Posts

Showing posts from August, 2005

Disaster Planning

As Hurricane Katrina pounds the south, with damage estimated in the billions of dollars, businesses are forced to activate disaster plans, backing up systems and many are already trying to deal with the aftermath. This brings to mind how often many businesses are not fully prepared for catastrophic events. There is an enormous amount of information available about how to go about it. I’ve listed just a few sites that offer tips and checklists. Something to think about.

SBA’s Disaster Preparedness Considerations on the SBA website offers tips on creating a disaster planning toolkit covering issues such as operations, insurance and communications.

Expect the Unexpected
Create a monster plan to disaster-proof your business.Business Start-Ups magazine - January 1997
By Julie Cook


Books in our collection:

Alesch, Daniel J. ; Holly, James N.; Nagy, Robert
Organizations at risk: What happens when small businesses and not-for-profits encounter natural disasters

Schneid, Thomas D.
Disaster manageme…

Labor Day 2005: September 5

Image
[Here's an article from the Census Bureau. The nformation particularly pertinent to New York State is in italics.]

The first observance of Labor Day is believed to have been a parade on Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City, probably organized by Peter J. McGuire, a Carpenters and Joiners Union secretary. By 1893, more than half the states were observing a "Labor Day" on one day or another, and a bill to establish a federal holiday was passed by Congress in 1894. President Grover Cleveland signed the bill soon afterward, designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day.

Who Are We Celebrating?

149.1 million
Number of people age 16 or older in the nation's labor force in May 2005. Among the nation's workers are 80.0 million men and 69.1 million women. These men and women represent 66 percent of the civilian noninstitutionalized adult population.

Employee Benefits

82%
Percentage of full-time workers age 18 to 64 covered by health insurance during all or part of 2003.

Our Very Own Scam

Not long ago, Mary Beth posted a blog on Web sites & other resources that exist as forums for people to report scams. Good thing I knew about some of them, because recently we've had our very own scam to contend with.

Last March, I received a faxed invoice from ProMedia Resources, a company reputedly based in New Jersey. Soon after, a rep from the company called as a follow-up. He claimed that, five years earlier, we entered into an agreement to have our library contact information included on a CD-ROM directory of theirs titled the "American Business Resource Guide". The five years, he said, were up, and we owed them $400.

This smelled fishy, as we don't enter into multi-year agreements as a matter of practicality. Nor are we interested in marketing our private services to the general public - we exist solely to serve the New York SBDC staff.

I do research for a living. A preliminary investigation of mine found that no one affiliated with the Research Networ…

Good News

Image
Mark Wan called the Research Network recently. Besides asking a reference question, he added a personal note: He's engaged! We at the Research Network extend our congratulations to Mark and his bride-to-be.

Best,

Darrin, Josée, Mary Beth and Roger




Today's blog is the first of a new series, "The Occasional Friday Blog," providing news of interest to the NYS SBDC community on an irregular basis at the discretion of the Research Network. If you would like to contribute, please call the Central office at x.149.

Send Central Your News and Press Releases

Have you had a news article printed about your center? Send us articles and press releases to add to the News page—examples include:
center quotes for articlesprofiles of clients in the newspress releases generated internally or by your host college, andanything else noteworthy.Electronic copies are preferred, but not required. Also, the Central office will need to get permission from the publisher to post articles on the Web site so be sure to include the date the article appeared and the name of the newspaper/magazine. Visit the News page for updates from around the state at http://www.nyssbdc.org/News/news.cfm. Send news items to Mary Beth, m.bobish at nyssbdc.org.

New-ish Books in our Collection

JK3430.P976 2001
New York Public Sector:


JK671.F43 2005
Federal yellow book:

JK3430.N49 2005-2006
New York State directory 2005/2006

Peachtree accounting 2005 (software)


HD62.5 .L53 1996
Gregg A Lichtenstein; Thomas S Lyons
Incubating new enterprises:

HD30.28 .R644 2004
Rogoff, Edward G.,
Bankable business plans /


TK5105.888.N54 1996
Niederst, Jennifer. ; Freedman, Edie.
Designing for the web:

HV7936.S56 1999
The NRA range sourcebook

HD61 .R378 2004
Author Reiss, Claire Lee.
Title Risk management for small business /

A Moving Experience

How Many People Move Each Year – and Who Are They?
By David Bancroft Avrick

Over the past quarter century I’ve heard dozens of different statistics about the percentage of people that move every year. These guesstimates have varied from a low of 10 percent to a high of 25 percent. When people move, your database takes a hit. So let’s look at who moves and why.

