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Showing posts from April, 2014

What is the definition of “Home-Based Business”?

From IRS Publication 587 (“Business Use of Your Home”):
Qualifying for a Deduction

Generally, you cannot deduct items related to your home, such as mortgage interest, real estate taxes, utilities, maintenance, rent, depreciation, or property insurance, as business expenses. However, you may be able to deduct expenses related to the business use of part of your home if you meet specific requirements. Even then, the deductible amount of these types of expenses may be limited. Use this section and Figure A, later, to decide if you can deduct expenses for the business use of your home.

To qualify to deduct expenses for business use of your home, you must use part of your home:

Exclusively and regularly as your principal place of business,

Exclusively and regularly as a place where you meet or deal with patients, clients, or customers in the normal course of your trade or business,

In the case of a separate structure which is not attached to your home, in connection with your trade or bus…

Office for New Americans Opportunity Centers

The Office for New Americans is designed to assist newcomers to New York State who are "eager to contribute to our economy and become part of the family of New York State." It helps newcomers to fully participate in New York State civic and economic life by strengthening New York State’s welcoming environment for New Americans. ONA facilitates success by:

Creating a network of neighborhood-based “Opportunity” Centers
Increasing access to English-for-Speakers-of-other-Languages (ESOL) training.
Preparing New Americans for the naturalization process.
Connecting New Americans to business resources to harness their entrepreneurial spirit.
Developing and leveraging the professional skills of New Americans.
Maximizing the number of young people receiving Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Strengthening the connections between New Americans and their communities through civic engagement and other opportunities.
Reduce exploitation of New Americans by scammers and con artists.

The Business Case For Facebook, In One Sentence

What is the most-debated question in social media today? One candidate is, “Should my company have a Facebook page?”

The tension comes from several angles. It could be due to:

•The company is not culturally-ready to deal with comments from real people.
•The company has whacked-out expectations about how sales will increase once they have a Facebook page.

•Their social media guru, Timmy from Accounting, has set their marketing strategy.

•They are doing it because their kids told them it would be cool.

So how do you decide if a Facebook page should be a priority for your company?


More from SmallBusinessNewz

Campaign for Disability Employment

Empirical and anecdotal data tell us many people with intellectual disabilities do work and contribute enormously, but that, unfortunately, most are denied the opportunity. A recent Special Olympics survey conducted by Gallup and the University of Massachusetts at Boston identified a few startling statistics on this front:

Only 44 percent of adults with intellectual disabilities are in the labor force, which is defined as either employed or actively seeking work. In contrast, 83 percent of adults without disabilities are in the labor force. Furthermore, the unemployment rate for adults with intellectual disabilities (21 percent) is more than twice as high as those without disabilities (9 percent). Someone is considered unemployed if he or she is without a job and actively looking for and available for work.

Special Olympics’ mission may not be to place people in jobs or force employers to employ people with intellectual disabilities. Its ultimate goal, however, is to enable people wit…

Million Short: A New Innovative Way to Search

Search engines like Google are wonderful for anyone wanting to perform standard searches. Google has an amazing ability to cover the depth and breadth of the internet, which is a major reason why so many people depend upon it. Google also has a real knack for always providing the most popular search results first. What happens, however, if you are looking for something that is not popular like ancestral records or obscure historic documents?
Now there is another way to perform searches on the internet for your ancestors. It is called Million Short. The name Million Short derives from the fact that this search engine basically ignores the 1 million most popular websites on the internet. Instead, it focuses on less-common websites. Basically, it specializes in what are known as long-tail searches, which focus on the obscure and the uncommon. Many genealogy records are obscure.
The search engine worked well in general when looking for ancestral records. It worked even better when looking f…

So you want to be a Medicare, Medcaid (NY) provider?

Potential Medicare providers: Start with Medicare Provider-Supplier Enrollment

This section is designed to provide Medicare enrollment information for providers, physicians, non-physician practitioners, and other suppliers. Please review the downloadable fact sheets to learn more about Medicare provider and supplier enrollment.

CMS has established Internet-based Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System (PECOS) as an alternative to the paper (CMS-855) enrollment process. Internet-based PECOS will allow physicians, non-physician practitioners and provider and supplier organizations to enroll, make a change in their Medicare enrollment, view their Medicare enrollment information on file with Medicare, or check on status of a Medicare enrollment application via the Internet.

See also Your Provider Manual to the New York Medicaid Program, which offers a wealth of information about Medicaid, as well as specific instructions on how to submit a claim for rendered services.

