Friday, May 26, 2017

WannaCry: What can you do to protect your business?


WannaCry: What can you do to protect your business?


  • 19 May 2017
  •  
  • From the sectionBusiness

There's been a lot in the news over the past week or two about the WannaCry cyber-attacks and what companies, in particular, are doing about the risk.

 As well as keeping antivirus, firewall, application and OS software up-to-date, backing up key data regularly to offline hard drives should be a top priority, most cyber experts agree.
This is because data breaches and cyber-attacks are inevitable these days.
The bad news is that the average cost of a data breach globally stands at $4m (£3.1m), according to SailPoint, an identity management firm.
This article from the BBC discusses what attacks mean for business and what steps can be taken. 
                   


And this from Department of Homeland Security for what to do before, during and after:
Cyber Incident ...
·        Disconnect your device (computer, gaming system, tablet, etc.) from the Internet. By removing the Internet connection, you prevent malicious actors from being able to access your computer and perform tasks such as locating personal data, manipulating or deleting files, or using your device to harm others.

·        If you have anti-virus software installed on your computer, update the virus definitions (if possible), and perform a manual scan of your entire system. Install all of the appropriate patches to fix known vulnerabilities.

Balancing free expression and brand safety can be difficult

From eMarketer:

A leaked document published by The Guardian outlines the guidelines Facebook is using to monitor big topic issues like violence and racism.

Saying “#stab and become the fear of the Zionist,” for example, would be considered a credible threat—and Facebook moderators would be able to remove that particular content. But saying “kick a person with red hair” or “let’s beat up fat kids” is not considered a realistic threat of violence.

Similarly, videos featuring violent deaths will be marked as disturbing, but will not always be deleted because they might raise awareness about issues such as mental illness.

Clearly, there are gray areas in the way content is handled.

What the leak has done is shed light on one simple truth: Publishing mammoths like Facebook and Google (which has also experienced its share of controversy over content) can’t currently provide 100% brand safety.

At scale, user-generated content provides too great of a challenge. And this doesn’t necessarily bode well for advertisers.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Labor Force Characteristics of Foreign-born Workers

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
The unemployment rate for foreign-born persons in the United States was 4.3 percent in 2016, down from 4.9 percent in 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The jobless rate of native-born persons fell to 5.0 percent in 2016 from 5.4 percent in the prior year.

Data on nativity are collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of approximately 60,000 households. The foreign born are persons who reside in the United States but who were born outside the country or one of its outlying areas to parents who were not U.S. citizens. The foreign born include legally-admitted immigrants, refugees, temporary residents such as students and temporary workers, and undocumented immigrants. The survey data, however, do not separately identify the numbers of persons in these categories.

Highlights from the 2016 data:

--In 2016, there were 27.0 million foreign-born persons in the U.S. labor force, comprising 16.9 percent of the total.

--Hispanics accounted for 48.3 percent of the foreign-born labor force in 2016, and Asians accounted for 25.0 percent.

--Foreign-born workers were more likely than native-born workers to be employed in service occupations and less likely to be employed in management, professional, and related occupations.

--The median usual weekly earnings of foreign-born full-time wage and salary workers were $715 in 2016, compared with $860 for their native-born counterparts. (

Demographic Characteristics

The demographic composition of the foreign-born labor force differs from that of the native-born labor force. In 2016, men accounted for 57.9 percent of the foreign-born labor force, compared with 52.3 percent of the native-born labor force. By age, the proportion of the foreign-born labor force made up of 25- to 54-year-olds (73.4 percent) was higher than for the native-born labor force (62.4 percent). Labor force participation is typically highest among persons in that age bracket.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Managing Remote Employees: 6 Tips for Working Together Even Time Zones Apart

From ImpactBnd

Managing employees is never easy, but managing employees who aren’t even in the same room can be a whole different ball game.

Consider some of the most common questions people have about managing remote employees:

“How do I tell if my remote employees are actually working?”
“How can we make sure our remote employees feel part of the culture?”
“How do I foster communication with all the challenges of being remote?”
“How do I manage in-office and remote employees effectively?”

If any of those thoughts have crossed your mind, read on. That’s exactly what we will address.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

No One Is More Into the Sharing Economy than Millennials

From eMarketer:

Millennials are different than older generations in many ways. According to new research, that generation gap is even wider when it comes to the sharing economy.

March 2017 data from Maru/Matchbox, which surveyed 1,000 adult internet users in North America, found that millennials participate in many aspects of the sharing economy at a greater level than older respondents.

