Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Charting a Pathway to a Technology-Accessible Workplace

From the US Department of Labor blog:


Someone recently asked me to name the one thing I couldn’t live without at work. My answer? Technology. I couldn’t do my job – or live my life – as effectively as I do now without information and communication technology (ICT).
4E8A6089Considering that I’m blind, this answer is sometimes met with surprise. Some people don’t realize that individuals with disabilities also rely on technology – as long as it’s accessible – to perform daily tasks. I certainly do. I use a screen reader to relay the information on my computer screen, a Braille note-taking device and a smartphone with built-in accessibility features. To say that I’d be lost without these innovations is an understatement.
Technology is paramount for all of us – whether we have disability or not – and this is particularly true in the workplace. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Which of these 3 types of small business owner are you?


For millions of small business owners worldwide, it's decision time. Pretty much every business owner will want to do better in 2015, however, their decisions regarding how to improve things will differ massively.

They will fit into one of the following 3 broad groups. Do any of these seem familiar to you?

1. Fear focused business owners


More from SmallBusinessNewz

Monday, December 29, 2014

5 Ways to Build Trust in a Business

The most valuable business commodity is trust. Richard Branson, author and founder of Virgin Group says, “Building trust in your brand isn't easy to achieve and it may take time, but it doesn't have to come at a high cost. With honesty, ambition, hard work and attention to detail you can instill a level of trust that will enable you to move forward.”

The fact is that integrity impacts all aspects of business and is among, if not the most important character trait for a company to have. It is the barometer by which your customers, lenders, potential business partners and employees evaluate you and your business. Trust in a business speaks volumes on how a company services and communicates with its customers.

A trustworthy business can be defined many different ways depending upon the person, business, or organization reviewing it.

More from Small Business Administration.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Fatal occupational injuries by day of week and month, 1992–2011

During the 20-year period from 1992 to 2011, the majority (83 percent) of all fatal occupational injuries occurred during the traditional workweek, Monday through Friday. A total of 80,645 workers were fatally injured during the day (7 a.m. to 6:59 p.m.) from 1992 to 2011. Another 26,631 were fatally injured during the night and evening hours (7 p.m. to 6:59 a.m.). For 7,815 cases, time of incident was unknown.

From 1992 to 2011, July had the highest number of fatal occupational injuries (11,168), and the fewest number of injuries occurred in February (8,008). Just over a quarter of workers (28 percent, or 32,795) were fatally injured during the summer months of June, July, and August. In comparison, the winter months of December, January, and February totaled 25,380 fatal injuries (22 percent).

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Trashing electronics becomes illegal in New York

If Santa brings you a shiny new laptop, game console or flat-screen TV, don't toss the old one in the trash. Starting Jan. 1, the final phase of New York's 2010 electronics recycling law takes effect, making it illegal for consumers to throw so-called "e-waste" in the garbage. Violators can be fined $100.

Read More at WRBG-TV


Recycling Your Electronic Waste

Disposal Ban: Beginning January 1, 2015, consumers may no longer dispose of certain types of electronic equipment in landfills, waste-to-energy facilities, in the trash, or at curbside for trash pickup. Use the recycling options described below.

Two Ways to Recycle Your Electronic Waste

Option 1: Use a Manufacturer's Takeback Program

  1. Go to DEC's list of electronic equipment manufacturers registered in NYS, to find manufacturers, their brands electronic equipment covered by the law, and their electronic waste acceptance program websites and toll-free telephone numbers.
  2. Follow the specific instructions listed on the manufacturer's website or provided over the telephone. The manufacturer is required to provide information on how to recycle your equipment, free of charge.

Friday, December 26, 2014

5 Local Search Tactics You Must Employ Today

Search is pretty much everything these days.

Even businesses that rely on people in their town, coming into their place of business to complete a transaction, are held to the fact that, increasingly, most buying decisions start out with an online search.

The category of local search engine optimization has picked up steam over the last few years as search behavior combined with the rapid growth of smart phone use created a truly mobile search consumer. Services like Yext have cropped up just to help tackle this very specific form of SEO.

Below are five local search tactics that demand your attention today if you are a local oriented business.

Get the NAP right

NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone and the search engines obviously want to make sure that when someone is looking for a local business there’s no ambiguity around what and where the business is.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

November-December Issue of The Small Business Advocate Newsletter

The Office of Advocacy has released the November-December issue of The Small Business Advocate newsletter. This edition features a recent trip to the Denver Biz Tech Expo where Chief Counsel for Advocacy Winslow Sargeant was the keynote speaker. Also covered is Region III Advocate Ngozi Bell's recent visit to West Virginia for the Women and Technology Conference. In addition, Assistant Chief Counsel Kevin Bromberg received an award from the EPA recognizing him for his work with the agency on underground storage tanks. We also look at two recently-released economic studies and several regulatory matters.

In This Issue

Startup Accelerators Show Promise in Addressing Public Policy Goals
Advocacy Comments on DOJ Movie Theater Rules
Comments to EPA on Petroleum Refinery Rules
Energy Efficiency Standards for Ice Makers Addressed
Regulatory Alert on Proposed IRS Rules
Report Studies Financial Health of Veterans

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Flip Your Media Plan: From Old-School Marketing to Digital in Three Steps

Changes are coming, actually more quickly than they have in decades. Healthcare reform, the rise of healthcare consumerism, and just the general agreement among some very talented marketers that it's time to make important shifts in strategy and resources are all in play.

For healthcare, as well as other changing industries, it's time to rethink marketing—and that starts with flipping our media plans on their heads.

Until we perfect that mind-meld with all our target audiences, there is no better strategy than investing in digital marketing and making it the foundation of our media plans.


