Friday, August 31, 2012

Labor Force: Displacement, Ethnicity

Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity, 2011

In 2011, the unemployment rate for the United States averaged 8.9 percent, but varied across race and ethnicity groups. The rates were highest for Blacks (15.8 percent) and for American Indians and Alaska Natives (14.6 percent) and lowest for Whites (7.9 percent) and for Asians (7.0 percent). The jobless rate was 13.6 percent for persons of two or more races, 11.5 percent for Hispanics, and 10.4 percent for Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders.

WORKER DISPLACEMENT: 2009-2011

From January 2009 through December 2011, 6.1 million workers were displaced from jobs they had held for at least 3 years, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This was down from 6.9 million for the survey period covering January 2007 to December 2009. In January 2012, 56 percent of workers displaced from 2009-11 were reemployed, up by 7 percentage points from the prior survey in January 2010.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The No. 1 rule of business relationships

From CBS MoneyWatch:

There is one thing you need to do, and one thing you insist others around you do, to keep business relationships vibrant: Communicate in real time.

If something bothers you, say it while it's fresh. If you like something, say it. Unexpressed communication sinks into people like industrial dumping sinks into the dirt. It leeches into the groundwater, makes plants die and children get sick. Unexpressed communication withers relationships, builds up hostilities and finally erupts, often in a way that is almost never helpful.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Content Marketing – Is Quality Really Important?

From SmallBusinessNewz

With Google’s ever evolving algorithms, producing fresh content is more important than ever.

Importance of good content marketing But does it have to be high quality or will any old thing do?

If you’re outsourcing your content production, don’t let financial matters cloud your judgement, as quality will always outweigh quantity.

Not convinced?

OK, look at it this way. Everything you put out on the web is there to promote your business in some way shape or form. It may not be a blatant advert, but it will be designed to drive traffic to your website and therefore will be associated with your company.

Now are you beginning to see why quality is important?

If you’re still struggling, here are 6 points worth remembering when it comes to content marketing.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Online Payment Services – Are They a Good Fit for Your Small Business?

Credit cards are a common online payment option for small businesses, but what about other services like PayPal, Bill Me Later and Google Wallet?

These now ubiquitous tools make it easier than ever for anyone – not just e-tailers – to buy and sell goods online and via mobile devices. However, as with all business tools, they have their pros and cons. Here’s what you need to know.

Monday, August 27, 2012

New SBA Platform Lets Small Businesses Tell Their Stories

Videos Showcase Entrepreneurs Who Have Started or Grown a Business

WASHINGTON – Everyone has a story, and now the U.S. Small Business Administration is giving entrepreneurs a new online platform to share their stories and showcase their successful and thriving businesses.

SBA has launched “Small Business Owners Speak,” an interactive platform featuring videos by entrepreneurs from across the country who have started or grown a business with the help of the SBA. The videos will be featured at www.sba.gov/stories.

The page features videos submitted during SBA’s 2012 National Small Business Week video contest. But to help reach out to more small business owners, SBA has opened “Small Business Owners Speak” to other entrepreneurs interested in submitting a video to be featured there, where more information about the video submission process.

The page features a map of the United States that allows users to click on videos by state or by using the drop-down menu and searching for videos by topic, such as capital, counseling, federal contracting or disaster loans.

Friday, August 24, 2012

2012 ALBANY MATCHMAKER & EXPO

At the 2012 Albany Matchmaker & Expo, small business owners can discuss potential contracting opportunities face-to-face with representatives from colleges and universities, large corporations and federal, state and local agencies. This annual sellout event is a valuable networking opportunity with dozens of exhibitors and government contracting resources. Small businesses can participate in either the morning session or the afternoon session and sent up to two representatives at a cost of $45 per person. Small businesses will schedule individual appointments with participating buyers prior to the event during the online registration and payment process.

September 11, 2012
The Albany Marriott
189 Wolf Road, Albany
Morning Session 7:30 am—11:25 am
OR
Afternoon Session 12:00 pm—3:55 pm

Registration is Now Open!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fewer, but better, choices can bring on more sales

By Rhonda Abrams

I have a terrible time buying toothpaste.

You've probably had a similar experience: I stand in the toothpaste aisle at a place like Target — and yes, there's a whole aisle just for toothpaste — and I'm overwhelmed.

