Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Advocate, July 2011

Volume 30, Number 6 [PDF}

The July issue of The Small Business Advocate features Advocacy’s regional roundtables on women’s business ownership, the chief counsel’s listening tour of West Coast businesses plus regulatory updates and other regional news

In This Issue

Message from the Chief Counsel
• West Coast Businesses Tell Washington: Let Us Innovate!
Regional Update
• Regional Roundtables Explore Women’s Business Ownership
• Alabama and Florida Coasts Bounce Back from Oil Spill
Research Notes
• Request for New Research Forthcoming
Regulatory News
• Gainful Employment Rule Finalized
• Ongoing SBREFA Panels

Bankruptcies and Business Failures are lower this year

From D&B: Business bankruptcies and failures continued to decline this year; however, the pace was slower than in Q4 2011. Overall, business bankruptcies and failures are lower this year in the U.S. and around the world. This is a confidence booster for many businesses and the growth in the small business segment - firms with fewer than 500 employees - is another driver of confidence for the U.S. economy.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Disaster Survivors Urged to Beware of Recovery Scams

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration is urging disaster victims seeking federal aid to be alert to scam artists posing as federal officials and to be cautious about any solicitations for fees to perform services that are available from federal agency staff for free.

In the wake of widespread flooding, wildfires and tornados in many areas across the country over the past few months, the SBA is particularly concerned about flyers that have appeared in tornado-damaged areas asking for non-refundable fees of up to $450 to help disaster victims fill out their loan applications and as much as $1,000 to verify losses and file loan applications.

Federal agencies involved in disaster recovery will never ask for a fee or payment to file an application for financial assistance or to inspect damaged property.

“Historically, natural disasters bring out the very best in people, and there are countless stories of the selfless acts of helpful neighbors and volunteers,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills.

“Unfortunately, we have also seen in the past individuals who attempt to take advantage of people who need assistance. Disaster survivors should be vigilant in protecting their personal assets, particularly in the stressful environment of a disaster recovery.

“The SBA will not tolerate the defrauding of those who have already lost so much in the aftermath of these devastating disasters,” Mills said. “Those who are found taking advantage of disaster victims will be prosecuted to the fullest extent provided by law.”

If you suspect a person is posing as a local or federal agent, or encounter what you believe are fraudulent activities connected with disaster relief operations, contact your local law enforcement officials, phone the toll-free National Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721, or send an email to disaster@leo.gov. The phone line is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

To register for federal help after a disaster declaration, visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov, or call FEMA at 800-621-3362 (800-426-7585 for the speech or hearing impaired).

Disaster survivors may also visit one of the local recovery centers to get help with filing for assistance. To get help with the disaster loan application, contact the SBA by email at disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or by calling 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for those with speech or hearing disabilities). Those affected by recent disasters may also file a loan application online by visiting SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

The SBA makes low-interest, taxpayer-backed disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses and non-profit organizations of all sizes. More information about the disaster assistance program is available at www.sba.gov/disasterassistance.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

10 Things Entrepreneurs Should Never Say — to Themselves

From BNET.

Are you your business’s worst enemy? Let’s make sure that’s not the case.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Blog a Little, Blog a Lot, or Don't Blog at All

From Step by Step Marketing:

Unless you are the owner of a small business technology or communications company, the idea of creating and managing a blog, on top of the need to manage a website just to stay “in the game,” can be a little daunting. And of course, there are lots of kinds of businesses that don’t need to produce a blog at all. But even if you are one of those, read on, there’s some other good advice in here for helping you affordably manage your web presence, whatever that may be.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Entrepreneurship and the U.S. Economy

Business Employment Dynamics


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, June 16, 2011

IRS Automatic Revocation of Tax-Exempt Status

The IRS has published the first Automatic Revocation of Exemption List. It indicates approximately 275,000 nonprofits whose tax-exempt status has been revoked because they failed to file a Form 990, 990-N, 990-EZ, or 990-PF for three consecutive years; the list is available for downloading in both Excel and PDF form. Here's the PDF of the New York State list.

