Monday, November 20, 2017

Best Business Credit Cards of 2017

From: U.S News

Access to credit can be difficult to come by and expensive for small businesses. Small business credit cards can be flexible, invaluable tools for business owners facing short-term cash crunches. Interest rates can be lower than they are for other convenient sources of credit, such as advances against accounts receivable or credit card receipts and unsecured loans available from small business lenders on the Internet. Thanks to credit card incentive and rewards programs, it may make sense for business owners to route as much of their normal expenses as possible through their business credit card.
If you spend a significant amount on business expenses each month, you should consider applying for a business credit card. However, it’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of business credit cards as well as the wide array of offerings on the market.Business credit cards provide business owners and entrepreneurs instant and convenient capital they can use for any business need.
There are lots of different business types and business owners, and they may not always resemble a traditional view of a business. You don’t need to have a storefront or warehouse or any major facilities or hard assets to be issued a business credit card. If you have good personal and business credit and otherwise meet the issuer’s criteria, you can get a business credit card issued in any industry. So don’t be discouraged if you’re self-employed or you fall into one of a non-traditional business categories.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Video Ad Campaigns

From eMarketer:

Recent studies from key players in the world of ad tech tell quite different stories of how video ads seem to be performing, based on completion rates, viewability rates, clickthroughs and more.

Although the body of research on video ad metrics is still limited, the noisiness in the data is remarkable given how concrete some of these metrics are. Nevertheless, those who have followed the industry understand that many complicating factors are at play.

One such factor is that each company measures activity on its own platform, which is only a small sample of the broader universe.

Friday, November 17, 2017

New York Green Business initiative - apply now

The Department of Environmental Conservation recently launched the New York Green Business program and is accepting applications for it through Friday, December 15th. NYGB is a free and voluntary program that provides recognition and benefits to businesses that have a strong commitment to sustainability.

Businesses that join the program receive recognition from the State, are able to use the program logo to market themselves as a sustainability leader, get priority access to technical assistance from the Pollution Prevention Institute, and access to a network of sustainability leaders. While all businesses can join the program, it does have a separate application and criteria for breweries, garment cleaners, and restaurants to address their unique environmental impacts.

Applications and more information on the program can be found on its website: DEC also has a fact sheet on the program here.

If you have any questions about the program you can reach out to Brendan Woodruff ( or 518-402-9159).

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Non-smokers get 6 days extra paid leave to make up for smokers' cigarette breaks

From the Telegraph:

A Japanese company is granting non-smoking employees an extra six days of paid holidays a year after they complained that they were working more than staff who took time off for cigarette breaks.

Tokyo-based marketing firm Piala Inc. only introduced the non-smokers' perk in September, but employees have been quick to take advantage.

"One of our non-smoking staff put a message in the company suggestion box earlier in the year saying that smoking breaks were causing problems", said Hirotaka Matsushima, a spokesman for the company.

"Our CEO saw the comment and agreed, so we are giving non-smokers some extra time off to compensate", Mr Matsushma told The Telegraph.

Resentment among the non-smokers grew because the company's head office is on the 29th floor of an office block in the Ebisu district of Tokyo. Anyone wanting a cigarette had to go to the basement level, with each smoking break lasting around 15 minutes.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Facebook's latest community push is on-site small business training

From Facebook Newsroom:
Facebook Community Boost is a new program to help US small businesses grow and to equip more people with the digital skills they need to compete in the new economy.

 Facebook Community Boost will visit 30 US cities in 2018, including Houston, St. Louis, Albuquerque, Des Moines and Greenville, SC. Facebook will work with local organizations to provide digital skills and training for people in need of work, to advise entrepreneurs how to get started and to help existing local businesses and nonprofits get the most out of the internet.

 According to new research by Morning Consult in partnership with the US Chamber of Commerce Technology Engagement Center and Facebook, small businesses’ use of digital translates into new jobs and opportunities for communities across the country. Small businesses provide opportunities for millions of people (they create an estimated four out of every five new jobs in the US), offer useful products and services, and often provide a place for people to come together.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Social media takes an empowering turn

From Bizwomen:

Social media, which too often can be an abyss harboring harassment and hate, has become a place for women to connect to fight sexual harassment and assault.

The most prominent example is the #MeToo campaign, which encourages women to share their stories on Twitter and Facebook and other social media platforms.

Their voices are coming from everywhere. And they’re resonating.

A recent survey showed that more than 50 percent of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace. High-profile men in media, fashion, food, and politics have been accused of harassment since the [Harvey] Weinstein scandal broke.

