Friday, December 29, 2017

Turn Your YouTube Subscribers Into Customers

From MarketingProfs:

Video plays an important role in driving consumers' purchase decisions: 79% of consumers say they would be willing to spend more money on a product after they watch a social media influencer's video about it, has found. So using your YouTube channel could be a perfect option for you to drive sales. At the same time, you may face some challenges in converting your subscribers into customers.

In this article, you're going to learn three ways to turn YouTube subscribers into valuable customers. However, you still need to keep the basics in mind, such as adding a clear call to action at the end of the video, prompting subscribers to take the desired action.

You should also include easy access to a relevant landing page to drive conversions. You could embed the link in the form of a button at the end of the video.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

You fired your top talent. I hope you’re happy.

From Startups and venture capital:
I recently read a story here titled "We fired our top talent. Best decision we ever made..."

Let's dissect this because there is so much more than meets the eye here. Presumably, if you have read the story, you understand that the author describes a problem worker that he has dubbed “Rick”. Rick is the local genius with a ton of domain knowledge about their product and a member of the core development staff for this product...

Personally, I'm of the opinion that if you find these people and you are in the process of interviewing them, regardless of whatever modicum of talent they have, they aren't worth your time because of the loss of morale and teamwork they bring to the team. This is actually something brought up in the story itself — about how Rick ignored team meetings and belittled his co-workers. About how after Rick left, productivity soared and they managed to pull together to save the day! The author does this to make you hate Rick, and say “yeah! Screw that guy!...

If you were paying attention though, there were some troubling things that you might have picked up along the way...

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Marketers Can Implement a Customer-Centric Mindset

From MarketingProfs:

For marketers, a mindset that puts the customer first is critical to competitive success. That's something marketers know. Yet, during day-to-day execution, that customer-centric mentality tends to get pushed aside, more so in Marketing than in other, client-facing parts of the business, such as Sales and Customer Support.

It happens easily, even to the best of us.

With so much going on in our pipelines at any one moment—from lead gen campaigns, events, new product launches, and more—marketers can't help but get caught up in the weeds of project execution. We run fast, focusing on what needs to get done now; in those moments, the customer-centric mindset is important, but not mission-critical. Or so it seems.

The truth is that a customer-centric mindset is necessary for our marketing to be successful. It helps campaigns resonate with prospects and customers, leading to more sales and enhanced client satisfaction and engagement. Those results benefit everyone, and taken together they can offer a powerful differentiator from your competition.

So how can busy marketers implement a customer-centric mindset? Here are five ways.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Do You Make These Thinking Errors?

From Medium:

Have you ever made a decision that seemed illogical looking back? We’re all highly illogical beings even though we think the opposite!

Every person creates their own social reality. The way you view the world is completely subjective because we all have cognitive biases.

The concept of cognitive biases was introduced in 1972 by two psychologists, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman. A cognitive bias is a systematic thinking error that impacts judgments, and therefore, our decisions.

As of this writing, there are 106 decision-making related cognitive biases known! We all make these errors. So there’s no point in trying to become a perfect thinker. It’s impossible.

However, with practice, you can avoid some thinking mistakes that many of us make. And by avoiding these errors, we can improve our decisions, and consequently: Our lives and careers.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Workplace Rules For Business Owners & Employees

From BizFilings
Managing the employees in your workplace effectively necessitates that even the smallest of businesses set up work rules. Work rules protect your business and your workers and if correctly implemented and executed, create and maintain a better work environment for all.

 Having formal work rules in your business, even if they're not required, are a good idea because they can help you protect your business from litigation and maintain a high quality of work life for your employees. You need to make sure that your employees understand what is expected of them, not only in the work that they do, but in their behavior and in other areas of your employment relationship. If the rules are carefully selected, clearly related to the business, and fairly enforced, they can help you to better manage your workplace and your workers.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

How Mall of America Is Changing with the Times

From eMarketing:
Mall of America has introduced a chatbot that uses AI and natural language to answer customer questions in real time.

