Showing posts from March, 2014

The Surprising Truth: What Truly Motivates Employees?

This lively RSA Animate, adapted from Daniel Pink's talk at the RSA, illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace. He also gives some examples of new approaches that modern day companies have created in order to maximize employee capability and business success. His speech is based on the ideas of his non-fiction book “Drive”, which was published in 2009. In this book, he argues that human motivation is largely intrinsic, and that the aspects of this motivation can be divided into autonomy, mastery and purpose. He argues against old models of motivation driven by rewards and fear of punishment, dominated by extrinsic factors such as money.  If you have 10 minutes to spare please check out this informative video. Its progressive ideas will really stimulate ideas on how to make your workplace a more cohesive unit.  Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

"Disasters don’t discriminate"... Or why you want a home AND office B.O.B

Even savvy Business Owners realize that reacting to a disaster scenario requires employees to take a certain level of personal responsibility. Employees that know and adhere to their business disaster plan will still want to secure their families and cannot help your organization until they have stabilized their own survival needs. All italicized notes are mine~ BDS " Spies and certain military personnel have them. Even mobsters and other criminals have them. And you should have one too. I’m talking about a “Bug-Out Bag,” a ready-to-grab-at-anytime kit that gets you out the door and long gone, quickly and safely, when things go south. Even though you probably aren't going to have a foreign hit squad on your trail, or Federal agents ready to kick in your door, there are still a number of situations where the Average Joe needs to have a bug-out bag — or a “Get Home Bag” ( see below ) — packed and ready to go."

Blog Series - Affordable Care Act - The Deadline

The Affordable Care Act continues to dominate the minds of many Americans as the deadline for registration approaches.  As it stands right now, Monday March 31st is the deadline for registration for the ACA, with unregistered individuals facing fines.  Yesterday, the Obama Administration announced that due to a surge in registrations, the deadline will be extended.  But they did not state exactly when the deadline will now be. Needless to say, people's emotions regarding the Affordable Care Act continue to run high.  Polls indicate that opinions of the ACA are at an all-time low.  With 6 million individuals already registered, and more registering everyday, the news and opinions will continue to pour in, and I will do my best to keep you informed.  While these articles are not specific to Small Business, they will help you know what is currently going on and what is coming next. Obamacare applicants to get more deadline flexibility  (CNN) Poll: Obama's health care  (US Ne

Who must be registered for sales tax purposes

If you will be selling property or services in New York State that are subject to sales tax, you may be required to collect the sales tax from the person to whom you make the sale. In general, the sales tax you must collect and remit is computed using the combined state and local rate in effect in the locality where you deliver the taxable product or service to the customer. If you must collect sales tax on your sales, then you must register for sales tax purposes with the Tax Department and obtain a Certificate of Authority (see How to Register for New York State Sales Tax (TB-ST-360) ). You must also be registered for sales tax purposes to issue or accept most New York State sales tax exemption documents. For example, even though wholesalers may never collect sales tax because all of their purchases and sales are for resale (and, therefore, are eligible for exemption from sales tax), they must still be registered to legally issue and accept most exemption documents. For additiona

Support for Windows XP and Office 2003 Ends April 8, 2014

The ASBDC wanted to make sure all small business owners are aware of an important occurrence next month. As of April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer provide technical assistance for Windows XP and Office 2003, including automatic updates that help protect your PC. According to Microsoft, more than 20 percent of small businesses are still using the XP platform, which Microsoft first introduced in 2001. What does this mean for your business? 1. There will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates. 2. Without critical security updates, PCs could become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage business data and information. 3. Anti-virus software will not be able to fully protect PCs running Windows XP once the OS is no longer supported. 4. Businesses that continue to run Windows XP after support ends may be exposed to potential security threats

Office of Advocacy Publishes Updated FAQ about Small Businesses

The Office of Advocacy’s Frequently Asked Questions About Small Business , has been newly updated. Reading the FAQ is the best Q&A session about small business that you will ever have. The four-pager is a reference guide to better understand small businesses’ status and role in the economy.

