Showing posts from February, 2015

Social Entrepreneurship: Starts with Intent, Followed by Action, Delivers Impact

By  Javier.Saade , SBA Official As yet another massive blizzard hit New England on Valentines Day, the jointly hosted Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School gathering focused on social entrepreneurship and impact investing took place.   The dialogue was inspiring and the energy palpable amongst the 500+ people in attendance.  The Social Enterprise Conference, now in its 16th year, brings together academics, investors, public sector leaders, private sector entrepreneurs, non profit practitioners, and students passionate about all aspects of social enterprise - and this includes impact investing. This year the theme of last Saturday was the collective opportunity "to reflect on three critical stages of social enterprise: Intent. Action. Impact." The conference had keynote speakers, including Bill Drayton, CEO of Ashoka and the acknowledged father of social entrepreneurship globally - as well as topical panels, problem solving labs, and opportunities for interactiv

Special Health Insurance Sign-Up for Tax Filers Owing Fees

If you learn as you do your taxes that you owe a fee for not having health insurance last year, avoid having to pay this fee next year. Find out if you are  eligible to sign up for health insurance for 2015 , even though open enrollment has closed. If you are - you’ll avoid  bigger penalties next year , and may receive subsidies that make the insurance premiums more affordable.  This special enrollment period runs from  March 15 to April 30 . Determine if you  qualify for an exemption  from fees.  Sign up for  coverage  during this special enrollment period if you qualify. Read this  Special Enrollment Period news release  for more details.

Nonprots, please note: Security Alert for Form 990 Online and 990-N e-Postcard

From : The Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) recently discovered that an unauthorized party or parties have gained access to the Form 990 Online and e-Postcard filing systems for nonprofit organizations. This unauthorized access affected nonprofits that used IRS Forms 990, 990-EZ, and 990-N (e-Postcard). It also affected users of Form 8868 extensions and filings for charitable organizations in Hawaii, Michigan, and New York . Once we discovered the attack, we contacted IRS and made every effort to secure the systems and user accounts. We are working with law enforcement agencies as they conduct an investigation. In addition, we have retained a leading cybersecurity firm to help us analyze the situation and strengthen security. Our investigation is ongoing. Based on current information, we believe no information from the filings themselves was compromised. These forms do not contain Social Security numbers or individual tax filer i

Why Every Person in Your Company Needs to Be Using LinkedIn

LinkedIn provides an unrivaled branding and visibility opportunity for companies that harness the true power of LinkedIn and engage their staff. It is one of the most valuable branding tools you have—and right now, it's a competitive advantage. Very few companies have effectively implemented a comprehensive LinkedIn branding plan. Some companies don't even allow their employees to access LinkedIn. Some 10% of US employees work for a company where access to LinkedIn is blocked (access to other social media tools like Facebook and Twitter is even more restrictive), according to a study by Statista. Those companies are missing out on major opportunities to bolster branding, grow revenue, increase visibility, and turn employees into engaged and committed brand ambassadors. Here's why your company needs a comprehensive LinkedIn program. Read more from MarketingProfs .

3 Resources To Help You Crack the Export Market

By  Caron_Beesley U.S. businesses are selling more goods and services abroad than ever before, reaching an all-time record of $2.3 trillion in 2013 – and 98 percent of American companies that export are small businesses. Despite the statistics, many small businesses still face big challenges when it comes to financing and managing their export business. A recent trade seminar, hosted by the Department of Commerce and several other federal agencies,  identified three commonly cited financial obstacles  small businesses have to going global: Don’t know how to obtain working capital and financing to support export transactions Don’t know where to seek assistance for entering, growing and succeeding in global markets Don’t know how to get paid by foreign buyers overseas Helping entrepreneurs overcome such challenges are key priorities for the  SBA , , and the  International Trade Administration  (which supports the President’s  National Export Initiative ).

