Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why Workaholics Make Bad Workers

"Americans work almost 200 more hours every year than we did in 1970 — that's about an extra month," Psychology Today explains. And while putting in long hours isn't necessarily problematic, "it's only when the daily grind eclipses other areas of your life that it's time to stop and rethink your schedule."

More HERE.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Small Business Quarterly Bulletin

Advocacy's Small Business Quarterly Bulletin, a brochure-style publication that contains commentary and analysis on the current employment and financing trends of small businesses, shows a positive first quarter of 2011 for small business. Small business employment and financing were turning the corner and trending up, thus joining GDP, which has been growing for seven quarters.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

National Compensation Survey; Productivity Trends

National Compensation Survey: Occupational Earnings in the United States, 2010

The National Compensation Survey (NCS) provides comprehensive measures of occupational earnings, compensation cost trends, the incidence of benefits, and detailed benefit provisions. This bulletin presents estimates of occupational pay for the Nation. These national estimates originate from the NCS locality survey data and are weighted to represent the Nation as a whole. The estimates include pay for workers in major sectors within the U.S. economy in 2010–the civilian, private, and State and local government sectors–and by various occupational and establishment characteristics. The civilian sector, by NCS definition, excludes Federal Government, agricultural, and household workers.

National Compensation Survey: Occupational Wages by Census Division, 2010

Preliminary Multifactor Productivity Trends – 2010 [PDF]

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fatal Occupational Injuries and Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, 2008

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, the Bureau) reports the number and frequency of work-related fatal injuries and nonfatal injuries and illnesses each year. The Bureau also provides detailed information on the circumstances of the injuries and illnesses and on the characteristics of the affected worker.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Entrepreneurship and the U.S. Economy

Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in the growth of the U.S. economy. As the primary source for information on the nation’s labor market, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects data on new businesses and job creation. The following highlights from data series produced by BLS Business Employment Dynamics (BED) program provide some insights on the contribution of new and small businesses to the number of businesses and jobs in the economy.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How to kill innovation, in five easy steps | TechRepublic

How to kill innovation, in five easy steps | TechRepublic

Some things to keep in mind if you want to foster innovation. If you wonder at a shortage of good new ideas, these may be some issues to address.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Starting a Small Business? SBA has an App for That.

SBA Introduces New Mobile Application for
Small Business Owners, Entrepreneurs

New SBA mobile application brings enhanced access to
information and resources


WASHINGTON – Smart phone users interested in starting or growing a small business can now find helpful resources at their fingertips via a new SBA mobile application from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“Increasingly, smart phones are the vehicle through which Americans access information. This is certainly true of many entrepreneurs and small business owners and this new application ensures they will have access to SBA’s resources and programs – literally at their fingertips,” said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills. “Greater mobility fits with the new user-focused SBA.gov launched recently, and is another example of the steps we are taking to do a better job of connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners with the tools to help them start or grow their businesses and create jobs.”

Developed and donated as a gift by Palo Alto Software, Inc., the SBA mobile app will make the search for extensive resources more efficient, whether users are starting a new business or taking an existing business to a new level. The app will first be available for the Apple iPhone®, with future versions for other smart phone platforms.

“Palo Alto Software’s mission is to help small businesses succeed. We’ve developed this mobile application for the SBA because we understand the importance of having the right tools and resources when starting or growing a business,” said Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto Software. “Ideas can strike entrepreneurs at any moment, and having useful resources available through mobile devices could be the impetus that begins the next big company.”

The mobile app will help users connect with SBA district office staff and SBA-affiliated counselors and mentors who can provide free, personalized small business assistance. The user-friendly format of the app will help answer questions such as: How do I start a business? Where can I go in my area to get free help with writing a business plan? And where do I begin finding funding for my business?

The SBA mobile app also features a built-in startup cost calculator to help estimate the costs associated with getting a business off the ground, plus an SBA partner locator to help users find SBA offices, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers and SCORE.

Users will also have mobile access to SBA video content and social media alerts to provide them with tips on the go. This will include live updates from the SBA’s YouTube channel and from SBA’s Twitter feeds. The free mobile app can be downloaded from the SBA’s website.

