Friday, October 30, 2015

2016 InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business

The InnovateHER Challenge is a national prize competition aimed at unearthing products and services that impact and empower the lives of women and families through local business competitions that culminate in a live pitch Final Round. During the InnovateHER Finals, up to 10 Finalists will compete for the Top Three cash prizes totaling $70,000 provided by Microsoft. This year, the national InnovateHER Finals will be held on March 16 & 17, 2016 in the Washington, D.C. metro area as part of a larger Women’s Summit.


We know that our workforce looks very different from 50 years ago. Women now make up nearly half of the labor force and play a critical role in our nation’s economic prosperity. Most children live in households where all parents work. And as our population ages, families are increasingly caring for aging parents while balancing the needs of work and home. As demands on women and families grow, the need for products and services that address unique challenges increases. This Challenge provides that platform.


Read more at:sba

Thursday, October 29, 2015

National Veterans Small Business Week

November 2-6, 2015

SBA empowers veterans, active duty service members, Guard and Reserve members and military spouses through entrepreneurial training and education programs, business technical assistance, counseling, special access to capital programs and federal procurement training and access to opportunities.

Join the conversation at #MyVetBiz to share veteran stories, encourage community members to highlight local veteran-owned businesses in their community, and show gratitude and support to veterans and their families.
,br> Find local events at: SBA

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Danny Meyer on tipping: It's a broken system

Danny Meyer, head of the New York City-based Union Square Hospitality Group LLC, set off a nationwide conversation last week when he announced that he planned to do away with tipping at his 13 full-service operations.

Numerous restaurants across the country add standard service charges of around 18 percent to 20 percent, particularly for larger parties, to their checks, and a few restaurants, such as Alinea in Chicago and Lazy Bear in San Francisco, have done away with traditional reservations and have switched to all-inclusive, non-refundable tickets. Meyer is taking a different approach by raising menu prices and telling his customers that “hospitality” is included in the price.

“I’m not waging a campaign on behalf of our entire industry. I’m doing what I think is right for our company,” Meyer told Nation’s Restaurant News. However, Meyer clearly hopes to change the way full-service restaurants compensate their employees. In fact, he said for his plan to work, his staff needs to love the new system, more guests have to come through his doors, and other restaurateurs need to come on board.

More from Nation’s Restaurant News

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Disaster Assistance for Businesses

Hurricane Joaquin has come and gone but the damage still remains, especially for businesses in North and South Carolina.

Explore our disaster assistance tool to read about the resources available to help your business recover.

buisnessusa

Monday, October 26, 2015

Leveling the Field

Did you know that the SBA recently issued a final rule that alters regulations governing the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) program? The change, that becomes effective October 14, 2015, makes it easier for agencies to award sole-source contracts to women-owned businesses and helps meet the government’s goal of awarding 5 percent of all federal contracts to women. Read more how this change helps the SBA support women-owned businesses and how to gain WOSB-certification for your company.

Looking for more information? Be sure to check out BusinessUSA’s resources for women business owners.

You'll also want to read about the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) which oversees the Women's Business Centers (WBCs) network. WBCs provide entrepreneurs (especially women who are economically or socially disadvantaged) with comprehensive training and counseling on a variety of topics, and in several languages.


Learn more at:sba

Friday, October 23, 2015

October is National Energy Action Month

Boosting the U.S. Clean Tech Industry

October National Energy Action Month's goal is to "achieve greater energy security, a more robust economy, and a healthier environment."

Are you looking for financial resources to help grow your clean technology business?

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently launched the Small Business Vouchers Pilot program to provide clean tech businesses with access to world-class researchers, facilities and expertise at national laboratories.

The program is open to businesses with fewer than 500 employees and will serve as a starting point for bringing the next generation of clean technologies to market. Find out more about the program and if your business qualifies at sbv.

You should explore the many opportunities for green businesses on BusinessUSA, including government solicitations, grants, challenges, and more.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Think Multitasking Is Good for Business? Research Says It Isn’t

Do you juggle several tasks at once during your workday? If so, multitasking probably tops your list of skills. But is multitasking really beneficial to productivity? There’s a lot of research that suggests it hurts productivity, rather than helps it.

