Monday, April 30, 2012

This Week in Small Business: Where Is the Recovery?

The Big Story: What’s the Fed To Do?

The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee says the economy is expanding moderately. A former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation warns that the Fed is fueling a financial bubble. The Fed chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, and a Times columnist, Paul Krugman, battle it out. Josh Bivens says that the United Kingdom’s double-dip recession is proof austerity doesn’t work. Henry Blodget says it’s official: Keynes was right. Peter Diamond and Emmanuel Saez believe that increasing tax rates is part of a sensible deficit-reduction strategy. Jared Bernstein summarizes the economic impact of raising taxes on high-income households. Social Security’s projected shortfall date is moved up to 2033. President Obama slow jams the news.

The Economy: The Shale Boom

Russell Investments updates its state-of-the-economy dashboard. Among accountants, confidence in the global economy improved substantially in early 2012. USA Today reports that some economists are upping their 2012 forecasts. A Wells Fargo strategist says the economy is looking up. So far this quarter, 79 percent of American companies have beaten earnings forecasts. Mark Perry predicts a shale-based economic boom: “low-cost energy provided primarily by shale gas production advances will almost certainly contribute to an investment boom across the U.S. economy.” Barry Ritholtz says the economy is where it’s supposed to be. But Marc Faber says the fiscal condition of the United States is a “catastrophe.” Michael Snyder lists 22 red flags that indicate serious doom. A new study by Manta finds that most small business owners didn’t hire a single employee in the first three months of 2012. Jeffrey Rosen asks where the small-business recovery is.

The Data: Housing Prices Fall

Growth cools (although consumer spending is up). Orders for durable goods fell significantly (pdf) in March. Home prices drop for the sixth straight month, and new home sales fall, too. Capacity tightens as conditions get tougher for shippers. But truck tonnage inches up, as does traffic volume (pdf). Manufacturers’ earnings are up. Weekly unemployment claims remain high.

Management: Incorporating Fun

An entrepreneur finds out what happens when all of his wildest dreams come true. The Economist predicts that the digitization of manufacturing will transform the way goods are made — and change the politics of jobs, too. Ever wonder what happy people have in common? Barbara Corcoran says that incorporating fun into your business is essential: “It is the way to get the best ideas and bring together your employees.” Lewis Love says that employing international students will enhance the quality of your staff: “They possess a strong knowledge of their subject area but lack the time and experience required to secure a top-paying full-time position.” Kentin Waits says complaining is good. Groupon’s chief executive drinks too much beer.

For the full post from the NYTimes blog, click here.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Small Business Authority Hour Focuses on Economic and Employment Trends

The Small Business Authority, announced today the next live radio broadcast focusing on job outlook, economic trends related to hiring and employment trends with recent graduates. The show will broadcast from "The Small Business Authority Studio" at 77WABC Radio in New York. National listeners can also tune in at and click listen live. The program, The Small Business Authority Hour, will be broadcast on Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 4:00 p.m. EDT.

The show, dedicated to independent business owners across the United States, will feature guest Maury Harris, Managing Director and Chief Economist for the Americas for the UBS investment bank. Maury has been named numerous times to the Institutional Investor (II) All-America Research Team over the past two decades. In the January 2012 edition of Bloomberg Markets magazine, Dr. Harris and his team were cited as having the most accurate week ahead forecasts of U.S. economic data among 78 US forecasters over the two years through September of 2011. Maury is a past President of the Forecaster's Club of New York. Prior to the UBS AG acquisition of PaineWebber Incorporated, he was the Chief Economist for PaineWebber. Before that, Dr. Harris worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and The Bank for International Settlements. Dr. Harris holds a PhD in economics from Columbia University and a BA in economics from the University of Texas, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa.

President and CEO, Barry Sloane said, "We are thrilled to have a world class economist, Maury Harris, join us for the Small Business Authority Hour. As the Managing Director and Chief Economist for UBS, Maury has historically focused on the small business economy and independent business owners' behaviors, trends, and activity as one of several determinants for his own opinions, thoughts and forecasts. Our discussion will focus on the small business economy with particular emphasis on employment, wage trends, and future prospects for growth in this segment in the United States."

