Sunday, October 30, 2011

Google and AmEx Do Small Business Contest for Free Advertising

Google introduced a new program in partnership with American Express called My Business Story. This lets small businesses tell their stories through videos, and leads up to the second annual Small Business Saturday, which is aimed at encouraging communities to spend and support local businesses. Deadline is November 15.

More HERE.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

List of Lists

While preparing for a presentation, a colleague stumbled upon this website created by a librarian that lists a series of lists. The specific link is to the business section, but there is a lot more info available. Some of the data are a bit dated, but at worst, it may give one a direction to find more information.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Drop Off Your Unwanted or Expired Medications this Saturday

From USA.gov

Saturday, October 29, you can dispose of unused, unwanted, or expired medications at a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day collection site. Find a drug collection site near you. If you can’t participate in Prescription Drug Take Back Day, learn how to safely and properly dispose of unused medicines.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Incubating Success

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration

Business incubation programs are designed to accelerate the successful development of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and services, developed or orchestrated by the incubation program manager, and offered both in the incubator and through its network of contacts. A new report funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration and conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy; the State University of New York at Albany, the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA), and Cybergroup Inc. identifies best practices and key characteristics of successful incubators that policymakers and practitioners should know as they work to implement strategies to foster economic development.

Monday, October 24, 2011

2010 Guide to State and Local Census Geography

The 2010 Guide to State and Local Census Geography is now available. This Product is an update of the book by the same name that the Census Bureau produced in collaboration with the Association of Public Data Users (APDU) following the 1990 Census. (There was no similar product for 2000.) The 2010 web version offers similar content as the 1990 print version, but also provides links to lists of geographic entities within each state.

This guide provides a nice summary of each state’s geographic structure and some highlights about the state’s geographic history and current geography. Here's New York’s information.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Nominate a Small Business Today | National Small Business Week

Every year, SBA honors America’s small business owners by presenting National Small Business Week in Washington, DC and across the country. During National Small Business Week, SBA recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners and the contributions they’re making to create jobs, inspire innovation and strengthen our economy. Earlier this year, SBA hosted one of its most successful National Small Business Weeks.

Now, SBA is gearing up for next year’s National Small Business Week: May 20-26, 2012 in Washington, DC.
Open Call for Nominations
SBA is currently seeking nominations from the public for exceptional entrepreneurs in every U.S. state and the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to help in awarding a national winner and a winner for each state and territory.

In addition, SBA is also seeking nominations for the following categories:
Champion Awards for individuals or organizations dedicated to supporting small businesses in a variety of categories.
Phoenix Awards for individuals (business owners, volunteers and public officials) whose efforts and contributions have enabled their businesses or communities to recover successfully from a disaster.
To nominate a small business owner in your community, check out the Nomination Guidelines [PDF]. Submissions will be accepted until November 10, 2011. If you have questions about the nomination process, contact your local SBA District Office.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Where Consumers Cut Back in Hard Times

Some of my SBDC colleagues were interested to know if there is research regarding where consumers cut back first, second, etc., when times are hard. This is different than what one OUGHT to cut back in hard times, for which I find oodles of examples; I was looking for what people ACTUALLY do.

Where Would You Cut Your Household Budget First? (2007) is interesting but flawed, in that it reflects what people saw they would do if there were hard times. But at the time, things seemed rosy.

More useful were Psychology of Bad Times Fueling Consumer Cutbacks (2008) and Consumer Cutbacks: Temporary or Permanent? (2009), which reported on actual hard-times responses.

Also very helpful: Americans Cutting Back on Everyday Expenses to Save Money (Harris poll, 2011).

Addressing the issue from a different angle: 12 Things We Buy in a Bad Economy (TIME - 2011)

But THE treasure trove, if one takes the time to study it, is the Consumer Expenditure Survey from the US Department of Labor, especially the most recent multiyear table (2006-2010 PDF), as well as the ones for previous years, going back to 1981.

Thanks to Alisa Coddington, John Skutnik, Terese Mulkern Terry, and Chantal Walvoord for their wisdom.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Finding current NYS contractors

Our fine SBDC contracting expert, Roxanne Multcher, provided the following tips and links on where to find current NYS contractors.

The best route might be for the business to look at what contractors have purchased bid documents for construction projects and market to those contractors; click on a specific project # to see who purchased bid documents.

NYS consultant opportunities (this is for architects)

OGS Contract Listings:
Commodities
Services
One could look at any appropriate contracts and see who the contract holder(s) is.
New York State calls becoming a subcontractor a “Value Added Reseller” -- To become a reseller, check the contract. VAR participation will be included in the language of the contract. Open PDF attachments: “Contractor Information.” Call the contract holder. If added as a Value Added Reseller, you have NYS contractor status, but you still need to market to agencies

Another way to search OGS contracts – by keyword
Alphabetical list of contracts (PDF)
Active NYS Contract Holders List (PDF)
Review the listing of active contracts. Since it is a PDF file, you can search by keyword in the “Find” field and click the right-arrow to see each and every place where that word(s) appears.
This listing just gives the name of the contractor.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pledge Your Support for Small Business Saturday

The 2nd annual Small Business Saturday® is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses on the busiest shopping weekend of the year. On November 26, pledge to shop small at your favorite local stores and fuel your local economy. When millions of Americans shop small, it could be huge.

