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Showing posts from December, 2008

Small Business New Years Resolutions

These are resolutions to improve one's e-mail marketing campaign in 2009:

1. Clean your email list.

Can be used for your personal use as well.

Ignore at Your Peril

From our friends a J.J. Hill Library: Twitter, Pownce, Facebook, Plurk - online communities are as plentiful as they are nonsensically named. And they're coming into the mainstream. Might your business benefit by joining the conversation?

A white paper from Rubicon Consulting called Online Communities and Their Impact on Business can help you decide. The study identifies how information about businesses is spread online and how businesses can best interact in that conversation.

Access the full report in PDF
here.

No so incidentally, the title of this post is the subtitle of the white paper.

BNET's Best Business Books 2008

Once again, I have found a list of business books that I would like to share. The books in BNET's Best Business Books of 2008 were voted on by BNET readers and the article includes synopses, reviews, and more. The topics range from microfinance explained in terms for four to eight year old children to a book titled "The Back of a Napkin", the theme of which is how to solve business problems through illustrating.

If anyone who reads this post has business book recommendations, we at the Research Network would love to read your comments. Happy Holidays!

New Books in the Collection

2009 Directory of Department Stores
Chain Store Guide
Includes:
Department Stores
Shoe Stores
Resident Buyers
Jewelry Retailers
Optical Retailers
Product Lines
Apparel Price Lines
They offer some statistical analysis as well as profiles of companies. The profile includes address, contact details, total sales, breakdown by product, number of units, buyers by department, parent company.

Although available online, we have the print version of the 2007 Traffic Data Report for New York State from the NYS Department of Transportation. The data is available on the Highway Data Services Bureau's web page:
https://www.nysdot.gov/portal/page/portal/divisions/engineering/technical-services/highway-data-services

Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009

Do you like data? If the answer is “yes,” you’ll certainly enjoy the Census’s Bureau’s 2009 Statistical Abstract of the United States. Just released today, the almanac includes “more than 1,400 tables of social, political and economic facts about our nation and the world. Among topics covered in the 49 new tables in this edition are the religious composition of our nation’s population, osteopathic physicians, online news consumption, expenditures for wildlife-related recreation and women in parliaments around the globe. Although the emphasis is on national-level statistics, some tables present state- and even city- and metropolitan-level data as well.”

Check it out (along with previous years back to 2006) in PDF form here:
http://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/statab2006_2009.html

Using a "Secret Shopper"

I found an interesting article about using a secret shopper. I've actually been a secret shopper for friends in business; I think it's fun.

The writer's wife's friend is the manager of a store. "Getting someone to participate as a secret shopper could give you the insight you need for evaluating employee performance. There are programs out there that will connect businesses with secret shoppers, or you can just get someone you know to do it if they are willing."

Here's the downside: "the possibility of losing the respect of your employees. If you do engage in a secret shopper situation, it is probably best that the employees never find out about it. They will not appreciate being spied on, and no longer trust you. If your employees can't trust you and/or respect you, they're not going to be happy working for you, and will quite possibly begin looking for another job."

Bottom line: "If you do use a secret shopper and all of your employe…

Census Bureau: New Database for Tracking Business Activity

We get lots of requests that try & show the growth, or decline, of certain industries (or of small business in general) over a given time period, or in a given place. Our responses have always required getting a bit of data here, and a bit of data there, and involving way too much formatting of spreadsheets.

I've just learned of the Census Bureau's new "Business Dynamics Statistics" website. (A lot of people just learned of the site - it just rolled out on December 1st.) However, after reading what it's all about, I'm tempted to say that we'll now be able to answer these questions a whole lot more easily.

Here's a press release from Census, telling us just what to expect:

"The U.S. Census Bureau announces the release of the Business Dynamics Statistics (BDS), a data series that allows users to track annual changes in employment for growing and shrinking businesses at the establishment level.

There are more than 6 million establishments with paid …

Recession Survival Guide

American Community Survey 2005-2007 Data Release

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On December 9, 2008, the Census Bureau will release the first set of three-year American Community Survey data for all geographies with populations greater than 20,000. The release will provide the first look at detailed socioeconomic and housing characteristics for geographies between 20,000 and 64,999 since Census 2000. The type of data released and geographies covered can be found here.

Different from a point-in-time estimate

Before I talk about multiyear estimates, it’s important to understand the concept of a period estimate because all ACS estimates are period estimates.

The ACS produces period estimates of socioeconomic and housing characteristics. It is designed to provide estimates that describe the average characteristics of an area over a specific time period. In the case of ACS one-year estimates, the period is the calendar year. For example, the 2007 ACS data describe the population and housing characteristics of an area from January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2007, not fo…

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property, as defined by Wikipedia, is "a legal field that refers to creations of the mind such as musical, literary, and artistic works; inventions; and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce, including copyrights, trademarks, patents, and related rights." Often times our clients who have created an original product or idea become confused when they want to protect their creation over whether they need to apply for a copyright, trademark, or patent. Below are explanations on the three types of protection and what is protected by each.

Copyright is for original works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. Copyrights are registered with the United States Copyright Office and have an expiration date. The length of the copyright depends on when the work was first created.

Trademark covers words, names, symbols, and devices used to identify goods or services in commerce. Federal regulations are available through the United States P…

Smart Moves

I spotted Ira Davidson quoted in the December issue of Entrepreneur Magazine in an article entitled Smart Moves in a Bad Economy. Good on you, Ira. This is a hot topic and one we are all interested in hearing more about. Increasingly we asked how small business owners should handle their marketing during lean times. This article encourages owners to think carefully about where they cut and warn against cutting valuable people or marketing dollars so severely they spite themselves.

Please remember to let us know when you are interviewed in print or broadcast. We want to know!

Government Tweets

"We continue to discuss how to best use a single Twitter channel for a 17,000-person agency covering many complex, interdisciplinary issues."

This was the first post I read on the EPA's Twitter feed. So apparently we're not alone in trying to figure out this Twitter thing! At least there are less than 200 of us...

Want to see how more government agencies are using Twitter? Use the GovTwit directory to find Twitter accounts for state, local and federal, as well as contractors, reporters, academics.

International Program Center

Here's a Census website I did not know about until recently: the International Programs Center (IPC) "conducts demographic and socioeconomic studies and strengthens statistical development around the world through technical assistance, training, and software products." I knew Census had a world population clock, but didn't notice that IPC was the source the information. IPC assists "in the collection, processing, analysis, dissemination, and use of statistics with counterpart governments throughout the world." Also note these handy links to international statistical agencies.

Small Business Year-End Tax Strategies

Here's an article that appears in today's Los Angeles Times:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-smallbiz1-2008dec01,0,5978675.story

According to it, accountants in this part of the country are talking to their small business clients about: deferring deductions and accelerating income; increasing the deduction for expenses; taking a bonus depreciation deduction; and taking a deduction for losses.