As GuideStar notes, if an organization appears on the list, it must now must file a federal income tax return and pay federal income taxes. If it previously could accept tax-deductible contributions, it no longer can do so. "If your organization is not on the list, technically you don't have to do anything. This a good time, however, to reach out to your donors, funders, and other constituents and assure them that you are in good standing with the IRS. You may also wish to suggest that your supporters consult the list to ensure that the other nonprofits they give to are still exempt."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Business Expenses Survey

The Business Expenses Survey has information of various types of expenditures, such as materials and fuels, for ALL businesses. There is also some info available for specific industries. You can find the 2007 data HERE.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

7 Vastly Overrated Business Books

These books are ubiquitous in the corporate world, but the truth is--they're no that useful. Read More from BNET.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Free books from National Academies

The National Academies — National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council—are committed to distributing their reports to as wide an audience as possible. Since 1994 they haveoffered “Read for Free” options for almost all of their titles. In addition, they have been offering free downloads of most of their titles to everyone and of all titles to readers in the developing world.

Effective June 2nd, PDFs of reports that are currently for sale on the National Academies Press (NAP) Website and PDFs associated with future reports will be offered free of charge to all Web visitors.

For more than 140 years, the NAS, NAE, IOM, and NRC have been advising the nation on issues of science, technology, and medicine. Like no other collection of organizations, the Academies enlist the nation’s foremost scientists, engineers, health professionals, and other experts to address the scientific and technical aspects of society’s most pressing problem

Thriving Business Owner Shares Tips, Advice During SBA’s June Web Chat

Thursday, June 16, 2011, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., ET

WASHINGTON – The SBA’s Web Chat will feature 2011 Rhode Island Small Business Person of the Year Kathleen Devlin, owner of All About Home Care LLC in Middletown, R.I. Devlin started her business in 2003 as the sole employee working out of a small home office. Today the company has a staff of 68. SBA’s National Small Business Week (SBW) events were held May 16-20, 2011, in Washington, D.C., where more than 100 outstanding small business owners from across the country were honored. Full videos of SBW events and the business forums held can be viewed online at .

WHO:
Small business owner Kathleen Devlin will host SBA’s June Web chat on “Entrepreneur’s Spotlight: Maintaining Business Success,” to share her story of achievement and endurance with other entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners, and provide helpful insights on the successes and challenges of entrepreneurship.

WHAT:
SBA’s web chat series provides small business owners with an opportunity to discuss relevant business issues online with experts, industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs. Chat participants have direct, real-time access to the web chats via questions they submit online in advance, and during the live session. Chat participants can receive helpful tips and advice on how to grow their businesses.

WHEN:
June 16, 2011, 1 p.m. ET.
Devlin will answer questions for one hour.

HOW:
Web chat participants can post questions online in advance and on June 16, join the live web chat by going online to www.sba.gov, and click on the web chat event under What’s New.

Archives of past web chats.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Number of Minority-Owned Firms Grew at More Than Double the Rate of All U.S. Businesses, 2002-2007

In 2007, minority-owned firms numbered 5.8 million, up from 4.0 million in 2002, an increase of 45.5 percent, more than double the 17.9 percent increase for all U.S. businesses, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2007 Survey of Business Owners. Receipts of minority-owned firms increased 55.0 percent to $1.0 trillion over the five-year period, compared with the 32.9 percent increase for all businesses nationwide. In 2007, more than one-fifth (21.3 percent) of the nation’s 27.1 million firms were minority-owned.

Of the 5.8 million minority-owned firms, 766,533 had paid employees, an increase of 21.7 percent from 2002. These firms employed 5.8 million people, a 24.4 percent increase from 2002, and their payrolls totaled $164.1 billion, an increase of 42.2 percent. Receipts of minority-owned employer firms totaled $860.5 billion, an increase of 54.3 percent from 2002.

