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Showing posts from July, 2017

FTC Returns Money to Victims of Business Opportunity Scheme

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From the Federal Trade Commission:

The Federal Trade Commission is mailing 2,711 checks totaling more than $372,000 to people who paid American Business Builders and related entities for a home-based business opportunity. The defendants claimed that people would earn substantial income offering payment processing services, credit card terminals, and merchant cash advances to small businesses. Under a settlement with the FTC, the defendants – which include American Business Builders, ENF, Network Market Solutions, UMS Group, United Merchant Services, Universal Marketing and Training, and Unlimited Training Services – are banned from selling business and work-at-home opportunities and related services. The average check amount is $137.42. Recipients should deposit or cash checks within 60 days. The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide account information to cash a refund check. If they have questions about the case, they should contact the FTC’s refund administrator, Rust C…

Marketing Highly Unsexy Products

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From MarketingProfs:

The appeal of some products is obvious. It's not hard to understand the attraction of an appetizing cheeseburger, a new action movie, or a revolutionary smartphone. Other products, however, have to work harder to explain the problem that they're solving.

Moreover, some industries serve fundamental needs in society—but don't receive the kind of attention heaped on upstarts like Snapchat: Think Oracle, the second-highest earning software developer in the world; its name would likely draw a blank stare from the man in the street.

There is hope, though. Here are 11 powerful steps for marketing products that, on the face of it, might seem totally unsexy.

1. Define the problem that you're solving

Instead of telling people about the reasons that they should like your product, identify what your customers are looking for and frame your pitch around that.

Millennial Demand for CEO Activism Surges

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From PR Newswire:

Nearly one-half of Millennials (47 percent) believe CEOs have a responsibility to speak up about issues that are important to society, far outpacing the sentiments of Gen Xers and Boomers (28 percent each). An even larger six in 10 Millennials (56 percent) say that business leaders have a greater responsibility to speak out now than in years past.

This is according to CEO Activism in 2017: High Noon in the C-Suite, a report commissioned by global communications and engagement firm Weber Shandwick in partnership with KRC Research. This study follows The Dawn of CEO Activism, among one of the first reports published in 2016 that identified the risks and rewards for companies when their chief executives speak out on hot-button issues.

"Over the past 12 months, the climate in the United States has changed dramatically as business and policy have intersected more deeply than ever before," said Andy Polansky, CEO of Weber Shandwick. "When dozens of CEOs spo…

Demand for Apps is Up but Businesses Struggle to Meet High User Expectations

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From Businesss Wire:
More businesses are realizing the importance of mobile apps, but are discovering deploying and managing apps in their business is not as easy as they had thought. To gauge the state of apps in the enterprise, Kony, Inc., the leading enterprise mobility and digital applications company, partnered with Wakefield Research. The global survey of more than 1,000 line-of-business executives revealed the majority of respondents are still unsatisfied with the apps they have due to challenges around user experience, cost, and ongoing maintenance. In addition, trust in IT is dismal with fewer than 1 in 5 of respondents saying they would work with their in-house IT department.

“Enterprises recognize the importance of apps for their business,” said Carlos Carvajal, chief marketing officer at Kony, Inc. “Unfortunately, as this survey reveals, hurdles around app user experience, cost, and management are stifling innovation. The challenge is organizations that fail to innovate qu…

The Post-Purchase Experience: What Consumers Want

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From MarketingProfs:
Consumers say retailers and manufacturers of B2C products could most improve the post-purchase experience by offering better technical assistance, according to recent research from the CMO Council and LiveTechnology.

The report was based on data from a survey of 2,000 consumers in the United States age 25 and older.

Most respondents (60%) rate their post-purchase experiences with product manufacturers as underwhelming, and 56% say they are generally disappointed with the post-purchase service

The CMO Council report, titled Product Ownership: Lasting Satisfaction or Painful Distraction confirms that the aftermarket ownership experience remains dramatically under-served by most retailers and manufacturers in a landscape in which chief marketers are more focused on demand generation, customer acquisition and product sales—despite the fact that the aftermarket has shown to be a lucrative area.

