Friday, November 17, 2017

New York Green Business initiative - apply now

The Department of Environmental Conservation recently launched the New York Green Business program and is accepting applications for it through Friday, December 15th. NYGB is a free and voluntary program that provides recognition and benefits to businesses that have a strong commitment to sustainability.

Businesses that join the program receive recognition from the State, are able to use the program logo to market themselves as a sustainability leader, get priority access to technical assistance from the Pollution Prevention Institute, and access to a network of sustainability leaders. While all businesses can join the program, it does have a separate application and criteria for breweries, garment cleaners, and restaurants to address their unique environmental impacts.

Applications and more information on the program can be found on its website: www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/939.html. DEC also has a fact sheet on the program here.

If you have any questions about the program you can reach out to Brendan Woodruff (brendan.woodruff@dec.ny.gov or 518-402-9159).

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Non-smokers get 6 days extra paid leave to make up for smokers' cigarette breaks

From the Telegraph:

A Japanese company is granting non-smoking employees an extra six days of paid holidays a year after they complained that they were working more than staff who took time off for cigarette breaks.

Tokyo-based marketing firm Piala Inc. only introduced the non-smokers' perk in September, but employees have been quick to take advantage.

"One of our non-smoking staff put a message in the company suggestion box earlier in the year saying that smoking breaks were causing problems", said Hirotaka Matsushima, a spokesman for the company.

"Our CEO saw the comment and agreed, so we are giving non-smokers some extra time off to compensate", Mr Matsushma told The Telegraph.

Resentment among the non-smokers grew because the company's head office is on the 29th floor of an office block in the Ebisu district of Tokyo. Anyone wanting a cigarette had to go to the basement level, with each smoking break lasting around 15 minutes.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Facebook's latest community push is on-site small business training

From Facebook Newsroom:
Facebook Community Boost is a new program to help US small businesses grow and to equip more people with the digital skills they need to compete in the new economy.

 Facebook Community Boost will visit 30 US cities in 2018, including Houston, St. Louis, Albuquerque, Des Moines and Greenville, SC. Facebook will work with local organizations to provide digital skills and training for people in need of work, to advise entrepreneurs how to get started and to help existing local businesses and nonprofits get the most out of the internet.

 According to new research by Morning Consult in partnership with the US Chamber of Commerce Technology Engagement Center and Facebook, small businesses’ use of digital translates into new jobs and opportunities for communities across the country. Small businesses provide opportunities for millions of people (they create an estimated four out of every five new jobs in the US), offer useful products and services, and often provide a place for people to come together.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Social media takes an empowering turn

From Bizwomen:

Social media, which too often can be an abyss harboring harassment and hate, has become a place for women to connect to fight sexual harassment and assault.

The most prominent example is the #MeToo campaign, which encourages women to share their stories on Twitter and Facebook and other social media platforms.

Their voices are coming from everywhere. And they’re resonating.

A recent survey showed that more than 50 percent of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace. High-profile men in media, fashion, food, and politics have been accused of harassment since the [Harvey] Weinstein scandal broke.

Monday, November 13, 2017

​How the new DOL rules will impact your small-business retirement plan

From:The Business Journals


 When it comes to employee benefits administration, business owners typically think of health insurance but often neglect to consider their 401(k) plans. Since retirement plans don’t have to be renewed every year like some other benefit packages, it’s easy for 401(k)s and other retirement and investment vehicles to get overlooked. That’s about to change, thanks to updates to the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule, which is expected to have a huge impact on the costs associated with managing these plans, particularly for small businesses.
   Historically, there’s been a distinct difference between how the two groups of financial advisers who work with investment and retirement plans are regulated. In short, the Fiduciary Rule essentially defines who is classified as a fiduciary and who is not.Registered financial advisors (or RIAs) have completed the necessary testing requirements to register with the SEC and any applicable state agencies.They’ve always been under the Fiduciary Rule, which means that they’re required by law to only give recommendations based on what’s truly best for their clients’ situations.Broker-dealers haven’t been covered by the stringent Fiduciary Rule but are required to provide what’s considered to be "suitable" recommendations. RIAs are typically compensated based on the percentage of assets that they manage while broker-dealers are paid based on transaction commissions.Given the lower amount of regulatory compliance associated with broker-dealers, they tend to be a lower-cost option.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Top 5 Traits That Make Veterans Great Entrepreneurs­­

From Bplans:

by Patrick J. MacKrell is CEO of New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC)


For many years, veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces were successful at starting and growing small businesses. In fact, almost 50 percent of veterans owned a business after World War II.

