Friday, May 30, 2014

3 Common Copyright Mistakes Creatives & Freelancers Make

We all make mistakes.

So let me refer you to number seven of the Dali Lama of Tibet’s “Eighteen Rules of Living,” where he gives us the following advice, “When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it. And do not let your pride get in the way of taking those steps.”

The main idea is that trying to hide a mistake, once you have become aware of it, by pretending it didn’t happen only perpetuates the goof up and inevitably leads to sinking deeper and deep into the quicksand of oops. There has to be a more than a million zillion possible copyright related snags and unintentional misunderstandings that lurk within the professional shadows just waiting to trip up even the most seasoned of freelancers.

This article seeks to aid freelancers in avoiding a nasty stumble by illuminating the wiles of three of the more common snares that imperil the footsteps of the unwary.

More from the ASBDC.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Why Kickstarters succeed ... and fail

From Medium.com:

The first 24 hours were a rush. The next 16 a panic. The last 12 a chart-based roller coaster. That’s what a Kickstarter feels like when it hits the mark. It’s statistically provable that Kickstarter campaigns that fail, fail big; blockbuster Kickstarters are actually far and few between, but they attract more attention because of the amount of money raised.

For The Magazine: The Book (Year One), a somewhat ungainly title chosen to describe our project with a high degree of specificity to our likely audience, we were only slightly above average. Let me dissect our results for you

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

7 Guiding Questions for Business Success

From SmallBusinessNewz:

If I were starting a business today there are just seven questions I would want answers to. Funny thing is, even after twenty-five years in business, I still need the answers to these questions.

Now, it’s not that I can’t find these all-important answers, it’s that they change constantly and to some degree that’s how I know I’m growing and evolving.

Visiting these seven, what I call, Guiding Questions, is what keeps me sane or at least moving down a path that’s heading towards something worth doing.

These questions inform strategy, purpose, priorities, culture, marketing, projects, process and simple day-to-day tasks.

Hang these questions on a big poster somewhere prominent so that everyone in your organization is constantly pondering answers. Pull your entire team together every 90 days or so and go on a search for the current state of these answers. Hole up in a cabin in the woods once a year long enough to get all the voices in your head to quiet down enough to ponder truly meaningful answers to following seven questions.

Monday, May 26, 2014

SUNY, New York Small Business Development Center Announce Entrepreneurs of the Year (summary)


Albany – State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher and New York Small Business Development Center (SBDC) State Director James King today announced the winners of the Entrepreneurs of the Year Awards, presented annually by the SBDC in recognition of existing businesses and startups achieving assisted success.

Through its network of 24 regional centers administered by SUNY across the state since 1984, SBDC has worked with more than 380,000 businesses, helping them to invest more than $5 billion in New York's economy and create or retain nearly 170,000 jobs.

“The SBDC is a unique and highly valuable resource for new business owners and entrepreneurs, helping thousands each year to bring their ideas to market,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “SUNY and the SBDC are proud to honor this most recent group of innovators who have each advanced their respective fields while creating jobs and driving regional economies across New York.”

“We are pleased to recognize our clients for their extraordinary contributions to small businesses in New York State,” said King. “Their hard-work and dedication have helped them achieve success and accomplish their goals, while at the same time making a positive impact on the state’s economy.” 

The awards were recently presented as follows:

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Acronym Finder

With more than 1,000,000 human-edited definitions, Acronym Finder is the world's largest and most comprehensive dictionary of acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms. Combined with the Acronym Attic, Acronym Finder contains more than 5 million acronyms and abbreviations.

You can also search for more than 850,000 US and Canadian postal codes.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Intellectual Property Issues with 3D Printing

Intellectual Property and 3D printing don't get talked about often, mainly because 3D printing is still growing into a mainstream activity. But with 3D printing starting to become more accessible to businesses and homes, what kind of Intellectual Property issues might develop that your business will need to protect or analyze?

Any blueprint of a 3D design can be protected through copyright. And if your business is a creative one where people are creating original 3D files, this is going to be a necessary step as an interesting direction in creating new media works. However, many existing blueprints already exist for specific 3D objects. If your business happens to print one of those designs that you didn't create yourself, you could face copyright infringement if you plan to profit off the objects.

