Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Small businesses asked to suit up for the Super Bowl

From USA Today, reprinted here.

The minuscule budgets of small businesses often hinder their marketing power. But now, one small firm will join mega marketers on the biggest advertising stage of all: the Super Bowl.

On Wednesday, software provider Intuit kicks off a contest that will award one small business with a 30-second Super Bowl XLVIII commercial. The third-quarter ad will likely be seen by more than 100 million viewers.

Mainly, it's big-time marketers such as Anheuser-Busch and Pepsi paying for such pricey commercial time. Last year, some 30-second slots sold for more than $4 million each.

Intuit — which makes products such as TurboTax and QuickBooks — recruited reality TV personality Bill Rancic and former football coach Jimmy Johnson to promote the contest.

Businesses, which must have 50 or fewer employees to apply, can register at SmallBusinessBigGame.com.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Business Dynamics Statistics Data

The July 2013 release of BDS data contains data for 1976–2011 and includes tables by establishment characteristics in addition to tables by firm characteristics.

•Firm Characteristics Data Tables
Describes job flow and entry/exit patterns for establishments in the U.S. classified according to the size and age of the firm with which they are associated.

•Establishment Characteristics Data Tables
Describes job flow and entry/exit patterns for establishments in the U.S. classified according to the size and age of the establishments themselves.

Monday, July 29, 2013

How to Find a New Web Host for Your Small Business

The phone’s ringing off the hook, your only employee didn’t show up today and your website and email just crashed. It’s another hectic day in the life of a busy entrepreneur. Someday, you’ll be able to take a day off – maybe even a whole week! But that won’t be anytime soon.

Until you can afford to pay higher wages, you may be stuck with that one deadbeat employee. But you don’t have to put up with your website being unreliable. The problem is most likely your Web host, so if you’re not getting what you need, it’s time to make a change.

As you begin your search for a website host, take advantage of resources available to you as a small business owner.

More from SmallBusinessNewz.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Preventing Chargebacks: 16 Tips To Avoid Them

Most chargeback situations arise at the point of transaction—at the time the transaction is completed—and most can be prevented with a little training.

Consider these 16 tips to avoid potential chargebacks.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Business Cred: "Good Standing" And Why Your Business Needs It

Operating your business as a legally formed entity, such as a corporation or a limited liability company, means that you have an obligation to keep the entity in good standing by filing the required annual reports and paying any required taxes and fees. Failing to do so not only jeopardizes your ability to expand into other states, but you may forfeit your limited liability protection as well.

Learn More

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Small Business Lending in the United States 2012

Small Business Lending in the United States is the Office of Advocacy’s annual report on bank lending to small businesses. Financing is critical for small businesses; without it, they would be hard pressed to make important contributions to the nation’s economic health and well-being.

In the pages of this report, you will find the most current available information on lending to small businesses by depository institutions of various sizes in the United States. Tables in the report provide a wealth of data on the amount and number of loans made to small businesses year by year.

The overall picture looks better than it did a year ago. Although lending to small businesses was still down, the decline was less than in 2010 and 2011, an indication of progress. You will be able to track the year-by-year changes in small business lending as the economy continues to improve.

Readers can also learn more about what’s happening with the banks in their own states and localities. Detailed tables show state-by-state rankings of institutions doing small business lending. The report covers commercial, cooperative, and federal and state savings banks, as well as savings and loan associations. Geographic coverage includes the United States and its territories.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Affordable Care Act 101 Weekly Webinar Series

Looking for insight about how the Affordable Care Act will affect your small business and your employees? This free webinar series will help you understand key pieces of the law and what you should know about tax credits, cost containment and more. Get the facts you need to know.
• Thursday, July 25 at 12:00 PM ET
• Thursday, August 1 at 2:00 PM ET
• Thursday, August 8 at 2:00 PM ET
• Thursday, August 15 at 2:00 PM ET

Friday, July 19, 2013

Hire a veteran, get a $9,600 tax credit

From the IRS:


The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) (H.R. 8) extends the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) for hiring certain workers through Dec. 31, 2013.

The VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 made changes to the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), including adding new categories to the qualified veterans targeted group and expanding the WOTC to make a reduced credit available to tax-exempt organizations for hiring qualified veterans. The VOW Act also extended the WOTC for qualified veterans hired before Jan.1, 2013. The other targeted group categories were not extended by the VOW Act and expired for targeted group members other than qualified veterans hired after Dec.31, 2011.

ATRA extends the WOTC for qualified veterans hired before Jan. 1, 2014. ATRA also extends the WOTC for targeted group members, other than qualified veterans, hired after Dec.31, 2011, and before Jan.1, 2014.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Redesigned $100 Note. Know Its Features. Know It's Real.

From NewMoney.gov:

The redesigned $100 note will begin circulating on October 8, 2013. Will you know how to authenticate it?

