Thursday, September 30, 2010

Getting Paid

It will be interesting to see how innovators rethink how we do things that are currently in a state of flux. Improvements seem to come in stages, with a departure from how things have always been done (or not done) and the sometimes awkward stages before a new workable solution comes about. How we keep in touch, how we form communities, how we buy and enjoy music - all of these things are changing and perhaps we have not reached a long lasting solution yet. They are still in development. you have the converts, the skeptics, and at some point, we turn the corner and there is a new way of doing things that everyone just has to accept until the next sea change.

This article making the rounds is an example of an innovation that looks promising:

State of the Art
A Simple Swipe on a Phone, and You’re Paid
Published: September 29, 2010

Of course, other places, cell phone users have found it commonplace to pay via their cellphones. This service offers another option for getting paid for non-store purchases. Making use of the computer that is your cellphone, the Square up system allows users to exchange funds and track purchases/sales. It will be interesting to watch how these services pan out.

So let’s say someone from Craigslist comes over to buy your old junk. You snap the Square reader into your phone or tablet. You tap in the amount of the purchase; it could be $1 for a yo-yo, $25 for a box of old records or $12,000 for a used car (there’s no maximum amount). You type a description if you like, and maybe even take a photo of what you’re selling.

You input the payer's card information and bob's your uncle.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Social Media Deal Sites

In an email I received earlier this week from, I read an article that taught me a lot about online coupon websites. Titled Coupon Clipped, the article discusses business owners and the mixed feelings they have about coupon sites. The article tells an interesting story about the business owner of a spa who posted a 60% off coupon for a hot stone massage to the coupon website Groupon. Within 24 hours, he sold 1,288 of the deals, exceeding his expectations and the expectations of "the trendy national couponing site". While the increase in sales was a good thing, the business was almost overwhelmed by the number of appointments made. The bottom line - advertising on a coupon website might be good for business, maybe even too good.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Karen Mills on House Passage of Small Business Jobs Bill

Includes extension of successful SBA Recovery loan programs, tax credits, other support for small business growth, job creation

WASHINGTON – SBA Administrator Karen Mills today issued the following statement regarding the passage of the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act by the U.S. House of Representatives:

“Today’s vote by the House to send the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act to the President for his signature is a key step forward in making sure small businesses have the resources they need to do what they do best – create jobs and drive economic growth. This bill includes billions in tax cuts specifically targeted to small businesses so they can put more of their own resources into growing their business. At the same time, this bill ensures those very businesses have access to the capital they need by extending SBA’s successful Recovery loan enhancements and putting local, community banks in a position to be a real partner for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
This bill is the right step forward for our nation’s small businesses and our economy.”
Release Date: September 23, 2010
Contact: Hayley Matz (202) 205-6948
Release Number: 10-51
Internet Address:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sales Tax - Bad News, Good News

The exemption from New York State sales tax for clothing and footwear under $110 has been eliminated, for the period October 1, 2010, through March 31, 2011. Beginning October 1, 2010, clothing and footwear costing less than $110 will be subject to the 4% New York State sales and use tax and, if applicable, the ⅜% tax in the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District (MCTD) downstate. Local sales tax rates are not affected. This means:

For jurisdictions that did not enact an exemption from the local sales tax, all sales of clothing and footwear are subject to the full state and local sales tax.

For jurisdictions that provided for this exemption, only the New York State tax (and MCTD tax, if applicable) will be charged. These counties: Broome, Chautauqua, Chenango, Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Hamilton, Madison, Schuyler, Tioga County, Wayne will charge only the 4% state sales tax. New York City businesses will charge 4⅜% (the combined state tax and MCTD rate).
The Office of the Taxpayer Rights Advocate, an independent organization within the New York State Tax Department, is committed to helping New York State taxpayers by balancing taxpayer assistance against enforcement efforts.
This office:
-Provides free and independent assistance to taxpayers -Assists taxpayers whose tax problems are causing undue economic harm -Helps taxpayers who have been unable to resolve protracted tax problems through normal channels

If you need help, you are invited to use the new online service, Request for Assistance from the Office of the Taxpayer Rights Advocate.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Business Valuation Resources And More

The key to providing good industry research is knowing where to look. Sometimes I start doing research on an industry and am not sure where to start looking. I have found the website to be incredibly helpful when I have difficulty locating information. According to the site, " is a free guide to business valuation resources, industry and company information, economic data, and more. Designed as a comprehensive resource guide for business appraisers, the site's audience includes a broad mix of business owners, professionals, students, and other parties interested in business valuation and industry information." Although the information listed in the guide isn't always available free of charge, knowing where to find the information is a step in the right direction.

