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Showing posts from February, 2011

New York State Directory of Small Business Programs

This may be a directory to help small business access valuable resources, but it's also a useful tool for those advising small businesses.

It includes:
*information resources (OPAL, Healthy NY, Guide to Sales Tax in New York, etc.)
*technical assistance (environmental ombudperson, Workers' Comp, etc.)
*funding incentives (general, environmental, minority/women/disadvantaged, tax incentives)
*industry-specific programs
*workforce recruitment, development, and benefits
*government contracts/market expansion
*mandated state filings

Pricing Used Merchandise

A new website is aiming to make it easier to price used merchandise. According to The New York Times, Worth Monkey aims to be the Blue Book for used anything, says co-founder Fred Abler. When a user enters a certain good at the site, the site combs the Web (eBay, Amazon.com, Google) for asking and actual prices for that used good, combines that data with information about broader category trends and statistical analysis and then presents the user with details about a great price, a fair price and an overpriced price for that good as well as pricing information for comparable products. Users can also enter their own thoughts about what the item is worth, which then helps inform future site results.

Currently, the site provides such data about millions of products in 10 different industries, including vehicles, electronics and musical instruments. Once users have the fair market value, they can “use that as the basis for negotiation, and we just take a little bit of the friction out …

CCC Copyright Video

Here is Copyright Clearance Center’s new animated video concerning academic copyright. The video educates people, specifically faculty, about copyright laws when distributing materials to students, via course packs or readings uploaded online.

EBRI blog

Employee Benefit Research Institute - "EBRI is the only private, nonprofit, nonpartisan, Washington, DC-based organization committed exclusively to public policy research and education on economic security and employee benefit issues." Here is its blog.

Laws of New York

When searching to rules, regulations, permits, and licensing information, the first place to look is New York State's Online Permit Assistance and Licensing website. Sometimes, the helpful information provided will tell the searcher to look up legislation that is available through Laws of New York. If no information in provided in OPAL, sometimes searching Laws of New York will yield results previously undiscovered. Ultimately, it is always a good idea to search both sites for the most comprehensive results.

Dumb Customer Service, Part 237

My family stayed in a chain hotel in a southern city recently. It was reasonably nice, especially for the price, but a couple things bugged me:

1. There was something called the "business center" which was comprised of one computer, with a printer behind the registration desk that was hit or miss.

2. Checkout was a 12 noon. We went downstairs for the complimentary breakfast, returning about 9 a.m. we packed, then my wife decided to let the daughter have a chance to use the pool. I went to get a cart to haul the luggage. When I got back to the room, around 11:15, my room key didn't work. I thought it somehow got demagnetized, so I went down to get my wife's key; that didn't work, either. So I went to the front desk. Apparently it is a regular issue that the keys time out at some point before the checkout time. This is an absurd system, which wasted a good 10 minutes of my time.

SBA Re-launches Dealer Floor Plan Pilot Loan Program

A pilot loan program aimed at increasing access to inventory financing for auto, boat, RV and other dealerships will be re-launched Tuesday (2/8) and will be effective through Sept. 30, 2013, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced today.

The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 included a provision for re-launching SBA’s Dealer Floor Plan (DFP) Pilot Loan program, which first became available in July 2009. The pilot is part of the SBA’s overall 7(a) loan guarantee program. The Jobs Act also increased the maximum size for 7(a) loans to $5 million, up from $2 million, which includes loans made through the DFP pilot program.

“As a result of the credit crunch in late 2008 and early 2009, dealerships saw a significant decline in the availability of this type of inventory financing,” SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns said. “SBA’s original DFP pilot program was launched as a way to expand the availability of floor plan financing and the Jobs Act added further enhancements to that pro…

The State of Small Business

The 2010 edition of The Small Business Economy documents the 2008 recession’s effects on small business as well as the changing economy at the end of 2009. In 2009, after weathering a deep recession that began in late 2007, the American economy began to stabilize. For small businesses, one of the biggest remaining challenges was the lack of sales adequate to grow employment. Many economic indicators began to show improvement by year’s end.

For example, in the first three quarters of 2009, small businesses accounted for almost 60 percent of the net job losses, with the greatest losses in the first quarter. By the third quarter, net small firm job losses were one-third what they had been in the first quarter. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and other policy actions added between 1.5 percent and 3.5 percent to real gross domestic product in fourth quarter 2009 and projected an employment increase of 1.0 million to 2.1 million more…