Friday, December 30, 2016

324.3 million Americans, 7.36 billion in the world

As our nation prepares to ring in the new year, the U.S. Census Bureau projected the U.S. population will be 324,310,011 on Jan. 1, 2017. This represents an increase of 2,245,347, or 0.70 percent, from New Year’s Day 2016. Since Census Day (April 1) 2010, the population has grown by 15,564,473, or 5.04 percent.

In January 2017, the United States is expected to experience one birth every 8 seconds and one death every 11 seconds. Meanwhile, net international migration is expected to add one person to the U.S. population every 33 seconds. The combination of births, deaths and net international migration will increase the U.S. population by one person every 16 seconds.

The projected world population on Jan. 1, 2017, is 7,362,350,168, an increase of 77,849,375, or 1.07 percent, from New Year’s Day 2016. During January 2017, 4.3 births and 1.8 deaths are expected worldwide every second.

The Census Bureau’s U.S. and World Population Clock simulates real-time growth of the United States and world populations at www.census.gov/popclock.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Right Way to Think About Credit Lines for Business

From SBA:

Access to cash via a line of credit is an important safety net for a small business. Although there are various types of credit lines available, it is the flexibility it provides that makes it so popular among small business owners.

A line of credit is more like cash on demand for a set amount. You can draw funds up to the credit limit set when your company needs it, and you only pay interest on the funds you withdraw. Best of all, every dollar of principle you pay back becomes available for the company to use again.

The important thing to remember is credit lines for businesses have received an overhaul in the past several years. No longer is a credit line being issued just by banks down the road. Today, there are completely different lines of credit issued to businesses from alternative lenders rather than by banks alone. In addition, small business owners can also get credit lines secured by specific types of collateral such as equipment and accounts receivables.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Workers' Compensation - Resources for Employers

Go here to get information provided by the New York State Workers' Compensation Board to give businesses quick and direct access to workers' compensation information. It is not intended to serve as an endorsement of the State Insurance Fund or any other insurance carrier.

This includes:

The Players in the System
Who Is and Is Not
Covered by the Law
Who Is An Employee?
Who Is an Independent Contractor?
Business Permits - Licenses - Contracts
Out-of-State Employers Working in NYS
Employers'
Rights and Responsibilities
Complying with the Law
Obtaining Insurance
Penalties for Not Having Insurance
Understanding Insurance
When an Accident Happens
Return to Work
Construction Employment Payroll Limitation
Workplace Safety
State Insurance Fund Information

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

W2 Filing Information

From the Social Security Administration:

The new tax filing deadline for both paper and electronic W-2s is now January 31st. Don’t wait until the last minute. Start filing early since Business Services Online (BSO) experiences delays when there is a high volume, especially at the end of the month.

Specifications for Filing Forms W-2 and W-2c Electronically (EFW2/EFW2C)

Dates to Remember

December 12, 2016 - BSO is available for accepting Tax Year 2016, prior year files, and W-2 Online inputs.
January 1, 2017 - Update payroll systems to reflect the 2017 wage base rates. Visit 2017 Cola Factsheet
January 31, 2017 -Deadline for filing paper and electronic W-2s, AND Deadline for providing W-2s to employees.

Use AccuWage to Test Your Wage Reports before Filing with Social Security

AccuWage is Social Security's free service that allows you to test your wage reports before you upload them to Social Security. AccuWage reads the file and informs you of any formatting errors it detects. This year, SSA is offering an online version of AccuWage that comes with the wage-reporting roll for all registered BSO users. For those without a BSO account, the downloadable version is available.

Knowing what errors exists, and fixing them before you submit your file, can save time and eliminate the need for W-2Cs/W-3Cs.

Get Ready Now for the Upcoming Filing Season

Avoid the rush by checking your access and updating your password now in preparation for the upcoming filing season. Visit User Reminders for registration maintenance information.

If you need to call Social Security with registration or wage reporting questions, call now to avoid the busy January timeframe. You can call us at 1-800-772-6270 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Monday, December 26, 2016

4,836 fatal work injuries in the United States during 2015

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics

A total of 4,836 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2015, a slight increase from the 4,821 fatal injuries reported in 2014. There were 2,054 fatal work injuries involving transportation incidents, an increase from the previous year.

Within the transportation category, roadway incidents increased in 2015. Roadway incidents accounted for 26 percent of all fatal work injuries. Almost half of these fatalities involved some kind of tractor-trailer truck. Fatal injuries involving pedestrians were lower in 2015, as were rail and water vehicle incidents.