Read more at MarketingProfs

Six Tips to Boost Customer Service During the Holidays

It may be a little late to implement these tips into your work force for the holiday, but these tips can go beyond the holiday season. Fist thing’s first management and top level employees should constantly be setting examples to motivate your work force. Secondly managing your staff will always be critical to success no matter what season. 

Following your work force the best way to create loyal customers is to exceed perceived expectations. Impress a new or returning customer and you can count on them passing on their satisfaction. Continuing with satisfaction, everyone enjoys to be rewarded, whether it’s through their pay check or an up lifting comment to brighten their day. And finally analyzing your progress throughout the year is the only to make sure you are preforming efficiently as a team.

From Business Week

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Why the Internet's Most Valuable Commodity Is First-Party Data

Most consumers already know the websites they visit collect their data, so when they get personalized offers and content, they're not surprised. Consumers also are increasingly aware of the distinction between first-party and third-party data and that some companies collect third-party data and resell profiles of personal information to willing buyers.

Third-party data aggregation is under attack, which presents an opportunity and incentive for digital marketers to favor first-party data to build a more strategic and personalized marketing strategy.

The more you know about the way your customers engage with your digital properties, the better you can align what you're selling with what customers are interested in. Though third-party data can be useful in the marketing process, a skilled and nuanced first-party data strategy is a more reliable and respectful way to deliver offers with a higher likelihood of engagement and conversion.


Read more at Marketing Profs

Monday, December 22, 2014

SBA Loans Explained – A 101 for Small Business Owners

First, let’s dispel a myth – SBA doesn't make direct loans to entrepreneurs to start or grow a business. Instead, it provides a guarantee to banks and lenders for the money they lend to small businesses owners. This guarantee protects the lenders interests by promising to pay a portion of the loan back if the business owner defaults on the loan. So when a business applies for an SBA loan, it is actually applying for a commercial loan through a bank or authorized SBA lender, structured according to SBA requirements with an SBA guarantee.

Essentially, SBA loans alleviate the risk associated with lending money to business owners and entrepreneurs who may not qualify for traditional loans – thus opening up lending opportunities to thousands of entrepreneurs, start-ups, growing businesses, minorities and veterans. Read more about SBA’s role in the process.

There are several types of loans that business can take advantage of, each developed to suit the needs of your business.

More from the Small Business Administration.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Jurisdictions where US has income tax or other bilateral agreement re: bank deposit interest reporting

Revenue Procedure 2014-64 provides an updated list of jurisdictions with which the United States has in effect an income tax or other convention or bilateral agreement relating to the exchange of information for purposes of the bank deposit interest reporting requirements under §§1.6049-4(b)(5) and 1.6049-8(a), as well as jurisdictions with which the IRS and Treasury have determined the automatic exchange of such information is appropriate.

Revenue Procedure 2014-64 will be inIRB 2014-53, dated December 29, 2014

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Office of Advocacy Releases Small Business Lending Report

The Office of Advocacy has released its annual report on small business lending. Small Business Lending in the United States, 2013 describes trends in the small business lending market in general. It also provides data on more than 6,000 U.S. lenders, showing the emphasis on small business lending in their portfolios.
The report covers the time period June 2012 to June 2013 using Call Report data from the FDIC, and supplements this with Community Reinvestment Act data from 2012. During this period, small business lending improved, but at a slower pace than large business lending. Soon afterward, small business lending entered positive territory. A data update is provided to cover these trends, extending into the first quarter of 2014.
The report and research summary are available on Advocacy’s webpage, athttps://www.sba.gov/advocacy/small-business-lending-united-states-2013.

Friday, December 19, 2014

All the Statistics You Never Knew You Needed

Have you ever wondered what the average sales price of an item at a garage sale is?  Or maybe what percentage of homes have a a security system?  Maybe you have been looking for statistics on Angel Invsestors?  Well, this is the site for you!!!!

According to Statistic Brain, they are group of passionate numbers people, who love numbers, their purity, and what they represent.  Statistic brain compiles the data but is clear that they do not analyze the data.  Here is a look at their most popular searches, or go to Statistic Brain to search for statistics about what matters to you and your business.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Average annual expenditures on gifts of goods and services in 2013

In 2013, gifts of goods and services accounted for 2 percent of total consumer spending. Among these gifts, consumers spent the largest share on education (25 percent). Most education gifts were for college tuition.

Nineteen percent of gift spending was for housing-related items in 2013. Among housing-related items, the largest share was for housing while attending school.

Eighteen percent of gift spending went toward apparel and services. Consumers spent 7 percent on apparel and services for women and girls age 2 and older, compared with 5 percent for men and boys age 2 and older.

These data come from the Consumer Expenditure Survey.

More from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New York makes decision on fracking

The Cuomo administration announced Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State, ending years of uncertainty by concluding that the controversial method of extracting oil from deep underground could contaminate the state’s air and water and pose inestimable public-health risks.

“I cannot support high volume hydraulic fracturing in the great state of New York,” said Howard Zucker, the acting commissioner of health.
That conclusion was delivered publicly during a year-end cabinet meeting called by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in Albany. It came amid increased calls by environmentalists to ban fracking, which uses water and chemicals to release natural gas trapped in deeply buried shale deposits.

The state has had a de facto ban on the procedure for more than five years, predating Mr. Cuomo’s first term. The decision also came as oil and gas prices continued to fall in many places around the country, in part because of surging American oil production, as fracking boosted output.

READ MORE from the New York Times

READ the related Albany Business Review story

Cybersecurity for Small Businesses

Learn how to protect your business information online. This self-paced training covers the importance of securing information, the kind of information to secure, types of cyber threats and tips for guarding against online hackers and breaches.

