Showing posts from April, 2015

SBA to Recognize Mission Lenders, including NY's Pat McKrell, during National Small Business Week

SBA is acknowledging the outstanding work of Empire State Certified Development Corp. (Empire State CDC), a New-York-based CDC, as the winner of the first-ever National Small Business Week Community Advantage Lender of the Year Award. A subsidiary of the New York Business Development Corporation, Empire State CDC is New York’s largest SBA 504 lender and consistently ranks in the top five among the 242 certified development companies nationwide. In FY 2014, Empire State CDC led the nation in approving $8.6 million of Community Advantage (CA) Loans to 66 different small businesses. Empire State CDC President and CEO Patrick J. MacKrell will accept the award. The award will be presented as part of the National Small Business Week 2015 Celebrations in May. A table showing both the top 10 Microlenders and top 10 Community Advantage lenders with their respective rankings and loan production may be accessed at

SBA Honors Outstanding Disaster Recovery Efforts (2 of 3 from New York State!)

WASHINGTON – A Pacific Northwest mayor who managed recovery efforts in the aftermath of a devastating mudslide, a Long Island college student who used social media to ignite volunteerism in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and a New York marina owner who reopened his business less than six months after Hurricane Sandy nearly destroyed his property will be presented at the White House with a 2015 Phoenix Award on May 8 during a U.S. Small Business Administration National Small Business Week event. Since 1998, the SBA has presented Phoenix Awards to business owners, public officials and volunteers who displayed selflessness, ingenuity and tenacity in the aftermath of a disaster, while contributing to the rebuilding of their communities. Dan Rankin, Mayor of the Town of Darrington, Washington will receive the 2015 Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery by a Public Official. On March 22, 2014, a major landslide occurred in Oso, Washington, killing 43, engul

30 Questions Angel Investors Will Ask You

When you pitch a startup to angel investors, you want to get questions. If you don’t get questions then your pitch fell flat and nobody is interested. My advice to you, if you’re pitching, is to love the questions that interrupt and answer them eagerly. Do they throw you off pace, out of your planned sequence? Welcome to startups. If having your pitch sequence disturbed bothers you, keep your day job. More from .

Are Your Personal Finances in Order?

Starting a business can put a burden on your personal finances. It takes time before your new venture turns a profit and provides financial support for you and your family. Before starting a business, it is important to get your finances in order. Read more about how business and personal finances are related , and why strains on your personal budget can cause a financial risk to your business.

The 8 Most Common Small Business Accounting Mistakes

Thanks to the huge range of accounting applications available for today’s small and medium-sized businesses, it’s easier than ever to keep an accurate record of where your business’s money is going. While accounting software has made bookkeeping and accounting easier for small businesses, it’s also made errors and accounting mistakes—from incorrectly categorizing a transaction to doing all accounting yourself—much more common. Some accounting mistakes are minor, insignificant, and—when they’re inevitably noticed by someone within your business—easy to correct. But others are more serious and could have a significant effect on your business’s financial health. Over time, poor accounting practices can distort the reality of your company’s fiscal health. In severe cases, repeated accounting mistakes and bad accounting practices can lead your business toward insolvency or company administration. Read more from

Consumers are poised to lead economic growth higher.

U.S. consumer spending accounts for about 68 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). As goes the consumer, so goes the economy. This month, AIER looks at various aspects of Americans' economic behavior and factors that tend to drive spending such as attitudes, income and wealth. In particular, it highlights areas that may contribute to consumer sentiment since historically this has been a good indicator for future consumption.  Click here to read more.

Celebrating Earth Day with the SBA

By  Donna Butler The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has taken a dual approach to sustainability this Earth Day. The SBA is leading by example by reducing the environmental impact of our own operations while continuing to offer resources to small businesses who are interested in “going green.” Since 2008, the SBA has reduced its total greenhouse gas emissions by 17%. In addition, the agency has recycled over 1,000 lbs. of electronics through an innovative partnership with the U.S. Postal Service and increased the percentage of alternate fuel (hybrid, low greenhouse gas emitting and flex fuel) vehicles in the agency’s fleet up to 72% of the total fleet, among other successes. For more information on SBA’s sustainability activities please see the agency’s latest  Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan . For businesses interested in reducing their own environmental impact, the SBA has several resources.