Sure, I use Crest, but which Crest?... Crest has 41 varieties...

Why do companies make buying so complicated?

For a small business, this question is critically important. Every product or service we develop or sell takes investment.

We need to make sure we can sell what we make or offer. Surprisingly, giving customers too many choices is likely to lead to fewer sales.

More here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Withholding on Wages Paid to Certain Nonresidents Who Work 14 Days or Fewer in New York State

This memorandum explains the Tax Department’s existing policy concerning employer withholding on the wages paid to certain nonresident employees whose primary work location is outside of New York State and who are expected to work 14 days or fewer in New York State during the calendar year.

Law and background

Section 601(e) of the Tax Law imposes a personal income tax on the New York source income of a nonresident individual. The New York source income of a nonresident individual includes wages and other compensation for services performed in New York State.

Section 671 of the Tax Law provides that every employer maintaining an office or transacting business in New York State and paying any wages subject to New York State personal income tax must deduct and withhold tax from those wages during each calendar year. The amount withheld must be substantially equivalent to the tax reasonably estimated to be due from the inclusion of the wages in the employees’ New York adjusted gross income or New York source income. Accordingly, if a nonresident employee performs all services in New York State, the tax must be withheld from all wages paid to the employee. However, if a nonresident employee performs services partly in and partly outside the state, only wages for services performed inside the state are subject to withholding.

Allocation of wages...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Consumers Perceive Risk When 'Price' Means More Than Money

From ScienceDaily

When companies combine different pricing structures -- such as asking for effort or information in combination with or instead of money -- consumers perceive a greater risk in the decision to buy.

That's according to University of Cincinnati research presented at the Aug. 15-17 Behavioral Pricing Conference in Detroit, Mich., by doctoral marketing student John Dinsmore. His paper is titled "Mental Accounting, General Evaluability Theory and the Framing Losses Posed by Partitioned Monetary and Nonmonetary Prices."

According to Dinsmore, shoppers routinely arrive at buying decisions by categorizing and evaluating prices, a process known as mental accounting that helps consumers judge a level of loss or sacrifice posed by pricing strategies.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Do Your Email Marketing Activities Comply with the Law?

From HERE:

Do you use or are you thinking of using email to connect with your prospects and customers?

If so, then the payoffs can be fruitful. For every $1 spent on email marketing in 2011, the estimated return on investment was an astonishing $44.25 (source: Pingdom).

But did you know that every email you send to your customers, whether it’s your monthly e-newsletter or a one-to-one email sent to promote your products or services, must comply with the law? Here’s what you need to know:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Can the boss force you to go home if you're sick?

"1) Can I ask my company to remove the sick person from the workplace?

"2) Is the employer required to remove the sick person from the workplace, as it is now (somewhat) unsafe?

"I'm a pretty healthy person, so I should gain a few bonus days because of my relatively good health. I just HATE it when people come in sick."

THE ANSWER, from CBS MoneyWatch HR guru Suzanne Lucas, HERE.

The article also addresses the downside of switching over to "paid time off" (PTO) from a more traditional vacation- and sick-time policy.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Don't engage employees -- empower them

CBS News MoneyWatch

The management fad of the millennium is employee "engagement." Gallup has done a remarkable job of marketing it as the one metric for improving everything from employee retention to business performance.

But does it work? Not necessarily.

Sure, every executive and business leader wants employees to care about their jobs and the success of their company. That's a no-brainer. But accurately measuring employee engagement, developing the right strategies to improve it, implementing them, and not screwing up anything else in the process is far easier said than done.

More importantly, at least one credible expert and a human capital analytics consultancy firm say the cause-and-effect relationship between employee engagement and business results isn't compelling, primarily because their drivers are not necessarily the same.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Customers from Hell: Five Do's and Don'ts for calming cranky customers

From ConnectITnews

Perhaps you've noticed that customers are becoming increasingly hostile. Case in point was the highly publicized incident where a patron in a fast food restaurant became so enraged that he attacked the restaurant manager. The customer spilled his coffee on his breakfast and when the manager refused to replace the meal, the ensuing argument led to violence that ended with the customer being arrested.