Monday, November 13, 2017

​How the new DOL rules will impact your small-business retirement plan

From:The Business Journals

 When it comes to employee benefits administration, business owners typically think of health insurance but often neglect to consider their 401(k) plans. Since retirement plans don’t have to be renewed every year like some other benefit packages, it’s easy for 401(k)s and other retirement and investment vehicles to get overlooked. That’s about to change, thanks to updates to the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule, which is expected to have a huge impact on the costs associated with managing these plans, particularly for small businesses.
   Historically, there’s been a distinct difference between how the two groups of financial advisers who work with investment and retirement plans are regulated. In short, the Fiduciary Rule essentially defines who is classified as a fiduciary and who is not.Registered financial advisors (or RIAs) have completed the necessary testing requirements to register with the SEC and any applicable state agencies.They’ve always been under the Fiduciary Rule, which means that they’re required by law to only give recommendations based on what’s truly best for their clients’ situations.Broker-dealers haven’t been covered by the stringent Fiduciary Rule but are required to provide what’s considered to be "suitable" recommendations. RIAs are typically compensated based on the percentage of assets that they manage while broker-dealers are paid based on transaction commissions.Given the lower amount of regulatory compliance associated with broker-dealers, they tend to be a lower-cost option.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Top 5 Traits That Make Veterans Great Entrepreneurs­­

From Bplans:

by Patrick J. MacKrell is CEO of New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC)

For many years, veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces were successful at starting and growing small businesses. In fact, almost 50 percent of veterans owned a business after World War II.

But today, veteran entrepreneurship is on the decline. The most recent Kauffman Foundation research found that veterans accounted for 12.6 percent of new entrepreneurs in 1996 and that by 2014, this number had fallen to just 5.6 percent.

At NYBDC, we want to turn those numbers around by inspiring veterans to take the leap into a life of entrepreneurship, and sharing some information to help you get started. As a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, I have seen firsthand the driven young men and women who have served in our military. The honorable completion of an active-duty period of military service or ongoing participation in the National Guard or Reserve generally tends to “imprint” veterans with certain skills and experiences that are critical to success.

Friday, November 10, 2017

10 Resources Every Veteran Entrepreneur Needs to Utilize

November 11th marks Veterans Day 2017, where we salute veterans that have served the United States. Post-service, many veterans move on to become successful entrepreneurs with the United States Census Bureau reporting that veteran-owned firms make up 7.2 percent of the nation’s 5.5 million employer businesses. For veterans that want to explore the entrepreneurial landscape, but aren’t sure where to turn to first for support or assistance, we’ve done the legwork on finding some of the best resources available that cover everything from mentorship to angel investments for making small business dreams a reality.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

The 50 (plus) Best 2017 -2018 Small Business, Tech, Marketing Conferences

Regular followers of this space know that I’m firmly committed to the proposition that as a small business owner you need to grow if you are serious about growing your small business. That’s why I recommended attending at least one of the best small business conferences each year.
To make this a little easier for you, I’ve compiled a list of the 50 best tech, startup and small business conferences 2017 – 2018 has to offer. Do a little exploring (I’ve provided the links) and you’ll find:
  • Great marketing conferences,
  • Top tech topics,
  • Business networking opportunities,
  • Cutting edge online strategies,
  • Social media marketing conferences,
  • And much more.
Further, it’s likely you can find a small business conference that’s not too far away from your home turf and at a time that’s convenient for you to attend. And don’t forget about your team. Sending your employees to one of the best 2017-2018 small business conferences not only brings new skills and knowledge into your business, it’s a tangible way to demonstrate your support and one of the best ways to build loyalty.
In some cases, organizers hadn’t yet confirmed the exact dates of their events. Check their websites for more details. Also – with a couple of exceptions – these top 2017-2018 small business conferences are in the United States. There are some fantastic business and tech conferences around the world, and especially in Europe, if foreign travel would work into your plans.
Finally, be sure you and your employees take a strategic approach to your conference attendanceso you squeeze out every last drop of good information and make all the connections you need to fuel your future success.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Online Shopping Is Going to Get Hotter This Season

From eMarketer:

A string of recent data suggests that online retail is going to eat into brick-and-mortar sales faster than ever this holiday season.

The latest evidence: An October survey of nearly 7,350 consumers conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics for the National Retail Federation further found that, for the first time in the survey’s history, online topped all brick-and-mortar destinations as the channel where most consumers said they plan to buy holiday items. In percentage terms, nearly 59% of consumers said they plan to do their holiday shopping online this year, up from 56.5% last year.

Also from eMarketer:

Adobe predicted that online holiday season sales will rise 13.8% this year to top $100 billion for the first time.

