Monday, December 31, 2018

The State of Blogging: Post Length, Publishing Frequency Trends

Written by Ayaz Nanji
From MarketingProfs

Bloggers are writing longer posts and spending more time crafting pieces than in years past, according to recent research from Orbit Media.

Some 46% of bloggers say the blog posts they write are typically between 500 and 1,000 words long.

The proportion of bloggers who typically write posts under 500 words has steadily declined since 2014, while the proportion of bloggers who typically write posts longer than 1,000 words has steadily increased.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Mobile Payment Trends to Watch for in 2019

By Rahul Chadha
From eMarketer

Mobile payments have been thought to be on the cusp of widespread adoption for several years now. But most US consumers have responded to the technology with a noncommittal shrug.

Proximity mobile payments—those used at the point of sale—haven’t quite taken off the way that payment platforms hoped they would. On paper, the idea of a consumer whipping out a smartphone, tapping it against a payment terminal and going on their merry way seems like a no-brainer. The reality has been a bit different.

There are a handful of solid reasons for the case against dramatic proximity mobile payment growth. But one key way that consumers can become familiar with contactless payments is via public transit. Several major metropolitan areas in the US—including New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia—have either announced plans to install contactless payments at mass transit stations, or have already rolled them out.

Monday, December 24, 2018

7 sneaky ways restaurants get you to spend more

Written by Kendall Little for Bankrate

We’ve all been there: You go out to dinner with a set budget, having already decided what to order and set aside the perfect amount for a tip. Then, your bill comes at the end of the night and you’ve somehow spent way beyond your limit.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. There’s science behind persuading you to spend more. You can scope out the city’s best happy hour deal, take advantage of online coupons and even save on your first round of drinks at home, but restaurateurs and menu engineers have nearly perfected the psychology of making you spend money during a night out.

Here are some common tactics restaurants use to get patrons to fork over more cash.

Friday, December 21, 2018

SBA Proposes Significant Changes to Its SB Regs

By Samuel S. Finnerty

From Piliero Mazza

On December 4, 2018, the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) issued a proposed rule (“Rule”) to implement several provisions of the National Defense Authorization Acts (“NDAA”) of 2016 and 2017 and the Recovery Improvements for Small Entities After Disaster Act of 2015 (“RISE Act”), as well as other clarifying amendments. The Rule will likely garner a lot of attention in the coming weeks, as it proposes a number of sweeping amendments that could have a significant impact on small business government contracting.

Indeed, the proposed revisions address key small business issues such as subcontracting plans, the non-manufacturer rule (“NMR”), Information Technology Value Added Reseller (“ITVAR”) procurements, limitations on subcontracting (“LOS”), recertification, size determinations, and the ostensible subcontractor rule. Below, we summarize some of the more notable amendments that will impact small business procurement.

Consistent with the 2017 NDAA, the Rule states that it shall be a material breach of contract when a contractor or subcontractor fails to comply in good faith with its subcontracting plan requirements, including failing to provide reports and/or cooperate in studies or surveys to determine the extent of compliance.

The Rule provides a number of examples of what constitutes a failure to make “good faith” efforts, including, among others, (1) failing to timely submit subcontracting reports and (2) failing to pay small business subcontractors in accordance with the terms of the contract. The Rule also provides that failure to make a good faith effort may be considered in any past performance evaluation of the contractor.

SBA is proposing to implement certain provisions of the RISE Act to establish contracting preferences for small business concerns (“SBC”) located in disaster areas and to provide agencies with double credit for awards to such concerns. Under the Rule, SBA would use the existing FAR definitions to provide that an agency will receive credit for an “emergency response contract” awarded to a “local firm” that qualifies as an SBC under the applicable size standard for a “major disaster or emergency area.”

According to the Rule, a concern is “located in a disaster area,” if, during the last twelve months, it had its main operating office in the area and that office generated at least half of the firm’s gross revenues and employed at least half of the firm’s permanent employees. The Rule provides a number of factors that SBA will consider if the firm does not meet the foregoing criteria in order to determine whether the firm resides or primarily does business in a disaster area.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Providing Big Business Customer Service as a Startup

Written by Jamie Lowary

 Article from Outpost


You’re a founder or co-founder of a startup. You don’t just wear many hats, you wear them all—you’re customer support, IT, marketing, sales, sometimes even the building maintenance guy or gal when the fridge starts smelling funky.