BusinessUSA: Going Green is Good Business

We’re big believers in  green businesses  and the notion that making money and being eco-conscious are not mutually exclusive. In honor of the upcoming Earth Day on April 22, we’d like to outline some great ideas to “green” your business – ranging from ways to lessen your company’s carbon footprint to dealing with EPA regulations. These tips underscore the idea that going green is a great business strategy. For starters, make sure your facility is as energy-efficient as possible, something that benefits you and the environment. Once you’ve done that,  you may also want to consider renewable energy .

All Ideas are Brilliant Before They Are Executed

Ideas have to run through an obstacle course of hard realities before they are really opportunities. Few ideas make it. Everybody has ideas, Millions of them are floating around everywhere. Every problem anybody encounters is a solution waiting to be unwrapped. Every time somebody follows the comment “there should be a better way” by suggesting a better way, that’s an idea. An opportunity is way more important than an idea.The difference between idea and opportunity is huge. An opportunity is an idea somebody can execute. More from

Impersonal Communication Annoys Your Customers

Consider the following email marketing statistics from a recent consumer research study of British consumers: The average person's inbox has 260 unopened emails, 56% of which are from brands. 60% of those people who never open brand emails admitted they would if the subject line were personalized. The above facts tell us that consumers find impersonal marketing communications—let's call it "brand spam"—irrelevant as well as annoying. Often, unread emails from brands are those the consumer initially elected to receive, a process we call "self-selecting." Self-selecting is defined as ignoring emails originally requested but no longer relevant by the time they reach the individual's inbox. The solution to eliminating brand spam is to provide greater context for improved personalization. Read more from MarketingPros

How to Choose the Right Business Name

Choosing the right name for your business is really important. Not only should you pick a name that reflects your brand identity, but you also need to ensure your name is properly registered and protected for the long term. And be sure to give some thought to whether it's web-ready. Is the domain name even available? Here are some tips to help you pick, register, and protect your business name .

5 Marketing Mistakes New Entrepreneurs Make

by Lisa Furgison After years of working for micromanaging bosses, working ten-hour days, and feeling completely drained at the end of a workweek, my husband and I decided to call it quits. We left our jobs in the media world and started our own business, McEwen’s Media. While I’m happy to report that it pays the bills, it didn’t start off with rainbows and lollypops. At the beginning, we made some marketing mistakes. I started talking with other entrepreneurs and quickly learned everyone suffers from a case of the “marketing hiccups” at the beginning. In an attempt to help other entrepreneurs, I’ve put together this list of avoidable marketing mistakes. More from

April is National Financial Capability Month

According to the  findings of a 2014 Intuit study , more than 40 percent of U.S. small businesses consider themselves financially illiterate. Yet, 81 percent handle their business’ finances. April is National Financial Capability Month, so now is a great time for small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs to brush up on their  financial literacy skills . Whether you are a seasoned small business owner, a new small business owner or have dreams to be a future small business owner, it is inevitable that you will at some point have to deal with securing the capital to fund and/or expand your business venture. There are several  financing options  to explore when funding a small business such as loans, grants, venture capital, angel investors and crowd funding, but most small businesses rely on lenders to obtain the capital needed to open a business or to finance capital improvements.

How to Use Quizzes for Lead Generation

Bringing in new leads is a huge part of our job as marketers. Lately, a lot of emphasis has been placed on using content marketing for lead generation, putting pressure on us to create amazing whitepapers, case studies, videos, blog posts, and other forms of content that effectively convert content seekers into warm leads, who might then be nurtured into becoming lifelong customers. Creating content that actually converts is a constant struggle, and even if new pieces of content attract lots of views or downloads, that doesn't guarantee new subscribers. Which is where quizzes come in: A well-produced quiz can achieve opt-in rates north of 50% and improve lead generation. This article will break down how three businesses used a quiz to pull in huge amounts of new leads Read more at MarketingProfs

Top 10 Oddball Interview Questions for 2015

Job candidates must be prepared for anything during an interview. That's why Glassdoor has combed through tens of thousands of interview questions shared by job candidates over the past year to compile its annual list of the Top 10 Oddball Interview Questions. These are the toughest and most bizarre questions you may have to answer when interviewing for these top jobs or any job this year. "What would you do if you were the one survivor in a plane crash?" (AND it includes some of the creative ANSWERS to these questions!) More from Glassdoor .