Millennials were almost three times as likely to use a space to stay, like Airbnb, or use professional services, like tax preparation, than people ages 35 and older.

They were also more likely to use car services like Uber.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Older workers: Labor force trends and career options

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
You enter the labor force, you work until a certain age, and you retire. Or maybe you don’t. More and more people are working into their later years, a trend that is expected to continue.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 40 percent of people ages 55 and older were working or actively looking for work in 2014. That number, known as a labor force participation rate, is expected to increase fastest for the oldest segments of the population—most notably, people ages 65 to 74 and 75 and older—through 2024. In contrast, participation rates for most other age groups in the labor force aren’t projected to change much over the 2014–24 decade.

BLS data reveal how the age makeup of the U.S. labor force is changing. From 1970 until the end of the 20th century, older workers—which BLS defines as those ages 55 and older—made up the smallest segment of the labor force. In the 1990s, however, these older workers began to increase their share of the labor force, while workers in younger age groups started to have declines in their labor force shares. And by 2003, the older age group no longer had the smallest share.

And, although they make up a smaller number of workers overall, the 65- to 74-year-old and 75-and-older age groups are projected to have faster rates of labor force growth annually than any other age groups.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Technologies That Will Shake Up Your Supply Chain

From ThomasNet:

The supply chain is going digital. In their annual industry report, Deloitte and MHI found that 80% of supply chain professionals believe that digital supply chains will overtake traditional supply chain models within the next five years.

To prepare for these changes, and to put their companies in the best position to succeed with a next-generation supply chain, industry professionals will have to fully understand the latest technologies.

So what's in store for supply chain folks? Here are a few of the technologies they'll need to know about

Thursday, May 18, 2017

This Is the New ‘Wild West’ of Retail Fraud

From: eMarketer.Retail




The rollout of EMV chip cards in recent years may have deterred criminals from making fraudulent in-store purchases, but it hasn’t stopped them dead in their tracks. They simply found a new target: call centers.

Call center fraud rates have increased steadily every year since at least 2013 and more than doubled between 2015 and 2016, according to an annual call center fraud study by the research lab of Pindrop, which helps financial institutions and retailers battle call-center fraud. It counts among its investors Google Capital and Citi Ventures.

For retailers, so-called chargeback fraud is the most common: Criminals call a retailer, make a fraudulent purchase using someone else’s identity and credit card number, and have the product sent to another address. Loyalty cards also have surfaced as a major area of attack as criminals use them to cash out reward points, said David Dewey, director of research at Pindrop Labs, in an interview.

The report, which studied more than half a billion actual call center calls, mostly in the US, and most of them involving companies that receive an average of 40 million calls a year, found that the fraud rate surged to 1 in 937 calls in 2016, up from 1 in 2,000 in 2015, and 1 in 2,200 in 2014. While every industry in the study is seeing increased fraudulent activity, the retail industry has an unusually high incidence rate.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Retailers Still Not Giving Customers a ‘Wow’ Experience

From eMarketer:

Customer experience is a big retail buzzword these days, but when it comes to actually delivering a “wow” experience to consumers, retailers are generally falling short.

A 25-country study by IBM found that on a scale of 0 to 100, retailers scored a subpar 33, and worse yet, they missed the mark on areas such as personalization, store and mobile experiences—key aspects of customer experience. In fact, the study ranked only 3% of brands as “leading edge,” compared with 39% of them it considered falling or lagging behind.

The study, IBM’s fifth annual customer experience report, covered 507 retail and consumer products brands. Mystery shoppers rated their experience in seven ways: store experience, digital experience, physical/digital integration, mobile experience, omnichannel supply chain, personalization and social media.

In an era when store experience is supposed to be a key weapon that brick-and-mortar retailers use to fend off competition from online rivals, the study sounds a dismal note: the store experience score was basically a failing 20.

Personalization was another area where retailers still have a lot to catch up on.

NYSBDC Bonded Contractor of the Year – Eli Smith, So Gone Trash Removal

The New York Small Business Development Center is pleased to recognize the boldest, brightest, and best small companies and enterprising individuals in New York State.  Eight small business owners were honored at the 2017 Client Awards ceremony on April 24, 2017.  Read all their stories here.