According to the report, online sales will grow to $107.4 billion from $94.4 billion in 2016. That's a projected growth rate of 13.8%—a bit slower than in 2016, when the gain was 14.4%, and well off 2015's 17.7% pace.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

National Small Business Week Awards

From Small Business Administration:

Are you a small business owner with an amazing success story to tell? If so, submit your nomination today for the 2018 National Small Business Week Awards. All nominations must be mailed or hand-delivered to the nearest SBA Office no later than 3:00 p.m. ET on January 9, 2018. Consult the Awards Guidelines for details.

Awards Guidelines
Consult the Awards Guidelines for a list of National Small Business Week Awards, eligibility criteria, selection process, evaluation criteria and how to submit a nomination package.

Nomination Forms
All nominees are required to complete SBA Background Form 3300.

National Small Business Week award nomination forms include:

Small Business Person of the Year Award
Small Business Exporter of the Year
Phoenix Award for Small Business Disaster Recovery
Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery - Public Official
Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery - Volunteer
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 the Year Excellence Award
Jody C. Raskind Lender of the Year
Small Business Investment Company of the Year

Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have questions about the National Small Business Week Awards? Consult the FAQs.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Survey of Entrepreneurs Exporting Firms

 The U.S. Census Bureau released data findings from the 2014 Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs Exporting Firms Summary.
The data are contained in three tables that cover export destinationreceipt size of firm and the employment size of the firm by the exporting status, gender, ethnicity, race and veteran status of the firm. The tables contain the combined information of two Census Bureau data products, the 2014 Profile of U.S. Importing and Exporting Companies and the 2014 Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs.
For more information about the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs visit For other data concerning U.S. exports, check out the Foreign Trade data page.

Friday, November 03, 2017

US Wage Growth Steadily Rises

From PR Newswire:

According to job site Glassdoor, the annual median base pay in the United States grew 1.6 percent year over year (YOY) in October 2017 to $51,220. The Glassdoor Local Pay Reports show pay growth ticked up slightly from a revised 1.4 percent growth last month. Pay growth peaked in January 2017 at a revised 3.5 percent.

The Glassdoor Local Pay Reports provide a unique monthly view into the country's wage picture with salary estimates for nearly 85 job titles and year-over-year pay growth trends in the United States. The reports include details on 10 major metros: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.1

"U.S. wage growth is steady but slow. We've seen incremental increases over the past few months after a slight decline of U.S. median pay over the summer months. While we are still well below the 3.5 percent pay growth rate of January, I am encouraged by the slight salary increases recorded since August and anticipate growth to continue to accelerate through the end of the year," said Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist of Glassdoor.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

What It Takes to Be a Small-Business Owner

From Entrepenuers
Being a small-business owner isn't easy, but an overwhelming majority of entrepreneurs wouldn’t have it any other way. While small-business owners cite “having to wear so many hats” and “finding new customers” as their biggest concerns, according to the below infographic courtesy of online marketing company Constant Contact, a whopping 84 percent said that, if given the opportunity, they would start up all over again. The “ability to pursue their passion” and the freedom that an entrepreneurial lifestyle allows are their biggest motivators, they said.

That’s a good thing, because small business continues to contribute to the global economy in huge ways. Roughly half of all U.S. jobs are provided by companies of less than 500 employees, and 54 percent of U.S. sales happen at small businesses. Additionally, small businesses donate 250 percent more than larger corporations to nonprofits and other charities.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Your 2018 Marketing Plan Will Break the Law: GDPR Threat

From MarketingProfs:

Marketing departments may not realize the seismic impact a new regulation will have on their plans for 2018. And if they don't begin planning today, CMOs may discover that after May 25, 2018, their teams will not be able to execute campaigns and activities in the way they used to—at least not without facing the risk of legal action against their companies resulting in dramatic penalties and brand damage.

The specter of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has loomed large since it was adopted last year by European Union (EU). When it goes into effect next year, this new regulation promises to radically change every phase of consumer data management within the EU—and worldwide.

And just because your company or its servers are not in the EU doesn't mean you'll be able to get around the issue.

A change of this magnitude requires a dedicated and serious response from any organization that either does business within the EU itself or has a customer base or employees that include European residents.

Yet, confusion regarding GDPR is pervasive, and many companies don't fully appreciate the scope of its impact.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Lower Tips Offset Higher Minimum Wage for Servers

From the Census Bureau:

Several states and municipalities across the United States have been raising the minimum wage well above the federal rate of $7.25 an hour, a trend studied by many economists.

Less attention has been paid to workers who rely on tips for part of their earnings. Recent research by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that rising minimum wages may increase server employment, but do not always result in higher pay for tipped workers.

“My research shows

Monday, October 30, 2017

10 Digital Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners in 2017

From Fundera Ledger
Online marketing is vital for any small business hoping to stay competitive. But what online marketing tactics should you focus on in your limited time is a busy entrepreneur?