Take the 30-minute course from the Small Business Administration HERE.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How to Use Internet Memes to Market Your Content, Your Products, and Your Brand

The Internet has gone visual. With the world moving at the speed of a tweet, getting your message out there can be tough—especially if you're only using words.

Studies show that our brains are more efficient at processing images than words. Some 75% of Americans have used emoji to communicate to others. Virtual corkboard site Pinterest has 53 million unique monthly users. Even Facebook is leaning hard into the image game, as evidenced by its recent $1 billion acquisition of Instagram, which has 300 million users itself.

Images overlaid with text—often called Internet memes—are a popular way for brands to reach their audiences. Ride that popularity wave by creating your own marketing images for distribution. As your followers and fans share the images, your products, your logo, and your brand spread to people you may not have reached otherwise.



Read more from Marketing Profs

Monday, December 15, 2014

Everything You Need to Know (Taxwise) About Year-End Bonuses

If your business can afford it and you want to reward employees, year-end cash bonuses may be the way to go. In providing this additional compensation, understand what it means from a tax perspective.

Bonuses are treated like other pay

They are subject to income tax withholding, FICA, and FUTA taxes in the same manner as regular pay. In figuring the cost of a bonus to you, factor in employment taxes. For example, if an employee earning $65,000 is given a $5,000 year-end bonus, the cost of that bonus to you is $5,382.50 ($5,000 + $382.50 employer share of FICA tax).

When withholding income taxes on the bonus (called “supplemental pay” by the IRS), there are several options.

More from the Small Business Administration

Friday, December 12, 2014

Does a College Degree Have Value for Entrepreneurs?

Daniel Fine is the founder and chief executive of Glass-U, a two-year-old, 10-employee maker of foldable sunglasses bearing the licensed brands of universities, music festivals like Lollapalooza, and the World Cup soccer tournament last summer. He arranges for the manufacture of the glasses in China and their distribution around the country. He’s also a senior in college.

Mr. Fine financed Glass-U, which operates out of off-campus housing, in part with proceeds from a tutoring company, NexTutors, that he started right after high school. He has also founded Fine Prints, a custom apparel company he started during high school, and Dosed, a health care technology company that is working on a smartphone app to help diabetics.

In a recent conversation that has been condensed and edited, Mr. Fine, who is 21 and attends the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, talked about how he got started in entrepreneurship and why he decided not to complete his application for a Thiel Fellowship, which rewards students who leave school to start companies.

More from the New York Times.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Why Millennials Engage With Brands on Social Media

Some 84% of Millennials say they like companies on Facebook as a way to show their support for the brand, according to recent research conducted by Nora Ganim Barnes, PhD, and Ava Lescault, MBA, at The Center for Marketing Research, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

Other common reasons for liking brands on Facebook include wanting to receive updates (83% of respondents) and a desire to get coupons/discounts (66%).


Read more from MarketingProfs

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wages of retail salespersons, by state; explore employment and wage data for more than 800 occupations

In May 2013, almost 4.5 million people in the United States were employed as retail salespersons. Nationally, retail salespersons earned an annual mean wage of $25,370. The annual median wage for retail salespersons was $21,140. Among the states, retail salespersons in Washington had the highest annual mean wage of $28,920. Alaska had the highest annual median wage for retail salespersons, at $24,030.

On average, retail salespersons in West Virginia earned the least in May 2013, at $22,920. The median wage for retail salespersons in West Virginia was $19,450.

These data come from the Occupational Employment Statistics program. For maps exploring employment and wage data for more than 800 occupations, see the OES interactive map changer tool. A percentile wage divides the workers in an occupation into two groups: those earning less, and those earning more. For example, a 10th percentile wage indicates that 10 percent of workers earn less than the stated amount, and 90 percent earn more.

More from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Content Marketing: The Leftovers Trick

In the wake of Thanksgiving, no doubt we all lived on leftovers. I, for one, could lunch on turkey sandwiches and snack on pumpkin pie slivers for weeks...

Few meals take as long to prepare as Thanksgiving dinner, so it's a good thing all that food doesn't go to waste. And it struck me this Thanksgiving that marketers could take a lesson from turkey gumbo—what I call the "leftover trick":

After you put all that work into creating that whitepaper, for example, think about what else you can make out of the asset.
Can your marketing team make a meal out of that webinar on social media?
How many weeks of "content slivers" could you eke out of a new survey?
Here are five simple ideas to get you started, all of them so easy you can even do them in a somnolent state induced by too much tryptophan in your system:


Read more from MarketingProfs

Monday, December 08, 2014

The Employment Situation – November 2014

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers), at 6.9 million, changed little in November. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

In November, 2.1 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They
were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 698,000 discouraged workers in November, little different from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.4
million persons marginally attached to the labor force in November had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

More from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Student Debt Among Young Entrepreneurs

The Office of Advocacy has released an informative fact sheet entitled "Student Debt Among Young Entrepreneurs." This publication examines how student debt is affecting self-employment trends among younger individuals. The report finds that student debt is rising and is having a negative effect on the rate of self-employment. It also looks at other characteristics of individuals with student debt.

Find the full fact sheet here.

Friday, December 05, 2014

New Year’s Predictions: 6 Trends That Will Impact Small Businesses in 2015

What does the New Year have in store for small business owners? We asked a few pundits to predict the trends that may affect your small business in 2015.

Small Business Impact: “Being a company that ‘does good’ for its employees, customers and community is a smart and effective focal point, I think that in this era of social media, a company that is solely a bottom-line entity will lose good employees, good customers and goodwill. While some of the ‘too big to fail’ companies may withstand this type of negative public opinion for some time, small businesses do not have the reserves to pivot and rebuild their reputations.