****************

Release Date: May 24, 2011
Contact: Cecelia Taylor (202) 401-3059
Release Number: 11-39
Internet Address: www.sba.gov/news

Monday, May 23, 2011

Green Core Certification

The Onondaga SBDC, in co-operation with some partners, has initiated a program called the Green Core Company certification, which "provides a blueprint for businesses working to achieve green operations through reduced environmental and social impacts, and recognizes businesses that make a substantial effort to develop a culture of sustainability within their organization; while challenging the offence of 'greenwashing' - the unregulated and improper use of the term and methodology of 'green' for marketing advantage." In other words, it is NOT a self-certification program that allows someone to pay some money to get a sticker for the store logo.

The program is currently designed for businesses in the central New York (Syracuse) area, a participatory process involving SBDC clients who want to save money while doing better for the environment.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Basics of Exporting

"Companies that are new to exporting and companies that have previously considered and abandoned an export strategy can use the Basics of Exporting to get up to speed on terminology, processes, common pitfalls and strategies for success."

From the Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA), "a non-profit agricultural export trade development association comprised of the Departments of Agriculture of the 15 southern states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Since 1973, our programs and services have assisted exporters of high-value food and agricultural products.

"SUSTA is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), its member states and private companies. FAS administers and executes many foreign market development activities."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Veteran-Owned Businesses Numbered More Than 2 Million in 2007

In 2007, U.S. military veterans owned 2.4 million businesses, which accounted for 9.0 percent of all businesses nationwide, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. These businesses generated $1.2 trillion in receipts, or about 4.1 percent of all business receipts nationwide, and employed nearly 5.8 million people.

All in all, businesses where veterans were majority owners or half-owners numbered 3.7 million, representing 13.5 percent of all businesses nationwide, accounting for more than $1.6 trillion in receipts and employing 8.2 million people.

The new data come from the Survey of Business Owners (SBO): Veteran-Owned Businesses: 2007, which provides the first-ever detailed information for all veteran-owned businesses in the United States, including number of firms, sales and receipts, number of paid employees and annual payroll. Statistics are also shown for nonveteran-owned businesses, as well as for businesses that are equally owned by both veterans and nonveterans.

Nearly one-third of veteran-owned businesses (32.5 percent) operated in the professional, scientific, and technical services and the construction sectors.

More info HERE.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Factors Affecting Entrepreneurship among Veterans

We know from previous Advocacy-sponsored research and more than three decades of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that year in and year out veterans have a consistently higher rate of self-employment than non-veterans. Why is this? The new study by the SAG Corporation, Factors Affecting Entrepreneurship among Veterans [PDF], investigates this question and quantifies a variety of factors observed in its analyses.

The research summary can be found here [PDF].


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

Saturday, May 14, 2011

SBA Proposes Size Standard Changes

WASHINGTON – A proposed rule published this week for comment in The Federal Register by the U.S. Small Business Administration would adjust the size definition of small businesses in the transportation and warehousing sector to reflect changes in marketplace conditions in those sectors.

The proposed revisions would increase the revenue-based size definition businesses must meet to qualify as small businesses in 22 industries of the transportation and warehousing sector. As part of its ongoing comprehensive review of all size standards, the SBA evaluated all industries in this sector that have revenue-based size standards to determine whether the size standards should be retained or revised.

In 2007, the SBA began the process of reviewing and updating size standards based on industry-specific data. Before this, the last overall review of size standards occurred more than 25 years ago. Under provisions in the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, SBA will continue its comprehensive review of all size standards for the next several years.

The proposed changes take into account the structural characteristics within individual industries, including average firm size, the degree of competition, and federal government contracting trends to ensure that size definitions reflect current economic conditions within those industries.

The changes would allow some small businesses that are close to exceeding their current size standards to retain small business eligibility under higher size standards, give federal agencies a larger selection of small businesses to choose from for small business procurement opportunities and allow small businesses to qualify for financial assistance from the SBA. SBA estimates as many as 1,200 additional firms will become eligible for SBA programs as a result of the proposed revisions, if they are adopted.

The SBA issued a White Paper entitled “Size Standards Methodology” on Oct. 21, 2009, which explains how the SBA establishes, reviews and modifies its receipts-based and employee-based small business size standards. It can be viewed here.

Comments can be submitted on this proposed rule on or before July 13, 2011, online at: www.regulations.gov, where they will be posted, or mailed to Khem R. Sharma, chief, Size Standards Division, 409 3rd St., SW, Mail Code 6530, Washington, DC 20416. For more information about SBA’s revisions to its small business size standards, click on “What’s New” on SBA’s Web site.

SBA also has extended for an extra 30 days the comment period for a proposed rule published March 16 increasing the size standards for 35 industries and one sub-industry in the professional, scientific and technical services and other services sectors. Comments on that rule will be accepted up until June 15.

