Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Access to Capital among Young, Minority-owned, Women-owned, and High-tech Firms

The availability of capital is crucial for small business startup, survival, and growth. This study investigates how the youngest small firms, especially high-tech firms and firms owned by women and minorities, were financed during the evolving financial environment of the Great Recession.

Get the full report or summary.

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

Monday, April 29, 2013

Advance GDP by Industry Statistics for 2012

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Durable-goods manufacturing, finance and insurance, and wholesale trade were the leading contributors to U.S. economic growth in 2012, according to advance statistics on the breakout of real gross domestic product (GDP) by industry from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Overall, 19 of 22 industry groups contributed to the 2.2 percent increase in real GDP.

Manufacturing real value added—a measure of an industry’s contribution to GDP—rose 6.2 percent in 2012, after increasing 2.5 percent in 2011. Durable-goods manufacturing, the largest contributor to overall growth in the economy for the third consecutive year, increased 9.1 percent, after increasing 6.8 percent in 2011 and 13.3 percent in 2010.
The finance and insurance industry group increased 3.6 percent in 2012, after two consecutive years of negative real value added growth.
Wholesale trade increased 4.8 percent, after increasing 3.0 percent in 2011.

Friday, April 26, 2013

New Congressional Bill Would Ax Most of the Census

Terri Ann Lowenthal’s excellent Census Project Blog has a great post about the bill and its implications:

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC-3) [has] just introduced a bill (H.R. 1638) to cancel the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), Economic Census, Census of Governments and every other survey the agency conducts, except the once-a-decade population count. Oh, and bye-bye Census of Agriculture (transferred from Census to the Agriculture Department in 1997). Sayonara, adios — no more data.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Easy Money Saving Tips for Merchant Processing

The first thing you should know is that there are a series of what are called interchange levels which affect the cost of a charge at every stage, depending on a number of factors—including the type of card presented, specific information contained in the transaction and how/when the transaction is processed.

Here are tips on how you can prevent being assessed higher processing fees.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

New York Announces Its First Business Ombudswoman

Empire State Development and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance announced the appointment of Mwisa Chisunka as New York State Business Ombudswoman and Director of Business Tax Services and Education.

As New York's first Ombudswoman, Ms. Chisunka will work closely with the business community to provide education about tax law developments, answer questions, and help businesses navigate the issue resolution process. She will also launch pro-business programs as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Open for Business initiative.

More HERE.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

If you use your personal smartphone or tablet to read work email, your company may have to seize the device some day, and you may not get it back for months.

Employees armed with a battery of smartphones and other gadgets they own are casually connecting to work email and other employer servers. It's a less-than-ideal security arrangement that technology pros call BYOD — bring your own device.

Now, lawyers are warning there's an unforeseen consequence of BYOD. If a company is involved in litigation — civil or criminal — personal cellphones that were used for work email or other company activity are liable to be confiscated and examined for evidence during discovery or investigation.

More from NBC News

Monday, April 22, 2013

SBA AND W20 GROUP LAUNCH SOCIAL MEDIA WEBINAR SERIES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration and the W20 Group, an entrepreneurial ecosystem of digital communications companies, is launching a five-topic social media webinar series to help small businesses leverage and grow their businesses using social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and mobile marketing.

Social media is playing a growing and vital role in the success of small businesses growing and creating jobs. It provides the opportunity to build deeper relationships with customers, to increase sales and to reach new markets in a cost-efficient manner. The webinars will help small businesses to develop a comprehensive social media plan that is engaging, effective and that has maximum return on investment.

The first social media webinar for small businesses, Introduction to Social Media: Helping You Get Started, will be held on April 24, 2013, at 1:00 p.m. EDT. To register for the webinar, visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6526746452209580800. The webinar will highlight topics such as:
• What social media is and isn’t;
• Why it’s important to get involved;
• Demographics on who is using social media;
• Best practices; and
• Ways to get started.

Friday, April 19, 2013

State-Level Trends in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance

Most nonelderly Americans who have health insurance are covered through an employer, and employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) will continue to be a major source of coverage even after 2014, when the Affordable Care Act’s(ACA’s) Medicaid
expansion and subsidies for the purchase of private coverage through health insurance exchanges will take effect. This report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation examines recent trends in ESI at the national and state level...

