Monday, November 19, 2018

Choosing the Right Business Structure: Factors to Consider

Written by Marco Carbajo

 Article from Blogs. Industry Word

Choosing which business structure is right for you is a crucial step when starting a business. The entity you select has legal, financial, and operational implications. Here are three factors to consider when choosing a business structure.

 Business Taxes – Business owners must meet all federal, state, and local tax obligations to stay in good legal standing. The type of business structure you choose impacts your personal liability and which taxes your business must pay.

 For example, choosing a sole proprietorship may be the easiest structure to form for a small business startup, but it comes at a price. A sole proprietorship has less government regulations and tax obligations than all the other business structures. It’s taxed at the personal level because you and your business are considered the same legal entity. This means you are personally responsible for all the business’ losses and liabilities.

 With an entity structure such as a limited liability company (LLC), business and personal liabilities are separate, like a corporation. Depending on whether you have a single-member, or multi-member LLC, you are required to file different LLC tax forms.


 Industry – Your business structure will depend on the type of industry you operate in, because of common practices and state requirements. For example, real estate investment companies carry a higher risk. That’s why the limited liability company is widely used due to the owner’s liability protection it provides.

 Typically, companies offering professional services form partnerships because they provide flexibility and are easy to form and maintain. The liability may be limited or unlimited, depending on the type of partnership.

 Personal Liability – In order to choose the right business structure, you must understand what liability protection each entity structure offers. In a corporation, LLC, limited partnership, and limited liability partnership there are different levels of personal liability protection.

 With a corporation or LLC, only the entity can be sued — not the owners or officers of the business.

 A limited partnership is created by one or more general partners and one or more limited partners. Limited partners have personal liability for the company’s debts, but only up to the amount they have invested in the business.

 In a limited partnership, general partners have unlimited personal liability for the company’s debts. This can be limited by having a corporation or LLC as the general partner. A limited partnership is created by one or more general partners and one or more limited partners. Limited partners have personal liability for the company’s debts, but only up to the amount they have invested in the business.

 In a limited partnership, general partners have unlimited personal liability for the company’s debts. This can be limited by having a corporation or LLC as the general partner.

 In a limited liability partnership, all the partners are not personal liable for the other partners. But they all have unlimited personal liability for the business’s debt.

 Once you choose your business structure, you’ll also need to get a tax identification number and file for the necessary licenses and permits. With an employer identification number, your business will also be in a position to build a business credit identity with the major business credit reporting agencies.

 Contact SCORE mentors, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers for free business counseling and advice.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Shoppers May Shun Retailers with Poor Product Suggestions



Excerpt from an article by Krista Garcia
To read more, visit eMarketer

"Email marketing is one of the most evergreen retail tactics. It's also one of the most targeted forms of messaging since recipients opt-in and often provide solicited information or preferences. Despite these factors, personalization can still be hit or miss.

An April 2018 Evergage and Researchscape International study found email content was by far the channel that more US marketers personalized, cited by 71% of respondents. Personalizing home pages (45%) and landing pages (37%) were a distant second and third.

When asked how email was personalized, 76% of respondents said they use a first name in the message or subject line. Just over half recommend products based on audience segment, while one-quarter suggest products on an individual basis."

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

US Department Of Labor Announces Compliance Assistance Tools to Assist Small Businesses


Featured in America's SBDC newsletter

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the launch of the New and Small Business Assistance webpage and the Compliance Assistance Toolkits webpage. These new online tools assist American small businesses and workers with simple, straightforward resources that provide critical Wage and Hour Division (WHD) information, as well as links to other resources.

The webpages were established in response to feedback received from new and small business stakeholders voicing their need for a centralized location to secure the tools and information they need to comply with federal labor laws. These new webpages provide the most relevant publications and answer the questions most frequently asked by new and small business owners. These tools, in conjunction with worker.gov and employer.gov, ensure greater understanding of federal requirements and provide tools to help employers find resources offered by other regulatory agencies. Learn more.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Importance of Community Plumbing

Written by Shannon Mattern

 Article from Places Journal

 This is a vision of the hardware store as episteme. It holds (and organizes) the tools, values, and knowledges that bind a community and define a worldview. There’s a material and social sensibility embodied in the store, its stuff, and its service, and reflected in the diverse clientele.

 That might sound a bit lofty for a commercial establishment that sells sharp objects and toxic chemicals. But the ethos is palpable. (And profitable, too. The store is always busy, and Joe has been lauded by the North American Retail Hardware Association.)

 Headlines proclaiming the death of neighborhood retail remind me of all those articles a few years back that wrongly predicted the end of the library. Despite competition from big-box stores and the internet, many local hardware stores are doing all right. In 1972, the United States had about 26,000 hardware stores.

 Their number dropped to 19,000 by 1990 and 14,000 by 1996, but for the past two decades it has been fairly steady. Hardware Retailing reports a slight annual drop in the number of independent stores, but sales are strong (even increasing) at the ones that remain.

Friday, November 09, 2018

The Minty-Fresh Way to Fail At Business

Written by Jay Hoffmann

 Article from Now I know


More than 200 years ago, a New York City man named William Colgate made a living making and selling soap and candles. Today, his name makes up half of that of a multi-billion dollar consumer goods corporation known as Colgate-Palmolive.