Getty Images Makes Its Pictures Free to Use

Getty Images, the premiere collection of professional quality photos on the Internet, has for years charged licensing fees to those who wanted access to its extensive portfolio, but that is changing.
In a surprise move, Getty Images is freeing up around 35 million photos from its collection spanning over a hundred years so that websites and bloggers can post them without getting smacked in the face by a lawsuit. These images will not contain a watermark, though people who post them will need to use Getty's Embedded Viewer tool and abide by the company's Terms of Use. Acknowledging that its images have been widely pirated on the Web for years by users merely right-clicking on photos, Getty says the purpose of the program is to find new revenue streams for the photographers and the company. Because the metadata remains with the image, users can click back to Getty Images for more information on the image or photographer or to license the image for other purposes. However, one cann…

Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation recognizes 304 major U.S. employers as its 2014 "Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality".

The list of top rated businesses has grown exponentially from 13 to over 300 since the report’s first launch in 2002. For twelve years, HRC has been working with Corporate America to maintain and establish best practice for LGBT inclusion, and this gathering of over 240 executives from top Fortune-ranked business, leading law firms, and other major employers reflects the absolute best in corporate leadership on LGBT equality. These are businesses that haven’t been waiting for legal mandates, but rather have extended equitable health insurance benefits to LGBT employees and their families, establishing a the new standard of truly inclusive employer-provided benefits, adding transgender inclusive health care coverage. This elite group of companies spans all industries, from manufacturing to banking, as well as all geographies.

Companies receiving the “…

Prepare, Respond and Recover...yep, there's an App for that....but...

I strolled through the paths of the web wilderness to cull some of my favorite lists of prepare, respond and recover apps for crisis and disaster management….but..you say…but what about...?
But What About …No Cell Service?“Anyone that’s been through anatural disasterrealizes cell service is often times one of the 1st things to go! Sometimes having good cell service is tough enough, so why would you bother downloading apps to your phone if a disaster is going to wipe them out? Well, a lot of these apps once downloaded do not need to be connected to the internet or have cell service to run them. Many are informational apps and will still be able to show you how to do CPR, act as a flashlight, or pull-up important documents as long as they have battery power.” source: ( http://prepared-housewives.com/emergency-apps-that-might-just-save-your-life/ )
Of course, you can’t count on cellular, Wi-Fi service or power to charge your batteries during a disaster, but even a partially charged phone may…

The Secrets of Great Client Relationships

Why does anybody swap suppliers? Sometimes it’s because there is a cheaper alternative but mostly it isn’t. Would you swap dentists because a cheaper one set up next door? This is very unlikely. In reality people keep the status quo and only move on for a reason and in most cases whether they stay or go is up to you.
Here are three of the most popular causes for client departures: 

-“Perceived indifference”: The client thinks you don’t care anymore even though you do. They feel neglected and can only look back with wistful fondness to the days when you were courting them and couldn’t do enough for them. They just want to be loved and cared for but sadly you’re just not hitting the spot any more.

-Poor quality: You simply aren’t delivering the quality they expect for the money they’re paying and because of point 1 above you don’t even know it. Regardless of the product or service you offer great quality is the best form of protection you can get.

-Knock-out deals: One of your competit…

Blog Series - Affordable Care Act - Appeals

Now that Open Enrollment under the Affordable Care Act is actually over, the appeal process has started.  Appeals can occur for many reasons, including eligibility, enrollment post-open enrollment,  lowering costs and increasing savings, and more.  The articles below from government agencies can help answer any questions you may have about your right to appeal.  Also provided is detailed information and forms to help you go through the appeal process.

Can I appeal a Marketplace decision? (Healthcare.gov)

Appealing Health Plan Decisions (US Department of Health and Human Services)

The Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight - External Appeals (Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services)


Maria Contreras-Sweet is new SBA Administrator

This month, Maria Contreras-Sweet joined SBA as the next Administrator. Learn more about this champion for American entrepreneurs who understands what it means to start a small business, and who has a proven track record of helping other small businesses succeed.

Top 5 Small Business Administration Resources for Veterans

These U.S. Small Business Administration resource partners have almost 1,500 locations across the United States, Guam, and Puerto Rico to help veterans who want to start their own business or grow an existing business. All partners can advise veterans on small business loans and provide training and support on a wide variety of challenges small business owners face, from access to capital to marketing.