 Not only are you pulled in eight different directions, you entered into a competitive market and you’re challenged with finding a way to stand out among the noise.

You have limited resources whether it be time, employees, or budget and are feeling unproductive by switching gears all day long.

 Providing great customer service and a positive overall customer experience is one competitive advantage that could separate you from the masses. And, guess what? You don’t need a massive budget or unlimited resources to accomplish it.

Monday, December 17, 2018

5 Key Ingredients in Creating a Small Business Website

Written by Marco Carbajo

 Article from SBA

A website is an essential element for running a successful business. A business without a website can potentially lose out on great opportunities since potential customers can’t reach you, find you and learn about you online.

Creating a small business website can lead to many different ways to market your business and help it grow much faster than relying on traditional marketing methods alone. If you’re looking for a way to reach more customers, or people to influence, the internet is where your business needs to be.

 With over 78% of adult Americans using the Internet and a remarkable 2.2 billion people online worldwide, it’s no surprise that small businesses with websites experience an average of 39% greater revenue per year than those without websites, according to the Small Business Administration.

 Not only does having a small business website establish credibility with consumers; it also is the first face of your company that lenders will see. It’s an important first step to complete prior to applying for credit and opening a business credit file.

 For starters here are five key ingredients in creating a small business website that are essential.

 1) Home Page – The home page is the very first thing that a website visitor will see. Make the first impression count by having a clean, well laid out, and easy to read home page. Be sure to have a navigation menu so visitors can reach other pages of your site with ease.

 Place your logo at the top of the home page and have a headline and content that enables your visitors to quickly understand what your business has to offer. Also, make a place to display any social proof such as testimonials, trust seals, awards, number of satisfied customers, stats, media appearances, reviews, etc.

 2) Products/Services Page – Create a page that highlights all of your products or services. Next, create a separate page for each product or service that provides greater details, features, benefits, testimonials, costs, terms and conditions and purchase instructions.

 At the very least you should provide a short summary of the products or services you offer along with links to other pages on your site that provide more information.

 3) About Us Page – This page tells visitors who you are, when your company was founded and what your mission is. Describe what separates you apart from other businesses in your industry. Remember, facts tell but stories sell so share your story and what led you to starting your business.

In addition to your About Us page be sure to include all the ways to connect with you on social media channels. This provides you another way to connect with your visitors and build trust and a relationship with them.

4) Privacy Policy Page – Your privacy policy page is a statement that discloses the ways your website gathers, uses, discloses, and manages a customer’s data. Many state and federal laws require a website privacy statement so be sure to create one.

5) Contact Us Page – This page is crucial since it provides your visitors a way to get in contact with you. At the end of the day, if you want to generate business from your website, make it easy for visitors to contact you.

At the very least, your contact us page should have an online submission form, your company phone number and an email address that is clearly visible. If your visitor completes the online form be sure to redirect the page to a thank-you page that explains when and how you’ll be contacting them.

 Creating a small business website is a must-have for any business whether you are a brick and mortar operation or home-based business. It’s a digital business card that provides online searchers the ability to find your business, learn about your business, and connect with your business at the click of a button.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Is Your Business Prepared for an Emergency?

Article from USA.gov

Businesses and their staff face a variety of hazards:

 Natural hazards like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.

Health hazards such as widespread and serious illnesses like the flu.

 Human-caused hazards including accidents and acts of violence.

 Technology-related hazards like power outages and equipment failure.

 There is much that a business leader can do to prepare his or her organization for the most likely hazards.

 The Ready Business program helps business leaders make a preparedness plan to get ready for these hazards. The Ready Business Toolkit series includes hazard-specific versions for earthquake, hurricane, inland flooding, power outage, and severe wind/tornado. Toolkits offer business leaders a step-by-step guide to build preparedness within an organization. Each toolkit contains the following sections:

 Identify Your Risk

 Develop A Plan

 Take Action

 Be Recognized and Inspire Others

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

7 Benefits of Manufacturing in the United States

Written by Jill Worth


 Article from The Rodon Group

When looking for a manufacturer that will provide you with quality, savings, and a quick turnaround, it’s essential to consider the location of your facility.

While many companies are moving overseas in search of cheaper production and labor costs, it often pays to keep your company based right here in the United States.

 In fact, there are numerous benefits to choosing a manufacturer based in the United States over those found abroad––, especially in the long run. Below, we discuss seven of the main advantages.