More from the ASBDC.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

2012 E-Stats report

The 2012 E-Stats report was released today. This report summarizes e-commerce statistics from the 2012 annual surveys including the Service Annual Survey (SAS), Annual Wholesale Trade Survey (AWTS), and the Annual Retail Trade Survey (ARTS). Also included is 2012 Economic Census data for Manufacturing. Here are the report and associated tables on the U.S. Census Bureau's website.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

SBA Honors Outstanding Disaster Recovery Efforts

Phoenix Award were presented last week during a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) National Small Business Week event. Since 1998, the SBA has presented Phoenix Awards to business owners, public officials and volunteers who displayed selflessness, ingenuity and tenacity in the aftermath of a disaster, while contributing to the rebuilding of their communities.

“These individuals demonstrated tremendous courage and resourcefulness in the midst of several devastating disasters,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “The Phoenix Award acknowledges their heroic efforts, and is a symbol of appreciation for their contributions to the economic recovery of their communities.”

Gianna P. Cerbone-Teoli, owner of Manducatis Rustica in Long Island City, NY, received the Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery by a Volunteer.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the basement of Gianna Cerbone-Teoli’s Italian restaurant Manducatis Rustica was flooded, and she lost all her catering supplies and equipment.

Friends from the local church, firefighters and neighbors descended on her place and helped with the clean-up. Once the restaurant was scrubbed and patched up enough to reopen, Cerbone-Teoli reached out to help those who were struggling. She cooked meals for families in the Rockaways who experienced devastating losses after Hurricane Sandy. Messages of hope and encouragement were attached to the food packages. Collection boxes were placed outside the restaurant so those in need could get donated blankets, clothes and a fresh, home-cooked Italian meal. She also contacted state and local officials to find out what resources were available for businesses, and organized meetings at the restaurant where locals could connect to disaster recovery assistance.

Lars Åkerlund, Owner of FIKA in New York City received the Phoenix Award for Outstanding Small Business Disaster Recovery.

FIKA, which means coffee break in Swedish, was the name Lars Åkerlund gave to each of the five specialty coffee and chocolate cafés he opened in New York beginning in 2006. He was preparing for the New York Chocolate Show on October 29, 2012 when Hurricane Sandy nearly destroyed his Manhattan location, and a new place under construction in Tribeca. Flood waters poured into the basement and rose up to four feet on the first floor, destroying all the equipment and thousands of dollars of specially made treats for the chocolate show. Years of hard work was ruined in a matter of minutes, leaving Åkerlund with uninsured losses in excess of half a million dollars.

Åkerlund received an SBA disaster loan, and started the rebuilding process with the support of local customers and caring neighbors. In February 2013, Åkerlund was able to open the new chocolate factory in Tribeca, and two months later the Manhattan location reopened. They were also to increase their staff from 28 before Sandy hit, to 40 employees in April 2013.

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

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"An Insurance Company Is Suing 200 Illinois Towns For Not Being Better Prepared For Climate Change"


       U.S. insurer class action may signal wave     of climate-change suits
    • Farmers Insurance filed nine class actions last month against nearly 200 communities in the Chicago area. It is arguing that local governments should have known rising global temperatures would lead to heavier rains and did not do enough to fortify their sewers and stormwater drains.
      The legal debate may center on whether an uptick in natural disasters is foreseeable or an "act of God." The cases raise the question of how city governments should manage their budgets before costly emergencies occur.     
    •  "We will see more and more cases," said Michael Gerrard, director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School in New York. "No one is expected to plan for the 500-year storm, but if horrible events are happening with increasing frequency, that may shift the duties."
      Gerrard and other environmental law experts say the suits are the first of their kind.
      Lawyers for the localities will argue government immunity protects them from prosecution, said Daniel Jasica of the State's Attorney's Office in Lake County, which is named in the Illinois state court suit.
      "If these types of suits are successful - where is the money going to come from to pay the lawsuits? The taxpayers," he said. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, also named in the suits, declined to comment.
      Several class actions accusing the Army Corps of Engineers of failing to secure levees breached during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 were mostly dismissed last year on immunity grounds.
      "It's a long shot for the insurance companies, but it's not completely implausible, and if you have enough cases like this going forward it might build some helpful precedent," said Robert Verchick, who served on the Obama administration's Climate Change Adaptation Task Force.
      He said insurance companies are vocal about the rising costs of global warming and want to push cities to invest in prevention as a way to avoid future lawsuits.
      COSTLY ADAPTATION
      Chicago says it is already spending heavily on infrastructure to adapt to changing weather and has a comprehensive Climate Action Plan.
      But the city's foresight may have made it a target, said Verchick, since Farmers cites the document as evidence officials were aware of the risks.
      The Chicago law firm Sneckenberg Thompson & Brody, which represents Farmers, directed questions to the insurance company. Farmers spokesman Trent Frager would not specify how much the company paid in insurance claims, and none of the suits specified a damage amount.
      Flooding struck Illinois in April 2013, and the federal government paid more than 64,000 Illinois households and individuals more than $218 million in aid and low-interest loans following the storms, said the state's Emergency Management Agency.
      Fear of lawsuits can be a barrier to local government action, said Alice Kaswan from the University of San Francisco School of Law. Insurers or citizens may sue them for allowing building in areas prone to flooding or wildfires. Or property owners could argue their land was devalued if a locality bars construction in high-risk areas as a precautionary measure.
      Lawsuits trying to pin liability for climate change on greenhouse-gas emitters have largely failed, since it is difficult to prove an individual polluter is responsible for global phenomena such as rising sea levels.
      Ultimately, costs will need to be distributed more broadly if cities and individuals want to avoid higher insurance premiums or losing coverage altogether, Kaswan said. (Reporting by Mica Rosenberg; Editing by Howard Goller and Douglas Royalty)          
    • Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/16/usa-environment-insurance-idUSL1N0O11T620140516
    •   




