Friday, February 28, 2014

Blog Series - Not-for-Profits - Hybrids

Hybrid Organizations, also called Social Enterprises or Social Ventures, are organized to include a for profit business with a non for profit entity. Hybrid corporations usually consist of a charitable organization that has established a related way to earn revenue. For example a company, Toms, sells shoes and for every shoe they sell they will send a pair to children in need in a different country.  So what is a hybrid organization?

The Social Entrepreneurship Spectrum: Hybrids (Inc., May 2011)

Entrepreneurs And The 'Hybrid' Organization (Forbes, August 2013

Research finds rising numbers of 'hybrid organizations' across sectors (Devex Impact, June 2013)

In Search of the Hybrid Ideal (Stanford Social Innovation Review Summer 2012)

Low-profit limited liability company (Wikipedia) - This link provides a summary of a new legal business structure for hybrid organizations.  A L3C is currently only available in 9 states, with legislation proposed in 26 more.  NYS does not have this type of business structure available right now.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Have a heart healthy business

February is heart month. We wear red, we have heart healthy screenings, and we are reminded that heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans.

During the month, we learn how to mitigate heart disease. While our bodies and our small businesses may not be an exact parallel, it makes for a good analogy.

Your small business is like your body. The heart of your small business is finance related. Most businesses fail because of lack of financial management - lack of capital.

Finance, generally speaking, pumps life in (or out of) your business. Your financial statements are like an EKG. It can help identify problems or underlying issues. While you should have a check-up on both your body and your business frequently, it's advantageous to at the least have an annual checkup.

But what good is your EKG if you don't know how to read it?

More from the ASBDC.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Intenet Sales Tax

Nolo.com:

The Internet takes tax-free shopping to a new level. In fact, no-tax shopping has become a prime lure of online retailers looking to hook consumers on click-and-charge buying. Despite what you sometimes hear, however, some Internet sales are subject to sales tax, and even when a site doesn't collect sales tax, consumers are technically responsible for remitting any unpaid sales tax on online purchases directly to their state. For information on the Internet sales tax laws for each state, see Internet Sales Tax: A 50-State Guide to State Laws.

Collecting Sales Tax: Some Sites Have To, Some Don't

If an online retailer has a physical presence in a particular state, such as a store, business office, or warehouse, it must collect sales tax from customers in that state. If a business does not have a physical presence in a state, it is not required to collect sales tax for sales into that state. This rule is derived from a 1992 Supreme Court decision which held that mail-order merchants did not need to collect sales taxes for sales into states where they did not have a physical presence.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - Five Years Later

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, initially priced at $787 billion and later revised to $831 billion, included $212 billion in tax cuts (mainly through the payroll tax cut), $296 billion in mandatory spending on programs including Medicaid and unemployment benefits, and $279 billion in discretionary spending targeting areas such as aid to individuals to investments in infrastructure, energy, education, and health care.

The report says the array of measures is expected to pump $763 billion into the economy by 2019, with most of it being released before the end of fiscal year 2012.

Read more from the White House and two popular news sources below.

The Economic Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 5 Years Later - A report from the White House Council of Economic Adviser's.

The Fifth Anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - A White House blog post that provides an overview of the above mentioned report.

5 Years After Stimulus, Obama Says It Worked (Time)

White House: Economic Picture ‘Much Brighter’ Thanks to Obama (Fox Business)




Thursday, February 20, 2014

Small Business Finance: Frequently Asked Questions

Credit conditions for small businesses have been gradually improving, which is portrayed in Advocacy’s updated Small Business Finance: Frequently Asked Questions. You'll find answers to questions on the general small business financial borrowing, government financing, as well as policy issues on this matter. Should you need further information, please feel free to call (202) 205-6533 or email advocacy@sba.gov.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

FTC, FBI Warn Consumers About ‘Cryptolocker,’ A New Breed of Computer Malware

How much is everything on your computer worth to you? About $300? The criminals behind a new malware program are betting on it.