Using the information provided by the U. S. Census Bureau, let’s clear up the confusion and misinformation. Out of a population of 282,556,000 people, 40,093,000 moved. That’s an overall percentage of 14.19 percent annually.

These 40-plus-million people break down as follows:

23,468,000 (58.51%) moved within the same county,
7,728,000 (19.28%) moved to a different county within the same state,
7,628,000 (19.03%) moved to a different state, and
1,269,000 (3.17%) moved to a different country.

The percentage of population that moves, when broken down by age, varies considerably – from a low of 1.55 percent to a high of 17.84 percent. N…

Fax Advertisements

Once upon a time, there was a client starting a gourmet food store. The client wished to obtain a list of business fax numbers for the neighborhood immediately surrounding the store with the intent of faxing lunch menus. A bit of digging at the Research Network revealed that while this advertising method appears inexpensive it is unlawful and therefore could end up costing the client quite a bit.

According to a notice on the Federal Trade Commission web site, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act bans unsolicited fax advertisements. "The Act makes it unlawful for anyone to fax an unsolicited ad to another individual or business if there is no prior business relationship - and the penalty for each violation is $500 or up to $1,500 if a company willfully and knowingly violates the law."

Now, what if the gourmet food store had established a prior business relationship with the recipient of the fax? Then, the gourmet food store could send the unsolicited fax. However, after J…

Franchise Opportunity Listings

There are many, many sources for franchising information but I’ve outlined a few here:

FranchiseOpportunities.com
describes itself as the “web’s largest database of franchise and business opportunities” and offers a search facility by industry or investment level with various industries broken out into type of situation. It also offers articles and news on franchise business.

BestFranchiseOpportunities.com
This site offers a similar look-up including a good resources list naming well-known sources for franchise information. One can also look up company names directly.

The International Franchise Association
Also includes a franchisor directory as well as a supplier directory, books and reports.

Entrepreneur.com Franchise Zone
Slices and dices the similar information in some useful ways.
Like Top-Home based, Fastest Growing, Top New and Top Low Cost among others.

For a quick overview HowStuffWorks.com has an article on How Franchising Works by Lee Ann Obringer that offers pros and cons, rules,…

Domain Name

I had a reference question recently. The bottom line was that the client thought that if he typed in a domain name and he didn't find it, it meant that it was available.

Wrong.

Your clients should be checking the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers, which will direct them to several other locations. Perhaps the most useful is the InterNIC, which provides: a roster of ICANN-accredited registrars (legitimate organizations that sell the domains), information regarding registered domains (who owns the domain names), a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding domain name registration, and more.

I like to look at a couple sources for registered domains, so I also look at Whois Source.

When I type in ibm or ge or fedex into Whois, I find the domains at .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz, .us, and are no longer available. Even if they were open, your client should be wary of using them. If a website is a
variation of an existing URL that would likely create "co…

RN Materials - Lending Period

More about those Entrepreneur Start-Up Guides . . .

Recently, I e-mailed a Word file that listed the remaining guides in the Research Network collection. While we were busy winnowing our holdings, we received a notice from a center that wondered why we allow only 2 weeks to view these books.

This is one of those vestiges of the days when the Researh Network served the entire country. Back then, we had a much greater demand for the guides than we do now. Two weeks was a reasonable duration to allow people to view the guide, but not so long that others would have to wait too long.

Obviously, we're not national anymore. As of now, the Research Network will allow these guides to be on loan to SBDC advisors & their clients for a period of three weeks. This includes the mailing time. It's something that should've been done many years ago. Sorry for the delay.

This clause will appear in the upcoming revision of the SBDC's Standard Operating Procedures manual. In the near futu…

Scams and Urban Legends

By now you can probably recognize an Internet scam in your e-mail inbox. But, sometimes the text is so persuasive that you consider forwarding it to one hundred of your closest colleagues and friends. How can you tell if it's for real or not? Do a bit of research at one of these sites:

Hoaxbusters: http://hoaxbusters.ciac.org/Snopes: http://www.snopes.com/snopes.aspTo discern whether you received a computer virus, search:Symantec: http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/hoax.htmlVmyths: http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/hoax.htmlAnd if you get spam e-mail that you think is deceptive, forward it to spam@uce.gov. The Federal Trade Commission uses the spam stored in this database to pursue law enforcement actions against people who send deceptive e-mail.