 They, basically, make three types of stuff: soaps (one being Palmolive itself) toothpaste and other oral care products (under the Colgate brand) and, perhaps surprisingly, pet food. In 1976, Colgate-Palmolive, via a series of mergers whose history isn’t worth going into, added the Hill’s Science Diet product line (and related ones) to their offerings.

 They decided not to re-brand the pet food under the Colgate brand because that would be, well, stupid. Who wants to feed their dog toothpaste-flavored kibble? Could you imagine pet food being included among these products?

 That’s the results of a Google Image search of “Colgate” — that’s why some logos are mixed it — but you get the point. When people think of Colgate (the university notwithstanding), they think of toothpaste, toothbrushes, and mouthwash.

They don’t think of dog food or, say, this: That’s some sort of vegetable stir-fry. It’s a frozen, microwave dinner. With a Colgate logo. And yes, it’s real — or, was.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Should Online Retailers Blacklist Serial Returners?

Written by Jen King

 Article from eMarketer
Following Amazon’s recent decision to ban consumers suspected of abusing its return policy, other retailers may follow in the ecommerce giant’s footsteps to protect their bottom lines.

 With the operational cost of returns skyrocketing, retailers can’t afford to have consumers making too many returns.

 Plus, the popularity of the try-before-you-buy model can be overwhelming for retailers not equipped for high return volume.

 A September 2018 study from Brightpearl conducted by OnePoll found that 61% of US retailers would consider permanently blocking “serial returners” who abuse free return policies.

Monday, November 05, 2018

The hostile work environment checklist: How toxic is yours?

Written by Daniel Bortz

 Article from Monster

Workplace stress is hardly a phenomenon. Everyone has a bad day (or even month) at work now and then. Your client presentation didn’t go as well as planned; your boss didn’t fall head over heels for your proposal; you had to stay late to finish a project; your co-worker’s been having a series of too-loud sales calls.

But there’s a big difference between aggravating incidents and a full-blown toxic work environment.

A toxic work environment is one wherein dysfunction and drama reign, whether it’s the result of a narcissistic boss, vindictive co-workers, absence of order, et cetera.

 In addition to harming your morale, this kind of climate can also be damaging to your health, says Paul White, co-author of Rising Above a Toxic Workplace. “Stress takes a toll on your body,” White says.

Health problems stemming from workplace stress include hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and decreased mental health, and can lead to fatal conditions, recent research from Stanford and Harvard Universities found.

Friday, November 02, 2018

The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses

Written by Sue Shellenbarger

 Article from The Wall Street Journal


After decades of screening potential leaders for charm and charisma, some employers are realizing they’ve been missing one of the most important traits of all: humility.

 In an era when hubris is rewarded on social media and in business and politics, researchers and employment experts say turning the limelight on humble people might yield better results.

 Humility is a core quality of leaders who inspire close teamwork, rapid learning and high performance in their teams, according to several studies in the past three years.

 Humble people tend to be aware of their own weaknesses, eager to improve themselves, appreciative of others’ strengths and focused on goals beyond their own self-interest.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

How Much Does a Data Breach Cost?

Written by Rob Marvin

 Article from PC MAG

Data breaches are a terrifying reality for every company that does business on the internet—which is all of them.

 No matter what endpoint protection, encryption, and security you put in place, there's always a chance your sensitive customer information might be part of the next trove of data to leak online.

 There are all sorts of things not to do when your poor server is the one that's breached, but one way or another, it's going to cost you.

 According to the latest Cost of a Data Breach study by IBM and the Ponemon Institute, in the US, the average incident could cost a company upwards of $7.9 million.

 The 13th annual report found that the global average cost of a data breach is up 6.4 percent over the previous year to $3.86 million, and the average cost for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and confidential information also increased by 4.8 percent year over year to $148 per record.

Monday, October 29, 2018

How to Say I’m Sorry: Apology Email Template

Written by Anthony St. Clair

 Article from Outpost

 No matter how they happen, mistakes are a fact of business. Sooner or later, you will have to send a solid apology email.

Perhaps you, a colleague, or a subordinate messed up, and the situation requires a written, professional apology.

 There can be late orders, damaged products, billing problems improper behavior, service outages to a site or app, data breaches, product recall, a canceled event, or a request your company can’t accommodate.

 Effectively apologizing via email can be the best option. Email keeps everything in writing, and everyone gets a date-stamped, time-stamped record of the correspondence. Since it doesn’t depend on setting up a meeting or someone answering the phone, email can also be quick.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Robot Takeover: Is Your Job at Risk of Automation?

Written by Alison Doyle

 Article from the balance careers

 Are you in danger of losing your job to automation? According to a study by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, nearly one in three U.S. workers will see some of their tasks or entire jobs taken over by robots and other artificial intelligence by 2030.

 Employers are expected to rely increasingly on computers to do jobs that humans currently do.

 This is because computers are generally less expensive than human employees. They can also help reduce human error, and even perform work beyond human abilities.

 While the idea of losing one’s job is scary, the study emphasizes that most human jobs will change rather than disappear completely. About half of all employees’ tasks could become automated using today’s technology.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

What Makes a Successful Loyalty Program

Written by Patricia Orsini

 Article from eMarketer

Loyalty programs have a serious retention problem. Consumers are quick to sign up, but quick to forget about a loyalty program once they get their initial discount. Members, overloaded with points, miles and free shipping offers, are not necessarily consolidating purchases with one brand in order to accrue rewards.


