Posts

Showing posts from May, 2012

NYS SBDC Minority Entrepreneur of the Year: Ariel Barbouth of Nuchas

Image
From the Brooklyn SBDC:

Ariel Barbouth recognizes New York City as the culinary capital of the world. Ariel started Nuchas in 2008 after visiting his native Argentina and re-discovering restaurants there that only sold empanadas: pastries stuffed with a variety of meats and vegetables originally from Latin America. After returning from Argentina, Ariel developed the Nuchas concept - selling empanadas as convenient, natural handheld food with an ethnic twist. His experience as entrepreneur in a previous venture in the food industry helped him quickly develop the concept. Nuchas started baking and distributing empanadas wholesale. Nuchas’ empanadas quickly became a success and were picked up by gourmet stores across the city. Ariel contacted the Brooklyn SBDC in January 2011 for business plan assistance to grow his business and open his first retail outlet. As the Brooklyn SBDC and Ariel worked on the plan, a Request For Proposal was published by The Times Square Alliance and NYC…

SBA, AARP Team Up to Connect Older Americans With Resources to Start, Grow Businesses

Alliance will provide counseling, training to 100,000 encore entrepreneurs

SBA has set up a http://www.sba.gov/content/50-entrepreneurs dedicated web page for Americans over the age of 50 featuring: an online self-assessment tool that will help potential small business owners understand their readiness for starting a business as well as information to help with business planning, shaping a winning business idea, professional counseling, financial services and information to find local resources in your area.

More HERE.

NYS SBDC Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year: Jon Quinn of Quinn Essential Fitness

Image
From the Brooklyn SBDC

From his initial weeks of basic training to the Reserve Officer Training Program at Syracuse University and throughout his career as an Air Force officer, Jon Quinn experienced firsthand the benefits of group exercise - military style. Jon started Captain Quinn's Fitness Boot Camp because he is passionate about fitness and about serving others through fitness education. His dedication to fitness has spanned over twenty years of service in the military, the private sector, and in non-profit organizations. Jon, a Certified Personal Trainer is on a mission to ignite a lifetime passion for fitness and healthy living in as many people as possible through programs designed to motivate, educate and inspire transformation and self-improvement. His Fitness Boot Camp provides results-oriented fast paced group fitness classes, private and small group fitness training and coaching, nutritional guidance and, eventually, on-line/retail video instruction. Jon consulted Bus…

NYS SBDC Procurement of the Year: Oscar Nordstrom of Nordstrom

Image
From the Rockland SBDC

Oscar Nordstrom, a Service Disabled Veteran, founded Nordstrom Contracting & Consulting, Corp (NCC) in 2004 as a family-owned and operated small business. NCC provides a variety of construction and renovation work for Federal Agencies, including electrical, mechanical, plumbing, interior fit-outs and finish trades. In that time NCC has performed projects totaling more than $10 million and NCC is especially proud that all projects have been completed on or before required completion and within original budget!
NCC’s trademarks are attention to detail, responsiveness, integrity, and genuine pride in its work. Since its inception NCC has grown consistently every year. Mr. Nordstrom says “By aligning the client’s goals with ours, working as a team on each job, we develop and maintain close working relationships with every client. Our past projects, current service contracts and ever-growing portfolio are a testament to the abilities and superior performance of t…

Learn About Your State and Local Tax Obligations

In addition to business taxes required by the federal government, you will have to pay some state and local taxes. Each state and locality has its own tax laws. The links below provide access to key resources that will help you learn about your state tax obligations. Having knowledge of your state tax requirement can help you avoid problems and your business save money.

Read MORE.

NYS SBDC Female Entrepreneur of the Year: Melissa Wawrzonek, Clipper Ship Tea Company

Image
from the Farmingdale SBDC

While sailing aboard oil tankers in the United States Merchant Marines, Melissa
Wawrzonek began planning for a career after she retired from the sea. She decided to
translate her love of tea and passion for traveling into a business. To prepare herself, Melissa studied all she could about tea and visited tea producing countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, China and Japan. She completed a 3-year certification course through the Specialty Tea
Institute (STI), which certified her as a Tea Specialist and Tea Educator & Speaker. In 2010, with certifications in hand and start-up funds in the bank, Melissa retired from the Merchant Marines. During the summer of 2010, she consulted the Farmingdale SBDC for assistance in finalizing a business plan and leased a 1200 square foot retail space in Northport Village.
Melissa and her family completed a restoration of the 110 year commercial space, with original tin ceilings and tin walls, a hotel concierge desk f…

More of the Small Business Resource Guide

Segregated accounts
Establish a segregated bank account for sales taxes. NYS Tax Department encourages all sales tax vendors to voluntarily establish a separate bank account for sales taxes that they collect on behalf of New York State to make it easier to comply with the tax law. To improve sales tax compliance, they can require certain sales tax vendors to deposit sales tax into a separate bank account. This tax law change was effective March 31, 2011.