Why Your Ideal Prospect Just Picked Your Competitor

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From MarketingProfs:

You feel a ripple of nausea as your stomach falls. You just heard from the sales team that your company lost a hot prospect that you really wanted to add to your client list.

You'd followed the tracking notifications as the prospect read your articles, downloaded your premium content, read additional articles, and checked out the case studies and bottom-of-the-funnel content that the sales team had sent.

Your hopes were sky-high when your company's best salesperson was assigned to this prospect, and you just knew she would close the deal.

But, no... And the worst part is, you lost the prospect to a competitor you've been enviously watching win again and again.

What happened?

Content is like a new baby: To the people who made it, it's perfect—even though there are hundreds of thousands of other babies out there that are arguably just as "perfect."

The cost of care: new insights into healthcare spending growth

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From the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is celebrating the first anniversary of experimental disease-based price indexes, which adjust expenditures on diseases for inflation. Statistical agencies have long collected price information on medical procedures, drugs, equipment, and services, but the cost of treating a patient is typically some combination of these goods and services. Many users of the Federal Statistical System have asked that medical care spending be reported on a disease basis.1 Creating price indexes on a disease basis helps provide a greater understanding of the cost of care for a given condition...

Why report prices on a disease basis?

Although health care statistics that are generated on a goods and services basis (i.e., hospitals and doctor visits) are important, we can learn more information if we add statistics on a disease basis. To get the fullest understanding of our healthcare economy, we need both sets of indexes. Users need…

The Best Way to Handle Customer Complaints

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From Bplans:

If you’re thinking about starting up a small business or you’ve just recently launched, fantastic customer service is undoubtedly on your radar.

You want your customers to come away from an experience with your company having seen you in the best possible light. In an optimal situation, the majority of them would not only become repeat customers but would also enthusiastically recommend your product or service to others.

This, however, is easier said than done. Handling customer complaints can be difficult, especially right when you start a new business. However hard it may be to take criticism, it’s extremely important to the growth of your small business. Even if a customer doesn’t necessarily give you easy-to-swallow feedback, learning to see past harsh words and hear valid complaints and suggestions for improvement is vital.

Don’t fret! Here’s what you need to know to handle customer complaints with ease.

Fear of failure is high on the list of reasons why people somet…

How to Write a Business Plan in Under an Hour

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From Bplans:
Most people think that writing a business plan has to be hard. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be.

In fact, it’s possible to write your initial business plan in less than an hour. After all, you’re always thinking about your business and the strategies you’re going to use to grow, so getting those ideas down on paper shouldn’t be hard—it can even be an enjoyable experience.

A business plan no longer needs to be a long document that takes weeks to write and research. It’s not something that you print, bind professionally, and then stick on a shelf.

Instead, modern business planning is a simple process that helps you discover your ideal business strategy.

For modern business planning, I encourage you to embrace a concept called lean planning—it has all the benefits of traditional business planning without the pain and hassle of creating a long business plan document.

How to reinstate a corporation that has been dissolved

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From the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance:

Background

Corporations that have been delinquent in filing returns or paying taxes or fees for two consecutive years may be subject to sanctions imposed by the New York Secretary of State.

New York State corporations may be dissolved by proclamation.
Corporations that have been formed under the laws of another state or country (foreign corporations) may have their authority to do business in New York State annulled by proclamation.
A corporation may regain its ability to do business in New York State through the reinstatement process.

New York Tax Law sets the requirements for reinstatement of New York State corporations (section 203-a) and foreign corporations (section 203-b).
Once the corporation is reinstated, it re-acquires the same powers, rights, and obligations it had before it was dissolved by proclamation or had its authority to do business annulled.

Procedure for Reinstatement

Call
To start the reinstatement process, …

Data For Your Business: new Census Business Builder

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The Census Business Builder (CBB) is a suite of services that provide selected demographic and economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau tailored to specific types of users in a simple to access and use format.