 A January 2018 survey from Bond Brand Loyalty found that across most industries, less than half of loyalty program members in Europe, Latin America and North America are satisfied with their programs.

 The companies most likely to offer loyalty programs—retailers, airlines, hotels, quick-serve restaurants, among other sectors—are simultaneously facing increased competition from digital upstarts that are better able to gain an understanding of consumers’ expectations and needs, and deliver on them.

A loyalty program can provide the first-party data needed to begin to understand those customers, but interactions after the initial sign up have to be strategic.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Balancing Fraud Protection and Frictionless Checkout

Written by Krista Garcia

 Article from eMarketer

 As an industry, retail is one of the most vulnerable to cybercrime. Ecommerce transactions can provide a wealth of fodder for fraudsters, including personal information and credit card details.

According to a Q2 2018 ThreatMatrix report, ecommerce companies using its digital identity network experienced 91 million attacks, which is business as usual as the figure was consistent with the same period last year.

The types of cybercrime, however, are changing. An attack rate of 24.2% means nearly one in four new accounts created on ecommerce sites in Q2 2018 were fraudulent, a 130% increase year over year.

Account login fraud using stolen credentials was the second-most common attack (10.2%) while using stolen payment credentials made up 3.0% of total attacks.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Are Your Salespeople Helpful or Just Annoying?

Written by Todd Hockenberry

Article from ThomasNet

The mindset that leads to annoying your prospects instead of helping them stems from a selfish place. If you think about the product or service first, then the logical next step is to figure out who might need this product or service, and then attack them.

Anyone who does this is not thinking about the buyers or their specific issues and goals, and is certainly not thinking about helping them first.

Salespeople are still able to control the sales process, but only if they start from a position of helping. Yes, salespeople still hold a lot of cards, but they fold right away if they lead with annoying prospecting tactics.

Many buyers do not know how to solve critical problems that your solution may be able to address. When dealing with more complex sales, buyers need a guide, an expert — someone with business smarts, not sales tricks — to help them navigate the competing visions for the future within their company.

Buyers need help not only with the product aspect of the buying process, but also with the politics they face internally. Buyers need help influencing key decision-makers and keeping the process on track. Buyers need context for their situation and a roadmap to a better future. Buyers need the right answers at the right time to keep their careers on track and to fulfill obligations to their employer

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Every Step You Take

Written by Janelle Nanos

 Article from The Boston Globe

Most of us now live at the slightly queasy intersection of consumerism and surveillance.

 The dozens of apps on our phones, most of them free, aren’t just serving up information and entertainment. Many are able to ascertain our whereabouts based on the phone’s GPS and can then sell that geolocation data to digital marketers.

 Unlike traditional print or television ads, location-based marketing has the benefit of knowing where we are, whom we’re with, and whether their ads are working.

 Geotargeted mobile marketing is one of the fastest growing forms of advertising — and one of the most controversial. It has arisen in part because, as more of us use streaming and on-demand viewing services, we’re watching far fewer television ads. And because so many of us carry our smartphones at all times, digital marketers have seized the opportunity to gather and sell data on where we are, what we do — and what we might want to buy.

 In 2017, marketers spent $17.1 billion on geotargeted mobile ads, and the research firm BIA Advisory Services forecasts that number will more than double to $38.7 billion by 2022.

Monday, October 15, 2018

For Certain Types of Purchases, Influencers Have More Sway

Author: Krista Garcia
For the full article, go to eMarketer

Even with recent reports of fraud and fake followers, influencer marketing continues to be big business. According to measurement firm Points North Group, influencer ad spending by brands in the US and Canada totaled $211 million in Q2 2018. Nearly three-quarters ($150 million) was devoted to Instagram.

A February 2018 survey by influencer marketing agency Activate found that 88.9% of influencers worldwide said they were using Instagram for influencer marketing campaigns more than they did a year ago.

Despite Instagram's growing prominence in influencer marketing, an April 2018 CPC Strategy study showed Facebook was the leading platform where US internet users heard about new products, events or services from people they follow. Nearly 70% cited the ubiquitous social network, while Instagram (11.3%) and YouTube (9.5%) ranked a distant second and third. This survey was comprised of all age ranges, though, and many influencer campaigns are targeted at younger consumers. Gen Z has different preferences. To wit, Instagram was the most influential among internet users ages 13 to 17 and nearly on par with Facebook among those ages 18 to 24.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Early signs of Christmas make people crabby

Written by Anne Stych

Article from bizwomen

It’s only October, but Christmas decorations are already in stores — and a lot of people find that annoying.

  According to a new Coinstar Holiday Survey, more than a third - 36 percent - of people surveyed say it's irritating that retailers put up holiday decorations and merchandise as early as September or October, although CBS reported some studies show that people who put up their Christmas decorations early are healthier and happier than those who don’t.

 For those who are out of sorts it may be because the decorations remind them they have a lot of shopping to do. And for one in five people, just thinking about holiday shopping stresses them out.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

How Long Does It Take to Start a Franchise?

Written by Joel Libava

Article from the Small Business Administration

Purchasing a franchise involves many steps — and a lot of time and effort.

But, if you’re organized, and you’ve taken the time to learn all you can about franchising, you’ll be able to speed up the process.