Shop Small on Small Business Saturday

Check out Small Business Saturday on Facebook.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Technology and the Innovation Economy

From the executive summary:

Innovation and entrepreneurship are crucial for long-term economic development. Over the years, America’s well-being has been furthered by science and technology. Fears set off by the Soviet Union’s 1957 launch of its Sputnik satellite initiated a wave of U.S. investment in science, engineering, aerospace, and technology. Both public and private sector investment created jobs, built industries, fueled innovation, and propelled the U.S. to leadership in a number of different fields.

Link to full report (PDF).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Small Business Lending: Second Quarter 2011

The Quarterly Lending Bulletin for the second quarter, 2011 [PDF], presents a brief analysis of the current small business lending situation and shows a drop in loans outstanding to small businesses.

Friday, October 14, 2011

USDA feasibility study

One of our advisors has a client who is obtaining funding and the lending bank is seeking a USDA guarantee which requires that an independent feasibility study be done.

Here is a link to the manual for the USDA’s Business Program Loan Guarantees Lender Guide [PDF] that describes the feasibility study on pages 11-13.

Also, here is a 3-page overview of the feasibility study [PDF].

See Considerations When Selecting a Consultant.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Developmen​ts in Women-owne​d Business, 1997-2007

The years from 1997 to 2007 were a dynamic period in the U.S. economy. The strong growth early in this period was arrested by the recession of 2000-2001; strong economic growth resumed in 2002-2007. The data reflect an economy moving out of a recession and ending on a high note in 2007. How did women and other small business owners fare during this 10-year period between 1997 and 2007?

The primary goal of this report [PDF] is to place gender in a broader perspective. Business ownership no longer can be analyzed simply on the basis of the owner’s gender; businesses owned by women and men more and more share the same general development patterns. Moreover, the strong growth of publicly held firms, which cannot be identified by the demographic characteristics of their many owners, has led to the need to focus on both privately owned and publicly held firms.

The research summary can be found HERE.

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

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions about Small Business Finance

This document [PDF] sketches the ecosystem or life-cycle of small business financing. The FAQ format allows users to browse through topics and learn about specific issues. The financial needs of small businesses, which include start-ups, in sectors such as information technology, service, retail, and manufacturing differ. The answers provided represent averages or totals that can be used as figures and trends for differing types of firms.

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

Monday, October 10, 2011

Jobs Act Loan Incentives Led to Record SBA Loan Approval Volume

Record $12 billion 1st Quarter Followed By Return to Pre-Recession Levels

WASHINGTON – Spurred in part by unprecedented loan volume in the year’s first quarter, small business loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration in FY2011 reached the highest mark in the agency’s history, supporting over $30 billion, continuing the rebound begun in 2009 and returning to healthy pre-recession levels in the final three quarters of the year.

“SBA-backed lending continued the upward trend we saw last year,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said. “Due to the Small Business Jobs Act and a return to pre-recession lending levels, over 61,000 small businesses had access to capital. Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and SBA has been there to help them rebound through difficult times over the past few years. First through the Recovery Act and then through the Small Business Jobs Act and new SBA lending programs, SBA has provided small businesses with the tools they need so they can grow and create jobs. As SBA lending levels continue to indicate a rebound in small business lending, we will work through new programs to fill the gaps created in the marketplace.”

During the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, SBA loan approvals supported $30.5 billion (61,689 loans) in lending to small businesses and start-ups through its two largest loan programs, compared to $22.6 billion (60,771 loans) in FY 2010 and $17.9 billion (50,830 loans) in FY2009.

The FY2011 total is the highest volume fiscal year in the agency’s history, surpassing the $28.5 billion mark established in FY2007. The first quarter of the year, at over $12 billion supported, was the most active single quarter ever for SBA-backed loans, with more than four times the dollar volume of the same quarter in 2009 – the first three months of the recession – and more than double the volume of any quarter over the past four years.

The unprecedented quarter was prompted by the enhancements provided under the Small Business Jobs Act, which were in effect. The loan enhancements allowed SBA to raise the guarantee on its 7(a) loans to 90 percent and waive fees on both its 7(a) and 504 loans.

The totals for FY2011 include 53,706 loans $19.63 billion under the agency’s largest loan program, the 7(a) General Business Loan program, and 7,983 loans for a total approval of $4.84 billion, supporting $10.34 billion in small business lending under the 504 Certified Development Company loan program. The “supported” amount for 504 loans includes the SBA share and third party loans that are made by commercial lenders as part of the funding package.