The Census Bureau is pleased to announce that the new edition of Census Business Builder is now live!

This new edition of Census Business Builder allows you to:

Add a Reference Layer from a Gallery or from your own ShapeFile or Map Service
Upload your own data via Excel
Access Agricultural data from the USDA
Access International Trade data from the Census Bureau
Use the new Census Business Builder to get the data you need to start or grow your business.

Check out the new features!

Phony OSHA Scam Banned from Conning Small Businesses

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Government Imposter Used Threats to Sell Regulatory Posters
An operation that allegedly conned small businesses into paying for government-required regulatory posters will be banned from selling such materials, which government agencies provide for free.
The settlement resolves FTC charges brought in 2016, that the defendants pretended to be a federal agency and threatened to shut down or fine newly-opened businesses unless they bought occupational safety and other government-required posters for their premises. The court halted the operation pending litigation.
In addition to the ban on selling such posters, the order prohibits the defendants from misrepresenting that they are affiliated with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or any other agency, that consumers are required by law to buy goods or services, and any material facts about any good or service.
The order imposes a judgment of more than $3.8 million, which will be partially suspended upon the surrender of the de…

Number of Minority-Owned Employer Firms Increased in 2015

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From the United States Census Bureau
Minority-owned employer firms in the United States increased by approximately 4.9 percent in 2015 to 996,248 from 949,318 in 2014, according to findings from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs. Payroll and employment for minority-owned employer firms in the nation also increased from 2014 to 2015 by approximately 7.0 percent ($237.5 billion to $254.0 billion) and 6.2 percent (7.6 million to 8.0 million people employed), respectively. Receipts for minority-owned firms in 2015 were estimated at $1,168.5 billion — not statistically different from the 2014 total of $1,089.7 billion. “California led all states in the number of minority-owned firms with approximately 228,148 (22.9 percent of the U.S. total of minority-owned firms) and the New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA metropolitan area led the 50 most populous metropolitan statistical areas in the number of minority-owned firms (approximately 127,736 or 12.8 percent”), said…

Got a Complaint About In-Store Shopping? Get in Line.

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From eMarketing:

A new study adds another data point to the pile of evidence: The most frustrating thing about shopping in-store is waiting in line to check out.

But the study from Mood Media did underscore that there are still aspects of the in-store experience that shoppers value.

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of US internet users surveyed said it was important to be able to touch and feel products—women (77%) even more so than men (67%).

Almost as many, 66%, said they liked the “instant gratification” of shopping, and 48% said they liked to be able to browse and discover items while shopping in a store.

A significant number of shoppers also said they liked to be able to speak to a shop assistant.

America’s Voice on Small Business

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From America's SBDC:

Small businesses are an integral aspect of not only the economy, but also communities and families across the country. They are the face of America because they represent the creativity, ingenuity, and hard work that fuels this country’s economy. It is critical that we understand the state of entrepreneurialism in America and develop strategies to support and promote the success of current and future generations of entrepreneurs — whatever their age.

This national study is an important step toward achieving this goal. It was designed to uncover research-based insights into the entrepreneurial mindset of Americans, and how to engage them by understanding their perceptions, motivations, and behaviors when it comes to small business.

The 10 Most (and Least) Socially Responsible US Companies

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From MarketingProfs:

Consumers in the United States rate Wegmans, Publix, and Amazon.com as the most socially responsible companies, according to recent research from The Harris Poll.

The report was based on data from a survey of 23,000 consumers in the United States. Respondents were asked to rate the 100 most visible companies in the US on attributes such as supporting good causes, environmental responsibility, and community responsibility.

Consumers say the most important corporate social responsibility issues are employee treatment (39% cite it), ethics (38%), and respectful treatment of customers (35%).

Monsanto, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs rank as the least socially responsible companies.

What, You Don't Have a Capability Statement?