Staples

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Get discovered: Two SEO Tips to Get Your Small Business Website Found

Like a prehistoric masterpiece scratched into the far recesses of an undiscovered cave, it doesn’t matter how awe-inspiring your website is if nobody can find it. Search engines are the archeologists of the digital landscape. An estimated 90 percent of consumers searching for local businesses online use search engines like Google® Bing® and Yahoo® to find them. If you want your business website to get discovered, you need to tap into the power of search.

Just about every website owner today understands the basic concept of search engine optimization (SEO): taking steps to attract the attention of search engines in order to drive traffic to your site. Search Engine Land defines SEO as “the process of getting traffic from the ‘free,’ ‘organic,’ ‘editorial,’ or ‘natural’ search results on search engines.” The paid ads you often see at the top of search results don’t figure in.

You’ve likely already taken the fundamental steps to improve your SEO. Your website brims with unique and compelling content. You use relevant keywords all over the place. You optimize title tags and other metadata. You covet backlinks.

But there’s always more SEO-related work you can do to draw visitors to your website. Here are two big SEO tips:

More from ASBDC.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

The Holidays Are Here! Where Are Affluents Shopping?

Who wants to push their way through crowded stores (let alone find a parking spot) during the holiday season? Based on an August 2014 study by Shullman Research Center, affluents are trying to avoid this. Among US internet users with a household income of $75,000 or more, online-only stores such as Amazon.com and eBay were the shopping venues of choice, cited by 71%.

However, affluents won’t shun brick-and-mortar shops completely. The majority planned to head to discount stores to save a few dollars, and 53% said they would also visit mainstream department stores, likely so they can check off gifts for a wide range of people all at once.

Still, while in-store holiday shopping certainly isn’t dead among affluents, results from September 2014 polling by Time Inc. and YouGov support Shullman’s finding that online may beat out brick-and-mortar this year.

See more at: eMarketer

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Marketing Tips for 2015

We may have barely crossed into the second half of 2014, but if you want to have a big year in 2015, you should jump on your game plan now. As you lay the foundation of your 2015 marketing strategy, here are five marketing trends to give you a jumpstart on your big projects for the rest of this year and next:
Five Marketing Tips for 2015

Monday, December 01, 2014

Challenges with Crowdfunding

It seems that almost every day, there's another startup proudly announcing that it has reached its crowdfunding goal. With so many success stories out there, it's easy for other aspiring entrepreneurs to believe that sites like Kickstarter are their golden ticket to launching a business. But the reality is, crowdfunding isn't always as simple as it seems.

"New entrepreneurs often believe that crowdfunding their venture or project is an easy endeavor," said Sang Lee, founder and CEO of Return on Change. "However, it requires much groundwork as well as a strong support network to truly make it a success. As they say, there's no such thing as a free lunch."

Crowdfunding Challenges

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Top 10 Mistakes for Businesses to Avoid When Dealing With a Disaster

Let’s say you created an amazing disaster recovery plan for your small business, and you were able to reopen shortly after a ferocious storm. Meanwhile, your employees’ homes were damaged during the storm, and several roads are closed. So you’re open for business minus the team that keeps your operations running.

Failure to inform and prepare your employees for disasters is one of many common mistakes entrepreneurs make when doing business continuity planning. Not being adequately insured is another oversight that can lead to the failure of your business. Get free tips on ways to avoid these and other costly errors at a free webinar hosted by Agility Recovery and the U.S. Small Business Administration on Tuesday, Dec. 9. True stories about business owners’ pre-disaster missteps, plans not followed and lessons learned will also be discussed.

SBA has partnered with Agility to offer business continuity strategies through its “PrepareMyBusiness” website. Visit www.preparemybusiness.org to access previous webinars and for additional preparedness tips.

The SBA provides disaster recovery assistance in the form of low-interest loans to homeowners, renters, private nonprofits and businesses of all sizes. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov/disaster.


WHAT: “The Top 10 Most Common Mistakes During a Crisis”
WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014 -- 2 to 3 p.m. EST
HOW: Register at http://owl.li/ETcbx.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Five Ways to Turn New Holiday Customers Into Loyal, Year-Round Patrons

As 2014 winds down, the results of your retail holiday strategy will slowly come into focus. Hopefully, you're having a merry old time, reaching record heights in sales, customers, revenue, website traffic—all the things that help to make a holiday marketing season bright.

However, now is no time to rest on your laurels (or lick your wounds, as the case may be). As every retailer knows, there's no off-season in retail marketing, especially in the online world, where if you're not moving forward... you're automatically falling behind.

Even before the ball drops in Times Square to mark 2015's official start in the US, it's critical that you begin cementing the customer gains you've made during the 2014 holidays.

If you want to ensure a truly happy new year in the e-commerce space, make sure you take some or all of the following steps.

Read more at MarketingProf

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! Here are 11 Things you didn't know about Thanksgiving

We all know that the first Thanksgiving dinner took place when the Pilgrims celebrated a good harvest in the New World, and that the tryptophan in turkey isn't actually what makes you so sleepy.

But did you know that there was a crisis in the late 1930s called “Franksgiving?"

We rounded up 11 of the best facts about Thanksgiving, which might come in handy during those awkward silences at the family dinner table.



11 Things You Didn't Know About Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

10 Marketing Predictions for 2015 (Infographic)

2014 showed us so much change within online marketing, particularly the massive boom in content marketing. 2015 is a different year and more change is inevitable. Will content marketing still have such a huge presence? Will it evolve or become replaced by something else completely different?

Will the other trends of 2014 such as, social media marketing and guest blogging, continue as strong as ever or fall flat on their face?

You need to know where to allocate the bulk of your marketing budget, based on the tactics your customers and prospects are engaging with more frequently. That’s why we’ve tried to make this infographic as comprehensive as possible, addressing issues from Email Marketing, to lead conversion, to automation platforms.