Sales Tax Filing Responsibilities
A sales tax return is still required to be filed, if a registered vendor, did not collect any tax for the tax period in question. Vendor Collection Credit (currently at 5% of tax payable except monthly filers with a maximum of $200 )
Sales Taxes are trust taxes – A responsible person can be held personally liable for payment of taxes.
If a business ceases doing business, they must file a final sales tax return and return the Certificate of Authority to the Department.
Sales Tax Exemptions

NYS SBDC Scientific Innovation Impact Award: Dr. Hanna Wollocko of Oxyvita

Image
From the Mid-Hudson SBDC, the late Don Dods, advisor.

While working in emergency services and in hospital blood banks, Dr. Hanna Wollocko, Founder, President and CEO of Oxyvita, Inc., recognized the enormous needs and significant problems with blood transfusions. She and a group of professionals from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology fields founded Oxyvita in 2003 to work on developing an innovative blood substitute. The product is a polymeric hemoglobin solution, which is clinically useful as a blood substitute due to its oxygen carrying function, can dramatically reduce the need for blood donated by human donors and significantly reduce the risks associated with blood transfusions. Dr. Wollocko first consulted Business Advisor Don Dods at the Mid-Hudson SBDC in 2004 about financing to continue the research. He has worked intensely with Dr. Wollocko and her team to develop the product into a sustainable business that is ready to market. The business is now significantly advanced …

Small Business Resource Guide - NYS Taxation

From Suzanne Reusch, Taxpayer Service Specialist

The overall goal of the NYS Tax Department is for all taxpayers to voluntarily pay the correct amount of tax, at the right time. The New York State Tax Department will partner with New York’s businesses to help them comply
with their tax responsibilities in the easiest and most efficient way.

The New York State Tax Department features a growing list of electronic services that promote self-service, making it
easier for customers to conduct business with the department at their convenience.

Online Services with NYS Tax

Recommend that all businesses sign up for subscription services to:
• Obtain new postings of Tax specific technical guidance documents
• Receive press releases and News
• Each business should create an online service account:
• File and pay taxes (sales tax mandated)
• Respond to department notices
• Change your business address/phone number
• Sign up for E-mail alerts to receive account email alerts about your tax accou…

NYS SBDC Manufacturer of the Year: Vincent Lobdell of Health Way Home Products

Image
From the Watertown/Oswego SBDC

Vince Lobdell, President of HealthWay Home Products, Inc. has received the award of NYS SBDC Manufacturer of the Year. Mr. Lobdell formed HealthWay Home Products Inc. in October 2004 after 30 years of experience in the air purification industry.

HealthWay, located in Pulaski, New York, is a manufacturer of patented low energy medical-grade indoor air filtration equipment. The Company holds many US and International patents on Enhanced Germicidal Filtration (EGF) technology as well as multiple product design patents. The Company also holds patents on air quality diagnostic equipment and auto-control sensing devices for indoor air quality machines. HealthWay manufactures products for both residential consumers and commercial institutions. Tests administered at the University of New York at Buffalo prove these devices to be 100% effective at capturing viruses, bacteria, molds and fungi from the air. The products are so effective that they are approved by t…

NYS Minority/Woman Business Enterprise Certification Just Got Easier!!

Empire State Development, New York City Small Business Services and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have joined up to make the certification process even easier. One application to submit for all three MWBE certification programs. Complete instructions are included in the Standard Application.

If you are currently certified as an MBE, WBE, MWBE, DBE or are part of the Federal 8(a) Business Development Programs you may be able to use the Fast Track Certification Applications.

2012 Incentives for MWBE Growth

New MWBE Regulations

New York State Contract Reporter is New York’s official publication of state procurement opportunities from state agencies, public authorities and public benefit corporations.

Check out the website.

NYS SBDC Growth Business of the Year: Steve Coppola and family, APB Security Systems, Inc.

