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Showing posts from May, 2016

Does your business have a social mission?

From Andrew Delmonte, Social Enterprise Coordinator at the Small Business Development Center at SUNY Buffalo State. The SBDC’s Social Enterprise Services include free one-to-one counseling in the following areas: social business planning, Benefit Corporation filing, social impact measurement and reporting, and financing your social enterprise. For more information contact Andrew at (716) 878-4030.

Is your business venture motivated by more than profits? Do you want to start a “triple bottom line” business, to pursue both social impact and financial self-sufficiency? If so, Benefit Corporation legal status might be right for you.

A Benefit Corporation is a hybrid legal entity that blends elements of nonprofit and for-profit corporations. It is taxed like a traditional corporation. It protects directors from liability for pursuing a social objective instead of simply profit. Benefit Corporations measure both financial and social bottom lines, and report their social and environmental …

The Day TED Might Have Died

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by Chris Anderson, TED Curator. From LinkedIn:

When I first took over leadership of TED in late 2001, I was reeling from the near collapse of the company I had spent fifteen years building, and I was terrified of another huge public failure. I had been struggling to persuade the TED community to back my vision for TED, and I feared that it might just fizzle out. Back then, TED was an annual conference in California, owned and hosted by a charismatic architect named Richard Saul Wurman, whose larger-than-life presence infused every aspect of the conference.

About 800 people attended every year, and most of them seemed resigned to the fact that TED probably couldn’t survive once Wurman departed. The TED conference of February 2002 was the last one to be held under his leadership, and I had one chance and one chance only to persuade TED attendees that the conference would continue just fine. I had never run a conference before, however, and despite my best efforts over several months at …

How to Relocate Your Business

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From Entrepreneur magazine:
Every year, the grass on the other side of the fence looks greener to many entrepreneurs, and a change of place looks like the most promising path to growth. So they pull up stakes and move to a new place, where they hope to find better odds for business success than they had in their previous location. They're in good company.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that approximately 40 million Americans relocate each year, and the U.S. Postal Service processes about 38 million change-of-address forms annually. Although no one keeps a similar count of business moves, given the multitude of valid business reasons for making a move, almost any entrepreneur will, at some time, consider relocating as a way to expand.

Businesses commonly cite five main reasons for moving...

5 Ways to Be a More Respectful (and More Effective) Manager

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From Payscale:

Unless Michael Scott is your management hero, you probably care more about getting results than getting your reports to like you. That's as it should be: it's too much to ask people to do what you tell them to do and validate you at the same time. But that doesn't mean that you should be indifferent to how your team feels. To be most effective, you need to build the kind of relationship where your people have trust in both your judgment and your discretion. Building respect should be one of your top priorities.

"People naturally want to do their best for those they feel respected by," writes Victor Lipman at Forbes. "There's nothing complicated about it: Employees respond well to being treated well. It puts them in a favorable productive mindset. As the old military saying goes, Take care of your people and they'll take care of you."

Further, Lipman says, "people resent not being respected, and a resentful attitude is never c…

Small Business Success Story -Faery's Golf and Landscape, Inc.

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Each year the New York Small Business Development Center recognizes outstanding small businesses in a variety of ways.  This Success Story from the  Niagara SBDC appears in our 2015 Annual Report


Tony Grenzy
Faery's Golf and Landscape, Inc.
Niagara SBDC
In the fall of 2014 Tony Grenzy decided to purchase Faery's Golf & Landscape, a business that had employed him for the last ten years. He worked with the Niagara SBDC to help make the purchase possible, and Advisor Dinene Zaleski help Tony develop a funding package. This included hours spent developing the narrative, exploring market opportunities, and analyzing the financial feasibility of the project. The comprehensive loan package included multiple funding partners. Tony has grown Faery's Golf & Landscape into a full service golf course renovation contractor. 
He has an extensive client list that includes regional courses as well as those across New York State and beyond. Services focus on renovation and constructio…

Kill These 12 Content Marketing Software Bugs

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From MarketingProfs:


Today's article offers tips on debugging content marketing software of a different sort. Namely, the words, phrases, and sentences that constitute your marketing content. Just like buggy computer software, buggy content software can be costly to your business. Because buggy content software can reduce the amount of time people spend with your marketing content, thereby lowering its productivity and effectiveness.

So before you publish the latest version of your content marketing software, make your best effort to remove all bugs.