They include Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), which provide a vast array of technical assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. SBDCs foster local and regional economic development through job creation and retention. SBDC clients receive free, extensive, one-on-one, long-term professional business advising, low-cost training and other specialized services.

More information from SBA.

Reference for Business: Encyclopedia of Business, 2nd ed.

"The Encyclopedia of Small Business is a comprehensive and easily accessible reference source for entrepreneurs that demand practical information that can be applied to their own business. Small business owners can browse over the 600 articles that detail information about financial planning, market analysis, sales, business plans, tax planning, human resource issues and more.

"The Business Biographies are a superb tool for biographical information of industry leaders worldwide. We have over 600 in-depth essays that cover each individual's biographical information, career paths, achievements, leadership strategies and management styles.

"The Business Plans section is composed of actual business plans written by entrepreneurs in North America who are seeking financing for their business. This is a great resource for anybody needing examples on how to structure, compose, and write their own business plans.

"Finally, the Encyclopedia of American Industries is a co…

The Impact of New Technology in the Workplace

The continuous growth of new technology available for the workplace presents an atmosphere of rapid change that will not slow down any time soon in the near future. Numerous businesses have experienced the process of implementing new technologies and the various issues that creep up, from an overall lack of employee acceptance to unexpected minor malfunctions. The caveat is, despite some of the nuances, new technologies are necessary for a business to remain competitive, relevant, and increase profit margins.
The proper and efficient use of new technology in the workplace is crucial. The younger generations beginning to enter the workforce are tech savvy and widely accept the evolving nature of technology, but all employees need to be on board for a technological implementation to be successful and beneficial. One way of doing this is to provide plenty of training, specific for various departments if necessary, and during and after training to disperse an employee evaluations survey …

SBA Announces National Small Business Week

WASHINGTON – Aspiring entrepreneurs, small business owners and others are invited to attend the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week events held May 12-16, 2014.
Every year since 1963, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from across the nation through National Small Business Week. This year, events will take place across the country to engage the small business community and highlight their importance as innovators and job creators who strengthen the nation’s economy.
Activities will include forums and panels discussing trends in small business, business innovation, financing, growth, matchmaking events, as well as networking opportunities and award ceremonies. National Small Business Week will culminate in Washington, D.C., where the 2014 National Small Business Person of the Year will be named. Candidates from all 50 states, the District o…

Keeping Up With Labor Market Changes: The Bureau of Labor Statistics

Everyone deserves the opportunity to have an occupation that provides a decent standard of living. Increasingly, earning a middle class income requires that workers have a post-secondary credential and regularly upgrade their skills. The recession accelerated this occupational transformation.  For the nation’s economic well-being, workers and their communities need to adjust to the new realities of the labor market. However, evidence suggests a growing mismatch between worker capabilities and employer needs. Left unchecked, this gap will impair the economic health of the nation and its workforce.
To address this issue, U.S. labor markets require access to current, accurate, detailed statistics. Labor market participants—individuals, educators, and employers—and policymakers at all levels of government need good data to make informed choices about, for example, career paths, training programs, hiring, and public investments. At present, however, labor market participants and policymake…

New Data Show Signs of Improvement in Small Business Lending

Data for the fourth quarter of 2013 show signs of improvement in small business lending. For the first time in fifteen consecutive quarters, both the value and volume of small business loans increased simultaneously—by 0.4 percent and 1.1 percent respectively. For details, see the Office of Advocacy’s Quarterly Lending Bulletin.

SBA Awards Grant to Fund Entrepreneurship Training for Veterans

WASHINGTON – As part of its “Boots to Business” program, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced this week that it has awarded a $3 million grant to Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) to deliver entrepreneurship education and training to transitioning service members.

“Veterans are a cornerstone of small business ownership,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, who met with veteran small business owners within hours of starting at SBA on April 7. “We owe them a debt of gratitude for their service. Veterans have the skills to adapt to many challenges and the leadership and discipline required to own and operate a small business. The SBA is committed to supporting our veterans as they transition back to civilian life and pursue the American Dream by starting businesses when they come home.”

Boots to Business is a three-step program developed to introduce transitioning service members to business ownership and connect t…

FTC Warns Small Businesses: Don't Open Email Falsely Claiming to be From FTC

The Federal Trade Commission is warning small businesses that an email with a subject line "Pending consumer complaint" is not from the FTC. The email falsely states that a complaint has been filed with the agency against their company. The FTC advises recipients not to click on any of the links or attachments with the email. Clicking on the links may install a virus or other spyware on the computer.

