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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Female self-employment in the United States:an update

After seeing considerable increases in the 1970s and the 1980s, the share of women in self-employment and the female self-employment rate leveled off in the 1990s and remained relatively unchanged through 2012. While this recent 20-year trend may not be remarkable, the characteristics of female business owners have changed considerably over time...

New trends in female self-employment suggest a positive shift in opportunities for women, especially for those who differ from the “typical” self-employed women of the past. For instance, the percentage of female minorities in self-employment doubled from 1993 to 2012, and more divorced women and women without young children have become self-employed. Earnings trends have also been favorable. Although female business owners still have lower mean earnings compared with other worker groups, between 1993 and 2012 the gender gap in hourly earnings among the self-employed shrank by nearly 20 percentage points for full-time workers and by 17 percentage points for part-time workers.

More from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights - take a 30-minute online course

What is intellectual property and how do you protect your ideas? This course gives an overview of intellectual properties and explains how to protect them. Learn why you should protect your intellectual property. Explore the differences between patents, trademarks and copyrights and discover the process for filing for a patent or trademark and registering for a copyright.

Text-based version of course

Intellectual property worsheet for a small business

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sleep Your Way to Higher Productivity

I’ve been feeling really tired lately. It’s that tired feeling that drags on for days and days until you finally give in and have a real rest from work (I’ve planned a week off in October). Trying to work on projects that require lots of thought, mental clarity, and—I can’t even think of the word I want, because I’m tired, which proves my point: It’s hard to do good work when you’re tired.

But there’s a lot of nuance to how sleep affects our work.



Read more from BPLANS

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Enterprises' Top Digital Marketing Priorities for 2015

Some 69% of senior marketers at enterprise companies anticipate an increase in digital spend beyond inflation in 2015, and only 6% foresee a decrease, according to a recent report from Teradata and Econsultancy.

On the other hand, only 48% expect increases beyond inflation in traditional marketing budgets in 2015, and 29% who expect decreases, the study found.

Enterprise marketers expect digital budgets to increase roughly 10% annually for the next five years, with average digital spend reaching 40% of total budgets by 2019, according to the report.


Read more from MarketingProfs.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Is that health insurance website for real?

Shopping for health insurance online? Before making your final purchase – read on. Health insurance scams have been preying on vulnerable consumers through websites selling medical discount plans.

According to the complaint in a recent case FTC settlement, IAB Marketing Associates, LP et al., was a sham nonprofit trade association offering memberships suggesting it would provide consumers with a comprehensive medical insurance plan...

According to the FTC, consumers never were enrolled in a comprehensive health insurance plan. The IAB plan was essentially a medical discount plan, offering, if it existed, limited discounts and reimbursements on visits to certain doctors or hospitals. Many consumers who suffered an accident or illness were shocked to find that their IAB “health plan” covered very few, if any, medical expenses, leaving them with major medical bills.

Here’s how to insure yourself against this scam...

More from the NCPW

Restaurants see best sales trends in two years

The restaurant industry posted its best sales results in more than two years during the third quarter of 2014, amid continuing signs of economic growth, according to the latest Restaurant Industry Snapshot from TDn2K’s Black Box Intelligence and People Report, based on weekly sales from more than 20,000 restaurant units representing more than $45 billion in annual revenue.

Same-store sales grew 1.6 percent during the quarter, a 1.3-percent increase over second quarter results and the best quarter for the industry since the first quarter of 2012. The industry saw positive same-store sales for the second consecutive quarter — a first since the second half of 2012. The gain came on the heels of strong industry performance in September, when same-store sales rose 2.2 percent.


More from Nation's Restaurant News.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Small Business Advocate, September-October 2014

The Office of Advocacy has released the September-October 2014 issue of the Small Business Advocate. The newsletter features Advocacy’s regional advocates’ tour of 1776, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that seeks to nurture local startup businesses by connecting them with a variety of resources. The message from the chief counsel explores the issue of the gender gap in STEM fields. In addition, rulemakings by the DOJ, CPSC, EPA, FCC, DOL and NOAA are discussed. Finally, the newsletter introduces Advocacy’s new staff members.

The newsletter can be accessed here.