Image
From the Staten Island SBDC

Steve Coppola started in the alarm business in July 1977 after being with the NYPD and as a deputy sheriff in Florida. He started his working career working with his father installing fireplaces. This created in Steve a strong feeling for the importance of a family working together. It was always Steve’s goal to create an atmosphere where he could work side by side with his family and he strived to do everything possible to make that happen. He, his daughter Pamela and son Stephen are proud to say that they enjoy coming to work each day.

APB Security Systems has burglar alarms, card-access entry systems, surveillance cameras, telephone systems, intercom systems, computer networking, home theater installations and more and has a track record for the past 34 years.

Steve is the head of APB Security Systems located at 2047 Victory Boulevard, , Staten Island, NY. It is part of the family conglomerate which includes Statewide Fire Alarm Corp. a UL (unde…

Procurement changes in New York State

Significant procurement changes recently in Article VII of the 2012-2013 NYS Executive Budget [PDF]. See Part L - modify outdated procurement procedures, pages 128-153.

The OGS Procurement Services Group's (PSG) mission is to provide customer focused procurement services through the development and management of contracts and programs that are responsive to customer needs; are cost effective, practical, and timely; and provide comprehensive and innovative procurement alternatives, thereby assisting customers in accomplishing their primary mission.

Bureau of State Expenditures Vendor Management Unit (VMU) Site
Vendor Guide to New York State’s Centralized Vendor Management Processes
Frequently Asked Questions for Vendors
Vendor Responsibility
VenRep System Welcome Package (Handbook)
SFS Forms

National Small Business Week May 20-26

Let's Celebrate National Small Business Week 2012
The week of May 20th, our nation’s entrepreneurs will come together online and in Washington, DC for National Small Business Week.
Learn more about the event

Participate Online
Sign up to view the live webcast of the free educational panels. SBA will send you a reminder.
With a strong focus on how small businesses can take advantage of economic opportunities and new marketing trends, topics for the educational forums this year include:

Strategies and resources for taking your small business global through exporting
Tips and best practices for putting social media to work for your business
An open discussion on how small businesses can better position themselves to win federal government contracts
Check out the full conference schedule
...or you can follow along on Twitter with the event hashtag #SBW2012.

Attend In Person
Small business owners are invited to attend the free seminars and network with other entrepreneurs at the Washing…

Killing the American Community Survey Blinds Business

On May 9 the House voted to kill the American Community Survey, which collects data on some 3 million households each year and is the largest survey next to the decennial census. The ACS — which has a long bipartisan history, including its funding in the mid-1990s and full implementation in 2005 — provides data that help determine how more than $400 billion in federal and state funds are spent annually. Businesses also rely heavily on it to do such things as decide where to build new stores, hire new employees, and get valuable insights on consumer spending habits...

The fight over cutting funds for data-gathering agencies has opened up a rift in the deficit-hawk crowd. A handful of organizations that generally support big fiscal spending cuts have voiced their support for fully funding the three main data-gathering agencies: Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The Chamber of Commerce, for example, strongly advocates funding them, since its me…

Get Social or Die

At our staff training, this week we heard a series of presentations from Josepf Haslam of DragonSearch.

"We are at the dawn of a new Age with social media. It’s both an evolutionary and revolutionary age. It’s a truly disruptive technology and social system for businesses and individuals.

"I assert that you need to get social or die. If this is your view of social - and believe me, a couple years ago when I looked at Twitter, I had the idea [it was the] perfect combination of narcissism, ADHD, and stalking -... for you and for businesses, you need to change this. You need to make it your force for being found and getting business.

"Headhunters, Executive Recruiters, Employment Agencies ... real people with access to real jobs!

Headhunters, executive recruiters, employment agencies, executive search firms, staffing and personnel agencies are here to help you find that perfect career opportunity.

Finally a directory of professionals that help real people find real jobs every single day, and it is absolutely free to use!

Headhuntersdirectory.com is a great free tool out there to use.

The Green Economy – The New Magic Bullet?

Source: Heinrich Boll Foundation

In June 2012, heads of state will gather at the Rio+20 conference in Brazil to explore the theme “The Future We Want.” The focus of the conference is the green economy. Exactly what a green economy is and should be, and with what measures and instruments it should be implemented, has not yet been defined and is the topic of intense political debate. Nevertheless, efforts are being made to develop a “Green Economy Roadmap.” Rio+20 should not simply be a repetition of previous international conferences. Instead it must offer a true breakthrough on the path to a social, just, low-carbon and resource-efficient world.