Eli Smith has been in business since 2011. His business, So Gone Trash Removal, which includes 24 employees, provides trash hauling, demolition, post clean-up on job sites and estate clean-outs – full service junk removal. They recycle as much as possible in order to promote a healthy environment today and for years to come. In 2013 he participated in the Onondaga SBDC’s MWBE Contractor training program. The SBDC provided assistance with the training and connected him with Empire State Development, as well as other local programs and opportunities to expand his business. Advisor Melissa Zomro also assisted Eli with business expansion and financing advice. In October 2016, Eli was awarded one of the first annual Carey Gabay Excellence and Innovation Awards for Minority-and Women- Owned Business Enterprises at the New York State MWBE Forum Transformation 2016. The award recognized Eli’s “Entrepreneurial Spirit and Achievement as a New York State-Certified MWBE.” He was chosen for this award in part because he secured $5 million dollars in surety bonds. He has also secured over $1million in contracts. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Real Work on Your Content Begins After It's Published


From Marketing Profs:

Many components of content marketing are controllable and predictable. But you know what isn't? Your audience's response. Surprises are the one thing you can count on.

So, what can you do when a piece of content you've created simply doesn't produce the right results?

Based on our experience, there's a lot you can do. In fact, with most content, the post-publishing optimization process can improve an article's performance significantly.

Examples we've come across are as simple as a piece that was too long and made users drop off, or one, which tested readers' knowledge of a topic, had too many questions about other, unrelated subjects, leading to frustration. Some situations are more complex and harder to spot, such as an article with a positive headline but a negative tone in the content itself, or any kind of mismatch between the way an article is being promoted and the substance it in fact provides.

All of those issues can be spotted and solved before your content reaches full audience exposure.

NYSBDC Growth Company of the Year - Doris Ulysse, Doris Ulysse LLC

The New York Small Business Development Center is pleased to recognize the boldest, brightest, and best small companies and enterprising individuals in New York State.  Eight small business owners were honored at the 2017 Client Awards ceremony on April 24, 2017.  Read all their stories here.

 The story of Doris Ulysse is testimony to the grit and talent of a determined inner city African American woman entrepreneur. Doris specializes in network design and administration. She is particularly adept at configuring and integrating hardware and software for a full spectrum of client types. After years of working as an IT professional she consulted the Brooklyn SBDC  to test the waters of entrepreneurship. Advisor Janet Page guided her through the business planning process and MWBE certification protocol. Doris became an MWBE subcontractor through the NYC Office of General Services and a contractor for the NYC Housing Authority. After two years Doris returned to the SBDC to better learn how to use the 8A system. Doris obtained a $5,000 line of credit to demonstrate financial capacity. She learned how to search the federal database to find prime contractors looking for partners, and also how to find other 8a firms with which to network. Doris’ next steps are to get an even larger line of credit, finish the NYC Mentorship Program, enter the SBA Mentor-Protégée program, and win multiple federal contracts.

Monday, May 15, 2017

US Adults Now Spend 12 Hours 7 Minutes a Day Consuming Media*

From eMarketer:

In an annual contest at Coney Island, participants vie to see who can eat the most hot dogs in 10 minutes. It has seemed in recent years that US adults bring a similar spirit to their consumption of media, cramming as much as possible into an average day.

Thanks to multitasking (and our method of accounting for it, explained in a moment), US adults’ average daily time spent with major media will slightly exceed 12 hours this year, according to eMarketer’s latest report, "US Time Spent with Media: eMarketer’s Updated Estimates and Forecast for 2014-2019".

But while our reports early in the decade told a story of robust gains—with increases in digital usage more than compensating for declines in time spent with nondigital media—growth has been petering out.

NYSBDC Exporter of the Year – Susan Jablon, Susan Jablon Mosaics

The New York Small Business Development Center is pleased to recognize the boldest, brightest, and best small companies and enterprising individuals in New York State.  Eight small business owners were honored at the 2017 Client Awards ceremony on April 24, 2017.  Read all their stories here.

Susan Jablon Mosaics, LLC was founded in 2000 and since then has grown to be a world-class manufacturer-supplier of mosaic tiles. Under Susan’s guidance, unmatched quality of mosaic tiles created by the business, which employs eight full-time people, has gained notoriety worldwide. Susan’s inventiveness has resulted in her creations being featured in hotels and casinos, on the DIY network’s various programs, on every episode of Hell’s Kitchen, and in the movie Men in Black 3. Her product is unique and desirable in upscale markets in places in the United States, Canada, France and United Arab Emirates, resulting in steady employment and growth in the business. Susan initially became a client of the Binghamton SBDC following the damage caused by Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Irene. The SBDC worked with her as she recovered from the storms and then expanded into a larger manufacturing facility, which Susan purchased. Her commitment to her employees, her customers and to the Binghamton area is remarkable. Susan was nominated for SBA Exporter of the Year, and was the winner for the Region as well as for all of New York State.