Through the technology, visitors accessing its website, mobile app or Facebook Messenger can get answers immediately, whether they're looking to shop or find the nearest restroom.

Next year the chatbot, developed by tech startup Satisfi Labs, will also be incorporated with Mall of America's three new Pepper humanoid robots, which it recently brought to its 5.6 million-square-foot property for the first time since Black Friday weekend. What's more, Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant feature is also being included so that mall patrons can ask questions without typing.

In addition to the new chatbot, Mall of America—which draws 40 million visitors annually and is known for entertainment features from an aquarium to an amusement park—Tuesday unveiled an updated website. It features not just the new chatbot, but also rich media and virtual reality that its various brand tenants may use to make their traditionally “solid” tenant pages more “robust.”

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Cash Use Still Common Despite Widening Payment Options

From eMarketer:

When it comes to payments, cash may no longer be consumers' first choice—though it's still a widespread and even preferred option for many, depending on the type of transaction.

A study from ATM network Cardtronics found that 91% of internet users said that they used cash either to make a purchase, or to give money or get money from another person. This was a decrease of 4 percentage points over 2016.

But the inverse of that measure is telling. According to the study, nearly one in 10 respondents said they had not used cash at all in the previous six months.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Early Due Dates for W-2, W-3 and Form 1099-MISC

From the Internal Revenue Service:

Employers face a January 31, 2018, due date for filing 2017 Forms W-2 and W-3 with the Social Security Administration. This date applies to both electronic and paper filers.

Form 1099-MISC is due to the IRS and individuals by January 31 when reporting non-employee compensation payments in box 7.

Penalties for failure to file correct information returns or furnish correct payee statements have increased and are now subject to inflationary adjustments. These increased penalties are effective for information returns required to be filed after December 31, 2015.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Retailers Want to Modernize Payment Options

From eMarketing:

Retailers are constantly looking to improve the shopping experience, but leveraging new technologies to do so can be costly.

A spring 2017 study from Oracle and cloud-based marketing automation provider Bronto Software, which was released this past November, asked US retailers a hypothetical question: What ecommerce innovations they would focus on if money or time were not issues.

A large share of respondents (44%) said they would focus on newer payment options, like one-click ordering, while a little over a third said they’d like to focus on social selling.

Overall, many of the responses had a similar theme—enhancing the user experience.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Millions Are Hounded for Debt They Don’t Owe

From Business Week:

Andrew Therrien had been caught up in a fraud known as phantom debt, where millions of Americans are hassled to pay back money they don’t owe. The concept is centuries old: Inmates of a New York debtors’ prison joked about it as early as 1800, in a newspaper they published called Forlorn Hope.

But systematic schemes to collect on fake debts started only about five years ago. It begins when someone scoops up troves of personal information that are available cheaply online—old loan applications, long-expired obligations, data from hacked accounts—and reformats it to look like a list of debts. Then they make deals with unscrupulous collectors who will demand repayment of the fictitious bills. Their targets are often poor and likely to already be getting confusing calls about other loans. The harassment usually doesn’t work, but some marks are convinced that because the collectors know so much, the debt must be real.

The problem is as simple as it is intractable. In 2012 a call center in India was busted for making 8 million calls in eight months to collect made-up bills. The Federal Trade Commission has since broken up at least 13 similar scams. In most cases, regulators weren’t able to identify the original perpetrators because the data files had been sold and repackaged so many times. Victims have essentially no recourse to do anything but take the abuse.

Most victims, that is.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Access to Capital is Greatest Barrier for Veterans with Dreams of Business Ownership

FromInstitute for Veterans and Military Families

SYRACUSE, N.Y., Nov. 28, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- If home ownership is one quintessential American dream, owning your own business is another. While a higher percentage of veterans are self-employed compared to non-veterans, the rate of veteran entrepreneurship has seen a significant decline. Forty-nine percent of veterans returning from service in World War II started businesses. Today the rate of post 9-11 veterans doing the same has fallen to 5.6 percent (from 12.3 percent in 1996).