So, get ready for the future of marketing. Here are Wheelhouse Advisors’ 10 Marketing Predictions for 2015:


Read more at business2community

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How to Answer the Age-Old Question, 'What Has Marketing Done for Us Lately?'

In the last three years, there has been a tremendous transformation in marketing. We have infinitely more data to tap and analyze, many more tools to use in each stage of the funnel, and new, fast-changing ways to engage customers.

What hasn't changed, though, is the prevalence of the age-old question, "What does marketing do, and why do we spend so much on it?"

As marketing budgets and buzzwords increase, the question is more prevalent than ever.

Unlike development and engineering teams that produce tangible products, and sales teams that close deals, Marketing often lacks a clear line of sight between action and outcome. When resources are scarce or when growth slows, it's not uncommon to look at Marketing and question the investment, thus making Marketing a lightning rod—that is, unless the marketing team has communicated (within the company) its goals, metrics, actions, and progress... and it delivers against those goals.

The following tips can help you set great goals, communicate them within and beyond the marketing team, and ensure you achieve them.

Read more at MarketingProfs

Monday, November 24, 2014

#DineSmall on Small Business Saturday Night

November 29th is Small Business Saturday – a day circled on the calendar of savvy entrepreneurs across America.

Small businesses are the engine of our economy and create two out of three new jobs. Seven in 10 Americans are now aware that the day after Black Friday is a time to shop small and support local economic growth. This year, the SBA is helping to expand this important day into the evening to support entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry.

This year, America’s bars and restaurants are extending the hours on the daylong festivities by promoting Small Business Saturday Night. The SBA is partnering with the National Restaurant Association to encourage families who shop small to #DineSmall at local restaurants and watering holes in the evening. We’re also encouraging small business merchants to extend their hours so they can take advantage of increased nighttime foot traffic.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

WEBINAR: SBA and the U.S. Postal Service Present: The Power of Direct Mail

Think that direct mail is dead? Think again: According to a 2012 study by Exact Target magazine, 65% of consumers have made a purchase as the result of a Direct Mail piece. Attend a presentation on Thursday, December 4 at 3 PM ET to learn about:
• Using Direct Mail to acquire new customers
• Using Direct Mail to retain existing customers
• The 40/40/20 rule and how it means more dollars for your company
• How Direct Mail amplifies your campaign by boosting your conversion rate

Register HERE

Friday, November 21, 2014

Small Farm Funding Resources



As the popular saying goes, No Farms No Food.  But small farms constantly face difficulty in competing with the big players and in order to compete they need assistance.  They need funding.  The National Agricultural Library of the United States Department of Agriculture has compiled a list of Small Farm Funding Resources.  There is assistance provided on how to write a business plan, financial and planning resources, funding and program assistance, useful organizations and websites, and more.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Complimentary Holiday Success Guide

For many businesses, the holidays bring in half of annual sales, and this crucial time of year can easily sneak up on them. The time to get ready is now, before getting wrapped up in the day-to-day holiday rush. To help businesses make 2014 their best holiday seasons yet, PlanningShop and Rhonda Abrams have assembled their 14 best tips of the season into a FREE downloadable e-Guide! The 2014 Holiday Success Guide is packed with actionable tips, 'Do this now' instructions and interactive worksheets.

You can use the guide to plan for the season no matter what type of business you are running. Rhonda has included tools for planning a social media calendar, capturing new customer names and contact information and even a guide on all the apps that Santa himself will be utilizing this holiday season. Please share this FREE guide with others via www.planningshop.com/HolidaySuccess or via social media utilizing the hashtag #HolidaySuccess.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Top five enterprise technology trends for 2015

What technological trends can we expect to shape the enterprise in 2015?

According to predictions released by US carrier Verizon, strategic network investments will be a top priority for chief information officers (CIOs) working in the corporate world next year, as more and more companies seek to make sense of Big Data, profit from the internet of ihings (IoT) and make the transition to the cloud.

In the coming year, now perhaps the worst of the recession is behind us, companies will also begin to adopt technologies that drive business innovation and provide a strong basis for future growth.

More from ZD Net

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Marketers: It's time to own the sales funnel

Sales and marketing teams both have helped break down the sales process by perpetuating leads from poor-quality customers who will never buy anything.

Sales teams often dump erroneous information into the customer relationship management system without running it through marketing software to scrub the data for authenticity and other data problems. But marketers, too, have been known to pass leads on to sales departments without knowing whether they are prospects who are ready to buy...

"These leads are no good," a salesperson would say, and I would say, "What are you talking about? These are great names: Look at the titles, look at the companies." And she'd say, "Yeah, but you know what? They're not ready to buy."

More from Search CRM.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) conference call November 18

Online enrollment in the SHOP Marketplace began Saturday, November 15th.
Today, you can:
  1. See if you qualify for the SHOP Marketplace
  2. See if you qualify for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit
  3. Browse plans and prices for 2015 SHOP coverage in your area
  4. Learn how to apply online or use an agent or broker
  5. If you offered SHOP coverage to your employees in 2014, learn how to renew or change your offer online.

Join representatives from Small Business Majority, the Small Business Administration, and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for a conference call and Q&A, where we'll discuss how the marketplace works and answer any specific questions you have about using it.
We'll also discuss the individual marketplace, which also begins open enrollment on November 15, where the self-employed, small business employees and others can shop for quality, affordable insurance online.
Register HERE.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Chinese Entrepreneurs and their four Silicon Valleys

On September 19th, 2014, Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce company that provides consumer-to-consumer, business-to-consumer, and business-to-business sales service via web portals, broke records when at the end of the day of their Initial Public Offering, Alibaba's market value was measured at US $25 billion.