The Federal Trade Commission, the FBI and other federal agencies are warning consumers and businesses about “Cryptolocker,” a malware program that holds the files on your computer for ransom, and doesn’t allow you to access them until you pay up. Even then, there’s no guarantee. It’s essentially extortion, with all your personal documents, photos, and files at risk.

Cryptolocker is spread mostly through email and “drive-by” downloads. The email might look like a routine message from a legitimate company, like a tracking notice from a shipping company. If you click on the hyperlink in the email, Cryptolocker encrypts everything on your hard drive and in your shared folders. When the job is done, you get a “ransom note” demanding payment via Bitcoin or some other anonymous payment method. The criminals behind this malware say they’ll give you the encryption key if you pay, but they’re hardly trustworthy. And there’s no other way to unlock your files. For tips about how to protect your business from Cryptolocker, read Lock, stock, and peril.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Facebook metrics

On a section of our Facebook page, we had higher engagement figures than reach, meaning more people were said to have clicked on or interacted with the content than Facebook said viewed it. In searching for a possible answer, we found this article: Facebook Admits Organic Reach Is Falling Short, Urges Marketers to Buy Ads.

Essentially, Facebook is saying that the fewer people are seeing free posts from pages, and that you’re going to have to pay to promote your content if you want it seen. Kind of depressing, but our numbers seem to reflect this change.

Somewhere or other - can't seem to find it presently - I saw a video about how the Facebook model of having to pay to have them see you seems backward, compared to the YouTube model, where the people who drive traffic to the site actually can benefit from their cleverness.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Business Employment Dynamics: Entrepreneurship and the U.S. Economy

Business Employment Dynamics is a set of statistics generated from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program. These quarterly data series consist of gross job gains and gross job losses statistics from 1992 forward. These data help to provide a picture of the dynamic state of the labor market.


New data from the Business Employment Dynamics program: Entrepreneurship and the U.S. Economy

Friday, February 14, 2014

Small Business Quarterly Employment Bulletin, Fourth Quarter 2013

The Fourth Quarter Employment Bulletin shows the labor market is showing signs of improvement but still has areas of concern.  Small business-dominated industries are starting to turn around as interest rates remain at historical lows. 

Find the full report here: http://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/Quarterly_Employment_Bulletin_4q2013%20.pdf

Thursday, February 13, 2014

New York State Adventure License Series: hunting, fishing, state parks

Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced the New York State Adventure License Series, a new promotional effort to provide New Yorkers and visitors the opportunity to purchase lifetime licenses to fish, hunt and visit New York State Parks. This is part of the State’s efforts to boost tourism and enhance recreational opportunities across the state for outdoor enthusiasts. Click here to learn more.

Visit the new online licensing portal – www.licensecenter.ny.gov – to purchase a lifetime license or to learn more about the Adventure License Series.

New York’s Lifetime Adventure License Series will provide many benefits including:
  • Lifetime Hunting License: $535 for small/big game
    A lifetime hunting license allows holders to hunt across millions of acres of majestic wild lands in New York while saving on the costs of an annual license.
  • Lifetime Fishing License: $460
    A lifetime fishing license provides a lifetime of fishing on more than 70,000 miles of rivers and streams and more than 7,000 lakes and ponds while saving on the cost of an annual license.
  • Lifetime Empire Passport: $750 with special offer
    The Lifetime Empire Passport allows holders to enjoy the forests, the seashore, and the lakefronts in New York’s state parks for years and years to come while saving on the cost of an annual license. In addition, as a free one-time special bonus, purchasers will be able to select from any one of the following: a free week of camping, a free round of golf for four, or a $100 State Parks gift card.
As part of the initiative, the Governor unveiled nine new license plate designs available for free exclusively to those buying new lifetime hunting, fishing, or parks licenses in 2014. Click here to see the designs.