The FTC’s advice: Delete the email. For more information on malicious software (malware), visit www.OnGuardOnline.gov/malware.

SBA Improves Small Businesses Access to 7(a) and 504 Loan Programs; Enhances Job Creation

WASHINGTON— U.S. small businesses will gain improved access to two major government-guaranteed loan programs once a final rule to that effect issued by the U.S. Small Business Administration becomes effective April 21, 2014.

The SBA recently published a Final Rule on the Federal Register that eliminates or revises several requirements for its two main loan programs, 7(a) and 504. The rule expands eligibility, makes it easier for small businesses to secure SBA-backed financing, and encourages job creation.
“These 504 and 7(a) program enhancements will expand program eligibility and improve access to capital for small businesses. Improvements in CDC corporate governance oversight enhance program integrity and encourages more local involvement,” said Ann Marie Mehlum, SBA Associate Administrator for the Office of Capital Access.

The changes include, but are not limited to:
• Elimination of the personal resource test which benefits borrowers by adding flexibility in the management of thei…

Webinars – Writing a Good Business Plan, Building Business Credit, Applying for Business Loans

SBA and Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp have teamed up for a webinar series this month to help entrepreneurs learn how to build business credit and how to prepare for a business loan. It's free, but registration is required.
• 5 Steps to Building Business Credit
Tuesday, April 22 | 2pm ET
>Click to register

• Access to Capital: Preparing to Meet Your Lender
Wednesday, April 30 | 2pm ET
> Click to register


AARP and SBA Webinar – The Secrets to Writing a Good Business Plan
Have you considered developing a plan for your small business? Learn why it is important to have a small business plan during this free, one-hour webinar on April 22 by joining AARP and SBA as we help age 50+ individuals get your small business up and running.
> Read more

NY SBDC Annual Report: "One business at a time"

From the report:

The strength of the New York Small Business Development Center and one of the things that sets it apart from other small business service providers is its
customized approach to technical assistance. Each entrepreneur or business owner undergoes an individualized assessment with his or her Business Advisor to determine the current situation, issues that need to be addressed, and the desired outcome. They gather information that the entrepreneur uses to make
decisions and take steps toward a productive and profitable future.They work together to develop a strategic plan of action.

Any resident of New York who wants to start a business – or stabilize and expand an existing one – can make an appointment with an experienced Business
Advisor at any SBDC Regional Center. He or she can find an SBDC office by calling a toll-free number or visiting the SBDC website. Potential clients can
request counseling via the website, and the service centers throughout the state offer fle…

Blog Series - Business Valuation - Customer List

One of the most difficult aspects of business valuation is setting a value to intangible assets.  Tangible assets are easier to set a monetary value to.  You know how much they cost to begin with and there are depreciation formulas to determine the value of tangible assets over time.  Intangible assets tend to start with no value, and then gain value over time.  Here is some information on how to value one of the most difficult intangible assets, a customer list.

Customer lists are about loyalty.  They are currently a customer because they like the service or product that is being provided by the current owners.  When you buy an existing business with a loyal following, and you plan on offering the same product or service before, the current customer list can be an essential building block to get your business rolling.  But how can a value be assigned to a list of names, addresses, and customer history?  Well, here are some tips.

Valuation of Customer-Related Assets

Due Diligence - Valu…

Don't gig for free

Image
My musician/artist friends are forever complaining when governments and corporations want them to "contribute" their services for nothing. "But it'll be great exposure" is the usual response. If you do so, you will be stuck with a lot of unpaid gigs.

Not waiting for customers to complain

From Now I Know:

At the end of 2013, the United States Department of Transportation released its monthly ranking of airlines based by on-time performance. It was bad news for Southwest Airlines, which performed poorly, coming in last on the list for two straight months. The methodology used to make this determination was somewhat controversial – the inspector general of that very same agency stated as much – but if you’re an air traveler whose flight was delayed significantly, that’s hardly any solace.

But that’s OK. When it comes to apologies and explanations, Southwest has a guy for that. His name is Fred Taylor, and he’s sorry your flight didn't work out as planned.

Even if you weren't going to make a stink about it.

One Potentially Humorous Way to Weed Out Job Applicants

Jennifer Walzer, CEO of Backup My Info!, offers a strategic hiring tactic you probably haven't used before. And then various other videos pop up on the screen that may be of interest.