To that end, here are two sets of content debugging tips that will help you exterminate a good many of these meddlesome maligners—in this case, 12 often misused words and phrases.

What Kind of Leader Are You?

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There are different kinds of leadership styles, including the servant-leader style that focuses on the growth and well-being of people and communities.  Learn more about servant-leaders

Tips to Avoid Fake Caller ID Scams

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From the Federal Trade Commission:

Your phone rings. You recognize the number, but when you pick up, it’s someone else. What’s the deal? Scammers are using fake caller ID information to trick you into thinking they are someone local, someone you trust – like a government agency or police department, or a company you do business with – like your bank or cable provider. The practice is called caller ID spoofing, and scammers don’t care whose phone number they use. One scammer recently used the phone number of an FTC employee. Don’t rely on caller ID to verify who’s calling. It can be nearly impossible to tell whether the caller ID information is real. Here are a few tips for handling these calls: If you get a strange call from the government, hang up. If you want to check it out, visit the official (.gov) website for contact information. Government employees won’t call out of the blue to demand money or account information.Don’t give out — or confirm — your personal or financial informatio…

2014 ZIP Code Business Patterns

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ZIP Code Business Patterns provides data on the number of business establishments by employment-size class for detailed industries. Statistics are provided for about 40,000 five-digit ZIP codes, including nine new ones nationwide and include the total number of establishments, employment and payroll. In addition, the number of establishments for nine employment-size categories is provided by detailed industry for each ZIP code.

Here are the 2014 data from the US Census Bureau.

The State of Manufacturing & Digital Commerce

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IEN's exclusive report, "The State of Manufacturing & Digital Commerce," is now live.

Download the report, for free, to read:

• How manufacturing companies fail at online sales.
• How real-time pricing can help close the deal.
• How to identify online competition.
• How tech investment can improve sales.
• How dynamic content enhances website performance.
• How to make sure you're not leaving money on the table.

Protecting Your Wireless Network

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From the FCC:


Benefits and Risks of a Wireless NetworkMany consumers and small businesses use wireless (Wi-Fi) networks to enable their laptops and other wireless devices to access the Internet. Wi-Fi networks generally include a wireless “router” connected to a broadband Internet service via a modem that is attached to the cable or telephone network. Sometimes the wireless router and the modem are integrated into one device. While Wi-Fi networks provide many benefits, an unprotected network can result in unauthorized use and potential harm unless certain steps are taken. In some cases, unauthorized users may be able to access your private information, view the content of transmissions, download unlawful content using your network or infect computers with viruses or spyware. Unauthorized users may also cause harm beyond your computer or network, such as sending spam, spyware or viruses to others, and the activity can be traced back to your network. How to Secure a Wireless NetworkThe fo…

Small Business Success Story - Jamestown Mattress

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Each year the New York Small Business Development Center recognizes outstanding small businesses in a variety of ways.  This Success Story from the  Jamestown SBDC appears in our 2015 Annual Report


Jim Pullan
Jamestown Mattress
Jamestown SBDC
Jamestown Mattress, a manufacturer of quality handcrafted bedding, was founded in 1886. The Pullan family, the current owners, purchased the business in 1982. Three generations of the Pullan family work for the business, which employs a staff of 35. Jamestown Mattress has an extremely strong and growing wholesale and private label business with nine factory direct retail showrooms across Western New York and Northern Pennsylvania. Customers include institutions, colleges, hotels, other bedding retailers and several internet companies. Jamestown Mattress has been a client of the SBDC since 2012 working with Advisor Curt Anderson. The primary goal was to establish a new website and then to institute a strong Internet marketing initiative to attract n…

Overtime pay extended to millions more Americans

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Every week, millions of Americans work more than 40 hours but do not receive the overtime pay they have earned.

President Obama is taking action to fix that: In a note to signers of a We the People petition, the President announced that tomorrow the Department of Labor will finalize a rule to extend overtime protections to 4.2 million more Americans.

Check out the President's note.

If you work more than 40 hours a week, you should get paid for it or get extra time off to spend with your family and loved ones. It's one of most important steps we're taking to help grow middle-class wages and put $12 billion more dollars in the pockets of hardworking Americans over the next 10 years.

For generations, overtime protections have meant that an honest day's work should get a fair day's pay, and that's helped American workers climb the ladder of success. That's what middle-class economics are all about.

But after years of inflation and lobbyists' efforts to weaken…

Contracting Corner: Are You Ready for Government Contracting?