The Small Business Authority's goal is to educate listeners on how to grow their sales, reduce their expenses and minimize risks. The show will be hosted by Barry Sloane, President and CEO of Newtek Business Services, Inc. and co-hosted by Laura Smith from 77WABC. The Small Business Authority Hour is broadcast from the Small Business Authority Studios atop Madison Square Garden the first Saturday of every month at 4:00 p.m. EDT. We will take live questions from independent business owners beginning at 4:15 p.m. EDT until the show ends at 5:00 p.m. EDT. Please feel free to email for any questions or send us a message direct on twitter, The_SBA.

For the full article and more details, click here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How to Set up a PayPal Account for Your Business

MakeUseOf How-To Articles How To Set Up A PayPal Account For Your Business April 26, 2012 By Tim Brookes PayPal has long been the leader in online payments. It offers a safe way for customers to pay for goods and services, as well move money around the globe. Most recently Chinese consumers are able to pay using PayPal. Especially for one-off purchases, I prefer PayPal to sharing my credit card details. It is also a good choice when you don't have your credit card handy. They offer services to students whereby parents set up an account with funds and the student gets a debit card they can use. For businesses, high-volume users are charged a fee of 1.9% This is a straightforward explanation of how you can set up an account with PayPal. It covers the various types of accounts and includes screen shots throughout.

Economic Growth and the Unemployment Rate

Source: Congressional Research Service, via Federation of American Scientists

A persistently high unemployment rate is of concern to Congress for a variety of reasons, including its negative consequences for the economic well-being of individuals and its impact on the federal budget (i.e., deficit growth due to lower revenue and higher expenditures). The unemployment rate was 9.5% when the economy emerged from the 11th postwar recession in June 2009. It climbed further to peak at 10.1% in October 2009. The rate then slowly declined before stalling at about 9.0% for most of 2011. Although the unemployment rate has resumed its decline, at slightly above 8.0% in early 2012, it remains at an historically high level.

The slow rebound of the labor market has prompted calls for new measures to stimulate economic growth to avoid a so-called double-dip recession, such as occurred during the early 1980s. The economy contracted in July 1981, 12 months into the recovery from the January-July 1980 recession. The unemployment rate had not fallen to its pre-recession level before the 1981-1982 recession began. Some observers have from time to time expressed concern that another shock (e.g., the slowdown of European economies) might push the nation back into recession.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Are you a Small Business that has been helped by SBA? Don’t miss National Small Business Week Video Contest

From the SBA:

It’s almost time for National Small Business Week 2012 - and to kick things off we are launching a video contest.

Each week I travel around the country and hear from business owners about how SBA has helped them start, grow and succeed. I’m often inspired by each business’ ingenuity, and it’s the small business owners I meet each week that are making communities strong and keeping America competitive.

I want to share these stories, and so many more, with everyone. The video contest is an opportunity for small business owners and entrepreneurs to share their success stories with a larger audience and emphasize how important they are to their local economy.

How to Participate:

Videos can be submitted through from 12pm EDT April 16 through 5pm May 11. Contestants should produce a short (1-2 minutes), original video to share their story. The list of Contest Rules provides additional details on the required video content and format. All eligible videos will be judged by SBA senior officials on the inspirational nature of the message for potential small business owners and the creativity or uniqueness of the video concept.

To learn more about winning videos and for the full release from the SBA, click here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To Form an LLC in New York

In order to form an LLC (Limited Liability Company) in the state of New York, there are a few steps you must follow before you are an established LLC.

First, you must choose a business name for your LLC and check for availability. New York law requires that an LLC name contain the words "Limited Liability Company" or "LLC".

Then, you must prepare and file articles of organization with the Department of State.

After those papers have been submitted, you must publish for 6 consecutive weeks stating that you have formed an LLC. This process can require time to contact your county clerk's office to determine in which publications you are allowed to publish. Here at the NYS SBDC, we receive many inquiries about where new LLCs are allowed to publish about their small business, so we put together a list of all of the publications for every county in the state of New York. However, for those starting their LLC in the counties of Queens, New York, or Kings, must still go to their County Clerk with a copy of your filing receipt and they will designate publications for you.

Once you have published for 6 weeks, you must file a Certificate of Publication form with the Department of State, for a $50 filing fee.

For full information on forming an LLC, click here.

Here is a list of publications by counties in New York state:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Web Chat: Spring Cleaning for your 2012 Business Outlook

SBA's April Web Chat to focus on keeping business ideas fresh.