The question now becomes why are we losing a potential class of business owners who come out of the military well equipped with important skills and attributes for success as entrepreneurs? A new study of veteran business owners, conducted by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) in collaboration with Bunker Labs, takes an in-depth look into factors that account for the motivation, success, failure or survival in veteran entrepreneurship. The report, Bridging the Gap, Motivations, Challenges, and Successes of Veteran Entrepreneurs, sees veteran business owners cite difficulty accessing capital as one of three core impediments to starting or expanding their businesses. Limited or no opportunities to network and difficulty developing mentorships were the other top blockers.

The continued loss of veteran-owned businesses that lack cash or financing will have an impact on our economy as veteran-owned businesses employ over 5 million U.S. workers and cover a payroll nearing $200 billion. This number could continue to go down as would the incomes for households of veteran entrepreneurs who have higher incomes and greater wealth.

“We cannot continue to watch as veterans become a smaller and smaller part of the U.S. entrepreneurial population,” says Dr. Mike Haynie, IVMF Executive Director and Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation at Syracuse University. “Veterans and entrepreneurship are a natural fit given their ability to take risks, be determined, think on their feet and survive challenges. We must continue to encourage them to pursue this path, and support them every step of the way.”

“We know the ‘who’ and the ‘what’ when it comes to veteran entrepreneurship—but we’ve never looked at the ‘why’ and the ‘how’, and this study does just that,” says Misty Stutsman, IVMF Director of Entrepreneurship and Small Business. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Small Business Success Story - Mohawk Networks

Each year the New York Small Business Development Center recognizes outstanding small businesses in a variety of ways.  This Success Story from the Canton SBDC appears in our 2016 Annual Report

Jeff Beekhoo
Mohawk Networks, LLC
Canton SBDC

The mission of Mohawk Networks, LLC is to provide reliable, affordable high-speed broadband Internet access to the residents of the North Country and beyond through existing fiber optics and new wireless infrastructure. Jeff Beekhoo consulted the SBDC for assistance in expanding internet services throughout the North Country. When he first met with Advisor Jennifer McCluskey at the Canton SBDC, Jeff was the general manager of the Broadband Department for the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe. 
At the time he was overseeing a $10.5 million USDA grant awarded to the tribe to provide internet access to the Tribal lands. Jeff and the Tribe wanted to create a new company, Mohawk Networks, LLC (MNLLC), to expand internet services outside tribal lands and throughout the region. Jeff needed assistance from the SBDC to develop a business plan and projections to present to the Tribe. Jennifer assisted Jeff in developing the plan with five-year projections. With the Tribe’s approval, MNLLC was created and a new facility was built for the business in Bombay. She also assisted Jeff in developing a presentation for local governmental leaders and key regional partners. 
Finally, Jennifer developed a spreadsheet to plan customer growth, which has been a foundation of the new LLC’s budget creation. Mohawk Networks, LLC has been in business for a full year, and now has 20 employees. The business provides internet services in its local area and has expansion plans for working with underserved areas throughout the region. MNLLC will work with key service providers in the region such as BOCES, hospitals, and local school systems, to ensure they have access to high-speed internet. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

What Entices Holiday Shoppers Into Physical Stores

From MarketingProfs:

Male holiday shoppers are more likely than female holiday shoppers to be drawn into brick-and-mortar stores by online ads and deals displayed in windows, according to recent research from Euclid.

The report was based on data from a survey conducted in September 2017 among 1,500 US shoppers who own smartphones.

Younger consumers are more likely than older consumers to say they would chose one retailer over another during the holidays because of the store experience.

Friday, December 08, 2017


From: NameCheap

You’ve heard it a million times: your website should have a blog.
But why? You’re probably imagining a lot of work going into something no one will read anyway, right?

While it’s true that a blog can represent a significant investment of time (or money, if you hire a writer), in this article we’re going to suggest that all businesses—from small one-person shops to major corporations—can benefit from having a blog on their website.