Friday, May 12, 2017

NYSBDC Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year – Mark Dyson, Spinland Studios

The New York Small Business Development Center is pleased to recognize the boldest, brightest, and best small companies and enterprising individuals in New York State.  Eight small business owners were honored at the 2017 Client Awards ceremony on April 24, 2017.  Read all their stories here.

Spinland Studios, LLC is a 3D-modeling and computer animation service started in 2010 by U.S. Air Force veteran Mark Dyson. The company’s primary focus is on broadcast media and advertising, but also supports areas such as instructional and/or educational messages. Over the past 15 years, he’s built & animated 3D aircraft models for the DoD Flight Simulator line, built real-time interactive data displays and controls for DoD clients using 3D gaming engines, built and animated 3D models for industrial firms, and provided VFX support for feature films. Mark began working with the Mohawk Valley SBDC in 2012 to support his transition from a full-time job to full-time focus on his growing business. In 2016 he once again connected with SBDC representatives and reached out for additional support around government contracting and marketing. The business now works with clients throughout the country. Next he is interested in working with the SBDC to pursue the new NYS service-disabled veteran-owned business (SDVOB) certification. Mark has been selected as a new Chamber Board member, another indication of his commitment to the small business sector.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

NYSBDC Procurement Entrepreneur of the Year - Ben Primicias, School Daze

The New York Small Business Development Center is pleased to recognize the boldest, brightest, and best small companies and enterprising individuals in New York State.  Eight small business owners were honored at the 2017 Client Awards ceremony on April 24, 2017.  Read all their stores here. 

J. Ben Primicias has been in the school supply business for a long time. He opened his first store with the assistance of the Watertown SBDC in 1991, selling a variety of educational items for teachers and parents. In 1996 Ben returned to the SBDC for assistance in buying property and building a structure with more room for inventory. The expansion required that he add new employees. Most of Ben’s in-store business is from local teachers, schools and parents, but his catalog has generated sales from across the country and overseas and account for nearly half his total sales. In 2008, Ben added another aspect to his business, consulting the SBDC before building an attached seasonal ice cream stand called Cool Craze, which serves both soft serve and hard ice cream. By 2015, Ben was considering closing the business and retiring because of increased competition with state contracts. He talked to his SBDC Advisor and determined that as a native Filipino he qualified as a minority vendor. It took nearly a year of perseverance, but he finally received his NYS certification as an MWBE business, gaining access to more contracts. With his revenues growing again, Ben decided against retirement and has added more employees.

7 Words You Need to Eliminate If You Want to Be Successful

From: The Balance


Becoming a successful entrepreneur is as much of a mental game, as it is one of finesse and expertise.
You can be the most intelligent, talented, and respected person within your industry, but if you don't believe in yourself and continue to be brutally honest as you move through the extremely difficult stages of growing a business, your failure is all but inevitable.
Everything from the way you feel about getting up to head into the office each morning, to the quality of relationships with your business partners, and the words you use on a daily basis, will have a long-term effect on whether or not you'll become successful.
Whether you intend to or not, if you allow yourself to use words and phrases that convey doubt, insecurity, and a lack of true belief in what you're saying, you'll eventually lose faith.
Not only does this effect your own mental well-being, but the people you're communicating with will read into your word choice and pick up on your sentiment & body language.
Here are the seven words you'll need to eliminate from your vocabulary if you want to be successful.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

