Wednesday, February 27, 2019

2018 Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories

From the Small Business Administration

The Small Business Profiles are an annual portrait of each state’s small businesses. They gather the latest federal data into state-by-state snapshots of small business health and economic activity. Limited economic data is also provided for the U.S. territories.

This year’s profiles report on state economic growth and employment. They also answer the questions:

How many small businesses are in my state?
How many jobs do they create?
Which industries have the most small businesses and small business jobs?
How many establishments opened and closed?
How many small businesses export, and how much?
Which counties have the most small business employment?

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Labor Shortage Is Acute in Many Industries

By Peter C. Earle
From the American Institute for Economic Research

You’re a construction company, an agricultural concern, or a manufacturing firm — all similarly unable to undertake infrastructure projects, fill freight trains with crops, or produce the countless scores of products the market seeks.

This is exactly the situation the United States finds itself in now. And it is worsening. Last year, the Associated General Contractors of America reported that 80 percent of its 27,000 member firms are having a difficult time filling openings for hourly craft workers.

And the crisis extends far beyond construction: in many subsectors of agriculture, home care, transportation, and manufacturing, the same phenomena are being reported. An estimated 8 million people, representing 5 percent of the entire U.S. workforce, are either fleeing or laying low.

Each is reporting lower productivity, longer production times, higher explicit costs, and perhaps worst of all a massive explosion of forgone projects and skyrocketing opportunity costs. Consumers are receiving fewer goods and services at higher prices and at times at subpar standards.

Friday, February 22, 2019

FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

From FedEx:

Enter Your Small Business by March 25

You’ve built something amazing. Now it’s time to share it with a wider audience.

The 2019 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest is here — with even bigger prizes. Enter now for a chance to expand your possibilities.

Grand Prize
$50,000 (1 winner)
Plus $7,500 in FedEx Office® print and business services

Silver Prize
$30,000 (1 winner)
Plus $5,000 in FedEx Office print and business services

Bronze Prize
$15,000 (8 winners)
Plus $1,000 in FedEx Office print and business services

Enter and Spread the Word
First, review an example. Then follow these steps to increase your chances of winning:

1. Write a short profile.
Share your unique story and offerings.

2. Upload photos and a logo.
Capture the spirit of your business in images.

3. Create a video.
Create a one-minute video pitch about your business. Check out some simple tips to get you started.

4. Get out the vote.
Remind fans to vote for you. Votes are one of the many factors that help you get noticed by the judges.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

How to Get the Most Out of a Sample Business Plan

By Sabrina Parsons
From Bplans

The basic idea of a sample business plan makes perfect sense. If you haven’t done a business plan before, a sample plan gives you an instant idea of what you should include, how to structure it, and even what to write.

A sample business plan gives you an idea of how another small business or startup in your industry built their own plan. A good business plan example will have all the elements your bank or angel investor (or venture capitalist) will expect to see when you ask them for funds.

The most important thing to remember when looking at sample business plans is that they’re samples (that’s why we call them that). They’re not pre-written plans that you can pick up and use right out of the box for your business. And anyone who tries to tell you that you can is wrong—or is trying to make a buck off of you.

Monday, February 18, 2019

This Is What Happens When You Try to Sue Your Boss

By Max Abelson
From Bloomberg

Inside the enigmatic system of corporate justice, where proceedings are secretive and the odds of workers winning are long.

Millions of American workers sign away legal rights without knowing what they’re in for. A lot of employers are forcing employees into arbitration hell. Here's what that looks like, and why it's a complicated mess (especially if you're the employee).

Friday, February 15, 2019

Need help writing business plan in Korean? Zulu? Latin?

Did you know that the Small Business Administration website is translated into dozens of languages? Go to

Click on “Translate” and then click on the language of your choice. Sections for Business Guide, Funding Programs, Loans, Investment capital, Disaster assistance, Surety bonds, Federal Contracting, Learning Center, and Local Assistance - which includes the Small Business Development Centers, exists in these languages.

LATIN? Satus negotium et crescere te. An entrepreneur vis esse? Disce quam incipias a gradibus X in rem tuam.