For a long time now, Westerners have viewed China as an inferior country when it comes to business.  But things have changed, and now China is making it's mark on the international business market, especially when it comes to technology.  China has four Silicon Valleys compared to one in the United States.  Read more about how "China Triumphs as Silicon Valley Primps" here.

Text from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alibaba_Group) used  under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

How to Create an Inspiring Home Page for Your Small Business

Now that you've decided to build a website for your small business (congratulations, BTW), there’s no room or reason for procrastination. Right now, your potential customers are on their smartphones, tablets and computers looking for products or services like yours. The facts don’t lie:

-- At least 85 percent of today’s consumers use the Internet to find local products and services.
-- More than one-third of U.S. smartphone owners use their phones to find store locations online.
-- And people used their phones, tablets and desktops to shop online to the tune of more than $70 billion in 2013.

Most likely, your competitors are already online. You’re losing out if you’re not.

Of course you’re busy.

More from America's SBDC

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The complete guide to DIY small business PR

Public relations, "free advertising," media coverage, TV and newspaper interviews—whatever you want to call it, PR is an exciting and powerful part of doing business. Good PR brings you more customers and higher sales, and great PR can completely transform your company into the kind of multi-million-dollar powerhouse you're dreaming of. Of course, that's exactly why PR firms are so expensive to hire, and so out of reach for most small business owners. But what if you had the tools to do great PR yourself?

More from Palo Alto Software

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

5 Reasons Why Veterans Make Excellent Entrepreneurs

According to the Small Business Administration, "Veteran business owners are responsible for nearly one out of every ten small businesses in America, employ nearly six million workers, generate over 1.5 trillion dollars in receipts each year and are 45 percent more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans". So what exactly makes veterans so well suited for entrepreneurship?

1. Work Ethic

See more at: the New Jersey SBDC for Monmouth and Ocean Counties

Monday, November 10, 2014

Wait, What? 5 Ways to Improve Your Attention

It happens to the best of us. You're sitting in class or in a meeting and you suddenly find yourself daydreaming, losing focus, and not paying attention. In one study of over 2,000 adults, people reported that their minds weren't really on the task at hand almost 50 percent of the time. Perhaps even more importantly, people report feeling less happy when they are distracted.

So what can you do to improve your attention, increase your focus, and prevent your mind from wandering? Researchers have discovered a few different things that might help.

More from About Education

Sunday, November 09, 2014

New York SBDC Client, Brazzlebox, Announces It's Going National

Brazzlebox, the exclusive social network for small and home based business, has announced it is launching nationally as of September 18, 2014. Small, at home, Veteran owned and start-up businesses will be able to go to http://www.brazzlebox.com/web/guest/home www.brazzlebox.com and sign up FREE. They can quickly develop their profile page and immediately start connecting with businesses in their community or industry.

Brazzlebox is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur Glen Zinszer. Brazzlebox will be working to fill the current B2B and B2Community social networking void.

More from America's SBDC

Saturday, November 08, 2014

7 little household farms in big cities

It's possible to become a real farmer with 25 square feet of space, even if skyscrapers are your neighbors.

But it does take a bit of planning and innovation. Luckily, there is a core group of artists, designers and farmers leading the charge to help city-dwellers lower their food costs, eat local and turn their urban homes into homesteads.

With the "moderate cost" of food for the average 19 to 50-year-old man in the U.S. at $295.90 per-month, according to the USDA, why wouldn't you want to feed yourself from the land where you're already paying to live? Plus, filling an urban space full of leafy vegetables, fruit trees, roosting chickens and buzzing bees is a lot more beautiful than covering one in concrete.

More from CBS News.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Top 10 Reasons for Getting Fired

There are many reasons that companies fire employees. If you take a look at the stories about getting fired shared by About.com readers you'll find a variety of reasons people were fired from their job, including for posting on Facebook , for having a bad attitude , and for stealing , just to mention a few.

Unfortunately, for many fired workers, in most cases employers don't need a reason to fire you unless you are covered by a bargaining agreement or employment contract. It's called employment at will. Employment at will means that an employee can be terminated at any time without any reason and without notice.

That said, most employers won't fire an employee without cause. Most firings are termination for cause, which means the employee is fired for a specific reason.

More from About Careers.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Why permission-based marketing matters

Constant Contact has long been an advocate for permission-based marketing. [It is] the best route to developing the long-lasting customer relationships that small businesses work so hard to achieve —the relationships that can drive customer engagement, and encourage repeat sales and valuable word-of-mouth for your business.

Over the summer, this topic was brought to the fore in the world of email marketing, as Canada began enforcing a new Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). The legislation requires all those that market to Canada with commercial electronic messages (email, some forms of social media, etc.) regardless of where in the world they are located, to adhere to the some of the strictest anti-spam regulations in the world or risk serious penalties: up to $1 million for individuals and up to $10 million for businesses.

Even if CASL doesn’t affect your business, it serves as an essential reminder of how important it is to get your customers’ permission before adding them to your email marketing list.

More from America's SBDC.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Is Your Small Business Financially Prepared to Rebound After a Disaster?

Whether or not your company’s financial house is in order has a big impact on post-disaster recovery.  Having a plan in place to save your organization’s assets from business interruptions will ensure a quick recovery, satisfied clients and long term-economic stability.
Get tips on how to protect your core operations, revenue flow, and your company’s reputation at a free webinar on Thursday, Nov. 20, hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration and Agility Recovery.
The webinar will also cover essential planning strategies, with a discussion on how corporate preparedness can protect a company’s market value and establish financial resilience, regardless of whether the disaster comes in the form of a flood…or a lawsuit.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Median weekly earnings, 2004–2014

Median weekly earnings of the nation’s 106.9 million full-time wage and salary workers were $797 (seasonally adjusted) in the third quarter of 2014. Women who usually worked full time had median weekly earnings of $722, or 82 percent of the $880 median for men. After adjusting for inflation in consumer prices, women's earnings have changed little over the past decade and men's earnings have declined slightly.