 Here are 10 essential digital marketing tips for small business owners. 1. Start with Your Website “Make sure you have an updated, mobile-friendly website that is easy for users to navigate across all devices and has a modern, clean design.” —Deborah Sweeney, CEO,

 By choosing the right keywords and narrowing your target audience, you can hone in on those prospective customers who are most likely to want what you sell. By following these digital marketing tips for small business owners, you’ll see your sales and profits grow.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Stale Office Air Is Making You Less Productive

From the Harvard Business Review:

How often do you consider the air quality in your office and how it affects employees and their productivity? Chances are it’s not often.

There is a tendency to assume that, as long as commonly used standards for air quality are met, it won’t be an issue. But these standards aren’t very high. One common international standard that governs how much air is brought in from outside, “Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Quality,” does not even purport to assure “healthy” air quality.

In the 1970s, efforts to conserve energy in the U.S. included tightening up buildings and reducing ventilation rates so buildings didn’t have to bring as much fresh air inside. This inadvertently led to a buildup of indoor pollutants and the birth of a phenomenon known as “sick building syndrome,” a set of symptoms such as eye irritation, headaches, coughing, and chest tightness that is still an issue today...

We found that breathing better air led to significantly better decision-making performance among our participants.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

12 Ways Small Businesses Can Improve Their Social Media Presence

From Forbes:
Social media provides a powerful tool for outreach: Companies can share stories, talk about events or offers, or discuss services or solutions with interested customers or potential clients. But not every small business has set aside the time and money to establish an online strategy or presence.

12 Forbes Agency Council members share their top tips for small companies to improve their social media presence.

Utilize the little time you have on social media to understand your customers and address their needs, not to promote your product.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Industry roundtable: Women in the workplace throughout generations

From Albany Business Review:

Law firm Hodgson Russ and the Albany Business Review hosted a panel discussion with seven women in various stages of their careers to answer these questions.

Teal Vivacqua, director, marketing communications at Plug Power; Ashley Jeffrey Bouck, executive director, Girls Inc. of the Capital Region; Kathleen Godfrey, president, Godfrey Financial Associates; Julie Clancy, director of admissions, Emma Willard; Dawn C. Doherty, partner, BST; Carmen Duncan, CEO and founder, Mission Accomplished Transition Services; Kendra Hart, business development manager, Martin Electric

Cindy Applebaum, Albany Business Review publisher and market president, moderated the discussion.

What’s the importance of having a mentor?

What potential do you see in the younger generation?

How do you approach and explain issues facing young girls?

What barriers do you see for women taking on leadership roles?

Are men always the obstacle?

How often do you find yourself the only woman in a room? And how do you deal with that?

What is the value of women-only professional associations? Do they help women work through challenges?

Are younger women aware of the challenges previous generations have faced and the challenges that remain?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A 30 Point Checklist for Your Startup

From Small Business Trends
So you want to start a business – congratulations! Once you get over the initial excitement, it’s time to break down the process of launching your startup into manageable chunks. You might get overwhelmed with the sheer number of items on your to-do list. But not to worry; I’ve broken down this startup checklist into the primary tasks you need to do now, and those that you can defer until later.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Small Business Owners Are Retiring, And Millennials May Not Fill The Gap On America's Main Street

From Forbes
A local hardware store in Worcester, Massachusetts recently announced that it was going out of business. This wouldn’t be big news, except Elwood Adams Hardware has been around since the Articles of Confederation. Dating back to 1782, it is (or was) one of the oldest hardware stores in the United States—continually open for 235 years under various owners.

 The store’s employees, most of whom have worked there for decades, gave multiple reasons for the business’s closing. First, the pressure of Internet competition; second, and related to the first, a lack of loyalty from younger customers; and finally, the owner was ready to retire, and couldn’t find anyone to whom he could sell the business. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses account for 48% of national employment in the United States. In number, they represent 99.7% of all businesses in the country. Small business owners, some with staffs of 500 employees, others toiling alone in a home office, and plenty more in-between, are the stewards of an enormous segment of the American economy.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Why you're not making friends at work

From the Harvard Business Review:

Connecting with others is at the heart of human nature. Recent research emphasizes that the power of connections can help us be creative, resilient, even live longer. But we can easily overlook the importance of these bonds.

As popular writer and researcher Adam Grant has noted, the pressure of tight deadlines and the pace of technology mean that fewer Americans are finding friendship in the workplace. In fact, many of us are further disconnecting from the people we work with: we’re more stressed out than ever, and half of us regularly experience incivility in our jobs.