Economic Research Service

Many of our clients are setting up or growing businesses in rural settings. A source that looks at rural economics is the USDA’s Economic Research Service: Key Topics: Rural America. It looks at rural industry including farm labor, issues facing farms, how many farms are set up and federal funding distribution. You will also find Characteristics and Production Costs which looks at how production costs vary among producers. Agricultural Outlook: Statistical Indicators includes data on specific commodities, prices and expenditures.

Rural America at a Glance is at http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/AIB793/ and State Fact Sheets: New Yorkis a summary of farm income and employment for NYS.

Free Credit Score

Everyone in the country should soon be able to get a FREE copy of his or her credit report from each of the credit reporting companies once every 12 months. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a brochure, Your Access to Free Credit Reports, explaining your rights and how to order a free annual credit report.
The free reports have been phased in during a nine-month period, starting on the West Coast last December 1, to the Midwest on March 1, to the South on June 1. Starting September 1, the free reports will be accessible to everybody, including those in CT, DE, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, NC, PA, RI, VT, VA, WV, DC, PR, and all U.S. territories.
There’s a toll-free number to order the report: 877-322-8228, or complete the request form on the FTC site and mail it. The instructions read: "When you order, you need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. To verify your identity, you may need to provide some information that only you would know, like th…

Research on Non-Profits with GuideStar

When doing research on non-profits, I often check GuideStar.org. GuideStar provides data on more than 1.5 million non-profit organizations. When you search the GuideStar database without registering, you find a non-profit by its name, city, and state. You'll see its NTEE (National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities) code, and whether contributions to it are tax deductible.

If you register (for free), however, you get much more, including:
AddressMission and program descriptionsGoals and resultsThree most recent Forms 990 received from the IRS* for an organizationAny documents a nonprofit has posted through the eDocs service *Form 990 is an annual reporting return that certain federally tax-exempt organizations must file with the IRS. It provides information on the filing organization's mission, programs, and finances.

If you're looking to work with a non-profit or thinking about donating to an organization, GuideStar.org can help you become better-informed, and make more effective …

US Department of Labor

To follow on Darrin's earlier post... No doubt everyone has visited the DOL site for data at some time for employment law or other tips and stats. I tend to get in and out, going straight for what I need without really looking around, especially since there is such an alarming amount of information jammed in there. A few spots that are worth a visit if you haven’t been recently are:

OSHA - Injury and Illness: Recordkeeping

Reports on Computer and Internet Use at Work

Temporary help agency workers report

Occupational Outlook Quarterly

We often go straight to Occupational Outlook Handbook and certainly you will recognize the reports from that source from enquiry packets. A source you may not check as often is the Occupational Outlook Quarterly Online. While poking around I came upon the You’re a What? feature. This quarter they focus on a modelmaker, past issues have been flavorist, and perfusionist. But they also covered acupuncturist, corporate concierge, dog walker, and greeting card …

40 Government Sites You Can't Live Without

I was looking for more cool resources for you when I came across a November 2003 article in Entrepreneur magazine online, with the title shown. While the other librarians and I have cited some of the sources they've included, there are a few others that you might want to check out.

Business Basics

Business.gov: "Sponsored by the SBA, this site asserts that its purpose is to make the relationship between business and government more productive."

U.S. Postal Service: "The USPS delivers when it comes to helping you figure out the ins and outs of shipping your precious letters and packages. Of particular interest: a section on direct mail—how to do it, rates and mailing info, templates, FAQs and more."

Also in this section: SCORE and something called the Small Business Development Centers.

Business Opportunities

Cited here:
Export.gov: "Register to receive the Export.gov newsletter, and you'll get monthly updates on feature articles, trade events and new market …

Start-Up Guides

Sometimes, a library is improved by what it removes, rather than what it adds.

Since 1992, the Research Network has been buying, cataloging, and lending Business Start-Up Guides, as published by Entrpreneur magazine. These are guides that are regularly borrowed by you on behalf of our clients. At the beginning of 2005, we had exactly 200 guides in the collection.

However, a recent review of our holdings shows that 75% are more than 10 years old. I knew we had some dated guides on the shelves - however, I didn't realize it was that prevalent. In traditional public & academic library settings, items that are this old are kept as a matter of historical record. We don't have that luxury here - there's simply not enough space, nor are these guides of any practical value to the clients we serve.

(In fact, they can do more harm than good. A recent evaluation came back to the Central office, specifically noting a client's disappointment with "very old" informa…