Do you have enough customers or clients? Chances are, you’d like to bring in more business. A blog offers you a great opportunity to find—and keep—your customers. 
First of all, blogs offer a great way for people to find your website. By writing about topics relevant to your business, your blog posts will start showing up in search engine results, bringing more people to your website. Solid content is also a signal that your site is relevant and reliable, which will boost your overall site ranking.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

U.S Small Business Administration Survey

From: U.S. Small Business Administration

 The U.S. Small Business Administration is interested in learning more about the needs of current and aspiring small business owners. This survey will ask for input on the resources you have used to start and manage your small business and your satisfaction with those resources.   

This survey is being administered by CFI Group, an independent third-party research group. It is voluntary and will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Any information you provide will be strictly confidential. Neither names nor email addresses will be associated with any answer you provide.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Small Business Success Story - Alpine Made

Each year the New York Small Business Development Center recognizes outstanding small businesses in a variety of ways.  This Success Story from the  Buffalo SBDC appears in our 2016 Annual Report

Kerry Beiter 
Alpine Made
Buffalo SBDC

Bieter & Sons’ Farm LLC is a certified organic goat dairy farm and Ms. Kerry Bieter is the sole owner of the business. In 2012, Kerry founded Alpine Made LLC, a soap and skin care company, through which she sells goat milk soaps and skin care products at farmers markets in Western New York, wholesale to local retailers, and nationally through a website. Bieter & Sons’ farm uses sustainable and organic farming practices to raise alpine dairy goats. The business is certified organic through the northeast Organic Farming Association of New York. The farm is located in the town of Wales in an agricultural district 30 minutes south of Buffalo.

Kerry began working with Buffalo SBDC Advisor Andrea Lizak in 2011 when she was in the planning stages of opening her business. Alpine Made opened a year later in 2012 and since then Kerry has continued to work with the center. Andrea has assisted Kerry with many facets of her business including start-up procedures and the development of her business and funding proposals. With Andrea’s assistance the company has made tremendous progress. Armed with a well-prepared plan, Kerry secured funding from various sources, which has enabled Alpine Made to expand in multiple directions. One major development was to move the business to a much larger facility. Most recently, Kerry landed a contract with one of the largest and most distinguished grocery retailers in the United States - Wegmans. The SBDC continues to help Alpine Made succeed as one of New York’s exceptional small businesses. 

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Invaluable Advice From 18 of America's Top Small-Business Owners

From Entrepenuer
Every state in America picked one small business owner as its small business person of the year as part of National Small Business Week. Each one of them was up for the national award as well. These people are doing amazing things, from contracting with the Department of Homeland Security to making silver-gallium nanoneedles.

Max Nisen, Guidance Aviation is a high-altitude flight school and John Stonecipher just won Small Business Person Of The Year.  
One piece of advice for small business owners:"Surround yourself around the best people you can and give them an opportunity to do what they love to do best. Each one of my staff and faculty are leaders themselves. I cannot succeed without them."

Monday, December 04, 2017

Marketing Is Not About Your Company’s Values

From: Medium

Marketing is really about how customer values translate into aspirations, insecurities, fears and motivations.

Marketing, at the end of the day, is not just about a company’s values — it’s about understanding what these mean to a customer, and getting that meaning to be felt strongly enough that they buy.The success of a business — and its marketing message — is partially figuring out what people want. And partially the promise of fulfilling it.

There are a number of companies popping up that sell clothing with elephants on it and donate part of the proceeds to “saving the elephants.”
They’re popular. And they’re popular not because donating makes people feel good, but because elephants make people feel good.It’s not accidental. These companies aren’t donating to, say, endangered Amazonian spiders or rock moss.No. It’s elephants.Why? It’s simple. You want to sell some fast-fashion casual clothing? Look at who’s buying it. Once you know who’s buying it (and we all know who it is: early 20’s to early 30’s women), then look at why they’re buying it — their values, their insecurities, their wants and aspirations and motivations.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Seven Perfectionism Pitfalls to Avoid in Your Writing