In addition, New York residents who have lifetime licenses now have the opportunity to receive an Adventure License, which consolidates all their recreational licenses and benefits on to their New York State Driver’s License.


“We are excited to offer New Yorkers and visitors the opportunity to enjoy and explore the Empire State’s great outdoors for a lifetime,” Governor Cuomo said. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

New York State Statistical Yearbook for 2013

The 37th edition of the New York State Statistical Yearbook for 2013, published by The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government of the University of Albany, is now available in print and online. Similar to the Statistical Abstract of the United States, this Yearbook is organized into chapters focusing on specific topics or governmental functions. Where possible, the tables provide data for each of the state’s sixty-two counties, including the five boroughs of New York City.


Several interesting statistics are captured in this edition with particular relevance to the small business landscape in New York State:

  •  New York State ranks second in New Economy scores for High Wage Traded Services. Also in the New Economy category, New York is ranked twelve for Foreign Direct Investment and sixteenth for Job Churning. (To view the full data, navigate to Table B-5 )
  • Direct expenditures by New York State and local governments totaled $15,173 per capita, 51 percent above the national average in fiscal year 2009-2010. (To view the full data, navigate to Table E-1)
  •  In 2011, the Department of State issues $87,630 security guard licenses in New York State. This is a significant increase from 2010, when they issued 77,588 security guard licenses. Additionally, this is one of the only licensing areas to see an increase between 2010 and 2011. (To view the full data, navigate to Table E-24 )
  • Commodity services and technology contracts awarded to small businesses by the New York State Office of General Services decreased in quantity between 2010 and 2011, but increase in contract value. (To view the full data, navigate to Table E-48

The full 2013 New York State Statistical Yearbook as well as past annual versions is available on the Rockefeller Institute website.



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Annual Report of the Office of Economic Research, FY 2013

In FY 2013, Advocacy produced 22 contract and internal research reports on a variety of topics including access to capital, small business exporters, entrepreneurship, and minority- and women-owned businesses. In addition to these reports, Advocacy economists participated in roundtables and conferences about various small business topics and conducted presentations to audiences that included policymakers, academics, and/or the media. These outreach efforts are important for small business stakeholders around the country. This document describes the 2013 research and provides links to the publications on Advocacy’s website.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Bad customer service, cookie crumbs division

Someone I know wrote:

I go to a coffee shop where I plan to use the WiFi. I order a cookie with my tea, not because I really want a cookie but because I want to order something besides tea since I'm coming there to sit for a while and I want to be nice.

The woman puts my cookie in this huge basket. It's weird. It's not something you'd ever eat a cookie out of. I figure she's out of plates or something so I say, that's OK, I don't need a basket, I'll just use this napkin. She looks at me and sighs -- not joking at all-- and says, alright but watch out for the crumbs, we just vacuumed. For real. Like she was annoyed with me. And to top it all off, their Wifi doesn't work. Do I just have my knickers in a twist or am I right to be a little annoyed with her? Oh well. First world problems.

She got lots of constructive feedback, such as "Ask her for a bib" and "Spill those crumbs and walk out the door!"

My own cranky response: It's lousy customer service.So yeah, be annoyed. let them know you're annoyed. Tell the manager that, sans apology, you plan to let them know the establishment that annoyed you.

People, it is generally conceded, remember the bad experiences far worse than the good ones!

Friday, February 07, 2014

Blog Series - Business Valuation - Multiples

One of the most common methods of business valuation is using valuation multiples.

What are Valuation Multiples

A factor wherein a value or price serves as the numerator and financial, operating or physical data of the company being valued serve as the denominator.

What is Valuation using Multiples

Valuation using multiples or relative valuation is a method of estimating the value of an asset by comparing it to the values assessed by the market for similar or comparable assets.