8 Ways to Say No Without Hurting Your Image

f you want something done, ask a busy person. The old saying rings true, but it also spells doom for that busy person. When you develop a reputation for being responsive and generous, an ever-expanding mountain of requests will come your way. This may be why Warren Buffett says: “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” For those of us who enjoy being helpful—or just plain polite—this is no easy task. Every “no” is a missed opportunity to make a difference and build a relationship. And if it comes across the wrong way to the wrong person, it’s also a surefire way to brand yourself as selfish and rude. More from LinkedIn .

Six Tips to Get Your Customers Talking About Your Brand at the Dinner Table

Employees and even executives sometimes start to think about their customers with an "us vs. them" mentality, particularly in times of stress—during, say, the busy holiday season or when a customer has a complaint. That's a dangerous mindset, especially if it becomes habitual. Competitive advantage these days demands customer-centricity. The more customers your organizations can engage meaningfully—especially those who care enough to tell you how to do things better—the better off you'll be. Social media, where you can see eye to eye and develop interactive relationships, is a terrific venue for doing that. And if you use it not just to engage but also to empower, you'll transform a customer from someone who likes your product to someone who feels like a part of your product. That's an important shift, because the latter customer is the one who is far more likely to find every opportunity to tell people, online and off, why they think what you do is so g

Charging sales tax on Internet transactions

From the Sales Tax Institute . You collect the tax for the state where the property is delivered to your customer. If the item is shipped to the customer, then tax applies for the delivery state. You should collect the tax only if you are registered to collect tax in that state. If the customer picks up the item at your location, tax should be collected for your state. If you are selling goods over the Internet and your company has a presence in the state of delivery, your company has established nexus and will be required to register to collect sales tax on all taxable items regardless of method of order placement. Whether the order is placed over the Internet or through traditional means, if a company has nexus with the state in which the product is being shipped, sales tax should be billed and collected. For example, if a New York company ships to New York, there is nexus, and tax is collected. If the New York company ships out of New York, whether they collect sales tax or not

Entrepreneurship for Freaks: Chris Brogan [Podcast]

Chris Brogan is the publisher and CEO of the business magazine Owner. He is a sought-after keynote speaker who has addressed crowds of thousands, he has been on the Dr Phil show, and he once presented to a princess. Chris has consulted with Disney, Microsoft, Coke, Titleist, Pepsico, Google, Motorola, and many others. He's the New York Times best-selling author of six books, including The Impact Equation, written with Julien Smith. [He is discussing] his latest book, The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators. Read more from MarketingProfs HERE .

Have Fun Breaking Down This Year’s Worst Company In America Bracket

(This is useful to think about what NOT to do in business ...) After going through all of your nominations, [the Consumerist is]... proud to present the first round match-ups for this year’s Worst Company in America tournament ! As you’ll see from the image below, there are several returning competitors, including previous champs EA and Comcast, three-time runner-up (and sort of winner from when it acquired Countrywide) Bank of America, the perennially hated Ticketmaster and PayPal (with their respective corporate counterparts LiveNation and eBay). There are also some new names on the list, like Koch Industries and lawsuit-happy seed company Monsanto. There’s also SeaWorld making a splash on WCIA 2014, presumably because people have been watching that Blackfish documentary. Voting will begin tomorrow, March 19. In the early rounds, each match will be open for votes for only a few hours. While they are open, polls will be placed at the top of the Consumerist homepage and in a s

When you must pay NYS, local sales or use tax directly to Tax Department?

When you purchase taxable property or services from a seller (vendor) located in New York State and take delivery in New York State, the vendor should collect state and local sales tax due and send it to the Tax Department. However, you are responsible for paying the tax directly to the Tax Department under the following circumstances: Deliveries into New York State without collection of sales tax You owe state and local sales tax if you purchase taxable property or a taxable service that is delivered to you in New York State without payment of New York State and local tax to the seller, such as through the Internet, by catalog, from television shopping channels, or on an Indian reservation. Purchases of property or services outside New York State with subsequent use in New York State You may also owe New York State and local use tax if you are a resident of New York State at the time you purchase any of the following outside New York State: • property you bring into New

The Ryan Gosling Story That Will Change The Way You Talk About Your Business

We're all trying to win people to our causes, to get them to believe in our companies or products or missions. Fact is, all other things being equal, we choose the products and movies and stores and people we deal with because of their stories. This is why story-driven companies like Whole Foods exceed financial expectations over competitors. It's why a lot of us bought Apple products after reading Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography. It's why people who hate sports watch the Olympics, and root for people they've never heard of. Once we know the underlying stories, we're driven to support. Read more from LinkedIn .