How can we create possibilities for connection in what is sometimes a hostile atmosphere? We believe there needs to be more compassion.

We define compassion as a 4-part experience of noticing someone’s distress or pain, interpreting it as relevant and important, feeling concern for that person or group, and acting to alleviate their pain. Acts of compassion can span from grand and coordinated to small and personal.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Small Business Work Environment

From RocketLawyer
Hiring employees who fit in with the environment of your work place is a key element to your success. A bad or even hostile working environment can lead to high turnover, which is a costly and hurtful situation that you can avoid by paying careful attention to the personalities and work ethics of people you interview for a job. Hire Employees Who Fit Your Work Environment Start by examining your own attitude at work. Are you critical? Supportive? Willing to invest time and energy into helping your employees grow and take the lead in solving problems? Employers can set the tone for the environment workers encounter-either positive or negative.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Buy online, pick up in-store (BOPUS) remains a challenge

From eMarketing:

More than half of retailers in North America offer buy online, pick up in-store (BOPUS) service. But BOPUS is widely seen as a significant challenge, according to a new survey of retailers.
According to an August 2017 survey by JDA, a supply chain software company, roughly three-quarters of US store managers said they have faced difficulties in implementing BOPUS. The ability to accurately track inventory is a major concern, it found.

Perhaps not surprisingly, then, only about one-third of the US retailers surveyed said that they offer discounts for consumers who buy online and pick up in-store.

The benefits of BOPUS for retailers are well-known. In-store pickup means that customers are, by definition, in the store and more likely to make additional purchases.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Brands Need to See the Affluent as They See Themselves


Driving brand loyalty among the affluent has never been more challenging. New brands, new options, and new products are competing for the devotion of your customers. What’s more, the majority of the global elite don’t feel personally connected to many brands, even though they say that a personal relationship factors into their loyalty.

A new study from YouGov on affluent shoppers worldwide reveals that most just want brands to show them their loyalty is appreciated. Indeed, 72% said they felt that way.

Monday, October 16, 2017

How to Pick the Right Location for Your Exhibit Booth

From MarketingProfs:

For more than 50% of CMOs and marketing directors, space and location on the exhibit floor are most important in maximizing ROI.

And that makes perfect sense.

With an accessible location and a major source of foot traffic nearby, a booth is likely to attract a lot of attendees. The higher the number of visitors, the greater opportunities for a business to raise awareness, get leads, and build relationships.

The location selection process, however, can be complicated, with various factors at play—from budget, to space requirements, to traffic flow and more. So here, in this handy guide, are all the important factors you need to take into consideration.

Quick Tip: Reserve Your Spot Early

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Robot Makes a Mean Caesar Salad, but Will It Cost Jobs?

From the New York Times:

Salad bars are magnets for bacteria and viruses. Even if the sprouts and ranch dressing aren’t tainted, the serving utensils may be.

The Silicon Valley start-up Chowbotics has devised what it says is a partial solution. Its device, which it calls Sally the Salad Robot, is aimed at reducing the risk of food-borne illness by assembling salads out of pre-cut vegetables stored in refrigerated canisters.

Diners use a touch screen to place their orders, choosing from a menu of recipes or designing their own salads. The machine calculates the number of calories per salad and drops the veggies into a bowl in less than a minute. There is less human contact with the food.

But as a growing number of food- and drink-slinging robots have begun interacting with diners in the San Francisco Bay Area, Deepak Sekar, the device’s inventor and the founder and chief executive of Chowbotics, has faced questions about whether his machine will put people out of work. He denies that that will happen.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Seven business continuity strategy planning mistakes

From Search Disaster Recovery:

Developing a business continuity strategy is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. Organizations must gather and validate massive amounts of data and develop and validate procedures to keep data available and protected at all times.

Employees must be trained on the business continuity plan, as well as their roles and responsibilities when a disruptive incident occurs. Senior management must be aware of the plan and be involved with its development.

Given the comprehensive nature of business continuity planning, mistakes can happen. Explore some of the most common errors to avoid before a disaster hits.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

25 Best Apps for Small-Business Owners in 2017

From NerdWallet:

Problem solver. Communicator. Financial whiz. Running a small business involves wearing a lot of hats. If you’re looking to increase productivity and organization — or just make your life as an entrepreneur a little easier — a good app might be just what you need.

To help you navigate the seemingly endless sea of business apps, we’ve compiled a list of our favorites. These 25 can help you stay organized and in charge, no matter which hat you’re wearing.

They are arranged in these categories:

Finance and accounting


Time management



In a league of their own

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Your Own Employees Can Boost Your Marketing Content

From MarketingProfs:

Imagine you just invested a lot of time and resources in your next content masterpiece. You did third-party research, interviewed industry experts, carefully crafted the copy with your target persona in mind, and pulled out all the stops to design a visually compelling piece.