Multitasking decreases productivity Many people assume that multitasking can improve their productivity. After all, if you can send emails during a meeting, or scan reports while listening to a conference call, you’re being more productive, right?

Not necessarily.

One study reported in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that students took far longer to solve complicated math problems when required to switch to other tasks. In fact, they were 40 percent slower than those that didn’t have to keep switching. The study suggests that no one actually multitasks; in reality, they just do a whole lot of “task-switching.”

Read more at:liveplan

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Angels Change The Ratio For Women Entrepreneurs

Women build and leverage the ecosystem

While venture capital’s track record with women makes you want scream with frustration, the new angel numbers will make you want to jump for joy. For nearly all metrics, the numbers hit record heights in 2014, according to the Center for Venture Research, which researches angel investments. In 2014:

26% of all angels were women, increasing by an impressive 43% from the previous year.
36% of all companies seeking funding were women, increasing by a whopping 83% from the previous year.
28% of all companies receiving funding were women-run, a substantial 44% increase.

15% of all women-run companies succeeded in raising capital vs 22% for their male counterparts.
“Typically, when there is a surge in the number of entrepreneurs seeking angel funding, the overall yield [success rate] goes down,” said Jeffrey E. Sohl, director of Center for Venture Research. The 15% success rate is within the historic norms for entrepreneurs raising capital from angels.


Early on, Springboard Enterprises and Astia provided leadership training and access to capital. Super angel groups with venture funds, like Golden Seeds and Belle Capital, which invest solely in women-run companies, began forming. Other angel groups and venture funds also started up. These didn’t necessarily focus on investing in women-run companies but, because they are led by women, a high percentage of companies in which they invest are women-run.

Read more at: Forbes

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Rise and Impact of Digital Amnesia

As part of its commitment to help people protect what matters most in their online-enabled world, Kaspersky Lab wanted to better understand how digital devices and the internet affect the way consumers recall and use information today – and what, if anything, they are doing to protect it.

We commissioned research firm Opinion Matters to survey 6,000 consumers, aged between 16 and 55+, split equally between male and female, with 1,000 from each of the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Benelux.

The results suggest a direct link between data available at the click of a button and a failure to commit that data to memory. Kaspersky Lab has
termed this phenomenon Digital Amnesia: the experience of forgetting information that you trust a digital device to store and remember for you.

More from The Rise and Impact of Digital Amnesia.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Power of Roundtable Discussions

When it comes to decision making, colleagues and peers can help provide objective opinions as well as present new ideas you hadn't considered.

Programs like CEO Xchange support entrepreneurs by providing them with a confidential setting to discuss vital business issues, opportunities and trends with other colleagues.

CEO XChange presents top executives with the opportunity to broaden their business perspective and gain new knowledge by engaging in collaborative thinking and problem-solving - giving them the ability to more effectively lead their companies. And research has shown that personal and peer coaching, like that found in CEO XChange, can contribute significantly to entrepreneurial skill development and decision making.

Learn More: ucf


Read more at: Businessusa

Friday, October 16, 2015

10 Tips to Improve Business Efficiency

Your company is running smoothly enough, but you know things could be better. Sometimes, a project gets hung up a few days too long, or meetings that once felt productive and useful now seem to drag on for hours. It can feel like wheels spinning in the mud, and it’s hard to get that traction back.

How can you fix these kinds of issues? By focusing on improving the efficiency of your business. I asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council for their tips on how they keep their businesses running efficiently, which in turn helps them be more productive.


Read more at Bplans

Thursday, October 15, 2015

How One Creative Freelancer Like You Almost Didn’t Get Paid

Justin Barker, a producer at Creative Live, recently completed an instructional product video for a startup company in San Francisco. When this company refused to pay him and the contractors that he had hired, it was taken as highly offensive.

Unfortunately, it’s all too common for creatives to get stuck with unpaid invoices and lame excuses from some clients; Justin is not alone. This is happening to creative entrepreneurs more frequently than other entrepreneurs.