But today, veteran entrepreneurship is on the decline. The most recent Kauffman Foundation research found that veterans accounted for 12.6 percent of new entrepreneurs in 1996 and that by 2014, this number had fallen to just 5.6 percent.

At NYBDC, we want to turn those numbers around by inspiring veterans to take the leap into a life of entrepreneurship, and sharing some information to help you get started. As a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, I have seen firsthand the driven young men and women who have served in our military. The honorable completion of an active-duty period of military service or ongoing participation in the National Guard or Reserve generally tends to “imprint” veterans with certain skills and experiences that are critical to success.

Friday, November 10, 2017

10 Resources Every Veteran Entrepreneur Needs to Utilize

From:HuffPost
November 11th marks Veterans Day 2017, where we salute veterans that have served the United States. Post-service, many veterans move on to become successful entrepreneurs with the United States Census Bureau reporting that veteran-owned firms make up 7.2 percent of the nation’s 5.5 million employer businesses. For veterans that want to explore the entrepreneurial landscape, but aren’t sure where to turn to first for support or assistance, we’ve done the legwork on finding some of the best resources available that cover everything from mentorship to angel investments for making small business dreams a reality.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

The 50 (plus) Best 2017 -2018 Small Business, Tech, Marketing Conferences


Regular followers of this space know that I’m firmly committed to the proposition that as a small business owner you need to grow if you are serious about growing your small business. That’s why I recommended attending at least one of the best small business conferences each year.
To make this a little easier for you, I’ve compiled a list of the 50 best tech, startup and small business conferences 2017 – 2018 has to offer. Do a little exploring (I’ve provided the links) and you’ll find:
  • Great marketing conferences,
  • Top tech topics,
  • Business networking opportunities,
  • Cutting edge online strategies,
  • Social media marketing conferences,
  • And much more.
Further, it’s likely you can find a small business conference that’s not too far away from your home turf and at a time that’s convenient for you to attend. And don’t forget about your team. Sending your employees to one of the best 2017-2018 small business conferences not only brings new skills and knowledge into your business, it’s a tangible way to demonstrate your support and one of the best ways to build loyalty.
In some cases, organizers hadn’t yet confirmed the exact dates of their events. Check their websites for more details. Also – with a couple of exceptions – these top 2017-2018 small business conferences are in the United States. There are some fantastic business and tech conferences around the world, and especially in Europe, if foreign travel would work into your plans.
Finally, be sure you and your employees take a strategic approach to your conference attendanceso you squeeze out every last drop of good information and make all the connections you need to fuel your future success.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Online Shopping Is Going to Get Hotter This Season

From eMarketer:

A string of recent data suggests that online retail is going to eat into brick-and-mortar sales faster than ever this holiday season.

The latest evidence: An October survey of nearly 7,350 consumers conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics for the National Retail Federation further found that, for the first time in the survey’s history, online topped all brick-and-mortar destinations as the channel where most consumers said they plan to buy holiday items. In percentage terms, nearly 59% of consumers said they plan to do their holiday shopping online this year, up from 56.5% last year.

Also from eMarketer:

Adobe predicted that online holiday season sales will rise 13.8% this year to top $100 billion for the first time.

According to the report, online sales will grow to $107.4 billion from $94.4 billion in 2016. That's a projected growth rate of 13.8%—a bit slower than in 2016, when the gain was 14.4%, and well off 2015's 17.7% pace.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

National Small Business Week Awards

From Small Business Administration:


Are you a small business owner with an amazing success story to tell? If so, submit your nomination today for the 2018 National Small Business Week Awards. All nominations must be mailed or hand-delivered to the nearest SBA Office no later than 3:00 p.m. ET on January 9, 2018. Consult the Awards Guidelines for details.