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From SampleTemplates:

When a private company wants to partner with a potential stakeholder, clients or supplier for a particular project, the capability statement shows the private companies' achievements, competencies, and qualifications to be able to get the deal on a proposed project. The presenting tool must be simple and short which only highlights the companies’ competencies and outstanding performance to do business with them.

A Capability Statement should be very brief (only 1 or 2 pages), to the point and written specifically to the individual agency's needs. Ideally, it is a living document that changes depending on the targeted agency.
Why is this? Because savvy companies know each agency has its own mission and focus, and the capability statement speaks directly to those needs

The five key areas included in a successful statement are:
1. Core competencies - This is NOT everything a firm is able to do, but the core expertise of a firm
2. Past performance - past cust…

The Best Metro Areas For Manufacturing Jobs

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From ThomasNet:

Think it's tough to get a job in the manufacturing industry? While that may be the common perception, the truth is that the manufacturing job market offers more opportunities than you think.

In fact, Forbes recently looked at the state of the hiring within the industry and found that all but 18 of the country’s 70 largest metropolitan regions have seen an uptick in industrial employment since 2011. They also ranked all 357 metropolitan areas to determine the locations with the best, most thriving manufacturing employment situations.

Rankings are based on a number of factors, including recent growth trends (year-over-year and the last two years) mid-term growth (2011-2016), long-term growth (2005-2016) and regional momentum.

So, which areas topped the list? Here's a partial list...

*Albany-Schenectady, in upstate New York, is the only metro area in a "blue" state ranked in the top 10. With local factories producing everything from steam and gas turbin…

Uber, Airbnb Lead the Way as Sharing Economy Expands

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From eMarketer:
As trust and familiarity with sharing economy services continues to grow, so too will the number of users.

According to eMarketer’s latest estimates, over a quarter (26.0%) of US adult internet users—or 56.5 million people—will use a sharing economy service at least once in 2017. This is a higher figure than previously projected due to stronger-than-expected uptake of both ride- and home-sharing services.

eMarketer’s definition of the sharing economy includes community-based online services that coordinate property, goods and services. It excludes crowdsourcing, group buying, incorporated professional services and online marketplaces like eBay.

101 Small Business Ideas to Inspire You to Start a Business

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From The Balance:

Coming up with a business idea is the first step in starting a business. But how do you come up with a business idea that is right for you?

If you are looking for a small business idea to kickstart your path to entrepreneurship, you are in the right place. This list of 101 small business ideas includes everything from personal services, to retail opportunities, to environmental services, to pet-related ideas, to technology businesses.

American Workers Use Only Half of Their Vacation Time

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From 24/7 Wall St:
Work hard, play hard. For American workers, that old bromide might more appropriately be “work harder, play a little.” According to a recent study, in the past 12 months, an average U.S. employee who is entitled to vacation or paid time off work uses about half (54%) of that time to get away.

The somewhat better news is that 91% of employees reported having taken at least some time off during the past 12 months, up a bit from 85% who said they had done the same thing in 2014.

But even when they do manage to get away, 66% report that they do work while on vacation. Only 23% report that they took their full allotment of paid vacation in the past 12 months and another 23% took just a quarter or less of their allowed time off. A full 9% took no time off at all.

The Seattle Minimum Wage Study

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From Fortune magazine:

For decades, conservative ideologues have insisted that raising the minimum wage will hurt, not help, low-wage workers. Mandating higher wages will cost jobs, the old canard goes, and the obvious solution is to let the free market function unfettered.

This argument received a significant bump from a recent study by the University of Washington (UW) looking at the impact of the minimum wage increase in Seattle, where in 2014 the city council voted to phase in a $15 wage over the next few years.

The UW study appeared to show that the 2015–2016 wage floor increase from $11 to $13 per hour, one phase on that journey to $15, caused low-wage workers’ annual pay to go down, not up, and overall low-wage jobs to also go down.

Free-market fanatics around the country flung praise at the study, and serious publications like the Washington Post deemed it “very credible.” But fortunately for working people, it turns out the study’s findings are far from that.

The research has…