For resource guides specific to a particular industry, see Industry Information Resources, which covers more than 400 individual industries in the following categories: agriculture, fishing, and forestry; mining and construction; manufacturing; transportation, storage, communications, and utilities, wholesale; retail; finance, insurance, and real estate; and personal and business services. Individual pages for each industry list resources and data available from trade associations, publications, and research firms which address subjects such as industry overview, issues, trends, and outlook, financial information and financial ratios, compensation and salary surveys, and business valuation resources. Individual industries are listed below by industry category and standard industrial classification code.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Made in NY" is a high-value label

Products made in New York generate comparatively high levels of wages and spinoff economic activity, according to a new report prepared by the Rockefeller Institute for the Manufacturing Research Institute of New York State. Even after recent losses, the state ranks sixth in the nation in total manufacturing jobs, according to the report. Including other jobs that depend on manufacturing, the sector supports one in three payroll dollars in much of upstate New York. Yet New York City is the largest single center of manufacturing in the state, with more than 81,000 jobs and $4.2 billion of payroll in 2009.
In economic terms, the wealth created and added to the economy through manufacturing processes represented 52.7 percent of the total value of products shipped from New York in 2008, compared to 41.5 percent nationally. The state’s largest manufacturing sector, computers and electronic products, employs nearly 65,000 New Yorkers, with total payroll of $5.5 billion and average salaries of $84,292. Other major sectors include fabricated metal products, food processing, machinery and chemicals (including pharmaceuticals).
The report, released Monday at a Syracuse event announcing the launch of the Manufacturing Research Institute, is now available on the Rockefeller Institute Web site.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Marketing for Hippies

Tad Hargrave is a self-described "hippy who developed a knack for marketing," and started Marketing For Hippies.

From the site:

We work with good businesses.

That could mean: “green business”, local business, sustainable business, social entrepreneurs, holistic practitioners, life-affirming and otherwise conscious entrepreneurs.

I find that, for the most part, they keep ‘meaning’ to handle their marketing but are a bit ‘allergic’ to notions of sales, marketing and self-promotion. They think it’s kind of gross. They look at what many of the bigger names in ‘conscious wealth’ do and secretly hate it (but sometimes do it because they think it’s the only way to grow their business). A lot of them have sort of given up hope that there’s any way to market what they do that resonates with them and feels in integrity.

I found this guy through an e-mail someone sent me a link to Building a Customer Psychographic Profile. "Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of defining their target purely based on things like: gender, age, income, geography and ethnicity. But you can't ignore that people group based on passions and values not skin colour and wallet size." I had a couple problems with it, not the least being the misspelling of the word "psychographics" on the title card. But it's still worthwhile.

In fact, Hargrave has a whole Radical Business YouTube channel.

Monday, September 13, 2010

University at Albany's accreditation

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education acted to reaffirm the University at Albany's accreditation and commended UAlbany "for the quality of the self-study process."

The final self-study document, along with the statement of reaccreditation, is available on the wiki HERE.

Friday, September 10, 2010

EventsEye - Trade Shows, Exhibitions, Conferences & Business Events Worldwide

EventsEye bills itself as "the most complete, practical and reliable free web source dedicated to key exhibitions & trade shows worldwide." With a database featuring over 8,000 events for 2010 and an additional 6,000 more through 2012, it isn't hard to see where the description comes from. Featuring a classification of 149 Activity Topics, EventsEye's purpose is to cover major Trade Exhibitions all over the planet. Finding the information you are interested in is very easy thanks to the leftmost pane that allows you to access the information by Trade Show name, activity topic, exhibition date, location, organizer and also by entering keywords. For example you can get access to all Fashion Industry related Trade Shows in Paris by typing "fashion paris" in the Keyword text box.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Before the Internet Was Your Local Library

Harvey Mackay On Business
Published: 12:00 a.m., Sunday, September 5, 2010
Albany Times Union

Studies show that children who use the library tend to perform better in school. They are also more likely to continue learning and exploring throughout their lives.

If you don't use the library for business, now is a good time to start. We can obtain a high percentage of the information we need via search engines using our home or work computers. But there are a lot of hidden business jewels available at your local library, and many of them can be accessed online.

The average small business or job seeker is penalized by having limited research capabilities. Big companies with big budgets pay for expensive databases. With a mouse click, they can instantly access company data, sort through research reports, and locate current and archived newspaper and trade journal articles. Small companies and individuals who can't afford premium access are left out. Unless they have a local library card.

Most libraries pay for premium subscription databases that you can use for free. Want to use Dun & Bradstreet, ReferenceUSA, or Hoovers to research companies, competitors and build lead lists? There's a good chance your library subscribes to a company search database.

The complete article may be read HERE.

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States

The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) is the primary resource for determining tariff classifications for goods imported into the United States. The U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule, like Harmonized System tariff schedules generally, classifies a good (assigns it a ten-digit tariff classification number) based on such things as its name, use, and/or the material used in its construction.

The tariff schedule is divided into Chapters 1 through 99 plus numerous additional sections such as various appendices and indexes. There are over 17,000 unique ten-digit HTS classification code numbers. Chapters are divided into a varying number of headings, and headings are divided into a varying number of subheadings. Raw materials or basic substances often appear in the early chapters and in earlier headings within a chapter, where highly processed goods and manufactured articles often appear in later chapters and headings. Agricultural products are generally provided for in chapters 1-24, for example, whereas vehicles, aircraft and vessels appear in chapters 86-89. There is no hard and fast rule, however. Toys, for example, appear in Chapter 95 and works of art are found in Chapter 97.

Updated periodically by the United States International Trade Commission, the most recent revision was released on August 26th, 2010.