It’s BusinessUSA's Version of the Oscars ®

Every February, movie industry greats from around the world gather in Los Angeles to salute the year’s best films.  In that same tradition, we’d like to offer up our list of some of the best online business films – okay, videos -- culled from  our expansive online library  of instructional videos.  Sure, our videos weren’t directed by anyone named Scorcese or Spielberg, but our videos can help you with whatever strategic decision is on your plate. Without further ado, the nominees are:

SBA Launches Online Matchmaking for Small Business Loans

By  Maria Contreras-Sweet , SBA Administrator If there’s broad agreement that small businesses are the engine that powers the American economy, shouldn’t it be easier to fuel the tank? Access to credit continues to bedevil too many U.S. entrepreneurs. Eighty percent of small business loan applications are rejected, according to some industry estimates, and more applications than we can count are never filed because of the difficulty of getting an appointment with a loan officer. There’s a hunger among entrepreneurs to find financing to get their business off the ground or take the next big step in their expansion plan. Across the country, thousands of small business owners pound the pavement every day looking for term loans, equipment financing, lines of credit, invoice financing, and real estate loans to help them hire and grow. But too often, they’re wasting time they don’t have cold-calling and door-knocking their way to a lucky break. It shouldn’t be this way.  If you hav

5 Green Building Tax Incentives for 2015

In addition to 179d, the energy efficient building tax deduction, there are four green building incentives you should know about. These include the Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC), MACRS — Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System, Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credits and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing. Read more from Poplar Network .

2012 Statistics of U.S. Businesses — Employment and Payroll Summary Report

From the Census Bureau : A new report presents industry and geography highlights from the Statistics of U.S. Businesses program. These data allow comparisons between business establishments that do similar work but are part of different-sized enterprises.

Average weekly wages of workers in counties bearing names of U.S. presidents

Washington's Birthday or Presidents' Day honors U.S. presidents, including George Washington, our nation's first president. There are 261 counties that bear the name of a U.S. president, but not all are named in honor of the president whose name they share. Reagan County, Texas, had the highest average weekly wage ($1,201) among all counties bearing the name of a U.S. president in June 2014. This county, near Midland, was not named for President Reagan. Two counties named in honor of President Washington, one in Oregon and one in Alabama, were the only other counties with presidential names that had average weekly wages greater than $1,000 in June 2014. The average weekly wage was $1,183 in Washington County, Oregon (part of the Portland metropolitan area), and $1,179 in Washington County, Alabama (near Mobile). Average weekly wages in the remaining 29 counties named for Washington ranged from $428 in Washington County, Missouri, to $940 in Washington County, Pennsylvania

Should Medical Marijuana be Legalized

The history of cannabis and all its medical uses has varied from appetite stimulants to helping in chronic pain and even treating nausea and vomiting. The most recent researches now say it helps in treating symptoms of AIDS, the disease that kills 1 out of 4 people age 13 to 24 . Looking on medical marijuana now in the United States, it’s been spreading to be now legalized by 23 states for medical use only. In 2015, New York state legalizing medical marijuana use to

The Top Ten State DMV Websites in America

Image has ranked and reviewed every DMV agency website to find the best of class for its  2015 State DMV Website Rankings . All the websites were graded using a comprehensive scorecard that evaluated the design, usability, content and online services. These top ten sites represent the highest standard in government motor vehicle and licensing websites. #2 New York D U S C Score 20 16 38 20 94   The NY DMV website has recently received a significant update which significantly improved the usability and aesthetics of the site. With a great dropdown navigation this site is a great example of functional and efficient design. The New York DMV website is very user friendly with a forms search application that is quite handy and a conveniently located "Save time, do it online" button.

February 15th is the Deadline to Get 2015 Health Coverage

It’s time to get health insurance covered for 2015. The final Open Enrollment deadline to sign up for 2015 coverage is February 15. If people miss that deadline, they will likely have to wait to sign up for coverage until the next open enrollment season, with coverage starting in 2016. Small business owners who want to purchase coverage for their employees through the SHOP Marketplace can continue to enroll beyond the February 15 deadline since enrollment in SHOP is year-round. Both the individual and SHOP Marketplaces can be found at .

Calculating Costs for Starting Your Small Business?

Gain insights about how to estimate your start-up costs, which will help you determine what financing you may need to get off the ground, what it will take to reach your break-even point and manage cash flow once you’re up and running! How to Estimate the Cost of Starting a Business from Scratch How much will it take to start that new business you’re thinking of? Use these simple steps to develop a good estimate. You don’t get to know for sure, but if you have the discipline to break things into meaningful pieces, and then research each of the pieces, you’ll have a good idea. How to Guesstimate Your Starting Costs  

Capital Spending by US Businesses Increased 4.5 Percent in 2013

U.S. business spending on new and used structures and equipment rose 4.5 percent, from $1,423.6 billion in 2012 to $1,488.2 billion in 2013, according to the latest economic data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. These findings come from the 2013  Annual Capital Expenditures Survey , which provides statistics on capital spending for new and used structures and equipment by U.S. nonfarm businesses with and without paid employees. This survey, conducted annually since 1994, is an integral part of the federal government’s effort to improve and supplement ongoing statistical economic programs.