Of course, we had no Internet. What is your Businesses’ Communications Backup Plan

"Every cell tower in the Long Island community stopped working and representatives from wireless companies were nowhere to be found…Schnirman (Long Beach city manager) said he spent a week after the storm trying to persuade a wireless carrier, which he declined to name, to deploy a portable cell tower -- known as a "cell on wheels" -- to restore service in Long Beach.  “We reached out to the carrier’s customer support to ask about getting a cell on wheels and the voice on phone said ‘You might want to look that up on Internet. I don’t know what that is,’” he recalled. “ Of course, we had no Internet. " (smith 2013) What is your Businesses’ Communications Backup Plan? When disaster strikes, when the coming spring brings floods, tornadoes or the unexpected ice storm, are you prepared? And the power and communication outages that come with it, are your businesses prepared to keep open the lines of communication. Do you have an emergency communications plan? Cons

Blog Series - Affordable Care Act - Deadlines

The end of this month brings the deadline for signing up for the Affordable Care ACT.  So how do you face this deadline and what are people doing to face the deadline?  Below are some articles from popular news sources on what the deadline means, whether it affects you, and what people are saying about the deadline. Disclaimer:  News from popular news sources are not always accurate or up-to-date, so it important to read  from multiple sources. Millions May Avoid Obamacare Penalty as Deadline Looms Deadline looming for Affordable Care Act enrollment Obamacare enrollment bests 4.2 million; more young adults signed up Facing Obamacare enrollment deadline, these states are pushing for more time

Occupational Health and Safety Briefing

Whether you work in a hazardous environment or in a comparatively safer zone, workplace safety is important to prevent mishaps. Since you are spending most of your time at your work place, it must be safe so that no threat to health is posed. Thus, health and safety of employees are major concerns of an organization. Health and safety programs are an important part of preventing injury and illness in the workplace. Health programs help employers and employees understand the potential hazards they are exposed to on a daily basis. Effective health and safety programs educate workers on the benefits of practicing proper workplace behaviors. When companies understand the impact injuries have on their bottom line, they are more inclined to implement programs to keep their workers healthy and safe. Understanding the importance of safety at workplace should be the concern of the management. Certain norms are established that an individual should know to ensure self-safety. There should be

Your small business really does need mobile

From USA Today : Q: Just when I thought I had it all going on with regard to my website, it turns out that I am now supposed to have a mobile version of my site, right? Is this really necessary? I have more important things to spend my time on, don't you agree? -- T.J. A. I would like to agree, but unfortunately, I cannot. Consider, just for starters, these statistics I recently saw from • Mobile search has grown five times in the past two years. • 52% of all local searches are done on a mobile phone. • Nine out of 10 mobile searches end in a purchase. So, no, you cannot ignore your mobile website; indeed, for most small businesses, it needs to become a priority. Look, we live in a world where mobile is taking over (or has taken over.) More and more, people are using smartphones and tablets as their main access point for the Web, and that means that sites that are not optimized for mobile devices have a problem.

FTC Increases Deterrence with Stepped Up Enforcement of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Over the last year, the Federal Trade Commission has continued aggressive enforcement of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by bringing or resolving nine debt collection cases, according to the agency’s annual summary of debt collection activities. “When it comes to debt collection, the FTC has many tools in its arsenal, including research, enforcement, and consumer education,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “But in the years since the financial crisis hit, we have increased our emphasis on law enforcement.” In 2013, the FTC obtained court orders stopping illegal debt collection activities in seven cases, and referred two other debt collection cases to the Department of Justice for civil penalties. In several of the cases, the FTC obtained temporary restraining orders halting the unlawful conduct, freezing the defendants’ assets, and appointing receivers to take over operations while court proceedings progressed. More from the FT

Blog Series - Affordable Care Act - Industry Specifics

Different industries are having different reactions to the Affordable Care Act.  Below are some articles on different industries and how they say the ACA will effect them How latest change in health care bill impacts restaurants Manufacturers warn of ObamaCare fallout New Obamacare Regulations Spark Growth in Vending Industry Companies Say Obamacare Is Slamming The Health Care Industry I've tried to provide a mix of industries above.  If you are interested in finding information on an industry that I haven't touched on, please comment below, and I will try to find information for you.  If you would like to search on your own, I advise looking at an association website.  Associations are valuable sources of up-to-date information on specific industries.