Friday, May 13, 2011

SBA Cohosts Webinar on Hurricane Season Business Preparedness

WASHINGTON – The devastating effects of a hurricane extends beyond the coastal areas where the storms land. In recent years, we’ve seen how the impact of storm surge—which is the indirect damage from water and flying debris—inflicts collateral damage on small businesses in a surprisingly widespread area.

The 2011 Mid-Atlantic Hurricane season begins June 1. Is your business prepared for a possible shutdown on the heels of the infrastructure collapse that usually follows a major storm? Get tips on protecting your customers, employees and your investment during a free webinar on May 17 at 2 p.m. EDT. Hosted by Agility Recovery Solutions and the U.S. Small Business Administration, the webinar will feature Weather Services International Senior Meteorologist Ben Papandrea, who will present the 2011 Hurricane Season forecast. Paul Sullivan, a vice president for Agility Recovery Solutions, will share best practices towards preparing your company for disasters.

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 funds to 1.9 million homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes in the form of low-interest loans. To learn more about the disaster assistance program, visit www.sba.gov/disaster.

WHO: SBA, Agility Recovery Solutions
WHAT: “Protecting Your Business This Hurricane Season” will be presented by Agility VP Paul Sullivan, and WSI Senior Meteorologist Ben Papandrea. A question and answer session will follow.
WHEN: Tuesday, May 17, 2011, from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EDT
HOW: Space is limited. To register visit https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/204235769.

President Proclaims National Small Business Week

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama hailed small business owners as the backbone of the nation’s economy in his proclamation of the week of May 15-21 as National Small Business Week. The President declared them to be the embodiment of America’s promise: “the idea that if you have a good idea and are willing to work hard enough, you can succeed in our country.”

The President’s proclamation was issued before the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 48th annual observance of National Small Business Week in Washington, D.C. (May 18-20). The event honors outstanding entrepreneurs from across the country, and features announcement of the 2011 National Small Business Person of the Year, who is selected from among 54 small business award winners from 50 states, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The President’s proclamation states: “Our country started as an idea, and it took hard-working, dedicated, and visionary patriots to make it a reality. A successful business starts much the same way—ideas realized by entrepreneurs who dream of a better world and work until they see it through. From the family businesses that anchor Main Street to the high-tech startups that keep America on the cutting edge, small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of America’s promise.

“Throughout our economic recovery, persevering small businesses have helped put our country back on track. Countless new and saved jobs have come from small businesses who took advantage of tax relief, access to capital, and other tools in the Recovery Act, the Small Business Jobs Act, and other initiatives launched by my Administration to put Americans back to work. To ensure the stability of our recovery, we must continue to provide new opportunities for small business owners and the next generation of entrepreneurs, who will help us out-innovate and out-build our global competitors to win the future.

“To support high-growth businesses, my Administration has launched Startup America, an initiative that will strengthen access to capital and mentoring while reducing barriers to growth for small businesses. Entrepreneurship is essential to the strength and resilience of our economy and our way of life. Startup America will give entrepreneurs the tools they need to build their business into the next great American company. To encourage innovation, we released the Strategy for American Innovation, a report outlining my Administration’s plan to harness ingenuity. This means investing in the building blocks of innovation, like education and infrastructure, while promoting market-based growth through tax credits and effective intellectual property laws.

“The National Export Initiative is working to open markets to American businesses and support small exporters, who increase American competitiveness abroad and create good jobs here at home. We continue to create opportunity for businesses in underserved communities through new lending initiatives, expanded access to counseling and technical assistance. We are also working to provide small businesses more opportunities to compete for Federal contracts. This gives Federal agencies access to some of our country’s best products and services while helping these businesses grow and employ community members. Through these and other initiatives, we are supporting the entrepreneurs and small businesses that provide work for half of American workers and create two out of every three new jobs.

“Small businesses embody the promise of America: that if you have a good idea and are willing to work hard enough, you can succeed in our country. This week, we honor and celebrate the individuals whose inspiration and efforts keep America strong.”

The full text of the President’s National Small Business Week proclamation.

National Small Business Week 2011 will be highlighted with two-and-a-half days of events in Washington, D.C., at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, where more than 100 outstanding business owners from across the country will be recognized. In addition to the State Small Business Persons of the Year, men and women involved in disaster recovery, government contracting, small business champions as well as SBA partners in financial and entrepreneurial development will be honored.