It seems in our fast-paced frenetic world customers are now more tired, rushed, stressed, and downright fed-up.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Even Crowdfunding Cannot Escape From Uncle Sam

From here:

When it comes to crowdfunding, most people forget that there are tax implications. Did you really think Uncle Sam would give you a pass? Everyone who raises money through crowdfunding will be taxed as it is considered revenue. There is one exception to the rule, however, and that is either you are a registered non-profit 501(c)(3), or you have secured an authorized fiscal sponsor to chaperon your fundraising campaign. So when you do plan your crowdfunding campaign, check to see if you would be eligible for a tax-exemption.

Basically, there are three taxable ways money raised in crowdfunding can be categorized: Sales Tax, Income Tax, or Gifts.

Monday, August 13, 2012

DATA Act protection: Effects of a federal breach notification law

The federal Data Accountability and Trust Act, should it become law, would mandate new breach notification requirements. What does this mean for enterprises? This article will look at the new reporting requirements and examine when and how your organization will have to report a breach to the FTC and what new steps you’ll have to institute to comply.

DATA has passed in the House of Representatives and is awaiting Senate approval. Designed to protect personally identifiable information (PII) from misuse, the DATA Act would be similar to many existing state identity data breach notification laws requiring organizations that are entrusted with PII to report breaches promptly once they are discovered.

The business benefit of the proposed federal breach notification law is that it would
supersede the 48 existing state and territory laws that vary in their definitions of personal information, specify different notification methods and differ in their requirements for preventive and detective controls.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Capital Improvements and Sales Tax

TB-ST-104, Capital Improvements
This bulletin explains what type of work is a capital improvement to real property. It also includes information on:
-purchases by contractors and property owners; -billing; and -the appropriate use of exemption certificates.

TB-ST-555, Materialmen and the Pay-When-Paid Option
Materialmen who make qualified sales to contractors may be able to postpone payment of the sales tax until they receive payment from the contractor. This bulletin explains:
-which sales qualify under the pay-when-paid option, and -how materialmen should report these transactions on their sales tax returns.

To view the entire document please visit:

Thursday, August 09, 2012

15 Reasons to start blogging!

From here:

Also:
Blogging, competition and commitment

Someone recently asked me if I thought it was a good idea, for them to start writing a business blog. Whilst you may imagine my answer would automatically be a resounding ‘yes’, it wasn’t! I explained that in my experience, blogging is only a worthwhile commercial investment if you invest in it appropriately.

Plus other blogging tips by Jim Connolly.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Don't put off the basics when starting your biz

FROM CBS News MoneyWatch:

When speaking with or advising people starting new companies, or already running small ones, I've found that they often avoid, delay, or otherwise neglect to put some simple but critical business needs in place. Generally it's because they (like any responsible entrepreneur) want to save money, or because they think they "don't need these things yet." But there are structural and operational fundamentals that are best dealt with before you think you need them. Some of them involve a little out-of-pocket, but it's money better spent early in the game.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Four Steps to Generate Leads Online with Your Business Blog

From Social Media Today:

Most experienced marketers agree that a business blog is an extremely useful tool to expand online reach, build brand loyalty, and generate leads online. According to Social Media Examiner’s 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 79% of marketers with over three years of experience use blogging as a social media marketing tool. Whether you’re just getting started or need to revamp your approach, here is a proven four-step formula your business can use to reap the many benefits of blogging:

(DEFINE+LISTEN+ADDRESS) X (COMMUNICATE) = BLOGGING SUCCESS

Clearly define your target audience, listen to them, and then communicate solutions that address their pain points in a simple, concise and relevant way.

Monday, August 06, 2012

How to Describe Your Products: Lessons from the Eddie Bauer Catalog

From StepByStep Marketing - I imagine this would also be applicable to services:

It is tempting to rely exclusively on the verb "to have" when you are writing copy that describes your products. The lawnmower you are selling has a pull start, for example. It has a bag that catches grass clippings. It has oversize wheels. It has a comfortable handle.
Repetitive copy like that doesn't capture the reader's attention, which explains why advertising writers often use alternatives to the verb "to have" in the copy they write:
•"These shorts feature a comfortable mesh lining."
•"This hammock sports a built-in comfort pillow."
•"Our consultants possess all the knowledge you need to make wiser business choices."
•"The design embodies all the extra features that enthusiasts will ever need."

Those are more energetic alternatives, but there are other ways...

