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Showing posts from December, 2005

Upscale

"Upscale." "High-end."

Advisors seeking information from the Research Network often use these terms when they make their requests at their clients’ behest. But do your clients have any sense of what these terms mean when they say them?

High-end does not merely mean that the items or services provided sell for a higher price, an assumption I’m getting when an advisor merely "passes through" the clients’ question (not a good idea, by the way.) Upscale means that the product being sold is not only more expensive but also of a higher quality than the average product of its type. In the service sector, it means a greater amount of time and effort being exerted. The client cannot just slap a higher price tag on what they are doing and expect to receive it, at least over the long term.

There are some industries that are more mature, so that the sense of upscale is well-defined. The restaurant industry has codified upscale. Restaurants are divided into limited…

LaGuardia SBDC on TV

The Small Business Development Center at LaGuardia Community College helped a couple from the Philippines achieve their American Dream: a veterinary clinic. More than 1,100 budding entrepreneurs were assisted by the center, which was created following 9/11.View the CUNY-TV segment. (Requires Real Player or equivalent.)Running Time: 3:24

Succession plans without children

Back in September, Jan Pisancyzn spoke to a reporter from the Democrat & Chronicle. Jan offered advice for business owners whose children do not want to take over the business.

Look at a trusted employee or two who have demonstrated some skill in running the business. In the case of a restaurant, the head chef might want to take over.Talk with competitors - and in the case of restaurants, suppliers - who may be interested in buying it.Look into hiring a business broker who does for businesses what real estate agents do for home sellers.Be realistic with expectations of how much the business is worth. Ask yourself, what is the current demand for this kind of business and what is a realistic price for the business.Regarding item #4, the Research Network can help, too. We have a few sources in our reference collection that contain valuation formulas and rules of thumb plus chapters describing methods of determining a fair price. The titles we have are:Handbook of Business Valuation ed…

Mature Audiences

The Research Brief from the Center for Media Researchran an article today on how mature audiences (35 to 54 year olds) are more likely to be watching streaming video than the average consumer. The article states that according to comScore Networks "State of the Consumer Streaming Market," “the research confirmed that 35 to 54 year-olds are 20% more likely to watch online video than the average Internet user, and 25 to 34 year-olds are 12% more likely than the average Internet user to watch a stream online.” This flies in the face of the widely held belief that streaming video is the domain of the younger age brackets. This should tell advertisers something: they need to be creative to speak to this important consumer demographic. As this article attests, this presents a great opportunity for advertisers to put their best foot forward and present their products and services in innovative ways.

More on the ACS

As I mentioned back in July, the American Community Survey is now the new source of Census data.

Go to the Data Sets section of the Census page. Click on any of the tabs to the right (data profiles, detailed tables, e.g.) Pull down the counties of New York. You'll only find 15 of the 62 counties for the state: Albany, Dutchess, Erie, Monroe, Onondaga, Orange, Rockland, Westchester, plus the counties of New York City and Long Island. Why is that? Because this is data based on sampling, and only the locations that have 250,000 people have data that are "statistically significant" in this round. You'll also notice that the data are presented differently than you may be used to, with a lower bound and an upper bound. In fact, these parameters have been calculated before, but not shown.

Next year, the threshold will be 65,000, as the Bureau expands the process. The places with 20,000 to 65,000 people will be calculated based on a rolling three-year average, so there wi…

SBA Increases Small Business Size Standards Due To Inflation

Some of you may have already seen this, but I'm posting here for general consumption. This and other SBA news items can be found here.

"SBA Increases Small Business Size Standards Due To Inflation
Interim Final Rule With Request For Comments

SBA has adjusted its monetary-based size standards (e.g., receipts, net worth, and financial assets), for the effect of inflation that has occurred since the last inflation adjustment in February 2002. Since the last inflation adjustment, the general level of prices has increased 8.7%. This action restores small business eligibility to businesses that have lost that status due to inflation. In addition, this rule changes the process for determining the size of small business concerns applying for SBA Business Loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) from a test considering only the primary industry of the applicant, to a two-part test considering both the primary industry of the applicant and the primary industry of the applicant …

Misspelling?

These days I'm feeling a bit out of the loop. I'm not up on the latest trends in fashion. So, when we took a recent request on hip-hop clothing, I knew I had to do some background research. One of the clients was interested in several brands. I found myself getting nowhere on my search for the brand Academic. I tried doing a literature search, even narrowed the search to a specific fashion industry publication, WWD (Womens' Wear Daily), but found nothing. Darrin stopped by and I explained my quest. He suggested that the spelling of the brand might not be so obvious (and I had already searched for Baby Phat, another spelling for a clothing brand that wasn't exactly intuitive). I pressed forward searching under alternate spellings and lo and behold, there is a hip-hop brand called Akademiks.

If you have a research request for a brand, company name, or trademark, you'll save the Research Network some time (and get more accurate information) with the correct spelling. W…

De-accessioned Books from the RN

These are books offered to the Regional Centers from the RN shelves. In most of these cases we have purchased the latest edition. While in some cases it is not advisable to rely on information from an outdated volume, some of these may still be quite useful. Please contact me should you be interested in having any of them. First-come, first-served.


Bond’s Franchise Guide 1999
DMA Statistical Factbook 2001
Franchise Opportunities Guide 2002
Kids Count Databooks 2000, 2001, 2002
New York Public Sector
The Community Sourcebook of County Demographics 2004
The Community Sourcebook of Zip Code Demographics 2004
The Lifestyle Market Analyst 2004
The Service Business Planning Guide by Warren G. Purdy
The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2003

New York State County ZIP Codes

The Empire State Development Library created a list of the NYS County zip codes arranged alphabetically.