This is the second post in our "Contracting Corner" series from Judy Wolf, Government Contracting Coordinator, Mohawk Valley SBDC & NY SBDC Procurement Assistance Center If you’re like most small business owners, you’re drawn to the idea of government contracting, but don’t necessarily know where to start. Perhaps you’ve heard talk of small business set asides or minority-, women-, and service-disabled veteran-owned business utilization requirements, which can make it sound as if winning government contracts is a given for companies owned by individuals who are eligible for certification.
Don’t be fooled. While there can be some benefit to being a small business, particularly one owned by members of certain historically under-represented groups, government contracting is not an easy row to hoe. The following questions cover some cornerstones you’ll want to make sure form a solid part of your foundation before you start building your business in this competitive arena.
Are…

Why Employers Need to Count Employees

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From the IRS:

It’s important to know how many full-time employees you have because two provisions of the Affordable Care Act – employer shared responsibility and employer information reporting for offers of minimum essential coverage – apply only to applicable large employers. Employers average the number of their full-time employees, including full-time equivalents, for the months from the previous year to see whether they are considered an applicable large employer.

Whether your organization is an Applicable Large Employers (ALE) for a particular calendar year depends on the size of your workforce in the preceding calendar year. To be an ALE, you must have had an average of at least 50 full-time employees – including full-time-equivalent employees – during the preceding calendar year. So, for example, you will use information about the size of your workforce during 2016 to determine if your organization is an ALE for 2017.

New York SBDC Clients Win State and National Small Business Awards

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From SUNY Communications
The New York Small Business Development Center (SBDC) announced its client honorees of the New York State and National Small Business Week Awards, sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
“We are proud that our clients were recognized by SBA for their extraordinary contributions to small businesses in New York State,” said NY SBDC State Director James King. “Their hard-work and dedication have helped them attain success and accomplish their dreams, while at the same time making a very positive impact on the economy. The NY SBDC is well represented by clients in the SBA’s award categories. This is a reflection of the outstanding clients and staff we have throughout the state, and their steadfast commitment to achieving professional excellence in small business.”
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 the nation’s economy. This…

New FTC Business Guidance for Employment Background Screening Companies

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The Federal Trade Commission has created new guidance for businesses aimed at giving employment background screening companies information on how to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
The guidance helps companies understand when their work defines them as a consumer reporting agency under the FCRA. Consumer reporting agencies must meet a number of obligations outlined in the FCRA, including investigating consumer disputes and correcting inaccurate information.

The FTC’s guidance outlines the requirements that employment background screening companies face under FCRA, including their requirements in dealing with their clients and how they interact with consumers.

The guidance can be found on the FTC’s website.

Small Business Success Story - Harmony Early Learning

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Each year the New York Small Business Development Center recognizes outstanding small businesses in a variety of ways.  This Success Story from the  Farmingdale SBDC appears in our 2015 Annual Report


Allison Ulin
Harmony Early Learning
Farmingdale SBDC
Allison Ulin, the owner of Harmony Early Learning, started her career in the child care industry by entertaining at children’s parties, writing children’s music and teaching Music Together classes. She held on to the dream of owning her own child care center that would give parents a sense of peace that their children are being cared for in a safe and fun environment. In 2012, Allison visited the Farmingdale SBDC looking for guidance with starting her business and working through permitting issues. With the help of SBDC Advisor Erica Chase-Gregory, Allison finished her business plan and developed financial projections. She secured a private loan in the amount of $550,000. 
Harmony, which opened in 2013, provides a place where children can…

How Can Crowdfunding Help Entrepreneurs?

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On May 16, new SEC rules become effective allowing businesses for the first time to provide equity to investors through crowdfunding platforms. Given uncertainty in the funding market for startups, these new rules could be extremely useful to entrepreneurs. How? A new infographic published by the Office of Advocacy using previously unreleased research shows you how.

Early-stage funding is critical to the survival of innovative startups. Venture capital markets are a primary source of early-stage funding, but they are moving away from financing new startups.
However, crowdfunding offers startups unique fundraising opportunities to help them withstand this negative momentum. In addition to raising capital, crowdfunding can establish an audience for a product or service; both things strengthen an innovative startup, making a risky investment worth a second look from VCs.

See the infographic here.

New Advocacy Report: The Effect of Crowdfunding Performance and Outside Capital.