Purchasing Steps:

1. The Search

Typically, you’ll visit several different franchise opportunity websites until you narrow it down to a few franchises that look interesting. Here are three things you should be looking for in a franchise.

2. Contacting A Franchisor

This step is a big one, because it involves formally requesting information about a specific franchise. Expect to get a phone call from a franchise salesperson.

3. Research

This step involves reading the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) and calling franchisees so you can request earnings information, as well as conducting other basic market research.

If you’re still interested, you may be invited to visit franchise headquarters for what’s known as a “Discovery Day.” This is your chance to meet with the team face-to-face, ask questions, and watch the business operate in person.


Monday, October 08, 2018

Wallets Full, Shoppers Ready to Crank Up Holiday Spend


Written by Jen King

Article from eMarketerr

A survey from adtech company OpenX conducted last month by The Harris Poll found that more than eight in 10 shoppers say they will spend at least as much as they did last year. Fully 26% of respondents said they plan to spend more; 18% plan to reel in spending.

Millennials (those ages 18 to 34) and parents were particularly ready to open their wallets. On average, parents estimated they’ll spend upwards of $1,000 on gifts, compared with millennials’ planned $860 spend.

Underpinning shoppers' willingness to spend is a sense of financial stability. More than half of respondents (55%) believe the economy is better now than it was a year ago, and three-fourths are confident that economic improvement will continue.

Interestingly, millennials were a bit less sanguine about the economy, with slightly less than half (48%) saying things are better now compared with last year. But like shoppers in general, they are optimistic, with 77% seeing improvements on the horizon.

The Minty-Fresh Way to Fail At Business

Written by Dan Lewis

 Article from Now I Know

 More than 200 years ago, a New York City man named William Colgate made a living making and selling soap and candles.

 Today, his name makes up half of that of a multi-billion dollar consumer goods corporation known as Colgate-Palmolive.

 They, basically, make three types of stuff: soaps (one being Palmolive itself) toothpaste and other oral care products (under the Colgate brand) and, perhaps surprisingly, pet food.

 In 1976, Colgate-Palmolive, via a series of mergers whose history isn’t worth going into, added the Hill’s Science Diet product line (and related ones) to their offerings. They decided not to re-brand the pet food under the Colgate brand because that would be, well, stupid.

Who wants to feed their dog toothpaste-flavored kibble? Could you imagine pet food being included among these products?

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

For Many, Reaching Out to Customer Service Isn’t Enjoyable

Written by Jen King

Article from eMarketer

Contacting customer service is a frustrating experience for many consumers, especially if it gets them nowhere.

According to a June 2018 survey from cloud-based solutions provider LogMeIn, nearly a quarter (23.6%) of internet users in North America—who have contacted a brand for support in the past six months—say their problem was never solved. Those who did manage to get it resolved said it took way too long (33.7%).

Others (38.5%) hated the fact that they had to repeat themselves over and over to other customer service agents as their query was escalated.

Monday, October 01, 2018

How to Develop Your Business Strategy

Written by: Tim Berry

See the complete article at Bplans


Strategy is what you’re not doing. My favorite metaphor is the sculptor with a block of marble—the art is what he chips off the block, not what he leaves in. Michelangelo started with a big chunk of marble and chipped pieces off of it until it was his David.

At the real-world level—my favorite—strategy is like driving and sex: we all think we’re pretty good at it. But simplifying, doing today what will seem obvious tomorrow, is genius. I say the best strategies seem obvious as soon as you understand them. Furthermore, it seems to me that if they don’t seem obvious after the fact, they didn’t work...

Think of it as the heart of the business, like the heart of the artichoke. It’s a group of core concepts that can’t be separated: problem, solution, market, and identity. Don’t pull them apart. It’s the interrelationship between them that drives your business. Each affects the other three.

Friday, September 28, 2018

What Small Businesses Should Know About Tariffs

Written by Peter J. Cazamias

 Article from Small Business Administration

Recently the United States Government announced several new tariff increases. The U.S. Department of Commerce implemented tariffs on steel and aluminum imports for national security reasons.

 Separately, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced tariffs to combat unfair trade practices on certain Chinese goods. Additional tariffs on a larger list of goods from China are expected in the future.

 Small businesses should become familiar with what imported products are impacted to make informed business decisions as tariffs could increase the total cost of certain imported goods.

 What are tariffs?

Tariffs are a taxes, levies, or duties on a particular category of imports. These fees are charged as a percentage of the price of an imported good paid for by a U.S. buyer. These charges are collected by U.S. Custom and Border Protection agents at all U.S. ports of entry.


 How can I obtain a tariff waiver on my foreign purchases?

 U.S. businesses may request that individual imported products be excluded from the new tariff charges; and U.S. producers may also comment on why certain exclusions should be denied.

 The Department of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) have separate application procedures based on the actions taken by their organizations. Decisions are case by case and require separate individual applications for each item to be imported.

 Where can I find out more information?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

3/4ths of the Nation’s Businesses Don’t Have Paid Employees

Written by Adam Grundy

Article from US Census Bureau

You could look at the total number of establishments in the United States using just the U.S. Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns (CBP) data. But if you did, you would only be getting a partial view of the economic landscape.

That’s because CBP only provides data on businesses that have employees on their payroll. But, in 2016, only 23.8 percent of the 32,570,855 establishments in the United States had paid employees.

