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Showing posts from October, 2012

How Social Media is Destroying Productivity

So, you’ve just finished a task or an assignment and figure you deserve a little mental break. Why not check Facebook or Twitter? It will only take you five minutes, right? Wrong.

As American students and workers spend more time on the Internet and on social media sites in particular, their levels of productivity are tanking. The average college student might spend three hours checking their various social media sites, but only two hours studying. That discrepancy is reflected in lower GPAs. Workers aren’t faring much better, either. Every time someone at work gets an IM, a Facebook message or a tweet, it takes them a whopping 23 minutes to get back on task. Taken all together, that costs the American economy $650 billion per year in lost productivity. The next time you think about checking a social media site, consider how much time and energy it will actually take.

See infographic.

Workplace Injuries and Illnesses – 2011

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics -

Nearly 3.0 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2011, resulting in an incidence rate of 3.5 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers, according to estimates from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate reported for 2011 was unchanged for the first time in a decade during which the total recordable cases (TRC) injury and illness incidence rate among private industry employers declined significantly each year since 2002, when estimates from the SOII were first published using the current OSHA requirements for recording occupational injuries and illnesses.

The incidence rate of injury and illness cases involving job transfer or restriction only among private industry establishments declined in 2011. Rates remained unchanged from 2010 for all other case types—cases with days away from work, job transfer, or restrict…

SBA’s Growth Capital Program Sets Record For Third Year in a Row

$2.95 Billion in Financing for Small Businesses in FY12

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) debenture program provided a record $2.95 billion to small businesses in fiscal year 2012, a 14 percent increase over last year’s $2.59 billion and an 85 percent increase over 2010, also a record year.

“Over the past three years SBA has transformed the SBIC program to ensure small businesses have greater access to SBIC funds,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “These record-setting numbers are proof that our efforts to streamline and simplify the process have made it possible to get capital into the hands of small businesses more quickly. When an SBIC invests in a small business, it can scale up and create jobs.”

High-growth small businesses continue to face difficulties in accessing patient, long-term capital to grow and create jobs. Since 1958, the SBIC program has helped fill these gaps and has invested approximately $63 billion…

When it's good to go to work contagious

From MoneyWatch:

I love being in an office surrounded by contagious people. Not the sniffling, sneezing, coughing kind who don't stay home when they should, but the kind whose enthusiasm and attitude towards their products, customers and company is absolutely infectious.

Many use the term "evangelist" to describe this, but I think there's a distinction: Evangelism (which I also love) is mostly unidirectional -- true believers, preaching and hoping to spread the good word to the masses, whereas contagiousness is more personal and subtle. When you're truly, "professionally" contagious, the people you deal with catch the fever just by interacting with you.

Nine Surefire Ways to Make Your Blog Fail

Blogs provide an excellent platform to engage with customers. WordPress blogs reach more than 70 million readers and Tumblr blogs reach up to 39 million. With numbers like those, you can see how important a blog can be, both as an extension of a business site and as a standalone destination.

But many bloggers make basic errors that lessen their blogs' effectiveness. Are you making the same errors? Review the following list of nine unforgivable blogging offenses to make sure you are not committing any of them.

Read more


Small Business Budgeting for 2013

From SBA:

Now that we're in the fourth quarter of the year, it's time to get ready for 2013. There is much to do from a financial, legal and tax perspective. In this article are guidelines for mapping out your company’s financial plans for 2013. In upcoming articles, you’ll see what legal steps you should take and last-minute tax planning moves you should make before the end of the year.

World Economic Outlook October 2012: Coping with High Debt and Sluggish Growth

Source: International Monetary Fund

The recovery has suffered new setbacks, and uncertainty weighs heavily on the outlook. A key reason is that policies in the major advanced economies have not rebuilt confidence in medium-term prospects. Tail risks, such as those relating to the viability of the euro area or major U.S. fiscal policy mistakes, continue to preoccupy investors. The World Economic Outlook (WEO) forecast thus sees only a gradual strengthening of activity from the relatively disappointing pace of early 2012. Projected global growth, at 3.3 and 3.6 percent in 2012 and 2013, respectively, is weaker than in the July 2012 WEO Update, which was in turn lower than in the April 2012 WEO (Chapter 1). Output is expected to remain sluggish in advanced economies but still relatively solid in many emerging market and developing economies. Unemployment is likely to stay elevated in many parts of the world. And financial conditions will remain fragile.

SBA Increases Size Standards for 58 Industries in 3 Sectors

From Hispanic Business:

The U.S. Small Business Administration issued three final rules in the Federal Register, effective Oct. 24, increasing size standards for firms in three North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Sectors: Real Estate and Rental and Leasing; Educational Services; and Health Care and Social Assistance.

Size standards define the maximum size a firm can be and still be considered a small business. The revised standards reflect changes in marketplace conditions and public comments that SBA received to the proposed rules...