You then released it into the wild through all your Web and social channels and sat back, waiting for it to become the next viral sensation.

But then the unthinkable happened: No one shared it (gasp!).

What happened?

Even the greatest content sometimes needs an early boost to gain traction in social media. Paid promotion and influencer marketing can certainly help, but those can be costly. Fortunately, virtually every organization has a captive audience that's willing—and even happy—to share content with their networks for free...

Look to your left, look to your right, look at Bob in accounting: I'm talking about your fellow employees (bet you didn't know Bob has 3,000 Twitter followers).

Increasingly, marketers are turning to employee advocacy to solve their content-promotion woes.

With organic reach now more elusive than ever, structured employee advocacy programs help brands connect with audiences in an authentic way by using their own employees.

No budget? No problem. You can build an employee advocacy program for free or at a very low cost—especially compared with paid social promotion or influencer product placement.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Industries Most Affected by Cybercrime

From IBISWorld:
The disruption caused by the rise of the internet and popularity of web-enabled devices is indisputable; industries have been completely flipped upside down as new, online businesses offer consumers products and services that were once unimaginable.

As life is moving to the cloud, however, so are the criminals. The US Justice Department estimates that more than 4,000 ransomware attacks have occurred each day since the beginning of 2016, meaning hackers engineer software programs that prevent employees from accessing their computer systems until a ransom total is paid.

In 2016, about 72.0% of large companies and 20.0% of small to midsize companies were targets of cyberattacks, according to CNBC and Microsoft, respectively, boosting demand for products and services protecting against cyberattacks. IBISWorld expects the US Security Software Publishing industry to grow 2.6% in 2017, to $12.0 billion.

However, while companies are increasingly investing in defending against cyberattacks, large attacks still occur. In fact, just this week, news broke that a cyberattack on credit-reporting agency Equifax Inc. claimed social security numbers and other sensitive information on more than 140.0 million Americans. Equifax is hardly alone; the following four industries and companies have been hit hard by cybercriminals over the past five years...

The challenge of cybersecurity remains colossal and is only expected to grow; while total internet traffic volume grew an annualized 20.2% over the past five years, it is expected to accelerate to an annualized growth of 21.7% over the next five years. In 2022, nearly triple the amount of data will be transferred on the internet compared with today, increasing the risk of cybercriminals looking to steal Social Security and credit card numbers, creative content and other pieces of sensitive information.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Be Honest: Are You the Office Bully?

From Entrepreneur magazine:

Last year [Ross McCammon] was a guest on an NPR call-in talk show to discuss workplace etiquette. Most calls were about shaking hands, conducting meetings, asking for a raise...

It was light and funny until one caller asked for advice about being shunned by her co-workers. They would gather near her desk, talking about work she was involved in without asking her to weigh in. They never invited her to lunch or after-work drinks. When she brought up her feelings, her colleagues dismissed and mocked her. She felt unimportant and ostracized. And she sounded deeply distressed.

I felt ill-equipped to answer the question. I stammered out a reply. I made a joke. (She didn't laugh.) The show's host suggested that she record these instances and, if they continued, alert a supervisor. The host labeled the behavior as “bullying.” Which at first struck me as infantilizing.

I hadn't felt bullied since middle school.

And I certainly had never felt bullied at work. And I certainly had never bullied anyone at work. (Note: Never believe anyone who uses italics to deny something.)

Or had I? The major problem with the word bullying is that it seems more tied to the playground and, these days, social media (which is a metaphorical playground)... But what about rolling your eyes every time a colleague speaks in a meeting? Gossiping? Raising your voice? The things we've all been guilty of doing?

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Improving the Public Perception of Manufacturing

From Rodon Group:
Friday, October 6th is National Manufacturing Day.

According to the MFG Day website, "MFG DAY addresses common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is — and what it isn’t. By working together during and after MFG DAY, manufacturers will begin to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry. Supported by a group of industry sponsors and co-producers, MFG DAY is designed to amplify the voice of individual manufacturers and coordinate a collective chorus of manufacturers with common concerns and challenges."

Census Bureau data

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Small business can compete with Amazon

From BizWomen:

Small businesses and startups can survive the so-called Amazon effect by being creative and innovative, said U.S. Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon.

McMahon was in Denver Sept. 28 for the sixth annual Denver Startup Week, a week of free panel discussions, workshops and networking events for entrepreneurs in all stages.

Metro Denver has recently attracted the eye of The e-commerce giant opened a 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in suburb Aurora this month and has broken ground on a 2.4 million-square-foot fulfillment center in nearby Thornton, expected to open in August 2018.

