Showing posts from September, 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?

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, Manufac…

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 restaurantsaverage check for limited service restaurantscost per dollar of salesratio to total salesamount per seat and ratio to total salesannual employee turnoveramount per square foot

The National Coffee Drinking Trends Report 2017

daily, weekly, yearly consumption by ageconsumption by type of coffeeconsumption by regionwhere and when coffee is consumeddrinking coffee at home vs in restaurantsconsumer attitudesyear 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 attendanceleading club data & market sharehealth club member demographicsequipment and activity usage dataclub …

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.
The procedures for Voluntary dissolution of New York State not-for-profit corporations are different.
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; andends the corporation’s…

Small Businesses Crowd Facebook, Twitter for Marketing

From eMarketing:

Small-business owners are often constrained by limits on resources as they balance different needs competing for a slice of finite budgets. But new research from business and marketing services provider G2 Crowd found that despite potential financial restrictions, marketing remains a priority for these decision-makers.

In March, G2 Crowd surveyed small-business owners and managers in the US. (The company defined a small business as one with 250 or fewer employees.) Some 24% of respondents said they planned to prioritize investments toward marketing and advertising in 2017. That was more than the number who planned to concentrate funds on other areas such as sales personnel, new facilities, and software and other IT systems.

Social media platforms have emerged as popular marketing channels for small businesses, according to G2 Crowd’s poll. It revealed that 80% of respondents used Facebook for marketing purposes, while a little more than half (51%) turned to Twitter. W…

New Materials: HOST Almanac 2017

We've received some new editions in the library. These are sources we use frequently. One of the latest is the HOST Almanac 2017 (with 2016 data). It is published by Smith Travel Inc. The report covers limited and full-service hotel operations, labor analysis, costs, and expenses such as wages, taxes, golf operations, and maintenance among others. 

You can see how the lodging industry is performing overall, trends,  revenue and expense growth, and transaction volume. A map of profitability change by market offers a very broad view of the US. The markets are broadly by state with some more detailed market information in populous areas.

For the summary tables, hotels are split out by "chain-affiliated" and "independent" and by region in our case, "Mid-Atlantic" as well as split between "full" and "limited" service. You can also see hotels by location types such as urban, suburban, interstate, resort, and small metro/town and class, …

Can Brick and Mortar Compete with Digital on Price?

From eMarketer:
Brick-and-mortar retailers may be able to wow shoppers with wonderful touch-and-feel experiences and in-person customer service, but they are still at a big disadvantage when it comes to price—a key purchase factor for many consumers.

From apparel and furniture to televisions and sporting goods, prices of goods are declining. But online prices are dropping at a much faster rate than in-store price tags, according to Adobe’s Digital Price Index study, which compares the prices of baskets of comparable goods online against those in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measured by the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. The study, which looks at a total of 18 product and service categories, suggests that price deflation can be seen in most categories, whether online or in physical stores, but the declines are more distinct online...

For instance, online apparel prices in June fell 4.1% from a year earlier, compared with a 0.6% decline in-store during the same …

Startup Firms Created Over 2 Million Jobs in 2015

From the US Census Bureau:  In 2015, the nation’s 414,000 startup firms created 2.5 million new jobs according to data from the Census Bureau’s Business Dynamics Statistics. In contrast, this level of startup activity is well below the pre-Great Recession average of 524,000 startup firms and 3.3 million new jobs per year for the period 2002-2006. Other highlights include: ·Job creation in the United States totaled 16.8 million with job destruction equaling 13.7 million. Job creation minus job destruction equaled net job creation of 3.1 million in 2015. ·Young firms (those less than 6 years old) accounted for 11 percent of employment and 27 percent of job creation. ·Old firms (those more than 25 years old) comprised 62 percent of employment and 48 percent of job creation. ·The job creation rate for young firms, excluding startups, was 20 percent in 2015. This rate is above the Great Recession low of 15 percent in 2009, and it has recovered to its average level of 20 percent during the period…

Small business owners file class-action suit against Equifax

From BizJournals:

An Atlanta firm filed the first class action suit brought against Equifax on behalf of 28 million American small businesses. The suit, filed on Sept. 19 by the Atlanta division of The Doss Firm LLC, claims that small business owners were disproportionally affected by the breach, as the availability of small business credit is often directly linked to its owners’ creditworthiness.