That means the remaining 76.2 percent of establishments were nonemployers or establishments that don’t have any paid employees. And those data come from the 2016 Nonemployer Statistics (NES).

The majority of all business establishments in the United States are nonemployers, yet these nonemployer establishments average less than 4 percent of all sales and receipts nationally.

So, to get a full picture of U.S. businesses in 2016, you have to look at both CBP and NES data programs.

The U.S. Census Bureau just released a report that combines both sets of data for the first time.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Shoppers' State of Mind Affects Customers Experience

Excerpt from an article by Krista Garcia
To read more, visit eMarketer

"Based on the titles of two new studies, “Stress Shopping” and “Retail Nightmares,” it’s a sad state of affairs for shoppers, in-store and online.

Emotions play a role in shopping behavior even if consumers don't think that they do. According to a recent survey of UK and US internet users by analytics firm Clicktale, 78% of respondents believe they are rational when they shop.

Yet 40% said they shop to calm down, and 74% said they have "stress-shopped" in the past. Younger shoppers and women were more likely to engage in this behavior; 62% of those ages 16 to 24 stress-shop and women were 12% likelier than men to shop for this reason."

Friday, September 21, 2018

The Business Case for Healthy Buildings

The principal author is Kathleen McCormick

For the full report, go to the Urban Land Institute

Inspired by a growing body of evidence that healthy buildings can have a positive effect on human health and real estate performance, as well as the
corporate bottom line, this report highlights the key certification standards in use in the marketplace, explores recent research on the impact of health-promoting design, and offers profiles of five projects that have been early adopters of healthy building and workplace design and management practices. It reviews the
evidence and profiles some early-adopter projects that have been shown—quantitatively and qualitatively—to have had a positive impact on people’s lives and companies’
finances through healthy building design, construction, and management.

The emphasis on health and wellness is a growing global phenomenon. The global wellness real estate industry, valued at $134 billion in 2017, has increased 6.4 percent annually since 2015, and is headed toward being a $180 billion industry by 2022, according the Global Wellness Institute (GWI). Supported by a growing body of research indicating that some chronic health conditions can be prevented or reversed with lifestyle changes, and that health-promoting design can enhance productivity and reduce employee turnover and absenteeism, real estate leaders worldwide are looking to create environments that support the healthy lifestyles that employees seek in workplaces—where they spend one-third to one-half of their waking hours—and in homes that provide a platform for healthy lifestyles.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Retain Your Great Employees. Here's How and Why It's Necessary



Excerpt from an article by Arihant Patni
To read more, visit LinkedIn

"Managing Director at Hive Technologies Key employee retention is critical to the long-term health and success of your business. Retaining best employees ensures customer satisfaction, product sales, satisfied coworkers and reporting staff, effective succession planning and organizational knowledge and learning.

As job hopping is increasingly becoming the norm, thanks in part to a workforce comprised of more millennial's who are likely to have twice as many jobs over their lifetimes as their predecessors, the baby boomers, let’s take a look at some key takeaways on how you can retain your best employees.

Financial stability motivates people to stay in a job, that’s human nature. Apart from this, health care and insurance concerns also add to the list. What you offer your employees must be comparable to other businesses in your industry."

Monday, September 17, 2018

Set your email marketing up for success


An offer for the free eBook "Step-By-Step Guide To Creating A Winning Email Marketing Campaign"
From ThomasNet

Email marketing is one of the best ways to connect with prospects and grow your business. However, it takes a lot of planning and preparation to get it right.

"Whether you are new to email marketing and want to set up your first campaign, or if you’ve been doing it awhile but need to improve your results, this step-by-step guide will help you achieve winning results.

- Learn the best way to build your contact list

- Find out how to choose the email platform that's right for you

- Get expert writing and design tips

- Find out about different tools and apps that can make your job easier

And more."

Friday, September 14, 2018

Customer Attitudes About Emerging Technologies

Excerpt from an article by Remie Arena
To read more, visit eMarketer

"A global survey by marketing platform Hubspot found that among a variety of emerging concepts, cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology, blockchain, leave the most people scratching their heads.

Interestingly, though, those surveyed seemed to perceive that blockchain and cryptocurrencies were not one in the same, because while more than one-quarter of respondents called cryptocurrencies overhyped, only 10% said the same about blockchain.

Two other emerging technologies that were also fairly widely perceived as being overhyped were driverless cars and artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, the survey found that half of respondents did not expect AI to ever have an impact on their jobs."

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Who Knew? Census Bureau Conducts Dozens of Business Surveys

By the AMERICA COUNTS STAFF

More information at the Census Bureau:

The Census Bureau call center receives hundreds of questions every month. We’re bringing you the answers to some of the most common questions in a series of podcasts. Here’s Andrew Hait from the Economic Outreach Office.



We hope this helps clear up any confusion about why you receive multiple surveys.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Most Retailers Haven't Mastered Personalization Yet

Excerpt from an article by Krista Garcia
To read more, visit eMarketer

"Much has been written about value exchange and the push-pull of consumers' willingness to give up personal info for personalization, offers or other supposed special treatment. Many US internet users, however, are reluctant to reveal anything more than their name and email address to marketers.