Thursday, April 26, 2012, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., ET
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration’s April web chat will highlight ways to keep your business ideas fresh. Do you have questions about how to sharpen your business ideas, how to organize your business or new ways to market your business?

Octavia Kuransky, program development manager for SBA’s Central Alabama Women’s Business Center, will host the April web chat on “Small Business Spring Clean: How to Keep Your Business Ideas Fresh.” A small business owner in her own right, Kuransky will answer questions about how to get a fresh business outlook for 2012.

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. Participants will gain valuable information on how to start a new small business.

April 26, 2012, at 1:00 p.m. (ET)
Kuransky will answer questions for one hour.

Participants can join the live web chat, and also post questions before the April 26th chat, by going online to, and click on the web chat event under What’s New.

For contact information and full release from the SBA, click here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

5 Small Business Lessons From Mad Men

A fan of the hit series Mad Men? Based on an advertising agency on Madison Avenue in the 60's, check out some lessons from the show that would be useful for business owners:

Don’t depend on one customer for all or your major part of your business: In the episode the newly formed company which is a small business faces the loss of the client “Lucky Strike” brings home the horror of a business losing their biggest customer. Ideally the best strategy could be to continue to get more new customers so that your entire business is not dependent on one customer.

Take risks. Don’t be afraid to let a client go under compelling circumstances: I am not 100% sure about this so I hope you can give me your experiences. In the series when the company decides to go after the business of American Airlines they decide to drop another profitable existing client. If you are a proponent of a “bird in hand is worth two in the bush” then you would be cautious with this.

Offline networking and shaking hands is as important today as it was in the 1960’s: This is important in any decade. I cannot emphasize enough how much I learn when I meet people for breakfast or lunch. Plan on attending networking events of course skip the martinis.

Dedicate resources to work on the business development and make it part of everyone’s job: In one episode the copywriter meets a person from another agency who lost her job and deduces that there is a chance of getting new business and works with an account exec over the weekend to get the new business. Stories like this are perfectly plausible and every employee should be empowered to look for opportunities to get new business.

Keep an eye on the bottom line: I am fascinated in the episodes where the partners seem to know how many more days of payroll and expenses they have money for. It is always a good idea for any business to have a firm grounding on its finances.

For the full article from Smallbiztrends, click here.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Things Customers Can Do Better Than You

Many firms assume that customers can do just one thing of real significance: buy their products and services. It's time to seriously challenge that assumption, as many companies are doing by looking to customers to fuel their growth engines.

Facebook, for example, has close to 1 billion customers who don't pay a cent. Yet the company is receiving valuations of $50 billion and more — despite having just 3,000 or so employees — because of the extremely high-potential, non-purchasing value such customers provide. In a phrase, Facebook and other forward-thinking companies look to their customers to grow their businesses.

This isn't genius at work. In fact, entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg and Marc Benioff of, are simply recognizing — and acting upon — entirely obvious realities about customers and their desires and competencies, choosing to leverage these rather than fight against them, as so many firms do. Here are five examples:

Customers know more about each other than you know about them. That's the source of much of the stratospheric value placed on Facebook by investors. Imagine a traditional company that tried to generate the kind of information Facebook generates: real time data on what movies people are watching, where they travel, the books they're reading, the restaurants they've tried. Facebook dispensed with all the research most companies would have tried to dig up, and instead focused on letting customers provide it. Westlaw, which provides legal research services for law firms, realized that its clients were interested in how they and the markets they serviced stacked up to other firms and markets. So Westlaw created West PeerMonitor, which aggregates anonymized data on firms' financial and operational performance, collected from participating clients — which turned into a lucrative new business.

Customers are more credible than you are. That means they make better marketers for a firm than agencies or internal employees. SAS Canada, for example, had a serious customer retention issue several years ago — retention rates had declined from the high 90s to the mid 80s and were continuing to drop. It was terribly frustrating to firm executives, because SAS software was doing an excellent job of keeping up with customer needs. The problem was, customers didn't realize this. A small group within SAS, led by Wally Thiessen, saw that it would be futile for SAS to keep trying to point this out, and instead built a team of 250 customer "champions" to do so. With support from Thiessen and his team, SAS customer champions established regular events in more than 20 major cities, set the agendas, selected speakers (and made presentations, themselves) and stayed in touch afterwards in online forums and through e-newsletters. Result: retention rates rebounded back up to the high 90s.