The suit notes that “about 60 percent of small businesses use loans to finance their operations… from maintaining cash flow to purchasing equipment,” making the loss of credit of particular concern to these individuals and their businesses.

From the lawsuit:

Many of the 143 million individuals whose PII [personally identifiable information] was hacked are also owners of small businesses that heavily rely on personal and business credit to operate and provide for families across this country. Any business with fewer than 500 employees is generally defined as a small business – a definition ad…

Amazon's War on Small Business

From Inc:

Amazon's recent purchase of Whole Foods has spawned much speculation about the company's ultimate intentions. Probably the most perceptive and comprehensive is a recent article in the Harvard Business Review. Here's the money shot:

What Amazon will now study in the brick-and-mortar world - and more importantly, what it learns and how it applies the insights - can transform consumer retail in the United States. By buying Whole Foods, Amazon gets virtually limitless possibilities to test products and services, test price points and assortment interactions, redefine the price perception for organic and healthier foods, merge offline and online shopping experiences, and perhaps test home delivery or store pickup with ideal early adopters.
If that's true..., the acquisition is very bad news for the grocery giants, which may end up going the way of Borders, the once-huge chain that Amazon's original business model ran out of business.

However, if Amazon is plann…

How to Find Anyone's Business Email Address

From Marketing Profs:

If you live in the world of marketing, you've likely wanted to find someone's contact information but had no idea where to start looking. Whether you're trying to cold-call a lead, pitch an investor, email a press release to an editor, or strike up a conversation with a potential employer, there are plenty of reasons to dig up contact information.

Email is one of the best ways to reach someone you're trying to connect with for the first time. It's less intrusive than a phone call and gives the recipient a chance to chew over whatever you're proposing.

Knowing where and how to look for information is the first step in finding critical contact information. In 2017, there's no better tool for finding information than Google—which processes over 40,000 search queries every second (see this nifty Google search counter ).

With the help of a few tools, you'll be able to find just about anybody's email address.

Most users don't re…

The Customer Service Issues That Annoy Consumers Most

From The Customer Service Issues That Annoy Consumers Most:

Consumers say the customer service issues most likely to make them stop doing business with a company are uninformed agents and long wait times, according to recent research from The Northridge Group.

The report was based on data from a survey of 1,000 consumers in the United States age 18 and older.

Respondents rate uninformed agents as the customer service issue most likely to result abandoning a company; long wait times to reach an agent ranks second, followed by unfriendly agents and difficult-to-use automated systems.

The DNA of an Entrepreneur Report

From Hiscox:
A study released this month by Hiscox, the international specialist insurer, reveals a confident and promising growth trend among US small businesses, with 72 percent of respondents reporting increased top-line revenue in the past year – the highest amount of any country surveyed. As both investment spending and export activities surge, profits are also on the rise, with 31 percent of US respondents reporting growth in the double-digits.

Now in its ninth year, The Hiscox DNA of an Entrepreneur report is a global study that surveyed more than 1,000 small and medium-sized US business owners about the financial pressures, stresses, opportunities and challenges they currently face.

Millennials Hitting Their Stride

This year’s findings show younger entrepreneurs are finding success and confidence as business owners. In fact, 56 percent of respondents under age 30 said their personal financial situation is better now than it was a year ago; 59 percent of respondents ages 30-39 a…

Instant Gratification Nation: The Impatient American Consumer

From MarketingProfs

Many Americans say technology has made them more impatient today than they were five years ago, according to recent research from Fetch and YouGov.

The report was based on data from a survey of a YouGov poll conducted in May 2017 among 2,489 US adults age 18 and older.

Some 41% of respondents say technology has made them more impatient than they were five years ago. Among Millennials, the proportion is 45%.