A Guide to Retail Data Goldmines

Once upon a time, syndicated data providers were the main source of retail POS data, and what was available was limited and extremely expensive. But times have changed, with richer, more detailed demand data becoming available from more and more sources: syndicated data providers, brokers, third party data managers, and increasingly, retailers themselves — usually for free. But not all consumer goods (CG) companies are aware of who’s sharing and what’s available — even from their own customers. While it’s true that few retailers share data on the level of Walmart with its Retail Link® portal, more and more are grasping the benefits of enabling their suppliers to access store-level sales and inventory information in virtually real time, and taking steps to make it more available. Store-level demand sensing is the fuel that fires a responsive, profit-enhancing CG demand chain. The ultimate goal is a robust analytics solution that drives actionable business decisions, from supply and

Protect Your Business From Spring Weather Threats

Get Business Continuity Tips at Free Webinar Hosted by SBA & Agility WASHINGTON – Floods are a threat for areas hit by heavy late-winter snowfalls. Severe storms—sometimes in the form of deadly tornadoes or massive rainfall—often wreak havoc across the U.S. during spring. There are many low-cost, efficient steps you can take now to make sure your company, clients and employees are safe in the months to come. Join the U.S. Small Business Administration and Agility Recovery on Tuesday, March 11 at 2 p.m. EDT for a free webinar on best practices for mitigating spring weather risks. These preparedness tips are based on real-life recovery experiences from business owners. The SBA has partnered with Agility to offer business continuity strategies through its “PrepareMyBusiness” website. Visit to access previous webinars and for additional preparedness tips. The SBA provides disaster recovery assistance in the form of low-interest loans to hom

Upcoming NYS Matchmaker and Procurement Events

The New York SBDC's Procurement Assistance program has updated the following list of procurement-related events in 2014:  2014 Procurement Events New York State Syracuse – March 20, 2014 Operation:  Start Up & Grow Veteran Business Conference Onondaga Community College, Gordon Student Center; 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM Register at ; ( 315) 471-9393 Plattsburgh – March 21, 2014 ( Date Confirmed ) Plattsburgh Small Business Development Center and Empire State Development Team Up for a Small Business Matchmaker SUNY College at Plattsburgh, 194 US Oval, Plattsburgh, NY Karen Stehlin; ; (518) 564-2042 Watertown – March 25, 2014 Watertown Small Business Development Center and North Country PTAC Matchmaker 2014 Jefferson Community College, Jules Center; 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM   (315) 788-4400 Robin Stephenson; ; (315) 782-9262 Buffalo –

SBA Expands Outreach for Native Small Business Owners

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration will join the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) at its National Reservation Economic Summit (RES) March 17-20, 2014 to sign a strategic alliance memorandum (SAM) to widen reach to Native American entrepreneurs and boost entrepreneurship opportunities. The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. With more than 40 years of assisting American Indian Tribes and their enterprises with business and economic development, they have evolved into one of the largest national Indian specific business organizations in the nation. The 28th Annual National Reservation Economic Summit in Las Vegas, Nev., will feature respected tribal leaders, state and local elected officials and top CEOs, networking, teaming opportunities, business development sessions and American Indian Procurement opportunities.

What Constitutes as Sexual Harassment?

It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general. Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex. Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted). The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker,

Kickstarter and Taxes: A guide for your accountant.

In general, in the US, funds raised on Kickstarter are considered income. In general, a creator can offset the income from their Kickstarter project with deductible expenses that are related to the project and accounted for in the same tax year. For example, if a creator receives $1,000 in funding and spends $1,000 on their project in the same tax year, then their expenses could fully offset their Kickstarter funding for federal income tax purposes. If a creator receives funding in one year and spends money on their project in a later year, consider whether their expenses can still offset their Kickstarter funding using the accrual method of accounting. More from Kickstarter . From one Kickstarter alum: "Approximately 33% of the funding goal goes to pay the state and federal taxes that will be levied against the money raised. American tax law doesn't count up-front production costs as an immediately deductible business expense, so at first I'll have to pay taxes on n