There were 800 work fatalities due to falls, slips or trips in 2015. Falls to a lower level accounted for 81 percent of all fatal falls.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The 2016 Holiday Season

This festive season, or simply the holidays, is a time for gathering and celebrating with family and friends, gift giving, reflection and thanks. To commemorate this time of year, the U.S. Census Bureau presents the following holiday-related facts and figures from its collection of statistics.         
Rush to the Stores
$23.8 billion
The estimated retail sales by the nation’s department stores (including leased departments) in December 2015. A decrease of $0.4 billion in retail sales from December of the previous year. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Monthly Retail Trade Survey
Note: Leased departments are separately owned businesses operated as departments or concessions of other service establishments or of retail businesses, such as a separately owned shoeshine parlor in a barbershop, or a beauty shop in a department store. Also, retail sales and inventory estimates have not been adjusted to account for seasonal or pricing variations.
14.3%
The estimated percentage of total 2015 sales for department stores (including leased departments) in December. For bookstores, the estimated percentage was 12.4 percent. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Monthly Retail Trade Survey

Thursday, December 22, 2016

What not to do when an employee leaves

From BizJournal:

The unexpected resignation of a valued staffer can feel like a gut punch.

Even as you’re reading her resignation letter, your head is filling with questions. What about that upcoming deadline? Who’ll take over her projects? What about her clients? How am I going to explain this to my boss?

They’re all worth careful consideration, but as you ponder your options, there’s one you can reject immediately...

While it’s tempting to focus on averting a departure, your best approach is to vow to never be surprised by an employee’s resignation again. That means asking questions focused on the people who remain and learning what job satisfaction means to them.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Better Business Bureau info about YOUR business, even if you're not a member

A gentleman from the Better Business Bureau gave an online talk to NY SBDC advisers about how BBB will get businesses in their database if ther business applies to do so, even if the business is NOT a BBB member.

The obvious advantage is greater visibility. So if your business gets an A rating from BBB, it'll be listed on the BBB site right below the members who get an A.

For folks in the Metropolitan New York, Long Island, and the Mid-Hudson Region, go to http://www.bbb.org/new-york-city, hover over FOR BUSINESS, click on Update Your Business Information, then click on the like-named picture.

For folks in the Albany, Buffalo, Rochester & Syracuse regions, go to http://www.bbb.org/upstate-new-york/, then click on Update Business Information.

Also, check out the Non-Accredited Business Resources.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

10 books by women, for women (and maybe for some men, too)

From Biz Journals:

'Tis the season for year-end lists. With that in mind, here's one you can read — about reading.

It's a selection of books that have been published in the past year that caught our eye. They're books published by women authors and with women readers in mind, but perhaps for a male audience as well.

The list features TV personalities and accomplished academics among the authors. Their efforts got people talking about their work and perspectives over the past 12 months.

So, if you're looking for a book to read in the holiday weeks ahead — or, perhaps as a last-minute gift? — here are 10 titles you might want to check out.

1. “How to Have a Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioral Science to Transform Your Working Life” by Caroline Webb

Monday, December 19, 2016

UNdata - a data access system to UN databases

The United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) launched an internet-based data service for the global user community. It brings UN statistical databases within easy reach of users through a single entry point. Users can now search and download a variety of statistical resources of the UN system.

Users are often unaware of the full array of statistical information that the UN system has in its data libraries. UNdata addresses pools major UN databases and those of several international into one single internet environment. The innovative design allows a user to access a large number of UN databases either by browsing the data series or through a keyword search.

Useful features like Country Profiles, Advanced Search and Glossaries are also provided to aid research. The numerous databases, tables and glossaries containing over 60 million data points cover a wide range of themes including Agriculture, Crime, Education, Employment, Energy, Environment, Health, HIV/AIDS, Human Development, Industry, Information and Communication Technology, National Accounts, Population, Refugees, Tourism, Trade, as well as the Millennium Development Goals indicators. Whilst this initial version of UNdata is fully equipped with all the functionalities for data access, the development team is continuously adding new databases and features to further enhance the usefulness to users. When fully developed, UNdata will have a comprehensive array of international and national databases providing the world instant access to a wealth of statistical information.

UNdata is the brainchild of UNSD, the statistical arm of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the coordinator of statistical activities throughout the UN System. UNSD's core mission is to advance the development of the global statistical system and promote the dissemination of statistical information. This database service is part of a project launched by UNSD in 2005, called "Statistics as a Public Good", whose objectives are to provide free access to global statistics, to educate users about the importance of statistics for evidence-based policy and decision-making and to assist National Statistical Offices of Member Countries to strengthen their data dissemination capabilities. The project is implemented in partnership with Statistics Sweden and the Gapminder Foundation with partial financial support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

Friday, December 16, 2016

Retail Marketers Can Stay Relevant in the Age of Amazon

From Marketing Profs:

To many retailers today, Amazon.com seems unstoppable. The website that ate retail has overtaken a fellow titan, Wal-Mart, as the second-largest seller of consumer electronics, and it has category No. 1 Best Buy in its sights.