Under the National Small Business Week 2011 theme of “Empowering Entrepreneurs,” featured speakers include Senator Jack Reed (D - Rhode Island); Senator Mary Landrieu (D – Louisiana); Valerie B. Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama; Steve Case, Co-Founder of AOL and Chair of Start-Up America Partnership; Cathy Hughes, Founder and Chairperson of Radio One, and Chair of SBA’s Council on Underserved Communities; SBA Administrator Karen Mills and SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns.

A complete agenda for the event is posted at www.NationalSmallBusinessWeek.com. Also featured are a series of executive panel forums on Strategies for High Growth, Exporting and Social Media. The public can “attend” Small Business Week events virtually, via the SBA’s streaming video.

Small Business Week 2011 cosponsors include: Association of Small Business Development Companies, AT&T, AVAYA, CareerBuilder, Dun & Bradstreet, Google, International Franchise Association, Intuit, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, National Association of Development Companies, National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders, National Association of Small Business Investment Companies, National Association for the Self-Employed, National Small Business Association, Nomadic Display, Northrop Grumman, Office Depot, Raytheon, Sam's Club, SCORE, The Neat Company, Verio, Visa, the Wall Street Journal, and Women Impacting Public Policy.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

SBA Announces Appointments to Advisory Council on Underserved Communities

WASHINGTON – Fifteen individuals from across the country have been appointed to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Council on Underserved Communities (CUC).

Building on SBA’s core programs and Recovery initiatives, the CUC will provide input, advice and recommendations on strategies to help strengthen competitiveness and sustainability for small businesses in underserved communities. These strategies will be focused on increasing entrepreneurship and technical assistance, creating new and strengthening existing outreach and training, and raising awareness in underserved communities of SBA programs and services.

The CUC is chaired by Catherine Hughes, founder and chairperson of Radio One and TV One, and will have 20 members who represent a diverse range of backgrounds and geographic areas.

“One of SBA’s core missions is to support small businesses in traditionally underserved communities, including minorities, women, veterans, people with disabilities and in rural areas,” SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns said. “The Council on Underserved Communities will provide valuable insight and advice into how we can ensure that small businesses in these communities throughout the country have access to the tools they need to grow, create jobs and win the future.”

The CUC’s first meeting will be held in July, in Washington, DC. Before the first meeting, members of the CUC will hold listening sessions in their regions to hear from small business owners and members of the community about what they need from the SBA.

“Thirty years ago, I grew my business with the help of an SBA loan,” said Hughes. “Now I’m so pleased to be chairing the Council on Underserved Communities and help entrepreneurs in communities across the country take advantage of those same opportunities for success.”

The CUC is part of the SBA’s ongoing efforts to expand its reach into underserved communities. While the nation’s economic recovery is moving forward, that recovery has been uneven, particularly for socially, economically and geographically disadvantaged small business owners. To help SBA better address the challenges facing small business owners, the CUC will meet regularly and advise SBA on ways to increase access to capital and promote sustainability, growth, and job creation.

The 15 newly appointed members of the Council on Underserved Communities are:
Hassell McClellan, associate professor - Operations & Strategic Management Department, Carroll School of Management. Dr. Hassell McClellan is an associate professor and former associate dean of Boston College’s Carroll School of Management. He has previously worked in corporate banking with Harris Trust in Chicago and as a faculty member at the Harvard Business School. McClellan’s specialties include strategic management and global competitiveness. He is the author of several case studies, as well as a book on the banking industry, Managing One-bank Holding Companies.

Dasil “Das” Elius Velez, Senior Executive with the New York State Empire State Development Corporation. Das Velez is currently serving in New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration with the Empire State Development Corporation as the executive director of Minority and Women Business Development. Prior to Velez’s appointment, he served as senior advisor to Gov. David A. Paterson. He has also held a number of executive positions in public service sector and was a founding partner of Carro, Velez, Carro and Mitchell LLP, which became New York City's largest Latino law firm.

B. Doyle Mitchell Jr, President and CEO, Industrial Bank. B. Doyle Mitchell Jr. serves as president and CEO of Industrial Bank in Washington, D.C. Mitchell is chairman of the National Bankers Association and the D.C. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. He serves as a board member for the Greater Prince George’s Business Roundtable, the Council for Court Excellence, the Minbanc Foundation and the Sewell Music Conservatory.