Now, the Seattle-based company is on the hunt for a city in which to build its second headquarters, expected to be a $5 billion project and employ as many as 50,000 people. Colorado and metro Denver leaders plan to bid on the facility.

But it’s in no way doomsday for small businesses, McMahon said. “There is no way for a small business to compete against an Amazon that has not only product development but its online services and distribution,” she said.

“But what small businesses have to do is focus on what they are doing -- what is their niche, where do they fit in, how can they be their own entity in a world that is changing?”

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Hurricane response jobs at the SBA

From the Small Business Administration:

The Small Business Administration is hiring temporary employees to assist with disaster relief efforts this hurricane season from September 1st to December 31st, 2017. Bilingual language skills a plus.

Jobs include:

Damage Verifiers (Nationwide)
Lawyers, Paralegals and Legal Assistants (Sacramento, CA, Dallas, TX, or Buffalo, NY)
Loan Specialists (Sacramento, CA, Dallas, TX, or Buffalo, NY)
Program Support Assistant and Call Center Specialist (Sacramento, CA, Atlanta, GA, or Buffalo, NY)
Customer Service Representatives and Public Information Officers (Nationwide)
Customer Service Representatives (Atlanta, GA, Buffalo, NY, Sacramento, CA)
Customer Service Representatives, Bilingual (Orlando, FL)
Information Technology Specialists - Customer support (Nationwide)
Construction Analysts -Loss Verifiers (Nationwide)
Administrative Support Assistants (Herndon, VA)

Monday, October 02, 2017

Exhausted Employees Costing Companies Millions

From ThomasNet:

Recently unveiled during the National Safety Council’s Congress and Expo this week, are findings showing how a lack of proper rest is hurting the competitive efforts of U.S. companies. The research was conducted by the National Safety Council and Brigham Health Sleep Matters Initiative.

The report’s findings show that a company with 1,000 workers stands to lose $1.4 million annually due to absenteeism, diminished productivity, and healthcare costs stemming from tired employees. A key point of the survey is the growing number of these individuals with undiagnosed and untreated sleep disorders. These conditions contribute significantly to the $80 million in fatigue-related costs that can accrue on an annual basis for the average Fortune 500 company.

Additional data can be obtained by utilizing an online resource correlating with the research, entitled the Fatigue Cost Calculator for Employees.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Should you have to give up privacy to recycle a printer cartridge?

From the Boston Globe:

Kathie Florsheim is a committed environmentalist with a hybrid car and a set of rain-collection barrels outside her East Providence home.

So when the ink in her Canon printer recently ran out, she immediately thought to recycle it, just like she does her light bulbs, batteries, and kitchen waste — which she feeds to the red wiggler worms who fertilize her vegetable garden.

But what Florsheim learned on Canon’s website stopped her in her tracks. To send her clunky, foot-long cartridge back to Canon for recycling, she would have to submit her name, home address, telephone number, and e-mail address.

[What are ] the issues around companies that collect personal data?

Thursday, September 28, 2017

NAICS 2017 Revision for Table of Small Business Size Standards

The U.S. Small Business Administration issued a final rule adopting the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) revision for 2017 (NAICS 2017) for its table of small business size standards.  The final rule is published in the Federal Register at
NAICS 2017 created 21 new industries by reclassifying, combining, or splitting 29 existing industries under  NAICS in 2012 (NAICS 2012).  On April 18, 2017, SBA issued a proposed rule seeking comments on its proposed size standards for the 21 new industries.  The agency received three comments which were outside of the scope of the proposed rule.  Accordingly, SBA is adopting, without any change, the proposed size standards for the new industries.
The change results in an increase to size standards for six NAICS 2012 industries: (one in Sector 21, Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction; three in Sector 31-33, Manufacturing; and two in Sector 44-45, Retail Trade) and part of one industry in Sector 44-45, a decrease to size standards for two (one in Sector 21 and one in Sector 51, Information), a change in the size standard measure from average annual revenues to number of employees for one in Sector 51, and no change in size standards for twenty industries and part of one industry. 
OMB published its fourth and latest revision, NAICS 2017, “Notice of NAICS 2017 final decisions” on August 8, 2016, stating that federal statistical establishment data published for reference years beginning on or after January 1, 2017, should be published using NAICS 2017.  As with the previous NAICS revisions, SBA is adopting the NAICS 2017 revision October 1, 2017, beginning of fiscal year 2018 following the OMB’s release of the NAICS revision.
Complete information on the relationship between NAICS 2012 and NAICS 2017 is available on the U.S. Bureau of the Census (Census Bureau) website at
The website also provides detailed documentation on federal notices involving the replacement of SIC with NAICS, and all subsequent NAICS updates and revisions, including the August 8, 2016 “Notice of NAICS 2017 final decisions,” as well as concordances (i.e., correspondence tables) between SIC and NAICS 1997 and NAICS 2002, and between subsequent NAICS revisions.