As retail witnesses the shuttering of former retail heavyweights, including Sports Authority and Sports Chalet, and the slimming of long-term players, including Macy's, Walgreens, and the Gap, smaller retailers are often left wondering whether there is, in fact, a path to success when you don't have millions to spend on marketing.

Here's the key: An underdog doesn't win by beating a giant at its own game, but by outwitting, outmaneuvering, and out-strategizing it.

Offering hope to retail are the stories of nimble retailers, including Ulta, TJ Maxx, and H&M, which are continuing to grow and open new stores year after year. Those successes prove that although midmarket retailers might not be able to compete with Amazon on price or inventory, they can compete—and win—by harnessing the power of their data and getting creative.

Here are five ways midmarket retail can stay nimble in the face of the Amazon giant.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Online Learning: Bookkeeping

Some are barely more than a minute. Some take an hour or more. While some are highly technical, others are very user-friendly. There are talking heads; they are graphic intensive.

We're talking about learning about bookkeeping online. Even if one delegates the day-to-day task to someone else, every entrepreneur needs to understand the basics about the financials of the business.

Enter YouTube, which has about 66,000 videos that help businessperson with bookkeeping and accounting. Peruse at your leisure to see which ones resonate the most with you.

I DO need to mention Introduction to Accounting from SBA.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Top 4 Crowdsourced Logo Design Sites for Small Businesses

From Bplans:

Your logo is the key to your small business brand. Whether you are setting up shop or rebranding, designing your logo is just as important as getting things right on other aspects of your business.

However, that doesn’t mean you have an unlimited budget. With today’s logo design crowdsourcing services, you still have lots of options for good small business logo design.

Many startups and small businesses turn to the web for crowdsourcing their logos, so let’s start with a basic understanding of what crowdsourcing is in this context: Crowdsourcing is using the internet to obtain services by approaching an online community.

A good rule of thumb is this: The designer’s work is only as good as the information and direction you give them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

How Consumers Feel About Marketing Emails

From Marketing Profs

Only 15% of Americans say the emails they receive from marketers are frequently or always useful, according to recent research from Fluent.

The report was based on data from a survey of 1,900 consumers age 18 and older who live in the United States.

Some 7% of respondents say the marketing emails they receive are always useful, and 8% say they are frequently useful.

In addition, 29% of respondents say marketing emails are sometimes useful, 33% say they are rarely useful, and 24% say they are never useful.

Younger respondents, those age 18-29, find marketing emails more useful in general than do older respondents (age 30+).

Monday, December 12, 2016

Four Steps to Turn Your Idea Into a Business

From The Simple Dollar:


What was the last great business idea you had? Do you remember it? What did you do with it? Did you write it down?

If you’re like most people, you had a great idea, never wrote it down, told a couple of co-workers or your spouse, and let the idea fade away without taking any meaningful action to pursue it. Or maybe you were worried about other people stealing your idea, so you kept it to yourself thinking you’ll pursue it later. But for most of us, that someday never comes.

Maybe you even went as far as laying out your idea into a business plan.

Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or someone who has been eyeing a startup or side project to generate some additional income, good ideas often come and go like the seasons in the Midwest.

But what if they didn’t? What if you actually took steps to pursue your ideas and see if they were good?

According to sales expert and personal development guru Brian Tracy, “The average person has four ideas a year, which if any one is acted on, would make them a millionaire.”

Today’s post is going to give you a step-by-step guide to validate your business idea and potentially turn it into a revenue-generating business.

Friday, December 09, 2016

7 Year-End Tax Tips for Small Business

From The Balance:

The end of the calendar year means a lot of things for small businesses. It's time to start thinking about what you want to achieve next year and work on your formal goal setting process. Your are probably in the midst of holiday shopping for your employees, vendors, clients and colleagues. And, of course, it's time to start closing out your books for this calendar year.

In fact, right now is the time to check-in with your accountant to see if there is anything you should be doing to make sure your business ends the year fiscally healthy.

A few small changes can make a big difference in your total income and tax liability for the year.

To get you started, here are a few important year-end tax preparation steps you can take in order to close out the year financially and take advantage of additional deductions.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

How to Hire for Emotional Intelligence

From Bplans:

Emotional Intelligence, also known as EI, is the ability to control personal emotions under extreme duress, as well as the ability to empathize and understand the emotions of others.

Studies were first being done on EI in the workplace in 1998. Now, almost 20 years later, it is gaining traction as one of the most important traits for an employee to have...

The reason?