The process consists of:
  • identifying comparable assets (the peer group) and obtaining market values for these assets.
  • converting these market values into standardized values relative to a key statistic, since the absolute prices cannot be compared. This process of standardizing creates valuation multiples.
  • applying the valuation multiple to the key statistic of the asset being valued, controlling for any differences between asset and the peer group that might affect the multiple.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

SBA Hosts Twitter Chat for Young Entrepreneurs

Young aspiring business owners are invited to learn the basics on how to turn good ideas into profitable ventures at the live Twitter chat on Feb. 19 hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (@SBAgov).

Tameka Montgomery from SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurial Development and Bridget Weston Pollack from SBA’s resource partner SCORE will share tips on developing a business plan, ways to get startup financing, and how to overcome those initial hurdles entrepreneurs face when starting out.

The event will be held during National Entrepreneurship Week, Feb. 15-22 (#sbaEweek).

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Employers of Reservists Eligible to Apply for SBA Working Capital Loans

Small businesses that suffered economic losses when the owner or a key employee was called up to active duty are eligible to apply for a low interest loan of up to $2 million from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Small businesses can apply for a Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL) any time from the date of notice of expected call-up and ending one year after the date of discharge or release. The program was created to enable eligible small businesses to pay operating expenses it could have covered if the owner or key employee hadn't been called to active duty.

"The absence of just one employee whose expertise is critical to the success of the company can pose significant challenges for a small business," said SBA Acting Administrator Jeanne Hulit.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Why LinkedIn has become al networking tool for businesses and potential employees

Why has LinkedIn become such an instrumental networking tool for businesses and potential employees?

Employers are using social networks to find potential employees because that’s where they spend the majority of their time. With the outstanding number of people interacting on social media websites every day, employers are searching for potential employees in the all the right places. LinkedIn has become is a professional networking site that helps individuals connect and stay in contact with employers and coworkers no matter if they move or make changes in their career. It was launched on May 5, 2003 and has more than 200 million users in over 200 countries. LinkedIn is now being used as an effective source to assess potential employee’s professionalism, personality, level of intelligence, or, in many cases, lack thereof.

A huge advantage of LinkedIn is that employers can view the professionals with which the candidate currently connects. Most recently, business connections seem to provide a much higher chance to be considered for employment. More frequently in the business world, it’s not what you know, but who you know. Most employers will only take an applicant seriously if they provide a complete profile and display extensive involvement, community, and education accomplishments.

If you are looking to pursue a career and connect with people of the same occupation, LinkedIn is a tremendous start. Large company recruiters’ opinions on how LinkedIn has expanded networking and job searching.
(Based on this article.)

Monday, February 03, 2014

Reaching Out to Customers with Disabilities

The disability community comprises nearly one-fifth of the American population and constitutes an untapped consumer market worth over $220 billion in discretionary spending. Further enlarging this market are families, friends, communities, employers, and service providers of people with disabilities. Like other niche markets, the disability community responds positively to companies whose marketing approaches are empowering and address their needs and interests. NOD offers consultations and training for businesses and marketers who wish to tap into this increasingly powerful consumer sector.

More from The National Organization on Disability.

Many companies ignore this growing demographic in their promotional events or ad campaigns, often because they’re worried they’ll do it wrong and offend someone in the process.

That’s a mistake, Nadine Vogel says, as people with disabilities – and especially parents of special-needs kids – would appreciate the attention. Vogel, who has two special-needs children herself, told a story to an audience of about 100 ... that her 17-year-old daughter once left a department store in tears after trying to buy make-up for her prom. The sales people, Vogel explained, weren’t trained about how to talk to or help a customer with disabilities.

More from Business Week.

As a business owner or operator, or someone thinking about opening a business, you may have wondered what you have to do to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This course explains how the ADA applies to businesses in ten short lessons. Putting these lessons into practice will allow you to comply with the ADA and welcome a whole new group of customers to purchase your goods, products, and services. And you may find that making your business more accessible and welcoming to people with disabilities is not as difficult as you thought.

More from ADA.gov.