More from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Monday, November 03, 2014

Veteran Entrepreneurs Honored During National Veterans Small Business Week Nov. 3-7

WASHINGTON – The accomplishments of Veteran small business owners around the country will be celebrated during National Veterans Small Business Week (NVSBW) November 3-7.     
U.S. Small Business Administration district offices and resource partners nationwide will host more than 100 local events, including entrepreneurship training such as Boots to Business: Reboot classes, veteran access to capital workshops, and government contracting roundtables.  
Veteran entrepreneurship workshops will also be held at U.S. military installations in Germany and Korea.  On Friday, Nov. 7, the ABC television network will host a special “Shark Tank” episode featuring veteran entrepreneurs

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Guide To Sales Tax in New York State

This publication is a comprehensive guide to New York State and local sales and use taxes for businesses that sell taxable tangible personal property, perform taxable services, receive admission charges, or operate a hotel or motel, and restaurants, taverns, or other establishments that sell food and drink.

For basic, easy-to-understand explanations of particular sales tax topics, see the sales tax bulletins, available on the Tax Department’s Web site at www.tax.ny.gov. The Tax Department has issued a number of these sales tax bulletins and continue to add new bulletins on a regular basis.

It is the department’s goal that all taxpayers meet their sales tax obligations and pay the correct amount of tax due. If your business makes sales of property or services that are subject to sales tax, it must register for sales tax purposes and obtain a Certificate of Authority. You should thoroughly read all the information contained in this publication so that you become aware of your obligations in regard to sales tax. If you fail to fulfill your obligations under the Sales Tax Law, you could be subject to penalties and/or charged with a crime. Some of these obligations include, but are not limited to:

• registering for sales tax purposes and displaying a Certificate of Authority (see How to obtain your Certificate of Authority) and Tax Bulletin How to Register for New York State Sales Tax (TB-ST-360);
• collecting the proper amount of sales tax from customers (see Calculating and stating the sales tax) and Tax Bulletin Taxable Receipts-How Discounts, Trade-ins and Additional Charges Affect Sales Tax (TB-ST-860);
• issuing and accepting properly-completed sales tax exemption certificates (see Exemption certificates) and Tax Bulletin Exemption Certificates for Sales Tax (TB-ST-240);
• maintaining records of sales and purchases in an orderly and adequate manner (see Record keeping) and Tax Bulletin Recordkeeping Requirements for Sales Tax Vendors (TB-ST-770);
• filing sales tax returns and remitting any sales tax due in a timely manner as a trustee for the state (see Filing your sales tax return) and Tax Bulletin Filing Requirements for Sales and Use Tax Returns (TB-ST-275);

Food Trucks are so last year...now there are Retail Clothing Trucks!

In today's fast-paced world, we want what we want when we want it.  And we want it where we are.  But there is barely enough time to do what we need to do, regardless what we want to do.  Food trucks have answered this demand with trucks for every type of food imaginable to satisfy every type of food craving imaginable.  But that is just food.  What about other wants, like clothing?  Well, that problem is also being solved, thanks in part to one woman in Washington, D.C.  Lia Lee sells trendy clothing and accessories out of a truck she calls Street Boutique.  Starting the fashion truck cost Lee a fraction of what a brick and mortar store would have cost, and now she can go to her clients instead of hoping they find the time to come to her.  

Read more about Lee and the trend here.

Want to find a Fashion Truck in your area?  Check out The Fashion Truck Finder!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

6 Essential Elements of Any Internship Program

Internships represent a burgeoning market. According to Internships.com, 67 percent of 2013 graduates completed at least one internship during college, and a separate study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that approximately 90 percent of student interns said they’d accept an offer for a full-time job from their internship employer.
If you’re looking for enthusiastic, low-cost labor, internships can provide your small business with many benefits. After all, internships don’t just help you meet your immediate work needs, they can also help you test drive talent and assess potential future employees.
Internships are also great for your brand and demonstrate that you’re giving back to the community and its students.
If you’re serious about hiring interns, then it’s time to implement an internship program – one that ensures you attract the right talent for your needs, keeps them busy, drives development and covers all your legal bases.
Here are six essential tips for doing just that.

Paid or Unpaid Internships

Let’s start with the money.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Future of Business Starts with Us

What’s important to remember is that the future of business has been widely speculated but not documented. This means that the future is being written as we go by what we say and do and also by what we do not say and do.

[Interview with ] SDL CMO Paige O’Neill to discuss our role in the future of business and what possibilities will unfold when we put people first in this digital era. The resulting video...

Read more HERE.

Monday, October 27, 2014

5 Everyday Things That Hurt Your Credit

Here’s one of the tricky things about credit scores: They’re about more than credit. Sure, it’s extremely important to make loan payments on time and use credit cards responsibly, but there are plenty of non-credit things that can do serious damage to your scores, potentially making it more difficult to get loans at an affordable rate in the future.

Your credit score may not be top of mind while you’re driving to work or browsing the Internet, but if you’re not careful, you could jeopardize your financial future when you least expect it’s at risk.

1. A Speeding Ticket


More from Credit.com

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Health Spas Aimed at Teaching Stressed Executives to Unwind

The irony did not escape Paula Thompson. As a regional vice president of a firm helping scores of companies administer wellness programs for their employees, the 58-year-old Ohio executive was not practicing what she preached. Years of job stress and a road-food diet left her out of shape, overweight and exhausted.