B2B Buying: Millennials vs. Gen X and Baby Boomers

Millennials B2B buyers want to interact directly with vendors' representatives far more than Gen X or Baby Boomers buyers when researching products and services, according to a recent report from IBM. The report was based on data from a survey of 704 people who influence or are responsible for B2B purchasing decisions of $10,000 or more for their company. Respondents came from 12 countries and 6 industries. The researchers compared the responses of Millennial employees (born 1980-1993) with those of Gen X (born 1965-1979) and Baby Boomers (born 1954-1964). Millennial buyers rely most heavily on information provided by vendors when researching products and services, the analysis found. In contrast, Gen X buyers rely most on third-party articles/blogs/reviews to research vendors, and Baby Boomers rely most on tradeshows. Read more from MarketingProfs

Don't Kill Your Sales! Top 3 Shopping Cart Turnoffs

You've spent time and money designing the perfect marketing campaign. You've designed a flawless strategy to drive customers to your awesome sales page and you know it will convert. You've thought of everything... Except your shopping cart process. When you design a marketing campaign, you're focused on selling a solution or understanding the motivation for buying a product. You're thinking about what makes someone click on the "buy" button. But until the last "confirm order" is clicked, the sale is in jeopardy. Shopping cart abandonment can be as high as 75%! At any point in the checkout process, customers might get turned off; they'll then simply click away from the site. In short, your checkout process is just as important as your marketing strategy. More from MarketingProfs

Starting a Web Business with Less than $4,000

Every entrepreneur has heard of the Lean Startup methodology; it’s a great way to prove demand with less time and money and to prevent building a product that no one will want. In practice though, the Lean Startup methodology is hard to figure out. How do you develop, and what is the minimum viable product? How can you iterate while absorbing a user’s real-time input? How do you get people to even give you input? As a New-York-City-based startup founder, I’ve been asked these questions many times. And thus, what follows is a simple step-by-step guide on how to validate your web business with as little capital at risk as possible—in this case, one month of rent. You’ll get real guidelines on getting something off the ground, driving traffic, and evaluating whether you have a business or a hobby. Read more from BPlans

Avoid These Toxic Trademark Mistakes

Your trademark is your brand identifier. You can trademark anything from sounds to smells to colors to holograms. In essence, your trademark is just another way of referring to your brand... Little things I've learned over the years is that it can take over 12 months to complete the trademark process. According to the USPTO’s 2014 report they now have over 605,000 unexamined trademark applications on file. When you get ready to get your trademark, make sure you look out for these toxic trademark pitfalls: 1. Avoid generic words. More from Entrepreneur .

E-Verify: Know Your Employee Rights and Responsibilities

U.S. law requires companies to hire only individuals who may legally work in the United States.  E-Verify  is an Internet-based system that allows these businesses to determine an employee's eligibility. This verification process matches records from the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration with an employee's I-9 form. This  USCIS video on E-Verify  introduces you to the process and your responsibilities and rights as an employee; including what to do in the case of a  Tentative NonConfirmation . Information on E-Verify is also now available in:  Spanish ;  Chinese (traditional) ;  French ;  Korean ;  Russian ;  Tagalog ; and  Vietnamese . 

How much business is your profanity costing you?

A majority of people swear from time to time, but it’s recently become far more prevalent in public. Why? One of the main reasons in the business world is creating an edge. Most speakers and bloggers I know who use profanity do it for this reason. It’s part of their personal style, meant to set them apart from other communicators. But like anything, there’s an opportunity cost involved in dropping F-bombs and using blasphemy. I want to focus on three simple reasons cussing might be costing you more than you think. More from .

Digital Business Era: Stretch Your Boundaries

The digital era not only makes big bets possible but increasingly necessary. The Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming a force that is driving innovation and new opportunities by bringing every object, consumer, and activity into the digital realm. At the same time, leading businesses are making similar changes within their enterprises by digitizing every employee, process, product, and service. This year, we conducted our first Technology Vision survey, polling more than 2,000 business and technology executives across nine countries and 10 industries, in order to understand key technology challenges as well as priority investments. Our survey revealed that 62 percent are investing in digital technologies, and 35 percent are comprehensively investing in digital as part of their overall business strategy. Taken in aggregate, enterprises find themselves connected to a digital fabric that has the potential to touch all aspects of their business, their customer relationships, and the worl