New FTC Website Helps Small Businesses Avoid Scams and Cyber Attacks



Attacks can be especially devastating to small businesses; Agency provides information on how they can protect themselves
At the direction of Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen, the Federal Trade Commission has launched a new website – ftc.gov/SmallBusiness – with articles, videos, and other information aimed at helping small business owners avoid scams and protect their computers and networks from cyberattacks and other threats.
“Small businesses are critical to our economic strength, building America's future, and helping the United States compete in today's global marketplace,” Acting Chairman Ohlhausen said. “This innovative new website is a one-stop shop where small businesses can find information to protect themselves from scammers and hackers, as well as resources they can use if they are hit with a cyberattack.”
According to the U.S.Small Business Administration (SBA), there are more than 28 million small businesses nationwide, employing nearly 57 million people. Scammers frequently target small businesses with deceptive tactics designed to get them to pay for supplies they didn’t order, donate to fake charities or trick them into giving access to their network or downloading malware that can corrupt their business’s computers.
Cyberattacks can be particularly devastating to small businesses, and many of them lack the resources that larger companies have to devote to cybersecurity. Symantec Corp.’s 2016 Internet Security Threat Report(link is external) indicates the percentage of spear-phishing attacks targeting small business rose dramatically from 18 percent to 43 percent between 2011 and 2015.
The FTC’s new web page offers specific information to help small businesses protect their networks and their customer data. This includes a new Small Business Computer Security Basics guide, which shares computer security basics to help companies protect their files and devices, train employees to think twice before sharing the business’s account information, and keep their wireless network protected, as well as how to respond to a data breach. It also has information on other cyber threats such as ransomware and phishing schemes targeting small businesses. The FTC is continuing to work with the SBA on additional ways to help small businesses.

NYSBDC Female Entrepreneur of the Year – Gloria Lovece, Infrastructure Unlimited Inc.

The New York Small Business Development Center is pleased to recognize the boldest, brightest, and best small companies and enterprising individuals in New York State.  Eight small business owners were honored at the 2017 Client Awards ceremony on April 24, 2017.  Read all their stories here. 

Gloria Lovece is President of Infrastructure Unlimited Inc., the construction company she started with her two brothers. The company specializes in the installation and remediation of public infrastructure - notably bridges, railroads and power lines. Her company is a certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) in NY and NJ with certification pending in Ohio. In a male dominated industry, she has worked hard to overcome many obstacles. As a startup, Infrastructure Unlimited was awarded its first contract, sealing 28 bridge decks on interstate highways with heavy traffic and finished the project ahead of schedule. Gloria worked with the SBDC to find additional capital to fund her continued growth and to navigate the process of DBA certification. Gloria’s firm received a $375,000 SBA guaranteed loan from M&T Bank, and combined with an additional investment in cash and equipment the company has added three new full-time positions and bidding on more projects. As an entrepreneur, Gloria is fulfilling her childhood dream of having a company where women and minorities are welcome and able to thrive.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Fake News Means Fact-Checking Must Be Part of Your Content Strategy

From MarketingProfs:

Hillary Clinton wasn't the only loser in last year's elections.

Facebook and the media were put on the defensive about their role in what has become known as "fake news," which has spread in a "post-truth" political climate.

It looks like facts may have been the biggest casualty of the elections.

And that has implications for brands that produce content: With the rise of fake news, content marketers eager to maintain their reputations must focus on making sure that their content is truthful. It's too easy to get duped by a false "news" story, which can have an adverse impact on your credibility in your industry and possibly even your site's rankings.

Fortunately, you can ensure the accuracy of your content: Incorporating fact-checking into your editorial process will help you build confidence in the quality and authority of your brand-produced content.

Here's what you need to know.

NYSBDC Minority Entrepreneur of the Year – Laura Cueva, Cueva Interior Innovations

The New York Small Business Development Center is pleased to recognize the boldest, brightest, and best small companies and enterprising individuals in New York State.  Eight small business owners were honored at the 2017 Client Awards ceremony on April 24, 2017.  Read all their stories here. 

At Cueva Interior Innovations they believe that space matters. Laura Cueva and her staff help businesses, educational facilities and medical facilities enhance employee productivity through creative space planning and cost-effective furniture solutions designed to promote employee well-being in the workplace. Laura first consulted the SBDC for assistance in starting her business, and later worked with SBDC to complete the paperwork required for MWBE certification and as approved in 2014. Most recently, Laura consulted with Roxanne Mutchler about marketing and procurement issues. With SBDC assistance, Laura submitted an application to the NYS MWBE Bridge-to-Success Loan Program to obtain financing to support a government contract with SUNY Oneonta for almost $300,000. She was approved by NYBDC for a line of credit for $250,000. Laura has received several small contracts with SUNYs and her Bridge to Success loan will catapult her business to the next level.

Monday, May 08, 2017

NYSBDC Manufacturer of the Year – Jaime Sweet, Hartman Enterprises Inc.

The New York Small Business Development Center is pleased to recognize the boldest, brightest, and best small companies and enterprising individuals in New York State.  Eight small business owners were honored at the 2017 Client Awards ceremony on April 24, 2017.  Read all their stories here. 