So she did what many people with her income and awareness level do. She went to a spa for two weeks in January — but not the type of pampering-and-yoga spa you might have in mind. Rather, she chose what some might not consider much of a vacation at all: A spa, yes, but also a regimented diet and fitness camp cum clinic where doctors evaluate you and nurses stick needles in you. And no booze is allowed.

More from the New York Times.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

H2NO - restaurant waitstaff training in “beverage suggestive selling techniques”

Going out to dinner can be a pricey experience — a few dollars for an appetizer, another ten or more per entree, and maybe even dessert. The only good news for your wallet is that at most restaurants will give you a glass of tap water for free. That’s tradition, at least, and customers are used to it. But if you’re the restaurant — or if you’re a not-free beverage-maker — you’d prefer they choose otherwise.

Which is how Coke and Olive Garden got into a little bit of hot water about a decade or so ago.

The story begins in the late 1990s. The soft drink giant and the restaurant chain teamed up to create and implement something called “H2NO.” (Clever, right?) H2NO was an “education kit” for Olive Garden’s waitstaff training them in “beverage suggestive selling techniques” — in short, it taught waiters and waitresses how to get a customer off of the free tap water and into a more lucrative, paid-for drink choice.

More from Now I Know.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Free Webinar Provides Overview of the Trade Mission to Morocco, Algeria and Egypt

The United States Commerce Department will host a free webinar on Thursday November 12, 2014, which will provide an overview of the US Department of Commerce March 2015 Executive-led Business Development Mission to Morocco, Algeria and Egypt. Speakers from the US Commercial Service in Morocco, Algeria and Egypt will provide a brief market overview and discuss opportunities for American exporters in these markets.  

Specific opportunities for U.S. companies include but are not limited to: all security and safety equipment and related solutions for seaports, airports, border crossings, security and safety agencies such as the police, and buildings; integrated monitoring and surveillance solutions; luggage screening devices; fire prevention and control equipment, alarm equipment for building safety, emergency evacuation systems; radio communication systems; and inspection equipment for containers and seaport cargo, border and perimeter control, bomb detection equipment, uniforms, protective apparel & accessories (industrial) and x-ray and scanning equipment. 

The mission will include stops in Rabat and Casablanca, Morocco; Algiers, Algeria; and Cairo, Egypt, where participants will receive market briefings and participate in customized meetings with key officials and prospective partners. There will be an optional stop in Beirut, Lebanon.The mission supports President Obama's National Export Initiative (NEI) to strengthen the U.S. economy and U.S. competitiveness through meaningful job creation.

Cronuts versus Donuts versus Cupcakes in NYC - Industry Trends from Yelp

Review site Yelp has launched a data tool which graphs the popularity of trends — like cronuts versus donuts versus cupcakes in NYC — over time. According to the company's blog, the feature is called Yelp Trends, and it "searches through words used in Yelp reviews" to show users "what's hot and reveals the trend-setting cities that kicked it all off." It's based on data and reviews gathered since 2004 when Yelp was founded and is currently only available for major metropolis cities worldwide.




To do your own Yelp Trends search go to here.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Access to Capital: Food, Beverage and Agricultural Enterprises, Syracuse 11/18


Are you in the food, beverage, or agricultural industry in Upstate New York? On Tuesday, November 18th, attend a free workshop sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and U.S. Small Business Administration. 

Get the inside perspective from experts and lenders about:
•        Which type of financing is most appropriate for you
•        What lenders look for in potential borrowers
•        Alternatives to traditional bank loans
•        International market opportunities + financing tools

Light breakfast will be provided.

DATE: Tuesday, November 18th  
TIME: 8:00am-1:00pm
LOCATION: The New York State Fairground, Empire Room
                     581 State Fair Blvd., Syracuse, NY 13209


Agenda  

Presenting Organizations: Bibby Financial Services (Midwest), Inc., CNY International Business Alliance, Centerstate CEO, Export-Import Bank, M&T Bank, Chase, Central NY Regional Planning and Development Board, Farm Credit East, Greater Syracuse Business Development Corp., J.P. Morgan, New York Business Development Corp., NYS Small Business Development Center, Syracuse First, Slow Money, The Tech Garden, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Small Business Administration
Sponsors:
                               


All SBA programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made by request in advance to Dan Rickman at 315-471-9393, x 250.

For additional information contact:

Shira Gans, Federal Reserve Bank of NY
Email: Shira.Gans@ny.frb.org

How Do Consumers Perceive Corporate Social Responsibility?

ome 84% of consumers are willing to pay more for a good or service from a company they feel is socially responsible, according to a a recent survey by Lab42.

In fact, "buying from a socially conscious brand" ranks in the top 5 drivers (after price, quality, customer service, and variety) that influence purchase decisions.

So, how do consumers view companies as socially responsible?

The biggest indicator for consumers is that the company offers high-quality products, according to 70% of respondents.

Some 69% mentioned the company's reputation for being employee-friendly and fair as an indication of social responsibility.


Read more from MarketingProfs

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lending Money to Your Employee

By Barbara Weltman

From time to time, an employee going through a rough financial patch may turn to an employer for help. As member of your small business family—which is how many owners view their staff—you want to be helpful. But lending money to an employee should only be done after considering all the issues.

Practical concerns

There’s no right or wrong answer when someone asks you for a loan. Your decision to help out often depends on the particular facts and circumstances. But before you make a loan to someone on your payroll, here are some of the questions you might want to ask:

*Do you have serious concerns about being repaid? If you aren't repaid, will the loss materially impact you or your business?
What happens if you need to terminate the worker before the loan is repaid (e.g., your business contracts; the employee’s performance becomes unacceptable)?
*Will you be setting a dangerous precedent and become an easy mark for other employees? (Don’t think that word about the loan won’t get around, because people talk.)
*Do you want to have the business lend the funds or make it a personal loan

Alternative ways to help