In 2007, minority firms with no paid employees (nonemployers) numbered 5.0 million, an increase of 50.0 percent from 2002. These firms had receipts totaling $164.3 billion, an increase of 58.9 percent...

The new data are from the 2007 Survey of Business Owners: Company Summary, which provides statistics on minority and nonminority business ownerships every five years, as well as breakdowns and cross-tabulations by gender, race, ethnicity and veteran status. Separate data are provided on firms equally owned by minorities and nonminorities, by men and women and by Hispanics and non-Hispanics.

For most minority groups, the gains in the number of women owners were higher than for men.

The three states with the largest number of minority-owned firms in
2007 were California, Texas and Florida. California had 1.2 million minority-owned firms, or more than a fifth of all minority-owned firms in the United States. Texas had 723,057 minority-owned firms, or 12.6 percent of all minority-owned firms, and Florida had 680,069 minority-owned firms, or 11.8 percent.

The Survey of Business Owners defines minority-owned firms as firms in which blacks, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asians, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, or Hispanics own 51 percent or more of the equity, interest or stock of the business. Additional reports from the survey highlight other characteristics of businesses and owners.

The Survey of Business Owners is conducted every five years as part of the economic census. The 2007 survey collected data from a sample of more than
2.3 million businesses. More details concerning the SBO survey design, methodology, comparability and data limitations can be found at here.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

SBA Online Tool Offers Help With Export Business Plans

WASHINGTON – Small businesses interested in starting or expanding sales of their goods and services overseas have access to a new, free online tool that will gauge their readiness to export and help them develop an export business plan.

The Export Business Planner, developed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, offers a ready-made, customizable and easily accessible document that can be updated and referenced continuously as the business grows.

The Planner, located at www.sba.gov/exportbusinessplanner, allows users to:
• Determine their export readiness
• Learn about training and counseling opportunities • Complete worksheets for global market research • Obtain financing information and options • Customize export marketing plans, and • Access resources for exporters

“Creating jobs through exporting is one of the nation’s top economic priorities, as the President indicated when he launched the National Export Initiative,” said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills. “Giving exporters the tools to do their part in this effort is essential. The new Export Business Planner is one such tool and will serve businesses in the critical process of planning for their success.”

The Planner is a PDF file that can be easily downloaded, accessed, customized, and updated every time you use it. It features an extensive compilation of export research and information, including quick links to websites, video profiles, training podcasts, trade statistics, contact information to counseling resources such as SCORE and SBDCs, a list of current SBA lenders and much more.

The tool is organized in comprehensive chapters that are cross-linked and indexed for efficiency and easy access to related topics.

The chapters include:
• Introduction to Exporting
• Training and Counseling
• Getting Started: Creating an Export Business Plan • Developing your Marketing plan • Financing your Export Venture • Accounting Worksheets: Costing, Financial Forecasting and Product Pricing • Utilizing Technology for successful Exporting • Your New Marketing Plan: Summary, Timeline • Updates, Transportation and Documentation

A special, very useful feature of the Planner is the customizable worksheets, which provide templates for developing your export business plan, conducting business assessments and foreign market research, creating your marketing plan, costing and sale projections, goal setting and much more.
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Release Date: June 7, 2011
Contact: David Hall (202) 205-6697
Release Number: 11-40
Internet Address: http://www.sba.gov/news Follow us on Twitter, Facebook & Blogs

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Dumbo Gets Free Wi-Fi; Manhattan's Paid Version to Follow - New York News - Runnin' Scared

Dumbo Gets Free Wi-Fi; Manhattan's Paid Version to Follow - New York News - Runnin' Scared: "Dumbo Gets Free Wi-Fi; Manhattan's Paid Version to Follow"

Now, this is change I'd love to see happening. I wonder if it will happen elsewhere. It seems like it's inevitable. It could be like street lights. Just another utility that we all use.

How Books Were Made in 1947

Interesting ten minute film on YouTube. Warning--for print lovers only.