"Please note: Zip codes bear no relation to county or other administrative boundaries. They are established by the U.S. Postal Service for mail delivery. In many cases a zip code may cover areas in more than one county."

For instance, 10466 is primarily a Bronx ZIP Code, but it also appears in part of Westchester County.

Albany County, NY (county)
Zip Code(s): 12007 12009 12023 12041 12046 12047 12053 12054 12055 12059 12067 12077 12083 12084 12110 12120 12122 12143 12147 12158 12159 12183 12186 12189 12193 12202 12203 12204 12205 12206 12207 12208 12209 12210 12211 12303 12304 12309 12469

Allegany County, NY (county)
Zip Code(s): 14060 14065 14536 14708 14709 14711 14714 14715 14717 14721 14727 14735 14739 14744 14754 14777 14802 14803 14804 14806 14807 14813 14822 14836 14846 14880 14884 14895 14897

Bronx County, NY (county)
Zip Code(s): 10034 10039 10451 10452 10453 10…

In Which State Should You Incorporate?

Last week, I sought an answer for a client who was planning to open businesses in more than one state. Part of the question focused on which state, then, should her corporation be registered in.

I found some information in a book we have in our collection. Here's an excerpt of what it says:

"So what state should you incorporate in? It's my opinion that you should incorporate in the state where you are doing business. That is, where your office is located. There are only two reasons to incorporate in another state - first, if you are going to have offices in many states, and second, for tax planning. If you are going to have offices in more than one state, Nevada makes a good choice because it is 'friendly' to corporations. Also, since Nevada has no state corporate income tax, you can lower your taxes by shifting income there from a taxable state. Needless to say, this is a sophisticated tax strategy meant for those with large tax bills and a good CPA.

The bot…

Top Inventors

This article gives an overview of author Kevin Maney's quest to identify the top inventors in the U.S. His own attempt to cull a list from the database of the United States Patent and Trademark Office proved futile. He called in some experts who were also befuddled and concluded: "The question, with variables including inventors with same last names and multiple names on patents, is apparently a database operator's nightmare." So, Maney was left to try other avenues to come up with some prolific patent-holders. The top inventor may surprise you. Click on the title of this entry, Top Inventors, to find out.

Spamalot: Disposable E-mail Accounts

We’ve all grown accustomed to a certain amount of SPAM in our e-mail accounts, and I know many who choose to sacrifice an account on one service or another to SPAM while keeping their main address free of junk. Naturally then, there are products available to outfox spammers. Here are a few.

GishPuppy.com
Assures you can “take back your email” by registering with their free service which enables you to make aliases that you can use for online registrations and then easily delete whenever you want. This service is praised for it’s simplicity.

Jetable.org Disposable Email
These aliases automatically expire after a certain amount of time; 1 to 8 days. They are not connected to your actual email at all, so the down side is they stop forwarding to your regular email when they expire and cannot be manually reinstated.

Emailias.com
Offers a few more features. You set up an emailias button in your toolbar and when a registration asks for your email address, you click that button and it generates an …

O Canada

It used to be that when I would Google for some obscure statistical figure, as often as not, I would hit on something from Statistics Canada, which would be irritating, because I wanted numbers for the United States.

Statistics Canada is a centralized statistical agency that serves the federal and provinical governments. It originated in 1919 as the Dominion Bureau of Statistics. It conducts over 400 surveys.

While some of the raw statistics are available on the page, many of the reports are only available for a price. It is supposed to operate on a cost-recovery basis.

One section that is totally free, as far as I can tell, is the Canadian Census.
It is similar to the U.S Census in that it depends on self-enumeration (the US since 1970, Canada since 1971). Both countries use short forms (100% response requested) and sample data long forms. Some of the geographies (metropolitan areas, census tracts, blocks) are comparable.
Conversely, Canada has collected data about religion since 18…

Native American Capital

We frequently receive requests on behalf of clients who are Native American, wondering if they qualify for any grants based on their heritage. As usual, there aren't any grants available specifically for Native American businesses.

Recently, though, I received an e-mail that announced the arrival of a company called Native American Capital. Their mission, according to their Web site, is to "foster and promote business and economic development in Indian Country through investment of private equity capital in promising new and developing high growth businesses in Native American and Alaskan Native communities."

As they are new, I don't have much information as to their effectiveness. However, if you've clients of Native American descent who have a promising business venture, this is a potential source that ought to be investigated.

Al Hirsch

Allyn Hirsch, Certified Senior Business Advisor, at Stony Brook, has retired after 10 years of service.
Allyn’s background was in the defense industry and expertise in engineering and technology, which had enabled him to offer clients a wide variety of assistance, especially manufacturing companies and inventors of technical products. He had assisted clients in obtaining venture capital as well as traditional bank financing.
Allyn is a graduate of Polytechnic University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. His last day was November 30.

He was one of the top five counselors in 1998.

We in the Research Network will miss him, not only because he asked really well defined questions, but also because he always showed a personal interest in our well-being.

Evaluating Web Content

Ever come across information on the web and wondered about its accuracy? Here in the Research Network we try to evaluate web content by checking for:
credibilityauthorityreliabilityrelevancedatesources behind the text, andscope and purpose.For example, a recent article in USA Today found a false Wikipedia 'biography' for John Seigenthaler, Robert Kennedy's administrative assistant in the early 1960s. Seigenthaler himself found the inaccurate text on Wikipedia and his son located the same inaccurate information on Reference.com and Answers.com. "Representatives of the other two websites said their computers are programmed to copy data verbatim from Wikipedia, never checking whether it is false or factual."

So, how do you know if the Wikipedia entry you found or anything else on the web is true? Use the web with caution, verify facts and try to find cooberating evidence from articles or books by experts in the field. Keep in mind that just because it's in print d…