To review the three rules and public comments, go to www.regulations.gov. Each has a separate RIN number:

-- Real Estate and Rental and Leasing - (RIN 3245-AG28)

-- Educational Services - (RIN 3245-AG29)

-- Health Care and Social Assistance - (RIN 3245?AG30)

...

The SBA issued a White Paper titled "Size Standards Methodology" which explains how SBA establishes, reviews and modifies its receipts-based and employee-based small …

Businesses Concentrate Their R&D in a Small Number of Geographic Areas in the US

From the National Science Foundation:

Businesses perform a large share of their research and development in a small number of geographic areas, two of the largest being the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland combined statistical area (CSA) and the New York-Newark-Bridgeport CSA, according to data from the Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS).

Partnering With Another Company

Today we present a recent article written by Myriam Bouchard, a certified business advisor with the Mid-Hudson Regional SBDC.  It presents information on the advantages of partnering with other companies as a marketing strategy:

http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121015/BIZ/210150335/-1/NEWS

Business lessons from the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama describes himself as "a simple Buddhist monk," despite that his honorific is "His Holiness." Either way, it's important to note that [his] public talks... tend to have no religious overtones (or even undertones). On the contrary, his tremendous popularity and appeal... largely come from the fact that he reaches out to everyone, taking religion out of the equation. In fact, he stresses the importance and value of viewing human relationships through a universal, secular lens.

More HERE.

The Art of Great Service and When We Stopped Listening

From SmallBusinessNewz

We knew that our company wasn’t perfect – which one is? We also knew that some of our company’s practices wouldn’t go over well with our customers, and that would lead to unhappy customers calling in to complain.

Though they sometimes got vociferous in their argument, we would always listen, offer empathy and look for a way that we could both work together to resolve the issue.

Again, it worked. At the end of the call, the customer would apologize and say they were really sorry that they came over as argumentative – they were just frustrated and felt as if they had no-one to talk to about it. All they wanted was for someone to listen and show that their problems were being heard.

Even if nothing could be done about them, just knowing someone cared made a huge difference.
***
No complaints about this traffic cop

The Small Business Advocate – October 2012

The October issue of The Small Business Advocate (vol. 31, no. 7) reports on the Office of Advocacy’s September conference in Seattle, “Small Business and Government: Maximizing Entrepreneurship, Driving Innovation.” In presentations, panels, and hands-on activities, representatives of government and research institutions came together with cutting-edge, visionary entrepreneurs, small business owners, and investors, to learn how government can most effectively promote innovation and businesses can benefit from a relationship with government.

In This Issue
Conference Sparks Dialog on Government and Innovation
Keynote, Recognition, and Takeaways
Panel 1: Small Business Innovators: The Public/Private Relationship
Panel 2: Maximizing Entrepreneurship: Showcasing Innovation Accelerators
Panel 3: Driving Innovation: Emerging Capital Strategies
Getting It Right—How Can the Public Sector Help the Innovation Sector Thrive? 3
Delaware and Pennsylvania Get Regulatory Flexibility
2012 Research Aw…

NYC Demographic Maps

Here’s a link to NYC demographic maps, thanks to NYC Planning Department.

Is your business a "mensch"?

From CBS News MoneyWatch:

For those who aren't hip to Yiddish, the word mensch is the highest praise one can bestow on another person. It basically rolls all of the finest characteristics and aspirations of humanity into a convenient, punchy, one-syllable word. If someone describes you by saying "what a mensch!" you pretty much can't do better. And though the word originates from the German for "human being," your business can and should be mensch-like too.

The general attributes of a mensch are absolute integrity, steadfast reliability and unfailingly high standards of behavior and character. In other words, a very solid citizen. If you believe, as I do, that genuine humanity is at the core of all great businesses, then a great business should aspire to these same qualities.

SBA Loan Dollars in FY 2012 Reach Second Largest Total Ever

WASHINGTON – With loan volume steadily increasing for the past six quarters, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s loan programs posted the second largest dollar volume ever in FY 2012, supporting $30.25 billion in loans to small businesses. That amount was surpassed only by FY 2011, which was heavily boosted by the loan incentives under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.

Overall, the pace of SBA loan-making is a healthy sign for the economy and the credit markets and is one of the foundations for ensuring the availability of financing to small businesses trying to establish themselves, grow and create new jobs for Americans.

The near-record pace was driven in part by a record year for the Certified Development Company (504) loan program, which supported $15.09 billion in small business credits. The strong performance of 504 loans was boosted by the temporary 504 refinancing program, which was responsible for 26 percent of the 504 program loans made in FY 2012 and 34 percent of…

Steady Increase in Home-Based Workers Since 1999

In 2010, 4.2 million more people worked at home than a decade before, according to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Home-Based Workers in the United States: 2010 contains findings from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and the American Community Survey. The combined analysis provides timely and comprehensive statistics on home-based workers in the United States.