Hartman Enterprises Incorporated is a precision machine parts manufacturer located in Oneida that employs more than 45 people. The business’ facility consists of over 25,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Since taking over the family business, CEO Jaime Sweet has achieved her father’s dream of making the business woman-owned and certified. She worked closely with the Mohawk Valley SBDC to achieve this goal and to navigate the various federal and state certification programs. The company is now HUBZone and WOSB certified, and their MWBE certification application is pending review by New York State. Jaime has also worked tirelessly to garner the company various awards, grants, upgraded industry certifications, and other enhancements that strengthen its infrastructure and competitive position in the manufacturing marketspace. These training grants that support the company’s Safety and Quality Management System Upgrade from its existing 15 years of ISO 9001 Certification to AS 9100 Rev C to enable it to do business for the aerospace industry. Hartman Enterprises has already obtained new aerospace customers as a result of this effort.

What the Reversal of Net Neutrality Means for Small Businesses

From ImpactBnd

The regulations against net neutrality have been moved back into the spotlight.

On April 26th, Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman, gave a speech in Washington where he announced his move to undo an Obama-era FCC regulation against broadband internet providers.

His proposal looks to undo the 2015 rules that implemented net neutrality with a Title II classification. But people on each side of the debate have varying concerns about altering the regulation and how it not only affects the big companies but the little guys as well.

With an initial vote coming up on May 18th, many are looking to better understanding of net neutrality, review the proposed changes, and weigh the benefits and worries the changes may create.

So, what do you need to know?

In this article, we’ve outlined the key details about the current and proposed legislation, how it may affect small businesses and operations, and what the future may hold if it’s passed.

*What is net neutrality anyways?*

Net Neutrality (also known as Open Internet) revolves around the idea that all internet service providers (ISPs) treat the deliverability of web traffic, applications, and content equally.

Friday, May 05, 2017

4 Tips I Used to Find the Perfect Work/Life Balance

From: Impact
Over the past several weeks, I've been really thinking about balancing work and life.
As one of IMPACT's Marketing Strategists, I'm often juggling 100 different things for clients any given week -- and as a mom of three under the age of 10, I'm juggling a million personal objectives and tasks on top of that.
Balancing work and life, with or without kids, is probably the most challenging thing to figure out for anyone.
Whether you are in marketing, a CEO, or heading off to college for the first time, we all deal with it daily, and honestly, I still don't know how the heck I do it.  
But, the point of any blog from IMPACT is to provide value and help.
Despite knowing I will spend the rest of my career fine-tuning my work/life balance, I'll let you know what works for me and for others I have spoken to over the last several weeks, and hopefully you'll be inspired to find your perfect work/life balance too. 

Thursday, May 04, 2017

2015 Annual Retail Trade Survey

From: The Census Bureau
MARCH 6, 2017 — This report provides national estimates of total annual sales, e-commerce sales, end-of-year inventories, purchases, total operating expenses, inventories held outside the United States, gross margins, and end-of-year accounts receivable for retail businesses and annual sales, total operating expenses, and e-commerce sales for accommodation and food service firms located in the United States.
 
The Annual Retail Trade Survey (ARTS) sample covers employer businesses classified in retail trade sector and accommodation & food services sector located in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The ARTS excludes data for businesses located in the U.S. territories. The data are published on a North American Industry Classification System basis and the estimates are used to benchmark the monthly retail sales and inventories estimates each spring. 

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

United Untied: A PR 101 Lesson in Crisis Communications

From MarketingProfs:

By now, we've all seen the shocking viral videos. The rage-inducing photos. The fire-and-brimstone calls for a boycott, firings, and someone's head on a platter—preferably Oscar Munoz's, if George R.R. Martin has his way (you know it's bad when the guy that dreamed up with the world's most twisted wedding is outraged by your behavior).

Oh, United.

First, there was Leggingsgate. Then came the now-infamous denied-boarding fiasco. That was followed by scorpions on a plane, Grandmagate, and an Animal Farm-style story of a passenger downgrade, proving that, truly, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." And speaking of animals, let's not forget the bizarre death—and subsequent unsanctioned cremation—of the giant rabbit Simon. Oh, and if that weren't enough, it appears United has something against weddings and honeymoons, too.