Monday, May 19, 2014

How can I check the credentials of a potential foreign business partner?

The Department of Commerce Commercial Service provides a service, the International Company Profile Report, to help companies exporting U.S. goods and services evaluate potential foreign partners. You can contact the Commercial Service at the nearest U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC). To locate the closest USEAC, please visit the Commercial Service website or call (800) 872-8723.

See also How to Check if Foreign Companies Are Legitimate from eHow.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Free SBDC business advising spices up entrepreneur’s momentum

For spice trader Ron Harris, owner of Valley Harvest Products, circumstances changed when he started meeting with Asbury Lockett, a certified business advisor with the Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

He hadn’t been resting, but he hadn’t been moving ahead. So many daily tasks demanded his attention that he couldn’t make progress on long-term goals.
For the past year, Harris and Lockett have been meeting about every six weeks to go over financial statements, business strategy, marketing, new markets, priority lists, self-imposed deadlines and anything else that might help Harris grow and strengthen his business.

“You eat an elephant one bite at a time,” he said. “Asbury helps me do that.”

More from the ASBDC website.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

How To Apply for a Disaster Loan

Did you know that in the wake of a disaster, SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, nonprofit organizations? SBA's latest video offers information about the steps to take to apply for assistance from SBA:

After a presidential disaster declaration, first register with FEMA. In most cases, you'll be referred to SBA for possible loan assistance. Then you should apply online, which is the fastest way to receive a decision about your loan eligibility.

Your loan processing is next. SBA will conduct a credit check and an onsite inspection to determine your losses. A loan officer will work with you to approve or decline a loan.

Within five days of signing SBA’s loan closing documents, your first disbursement is made. A case manager will work with you to meet all your loan conditions and schedule the rest of your disbursements until you receive the full loan amount.
SBA is here to help! Learn more about SBA's Disaster Assistance Program so you know about your financial options if a disaster strikes.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Economics of apologies

From BoingBoing:

Ben Ho is a behavioral economist who studies apologies. He presents an economic theory of apologies that predicts when apologies will change the outcome of disputes, and proposes policies to increase the frequency and sincerity of apologies. The best evidence for economics-driven apology policies are the laws that make doctors' apologies inadmissible in court; Ho cites research that claims that this leads to more physicians' apologies, which reduces patient grief and anger, and cuts down on malpractice suits.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Dynamic Small Business Search: looking for woman- or minority-owned business?

The Dynamic Small Business Search is generally a self-certifying database. The SBA does not make any representation as to the accuracy of any of the data included, other than certifications relating to 8(a) Business Development, HUBZone or Small Disadvantaged Business status. The SBA strongly recommends that contracting officers diligently review a bidder's small business self-certification before awarding a contract.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

SBA’s 8(a) Certification Program Explained

Did you know that the SBA has a program designed to help small, disadvantaged businesses compete in the federal marketplace? If you’re interested in government contracting, the 8(a) Business Development (BD) Program offers a broad scope of assistance to small businesses for which you might be eligible.

The 8(a) BD Program has been essential for helping socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs gain access to the economic mainstream of American society. Ultimately, the program helps thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs to gain a foothold in government contracting.