According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation, the number of people who worked at home at least one day per week increased from 9.5 million in 1999 to 13.4 million in 2010, increasing from 7.0 percent to 9.5 percent of all workers. The largest increase occurred between 2005 and 2010, when the share grew from 7.8 percent to 9.5 percent of all workers, an increase of more than 2 million.

The Survey of Income and Program Participation has provided timely information on home-based workers since the mid-1990s and differentiates by those who work exclusively from home (home workers), those who …

Corporate Culture and Ethical Leadership Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines

What Should Boards, Management, and Policymakers Do Now?

In 1991, in recognition that the acts of individuals can create criminal liability for their organizations, the U.S. Sentencing Commission expanded the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to include a new chapter on organizational crime. The intent was twofold: to provide a consistent set of guidelines to deter and punish organizational crime and to encourage positive behavior — specifically, the establishment of effective corporate compliance programs. In the two decades since, one of the chief aims of the guidelines has been to encourage basic cultural change within organizations in ways that might reduce both criminal and ethical risk. On May 16, 2012, RAND brought together a group of public company directors and executives, chief ethics and compliance officers, and stakeholders from the government, academic, and nonprofit sectors for a series of conversations about organizational culture, as well as to explore the business and pol…

Jobs Outlook from the Conference Board

Everyone's reacting to the jobs figures released this morning. I thought I would have a look at the Conference Board to see what they had to say: Press Release / News Job Growth Still Slow, But Not Slowing 05 October, 2012 Comment on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Report Kathy Bostjancic, Director of Macroeconomic Analysis, The Conference Board With a gain of 114,000 jobs in September and an upward revision for August, this economy remains on a slow but not slowing growth path. More demand would help, as would fewer ill winds blowing in from a contracting Europe and slower emerging markets. More certainty on taxes post-election would also help. However, right now, slow job and income growth is about all the economy is capable of generating as businesses remain focused on cutting costs. That is the signal from The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® for the U.S. and is consistent with recent readings on consumer sentiment. Lack of demand plus concern …

Geographic Profile of Employment & Unemployment, 2011

This bulletin presents 2011 annual averages from the Current Population Survey for census regions and divisions; the 50 states and the District of Columbia; and 54 large metropolitan areas, 22 metropolitan divisions, and 41 principal cities. Data from the CPS differ from the official estimates produced by the individual states through the LAUS program. CPS estimates are provided herein because they are a current source of information on the demographic and economic characteristics of the labor force in subnational areas, from the same source as the official labor force data for the United States as a whole.

4 ways to ruin a sales call

From CBS News MoneyWatch

Like most of you, I get cold calls and e-mails every day -- not spam, I mean "real" sales calls -- most of them for things in which I have no interest, or for which I am not even a prospect. And like most people (I'm making statistical assumptions), I almost never answer or respond. It's not because I have it in for all salespeople -- though probably most of us have a hard spot in our hearts for solicitations -- It's because the vast majority of them botch their door-opening efforts so badly.

I appreciate that these people are doing their jobs and trying to make a living. In fact, as I wrote recently, whenever I get a call, e-mail or message from a salesperson, I remind myself that at my company, and probably yours, we call people to try to sell stuff, too. So I'm not insensitive to the plight of the honest, hardworking sales professional.

The problem is, most of their hard work often goes into turning me off to the point of nearly to…

James King Named Chairman of National ASBDC

Albany – The State University of New York and New York State Small Business Development Center (NYS SBDC) today announced that James King was recently elected Chairman of the Board for the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) at the organization’s 2012 national meeting in New Orleans. King is State Director of SBDC.

SUNY is the lead host for the statewide SBDC network, which includes the City University of New York (CUNY), Pace University, and Columbia University.

"Jim King’s election as chairman of the national small business development network is a well-deserved recognition of his outstanding leadership in New York State and of SUNY’s progress toward driving economic development," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. "We are pleased to have Jim represent SUNY as he helps shape a national agenda for economic support in communities throughout New York and across the nation."

"I am honored and privileged to lead such a distinguished g…

World Economic Forum Releases Global Competitiveness Report

From World Economic Forum:

The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012 assesses the competitiveness landscape of 144 economies, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity. The Report series remains the most comprehensive assessment of national competitiveness worldwide.

Consumer Expenditures 2011

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Average annual expenditures per consumer unit rose 3.3 percent in 2011 following a decrease of 2.0 percent in 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The rise in spending in 2011 barely outpaced the 3.2-percent increase in prices for goods and services from 2010 to 2011, as measured by the average annual change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). This was the first yearly increase in spending since the 1.7-percent rise from 2007 to 2008, as expenditures had declined in both 2009 and 2010.

All major components of household spending increased in 2011. The 8.0-percent rise in transportation spending was the largest percentage increase among all major components. Overall spending on food and cash contributions (including payments for support of college students, alimony and child support, and giving to charities and religious organizations) both increased by 5.4 percent. Other spending highlights include a 4.9-percent rise in health care s…