Awards Guidelines
Consult the Awards Guidelines for a list of National Small Business Week Awards, eligibility criteria, selection process, evaluation criteria and how to submit a nomination package.

Nomination Forms
All nominees are required to complete SBA Background Form 3300.

National Small Business Week award nomination forms include:

Small Business Person of the Year Award
Small Business Exporter of the Year
Phoenix Award for Small Business Disaster Recovery
Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery - Public Official
Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery - Volunteer
Federal Procurement Award - Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year Award
Federal Procurement Award - Small Business Subcontractor of the Year Award
Federal Procurement Award - Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence
8(a) Graduate of the Year Award
Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award
Veterans Business Outreach Center Excellence in Service Award
Women's Business Center of the Year Excellence Award
Jody C. Raskind Lender of the Year
Small Business Investment Company of the Year

Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have questions about the National Small Business Week Awards? Consult the FAQs.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Survey of Entrepreneurs Exporting Firms


 The U.S. Census Bureau released data findings from the 2014 Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs Exporting Firms Summary.
The data are contained in three tables that cover export destinationreceipt size of firm and the employment size of the firm by the exporting status, gender, ethnicity, race and veteran status of the firm. The tables contain the combined information of two Census Bureau data products, the 2014 Profile of U.S. Importing and Exporting Companies and the 2014 Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs.
For more information about the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs visit www.census.gov/programs-surveys/ase.html. For other data concerning U.S. exports, check out the Foreign Trade data page.

Friday, November 03, 2017

US Wage Growth Steadily Rises

From PR Newswire:

According to job site Glassdoor, the annual median base pay in the United States grew 1.6 percent year over year (YOY) in October 2017 to $51,220. The Glassdoor Local Pay Reports show pay growth ticked up slightly from a revised 1.4 percent growth last month. Pay growth peaked in January 2017 at a revised 3.5 percent.

The Glassdoor Local Pay Reports provide a unique monthly view into the country's wage picture with salary estimates for nearly 85 job titles and year-over-year pay growth trends in the United States. The reports include details on 10 major metros: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.1

"U.S. wage growth is steady but slow. We've seen incremental increases over the past few months after a slight decline of U.S. median pay over the summer months. While we are still well below the 3.5 percent pay growth rate of January, I am encouraged by the slight salary increases recorded since August and anticipate growth to continue to accelerate through the end of the year," said Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist of Glassdoor.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

What It Takes to Be a Small-Business Owner

From Entrepenuers
Being a small-business owner isn't easy, but an overwhelming majority of entrepreneurs wouldn’t have it any other way. While small-business owners cite “having to wear so many hats” and “finding new customers” as their biggest concerns, according to the below infographic courtesy of online marketing company Constant Contact, a whopping 84 percent said that, if given the opportunity, they would start up all over again. The “ability to pursue their passion” and the freedom that an entrepreneurial lifestyle allows are their biggest motivators, they said.

That’s a good thing, because small business continues to contribute to the global economy in huge ways. Roughly half of all U.S. jobs are provided by companies of less than 500 employees, and 54 percent of U.S. sales happen at small businesses. Additionally, small businesses donate 250 percent more than larger corporations to nonprofits and other charities.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Your 2018 Marketing Plan Will Break the Law: GDPR Threat

From MarketingProfs:

Marketing departments may not realize the seismic impact a new regulation will have on their plans for 2018. And if they don't begin planning today, CMOs may discover that after May 25, 2018, their teams will not be able to execute campaigns and activities in the way they used to—at least not without facing the risk of legal action against their companies resulting in dramatic penalties and brand damage.

The specter of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has loomed large since it was adopted last year by European Union (EU). When it goes into effect next year, this new regulation promises to radically change every phase of consumer data management within the EU—and worldwide.