Only 26% of respondents say they would wait longer than 30 minutes for takeout food, and 41% of consumers say they would not wait longer than 15 minutes for a ride requested via a mobile app.

Check out the infographic for more findings from the poll...

Eliminating A 3D Printing Risk

From ThomasNet:

As is the case with many technological advancements in the industrial sector, attention must always be paid to factors impacting the operational environment. So, in addition to “green” planning and regulatory compliance, employee safety is an obvious concern.

Recently, studies have shown that bits of carbon from the plastics and resins used as 3D printing materials can be released into the air during printer operation. When inhaled, these can present significant health concerns. The relatively “new” application of 3D printing within mainstream manufacturing also means no research had previously examined these potential safety concerns or devised safeguards against them.

Enter Chungsik Yoon and his colleagues from the Department of Environmental Health and Institute of Health and Environment at Seoul National University.

Latest Estimates for US Proximity Mobile Payments

From eMarketing:

Over the past few years, the use of mobile devices for financial activities has expanded from simply checking an account balance to include other types of transactions, such as proximity payments and peer-to-peer (P2P) fund transfers.

Millennials have pioneered the adoption of both mobile banking and payments, but adoption is also rising among older adults, according to eMarketer’s latest report, “US Mobile Banking and Payments: eMarketer’s Estimates for 2016-2021.”

eMarketer estimates the value of US proximity mobile payment transactions will total $49.29 billion in 2017, up 78.1% from last year. Though the growth rate will remain in double digits through the forecast period, it will slow down to 23.9% in 2021. That year, US consumers will use their mobile phones to pay for $189.97 billion worth of goods and services at a physical point of sale (POS).

The average annual spend per proximity mobile payment user in the US will reach $1,026 in 2017, surpassing $1,000 fo…

A Practical Guide to Killing (or Saving) Your Corporate Blog in 100 Days

From MarketingProfs :

You did it. You built a solid hub of corporate content.

You turned to the abundance of advice available out there—on how map out the content strategy, create newsroom-worthy content, build a following, and engage with users—and you did it.

But now what? You've got a well-planned behemoth of a content machine, but is it sustainable? Will it thrive? Will it survive a year, two years, five years later? Or a few months, even?

Unless all the sweat equity you put into building it continues at the same intensity and pace after it's built, likely not.

Fact is, your blog is destined for a sad end if it's not carefully nurtured and fed engaging content that changes with its readership. It takes more time, attention, and resources than it took to build it. It demands a long-term strategy and an invested team. And without those things, you'll destroy the very thing you worked so long and hard to create.

Here's what happens when a good blog goes bad, and g…

Cybersecurity Is Standard Business Practice for Most Large Companies

From PR Newswire:

Over 90% of large US companies with 500+ employees have a cybersecurity policy in place to protect them from both real and anticipated threats, according to a new survey from Clutch, a leading B2B ratings and reviews firm.

Clutch surveyed over 300 corporate IT decision-makers about what to include in a cybersecurity policy and found that security software, data backup and storage, and scam detection are the most common areas cybersecurity policies cover.

Phishing attacks are the cybersecurity attack large companies most commonly experience: 57% of IT decision-makers said their company experienced a phishing attack in the past year.

Over 80% of IT decision-makers surveyed say they proactively communicate their company's cybersecurity policy, policy compliance, and training to employees. However, only two-thirds (66%) of these decision-makers enforce their company's cybersecurity policy.

The power of employees' personal brands

From Entrepreneur:

When brand messages are shared by employees on social media, they get 561 percent more reach than the same messages shared by the brand’s social media channels.

Brand messages are re-shared 24 times more frequently when posted by an employee versus the brand’s social media channels.

On average, employees have 10 times more followers than their company's social media accounts.

Content shared by employees receives 8 times more engagement than content shared by brand channels.

The bottom line is that we trust people more than we trust brands, and we engage with people more than we engage with brands. If you don’t get your employees involved on social, you’re absolutely losing out to companies that do.

5 steps to get started with bitcoin and cryptocurrencies


You’ve probably heard about the fast rise of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies this year.