The percent of the U.S. nonelderly population with ESI declined from 69.7 percent in 1999/2000 to 59.5 percent in 2010/2011. While 47 states and the District of Columbia saw significant declines in coverage during this time period, there is substantial state-level variation in both the magnitude of these declines and in the absolute levels of ESI
coverage in each state.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Venture Capital Firms Profit from Funding Women-led Businesses

WASHINGTON – Venture capital firms that invest in women-led businesses see positive returns, says a new report issued by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy. The report, called Venture Capital, Social Capital, and the Funding of Women-led Businesses, focuses on women entrepreneurs’ access to equity funding and how social networks influence venture capital firms’ decisions to invest. In the report, the authors, Joy Godesiabois and Lawrence Plummer, find that social capital (“who you know and how you know them”) affects funding of women-led firms in different, sometimes conflicting ways.

Venture capital firms tend to invest with familiar social networks that may not include women entrepreneurs. Yet this study shows that when venture capital firms do invest in women-led businesses, they generally improve their bottom line. And venture capital firms that regularly invest as a group in the same businesses tend to invest more often in businesses led by women entrepreneurs, according to the report.

“As investors look for new opportunities, and as we focus on ways to grow our economy, we should look to women entrepreneurs for a good share of new growth,” said Dr. Winslow Sargeant, Chief Counsel for Advocacy. “Policies that encourage venture capital networks to be more inclusive will create the environment for new high-growth innovative businesses.”

The Office of Advocacy, an independent office that serves as the voice for small business within the federal government, sponsored the report.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New disaster aid funding?

Hi, Business Owners


If you have not registered your business or personally (if you have personal damages for Hurricane Sandy) please register here.

Thousands of homeowners across New York have been directly impacted by Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee. The devastation wrought by these storms was unlike anything New York has seen in recent history. While FEMA, the State of New York and other disaster relief agencies stepped in immediately following the storm to provide public and private recovery assistance to homeowners in need of help, the State worked to secure Congressional approval of additional federal aid to meet the substantial need. The program outlined here is subject to federal approval.

The State of New York, local governments and its partners are now accepting registrations for housing and small business assistance for residents located in disaster-declared counties. These registrations will be used to determine potential program eligibility for each registrant.

Following your registration, a member of the NYS Sandy Help Team will contact you to review your eligibility and assist in the application process.

Please check the calendar on this site to find out dates and times when the NYS Sandy Help Team may be in your area. New dates and times will be added regularly, so be sure to check back often.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How to Report Tips Related to the Boston Explosions

Yesterday afternoon, two explosive devices detonated in Boston, MA. Three people were killed and over 150 people were wounded.

If you have any information or visual images related to the explosions, please contact the FBI by e-mailing boston@ic.fbi.gov or calling 1-800-CALL-FBI (prompt #3). No piece of information or detail is too small.

Get FBI updates on the investigation.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Small, daily improvements can help you build an outstanding business

If you found toast dull and uninspiring, you wouldn’t have it for breakfast every day. You’d try something new. You’d mix things up a bit. The thing is, it’s easy to change what you have for breakfast. It’s just a small decision.

Where people struggle is with the bigger decisions, like changing your business from one that’s under performing, to a business that excites and rewards you. However, achieving that goal doesn’t come from making one big decision – it’s the end result of lots of small, daily decisions.

The most successful business owners already know this, which is why they never feel overwhelmed.

Here’s where the connection with breakfast comes in: You see, just as you choose what type of breakfast to have every day, you choose what type of business you have every day, by the daily decisions you make. Progress comes from these small daily steps. Whilst there’s room for making huge decisions, it’s what we do on a daily basis, which directs the course of our business.

More HERE.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Farmers Market Federation of New York

The Farmers Market Federation of New York is a grassroots, membership organization of farmers' market managers, market sponsors, farmers and market supporters. Together, we have developed a spectrum of services to increase the number and capacity of farmers' markets in the state, develop the scope of professionalism in farmers' market management and improve the ability of markets to serve their farmers, their consumers and their host communities. On this site you'll find support materials that will guide you to the successful development, implementation and operation of farmers' markets. Everything from publications and guides to research to reporting tools are available to assist you in market development and management.

Here is a list of New York State Farmers' Markets.

Friday, April 12, 2013

$19 Million in Grants to SBA Resource Partners to Support Hurricane Sandy SB Recovery

WASHINGTON— Small businesses rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy will get both immediate and long-term help laying a foundation for economic recovery and resiliency thanks to expanded services funded by a $19 million emergency appropriation.

Small businesses can take advantage of free expanded counseling, training and technical assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s resource partners—the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), SCORE, and Women’s Business Centers (WBCs).

“This is yet another example of placing proven, effective tools in the hands of America’s small business owners who are recovering from Hurricane Sandy,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “SBA’s extensive resource partner network continues to play a critical role in fostering economic development in those hard-hit areas, and I’m pleased those resources will be made accessible on a broader scale to help those who need it most.”
Funding was made available as part of a package approved by Congress in January to meet the demand for SBA assistance. Through these funds, SCORE, SBDCs and WBCs can help provide long-term small business rebuilding strategies, as well as help small businesses through the SBA lending process.