In This Issue
1776 Offers Startups Resources and Connections in the Heart of D.C.
Message from the Chief Counsel: Leveling the Playing Field in STEM
Small Movie Theater Owners Discuss Proposed DOJ Accessibility Rules
Advocacy Responds to CPSC on Infant Carrier Rules
Advocacy Comments to FCC on Net Neutrality Proposal
Advocacy Raises Concerns about EPA Landfill Rules

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Consumer spending and U.S. employment from the 2007–2009 recession through 2022

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics

In the latest recession, employment supported by U.S. consumer spending declined by an estimated 3.2 million jobs between 2007 and 2010, over a third of total job declines during that time frame. Compared with the overall economy, consumer-related employment demonstrated relative resilience, recovering in 2012. Through 2022, consumer spending is projected to support stable job growth with increasing expenditures on labor-intensive services like health care. However, consumer spending and its related employment are projected to grow slower than in the past and at rates similar to the overall economy.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

CrossFit Tailors Workout for a New Demographic: Preschoolers

On a recent afternoon at the CrossFit gym in Long Island City, Queens, 3-year-old Ella Reznik bounded toward an array of hoops and candy-colored bouncy balls, her ponytail and her mother trailing her.

Ella’s brother Adam, 4, padded along nearby on rubber black mats and inspected some metal bars bolted to the wall. The gym’s owner and coach, Michele Kelber, greeted the Rezniks and other children with a series of high-fives and smiles. Soon, class was underway: duck, duck, goose; burpees; and dangling from monkey bars.

CrossFit, the hard-core workout regimen, has a growing new demographic to court: preschoolers.

As the issue of youth fitness — from obesity to proper exercise regimens — takes on more resonance in schools and communities across the country, CrossFit Kids and other preschool fitness programs are raising questions about when and how children should start playing organized sports or hitting the gym.

More from the New York Times.

Friday, October 10, 2014

5 Ways to Spy on Your Competition

Most companies are continually looking for ways to get an edge over their competitors, and a time-honored method is simply to spy on the other guys. Technically, it falls under the category of market research, unless, of course, it’s actual spying. But, we’re not going to get into corporate espionage here—we’ll stick with the “market research” strategies that are legal, if somewhat sneaky. In the event that you feel uneasy about spying on your rivals, consider the fact that if you’re any sort of force to be reckoned with in your market, they are probably already spying on you. But, if you’re still not quite comfortable with the word “spying,” think of it as “competitive intelligence.” Competitive intelligence is a means of legally obtaining information that you can use to improve your own products, services, and customer retention.

Read more from BPlans.com

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Good Marketing, Undone

I like to read the newspaper while I’m eating breakfast (I spend the rest of my day reading online). Last Friday, as I was thumbing through, I saw an ad that caught my eye:

“One-day only! Wear (color) in support of (charity) and get 20% off any item in the store!”

Simple. Easy to understand. Some of the proceeds would go to a worthy cause. And a nice discount. I liked it. I already planned to be near the store location Friday evening; I was going to catch a movie with friends. All I had to do was change what I planned to wear to their chosen color. Hm…

If it had been just another work day, I had a couple of blouses which would have fit the requirement. But I was going out after work. I had planned what I was going to wear, and its main color was black. BUT, it had a small sequin flower in that special, required color. A very small sequin flower. Would it be enough? No way to know until I got there. And I had decided to go.

That was good marketing.

Read more from BPlans.com

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Are Consumers Willing to Pay for Content From Online Publishers?

Some 40% of US consumers say they currently pay for news, fashion, sports, or business digital content, even though 70% say they access those categories of content online regularly, according to a recent report from CloudSense.

This reluctance to pay for digital media is true even for the "digital native" generation: 45% of the 16-24-year-olds surveyed say they spend money on any sort of digital content from publishers.

More from MarketingProfs.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

7 Things to Consider When Raising Money from Family or Friends for Your Business Startup

It’s tempting to ask friends and family to invest in your work when first starting a company. Money is tight and they want to help. However, soliciting money from loved ones can be a risky venture. To help mitigate this risk, we asked seven entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council what rules one should always have in place before raising money from family and friends. Here’s what they recommend.