And just because your company or its servers are not in the EU doesn't mean you'll be able to get around the issue.

A change of this magnitude requires a dedicated and serious response from any organization that either does business within the EU itself or has a customer base or employees that include European residents.

Yet, confusion regarding GDPR is pervasive, and many companies don't fully appreciate the scope of its impact.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Lower Tips Offset Higher Minimum Wage for Servers

From the Census Bureau:

Several states and municipalities across the United States have been raising the minimum wage well above the federal rate of $7.25 an hour, a trend studied by many economists.

Less attention has been paid to workers who rely on tips for part of their earnings. Recent research by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that rising minimum wages may increase server employment, but do not always result in higher pay for tipped workers.

“My research shows

Monday, October 30, 2017

10 Digital Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners in 2017

From Fundera Ledger
Online marketing is vital for any small business hoping to stay competitive. But what online marketing tactics should you focus on in your limited time is a busy entrepreneur?

 Here are 10 essential digital marketing tips for small business owners. 1. Start with Your Website “Make sure you have an updated, mobile-friendly website that is easy for users to navigate across all devices and has a modern, clean design.” —Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation.com

 By choosing the right keywords and narrowing your target audience, you can hone in on those prospective customers who are most likely to want what you sell. By following these digital marketing tips for small business owners, you’ll see your sales and profits grow.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Stale Office Air Is Making You Less Productive

From the Harvard Business Review:


How often do you consider the air quality in your office and how it affects employees and their productivity? Chances are it’s not often.

There is a tendency to assume that, as long as commonly used standards for air quality are met, it won’t be an issue. But these standards aren’t very high. One common international standard that governs how much air is brought in from outside, “Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Quality,” does not even purport to assure “healthy” air quality.

In the 1970s, efforts to conserve energy in the U.S. included tightening up buildings and reducing ventilation rates so buildings didn’t have to bring as much fresh air inside. This inadvertently led to a buildup of indoor pollutants and the birth of a phenomenon known as “sick building syndrome,” a set of symptoms such as eye irritation, headaches, coughing, and chest tightness that is still an issue today...

We found that breathing better air led to significantly better decision-making performance among our participants.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

12 Ways Small Businesses Can Improve Their Social Media Presence

From Forbes:
Social media provides a powerful tool for outreach: Companies can share stories, talk about events or offers, or discuss services or solutions with interested customers or potential clients. But not every small business has set aside the time and money to establish an online strategy or presence.

12 Forbes Agency Council members share their top tips for small companies to improve their social media presence.

Utilize the little time you have on social media to understand your customers and address their needs, not to promote your product.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Industry roundtable: Women in the workplace throughout generations

From Albany Business Review:

Law firm Hodgson Russ and the Albany Business Review hosted a panel discussion with seven women in various stages of their careers to answer these questions.

Teal Vivacqua, director, marketing communications at Plug Power; Ashley Jeffrey Bouck, executive director, Girls Inc. of the Capital Region; Kathleen Godfrey, president, Godfrey Financial Associates; Julie Clancy, director of admissions, Emma Willard; Dawn C. Doherty, partner, BST; Carmen Duncan, CEO and founder, Mission Accomplished Transition Services; Kendra Hart, business development manager, Martin Electric

Cindy Applebaum, Albany Business Review publisher and market president, moderated the discussion.

What’s the importance of having a mentor?

What potential do you see in the younger generation?

How do you approach and explain issues facing young girls?

What barriers do you see for women taking on leadership roles?

Are men always the obstacle?

How often do you find yourself the only woman in a room? And how do you deal with that?

What is the value of women-only professional associations? Do they help women work through challenges?

Are younger women aware of the challenges previous generations have faced and the challenges that remain?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A 30 Point Checklist for Your Startup

From Small Business Trends
So you want to start a business – congratulations! Once you get over the initial excitement, it’s time to break down the process of launching your startup into manageable chunks. You might get overwhelmed with the sheer number of items on your to-do list. But not to worry; I’ve broken down this startup checklist into the primary tasks you need to do now, and those that you can defer until later.