Afrikaans, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Azerbaijani
Basque, Belarusian, Bengali, Bosnian, Bulgarian
Catalan, Cebuano, Chichewa, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Corsican, Croatian, Czech
Danish, Dutch

Esperanto, Estonian
Filipino, Finnish, French, Frisian
Galician, Georgian, German, Greek, Gujarati
Haitian Creole, Hausa, Hawaiian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian
Icelandic, Igbo, Indonesian, Irish, Italian

Japanese, Javanese
Kannada, Kazakh, Khmer, Korean, Kurdish (Kurmanji), Kyrgyz
Lao, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Luxembourgish
Macedonian, Malagasy, Malay, Malayalam, Maltese, Maori, Marathi, Mongolian, Myanmar (Burmese)

Nepali, Norwegian
Pashto, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi
Romanian, Russian
Samoan, Scots Gaelic, Serbian, Sesotho, Shona, Sindhi, Sinhala, Slovak, Slovenian, Somali, Spanish, Sundanese, Swahili, Swedish

Tajik, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish
Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek
Welsh, Xhosa
Yiddish, Yoruba, Zulu

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Combating Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Article from New York State

On April 12, 2018 Governor Cuomo signed into law the 2019 New York State Budget, updating the State’s sexual harassment laws.

 The Human Rights Law now protects contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants or others providing services in the workplace from sexual harassment in the workplace.

 Beginning in October 2018 Employers must adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy and training or use a similar policy and training that meet or exceeds the law’s minimum standards.

 Beginning in January 2019, all state contractors must submit an affirmation that they have a sexual harassment policy and that they provide annual training to all of their employees.

Monday, February 11, 2019

How Tech is Making Business More Accessible

Patrick Foster is an ecommerce consultant at

Image credit: PxHere

While those among us who’ve benefited from traditional systems of work can be intimidated by the march of technology, deeming it often arbitrary and more trouble than it’s worth, those who face more challenges in life are able to see it for what it really is: a remarkable expansion of possibility that is making almost every area of life more accessible to all.

And there’s perhaps no area — with the questionable exception of social activity — that has been further improved in recent years by technology (driven by the internet) than the world of business, and entrepreneurship in particular. Tech is giving rise to generations of savvy self-starters with the confidence and competence to forge their own paths.

But how specifically is technology achieving this? Let’s look at some of the main ways in which technology is making it easier for people of all kinds to enter the business world.

It’s providing countless free or cheap resources

Though the internet has been around for decades now, it’s only relatively recent that it has become as pervasive as it is today, with much of this being due to developments in infrastructure. It’s still far from a given that a particular area will have access to high-speed internet (enough to stream HD video, for instance), but it’s very commonplace.

What does this mean? Well, for anyone looking to learn, it means they have the single greatest research tool in the entire world at their fingertips. They can consume anything from articles, guides, training courses, and tutorial videos at their leisure, with many being provided completely free of charge.

So anyone who doesn’t feel that they can justify significant expenditure on personal development, or simply doesn’t have the money, can still work towards a better life. It’s all there for them — all they have to do is have the will and the drive to take it.

It’s mitigating the impact of various handicaps

Imagine someone with a keen mind but a physical handicap that makes it extremely challenging for them to move around. In an analog world, their prospects would be quite bleak — they’d rely heavily on support from those around them, and likely never be able to approach their potential. But technology now makes it possible for them to achieve mostly anything they can aspire to.

This extends from inspiration to practicality. Someone who can’t climb a mountain can use a VR headset to get an inkling of that experience, for instance. Is the simulation even close to the real thing? No, of course not — but the technology is still in its infancy, and even a slight hint of the real thing is more powerful than nothing at all.

And when it comes to taking action, systems designed to suit numerous types of handicap (with everything from refreshable braille displays to voice search tools making it easier to interact with computers) are making a huge difference in bringing basic UI comfort to everyone.