Eric Collins, COO, Mobile Posse. Eric Collins, COO of Mobile Posse in McLean, Va, is a veteran of the mobile software industry. Prior to his work at Mobile Posse, Collins led the Tegic business unit for Nuance Communications. Eric also headed marketing for Nuance’s Mobile Division. Following law school, Eric worked as a strategy consultant for technology and entertainment companies before launching a career in mobile technology at AOL.

Derek Hyra, associate professor of Urban Affairs and Planning, Virginia Tech. Derek S. Hyra is an associate professor of Urban Affairs and Planning at Virginia Tech. His research focuses on inner city economic development, with an emphasis on national housing policy, urban politics, affordable housing and small business finance, poverty, and race. Hyra previously worked at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, assessing affordable housing and small business lending programs, and at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, examining the community-level impact of national urban legislation. He currently serves as the vice chairman of the board of commissioners for the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority.

Ron Busby Sr, president, U.S. Black Chamber, Inc. Ron Busby Sr. is the leader of the United States Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc. Prior to coming to Washington, D.C., he was the president of the Greater Phoenix Black Chamber of Commerce, and served as the president of the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area (Oakland, Calif.). Recognized as one of the country’s best CEOs, Busby grew his first business, USA Super Clean, from $150,000 annual revenue to over $15 million per year. He has served as co-chair of the XL II Super Bowl Host Committee and on the board of directors of the Arizona Governor’s African American Leadership Council.

Randy Blass, director, Florida State Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities Program. Dr. Randy Blass is a faculty member of The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship, and the program director for the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) Program all within the College of Business at Florida State University. Before joining the faculty at Florida State, he served as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. Blass specializes in power and influence in organizations, organizational socialization, and human resource management, and has more than 25 years of practical experience in designing and implementing training and development programs.

Ned Fawaz, founder and CEO of Energy International Corporation. As the founder and CEO of Energy International Corporation, Ned Fawaz, is responsible for the expansion in worldwide business including tactical and strategic sales. Beginning his career over 32 years ago, Dr. Fawaz has an extensive background in international business and in the mechanical and electrical engineering and equipment industry. He studied mechanical engineering at York Institute in York, Pennsylvania and worked for 10 years for York International. He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree (LLD) from Davenport University of Michigan, served in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany for 2 years.

Eddie Reyes, historically underutilized business coordinator, University of North Texas. Eddie Reyes serves as the historically underutilized business coordinator for the University of North Texas. Reyes was selected by the SBA as the 2010 National Minority Small Business Champion the Year. Reyes also serves as the chairman of the board of directors, Greater Grand Prairie Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

LeeAnn Marker, business advisor, Hutchinson Credit Union. LeeAnn Marker is a business advisor for Hutchinson Credit Union and a small business owner. As a commercial lender in a Kansas community with a population of approximately 45,000, Hutchinson has experienced first-hand the challenges facing America’s small businesses in today’s uncertain economic environment.

Roni Wisdom, CFO, San Luis Valley Development Group. Roni K. Wisdom is CFO for the San Luis Valley Development Resources Group, a non-profit regional economic development organization that provides funding and counseling to small businesses, non-profits and local governments. Wisdom previously worked as a manager and owner of small businesses, a business banker, and a small business counselor. She spent much of her past 30 years in the banking field with most of those years in “nontraditional” financing in the rural counties of Colorado.

Hilda Kennedy, founder/executive director, AmPac Tri State CDC. Hilda Kennedy is founder and president of AmPac Tri State Certified Development Company in Grand Terrace, California, a certified lender for the SBA’s 504 loan program and the first faith-based CDC in the country. Kennedy previously worked in local government in the City of Inglewood for more than 12 years as chief of staff to the mayor and city administrator, public information officer, and economic development director.

Rod Hsiao, Director of Strategic Operations, BUILD. Rod Hsiao is the director of Strategic Operations for BUILD, a nationally recognized nonprofit that uses entrepreneurship to excite and propel disengaged, low-income students through high school to college success. He worked in economic development research at Harvard and Yale, then served as a senior legislative advisor in the U.S. Congress on international development and domestic policies. He led two state-wide studies for Maine and Massachusetts to assess the needs of their manufacturers and recommended ways to spur innovation and economic competitiveness. Subsequently he worked in management consulting for SRI Consulting and A.T. Kearney before returning to the non-profit sector as a COO to help lead non-profits involved in teaching business and management skills.