Protect yourself by using the security features included in the redesigned $100 note. We've added two new security features to the redesigned $100 note, the 3-D Security Ribbon and the Bell in the Inkwell. Both of these features can be found on the front of the note and offer a simple and subtle way to check that the note is real.

In addition to the two new security features, three highly effective security features from previous designs have been enhanced and retained in the redesigned $100 note: the portrait watermark, the embedded security thread, and the color-shifting 100.

To see these and other security features in action, you can explore the Interactive Note.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

America’s Economy Mobile App

The folks at the U.S. Census Bureau released a new and improved version of the America’s Economy mobile app this week. The America’s Economy app provides real-time updates for 19 key economic indicators from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, and Bureau of Economic Analysis. Three indicators from BLS were added to the app this week: nonfarm payroll employment, the Producer Price Index, and the Consumer Price Index. These indicators join the unemployment rate and 15 others that were already available.

This free app is now available in the App Store and Google Play. For more information, see here.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

EPA inviting small businesses, others to participate in a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) Panel.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is inviting small businesses, governments, and not-for-profit organizations to participate as SERs for an SBAR Panel that will explore changes to existing uses of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). This panel will focus on the agency’s development of a proposed rule to revise or end the existing authorized uses of PCBs as appropriate if the conditions under which they were authorized more than 30 years ago have changed. This rulemaking may address existing liquid-filled PCB use authorizations, PCBs in fluorescent light ballasts, PCBs in natural gas pipelines, and regulatory language clarifications.

SERs will be selected by the SBAR Panel to provide comments on behalf of their company, community or organization and advise the panel about the potential impacts of the proposed rule on small entities. EPA is seeking self-nominations directly from the small entities that may be subject to the rule requirements. Other representatives, such as trade associations that exclusively or at least primarily represent potentially regulated small entities, may also serve as SERs.

Self-nominations must be received by July 29, 2013.
• Learn more about the potential Small Business Advocacy Review Panel and nominate yourself as a Small Entity Representative
• Read the April 7, 2010 Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM)
• Read about the Small Business Advocacy Review Process
• More about the regulations of PCBs
• Advocacy contact: Sarah Bresolin at 202-205-6790




Monday, July 15, 2013

How to Choose a Business Name That Helps You - Not Hurts You

During the initial stages of starting a business, choosing the right name of your company can be a difficult task to say the least. It may surprise you but even the name of your business can trigger a red flag with some lenders and creditors.

Unfortunately, many business owners don’t take this simple step into consideration, especially when it comes to the business credit building process.

MORE from SBA here.

Friday, July 12, 2013

How to get the Web domain name you want

From MoneyWatch:


According to VeriSign (VRSN), more than 6 million domain names were added to the Internet in the fourth quarter of 2012, bringing the total number of registered domain names to more than 252 million worldwide. Somewhere in those hundreds of millions of names may be one you really want, one that appears to be unused or for sale. Countless domains are bought and "stocked" by aftermarket resellers, and others are bought by prospective users who never wind up doing anything with them.

The aftermarket domain business can be tricky and frustrating -- sometimes you can't even get as far as finding and contacting the current owner. So what do you do when you see a URL out there that you'd like to buy and know or believe might be for

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Small Business Lending in the United States 2012

This annual report reviews the small business lending activities of institutional depository lenders, including commercial and cooperative banks, federal and state savings banks, and savings and loan associations. The lenders are ranked on their overall small business lending nationally and on a state-by-state basis. Small business loans are defined as business loans under $1 million; micro business loans are those under $100,000; macro loans are those between $100,000 and $1 million. Two data sources are used—Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income or “Call Reports” and reports required under the provisions of the Community Reinvestment Act—CRA reports.

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Let's Stop Improvising Disaster Recovery

FDespite improvements in disaster response for recent, major occurrences like Hurricane Sandy, more work remains to be done so as not to adversely impact citizens, businesses and governments devastated by a disaster's effects for greatly prolonged periods of time.

In this insightful observation piece, Rockefeller Institute Senior Fellow Dr. James Fossett indicates that improved disaster recovery from natural and man-made occurrences is possible through strategic planning, careful coordination between various levels of government, and the development of easily accessible response mechanisms.

Dr. Fossett outlines several steps available to governments that will enable the development of cash reserves and the release of money necessary to assure a speedy return to normalcy after a major, catastrophic event.
To read this observation, go to www.rockinst.org.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

How to Thoroughly Spy On Your Competition

From SmallBusinessNewz:

Okay, maybe spy is a little strong but experience tells me that most small business don’t know much at all about what their greatest competitors are up to when it comes to marketing.

I know you don’t really have any competition because you provide such a superior product and experience, but setting up a competitor specific listening station can uncover some useful insights.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, 1996–2012

The Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity is a leading indicator of new business creation in the United States. Capturing new business owners in their first month of significant business activity, this measure provides the earliest documentation of new business development across the country.