Read more from BPlans.com

Monday, October 06, 2014

Nominate a Business for the 2015 National Small Business Week Awards

Are you a small business owner with an amazing success story to tell?  If so, submit your nomination today for the 2015 National Small Business Week Awards.  Nominations are currently being accepted online at http://awards.sba.gov.
For more than 50 years, SBA has recognized the outstanding achievements of America’s small businesses for their contributions in their local communities, and to our nation’s economy. Winners will be announced during National Small Business Week in May 2015.
Last year, we honored husband-and-wife team Billy Taylor and Brook Harvey-Taylor, the founders of Pacifica which is based in Portland, Oregon as the National Small Business Persons of the Year. With Billy’s entrepreneurial spirit and Brook’s creative vision, the two founders started making candles in 1997.  A bold change in the line of products from home fragrances to beauty and perfume products put Pacifica on a growth path to more than double their revenue over a five-year span, ending in 2014. Since 2010 they have managed to expand their staff each year and now have 110 employees.
Are you our next winner?  Apply online today: http://awards.sba.gov. In addition to the portal, nominations can also be sent directly to SBA District Offices, which can be located online atdistrict offices.  All nominations must be submitted online, postmarked or hand delivered to the SBA no later than 3:00 p.m. ET on January 5, 2015.
National Small Business Week award categories include:
  • Small Business Person of the Year Awards
  • Small Business Exporter of the Year
  • Phoenix Award for Small Business Disaster Recovery
  • Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery
  • Federal Procurement Award- Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year Award
  • Federal Procurement Award- Small Business Subcontractor of the Year Award
  • Federal Procurement Award- Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence
  • 8(a) Graduate of the Year Award
  • Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award
  • Veterans Business Outreach Center Excellence in Service Award
  • Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award
For more information, visit http://awards.sba.gov.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Business-Cycle Conditions: Fiscal Policy Drag Diminishing

The Great Recession of 2008-2009 will be remembered for its severity—a cumulative decline of 4.2 percent in real GDP, the loss of 8.7 million jobs, and a harsh toll on the banking system with more than 400 bank failures from 2008 to 2011. The Great Recession should also be remembered for the massive increase in the federal budget deficit it spawned. As a percentage of GDP, the budget deficit reached 9.8 percent in fiscal year 2009, the highest since 1945 and the highest ever excluding the World War II period (Chart 1). Through another lens, the six-year cumulative deficit from 2008 to 2013 totaled almost 41 percent of GDP, well exceeding the total of about 26 percent for the six worst years of the Great Depression.

Statistical Indicators of Business-Cycle Changes

Like the proverbial double-edged sword, fiscal deficits can be both helpful and detrimental. The positive aspect is that the strong federal fiscal response likely helped initially to support the recovery. The negative side is that the nation’s cumulative debt position deteriorated, raising concern about the long-term outlook for the economy. In addition, very large deficits cannot be maintained indefinitely, and as expenditures are reduced, they tend to restrain economic growth.

More from the American Institute for Economic Research

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Manufacturing in America

In recognition of the third annual Manufacturing Day on Oct. 3, the Census Bureau releases an update of an infographic highlighting a wide range of statistics pertaining to the manufacturing sector of the economy. Topics explored include manufacturing employment and payroll compared with other sectors, production by specific manufacturing industries, and state-level statistics. Internet address: <http://www.census.gov/how/infographics/manufacturing_2014.html>.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Is Etsy the New Silk Road for Copyright Infringement?

Frompetapixel:


While browsing through my image search results on PIXSY (a new service that finds and invoices image theft for you), I was surprised to see my picture for sale on Etsy (above). My immediate reaction:

1. What an ugly mousepad. I’d never print my photo like this.
2. The seller seems to be stealing thousands of photos. How could Etsy let this happen?
3. Who had the nerve to think they could do this?

So my picture was the party and I wasn't invited. I decided to see what I could do to notify the seller and contact Etsy about the problem.

What did I find out? Etsy is selling thousands of stolen photos and doesn’t seem to care. Their system lets sellers hide their contact information, and Etsy will not disclose the identities of sellers stealing work even after being presented with clear evidence.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Top Four Reasons Consumers Abandon Online Shopping Carts

More than one-third of consumers (37%) say they most often abandon an online shopping cart because they decide at the last minute that the purchase is too expensive, according to a recent report from Offers.com.

The second most common reason for not completing an online purchase is finding a better price on another website.

Just 20% say they almost always purchase the items they put in their online shopping carts.



Read more from MarketingProfs

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

7 Bookkeeping Habits Every Entrepreneur Should Adopt

Badly tracked finances can cause your business a world of problems—from poor cash flow to improper tax filings and beyond. These kinds of problems can put a young business at serious risk.

Good bookkeeping habits, on the other hand, can help a business thrive—and not just survive.

Dallas-based financial writer and founder of Careful Cents, Carrie Smith, shared her advice on what good bookkeeping means for entrepreneurs, and the good habits to adopt that will guide your business to success.

MORE from BPlans.com