Hugh Short, president and CEO, Alaska Growth Capital. Hugh Short serves as president and CEO of Alaska Growth Capital. He is also the current chairman of the Alaska Industrial Development Authority (AIDEA), a one-billion-dollar, state-owned economic development agency based in Anchorage, Alaska. Additionally Hugh serves as the current treasurer of the Alaska Humanities Forum and Pacific Northern Academy. Past leadership positions include roles as mayor and member of the City Council for the City of Bethel; vice president of Support Services for Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation; and managing partner of the Subway of Bethel. Active in many community service roles, Short is a founding member of the Alaskan Native Leadership Network and has served as director of Yuut Elinaurviat (People’s Learning Center), Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kuskokwim Campus.

Marilyn Strickland, mayor, Tacoma, Washington. Marilyn Strickland was sworn-in as mayor of Tacoma on January 5, 2010, and previously served as a city council member for two years. Born in Seoul, Korea, Strickland grew up in South Tacoma and has been a downtown resident for over a decade. She is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Clark-Atlanta University. Strickland has professional experience in both the private and public sectors. She served as development officer for the Tacoma Public Library and has held management positions with the American Cancer Society, Starbucks Coffee Company and JayRay Communications where she worked with Tacoma Public Utilities to help launch Click!Network. She now serves as chair of the Government Performance and Finance Committee, and the Public Safety, Human Services and Education Committee. She is a member of the Tacoma Pierce County Health Board, a commissioner for Pierce Transit, and an executive committee member for the Economic Development Board. Strickland has been appointed to the U.S. Conference of Mayors Public Education Task Force. Active in the local community, she is a member of the Black Collective and previously served on the boards of KBTC Public TV Association, the Grand Cinema and Safe Streets.

Monday, May 09, 2011

New Online Tool Highlights Tariff Benefits of FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS for AMERICAN BUSINESSES

From export.gov

Are you an exporter seeking a market where the United States has an existing competitive advantage? Are you spending time looking through pages of legal texts to figure out the tariff under a trade agreement for your products? Would you like to feel empowered to perform instant and at-a-glance searches for trade and tariff trends in one easily accessed location online? The FTA Tariff Tool has the answers to these and many other trade-related questions.

America’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners offer attractive markets for many U.S. companies looking to expand into new markets or export for the very first time. Through these agreements, the U.S. has negotiated the elimination of tariffs, the removal of non-tariff barriers, and secured non-discriminatory treatment of U.S. goods and services. Originally trade and tariff information could only be accessed by sifting through the actual text of the agreements. The FTA Tariff Tool streamlines the search process... Additional benefits include substantial time-savings and the integration of a user-friendly public interface.

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) stand to benefit from exporting to FTA partner markets. Small Business Administration Deputy Administrator Marie Johns explains that, “Many small business owners would benefit from exporting but might not have the time or resources to get started. Giving small business owners a simple way to navigate the complexities of tariffs and international trade is a crucial step in ensuring they have what they need to grow their business and create jobs.” Small businesses are vital to the health and recovery of the American economy. As of 2009, SMEs account for 97.6 percent of all exporting companies but contribute only 33 percent of the total exported value. Part of the problem resides in the fact that an overwhelming 58 percent of SMEs export to a single market. The FTA Tariff Tool hopes to address these unique informational barriers with a view to broadening the geographic coverage of SME export markets.

The FTA Tariff Tool has three functions: 1) a searchable database to find the tariff treatment of industrial goods covered under the U.S. trade agreements; 2) creates market access reports and charts across industrial sectors or product groups; and 3) creates a snapshot of current and tariff and trade trends under different U.S. trade agreements. Businesses are able to see the current and future tariffs applied to their products, as well as the date on which those products become duty free. By combining sector and product groups, trade data, and the tariff elimination schedules, users can also analyze how various sectors are treated across various trade agreements.

The development of the FTA Tariff Tool will be on-going, with plans underway to incorporate agricultural and textile information. Trade data will up-dated on an annual basis and future trade agreements will be incorporated as they are negotiated. The website also provides an instructional video, quick start guide and user’s manual.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

10 Posts You Should Write for Your Company Blog

From BNET, by Jon Gelberg:

So you’ve decided you need to blog. As the owner of the business, you want to put a human face on the brand and become a source of valuable information for customers. Good for you!

The big question now is, what the heck are you going to write about? And, more importantly, will anyone read it?

Obviously you’re going to have to get a feel for what your target audience wants to read. That will come with time. Right now you just need to start writing. To give you a jump start on your blogging efforts, I’ve come up with 10 specific post ideas that I’ve found work well with most any audience.