Read more at Bplans

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Procurement Updates - Matchmaker Events & Other News


Upcoming Matchmaker Events

Rochester NY - 2015 Business Expo & Matchmaker
October 28, 2015, 8 am - 3:30 pm
Holiday Inn Downtown, 70 State Street, Rochester NY
Small business registration $65 (includes lunch)

Long Island NY - 3rd Annual Small Business & Government Matchmaker
November 6, 2015, 8 am - 3 pm
Con Edison Learning Center, 43-82 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City NY
Small business registration $54 
For more information, visit http://www.gbmatchmaker.org/

St Lawrence County Matchmaker
October 26, 2015, 8 am - 12 pm
Miller Campus Center, SUNY Canton
Small business registration $10

Upcoming Training Series 

Albany 2015 MWBE Contractor Training Series
Wednesday Mornings, October 21, 28, November 4, 18, 25, December 2
Capital South Campus Center
20 Warren Street
Albany, NY 12202
No Cost
Registration: email Kate Baker, kbaker@albany.edu

www.nyssbdc.org/2015_MWBE_Contractor_Training_Albany15.pdf

Other Updates

NDAA
On October 7, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2016 was passed by Congress and has now moved into queue for the President to sign or veto. The bill (H.R. 1735) prohibits a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round from being authorized or carried out in 2017, which helps protect the important work of and economic benefit to small businesses located in communities with defense installations. This bill also includes numerous items pertaining to small business, including agencies being required to justify bundled or consolidated contracts and analyze the impact of bundling/consolidation on small business and (very exciting!) agencies being required to consider the capabilities and past performance of each first tier subcontractor that is part of a team of small businesses as the capabilities and past performance of the small business prime contractor. This last item is huge for small business, especially in the face of increased bundling/consolidation of contracting opportunities!

Federal Acquisition-Related Thresholds
As of October 1, the inflation adjustment of acquisition-related thresholds (required every five years using the Consumer Price Index) raised the micro-purchase base threshold from $3000 to $3500; raised the threshold for the use of simplified acquisition procedures for acquisition of commercial items from $6.5 million to $7 million; and raised the prime contractor subcontracting plan floor from $650,000 to $700,000, with the construction threshold of $1.5 million staying the same. The simplified acquisition threshold of $150,000 is unchanged, as is the amount requiring FedBizOpps pre-award and post-award notices ($25,000). For more information, see https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/07/02/2015-16206/federal-acquisition-regulation-inflation-adjustment-of-acquisition-related-thresholds

Why is Playboy giving up nudity?

This isn't a story about nudity; it's a story about disruption and innovation. Times, tastes and technology have changed everything. Even at 89, Hugh Hefner understands a simple fact: In today's rapidly evolving world you innovate or you become irrelevant. It's the biggest challenge facing businesses around the world...

It may seem ironic to think that the very nudity that Playboy pioneered has been "overtaken" by the Internet where you are "one click away from every sex act imaginable for free."

However, that's always how it happens. The thing that made you famous won't keep you relevant in a progressive world.

Kodak invented the digital camera in 1975, but it was so focused on its film and printing domination, it missed every opportunity in digital. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Blockbuster created a desire to rent and stay in to enjoy movies from the comfort of our homes, and passed on the opportunity to buy Netflix, not once, but three times. It went bankrupt in 2013.

Every single disruptive business that's emerged in the last five years -- Uber, Airbnb, Twitch.tv --exploits a major business weakness -- the failure of the old guard to innovate in response to changing consumer and customer behavior. These disruptors aren't killing businesses; it's the stodgy, rigid and stubborn companies that are killing themselves.

Once you understand the disruption that's taken place in the media and publishing world and the power of social networks as a publishing platform, you'll understand that Playboy simply had no choice. Nudity was sinking its Web and magazine business.

More from CNN.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

How to Write a Business Plan

When how to write a business plan is at the top of the SBA list of the ten steps in how to start a business, it tells you something about how important the experts consider it to be. Planning a business and writing a business plan is more than just having a location picked and a product or service to sell. Financing, marketing strategy and future growth all require a well-researched and thought out business plan.

Read more at discoverbusiness

Central - The Big Move

We're getting close. Today the movers are back and they're taking away a lot of our packed boxes and desks. Some of us are relocated to an interim location while offices are moved. There are miles of huge bins with all the office materials and Frankie and company are working overtime getting everything ready. The view from my desk is of Tammy's office which is all boxes.Keep this in mind if you need something - that we are limited in what we can do for a couple of days. We should be back up in our new office by the end of the week.