Those numbers compare with 7(a) totals for FY 2010 of 52,938 loans for $12.46 billion, and 504 program totals of 7,833 loans for a total supported dollar amount of $9.97 billion.

While SBA lending has returned to pre-recession lending levels, there continue to be gaps in the marketplace and small businesses that need access to capital. To help fill these gaps, SBA created two new lending programs in FY2011: Community Advantage and Small Loan Advantage. The Advantage lending programs provide streamlined applications for loans under $250,000 with the standard 7(a) guarantee in order to incentive lenders to make smaller-dollar loans. The smaller-dollar loans often go to underserved communities. Additionally, Community Advantage increases the points of access for small businesses by allowing “mission focused” lenders, such as CDFIs and microlending intermediaries, the ability to make 7(a) loans.

In FY2011, SBA has added 30 new lenders to the 7(a) lending program through the Community Advantage program.

The total for 2011 also included approximately $5.8 billion in loans to more than 16,000 start-up small businesses, the most since FY2008.

For more information about these and other SBA programs, visit the SBA Web site, or contact your local SBA field office. You can find contact information for your local SBA office HERE.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Small Business Advocate - access to capital

The Small Business Advocate – October 2011; Vol: 30 , No: 8

The October 2011 issue of The Small Business Advocate directs attention to one of the top issues facing small businesses: access to capital. Advocacy’s September symposium, The Small Business Capital Crunch: Debt and Equity, receives feature coverage, along with three new finance publications. The issue also contains updates to proposed regulations from the Departments of Labor and Treasury, and coverage of the Advocacy’s participation in the Congressional Black Caucus.

In this Issue
Advocacy Symposium Probes the Capital Crunch, 1
Symposium Coverage, 4–7
Chief Counsel Participates in Congressional Black Caucus, 8
Social Media Update, 12

Message from the Chief Counsel
Access to Capital Dominates Advocacy’s September Agenda, 3

Research Notes
Three New Advocacy Finance Publications, 2
Developments in Women-Owned Businesses, 1997–2007, 11

Regulatory News
Advocacy Recommends OSHA Burden Reduction, 9
Labor Department Postpones H-2B Visa Wage Revision, 10
New Staff at Advocacy, 10
EBSA Withdraws Proposal to Update Definition of “Fiduciary,” 11
Tax News
IRS Announces Voluntary Worker Classification Settlement Program, 12

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Steve Jobs, from his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice."

Read more about Steve Jobs HERE.

Angel Investors

Links to each website.

ALSO: Download (for a fee) a that list includes company name, street address, telephone/fax & URL where available.
One paragraph organization description (source: the company's web site or press materials).

From the BoogarLists.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Credit card statistics, industry facts, debt statistics

This page contains credit card statistics -- including statistics on credit card debt, credit card delinquencies, credit scores, credit card interest rates, bankruptcies, average credit card debt and more -- compiled by the CreditCards.com staff.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Stack Exchange

There is a popular programmers Q&A site, Stack Overflow. It is part of a larger network of Q&A sites on a range of topics, Stack Exchange. While it is tech-heavy, there are several decidedly non-technical ones – cooking, photography, bicycles among others.

Notably, there is answers.onstartups.com, described as "Q&A for entrepreneurs looking to start or run a new business."

(Thanks, Al!)

Bureau of Labor Statistics recent statistics

Consumer Expenditures 2010 [PDF]
Multifactor Productivity Trends for Detailed Industries, 2009

Monday, October 03, 2011

Six Things to Consider Before You Franchise Your Business

Of all small business growth strategies in the U.S., franchises are probably one of the most successful distribution systems ever devised. If you are on the cusp of growth, franchising your small business may well be worth a look. But how do you know if franchising your current business is the right option for you?

More HERE.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Employee or Independent Contractor? Feds and States Join Forces to Fight Worker Misclassification

The use of independent contractors are a flexible option for employing workers and a legitimate way to avoid some payroll tax obligations. But government authorities are on the lookout for employers who misclassify their workers, when they are really employees.
Read about the the most recent government efforts to correct this type of activity, whether it was done accidentally or on purpose.

However, a new government (IRS) program allows employers to reclassify their employees on a voluntary basis, drastically reducing any back taxes or penalties owed on the status change. But only if you go to them first.
For more details on what steps you can take to manage this issue, see the story on correcting worker misclassification.



IRS Makes Voluntary Reclassification of Workers Less Taxing

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Census: Hispanics fuel US white population growth

In a twist to notions of race identity, new 2010 census figures show an unexpected reason behind a renewed growth in the U.S. white population: more Hispanics listing themselves as white in the once-a-decade government count.

The shift is due to recent census changes that emphasize "Hispanic" as an ethnicity, not a race. While the U.S. government first made this distinction in 1980, many Latinos continued to use the "some other race" box to establish a Hispanic identity. In a switch, the 2010 census forms specifically instructed Latinos that Hispanic origins are not races and to select a recognized category such as white or black.

More HERE.

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