In the first phase of counseling and technical assistance funding, $5.8 million is being distributed to SBA resource partners in 11 states--Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia--and Puerto Rico.
The SBDC and WBC funding awards are as follows:
Connecticut $527,000
Delaware $118,000
Maryland $36,000
Massachusetts $76,000
New Jersey $1,385,000
New York $2,394,000
North Carolina $18,000
Pennsylvania $410,000
Puerto Rico $19,000
Rhode Island $71,000
Virginia $7,000
West Virginia $46,000

SCORE will receive $704,000 to fund its chapters in the affected areas. During the second phase of funding, $13.1 million will be issued through these resource partners to provide long-term small business recovery and expansion, with a focus on building creative community-based partnerships.

SBA makes low-interest, taxpayer-backed disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses and non-profit organizations of all sizes. More information about the disaster assistance program is available at www.sba.gov/disaster.

As of April 11, the SBA has approved disaster loans totaling $1.8 billion to individuals, and $279 million to businesses and non-profit organizations recovering from Hurricane Sandy.

SBA’s resource partners provide counseling assistance to disaster survivors, including business advice for affected businesses and assistance in applying for an SBA disaster loan. In addition, they staff recovery centers and provide guidance to help with businesses recovery and disaster preparedness.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

80%of Small businesses Will Not Add Employees in the Next Two Years

So says the Chamber of Commerce first quarter 2013 Small Business Outlook Study [PDF]:

- 70% say their business is headed in the right direction
- 79% say the US economy is in the wrong direction
- 20% say they will add employees in the next two years
- 44% cite economic uncertainty as the top threat to their business
- 24% say the small business climate has improved the last two years
- 77% say higher energy prices are an "immediate" threat to their business

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Deciding When to Fight for a Small Business

From the New York Times:

I remember learning in business school that business is supposed to be rational and efficient. Markets sort themselves out, supply and demand curves eventually intersect, and spreadsheets and algorithms lead to smart decision making.

In my life as a loan broker, however, it often seems as if the opposite is true. Every day, as I work with small-business owners, I make decisions that are at least partially emotional. And this is particularly tough, because I know that sometimes small-business owners may take my guidance as the last word on whether they can expect to obtain capital, which may affect their dreams and livelihoods, as well as other people’s jobs.

So somewhere I have to find a balance between rational decision making and my own moral compass.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Seven Rules for Managing Creative People

From the Harvard Business Review:

Moody, erratic, eccentric, and arrogant? Perhaps — but you can't just get rid of them. In fact, unless you learn to get the best out of your creative employees, you will sooner or later end up filing for bankruptcy. Conversely, if you just hire and promote people who are friendly and easy to manage, your firm will be mediocre at best. Suppressed creativity is a malign organizational tumour. Although every organization claims to care about innovation, very few are willing to do what it takes to keep their creative people happy, or at least, productive. So what are the keys to engaging and retaining creative employees?

[Not that I'd agree with #5, unless Wall Street brokers were paid likewise.]

Monday, April 08, 2013

If Disaster Hits Your Business, Will It Die?

None of us like to think about a disaster hitting our business.

But the reality is that it could happen.

There’s nowhere in the world where we can get away from weather disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, floods and lightning storms, to name a few. Even if you do live in paradise (where is that?), there’s always the chance that your technology could decide to stop working.

Ever had a panicky moment with a green screen of death on your computer? I have. It wasn’t a pretty.

And if your business is home based, you could lose both your home and your business in one swoop — in a single disaster. Oh, the horror!

So that means you need to be ready.

Visit the Mobile Apps Gallery to find government apps and mobile websites on a variety of topics.

Here are just a few of the many apps you'll find:
Tornado - If a tornado warning is issued for your location, an alarm will sound, even when the app is closed. (available for iPhone and Android)
CDC Mobile App - Get timely health information. (available for iPad and Android)
Smart Traveler - Get official country information, travel alerts, maps, U.S. embassy locations, and more. (available for iPhone and Android)
NCI QuitPal - Use proven strategies to help you stop smoking. (available for iPhone)
NPS National Mall - If you're visiting the National Capital, you can use this app to help you explore cultural and historical sites. (available for iPhone)

Friday, April 05, 2013

NYS requirements for business self-insurance

Sole proprietors currently can self-insure through regular health insurance companies, through Healthy New York, through organizations like the local Chamber of Commerce or another business association, or through groups like SSA (Support Services Alliance). Theoretically, all states will be setting up health care exchanges by 2014 to offer a variety of options, though some may opt for the federal exchange.

