Friday, April 29, 2011

Marketing To Men

Three in ten men are single, and of those, 80% are the decision-makers in their households. I know what you’re thinking – that’s logical. But it is, in fact, an overlooked aspect of many male lifestyle situations, and a hidden gem that many advertisers keep missing. This segment buys small and big-ticket items like automobiles, clothing and more at levels equal to or greater than women in most cases.
Even women agree that men should have major input in decisions about buying big-ticket items. Six in ten women say that a recommendation from a spouse or partner is a deciding factor when making these purchases. So when you’re just buying women, you’re missing key influencers – men.
And six in ten men say it's their call or that they have a key role in big-ticket purchases in their households. Times have changed and men have stepped up and are more engaged than ever.

MORE HERE.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New York State sales tax on FOOD

Inspired by the front page story in today's Albany Times Union, Food ready to eat on a plate? It's taxable

In New York State:
Food Item is///Tax Exempt if///Taxable if
Cold cuts///sliced and sold by weight///arranged on food platter
Pizza///frozen, refrigerated, unheated///heated
Hot dog///refrigerated (packaged)///served on a bun or heated
Fish///sold unheated///heated or served in a sandwich
Bread///sold by the loaf (whole or sliced)///served with a bowl of soup
Bananas///sold whole, individually or by the bunch///peeled or sliced as part of a fruit platter
Bagel///sold by quantity (whole or sliced)///toasted, buttered, or with cream cheese
Salad mix///packaged in bag///from a self-serve salad bar or prepared and arranged on a plate
Ice cream///sold in a container by weight (including hand-packed pints, quarts, etc.)///made-to-order cone or sundae
Macaroni salad///packaged and sold by weight///served with a sandwich, served in a tray as a side dish or on a plate, or from a self-serve salad bar
Chicken wings///sold unheated///sold heated

More fun explanations of the New York State sales tax law re food sold by food stores.
for food retailers.
for specific products and services.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why Your Customers Are Neither "Right" nor "Wrong"

Case study from Step-by-Step Marketing: Why Groupon.com pleases even customers who are wrong

Groupon.com, one of the fastest growing companies on the Internet, emails its members daily offers to buy discounted deals in their residential areas. One recent deal, for example, offered members in New Jersey an opportunity to buy $40 worth of food at an Italian specialty store for $20. It's a great business concept, but it places unusual demands on Groupon.com's customer service.
Here's an example...of taking the long view.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A high price

One of our NYS SBDC advisors has a new client who paid wasted $24,000 (no, we didn't misplace a zero!) for a TOTALLY USELESS business plan!

Yet another reason to come to your nearest SBDC first.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How Do Firms Choose Legal Form of Organization?

To incorporate, or to not incorporate? That is the question posed at start-up. This Advocacy funded report by Rebel Cole, How Do Firms Choose Legal Form of Organization? (PDF) finds that the choice of legal form of organization is relatively stable over a firm’s first four years. When changes do occur, they tend to be to the more complex forms of organization.

A Research Summary can be found at here (PDF).

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Searching for corporations

Can one search for corporations in all 50 states at once? Well, no. But one can use KnowX.com, an LN company.

As a librarian noted, "A multistate search is free and you can purchase individual or expanded records on a pay-as-you-go basis. Another option is a day pass. You could check for other KnowX pricing options. Also check coverage and updating information if those are key issues for you. Delaware is not included. Here is the blurb:

"'Research Corporate Records, and Search for Company Public Record Information. Search Corporate Record filings from the Secretary of State Offices across the United States. The types of information included in the Corporate Records search are records related to corporations, limited partnership, limited liability companies, trademarks, reserved names, and more.'"

Monday, April 18, 2011

10 Words That Should Never Appear on Your Website

From BNET:

"Here are words and phrases you should remove from your website — not just from your About Us page but from many other pages as well.

"They might sound impressive to you, but they're meaningless to everyone else."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Be Credit Savvy

Building good financial credit is important. It can affect your ability to make large purchases and qualify for a loan or mortgage. Learn more about credit:

How Credit Works
Why Credit Scores Matter
Build a Better Credit Report
General Credit Tips

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Does the Bankruptcy Code Provide a Fresh Start To Entrepreneurs?

The U. S. bankruptcy system is designed to recover funds for creditors while giving bankrupt small businesses an opportunity for a “fresh start.” While a fresh start is a goal of the system, little analysis has been done to evaluate the ability of small firms to reset and thrive after bankruptcy. This paper attempts to fill that gap. The research finds that 2.6 percent of firms filed for bankruptcy within the previous seven years, that they are comparable to other firms in terms of cash flow and firm size, and that they have a 24 percent higher likelihood of being denied a loan and are charged interest rates that are 1 percent higher than those charged other firms.

The research summary can be found HERE.

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

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Free gov pubs online

The press release read: "Through a partnership among GSA, the U.S. Government Printing Office, and Google, 100 of the most popular government publications are now available to download for free online. This partnership will allow for greater access to these documents and contribute to an open and transparent government. As more documents become available online, it will eventually reduce the number of documents that GSA’s Federal Citizen Information Center prints while reducing costs and the environmental impact."