Employees, managers, and company leaders all benefit from a high EI. They are more likely to communicate their needs, understand each other’s preferences, and feel welcome and engaged at the office.

Emotional intelligence is not just “wearing your heart on your sleeve,” but adjusting your behavior to make everyone feel comfortable and confident. When effectively integrated into business, EI is shown to increase profits by over 34 percent for some businesses, and increase employee positivity by nearly 58 percent.

The question then arises: How can a business hire for emotional intelligence?

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

How to Use Scenarios to Achieve Marketing Agility

From Marketing Profs:


Agile companies want to be able to rapidly adjust on all fronts, including Marketing. Companies are interested in marketing that's agile because they believe it will help them deploy the right elements of the marketing mix at the right time to influence the specific outcome they want to achieve.

Scenarios to Facilitate Agility

Scenarios are postulated sequences of events or other developments. Creating scenarios helps you consider a range of possible outcomes and drivers of change. Accordingly, scenarios are a powerful tool for understanding potential situations and then developing appropriate strategies for each of those situations.

In short, scenarios help you anticipate. They help you ask better questions and prepare for the unexpected. They increase your readiness—thus setting the stage for agility. And scenario analysis is an essential part of creating agility.

Creating scenarios that will be useful in helping to make marketing agile requires data and timing information. Therefore, you need answers to the following types of questions...

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Pay Attention to Your Supply Chain

From Entrepreneur:

At the mid-market level, many decision makers believe they lack time and resources and so must prioritize certain aspects of the business over others. Often, the supply chain is not seen important enough to merit scarce resources. However, having a supply chain strategy is equally important for midsize companies as it is for enterprise-level firms.

The most important aspect of a robust supply chain strategy is that it meets the current and future needs of the customer. Customers are more sophisticated and demanding than ever, and understanding them—will inform your long-term supply chain strategy. Talking to them directly is the best way to find out what they need.

Technology can help provide end-to-end visibility across all supply chain channels, and it can speed up process steps. But it’s crucial that mid-market businesses don’t just adopt the latest technology just for its own sake. A solid supply chain strategy will place the customer’s needs front and center when it comes to establishing the need for new technology, and determining the correct solution.

Unlike some other business processes, the supply chain is subject to many external forces. Mid-market businesses can prepare for potential disruptions by being knowledgeable about the latest trends in the supply chain, and analyzing in advance how their business will be affected by a multitude of different event types. Disruption can be deeply damaging—and potentially for a long time to come—from lost customers, to lower revenues, even to loss of brand value.

Besides, choose the critical new supply chain capabilities and prioritize them into a project plan that delivers those goals at a rate of spend your company can afford.

Monday, December 05, 2016

50 Things You'll Need to Do to Start Your Own Business

From NOLO


Thinking about starting a business? You're not alone. Every year, thousands of Americans catch the entrepreneurial spirit, launching small businesses to sell their products or services. Some businesses thrive; many fail. The more you know about starting a business, the more power you have to form an organization that develops into a lasting source of income and satisfaction.

Learn how to evaluate and develop your business idea; decide on a legal structure for your business; choose a name for your business; and much more.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Internet of Things

From IoT 2016:

The rapid advancement and ubiquitous penetration of mobile network, web based information creation and sharing, and software defined networking technology have been enabling sensing, predicting and controlling of physical world with information technology. Every business process can be empowered, and therefore, various industries redesign their business models and processes along Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm. To maximize the social and economic benefit of the technology, issues of interoperability, mashing up data, developing open platforms and standardization across technology layers have to be addressed.

From Business Insider:

Many industry experts and excited consumers have pegged The Internet of Things (IoT) as the next Industrial Revolution or the Next Internet. Because it will be the future of the way businesses, governments, and consumers interact with the physical world.

From Forbes:

IoT is centered on the idea that there is a tremendous amount of sensor data that could be used to run value chains more effectively. Within demand management, however, there are already huge amounts of data that too few consumer goods and food & beverage companies fully leverage – Point of Sale (POS) data.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

How Big is Your Potential Market, Really?

From: Bplans



Whether you’re a startup or an up-and-running business, you should know what your total potential market opportunity is for your products or services.

Assisting many companies over the years, as well as judged several business plan competitions, and it's surprising how most business owners can’t confidently tell you their total market potential. They say things like, “My market is everyone who eats dessert,” or, “Everyone in my community who drives a car,” or, “Anyone in the world who uses social networks.”

You may think these are your markets, but you need to drill-down and get more realistic and specific about the true size of your market, or lenders and investors will question your credibility.

That leads us to TAM —Total Addressable Market. When looking at TAM, you need to know how to calculate it, what it’s used for, and why it’s important—but all three numbers can be helpful to reference while you’re writing your business plan.