Here’s the link to the Affordable Health Care Act as it relates to a sole proprietor with no employees.

Here’s an article from the Wall Street Journal online:

Q. What if I am a one-person business?
A. The impact for sole-proprietors and others with no employees will be much like the impact on individuals.
For people in this group, the crux of the 2014 rollout is the individual mandate, which requires all U.S. citizens and legal residents to have health coverage or pay a penalty.
You, as a one-person business, would buy insurance through your state's benefits exchange that will roll out in 2014.
There are some exemptions, however, such as those from certain religious backgrounds and those who are eligible for the so-called "hardship exemption" if the cost of the annual premium exceeds 8% of household income.
There are penalties intended to ensure compliance. The top penalty for individuals, once fully phased in, for not having insurance is $695 or 2.5% of income--whichever is greater.

(Thanks to Sarah for this.)

Thursday, April 04, 2013

The Impact of Credit Availability on Small Business Exporters

A dramatic drop in U.S. exports during the 2008-2009 financial crisis and Great Recession stimulated interest in investigating the relationship between trade finance and small business exports. This research examines how and why the tightening of credit affects small firm exporters.

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

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The Small Business Advocate - April 2013

Editor: Rebecca Krafft
Vol: 32 , No: 2

The April edition of the Small Business Advocate spotlights the Office of Advocacy’s innovation and entrepreneurship event which took place in March in Pittsburgh. The Chief Counsel’s message recaps the office’s legislative priorities for the 113th Congress. The issue also includes news from New Orleans/Region VI, plus economic news and a reminder about the U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Service’s new Form I-9.

In This Issue

Advocacy Works with 113th Congress
Pittsburgh Event on Innovation and Policy
New Orleans Entrepreneur Week and Michoud Facility
Small Business Recovery
Businesses Required to Use New Form I-9 by May 2013


Tuesday, April 02, 2013

5 Questions That Will Lead to Market Domination

One of the things most small business struggle with mightily is differentiation. And yet, it’s probably the number one factor in the success of one business over another.

If you can’t demonstrate how your business is significantly different than every other business that says it does what you do, you are doomed to compete on price...

...if you really want to carve out success you must also understand that it’s often not enough to simply be different. You’ve got to be different in a way that boldly addresses the greatest unmet needs of your market.

More HERE.

Monday, April 01, 2013

SBA and AARP Host Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Month events in April

The U.S. Small Business Administration and AARP are teaming up to host National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Month targeted at entrepreneurs over the age of 50. Building on the success of a joint SBA and AARP Mentor Day in October, the two organizations will match “encore entrepreneurs” with successful business owners and community leaders for advice and assistance. To find a local event near you go to .

Throughout April, SBA District Offices, state AARP Offices and SBA Resource Partners will host more than 100 events around the country. Events include speed mentoring, which allows mentors and entrepreneurs to share information for five-minute sessions, and mentor lunches for entrepreneurs to learn best practices from successful small business owners.

“Many new entrepreneurs are saving their best acts for their encore performance,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “They’re using their decades of expertise and their contacts to start new businesses and to finally pursue that venture that has been stirring their dreams for all these years. The SBA and the AARP are once again focusing our efforts during Encore Entrepreneurship Mentor Month to help transform those dreams into a successful reality.”

Mentor Month is part of a larger effort by SBA and AARP to provide a range of resources to more than 100,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners over the age of 50 this year. The events will help connect encore entrepreneurs with mentors such as those from SBA’s network of Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and SCORE chapters who can help throughout the life of an entrepreneur’s business.

“AARP supports developing opportunities for older Americans to pursue entrepreneurship as a means to generate income, boost financial security and assist others in meeting needs,” said Jean Setzfand, AARP Vice President, Financial Security. “AARP creates real possibilities by connecting experienced workers with the practical information and guidance they need to start or grow a small business.”

One in four individuals ages 44 to 70 is interested in becoming an entrepreneur and 63 percent of Americans plan to work during retirement, according to the website www.encore.org. Small business ownership is a good option for many baby boomers. Small business owners who get long-term counseling may see bigger sales, hire more workers and have more longevity. SBA and AARP will provide training and mentoring services to older entrepreneurs to help them successfully start and grow businesses and create jobs.

SBA developed a 50+ toolkit that includes free online courses targeted at helping encore entrepreneurs start or grow their businesses. The training courses include profiles of successful entrepreneurs, recommended action steps, and information on licensing and financing. Go online to www.sba.gov/encore for the toolkit and other resources available for entrepreneurs over the age of 50. AARP and SBA are also producing two webinars in April to help current and potential entrepreneurs. For more information, and to register, visit www.aarp.org/startabusiness.