The percentage of the adult, non-business owner population that starts a business each month is measured using data from the Current Population Survey (CPS). In addition to this overall rate of entrepreneurial activity, separate estimates for specific demographic groups, states, and select metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) are presented. The Index provides the only national measure of business creation by specific demographic groups.

New 2012 data allow for an update to previous reports, with consideration of trends in the rates of entrepreneurial activity over the seventeen-year period between 1996 and 2012. The Kauffman Index reveals important shifts in the national level of entrepreneurial activity and shifts in the demographic and geographic composition of new entrepreneurs across the country. Also, new for 2012 is the reporting of trends in entrepreneurial activity among veterans. The estimates reported here for veterans represent some of the first evidence on business creation for this group.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Advocacy Quarterly Lending Bulletin 2013 Q1

Small businesses saw gradual strengthening in the overall economy in the first quarter of 2013 as borrowing conditions continued to improve. Borrowing by small firms contracted slightly during December 2012 and March 2013. In general, bankers reported stronger demand along with eased bank lending policies for business loans.

Find the study here.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Another way to Measure America

Measure of America provides easy-to-use yet methodologically sound tools for understanding the distribution of well-being and opportunity in America and stimulating fact-based dialogue about issues we all care about: health, education, and living standards.

The hallmark of this work is the American Human Development Index, an alternative to GDP and other money metrics that tells the story of how ordinary Americans are faring and empowers communities with a tool to track progress over time. The Index is comprised of health, education, and income indicators and allows for well-being rankings of the 50 states, 435 congressional districts, county groups within states, women and men, and racial and ethnic groups.

Through national and state reports, thematic briefs, and the project’s interactive website, Measure of America aims to breathe life into numbers, using data to create compelling narratives that foster greater understanding of our shared challenges and greater support for people-centered policies. The Project was founded in 2006, and became an initiative of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) in 2008.

Some of the publications:

The Measure of America 2013–2014 measures well-being in three vital areas—health, education, and earnings—that shape the opportunities available to us and enable people to invest in their families and live to their full potential.
Women’s Well-Being: Ranking America’s Top 25 Metro Areas
One in Seven: Ranking Youth Disconnection in the 25 Largest Metro Areas
State of the Congress 2013

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Disaster response: The Pocket Response Plan (PReP)™ and other tools

If you share responsibility for the care of historical records, or you care about records held by particular organizations, you will want to learn more about emergency preparedness. The following resources from around the state and nation offer information for historical records keepers on disaster planning and recovery.
The Disaster Assistance page of the New York State Archives provides information on emergency preparedness and recovering from a disaster and describes the services it can provide to State Agencies, to Local Governments, and to Historical Records Repositories.

The New York State Archives has also been playing a leadership role in a national effort, coordinated by the Council of State Archivists (CoSA), to help all state archives and records management programs prepare for natural disasters and other records-related emergencies.
•The Pocket Response Plan (PReP)™ is a concise document for recording essential information needed by staff in case of a disaster. It was created so that every person having a response-related assignment could carry a PReP with them at all times. The PReP is one component of CoSA's Framework for Emergency Preparedness.

More info HERE.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Integrate SEO, Social Media & Content Marketing Into Your Business

In today’s age of ubiquitous connectivity, many small businesses have implemented a variety of online marketing efforts to attract new customers and increase overall sales. Unfortunately, results can vary significantly because tools are only as good as the expertise of the person using them.

The lure of the “next big thing” can create online marketing inefficiencies when small business owners try to be a marketing “jack of all trades and master to none”.

For example, the rapid growth and adoption of the social web can be overwhelming for small business marketers. Consider these social network growth statistics:

Google sites handle about 100 billion searches each month (SEL)
YouTube hosts nearly 14 billion videos (comScore)
Facebook is now over 1 billion users (Mark Zuckerberg)
Google+ has over 500 million users (Google)
Twitter has over 550 million accounts (Statistics Brain)
LinkedIn is at 225 million users (LinkedIn)
Pinterest grew 4,377% in 2012 and continues to expand with 25 million users (TechCrunch)


More from Small Business Newz.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Be Your Own Boss, Not The Most Expensive Employee

From Small Business Newz:

Ninety-seven dollars for that? Heck, I can find the information for free on the interwebs.

Yep. The number changes, but the “I can do it myself” virus just keeps sticking. (Yes, I’m guilty too.)

Admit it. You’ve probably said that yourself in the last week or so.

We’re all guilty of it. Doing things ourselves was one of the reasons we became our own boss — so we could do it our way. Right?

But continuing to do things yourself instead of hiring staff or outsourcing the work won’t help you grow your business.

And on top of that, if you are doing all the work, you have hired the most expensive person in your company. That doesn’t help the bottom line, does it?