NASA Makes Patents Available to Benefit U.S. Industry

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From NASA
NASA has released 56 formerly-patented agency technologies into the public domain, making its government-developed technologies freely available for unrestricted commercial use. In addition to the release of these technologies, a searchable database now is available that catalogs thousands of expired NASA patents already in the public domain.

These technologies were developed to advance NASA missions but may have non-aerospace applications and be used by commercial space ventures and other companies free of charge, eliminating the time, expense and paperwork often associated with licensing intellectual property. The technologies include advanced manufacturing processes, sensors, propulsion methods, rocket nozzles, thrusters, aircraft wing designs and improved rocket safety and performance concepts.

“By making these technologies available in the public domain, we are helping foster a new era of entrepreneurship that will again place America at the forefront of high-tech manufa…

New York Small Business Development Center Announces National Award

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Albany – The New York Small Business Development Center (SBDC) today announced that one of its clients, Majestic Vending and Services, Inc. of Staten Island, is the winner of the National Phoenix Award for Small Business Disaster Recovery by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The Phoenix Award for Small Business Disaster Recovery is given to the business owner whose efforts and contributions have enabled their business to recover successfully and thrive following a disaster. Businesses that suffered a physical disaster loss and received an SBA disaster loan during fiscal years 2014 or 2015 were eligible for nomination. During this period, there were 163 federally-declared disasters throughout the nation.

Majestic Vending and Services is co-owned by Maryann and Stephen Piazza. From its beginnings as a simple gumball machine at a construction site, the company has grown to serve the entire NYC area with vending, coffee and bottled water delivery for offices, and safety gear.…

2013 Statistics of U.S. Businesses: Legal Form of Organization Tables

Data by legal form of organization, NAICS sector and enterprise employment size. Statistics include number of firms, number of establishments, employment and annual payroll.

 Internet address: <http://www2.census.gov/econ/susb/data/2013/us_naicssector_lfo_2013.xlsx>

Facing the music: The risk of copyright infringement

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From Hotel News Now:


In the digital age, music is omnipresent and access is immediate.

Hotel operators, eager to improve the guest experience and elevate their brands, are assessing and enhancing the presentation of music at their properties.

But along with the rise of online streaming, satellite radio and curated playlists comes the risk of copyright infringement. The hospitality industry is an easy target for such claims.

A hospitality establishment generally must have a license to legally play music to the public, regardless of the method of play, which may include hosting a live band in an on-site club or bar, streaming a playlist from an internet music service, or even playing music that you purchased and stored on your own iPod.

This license requirement is both administered and enforced by performing rights organizations. There are three such organizations in the United States: Broadcast Music; The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers; and The Society of Europe…

Small Business Success Story - Nortek Powder Coating

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Each year the New York Small Business Development Center recognizes outstanding small businesses in a variety of ways.  This Success Story from the  Mohawk-valley SBDC appears in our 2015 Annual Report


Borin Keith
Nortek Powder Coating
Mohawk Valley SBDC

As a Cambodian immigrant who escaped the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the 1970’s, Borin Keith immigrated to North America, where he learned the powder coating industry. He worked his way into key management and acquiring 20-years of experience prior to forming Nortek Powder Coating. Borin established his company in 2005 with business plan assistance from Advisor Eugene Yelle at the Mohawk Valley SBDC. Nortek manufactures a wide range of high-quality powder coatings that are sold to industrial and commercial powder coaters throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Sales have steadily grown each year since the company's inception. Nortek's manufacturing process and facility are designed to readily accommodate both large and small production r…

Sell to the Federal Government

The federal government contracts out millions of dollars in goods and services every year, with a percentage of these contracts set aside just for small businesses to bid on. The General Services Administration's Forecast of Contracting Opportunities Tool enables would-be government contractors to view potential upcoming federal contract opportunities at GSA and several other federal agencies. Search this national database by agency, location, industry code and more. 
The latest issue of Philanthropy News Digest is now available.
The latest issue of Philanthropy News Digest RFP Bulletin is now available.
The latest issue of PND Connections is now available.

Where should you locate your business?

From BusinessUSA.gov:

Wondering where to set up your new business, based on the amount of competition and consumer spending in that area, or other factors?

The U.S. Census Bureau's Business Builder: Small Business Edition gives small business owners access to key demographic and economic data that can help when deciding on the location for a new business or expanding an existing one. Check out this blog for more on how it works.