United, it seems, can't stop from shooting itself in its proverbial foot.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

National Small Business Week Events

Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. Below are just some of the SBDC events occuring across New York State in recognition of Small Business Week:

Pace University SBDC:

Government Procurement Strategies

Fri, May 5, 2017
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT
Pace University
1 Pace Plaza
Rm W512
New York, NY 10038
The Pace University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is partnering with the US Small Business Administration (SBA) to help entrepreneurs identify and respond to government contract opportunities, as well as deliver on those contracts for which they are selected. The workshop will highlight contracting resources available for small businesses and strategies for how to increase your likelihood of obtaining contracts from government agencies and prime contractors

Canada Looks to Other Trade Regions Amid NAFTA Renegotiations

From: IBISWorld

Canadian business uncertainty is high following the recent US election due to the Trump administration’s goal to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The Canadian economy has relied on US markets for decades  with exports to the United States consistently comprising more than 70.0% of  Canada’s total over the past 10 years. Amid potential NAFTA renegotiations, Canada has pursued closer trade relationships with other regions including Europe and Asia, which will present both opportunities and challenges for the country.

Monday, May 01, 2017

How to Create Brand Recognition for Your Small Business

From iMPACT:

A brand is more than just a logo.

It’s a tone of voice, a feeling, a set of expectations that arise when people hear your name. It’s the values and emotions that the thought of your business evokes.

A logo or color palette are simply reflections of these larger ideas - but that doesn’t make them any less important. In fact, it actually makes them even more important.

Regardless of what your business is, you should establish a brand and branding. Having a well-thought out, consistent brand creates a sense of professionalism and reliability and instills confidence in both prospective and existing customers .

For owners of small businesses, this concept can be intimidating and seem expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.

In the handy infographic below, Cooper House, an Oklahoma-based branding and design studio outlines a number of essential tips to help small-business owners establish and maintain a brand and as well as tactics for creating recognition.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Characteristics of minimum wage workers, 2016

From: BLS Reports


In 2016, 79.9 million workers age 16 and older in the United States were paid at hourly rates, representing 58.7 percent of all wage and salary workers. Among those paid by the hour, 701,000 workers earned exactly the prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. About 1.5 million had wages below the federal minimum. Together, these 2.2 million workers with wages at or below the federal minimum made up 2.7 percent of all hourly paid workers.
The percentage of hourly paid workers earning the prevailing federal minimum wage or less declined from 3.3 percent in 2015 to 2.7 percent in 2016. This remains well below the percentage of 13.4 recorded in 1979, when data were first collected on a regular basis. 
This report presents highlights and statistical tables describing workers who earned at or below the federal minimum wage in 2016. The data are obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a national monthly survey of approximately 60,000 households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Information on earnings is collected from one-fourth of the CPS sample each month.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Diversifying Ad Spend: Why Mobile Marketers Need Both David and Goliath

From: MarketingProfs


Mobile advertising is dominated by two giants, Facebook and Google. In fact, 85% of mobile advertising spend goes to those two channels, and they both now identify mobile as a primary area of importance for future growth. Facebook's mobile revenue is projected to grow by more than 50% year over year, with Google's growing at a healthy 20%.
How did Facebook and Google come to dominate the top of the mobile ad food chain? For starters, each boasts a network of more than a billion daily users. This enables both companies to offer high-quality targeting at a massive scale that most other channels can't replicate.
Facebook predicted early on that highly targeted app installs would be popular with advertisers. It guessed correctly, and now Facebook's mobile ad practice fuels more than 80% of its $5.2 billion annual advertising revenue stream. Meanwhile, Google has long been the dominant player in search advertising, which makes up the bulk of the $19 billion it earns in advertising revenue. Mobile is playing an increasingly important role as more than half of Google searches are now done on mobile, which some analysts estimate account for more than half of Google's ad revenue.
Despite such dominance, marketers run the risk of relying too much on these two networks to deliver the marketing results they need.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

It's Still Loading?!

From: eMarketer


Video streaming quality issues continue to be a big problem for the advertising and media industries. Whether they’re caused by problems with slow internet connections, or high demand for streaming video content during peak periods, the continued troubles are turning off viewers and causing headaches for media executives.
Finding evidence of video viewers’ distaste for bad-quality video isn’t difficult. The latest example comes from a Q1 2017 study released by video performance and analytics firm Mux.
According to the company’s investigation of US digital video viewers who stopped watching videos due to various streaming issues, about 85% said they gave up because the load time took too long, while a nearly identical percentage said stalling and the dreaded problem of “rebuffering” caused them to end their viewing session.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How to Fund a Business When You Still Have Student Loans

From Bplans


Starting a business from scratch isn’t easy under any circumstances. But for members of the millennial generation, many of whom still sit atop a mountain of student loan debt, it can seem virtually impossible.
Student debt has risen dramatically in recent years to become the largest single debt source among those under 40. In fact, the average class of 2016 graduate will be saddled with $37,172 in student loan debt—enough to crush the entrepreneurial spirit of any would-be business owner.
Even so, if you have a business idea you believe in, there’s no reason to put those dreams on hold. With some careful planning and financial management—and a bit of luck—you can overcome your debt burdens and turn that killer idea into a reality.