At the minimum, a retailer should be able to discern and differentiate a consumer at some point during a shopping journey. An April 2018 BRP (Boston Retail Partners) survey of retailers in North America found very different capacities for identifying customers in-store vs. online. That’s not completely surprising since digital activity has been easier historically to track than behavior in-store.

The bulk of customer identification in-store happens at checkout, cited by 57% of respondents. One-fifth of retailers said they couldn't ID a customer in-store at all, while 13% said they can ID a customer when they enter the store. Online customer identification is a different story."

Friday, September 07, 2018

4 Reources to Help You Create a Safe Workplace



Excerpt of an article by Joshlyn Ross

To read more visit sba.gov

When was the last time you’ve revisited your workplace safety plan? Not only is it the law, but it also can ensure that you and your employees are always safe.

In honor of National Safety Month, we would like to highlight four resources that will help you identify unsafe behaviors, create opportunities for improvement and help you (and your employees) make well-informed safety decisions on a daily basis.

1. Ensure your business meets legal requirements with OSHA

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards as well as providing training and education to business owners. Check out OSHA’s handbook to ensure that your small business meets the legal requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

2. Find the Workplace Health and Safety Requirements that Apply to You

Do you need help creating a workplace safety prevention plan but unsure of where to start? Follow this step-by-step guide to determine which OSHA requirements apply to your workplace and how you can comply.

3. Take advantage of training and educational programs

Now that you know what needs to be done, it’s time to execute. Get the help you need to ensure that you and your employees are prepared to handle safety and health hazards in the workplace. OSHA offers courses, educational programs and training materials that are administered by the OSHA Directorate of Training and Education.

4. Request an on-site consultation for review

Have you recently completed your workplace safety changes? Now is the time to sign up for a free on-site consultation service. Consultants will work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs.

For more information on these safety tips and other resources, visit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration website.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Understanding Younger Baby Boomers' Digital Usage



Excerpt from an article by eMarketer Editors,

To read more visit eMarketer

Younger baby boomers are not a digitally clueless bunch, but marketers cannot assume that they are as digitally active—or as mobile in their usage—as millennials and Gen Xers. Rather, they have their own distinctive ups and downs with digital.

As commerce takes on an increasingly digital skew, many marketers will want to connect digitally with younger boomers. But they must wonder whether (and how) it can be done.

"Younger boomers were early adopters of the personal computer and email. But where do they stand in an era of smartphones and social media and ecommerce and all the rest?" asked Mark Dolliver, analyst at eMarketer and author of the new report, "Younger Baby Boomers as Digital Users: Just How Far Do They Go?"

Monday, September 03, 2018

I Don't Like Being Called a Job Creator

By Hank Green

Listen to the vlog on Hank's channel:

1. People don't hire people to create jobs, they hire people to do jobs.

2. The method through which economic opportunity and job creation occurs is complicated and involves many many people, not just the person who starts or owns or runs a business.

3. Entrepreneurship is not charity, it is only a public good if the business does good work and treats its employees fairly.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Going Green to Make Green



Excerpt of an article by Kristin Manganello,

To read more visit Thomasnet

Sustainability initiatives — which focus on promoting and expanding healthy business systems by addressing various environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors — have become a key focus for consumers and businesses alike. The ultimate goal of implementing sustainable practices is to ensure that the global business community is eco-friendly, socially responsible, inclusive, easier to predict, and financially successful for all involved parties.

Because sustainability is often associated with high implementation costs, there is a common misconception that the expenses outweigh the benefits. For this reason, many companies are still resistant to introduce these practices into their business models. But working toward more sustainable processes offers more than just environmental benefits and a boosted company reputation; opportunities abound for fiscal savings and increased profit margins as well.

A Penny Saved Is a Penny Earned

As traditional fossil fuels become scarcer, pricier, and increasingly controversial, interest in renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind energy, is on the rise. Although the startup costs for these technologies are indeed high, companies that reduce or eliminate their reliance on fossil fuels in favor of more sustainable power sources have the potential to boost their dividends considerably just by lowering how much is spent on energy every year.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A Bright Spot for Retail?



Excerpt from an article by Krista Garcia

To read more, visit eMarketer

Despite persistent gloom and doom surrounding the retail industry, the first half of the year has been positive for most product categories. According to the newly released monthly retail sales report from the US Census Bureau, for H1 2018, retail sales (excluding auto parts and gasoline) totaled $2.06 billion, up 4.9% year over year.

With the exception of sporting goods, which shrunk 1.7%, and department stores that stayed flat, all other segments experienced growth in H1 2018. Furniture and home goods (5.3%) and apparel (5.1%) saw the biggest gains.

Now par for the course, ecommerce outperformed total retail with 10.0% gains during H1 2018 compared with the same time last year.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Strategy Is Useless Without Execution


Written by Tim Berry
Read more at Bplans

It happens all the time. You take your team away from the routine for a few hours, brainstorm, and develop a brilliant new strategy for your business. And when you all get back into the routine, the routine wins and strategy loses. Nothing changes.

The plan was brilliant on the whiteboard but never got to the real world. What happened?

Your business strategy is useless without execution. Don’t leave that whiteboard without developing key tactics. Make sure the execution tactics you choose are directly in service of your strategic goal. For every action you take, you should be able to say how it relates to your overall business strategy.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Loss of Consumer Trust Can Be Costly

Written by Krista Garcia
For more, go to eMarketer:

It's logical to assume consumers might lose trust in a company after a data breach or misuse of personal information. But many businesses vastly underestimate the severity of these security mishaps in the eyes of their consumers.