Customers are more persuasive than you are. That means they make better sales people. Marc Benioff realized this in the early days of building Lacking the multi-million dollar budgets of competitors like Oracle and SAP, he relied instead on face-to-face meetings with prospects and customers in major city markets. He found, to his surprise, that prospects at such events were much more interested in talking with SFDC customers than with him and his executive team, and found to his delight that 80% of prospects who attended the events wound up becoming customers themselves — an amazing close rate for any offering. And unlike sales people, SFDC's customer sales people didn't require a bit of training.

To read the entire article, click here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Managing a Virtual Team

Teams that are geographically-dispersed, or virtual, have now been used and studied for more than three decades — yet we all still wrestle with how to get them right. Managers frequently ask for best practices for managing their global teams, and recently we've noticed some common themes. Here are the three questions that keep coming up again and again, and what the research tells us about how to address them:

1. When and how often when do we need to meet face-to-face (FTF)?

Despite the appeal of completely virtual teams, most team leaders try to convene their teams for face-to-face meetings at some point — leading them to ask how often and when should they do so. We share two robust findings to consider when planning face to face meetings.

First, research by Maznevski and Chudoba, Carmel, and others finds that FTF interaction is especially important early in a team's life, particularly when the team is comprised of people who don't already know each other. "Early," however, doesn't necessarily mean "first." Having some initial virtual interactions before a first FTF meeting can actually enhance the benefits of that first FTF meeting by allowing team members to focus on things like who has what task-related expertise before they are influenced by the potential biases that FTF interaction can trigger. Then, the first FTF meeting can be used to establish the work practices the teams will need to effectively collaborate when the pressure mounts.

Second, Maznevski and Chudoba also found that repeated FTF meetings are best when occurring at predictable times and intervals. This allows team members to plan their time and interactions, reserving discussion of certain complex or delicate issues for those in-person interactions. As a result, teams with a predictable rhythm of meetings outperform those who choose to meet "as needed" — even if they have less FTF interaction overall. So FTF meetings should occur early and regularly.

2. What is the best technology solution for my team?

With the relentless advance of technology, many managers ask us which platform they should use to support their virtual teams. As any suggestion we make will be outdated before the pixels are displayed — we encourage managers to focus on the criteria that shape their daily behavior. We tell them: Ask yourself, why do we rely so heavily on phones and e-mail — technologies that haven't fundamentally changed much since they were introduced? We rely on them day in and day out because they provide the communication trifecta: simplicity, reliability, and accessibility.

3. How do I coordinate work among dispersed members?

Many managers have recounted variations of the same story: they received an eagerly-anticipated hand-off from their distant colleagues only to discover that the work bore little resemblance to what they expected (and were counting on). The net result was wasted effort by their colleagues, unanticipated rework for them, and frustration all around. They ask us: "Why does this keep happening, how can I avoid such coordination breakdowns?"

People have evolved to become extremely good at dynamically adapting to our social environment. In teams, we constantly synchronize and modify our actions and expectations to keep them aligned with those of our collaborators. Unfortunately, this is precisely what distributed teams are bad for. Cramton's study of dispersed teams found that dispersed team members lack a common, shared understanding — critically necessary for such adaptation. Making matters worse, Hinds and Mortensen found that when distributed, we tend to engage in relatively little of the spontaneous and informal "water-cooler" communication that both promotes shared understanding and is the vehicle for adaptation.

So managers of virtual teams should have dual, complementary objectives: structure and socialize. First they must shift their teams' work practices away from the dynamic adjustment outlined above towards more structured coordination. Clear team-level work processes, output requirements, and group norms reduce the complexity of virtual team coordination from coordinating efforts across multiple sites to aligning one's efforts with a single, consistent set of expectations. Second, as the speed of today's economy means no team — collocated or distributed — can eliminate all such dynamic adjustment, virtual team managers also work to support and facilitate dynamic adjustment when it's required by promoting and encouraging informal interaction.

For the full article from the Harvard Business Review, click here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

SMBs Are Prime Targets for Hackers

As more and more companies are falling victim to security breaches, a lot of businesses are worried they could be next. These concerns reached a new height over the course of 2011 as Sony, Citibank, and even certain areas of the government were hacked.

