percent of small businesses use loans to finance their operations… from maintaining cash flow to purchasing equipment,” making the loss of credit of particular concern to these individuals and their businesses.

From the lawsuit:

Many of the 143 million individuals whose PII [personally identifiable information] was hacked are also owners of small businesses that heavily rely on personal and business credit to operate and provide for families across this country. Any business with fewer than 500 employees is generally defined as a small business – a definition adopted by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Reserve and the Small Business Administration.

There are about 28 million small businesses in America representing more than 99% of all American companies. Indeed, small businesses employ half of the private sector work force, and since 1995, small businesses have created about two out of every three net new jobs – 65% of the total job creation in the United States.

Business loans and credit have historically been critical for small businesses to survive because, unlike large firms, small businesses lack access to public institutional debt and equity capital markets. According to the Harvard Business School Article referenced in footnote 4, in 2012, over 85% of small businesses reported to the National Federation of Independent Businesses (the “NFIB”) that their primary financial institution was either a large or community bank.

In addition, according to the NFIB, about 60% of small businesses use loans to finance their operations, and use the loan capital for a variety of purposes, ranging from maintaining cash flow and working capital to purchasing equipment and financing real estate purchases.

How you can sue Equifax and be part of a lawsuit