Our new details are:

Mailing Address:

New York Small Business Development Center
State University of New York
10 North Pearl Street
Albany, NY 12246


Physical / UPS / FEDEX deliveries:

New York Small Business Development Center
State University of New York
10 North Pearl Street
Albany, NY 12207

Monday, October 12, 2015

What Is Strategic Decision Making?

One of the essential parts of creating and running a small business is creating a mission or vision for the business and a set of goals the company aims to achieve. Strategic decision making, or strategic planning, describes the process of creating a company's mission and objectives and deciding upon the courses of action a company should pursue to achieve those goals.

Read more at Chron

Friday, October 09, 2015

How to Correctly Use Collateral to Secure a Business Loan

Items that make excellent collateral include real estate, cars, business inventory, and even cash savings.

If there’s one aspect of the American dream that seems to appeal to just about everyone, it’s the idea of owning and running your own business. Whether you’ve always dreamed of running an Asian-Italian fusion restaurant downtown, or simply can’t wait to open up that quaint little boutique filled with your own fashion designs, it’s only natural to be excited about someday becoming your own boss.

Knowing that you’re ready to open a small to mid-sized business is one thing, but knowing how to secure the funding you need is another.

Read more at Bplans

Thursday, October 08, 2015

How a Small Business Can Compete With the Big Guys at SEO

You’re running a small business. You’d dearly love to have high visibility on Google for organic search engine traffic and leads—but you’re being overwhelmed by big competitors with deep pockets and an army of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialists at their disposal. Cheer up! You can still win at SEO, but you have to be smart—very smart—about how you deploy your resources. The important thing to remember is: What most small businesses do with SEO is exactly what they shouldn’t do. Read more at Bplans

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Buzzwords, False Assumptions and Content Tips

Peter and Jonathan talk about business buzzwords they hate, and false assumptions you can make about your business. Joe Pulizzi (Founder, Content Marketing Institute) also joins in to talk about the six steps of the Content, Inc. model. The Bcast is the official podcast of Bplans.com, hosted by Jonathan Michael and Peter Thorsson. Tune in weekly for a fun and informative discussion that will help you grow your business. Every week, we bring in business experts to discuss the latest trends in marketing, sales, and entrepreneurship. Skip the stuffy MBA classroom and get information and advice that will actually help you grow your business today—and have some fun while you’re doing it. To listen, see itunes

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

SBA Empowers Small Businesses to Be Cyber Safe

The U.S. Small Business Administration unveiled today a new cybersecurity webpage for small businesses at www.sba.gov/cybersecurity on the 12th Anniversary of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.  The SBA launched the online tools and resources to highlight Cybersecurity at Work from October 5-9th and in recognition of President Obama’s annual proclamation to educate Americans about cyberthreats and cybersafety.

“Cybersecurity is one of our nation’s most pressing national security priorities, and America’s 28 million small businesses, which create two out of every three new jobs in the U.S., are especially at risk.  Small employers are quickly becoming a larger target for criminals looking to access sensitive data because small businesses typically have limited resources for information systems security,” 

Monday, October 05, 2015

Freelancers in the U.S. workforce

We’re entering a new era. For much of the past century, the 9-to-5 job has defined what most Americans think of as “work.”

But that is changing—fast. More than 53 million Americans are now earning income from work that’s not a traditional 9-to-5. That’s 1 in 3 workers.

We are still at the leading edge of a once-in-a-century upheaval in our workforce. The freelance surge is the Industrial Revolution of our time.