For more information on SBA’s reviews of and revisions to its small business size standards, click on “What’s New with Size Standards” on SBA’s website at    

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

New Materials: Restaurants & Coffee

The National Restaurant Operations Report 2016

This is another item we get annually for our reference collection. If you are not familiar, it looks at the restaurant industry and provides details like:

  • average check for full-service restaurants
  • average check for limited service restaurants
  • cost per dollar of sales
  • ratio to total sales
  • amount per seat and ratio to total sales
  • annual employee turnover
  • amount per square foot

The National Coffee Drinking Trends Report 2017

  • daily, weekly, yearly consumption by age
  • consumption by type of coffee
  • consumption by region
  • where and when coffee is consumed
  • drinking coffee at home vs in restaurants
  • consumer attitudes
  • year to year trends

The IHRSA Profiles of Success 
The Annual Industry Data Survey of the Health and Fitness Industry

This report provides an industry overview for fitness and health club including club operating benchmarks.
  • membership and attendance
  • leading club data & market share
  • health club member demographics
  • equipment and activity usage data
  • club growth by region
  • financial and operational benchmarks
  • membership agreements
  • profit center analysis

Again, we don't circulate these items but we can provide research using it in answer to your requests.

Voluntary dissolution of a New York corporation

From the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance:

A New York State business corporation may voluntarily dissolve. By doing so, the corporation ends its obligation to pay future taxes and fees to New York State. The dissolution process involves both the Tax Department and the New York Department of State.


New York business corporations must pay franchise and other taxes to New York State. The corporation pays the taxes in exchange for the privilege of exercising its corporate franchise, doing business, employing capital, owning or leasing property, or maintaining an office in the state.
When a New York business corporation decides it will no longer conduct business in New York, it will want to be sure that it ends its obligation to pay state taxes and fees. The process of voluntary dissolution:
  • brings the existence of the corporation to an end; and
  • ends the corporation’s obligation to pay future state taxes and fees to New York State.
Dissolution by proclamation

If a New York corporation doesn’t voluntarily dissolve and doesn’t file franchise tax returns or pay franchise taxes for two or more years, the New York Secretary of State may dissolve the corporation by proclamation.
  • With dissolution by proclamation and voluntary dissolution, the legal entity of the corporation ceases to exist. The important difference is that dissolution by proclamation occurs without a request by the corporation.
  • A corporation dissolved by proclamation must continue to file returns and pay taxes or fees until they:
    1. Have the corporation reinstated
    2. Complete the voluntary dissolution process described below
Procedure for voluntary dissolution

Voluntary dissolution is a two-step process:
  • Obtaining written consent from the Tax Department (which will check to see if the corporation owes back taxes and if it has filed all its returns); and
  • Filing paperwork with the New York Department of State, including a Certificate of Dissolution.
  1. How to get consent from the Tax Department:
    • File a final corporation tax return. Use the form you normally use, but mark an X in the box marked Final at the top of the return.
    • You may also choose to e-file your final return. You must use e-file software that’s been approved by the Tax Department.
    • If the current tax year form is available, you must file using that year’s tax form. If the current year’s form is not yet available, taxpayers may file a short period report using the prior year’s form. The computation of the tax on the final return needs to take into account any tax law changes that are effective for that final tax year. Payment of the tax must be submitted in conjunction with such report.
    • Mail your returns and payments to the appropriate address (see list below).
    • When we receive the final return, we’ll check to see if the corporation is up-to-date with its returns and taxes. This includes any taxes and returns due for any part of a year in which the corporation was in existence.
    • If your corporation has filed all its returns and paid all its taxes, we’ll issue a written consent to dissolve the corporation.
    • If not, we’ll send you a letter telling you what you need to do before we can give our consent. 

  2. How to create a Certificate of Dissolution
    • The Department of State has blank certificates, as well as detailed instructions on how to complete and file them. 

  3. Complete the process by filing with the New York Department of StateOnce you’ve obtained our consent and prepared the Certificate of Dissolution, you’re ready to file with the Department of State. Your filing must include:
    • written consent from the Tax Department (Form TR-960, Consent to Dissolution of a Corporation);
    • one Certificate of Dissolution; and
    • a check for $60 payable to the New York Department of State.
You may file in person or by mailing to:

Once the Department of State accepts the Certificate of Dissolution for filing, they’ll issue your corporation a filing receipt. The filing receipt establishes the date that the corporation’s existence comes to an end.