More HERE.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Secrets of the Most Productive People

The path to productivity is not a new assistant or project management software. It's these four shared characteristics.

1. They have a life.

Far from being the maniacally focused, late night or early morning types, truly creative innovators or problem solvers have a rich life outside of work. One of the finest CEOs I've known, Carol Vallone, founder of WebCT, coached her local softball team. She said it's where she honed her leadership skills. It also meant she had to take her mind off work and think in different ways. No wonder academic research keeps showing that external commitments are highly correlated with high achievement.

2. They take breaks.

It's easy to think that you'll get more done if you never stop. But what's clear from neuroscience is that we can easily get resource-depleted (tired) and can quickly become rigid and narrow minded (tunnel vision). In other words, we get stuck. Taking a break—just walking around for a minute—can reset and refresh your mind, allowing you to see solutions that another hour at the desk would not have revealed. It's one reason we often have our best ideas driving home.

3. They've often worked in several different industries.

This means that they regularly challenge orthodoxies because they've seen different frameworks and approaches. They may not take so much for granted, and have the experience to see the value in re-framing problems.

4. They have great outside collaborators.

Sometimes these collaborators are formal, often not. But their sounding boards aren't just immediate colleagues or clients. Their wide networks allow them to incorporate a wider range of thinking, contacts and information and they bring light and air into the business.

What all of these characteristics demonstrate is that truly productive people have very wide and rich peripheral vision: external commitments, time to breath, multiple perspectives, and contacts. These individuals bring far more to the table than their immediate task or job requires. They're productive because they have such rich resources to call upon: science, music, art, literature, theatre, furniture design, pot plants—you name it. There is always much more to them than ever meets the eye. What this means is that the secret to productivity isn't a new organizer, a piece of software, or a new app. It's having a whole life.

For the article from Inc., click here.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Deloitte Industry Outlook 2012

Deloitte is a company that provides audit, financial advisory, tax and consulting services. For a limited number of industries, they provide 2012 industry outlooks. Check out the Top Ten Issues in 2012 for Commercial Real Estate or the Insights into the Future of the North American Natural Gas Market for an idea of what's available.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thinking About Becoming a Franchisor? Here Are Some Tools...

Technology has certainly made an impact in the way we do business these days. It’s practically impossible to run a small business without it. In the world of franchising, technology is a very important part of the actual business model. A good franchisor with good technology makes it a lot easier to be a franchisee-an owner.

If you’re considering franchise ownership, make sure that you find out what’s being used by the franchise company that you’re thinking of joining. Make sure that the systems in place are designed to help you succeed as a franchisee.

For the full article, click here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Jump in Small Business Employment

Employment at small businesses increased in March at the highest rate in over two years, according to payroll figures from Intuit.

Intuit’s Small Business Employment Index indicated that small business employment increased by 0.3 percent in March, while monthly compensation and the number of hours worked also increased.

Intuit estimated that small business employment grew at an annual growth rate of 3.8 percent. The figures are based on small businesses with fewer than 20 employees that use Intuit Online Payroll. Another payroll provider, ADP, also reported an increase in small business hiring in March, but SurePayroll saw a slight decline.

“This is the strongest small business employment report we have had in a long time,” said Susan Woodward, the economist who worked with Intuit to create the index. “Yet at the same time, the hiring rate has remained flat at just above five percent since May 2009. This indicates that small firm employees are staying with their current employers, rather than leaving for bigger firms. In normal times, the turnover at small firms, which typically pay less than their larger counterparts, is high. Currently, the turnover rate is still low compared to normal.

Click here for the full article.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

U.S. Postal Service Launches Innovative Technology for Small Businesses

The U.S. Postal Service wants the small business world to know about its direct mail shipping service for small businesses, called ”Every Door Direct Mail.”

With Every Door Direct Mail, small businesses including restaurants, auto dealerships and doctor’s offices can send out direct mail campaigns such as postcards and brochures, with postage rates as low as 14.5 cents.  The remarkable thing is that you don’t need a mailing list with specific addresses and/or names, or a postal permit. Such items typically drive up the costs and effort in a direct mail campaign.

Instead, the Postal Service’s website provides an online mapping tool.  You  can choose a city, county, zip code or even a neighborhood (i.e., within a 5-mile radius of a specific address).  You just choose the area, and the direct mail will be delivered without the need to affix labels or print specific addresses.