The UN General Assembly called with Resolution 44/228 of December 22, 1989, for the convening of the first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Rio Summit, in 1992. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development was assigned to promote the transition from an economic model th…

6 Leadership Tips For Small Business Owners

Being a small business owner can be rewarding in many ways but can be frustrating as well. You know the saying, “If I only knew then what I know now?”

Leadership is important in your business whether you have 1 employee or over 50 employees. Hopefully, these tips will help you on how to be a good leader for your business if you are not already. All of these tips can’t be done just once, you need to practice them daily or weekly or monthly. Repetition of each task will get you in a routine and make your business run smoother.

Tip One: Work on your Business, Not in It

This actually sounds pretty ridiculous because you should know how to do the majority of aspects in your business. This means that you need to focus on your future plan and how your business is going to move forward and grow. You are the mastermind of starting your business. You can’t stop thinking and growing just because you are now open.

Sometimes it is a lot easier to focus on the day-to-day operations of your business …

37 Saddest Failed Kickstarters

As BoingBoing noted: Media coverage of successfully Kickstarted projects sometimes makes it look like an easy source of funds for any old half-baked idea.
Nope.

On the other hand, these were the #1 Kickstarter projects at various points.

Starting a Mobile Food Concession Business? Be Sure to Follow the Rules of the Road

Want to take your restaurant on the road? Interested in starting a food-service business that affords lower overhead costs than a bricks and mortar restaurant?

Starting a mobile food concession business has its advantages – the rent is cheaper, staff overhead is lower, and you can move to follow the profits. But it also has its challenges – weather, vehicle breakdowns, and seasonality, to name a few. And don’t forget, starting a business or expanding into new markets, particularly with on-board food, means you’ll also have to heed laws and regulations that apply when you take your business to the streets.

Here’s what you need to know about operating your concession business within the law:

1. Apply for Licenses and Permits

Any business needs a license or permit to operate legally, but going mobile requires you to get permits for all the cities and counties where you operate, not just your static business address (which may be your main place of business or your home-based HQ). Food se…

The Legal Steps Involved in Moving Your Business to a New State – FAQs Answered

Businesses move all the time. If a move is in the cards for your business, what should you do? Maybe you’re expanding and are out of capacity at your current location, or maybe a move is for personal reasons. Maybe you want relocate to a state that is more favorable to small businesses, such a state without any income taxes.

Moving a business raises many questions, particularly questions about legal and regulatory matters. In fact, some of the most common questions posted by small business owners to the SBA.gov Community are about the ramifications a relocation has on taxes, registration and incorporation.

If you’re thinking of moving or have already relocated your business, here are some answers to some of those questions:

Q: I operate an LLC. What steps do I have to take when I relocate?

A: It’s always best to consult an attorney if you are moving your LLC to a new state since there are several options open to you that require careful consideration. Here are your choices:

1. C…

5 Ways to Turn Your Website into a Sales Machine

Your online presence is a vital part of any sales strategy. But is your website the sales powerhouse it should be?

Replicating the effectiveness of the face-to-face sales process online -- and getting customers to go from clicking to buying -- can be difficult. The good news is that there are a few simple tricks and tweaks that can improve your site's revenue-generating capabilities.

Here are five tips that can help turn a business website into a sales machine:

1. Build an effective shopping cart.

Some small businesses use services such as PayPal for making and receiving online payments. But building a full-featured shopping cart directly into your website might be a better option. Shopping carts allow for more customization and the potential to provide more product information.
(Check our our earlier post on setting up a PayPal account for your business here.)

Austin, Texas-based Volusion is an all-in-one shopping-cart tool that starts at $19 per month and handles checkout and pa…

Credit Card Surcharges by Merchants - Are They Allowable?

One of our counselors asked: "I have a client who is looking for ways to cut her credit card processing expenses and is considering charging her credit card customers a $1 fee per transaction. I looked into this a couple years back when another client had a similar question and now can’t seem to find that information again. But, I recall that I had discovered that charging such a fee is against the merchant’s agreement with the credit card companies."

This led to a vigorous online discussion. As it turned out, I did address this in the second half of this post, but that was five years ago. Has anything changed? I went to the sources, and included some related issues.

MasterCard Rules (PDF)

5.8 Card Acceptance Requirements (start on p 122)
5.8.1 Honor All Cards
A Merchant must honor all valid Cards without discrimination when properly presented for payment. A Merchant must maintain a policy that does not discriminate among customers seeking to make purchases with a Car…