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Showing posts from November, 2011

A Growing Immigrant Population’s Self Employment in the U.S.

For a growing immigrant community in the United States, setting up shop means blending tools of the trade from home with discoveries made in the new country, and there’s a strategy that’s threading through an array of small businesses.

Leila Rodriguez a University of Cincinnati assistant professor of anthropology, presents her research, “Traces of Home, Legacies of Culture: Business Development Among Nigerian Immigrants in New York City.”

Minding Their Own Business – UC Research Examines a Growing Immigrant Population’s Self Employment in the U.S.

Fighting piracy

From HERE

Cyber Monday shoppers looking to score NFL jerseys, DVDs or fancy handbags [had] a better chance of getting the genuine article, after federal enforcement agencies spent Black Friday taking control of 150 websites reputed to deal in counterfeit goods.

As part of the ongoing Operation in Our Sites, the Justice Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized control of the sites’ domain names in the largest crackdown to date on online knockoffs, the department said in announcing the crackdown.

The domain name servers for the sites — the majority of them selling bogus NFL and other sports gear, along with some offering DVDs, UGG boots, Louis Vuitton bags and other goods — were switched to seizedservers.com, a server run by ICE. Many of the sites were registered to people in China, the Register reported.


That's the good news. The not-so-good news is that in this fight against piracy, there is much more far-reaching legislation proposed.

From HERE

The Stop Online Pir…

FedEx Express National Service Disruption

From FedEx

The Memphis hub and flight operations experienced substantial disruptions Monday night due to snow and ice. Potential delays are possible for shipment deliveries across the U.S. FedEx is committed to provide service to the best of our ability. Continue to check fedex.com for service updates as well as track the status of your shipment.

Consistent with the provisions of the FedEx Service Guide, the money-back guarantee is suspended for U.S. packages and shipments inbound into the U.S. from international locations with a delivery commitment of Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011.

Fuel Economy Guide 2012

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy produce the Fuel Economy Guide to help car buyers choose the most fuel-efficient vehicle that meets their needs. ...

This Guide provides annual fuel cost estimates for each vehicle. The estimates are based on the assumptions that you travel 15,000 miles per year (55% under city driving conditions and 45% under highway conditions).

More HERE.

Small Business Saturday

Saturday, November 26, 2011 is Small Business Saturday® – a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities. Please join the SBA and organizations across the country in supporting your local small business by shopping at a small business.

How to Raise Your Prices or Rates without Losing Customers

Everyone has to increase their prices eventually. If you’re fortunate your customers won’t notice. But in a budget conscious economy, the chances are they will. However, done right, raising your prices should not alienate your customers – particularly if they value you and your services

READ MORE.

Bribe Payers Index 2011

From Transparency International:

Bribing public officials when doing business abroad is a regular occurrence, according to a survey of 3,000 business executives from developed and developing countries.

Transparency International’s 2011 Bribe Payers Index ... ranks 28 leading international and regional exporting countries by the likelihood of their firms to bribe abroad. Companies from Russia and China, who invested US $120 billion overseas in 2010, are seen as most likely to pay bribes abroad. Companies from the Netherlands and Switzerland are seen as least likely to bribe.

More HERE.

Product Service Codes

Here is a link to Federal Product Service Codes and Federal Supply Codes. Revised Product Service Codes and Federal supply codes Effective 10/01/2011. The red codes expired 09/30/2011 and the blue codes have been added as of 10/01/2011

Product service codes are used by the United States government to describe the products, services, and research and development purchased by the government. Government procurement specialists and government contractors alike require a solid understanding of these codes in order to produce quality partnerships between buyers and suppliers.

Cyber Security and You

From New York's Libraries Information Network offers this advice from the Office of Cyber Security

1.Use Strong Passwords: Passwords should have at least eight characters and include letters (uppercase and lowercase), numbers and special characters. It is important to maintain separate passwords for different accounts to reduce the likelihood of one password being compromised, which may make other accounts vulnerable as well. Developing good password practices will help keep your personal information and identity secure.