More from SBA.

SBA Hosts Webinar Series to Help Small Businesses Learn How to Apply for the 8(a) BD Program.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

10 Tips I Wish I Knew Before I Launched My Kickstarter Campaign

From Entrepreneur magazine.

In June of 2012, I launched my first Kickstarter campaign for a previous startup I was involved in -- iPad-case company Origami Slate. Though we reached our goal, there were a lot of hurdles we went through to accomplish our success – everything from dealing with late manufacturers, crabby customers and being clueless on shipping.

These struggles inspired me to launch my latest venture BackersHub, a startup that provides tools for crowdfunding-campaign creators. While our company helps provide support for crowdfunding campaigns by assisting in managing various elements, like rewards, shipping and marketing, we realize creators are going to need a roadmap for launching a successful campaign.

Here are our top tips for executing a stellar campaign from 10 Kickstarter campaign creators.
***
Kickstarter Basics: Kickstarter 101.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Staten Island SBDC Event - “Go to Higher Ground: Vulnerable Population Emergency Preparedness Annual Special Needs Fair”


NY State Senator Andrew J. Lanza and the College of Staten Island Disabilities Fair Team with VP Dr. Michael Kress and SBDC Director Dean Balsamini at the “Go to Higher Ground: Vulnerable Population Emergency Preparedness Annual Special Needs Fair” on Friday, April 4th, 2014.

Some 300 people attended the fair, a collaboration of the Staten Island Small Business Development Center, NY State Senator Andrew J. Lanza and the Jewish Community Center on Staten Island.  At the event,
people with special needs, their families and local community organizations learned about preparedness in the event of major storms and other emergencies on Staten Island.

Using Trade Associations and Expert Consultants in Disaster Planning and Recovery

Using Trade Associations and Expert Consultants in Disaster Planning and Recovery

by  | January 15th, 2014
Manufacturers can rely on trade groups and expert consultants in their disaster planning, says Michael Keating in his latest Expert’s Corner. This is Keating’s seventh article in the series on disaster planning and recovery. His series advises manufacturers what to do in disaster preparation and recovery.

Source:http://news.thomasnet.com/IMT/2014/01/15/using-trade-associations-and-expert-consultants-in-disaster-planning-and-recovery/

Continue reading below the jump. 

SBA Hosts Weekly Office Hours Webinars on Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program

WASHINGTON – Women business owners are invited to learn more about increasing opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the federal contracting arena through free Office Hours Webinars hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration each Tuesday and Thursday through June 26 at 2 p.m. ET.
SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program presents an opportunity for small businesses to increase their presence in the federal marketplace. The federal government is the biggest buyer in the world and is a must-have customer for women-owned companies.
The hour-long webinars will be led by SBA officials, and will help to answer questions and give valuable insight to women entrepreneurs on doing business in the federal marketplace.

WHAT: SBA Office Hours Webinars on Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program
WHEN: May 13 – June 26, 2014, each Tuesday and Thursday:
• Tuesday, May 13th, 20th, 27th, June 3rd, June 10th, June 17th, and June 24th
• Thursday, May 15th, 22nd, 29th, June 5th, June 12th, June 19th, and June 26th
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (ET)
HOW: Registration is free, but required. Please contact LeAnn.Delaney@sba.gov to sign up.

To learn more about the SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program, visit HERE.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The business/markets case for limits to copyright

From BoingBoing:

You'll remember Derek Khanna as the Republican House staffer who got fired for writing a paper that used careful objective research to argue for scaling back copyright. Now, Khanna is a fellow at R Street, where he's expanded on his early work with a paper called Guarding Against Abuse: Restoring Constitutional Copyright [PDF], which tackles the question of copyright terms from a market-economics approach, citing everyone from Hayek to Posner to the American Conservative Union...

Khanna recommends new copyright policy based on a House Republican Study Committee proposal in 2012. Under this proposal, there would be a free 12-year copyright term for all new works. Following that, there could be an elective 12-year renewal, at a cost of 1 percent of all U.S. revenue from the first 12 years. There would then be two elective 6-year renewals, at a cost of 3 percent and 5 percent of revenue, respectively. There is one final elective 10-year renewal period at a cost of 10 percent of all overall revenue, minus fees paid for the previous renewals. This proposal would terminate all copyright protection after 46 years...