Sounds great! So I decided to check it out at pueblo.gpo.gov/FreePubs.php. I should note that one can order almost any of the physical items and receive them in one to three weeks, rather than writing to Pueblo, Colorado, like I used to.

First couple categories, Cars and Consumer Action Handbook, each had only one item, but one could click on the link and make a PDF.

But several areas had no such link. Under Small Business was Diversifying Your Workforce, with no link. What to do? Check out the FAQ!

"During this pilot program, we are limiting copies to one per person. However, you can download and print copies of government publications from Google Books (http://books.google.com) or order print copies of publications from the Federal Citizen Information Center (http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov) and the Government Printing Office Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov).

I tried Google Books first. The export citation choices were BiBTeX (.bibtex), EndNote (.enw), and RefMan (.ris); my computer recognized none of the extensions. At the FCIC/Pueblo site, not only did I find a PDF of the resource, but links to related items. I couldn't find the item at all at the GPO bookstore.

Next I looked for, under Money, the item Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number. Both Google books and FCIC/Pueblo led me to the Social Security page with a PDF link. Again, no luck at the GPO bookstore.

Your experiences may vary.

Monday, April 11, 2011

SBA, Agility Webinar Focuses on Post-Disaster Strategies

WASHINGTON – In the chaos following a disaster, impaired judgment can lead to poor decisions. Those lapses of confidence can impact the ability of business owners to successfully manage the recovery process.

How does a business owner take positive steps ensure that his or her business remains resilient through a disaster situation that could destroy the company? Join Agility Recovery Solutions and the U.S. Small Business Administration on Tuesday, April 19, for a discussion on developing the capacity to become a more resilient leader during a free, online webinar led by former FEMA Administrator David Paulison.

During the hour-long webinar, Paulison – a nationally recognized leader in emergency and disaster preparedness, response and recovery, will talk about obstacles to clear-headed leadership, and will share tips based on his own experience on avoiding errors that lead to failure in the midst of trying to rebuild after a disaster.

SBA has partnered with Agility Recovery Solutions to offer business continuity strategies for entrepreneurs via their “PrepareMyBusiness” website. Visit www.preparemybusiness.org to access previous webinars and for more preparedness tips.

Since 1953, the SBA has provided more than $48 billion in disaster recovery assistance to 1.9 million homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes in the form of low-interest loans. For more information about the disaster loan program, visit www.sba.gov/disaster.

WHO: SBA, Agility Recovery Solutions

WHAT: “Leading with Resiliency During a Disaster” will be presented by former FEMA Administrator David Paulison, followed by a question and answer session.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 19, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EDT

HOW: To register visit https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/244031664.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Federal open government websites to shut down

Several of President Obama’s open government initiative data websites are scheduled to go dark in May due to lack of funding. Funding will run out on April 20 for IT Dashboard; Data.gov, which provides enhanced access to publicly available federal datasets; and Paymentaccuracy.gov, which tracks improper payments from government programs. Other open government public data sites scheduled to go dark after July 30 are USASpending.gov, which provides detailed information on federal contracts, and Apps.gov, a site that tracks how federal agencies use free web applications. More information about the proposed cuts is available here.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

SBA, Inc. Mag, AT&T Join Forces to Promote Small Biz Exporting

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Small businesses seeking to grow their businesses and create jobs through exporting can turn to new, free educational videos created through a partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration, Inc. Magazine and AT&T.

Through the public-private partnership, a series of video modules has been developed to inspire and encourage American small businesses to actively pursue exporting and to educate them on how to do so.

“Winning the future means supporting small businesses that want to grow and create jobs through exporting,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “SBA is very pleased to have partnered with Inc. Magazine and AT&T in the production and distribution of this video series, which will help small firms that are new to exporting or looking for new markets to sell their goods and services.”

The video series, Take Your Business Global, features five main topics that guide small businesses through the process of exporting: Getting Started in Exporting; Planning for Export success; Connecting with Foreign Buyers; Financing; and five Case Studies of successful small business exporters.

The videos begin with answers to the frequently asked question, Why Export? They feature SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns; U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke; U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Ron Kirk, and a variety of small business exporters. Other modules feature exporting experts discussing “how-to” take your business global. The videos are posted atwww.inc.com/exporting...

Funding for this project was jointly provided by Inc. Magazine and AT&T. Also, Inc. Magazine created the site to host the videos; both firms will distribute DVD copies of the videos and related materials approved by SBA and promote the series in online and print advertising...

The co-sponsorship agreements will remain in effect through August 31, 2012.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Podcasts on Exporting

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a number of podcasts available to assist small and medium sized companies. While their topics range from marketing and sales, human resources, and the technology that you employ to keep your business functioning smoothly; they also have a number of podcasts to assist you in exporting:

Intellectual Property Rights: Protecting and Enforcing Your IPR in Foreign Markets
Where Will Your Next Customer Come From? Look Around the World
Competing in the Global Market: SBA’s International Trade Programs
Exporting to Russia
Exporting to Uganda
Exporting to Bahrain
Exporting to Cameroon

Monday, April 04, 2011