ALSO
2.Limit the Use of External Devices
3.Avoid Phishing and Social Engineering Attempts
4.Be Cautious When Shopping Online
5.Limit the Use of Administrator Accounts
6.Update Your Software
7.Protect and Secure Mobile Devices
8.Enable Your Firewall
9.Use Anti-virus and Anti-spyware Programs
10.Secure Wireless Networks

Customer service: A breed apart

From blogger LisaF

So how do you select which com­pany to sup­port with your money? Usu­ally it’s the one with the lowest price at our house. But what hap­pens when all pricing is equal? What tips the scales and get the nod?

More HERE.

Foreign Labor Certification data center

The Foreign Labor Certification Data Center includes an Online Wage Library with Download Data Files, plus Foreign Labor Certification (FLC) disclosure data for the Permanent, H-1B, H-2A and H-2B programs.

Impact of Signage on Economic Development

And the SBDC was cited:

Harry C. Alford's presentation to the Signage Foundation Inc.; Mr. Alford is the President and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce

In these turbulent economic times, small businesses rely on effective signage to help ensure the continued viability of their companies. While regulations are a necessary part of a complex society, regulatory flexibility is needed to ensure that businesses have the ability to attract new customers and bring back existing ones. Every law and regulation should be evaluated against its impact on jobs. On premise signs[are particularly important to black-owned business, especially those located in economically disadvantaged areas. Therefore, policymakers should develop and implement zoning laws and regulations for signs in a commonsense, business-friendly manner.

More HERE

NOTE that 10 of the 57 footnotes, starting with #13, are to New York State Small Business Development Center, What’s Your Signage? How On-Premise Signs …

Should You Incorporate Your Freelance or Consulting Business?

If you are a consultant or freelancer you’ll be familiar with this often asked, yet perplexing question: Do I need to incorporate? Legally, the answer is no. The truth is over 70 percent of U.S. businesses are owned by sole proprietors, and operate successfully without incorporating. So, if you can legally operate and be successful without it, why would you want to incorporate your business?

READ MORE.

An AFF2 how-to guide

With the Census Bureau's Legacy American FactFinder ending by the end of 2011, you may find this how-to guide from Michigan’s Dept of Technology for AFF2 helpful.

Your Economy

Explore economic activity in your own community - and across the country.

YourEconomy.org is a business census containing more than 24 million active establishments (over 41 million total) providing detailed information about the performance of businesses from a local to a national perspective.

Analysis of Small Business Innovation in Green Technologi​es

Previous Advocacy-funded studies of small business patenting activity established the existence of a cohort of independent, for-profit innovative small firms with 15 or more patents over a five-year period. The studies also showed that innovative small firms had a higher percentage of emerging technology patents in their portfolios than their larger counterparts. A recent focus on “green” jobs, businesses, and technology led to this study of a subset of these innovative patent holders [PDF]. This project was designed to highlight differences in the patent activity of small and large firms in green technologies and industries.

Small innovative firms in this study are even more productive, measured in terms of patents per employee, than was shown in the previous studies. The current study finds that small innovative firms are 16 times more productive than large innovative firms in terms of patents per employee. Small firms are more likely than larger firms to have green technology as a …

Employment shows a slight rise

by Isabella Woods

Employment levels have increased slightly according to Bureau of Labor Statistics released last month. The month of September saw an increase of 103,000 in the number of people employed, slightly higher than the monthly average for April-September which stands at 72,000. However, the increase should not be seen to hide the more complex employment picture.

Nearly half of the 103,000 increase can be accounted for by 45,000 telecommunications workers returning to their posts after a strike took them off the employment total for August. The total unemployment figure is largely unchanged by the increase in employment, standing at 14 million. The overall unemployment rate is 9.1%. Since April, the unemployment rate has remained stable, varying only between 9.0% and 9.2%.

