Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Five Tips for Outsourcing Your Small Business Payroll Operations

If you find you don’t have enough hours in the day to take care of your business operations, your clients and your employees, outsourcing key business functions such as payroll can be a cost-effective business strategy. In fact, payroll is the first function many small business owners look to outsourcing.

Read more.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Leveling the Federal Contracting Playing Field – The Woman-Owned Small Business Program Explained

In an effort to create a more level contracting playing field for women-owned small businesses, in late 2010, the SBA announced a rule that would implement the long-awaited Woman-Owned Small Business contracting program. So what is the WOSB Program and how can you take advantage of it? Here’s what you need to know and the steps you need to take to get your business certified to participate.

Read More.

Monday, August 29, 2011

OPAL down for a week

From OPAL, the New York State's Online Permit Assistance and Licensing website:

If you want to start a new business or expand your current business, this site will help you find the New York State business permits you may need.

However

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Due to a scheduled upgrade, the online forms will NOT be available from September 6 through September 13, 2011. This website will NOT be available from September 9 through September 13, 2011. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Choosing a Franchise in a Competitive Industry

Today’s franchise buyers are faced with thousands of choices; not only do they have to figure what type of franchise businesses to look into, they have to figure out which one is the “best in show.”

Read more.

Friday, August 26, 2011

What is the Average Retirement Age?

by Alicia H. Munnell

Since working longer is the key to a secure retirement for the vast majority of older Americans, it is useful to take a look at labor force trends for those under and over age 65 for the last century.

Earthquakes, Hurricanes, and Other Disasters

Small Businesses Should Take Steps to Be Prepared Now - Tips

It’s often difficult for small business owners – some of the busiest people in America – to look beyond the most pressing, immediate business concerns. But an “ounce of prevention” today could mean the difference in whether a business is able to survive a disaster and quickly return to regular operations.
Read MORE.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Utility Companies Score Poorly In Small Biz Survey

By Doug Caverly
Complaints about contracts, customer service common

There may be a handful of businesses out there that rely on solar power, possess their own water wells, and don't need phone lines or Internet. We applaud their independent spirit. But everybody else is stuck dealing with utility companies, and a new report from the Forum of Private Business indicates that the experience is less than pleasant for many firms.

The FPB said in a statement, "A third (33%) of business owners surveyed by the Forum describe standards of customer service as 'poor' or 'very poor.' Many cite contractual issues - including the practice of rolling businesses over on to often more expensive contracts with little warning."

Then the statement continued, "Just 11% believe utilities contracts are easy to understand, 35% think it is difficult to switch suppliers and 40% feel that contractual terms and conditions are 'poor' or 'very poor.' Almost half of all respondents (47%) are concerned that utilities costs are too steep."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The SBA 100 -- 100 businesses that created 100 jobs each with help from the SBA

What they all share in common is that they directly benefited from SBA help at a critical moment in their growth. Some received great advice from our staff or our counselors. Many got SBA loans. Others won federal contracts. Still others used unique programs like Small Business Investment Companies or the Small Business Innovation Research program.

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's Time to Purge the Word Entrepreneur

From Small Business Newz:

There’s a long-standing debate in business circles about the difference between the use of the term entrepreneur vs. small business owner. The issue centers on the notion that if you’re an entrepreneur you care about high growth and if you’re a small business owner you’re somehow destined to struggle to make ends meet while working your fingers to the bone.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

State Ag Exports Data

From the Department of Agriculture - Economic Research Service

Annual estimates of U.S. exports by State and commodity group based on each State's share of U.S. agricultural production.

Finding Customers around the World: Announcing SBA’s Export Video Contest

SBA is teaming up with Visa to ask small business owners: “Where will your next customer come from?”

To recognize successful small exporters and increase awareness toward federal assistance for exporters, SBA is sponsoring its Export Video Contest. The contest, presented in partnership with the National Export Initiative and Export.gov, will award monetary prizes to five successful small business exporters representing a variety of industries.

American small businesses looking to expand are going global. There are a number of advantages to exporting: reaching new customers, increasing sales and profits, and becoming less dependent on domestic demand, to name several. In fact, over two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power is based outside the U.S., where the vast majority of consumers reside. The U.S. government stands ready to help your small business get started in exporting, with an array of programs, tools and resources.

More HERE.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Productivity Trends in Manufacturing, 2009

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics [PDF]

Manufacturing sector multifactor productivity declined at a 5.7 percent annual rate in 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. This was the largest annual decline in multifactor productivity since the series started in 1987. The multifactor productivity decline in 2009 reflected a 12.5 percent decrease in output and a 7.2 percent decrease in combined inputs.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Small Business Quarterly Bulletin

The Small Business Quarterly Bulletin [PDF] from Advocacy's Office of Economic Research is a brochure-style publication that contains commentary and analysis on the current employment and financing trends of small businesses.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bar Codes

What is the best way for a business to obtain a barcode for a product?

I would start HERE.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Proper signage

This one of those gooey, somewhat religious pieces. But it also has a basic business application, which is that good signage matters.

The Blind Boy's Sign.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

SBA Co-Hosts Free Webinar on Using Social Media to Help Recovery

WASHINGTON – A major disaster has devastated your community, and landlines are down. Will you be able to use Facebook or Twitter to keep your employees, customers and vendors aware of your status? How will you distinguish good information on post-disaster social media channels from the scams?

Business and civic leaders in Joplin, Mo., had a crash course in leveraging social media following the May 22 tornado that tore through the city, killing 160 people and damaging or destroying about 8,000 homes and businesses. Kirstie Smith, communications director of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, and Mark Kinsley, creator of the Rebuild Joplin Facebook page, will join the U.S. Small Business Administration and Agility Recovery Solutions during a free webinar August 16 to talk about how they used social media tools to exchange critical information with local businesses. Social media consultant John Orlando will share practical tips for business owners to use to map out a business continuity plan that includes social media.

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

The SBA provides disaster recovery assistance in the form of low-interest loans to homeowners, renters, private nonprofits and businesses of all sizes. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov/disaster.

WHO: John Orlando, John Orlando Consulting
Kirstie Smith, Communications Director, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce
Mark Kinsley, Director of Marketing, Rebuild Joplin

WHAT: “Social Media and Disaster Recovery” will be presented by Orlando, Smith and Kinsley.
A question and answer session will follow.

WHEN: Tuesday, August 16, 2011, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EDT

HOW: Space is limited. Register at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/429536768


Advisory Date: August 5, 2011
Contact: Carol Chastang (202) 205-6987
Advisory Number: MA11-16 I
nternet Address: http://www.sba.gov/news

Friday, August 05, 2011

How Business Can Mitigate the Effect of Government Regulation

The Cost of Government Regulation & How Business Strategy Can Be Used to Mitigate Its Impact

...with all things in life and business, there are issues, such as government regulation (and taxes), that we cannot control, only react to. So we can use business strategy to mitigate the cost of government regulation by first understanding its aspects, and then developing a strategy or strategies for dealing with it, always with the focus of moving ahead, pushing forward and growing.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Beware of Lendio/Funding Universe

A NYS SBDC client seeking financing, and has been unsuccessful at local banks, inquired about a company called Lendio who says they make small business loans using an online matching platform. They require an upfront fee of $30 to start the processing.

A SBDC counselor discovered this article from Forbes magazine about a small Michigan business ended up being hookwinked by Lendio's predecessor, Funding Universe. The website even made it appear that the the company was somehow affiliated with the Small Business Administration.