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Showing posts from December, 2010

Where to find a lawyer or law firm

To find a lawyer, law firm, or legal services specific to your needs, I recommend Martindale.com. It is possible to browse or search for lawyers by popular practice areas or geographic areas.

Their 140-year-plus history began in 1868, when lawyer and businessman James B. Martindale first published The Martindale Directory. Its stated purpose was "to furnish to lawyers, bankers, wholesale merchants, manufacturers, real estate agents, and all others...the address of one reliable law firm, one reliable bank, and one reliable real estate office in every city in the United States..."

By 1896, The Martindale Directory included the basic information that still appears in the lawyer and law firm Profiles, as well as ratings and a section on foreign lawyers and firms.

In 1930, the Martindale Company purchased the publishing rights to Hubbell's Legal Directory, which contained a digest of state laws, court calendars and a selective list of lawyers and firms. The following year ma…

Accepting Credit Cards on Your Website

How to accept credit card payments on your site without a merchant account

Why Do It?
Credit card payments allow you to take advantage of the following types of customers:
1.Impulse buyers.
2.International customers.

Methods of Accepting Credit Card Payments
There are actually two ways in which you can accept credit cards on your site.
1.Using Your Own Merchant Account.
2.Through a Third Party Merchant.

Which Method Should You Use?

SBA Unveils New Website, Launches SBA Direct

WASHINGTON – As part of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s mission to ensure that small business owners and entrepreneurs have access to accurate, timely and helpful information, SBA Administrator Karen Mills today unveiled a newly re-designed SBA website. The new site also features the launch of SBA Direct, a dynamic new web tool with a variety of personalization features that will help small businesses start-up, succeed and grow.

...SBA Administrator, Karen Mills said, “While the SBA website has traditionally been an information-rich site, we wanted to make it easier for small business owners to navigate. With the new improved SBA.gov, business owners can access the answers they need, specific to their business profile, in an instant – it truly presents the face of the future of SBA.”

While the site features a variety of enhancements including a full re-design, new content, and improved navigation, the centerpiece is a dynamic new web tool called SBA Direct.

SBA Direct allows v…

Business Stages for Entrepreneurs

While it is unfortunate that the James J. Hill Library can no longer provide us with online databases, there are still offering resources for entrepreneurs. Extremely useful are Business Stages for Entrepreneurs. Business Stages for Entrepreneurs is a free online information resource for entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them grow. The five stages and the information provided for each are:

Exploring - Resources that will help you test your business concept against the current market place.

Beginning - The nine major steps in starting a new business.

Growing - Resources to help your business grow and expand.

Managing - Tips and tools to help your business stay successful.

Maturing - Options for when you've reached your business goals and are ready to move on.

SBA, Microsoft introduce resource to deliver essential tech info to small biz owners

WASHINGTON – A new technology tool for small businesses is now available to help them grow and create jobs. The new education resource, Business Technology Simplified, helps small business owners connect the dots between entrepreneurship and technology to give them a competitive edge.

The U.S. Small Business Administration and Microsoft have teamed up to develop this free, comprehensive guide on how technology can improve the small business owner’s chances for success. The Business Technology Simplified guidebook includes fundamentals on the importance of technology, and on how it can be used to achieve a business’s goals. In the guidebook’s foreword, Earvin “Magic” Johnson writes about his journey in developing a multimillion dollar company and the value of technology to remain competitive...

Business Technology Simplified offers straightforward tips on how to use technology and innovation to make businesses work more efficiently. The guidebook incorporates relevant and practical m…

SBA Renews Patriot Express Loan Initiative for 3 More Years

WASHINGTON – A very popular initiative that in just three-and-a-half years has provided more than $560 million in loan guarantees to nearly 7,000 veterans to start or expand their small businesses is being renewed for three more years, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Patriot Express, a streamlined pilot loan product based on the agency’s SBA Express program, offers an enhanced guaranty and interest rate on loans to small businesses owned by veterans, reservists and their spouses. Over the past two years, due in part to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, loan volume increased dramatically.

“America’s veterans have the leadership skills and experience to become successful entrepreneurs and small business owners,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “The impact of this program over the last three-and-a-half years has meant thousands of veterans and their families have had the resources to pursue their dreams as entrepreneurs, and at the same time create jo…

Occupational Wages in New York State

The New York State Department of Labor provides very useful statistics on wages, both by occupation and industry. Annual wages for each occupation are divided into mean, median, entry, and experienced levels. Wages can be examined at both the state level and by region. This is the best way to determine what a business owner should pay their employees.

Free5500.com

A nifty source. Tip of the hat to Hill Libraries:

Free5500.com contains PDFs of Forms 5500 from companies of all shapes and sizes. What is a Form 5500, you ask? It's a disclosure form required by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Depending on the Plan type and other factors, the accompanying schedules may include information such as ESOP (employee stock ownership program) information, financial information, service providers, financial transaction schedule, retirement plan information, and more.

Free5500.com requires free registration to access, but registration lets you search by company name, EIN, state, ZIP, area code, plan type or class, assets, and number of participants, and includes up to 10 years of historical forms. You can also print the PDF formatted documents. Note that the free access may limit you to forms that are at least 2 years old or so (a subscription may net you more current data, as well as other perks such as more robust searching).

Free5500.com i…

NEW American FactFinder available in January 2011

American FactFinder is the primary tool for accessing data on the 2010 Census, the American Community Survey, Population Estimates and eventually the Economic Census.

This link will help you navigate the new version of the American FactFinder page on the Census website. Please take some time to become familiar with the site before it goes live in January 2011.

Building Purchase Check-off List

Here's a link one of our SBDC advisers found. It's from 1997, and you have to wait for the commercial, but it's useful stuff.

Small Business Advocate

Release Date: December 2010

Volume 29, number 8

The Small Business Advocate is a periodic newsletter that details economic developments and regulatory trends related to small business as well as the latest initiatives of the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy.

In This Issue
Broadband Survey Published
Chief Counsel Calls for Repeal of 1099 Requirement
Where Will the Jobs Come From?
FCC Broadband Comments
H-2B Program Changes
and more

One Page Form for Health Care Tax Credit for Small Businesses

December 2, 2010 letter from Karen Mills, SBA Administrator

Dear Small Business Owner,

As I’ve traveled the country this year, I have heard from many of you who are looking forward to the new tax credits, health insurance exchanges, and other tools that will help you provide health insurance coverage to your employees as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

The most immediate benefit of the new law is a tax credit that will help America’s smallest employers and nonprofit organizations (less than 25 full-time equivalent employees with average annual wages below $50,000) who have been hit hardest by premium increases in recent years. Today, I’m pleased to announce that the Administration is releasing a one-page form and instructions on how to claim this credit for the 2010 tax year. In addition, new guidance released today answers questions that many of you have asked related to: your current contribution arrangements, eligibility for certain religious institutions, and participation by mu…

World AIDS Day

An estimated 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, and yet one out of five don’t know it. World AIDS Day (December 1) is an opportunity to take action.