How Do I Find an EIN?

No doubt, there are probably quite a few regulatory and administrative items on your new business checklist – getting a permit, registering your business name and more (check out these 10 steps to starting a business for a useful reference point). One of the key requirements for most new businesses (or businesses that are restructuring) is obtaining an Employer Identification Number, or EIN, from the IRS. Here’s what you need to know about EINs and how to go about getting one for your business. An EIN is a unique nine-digit number that identifies your business for tax purposes. Think of it as the business equivalent of a social security number (although it shouldn’t be used in place of it). As a business owner, you’ll need an EIN to open a business bank account, apply for business licenses and file your tax returns. It’s a good idea to apply for one as soon as you start planning your business. This will ensure there are no delays in getting the appropriate licenses or financing

The Tech Trends For Small Business in 2015

From SmallBusinessNewz : No matter how small or "old fashioned" a small business is, it is vital that the owners stay informed of technology advancements because it impacts consumer behavior. A few of the technology trends to keep track of in the coming year Internet of Things. Wi-Fi technology will soon take everyday items like appliances, TV sets, and more through the next wave in connectedness: The Internet of Things, or IoT . The general concept is that all of these IoT-enabled will create a "smart" network all on their own by pinging off of each other.

Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories released by Office of Advocacy

The Office of Advocacy released Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories, the annual snapshots of state-level small business activity. The profiles report on the number of small firms, employment, and owner demographics. They also list each state’s top small business industries by number of firms and number of employees. The profiles cover the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the United States. They also provide limited information on the U.S. territories. In addition to the profiles, detailed state data is available on Advocacy’s website. To access the book of all small business profiles or any of the individual states, visit . For more information about the Office of Advocacy, visit our website at or telephone (202) 205-6533. 

Affordable Care Act Legal Guidance and Other Resources.

Find MANY informational links to ACA program , including: Affordable Care Act Legal Guidance and Other Resources Health Care Tax Tips, Flyers, Publications, Trifolds and Additional Materials YouTube Videos, Podcasts and Webinars Social Media News Releases Fact Sheets Legal Guidance – Announcements Legal Guidance – Regulations and Treasury Decisions Legal Guidance – Notices, Revenue Procedures and Revenue Rulings

US Labor Dept proposes updates to sex discrimination guidelines for federal contractors

 The U.S. Department of Labor announced a proposal to clarify federal contractors' requirements to prohibit sex discrimination. The recommended changes would revise the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' guidelines to align with laws, court decisions and societal changes since they were originally issued in 1970. "Our sex discrimination guidelines are woefully out of date and don't reflect established law or the reality of modern workplaces," said OFCCP Director  Patricia A. Shiu . "We owe it to the working women of America — and their families — to fix this regulatory anachronism so there is no confusion about how federal contractors must comply with their equal opportunity obligations."

The IRS: a great small business resource online

Small Business Taxes: The Virtual Workshop was designed to help the new business owner, understand and meet federal tax obligations. This workshop is constructed so that the first three lessons... What You Need to Know about Federal Taxes and Your New Business, What You Need to Know about Schedule C and Other Small Business Taxes and Tax Forms; And How to File and Pay Your Taxes Electronically are for everyone, no matter what kind of business you have or whether you have employees. Then, in What You Need to Know When You Run Your Business Out of Your Home and How to Set Up a Retirement Plan for You and Your Employees, there will be discussed some information that may be relevant to you now-- or that may become relevant once your business has become established. The final four lessons... What You Need to Know about Federal Taxes when Hiring Employees or Independent Contractors, How to Manage Payroll so You Withhold the Correct Amount from Employees, How to Make Tax Deposits and F

Federal Agency Compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act Saved Small Businesses at Least $4.8 Billion in FY 2014

the Office of Advocacy released the Report on the Regulatory Flexibility Act FY 2014. The report is a requirement of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), which directs the Chief Counsel for Advocacy to monitor federal agency compliance with the RFA and report on it at least annually. This year’s report finds that the Office of Advocacy’s efforts at ensuring RFA compliance helped save small entities at least $4.8 billion in first-year regulatory costs in FY 2014, while ensuring that agencies were able to meet their regulatory goals. The report and research summary are available HERE on Advocacy’s webpage .