An April 2018 CA Technologies and Frost & Sullivan study demonstrates this perception gap. They aggregated variables like consumer willingness to share personal information online and the belief that companies protect their information to come up with a digital trust score ranked on a scale of 0 to 100. US internet users gave businesses a trust score of 61, the same as the global average. But businesses gave themselves an average score of 75 when asked if consumers trusted them.

This is important because levels of trust correlate to spending. Consumers across all levels of trust—low, moderate and high—increased spending in the past 12 months, but low-trust consumers decreased spending by larger margins. Forty-three percent of low-trust consumers (those with index scores under 55) increased spending, while 15% decreased spending. By comparison, 57% of high-trust consumers (those with scores of 70 or higher) increased spending, while only 4% spent less.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Are Shoppers Really That Resistant to Scanning and Bagging Their Own Goods?

Excerpt from an article by Krista Garcia
To read more, visit eMarketer

"Amazon Go got a lot of attention, but it could be downplayed since there was only one small store near the company’s headquarters in Seattle. Could it even scale? That looks like a tentative "yes" as Amazon appears to be expanding the convenience store concept to Chicago and San Francisco.

Walmart's answer, Scan & Go, debuted in August 2017 and worked with in-store devices or an app on a shopper's smartphone. However, it was reported that the retailer had shelved this trial. According to CBC News, after rolling out this service to about 120 US locations over eight months ago, the adoption rates were still low. The goal was to provide convenience, but it appears customers didn’t like scanning and bagging their own items.

There has always been a degree of skepticism about self-checkout, whether because it’s too complicated, shopper preference for human interaction or resistance to the idea of providing free labor and making cashiers obsolete."

Monday, August 20, 2018

Number of Women-Owned Employer Firms Increases

From the Census Bureau

Women-owned employer firms in the United States increased by approximately 2.8 percent in 2016 to 1,118,863 from 1,088,466 in 2015, according to findings from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs.
The data also shows that women-owned approximately 20.0 percent (1,118,863) of all employer businesses (5,601,758) nationwide. Additionally, about one-quarter (289,326 or 25.9 percent) of all women-owned employer firms were minority owned. More than half (approximately 153,177 or 52.9 percent) of these minority women-owned firms were Asian -owned.
 The Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs provides a demographic portrait of the nation’s employer businesses by gender, ethnicity, race and veteran status. Tables released today provide estimates on the number of firms, receipts, payroll and employment for the nation, the states and the District of Columbia, and the 50 most populous metropolitan statistical areas. The Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs is being folded into the Annual Business Survey. Announced in June 2018, this new survey will include an innovation content module and replaces the Survey of Business OwnersAnnual Survey of Entrepreneurs and Business Research and Development and Innovation Survey for Microbusinesses.
These data are currently available on American FactFinder. Data will be available on the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs web page under "Data" and "ASE Tables" soon.
For more information about the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, including survey design, methodology and data limitations, visit <www.census.gov/programs-surveys/ase.html>.
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Friday, August 17, 2018

Complaining Customers Can Be Great For Business

Excerpt from an article by Jackie Dana
To read more, visit NameCheap

"Every business needs happy customers and clients to be successful. From repeat business to word of mouth, satisfied customers sustain your business and help it to grow.

But not every customer or client is going to be happy all the time.

Your quest, should you choose to accept it, is to view each complaint you receive as an opportunity to build your business and improve your customer relationships. Let’s take a look at how you can transform your angry customers into your biggest fans and become their hero."

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

How Marketers Are Using Original Research in Content

Excerpt from an article by Ayaz Nanji
To read more, visit MarketingProfs

"Marketers are using original research primarily to create blog posts, infographics, and PDFs, according to a recent report from Mantis Research and BuzzSumo.

The report was based on data from a survey conducted in January and February 2018 among 698 marketers from around the world (53% work for B2B firms, 16% for B2C firms, 26% for hybrid B2B-B2C firms, and 5% for governments/nonprofits).

Respondents were surveyed on how their firms are using original research, which was defined as research published to gain attention from external audiences (benchmarks, salary guides, etc.), not research conducted to meet internal needs (marketing plans, competitive analyses, etc.)."

Monday, August 13, 2018

Checklist for Choosing Business Software

Blog post from SBA.gov
by Anita Campbell

"Good software can enable your small business to increase sales by saving time and money while expanding capacity.

But you must choose wisely — because the wrong software can be an expensive mistake.

Here is my tried-and-true checklist for choosing software to support your business operations:

Testimonials from Businesses Like Mine

Find vendors with a meaningful number of testimonials from other small business owners. Look for testimonials from businesses like yours — businesses of roughly the same size, in similar industries and trying to solve similar problems.

A software package might work just fine for some businesses, however, it may not help fix your problem.

Financially Strong Vendor

For mission critical processes, I hesitate to put my company’s future in the hands of software or an app that may or may not be updated a year from now.

You see this problem with some mobile apps and content management system plugins. A year or two goes by and the plugins appear abandoned and don’t play nice with newer versions of the software. Plugins may have security issues that leave your business vulnerable to hackings. Or perhaps an app looked promising, but it’s still buggy and unreliable a year later. The more mission critical the need, the more you should insist on financially stable vendors that are committed to their software.