“The public domain of the future cannot be protected with constraints on prospective copyright duration – otherwise it will not exist,” said Khanna.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Old School Marketing in the Digital Age

Carmen Sognonvi, owner and general manager of Urban Martial Arts in Brooklyn, NY, had the pleasure of hosting a workshop with Ramon Ray and InfusionSoft a few months back on how bricks-and-mortar businesses can combine old-school marketing tactics like flyers and signage with new technology like marketing automation.

She finally had a chance to edit the darn thing! So check out this video with some clips from her workshop.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Entrepreneur magazine's Business Idea Center

The Business Idea Center can be very helpful to the budding entrepreneur.
Click on the industry, or interest, and drill down to the business you are interested in.

You'll read: Business At A Glance, including startup costs, home based (whether it can be operated from home), and whether franchises are available. More detail in the business overview.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

How Can Technology and Collaboration Drive More Sales for Small Businesses?

With SBA and PayPal, learn about the latest technology trends and best practices to help your small business increase sales, streamline operations and improve the customer experience. Tune in to watch at 2pm on Wednesday, May 14 at www.sba.gov/smallbusinessweek.

SBA is also offering a series of business webinars during National Small Business Week on the following topics:
• Smart Small Business Travel: Strategic Ways to Increase Your Return on Travel with Marriott, Visa and SBA, May 12
• Growing Your Business with Direct Mail with the United States Postal Service and SBA, May 12 | Register
• Voluntary Benefits 101 for Employees with Colonial Life and SBA, May 13
• Achieving Big Customer Loyalty in a Small Business World: 10 Tips to Create A Killer Customer Loyalty Program with Manta and SBA, May 14

Monday, May 05, 2014

10 Ways to Grow Your Business

When you first started your business, you probably did a lot of research. You may have sought help from advisors; you may have gotten information from books, magazines and other readily available sources. You invested a lot-in terms of money, time and sweat equity-to get your business off the ground. So...now what?

For those of you who have survived startup and built successful businesses, you may be wondering how to take the next step and grow your business beyond its current status. There are numerous possibilities, 10 of which we'll outline here. Choosing the proper one (or ones) for your business will depend on the type of business you own, your available resources, and how much money, time and sweat equity you're willing to invest all over again.

Amazingly still useful article from Entrepreneur magazine, 2004.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

6 Tips for Negotiating a Commercial Property Lease without Getting Burned

While residential leasing often places the burden of maintenance and upkeep on the shoulders of the landlord, commercial leases are different. Just because the landlord owns the building, it would make sense to believe that they are responsible for repairs and upkeep – this is not the case. Commercial leases vary in their approach to this – some stipulate that the tenant is responsible for all property upkeep and repairs while others specify that the tenant is responsible for systems such as the air conditioning, plumbing , etc. Check your lease – in addition to stating who is responsible for what it may also contain dollar limits on how much the tenant must pay for maintenance and repair.

This 2011 article from SBA was useful this past week.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

New E-Book: Five Ways to Improve Ergonomics in the Laboratory

The laboratory environment poses unique challenges resulting from specialized equipment and work areas. Increasing your awareness of existing and potential ergonomic issues in the lab and knowing how to adjust workstations to fit the employee can have a huge impact. Humantech's complimentary e-book introduces tools and provided guidance to help make your laboratory a productive, comfortable, and safe place to work by applying ergonomics principles.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Tricky Ways to Imporve Your Google Search Results

Google Search is a web search engine owned by Google Inc. Google search is the most-used search engine on the World Wide Web, handling more than three billion searches each day. The main purpose of Google Search is to hunt for text in publicly accessible documents offered by web servers, as opposed to other data, such as with Google Image Search.

Although many are familiar with the basic uses of Google search, there are a few tricks that some people don’t know of. The most basic example is the “I’m Feeling Lucky” search option on the home page. When you search using the normal Google Search option it brings out a list of possible results from different websites. However, Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” option opens the very first link it generates from your search. It can save you time if you are searching for websites, but may not be accurate when searching for people or some products.

Yet, this barely scratches the surface of Google Search’s capabilities. Have you ever struggled to find relevant or updated information on what you searching for? You can learn certain tricks that will refine your search and make you a more skilled Google Search user by reading the Top 10 Google Search Tricks

Thursday, May 01, 2014

E-commerce: Internet Retailer

The Internet Retailer bills itself as the portal to e-commerce intelligence, and it is. The site contains articles, a vendor directory, many free resources, and a helpful blog.