Monday, April 24, 2017

National Small Business Week 2017

From: SBA


National Small Business Week 2017 kicks off at the end of this month with an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. where national award winners including the naming of this year’s national Small Business Person of the Year will be recognized and awarded for their achievements.
National Small Business Week is being held from April 30-May 6 and is an annual event hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration to recognize the nation’s top small businesses, entrepreneurs, small business advocates and champions.
In addition to the awards ceremony April 30 – May 1 in Washington, D.C. with SBA Administrator Linda McMahon, a roadshow will take place in cities around the country, and several online events.
Events throughout National Small Business Week are made possible thanks in part to the support of leading companies and organizers who serve as cosponsors.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

How Google eats a business whole

From The Outline

Google’s Featured Snippets are not only often wrong, they’re also damaging to small businesses that depend on search traffic.

CelebrityNetWorth.com launched in 2008 because Brian Warner, a former finance major working at a digital media company, wondered what Larry David was worth.

"Honestly, I wanted to know how much money Larry David had," Warner said. "I think Curb Your Enthusiasm had just come back, and I was like, 'God, he must have made so much money from Seinfeld.' I Googled something like 'Larry David net worth' and the results were garbage."

According to CelebrityNetWorth.com, Larry David is now worth $400 million. Warner acknowledges that it’s an inexact science, but he and his employees don’t simply conjure their numbers. They look at real estate transactions, news reports of large purchases and salaries, and sometimes even correspond with the celebrity or their reps. Floyd Mayweather, whose net worth Warner estimates is perhaps the most-Googled due to his infamous spending habits, has personally sent the site screenshots accounting for his assets...

This line of questioning — how much celebrities are worth — is popular enough that Warner was able to quit his day job in 2012 to focus solely on the site. At its height, he said it had a 12-person staff.

Then Google happened.

For most of its history, Google was like a librarian. You asked a question, and it guided you to the section of the web where you might find the answer.

Friday, April 21, 2017

What to Do With Physical Stores?

From eMarketer.Retail


A survey of retail executives, the vast majority of them from primarily brick-and-mortar chains, found widespread concern about enhancing the value of their physical stores.
The polling from RIS News and Gartner found that more than one-third of respondents said optimizing stores and upgrading store-level bandwidth and infrastructure would be a top challenge in the coming years.
Worry about physical stores fits the industry narrative of the moment, with chain after chain announcing new or expanded efforts to shutter brick-and-mortar locations. A recent study estimated that efforts to close stores actually need to be accelerated if the industry as a whole is to address a glut of retail space. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Consumer Expenditures in 2015

From Bureau Of Labor Statistics



This Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) Annual Report presents integrated data from the 2015 Diary and Interview portions of the CE, including data tables. The tables show average expenditures, income, and characteristics for consumer units1 classified by the following characteristics: quintiles and deciles of income, before-tax income class, age of the reference person, size of the consumer unit, composition of the consumer unit, number of earners, housing tenure and type of area (urban or rural), region of residence, occupation, highest education level of any consumer-unit member, race, and Hispanic or Latino origin. This report highlights spending patterns for 2015 from the CE, including a brief discussion of expenditure changes for the year, and provides a description of the CE survey.
Consumer spending increased 4.6 percent in 2015, according to annual data from the CE. This follows an increase of 4.7 percent in 2014, previously recorded by the CE. The average annual expenditures by consumer units (CUs) increased from $53,495 in 2014 to $55,978 in 2015. Accompanying the 2015 increase in expenditures was an increase of 4.1 percent in average income before taxes from 2014 ($66,877) to 2015 ($69,627). Prices, as measured by the average annual change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U, U.S. city average, all items, base period 1982–1984=100), rose by 0.1 percent in 2015, compared with the 4.6-percent increase in spending. In 2014, prices increased by 1.6 percent, compared with the 4.7-percent increase in spending