It’s allowing people to start businesses from anywhere

Not everyone has the capability to move wherever they want to go on a whim: in fact, it’s quite rare. We’re mostly restricted by our circumstances, and many people go their entire lives without straying too far from their hometowns. If you’re looking to enter a particular industry that’s dominated by a particular business in a far-off location, that presents a major issue.

But with the advent of flexible working and online opportunities, location has lost its all-encompassing power. Today, it’s possible to start, run, and expand a business from almost anywhere in the world, needing nothing more than a solid internet connection and a passion for what you’re trying to achieve.

And with it being eminently possible to build a thriving business (or even just buy one if you’re determined to scale up rapidly) without leaving your kitchen, any wild business idea that enters your mind doesn’t need to stay there. You can make it a reality.

It’s supporting near-limitless creative development

The resources of the internet aren’t just for research. There’s also no shortage of tools, platforms and channels out there, all making it possible for almost anyone to discover their passions and decide what kind of career they want to forge. If you think you might enjoy working in music, for instance, you can find music-making tools and experiment without needing to spend any additional money on equipment.

And if you just want to discuss your ideas with like-minded people before you try to give them form, you can easily find those with similar inclinations and aspirations. People who might never have considered becoming entrepreneurs now have access to huge swathes of motivating success stories from people with whom they can readily identify.

Technology is an immense force for good when it comes to bolstering both personal and professional accessibility. Children growing up today may face greater challenges in some regards, but one thing is undeniable: that they’ll have all the opportunity anyone could ever hope for.

Friday, February 08, 2019

How to Choose A Good Brand Name

By Arek Dvornechuck

From ebaqdesign

You can have many reasons that trigger starting the naming process, but it all comes own basically to two options:
*You start a new business and need a name
*or you change the name of an existing business

Your name is transmitted day in and day out, in conversations, emails, voicemails, websites, on the product, on business cards, and in presentations – everywhere.

It’s also important to remember that while the process of creating and selecting a name is critical, once the name is out it the world, the meaning of the word itself will evolve based on how people experience the brand.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Get Started on Your Social Media Plan

By Sandra Gudat
From Marketing Profs

You've spent valuable time and money building your customer base, and you've also worked to amass a growing community of followers on your social media channels. But have you integrated those efforts in an effort to expand your customer base, keep current customers engaged, and increase profits?

Without a plan, your social activity runs the risk of turning off customers instead of tuning them in, derailing corporate objectives, and tarnishing your company's reputation.

If you don't have a formal program, you can tweak these ideas to help build customer loyalty, in general. After all, social media is your chance to engage with your audience, and you can leverage that engagement by trying out tactics to see what works.

Monday, February 04, 2019

Is it subject to New York State sales tax or is it exempt?

From the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance

Whether sales of a particular good or service are taxable may depend on many factors.

Sales of tangible personal property are subject to New York sales tax unless they are specifically exempt.

The term tangible personal property means any kind of physical personal property that has a material existence and is perceptible to the human senses (in other words, something you can see and touch).

Sales of services are generally exempt from New York sales tax unless they are specifically taxable

You should not collect sales tax on exempt sales that do not require an exemption document. However, for sales that require an exemption document, you must collect sales tax unless you receive a properly completed exemption document from the purchaser.

Friday, February 01, 2019

The Shutdown Is Driving the Government's Data Wonks to the Private Sector

By Jeanna Smialek
From Bloomberg

Brain drain is a concern across federal departments as shutdowns become a matter of political course in Washington.

If the statistical agencies begin to bleed seasoned workers with deep knowledge of complicated surveys and methodologies, it could be a particular loss for American businesses and financial-market participants who rely on their data and analysis.

“They are basically providing the statistical infrastructure for the decisions made by the entire private sector of the economy, as well as government,” Lawrence Katz, a Harvard University professor and former Labor Department chief economist, said of the data agencies. He noted that government jobs are secure and fulfilling but may not pay highly-educated people as much as companies or universities would.

Opportunities outside of the public sphere are especially plentiful now, with unemployment at 3.9 percent, near the lowest since the 1960s. For people with bachelor’s degrees and higher, the jobless rate is 2.1 percent.