Friday, August 03, 2012

Forget the economy: Now is a great time to be in business

From CBS News MoneyWatch


It's a lousy time to start or grow a business, right? Wrong! Over half of America's Fortune 500 companies started during a depression or recession.

As far back as the first century BCE, Horace noted that "Adversity reveals greatness; prosperity conceals it."

Entrepreneurs are problem solvers. They see beyond the pile of poop and look for the pony. Every crisis is an opportunity for change; every problem begs for a solution...

We are all problem solvers to varying degrees. When confronted with problems, we all seek solutions. The difference is that successful entrepreneurs solve other peoples' problems, not just their own. Though their solutions may have originated from their individual situation, they are able to recognize a widespread need, replicate the remedies, and offer the solution to others.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

SBIR/STTR Policy Directives

The SBIR and STTR policy directives are scheduled for publication in the Federal Register on Monday, August 6th, 2012.
SBA encourages public comments on the SBIR and STTR policy directives on or before October 5, 2012.

SBA encourages public comments on the SBIR and STTR policy directives on or before October 5, 2012.
You may submit your comments at the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Follow the instructions for submitting comments using RIN: 3245-AF84 for SBIR comments and RIN: 3245-AF45 for STTR comments.

Pre-published PDF copies of the directives are available for download now at:
Small Business Innovation Research Program Policy Directive (SBIR)
Small Business Technology Transfer Program Policy Directive (STTR)

To find out more about the publication of the policy directives, read a blog post by Sean Greene, the Associate Administrator for Investment and Special Advisor for Innovation at the U.S. Small Business Administration.

You may also review a summary of Key Changes and a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). The FAQs will be updated as we receive additional questions from commenters.

Join the public webinars the SBIR and STTR policy directives on the following dates:
Thursday, August 23rd, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. EDT
Wednesday, August 29th, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. EDT
To participate in the webinar, send an e-mail to technology@sba.gov. The email should include the date of the webinar you are registering for, the participant's name, title, organization affiliation, mailing address, telephone number, and email address. An email containing the call details will be sent out to those who registered prior to the webinar.

Questions on the SBIR and STTR policy directives may be submitted to SBIRComments@sba.gov . These questions will be addressed during the Q&A portion of the webinar.Federal eRulemaking Portal. Follow the instructions for submitting comments using RIN: 3245-AF84 for SBIR comments and RIN: 3245-AF45 for STTR comments.

Pre-published PDF copies of the directives are available for download now at:
Small Business Innovation Research Program Policy Directive (SBIR)
Small Business Technology Transfer Program Policy Directive (STTR)

To find out more about the publication of the policy directives, read a blog post by Sean Greene, the Associate Administrator for Investment and Special Advisor for Innovation at the U.S. Small Business Administration.

You may also review a summary of Key Changes and a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). The FAQs will be updated as SBA receives additional questions from commenters.

Join public webinars on the SBIR and STTR policy directives on the following dates:
Thursday, August 23rd, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. EDT
Wednesday, August 29th, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. EDT
To participate in the webinar, send an e-mail to technology@sba.gov. The email should include the date of the webinar you are registering for, the participant's name, title, organization affiliation, mailing address, telephone number, and email address. An email containing the call details will be sent out to those who registered prior to the webinar.

Questions on the SBIR and STTR policy directives may be submitted to SBIRComments@sba.gov . These questions will be addressed during the Q&A portion of the webinar.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

So Simple (just a little more)

Sam Parker shows "a line of 4 people waiting for my bank to open (more were in their cars). I took the picture at 9:02 am – two minutes after they were supposed to open.

"The fact is... this line happens frequently at this particular bank. It starts with people sitting in their cars about 10 minutes before the bank is supposed to open and then with about 5 minutes to go, it changes to a line of standing people.

"Why wouldn't they just open the door and start helping people? Why wouldn't they Smile & Move or be 212? Why wouldn't the leader (with a title or not) encourage a little more effort and attention?

"Here's my suggestion...

"We open our doors (actual and metaphorical) a minimum of 10 minutes before our established opening time and close them a minimum of 10 minutes later than our established closing time. Then we remind ourselves and our colleagues to get over ourselves and let our customers in and not push our customers out.

"With this... we'll send the people we serve an authentic message of our gratitude for the opportunity to serve them... so they'll be more likely to stay with us (over going somewhere else)."

Offices opening late are the bane of my existence as a customer!