 Choosing U.S.-based manufacturing means creating jobs here at home for Americans. Many customers value companies that are rooted in their communities and employ their neighbors and friends, and therefore will choose those products over your competitors for that very reason.

 By keeping your manufacturing in the United States, you can be sure that you’re supporting the local and national economy and helping American families thrive financially, which in turn further stimulates the economy at all levels.

Manufacturing currently provides some of the highest wages in the country for industrial workers. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, industries that specialize in producing goods paid an average salary of $56,799 per year—more than $10,000 above other popular working-class sectors such as healthcare or teaching.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Updated SBA Loan Chart

Written by Bob Coleman

 Article from Coleman Report



SBA has compiled a very good chart summarizing all of its loan programs with updated fees as of October 1.You may download it here.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Here are your new income tax brackets for 2019

Written by Darla Mercado

 Article from CNBC


The IRS has tweaked income tax brackets for the new year, adjusting them for inflation.

 Next year’s standard deduction will be $12,200 for singles and $24,400 for married couples who file jointly. Personal exemptions will remain at zero.

 There will be no penalty for failure to maintain minimum essential health coverage in 2019. This year, the penalty was $695.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

National Tax Security Awareness Week

From the Internal Revenue Service:

The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry will hold a National Tax Security Awareness Week December 3-7, 2018 to encourage individual and business taxpayers to take steps to protect their tax data and identities in advance of the 2019 filing season.

The IRS announced steep declines in tax-related identity theft in 2017 following the success of the Security Summit effort. Key indicators of identity theft dropped for the second year in a row in 2017. This includes a 40 percent decline in taxpayers reporting they are victims of identity theft in 2016. Since 2015, the number of tax-related identity theft victims has fallen by almost two-thirds and billions of dollars of taxpayer refunds have been protected.

The Don't Take the Bait awareness series is focused on the need for tax professionals to increase their computer security and be cautious of spear phishing scams. Tax professionals must remember that they have a legal requirement under federal law to protect taxpayer information.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

New York State Is Probing Abuses in Small-Business Lending

From Bloomberg LP
Written by Zeke Faux and Zachary Mider

New York’s attorney general has opened an investigation into potential abuses by finance firms that offer quick money to small businesses nationwide, according to a person familiar with the probe.

Attorney General Barbara Underwood’s office is looking into whether merchant cash-advance companies engaged in fraud or abused the state court system, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Last week the office subpoenaed one of the largest cash-advance companies, Yellowstone Capital LLC, the person said.

"It’s reprehensible to defraud, deceive and harass small-business owners through predatory debt-collection practices and the abuse of our court system," Underwood said in a statement to Bloomberg News that didn’t provide details. “If a company is engaging in fraudulent and deceptive conduct, we want to know.”

Monday, December 03, 2018

Pennsylvania Tax Obligations for Out-Of-State Vendors

Article from Pennsylvania Department of Revenue

Any entity making taxable sales or performing taxable services in Pennsylvania must be licensed to collect and remit sales tax.

Pennsylvania’s sales and use tax rate is 6 percent. An additional 1 percent local sales and use tax applies to sales in Allegheny County; an additional 2 percent local sales and use tax applies to sales in Philadelphia.

 No tax is due on out-of-state deliveries made by a vendor or common carrier. However, deliveries made within Pennsylvania are subject to sales tax.

 Any business that does not have a permanent physical location in Pennsylvania, but makes taxable sales in Pennsylvania on an irregular basis, is required to register for a transient vendor’s license. Transient vendor licenses are renewable on a yearly basis so long as the taxpayer timely files and remits all sales tax.

 All other out-of-state vendors, making taxable sales in Pennsylvania, are issued sales tax licenses, valid for five years and renewable so long as the taxpayer timely files and remits all state taxes. Sales and transient vendor licenses must be prominently displayed at all events.

Department of Revenue enforcement agents have the authority to issue citations to people who sell items subject to Pennsylvania sales tax without valid sales tax licenses. Penalties for making such sales may include a fine between $300 and $1,500 for each violation and imprisonment up to 30 days for failing to pay the fine

Friday, November 30, 2018

Real vs. Artificial Christmas Trees: Which Is the Greener Choice?

Written by Karen Zraick

 Article from The New York Times



It’s the centerpiece of the biggest holiday of the year for many American families: the Christmas tree, the focal point for parties and presents, replete with favorite ornaments and lights.