More from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Make the Switch to New Payments Technology

By SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet and Square CEO Jack Dorsey This October, America will take a major step to mitigate fraud and improve our financial security by migrating away from outdated credit and debit cards that transmit sensitive customer data using magnetic stripes. In 2015, it should not surprise us that a system using essentially the same technology as cassette tapes is especially vulnerable. That is why major credit card companies, lenders, and businesses are now embracing new, more secure, authenticated payment technologies. Many consumers already have credit cards embedded with microchips in their wallets, and many more will be receiving these cards in the coming months. This technology – also known as EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) – is a safer form of payment for buyers and sellers alike, as the cards are nearly impossible to counterfeit. EMV is not the only payment shift on the horizon. Because reading chip cards takes more time than reading magstripe cards, we expect increased adoption of faster, contactless options, such as Apple Pay and Android Pay. This technology allows a consumer to pay with a smartphone by using a phone linked to their credit card. It is fast, safe, and convenient. The shift to new technologies and authenticated payments is important because we have a sizeable fraud problem in the United States. According to data from The Nilson Report and BI Intelligence, the U.S lost seven billion dollars to credit card fraud in 2013. That is more than the fraud loss sustained by the rest of the world combined. Credit card fraud losses in the U.S. are disproportionately high because chip cards are already the norm in most nations. Roughly 90 percent of credit card terminals in Europe are now chip-enabled. The United Kingdom has seen nearly a 70 percent decline in counterfeit card transactions since making the transition, according to Barclays. U.S. credit card companies have set October 1 as the date for the national adoption of chip cards here at home. On this date, there will a “liability shift.” Businesses that have not acquired the technology to process chip cards will become financially responsible for certain fraudulent transactions previously covered by the cardholder’s issuing bank. We need to make sure that small businesses are not left in the dark or on the hook. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Square are working to help small businesses get educated and prepared for the transition to come. We are tapping into our millions-strong combined network of business owners to get the payment security message out at events across the country and online (more information is available at http://www.sba.gov/emv). Read more at sba

Friday, October 02, 2015

SBA Proposes Changes to Affiliation Rule for Business Loan and Surety Bond Guarantee Programs

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is proposing revisions to its regulations for determining affiliation under SBA’s business loan programs and its surety bond guarantee program.  These revisions are designed to simplify eligibility determinations and reduce costs and processing time.

 The proposed revisions were published October 2, 2015 in the Federal Register.  The comment period will be open until December 1, 2015.  SBA seeks comments from the public on the proposed rule and will consider these comments in its development of a final rule.

 The proposed rule would apply to affiliation rules for SBA’s business loan programs and the surety bond guarantee program, but would not apply to SBA government contracting, business development, or grant programs.  The affected programs would include: the 7(a) Loan Program, the Business Disaster Loan Programs (collectively, the Economic Injury Disaster Loans, Reservist Injury Disaster Loans, Physical Disaster Business Loans, Immediate Disaster Assistance Program loans), the Microloan Program, the Development Company Program (the “504 Loan Program”) and the Surety Bond Guarantee Program (the “SBG Program”).  

 For questions concerning the proposed revisions, please call Linda Reilly, Chief, 504 Loan Program at 202-205-9949 or e-mail her at linda.reilly@sba.gov.

 Read the full text of the proposed rule as published in the Federal Register here:

From Food Cart Startup to Award-Winning Restaurant

Business team and spouses Colleen and Stephen Sheehan started small, then went big. Tired of working for someone else, in 2010 they opened a Northwest-style-meets-Southern-cuisine food cart in downtown Eugene, Oregon. Their cart Delacata quickly became a local favorite, garnering multiple “Best of Eugene” accolades in annual people’s choice contests from local newspaper “Eugene Weekly.” But in 2013, the Sheehans set their sights higher. Riding the current national craft beer boom, the Sheehans remodeled a two-story, 5,580-square-foot former Carl’s Jr. restaurant into Elk Horn Brewery. The brewpub opened in 2014 and is gaining renown for its unique food menu, beers, and ciders. Elk Horn also won “Best New Restaurant” in Eugene Weekly Best of Eugene 2014-2015. In the midst of managing employees, running two businesses, handling suppliers, discussing beer styles with their brewer, and taking on all the other challenges of running a brewery and restaurant, the Sheehans took some time to share their secrets to success. Read more at LivePlan

Thursday, October 01, 2015

How to Keep Discounts from Killing Your Business [Part 2]

Now that we’ve looked at advertising in Part 1, it’s time to consider the situations in which you may be directly contacting your customers to advertise or market your products, and collecting their information to do so. Collecting customer information will be done in different ways online and offline, and has a number of different legal and privacy issues tied up in it that you need to consider. Let’s take a look. Read more at bplans