Beneath the headline figures, we can see a difference in the fortunes of different industries. Reflecting tightened budgets, there was a fall in the number of government jobs of 34,000. Retail and manufact…

SBA Helps Veterans Start, Grow and Expand Small Businesses

Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Disabled Veterans Expands to Eighth School

WASHINGTON – With thousands of service men and women returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Small Business Administration is welcoming them home with programs and initiatives to help them start, grow and expand their businesses.

“Around Veterans Day, our thoughts turn to the men and women who are serving or have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as to all who have made sacrifices and served our country in the armed forces,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said. “When you consider the leadership and management skills our veterans develop while on active and reserve duty, it’s no wonder we see so many of them choose a path as entrepreneurs and small business owners.”

SBA provides veterans access to much needed business counseling and training, capital and business development opportunities through government contracts.

Those products and programs include:

Entrepreneurial Development
SBA and Syra…

Surety Bonds: How SBA Can Help Your Small Business Obtain This Centuries-Old Assurance

The idea behind surety bonding is simple and direct. One person, or entity, guarantees to another that a third person will perform a contract according to its terms. Small business contractors and service companies that want to become more competitive and bid on projects requiring surety bonds, can look to SBA for the help they need to step up to that next level of business success.

Read more.

5 Ways to Get that Federal Contract

The federal government spends more than $500 billion a year on contracts, making it the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world. Small businesses throughout the country can and should take advantage of contracting opportunities, which can be a crucial source of revenue to help them grow, innovate and create jobs.

Read more.

Why Your Small Business May Need a Board of Directors

You may think that a board of directors is reserved for large corporations with shareholder investments to oversee and strategic decisions to be made. Some business structures may require you to have a board, but there are several other reasons why small businesses might consider forming a board.

Read more.

Growing Businesses, Creating Jobs

The U.S. Small Business Administration is using November to celebrate entrepreneurship in a number of ways.

It launched the Student Startup Plan to help more college graduates learn how to lower their loan payments in order to get the “breathing room” they need to start a business.

It is hosting a Young Entrepreneurs Series (YES) to help more young people come together, exchange ideas, and get on a path toward building a viable business.

It is kicking off the Apps for Entrepreneurs Challenge, which runs through Nov. 20. It has $20,000 in prizes for the best mobile apps that help America’s entrepreneurs tap into federal programs to help them grow a business and create jobs.

More info.

The Stuff Nobody Tells You About Escaping Cubicle Nation

Cubicle Nation by Carmen Sognonvi

Do you fantasize daily about quitting your job?
...
As you sit in your cubicle, it may seem as if the hardest part of transitioning from side hustler to full-time business owner is making your escape.

But I’m here to tell you that life after the cubicle isn’t all unicorns and rainbows either.

It’s messy. It’s emotional.

And that’s okay, because you’ll come out of it a stronger person and a better entrepreneur.

More HERE.

Carmen Sognonvi regularly blogs HERE.

Business name search

When starting a new business, you probably want to check service or trademarks, which often is a way that organizations protect their brand, at the USPTO site.

Here's a link to a directory of all 50 states' Secretary of State sites, where one incorporates.

New Birth, Death, and Employment Firm Size Data

U.S. Census Bureau annual employment size of firm data (partially funded by the SBA Office of Advocacy) on firm births, deaths and job creation has been updated for 2008. Nonemployer data for 2009 was also updated and saw a decline from 2008 levels. See HERE for data.

Should you need further information, please feel free to contact the Office of Advocacy at (202) 205-6533 or advocacy@sba.gov.

How to Use Twitter for Business

"Trying to unlock Twitter's business potential? Maintaining an effective Twitter presence can be a powerful part of your social media marketing strategy," and HubSpot is offering "the know-how to effectively take advantage of it."

"Learn how to leverage Twitter's 360 million users in [their] complimentary guide, Introduction to Twitter for Business, which covers everything from getting started with tweeting to generating leads and sales."

New York State Task Force Report on Tax Preparer Industry

The New York State Task Force on Regulation of Tax Return Preparers,
drawn from a diverse group of tax professionals, business, government
and academic leaders, has issued its report.

The report, required by legislation, recommends a set of minimum qualifications and a comprehensive set of standards for all tax return preparers.