The tool is fairly easy to use.  Once you’ve registered your business and learn it the first time, thereafter it only takes minutes to schedule a simple local mailing.  It walks you through the process step by step.  The amount of your postage cost  is displayed instantly online.  Once you pay, you print out the documentation and take it to the Post Office along with your bundles of direct mail pieces.

This is part of a larger initiative by the Postal Service to use innovation and technology to serve small businesses.

The Postal Service also announced the redesign of its Click N ship site,  where businesses and consumers can buy postage and print shipping labels online.   The site is a counterpart to the “If it Fits, It Ships” flat rate mantra for Priority Mail packages (see above), where you can get the packaging for free and then go online to pay for the postage, print a label, and even schedule a pickup.  No postage scale required!

The current Click N Ship site has been quite successful with small businesses — there are a million registered users and half of them are small businesses, notes Paul Vogel, president and chief marketing/sales officer, U.S. Postal Service.  Coming this month (April 2012) will be a dedicated business version of the Click N Ship site, designed for small businesses that ship between 10 and 100 pieces of mail per day.  Business Click N Ship will have a desktop app and expanded payment options.

For the full article from Small Business Trends, click here.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Import Export International Business Help Center

The International Business Help Center provides 300 pages of resources and information about worldwide B2B and Import Export opportunities. This web based international trade center was created to assist companies expand into new foreign markets, provide training for individuals wishing to start an export import business and help importers locate reliable sources of new products.

For access to more information and services, click here.

Friday, April 06, 2012

7 Tips for Getting Your Marketing Message Right

From HERE -

How do you describe your business to the world? What words sum up your brand identity and what you have to offer? Are you clearly explaining your business value?

It takes a little time and thought to get your marketing message right, which is why so many small businesses fall back on their “About Us” page or product descriptions to describe what they do and for whom. The problem with this approach is that this message is always about the business itself, and not about those you are trying to connect with – your customers.

Getting your marketing, positioning, and brand statements right is an essential step

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Ramble, Stalk, Split Up: What NOT To Do When Trying To Get Into a Business Incubator:

For the full article, here.

Want to get into TechStars? You're not the only one. Of the 1,500 who apply, only 1 percent actually get in the prestigious accelator program. The good news? You can learn from other founders' success and, of course, failure. Here are some tips we learned from the 2012 applicants to New York's TechStars program.

Send progress reports...

Show your personality...

Fight back...

Cop to your shortcomings...

Stalk the admissions committee...


Lose your co-founder...

Request a nondisclosure agreement...

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Demographics of the Jobs Recovery

This report from the Pew Hispanic Center analyzes labor market trends in the economic recovery from 2009 to 2011. The focus is on the change in employment by race, ethnicity, gender and nativity. The data for this report are derived from the Current Population Survey, a monthly survey of about 55,000 households conducted jointly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau. Data from three monthly surveys were combined to create larger sample sizes for individual groups of workers.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Changes In Sales Tax Clothing Exemption Effective April 1, 2012

Sales of eligible clothing and footwear for less than $110 are exempt from state sales tax 

Beginning April 1, 2012, the New York State sales tax clothing exemption is restored to the original less-than-$110 threshold.
Sales of eligible clothing and footwear costing less than $110 per item or pair are exempt from the state's 4% sales tax and local tax in those localities that enacted the exemption.
These sales are only exempt from the ⅜% Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District (MCTD) tax in those localities within the MCTD that enacted the exemption from their local tax.

Monday, April 02, 2012

5 Tips for Setting Your Salary as Business Owner

From  HERE -

If you’re a sole proprietor with no employees and very little business overhead, what you pay yourself is pretty much what you earn in sales minus your costs and taxes. But what happens when your business grows, or you enter a partnership, or take on employees – how do you determine what your salary should be?
As a business owner, setting your own salary can be a tricky task, especially in markets that see highs and lows. Here are a few tips to help you determine the best way to "pay the boss.”

No Magic Formula

There is no magic formula for setting your salary because so much depends on the development stage of your business and how it’s doing.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Facebook's Timeline Disrupts Some Businesses

Stephen Terrell expected a group of happy users when he updated his company's Facebook profile page to the new Timeline format, allowing his mostly senior-citizen customers to register for a contest to win a trip to Hollywood to meet nonagenarian actor Betty White.

Instead, there was an explosion of anger and confusion.   MORE