 Some cherish the scent of a real tree and the tradition of bringing it home, while others prefer the tidier and easier option of the plastic variety.

 But which is better for the environment? Here’s a look at some of the central claims — and the common misconceptions — in that debate.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Latino-Owned Businesses: "Shining a Light on National Trends"

Article from The Federal Reserve Bank of New York

 Latino-owned businesses are growing in number and importance to the American economy. Contributing more than $700 billion in sales to the economy annually, they are also an important source of employment as sole proprietors and as firms with employees on payroll.

 The 2012 U.S. Census Survey of Business Owners estimated that Latino-owned firms have 2.3 million employees on payroll, a number that by several counts has grown since the survey’s release. One in four new businesses, traditionally key sources of new jobs, is now Latino-owned. Quite simply, small business growth is tied to the fortunes of Latino-owned businesses.

 Yet, research also shows that Latino-owned firms face significant growth barriers. Estimates from the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI) highlight that only three percent of Latinoowned businesses grow to $1,000,000 or more in annual revenues, compared to six percent of white-owned businesses. In short, despite impressive numbers of startups, Latino-owned firms tend to stay small.

 This report builds on earlier work from SLEI and the Aspen Institute to probe firm-level and environmental-level growth factors that influence Latino business performance. By comparing Latino-owned firms to non-Latino white-owned firms, unscaled Latino-owned firms to scaled firms, and metro areas of relatively strong Latino entrepreneurship to those with smaller shares of Latino-owned businesses, we are able to discern the most acute challenges and begin to highlight remedies to these challenges.

This report’s goal is to focus attention on potential investments at the firm- and community-level that will advance Latino business growth. It draws on analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, surveys from SLEI and the Federal Reserve Banks, interviews with the owners of scaled and unscaled Latino-owned firms as part of a research collaboration between Stanford Graduate School of Business, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Interise.


Written by Claire Kramer Mills,Jessica Battisto, Scott Lieberman, Marlene Orozco, Iliana Perez, Nancy S. Lee

Monday, November 26, 2018

Why Marketers Struggle to Consistently Identify Their Audiences

Written by Ross Benes

 Article from eMarketer

Marketers are invested in accurately identifying their target audiences, but they often miss the mark.

 In a July 2018 survey of 408 marketing industry professionals in North America conducted by Winterberry Group and Data & Marketing Association (DMA), only 2.4% of respondents said they plan to reduce their spend on marketing identity solutions over the next year.

 Marketing identity products tie together reams of data so that marketers can more accurately identify the people who see their ads.

 Just one in seven of the North American professionals polled said that they are able to identify audience members extremely well. Most respondents indicated that they can identify their audience fairly or somewhat well.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Pause: Quotes on Why You Should Take Breaks, Relax, and Play

Written by Jonathan Michael

 Article from Bplans

Small business owners and entrepreneurs are almost always working, whether they’re in the office or not. But is it possible that occasionally taking time off and resting is better for your business?

 Here are 15 quotes from famous authors, poets, and speakers on why time away from work could be just as important to your bottom line.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Make the Most of Small Business Saturday and Kick Off the Holiday Season!

Article from Entrepreneur
Do you have a strategy to make the most of this year’s Small Business Saturday? It can be a big day for small businesses and a great kick-off to the holiday season. It is coming up on Saturday, November 24, and if you plan ahead, you can leverage this celebration to help raise awareness of and grow your business.

 Watch this webinar for an insightful conversation with celebrity chef, entrepreneur, and Food Network star Robert Irvine, B2B brand marketer Melissa Lapp from Comcast Business, and Entrepreneur author and small-business owner Jill Schiefelbein during a 60-minute webinar called “Make the Most of Small Business Saturday and Kick Off the Holiday Season.”

Presented by Comcast Business and Entrepreneur, this webinar will teach you how to leverage technology to help you better serve your customers and get insights that will help you grow—doing more with what you already have.

 Where is your business missing opportunities to better serve your customers? What are you not leveraging to the maximum? Learn what benchmarks are important to set to capitalize on any marketing or promotional campaign, and how you can utilize technology to get people in your doors and keep them engaged.

 Also read: 
10 products you should not buy on Black Friday from U.S.News and
5 products that will see the biggest black Friday discounts in 2018 from U.S.News

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?"