Easy to Use

When you use, for example, an inventory management package meant for large corporations, it might seem good because you’re getting lots of features and functionality. And isn’t more always better?

Not necessarily. If you have a small team, getting more features and functionality can leave you worse off. Why? Complexity.

Complexity means it can take your small team more time than they can spare to master the software because they wear six other hats. The result? Resentment, frustration, failure. Complexity also adds more cost to get the software installed and configured, — especially if you must hire a consultant to set it up or have to pay overtime.

Automation with Other Systems

Today you get the most value from cloud software that passes data and transactions automatically to other systems you use. Doing so lets you harness automation — and that saves money. The last thing you want is to have to manually re-enter data from one system to another.

Always look for software that integrates with other software in your business. Many vendors today list all third party integrations on their websites. Avoid developing your own custom integrations, because they can get costly.

Ability to Upgrade Seamlessly

Find software that meets your needs when you are small, but grows with you. When choosing software, I like to start with a simple affordable package, then upgrade to more features or capacity later. And you want to be able to do it seamlessly without switching vendors or going through a manual conversion process.

Free Trials and Low Risk Terms

Free trials enable you to do a hands-on evaluation for a week or two. After that, with a month-to-month payment plan, or the ability to cancel at any time, you’re not locked in. If the software doesn't work out, you at least don’t have to be stuck paying for it long term.

Follow the above six checklist points and you too can improve your operations with software."

Friday, August 10, 2018

Small Scale Food Entrepreneurship: Cornell's Technical Guide for Food Ventures

From the Cornell Food Venture Center:

The Cornell Food Venture Center provides assistance to validate safety and stability of food products entering the marketplace including:

-Lab Analysis for pH, water activity, and Brix of food and beverage products
-Process Authority approval and Scheduled Process: Product Review, Documentation, and Process Validation
-Resources for Nutrition Analysis, Co-packers, Packaging Suppliers, Shelf-Life Studies, and More!
-Regulatory Compliance: Registration and Licensing with State and FDA agencies
-Small Scale Food Entrepreneurship: A Technical Guide for Food Ventures
-Better Process Control School: Necessary certification for Acidified and Low Acid Food manufacturers.
-Food Science 101
-Presentations and workshops: Interested? Contact Shannon Prozeller

The Cornell dropbox link includes everything you will need to work with the university, register with the State and FDA, information on Small Scale Food Production and more.

Services such as process approval and filing, laboratory work and use of pilot plant facility are available on a fee-for-service basis. Prices vary depending on whether your business is registered in NY or outside NY.

NYS Food Venture Center/NECFE
Cornell University/NYSAES
630 W. North Street
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 787-2273

Information for this post provided by advisor Glamis Haro, in response to a colleague's queestion about tsting dog treats, so the testing isn't limited to human food.





Thursday, August 09, 2018

$12B farmer aid program status

I received a question regarding the announced $12 billion farmer aide program recently announced as a result with the tariff war. Naturally, I called my Congressman's office.

One of his aides reaached out to the USDA Congressional Liaison with the questions I asked. (Her questions in italics). They informed her that most of the responses will be included in the NOFA and the Regulation that is published by OMB by Labor Day, and that they cannot share additional details while it’s being deliberated at this time.

I will follow up after Labor Day.

1- How will farmers have access to the funds? Dependent on what commodities the farmer produces, if they grow something eligible for the Market Facilitation Program (soybeans, cotton, sorghum, wheat, dairy, or pork) then they’ll have to come into their USDA FSA county office to complete the necessary paperwork. More details to be released in the Regulation by OMB later this month.

2- Qualifications/Criteria for eligibility? More details will be released in the Regulation by OMB later this month. Only commodities above are currently eligible for direct assistance. Other commodities will be purchased to be used in our feeding programs/food banks, and others will benefit by our trade promotion branch of the announcement through their trade association.

3- How to apply? Will be released in the Regulation by OMB. USDA will issue more guidance for qualifying producers once the regulation comes out.

4- Expected time frame of when farmers can apply and when they can expect to receive funds? Beginning in September, extended throughout the fall.

5- What is the maximum amount farmers can be granted? To be included in the Regulation that will be released by OMB later this month.

6- Who specifically will be in charge of distributing funds? USDA. The FSA will handle the Market Facilitation Program (Direct assistance), AMS will handle the Food Purchased and Distribution Program (commodity buys), and FAS will handle the Trade Promotion Program.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Is the 609 Letter Really a Credit Repair Secret?

Written by LaToya Irby
Find more at The Balance

A 609 letter is one of the latest internet credit repair “secrets” that claim the ability to remove any kind of information from your credit report - even accurate information––based on a “loophole” in the credit reporting law. If you’ve been working to improve your credit, a 609 letter sounds like exactly what you need to get negative accounts taken off your credit report. What is a 609 letter and does it really work?

Credit bureaus collect consumer credit information from various sources, like banks, then resell that information to businesses who need to evaluate consumer credit applications. Credit bureaus are governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which details what credit reporting agencies and information furnishers can and cannot do when they’re reporting consumer information. One of the credit bureaus’ responsibilities is to only include accurate and verifiable information in consumer credit reports.

Use of the 609 letter in credit repair is based on the credit bureaus responsibility to report only verifiable information.