We’ve seen a rise in bitcoin from $954.71 on December 28, 2016 to a new high of $4,455.97 on August 15 of this year, according to coin market cap.

Some have been calling it a bubble. While that is possible, today we’re seeing major countries and corporations around the world devoting resources to blockchain and cryptocurrencies. You don’t want to take the attitude of those who dismissed major trends like the internet or social media.

So how do you get started with bitcoin and cryptocurrencies?

A great place with a simple, easy-to-understand starting approach is That website shows you step-by-step what to do...

A digital wallet is an app. This app holds your digital coins. Usually these wallets are free, and there are many available.

What I learned about business from a Girl Scout cookie entrepreneur

From the Small Business Administration:
By Linda McMahon, SBA Administrator

When I was a Girl Scout, selling cookies meant dragging a wagon full of boxes door to door in my North Carolina neighborhood. I didn’t have online tools or a marketing plan or even a real strategy.

But Julia Vieira Reis, a 12-year-old Girl Scout from Manchester, Connecticut, certainly did. She sold more than two thousand boxes. Her entrepreneurial success earned her recognition as one of the nation’s top cookie sellers of 2017.

I got to meet Julia when she interviewed me about how my Girl Scout experience prepared me for my career in business. She wondered what she and other Girl Scouts could learn from my advice. Turns out, she also had a lot of her own wisdom to share with me – and other entrepreneurs – about what it takes to succeed!

New York State’s New Paid Family Leave Program

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, Notice 17-12

The State’s new Paid Family Leave program has tax implications for New York employees, employers, and insurance carriers, including self-insured employers, employer plans, approved third-party insurers, and the State Insurance Fund. The Department of Taxation and Finance has reviewed the New York statute, implementing regulations, and applicable laws, case law and federal guidance and has consulted with the Internal Revenue Service regarding the appropriate tax treatment of family leave contributions and benefits under the New York program.

Based upon this review and consultation, the following guidance:
• Benefits paid to employees will be taxable non-wage income that must be included in federal gross income
• Taxes will not automatically be withheld from benefits; employees can request voluntary tax withholding
• Premiums will be deducted from employees’ after-tax wages
• Employers should report employee contributi…

No One Should Work in Unsafe Conditions


If you're working in unsafe conditions, don't just put up with the danger to yourself and others— file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). A new online tool is available to help you file a whistleblower complaint and put a stop to working in dangerous conditions.

OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the whistleblower provisions of more than twenty whistleblower statutes protecting employees who report violations of various workplace safety and health, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health insurance reform, motor vehicle safety, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities laws. Rights afforded by these whistleblower protection laws include, but are not limited to, worker participation in safety and health activities, reporting a work-related injury, illness or fatality, or reporting a violation of the st…

Five Steps to Your Hurricane Harvey Recovery

By Linda McMahon, SBA Administrator Published: September 1, 2017 Over the past week, as the people of the Gulf Coast deal with the unprecedented effects of Hurricane Harvey, we have seen heartbreaking moments of tragedy, of lives lost, homes destroyed and neighborhoods left in ruin, as well as remarkable acts of heroism and compassion as the first responders and people of Texas and Louisiana help each other survive. I have visited Texas twice in the past week and want to extend to the Gulf community my thoughts and prayers, as well as my commitment to help them get their lives back in order through the resources available through the U.S. Small Business Administration. While FEMA addresses immediate needs like food, water and shelter in the aftermath of a declared disaster, the SBA is your partner for long-term recovery. Experts say Hurricane Harvey will pose one of the longest and costliest post-disaster rebuilding efforts in U.S. history. If you’re a homeowner, renter or business own…

The Man Who Wrote Those Password Rules Has a New Tip: N3v$r M1^d!

From the Wall Street Journal:

The man who wrote the book on password management has a confession to make: He blew it.

Back in 2003, as a midlevel manager at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Bill Burr was the author of NIST Special Publication 800-63. Appendix A. The 8-page primer advised people to protect their accounts by inventing awkward new words rife with obscure characters, capital letters, and numbers—and to change them regularly.