From: MarketingProfs

Writing can take a lot of time. Sometimes that's because research needs to be done; sometimes the business owner you're working with may have unexpected changes; and sometimes you can be your own worst enemy by making your writing process inefficient—especially if you're a perfectionist.
Trying to create a "perfect" piece as you write can hinder creativity and slow you down. But the good news is that you are in control of making your writing process faster and more productive, and today's infographic by Enchanting Marketing offers tips to help.
"Perfectionism becomes unhealthy when you mix it with self-doubt and undermine your creative productivity," the graphic begins. "To speed up and enjoy your writing, become a writing pragmatist."
For example, a perfectionist wants to use perfect sentences in a first draft, whereas a pragmatist simply puts down ideas on paper that can later be finessed, the graphic explains. "Ugly drafts" are a great way to get a project moving.
Are you guilty of perfectionism in your writing? Check out these seven tips to get your creative process on a faster track.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Can Collaboration Shore Up Brick-and-Mortar Retail?

From: eMarketer

Brick-and-mortar retailers often gripe that they are at a competitive disadvantage against online retailers because of their relative inability to map a more complete view of their customers are and their traffic, browsing and purchasing behavior.

As malls, department stores and other retailers struggle to drive traffic, some players are considering sharing data.

Mall developer Westfield, the owner of 35 shopping centers, is seeking to persuade retailers, brands and even competing malls to share data such as what consumers have just bought to allow partners/rivals to better target potential customers for related sales.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Small Business Success Story - Doris Ulysse

Each year the New York Small Business Development Center recognizes outstanding small businesses in a variety of ways.  This Success Story from the  Brooklyn SBDC appears in our 2016 Annual Report

Doris Ulysse
Brooklyn SBDC

The story of Doris Ulysse is testimony to the grit and talent of a determined African American woman entrepreneur. Doris specializes in network design and administration. She is particularly adept at configuring and integrating hardware and software for a full spectrum of client types. She first consulted the Brooklyn SBDC after years of working as an IT professional to “test the waters” of entrepreneurship. 

Advisor Janet Page expertly guided her through the business planning process and MWBE certification protocol. Doris became an MWBE subcontractor through the NYC Office of General Services and a contractor for the NYC Housing Authority. She learned that having certifications had little to do with getting contracts as a Prime or sub-contractor. After two years of frustration with lack of access to government contracts, Doris returned to the SBDC. 

Advisor Sanford Gerber, a 35-year veteran of the SBA 8A program, showed her how to use the 8A system as it is intended. At Sanford’s suggestion, Doris re-focused her attention on the 8a certification process. He helped Doris obtain a $5,000 line of credit to demonstrate financial capacity. Then he showed her how to research the federal database to find prime contractors looking for partners, and how to find other successful 8a firms with which to network. Doris gives both Janet Page and Sanford Gerber credit for being as passionate about her business as she is. Doris’ next steps are to get an even larger line of credit, finish the NYC Mentorship Program, enter the SBA Mentor-Protégée program, and win multiple federal contracts. She just obtained certification in Hospitality Management from Cornell School of Hotel Administration. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Small Business Of Trying To Go Big Online

From Digg:
In August, the U.S. Small Business Administration found that self-employment is ticking upward, but hasn't yet reached the heights it reached before the 2008 financial crash. Now, using census data, the office estimates that just over 15 million Americans are self employed. The SBA also reported that in 2013 there were 28.8 million small businesses — that is, a business, or firm, that employs less than 500 employees.3 Which might explain why the U.S. Census Bureau found that small businesses employed 56.8 million people, about 48 percent of the private industries. The new face of a small business is the perpetual freelancer, which means we have to start considering what this means when this entire generation retires — or, more likely, can't afford to. We already worry about how we'll provide for the population as more and more people live longer but are unable to work. If there's a place for mid-level earners on the internet, does that carved-out space include retirement, cheaper preventative health care, assisted living facilities that aren't garbage, and basically anything you'll need when you're not young, healthy and beautiful?

Monday, November 27, 2017

Most Popular Colors in Business & What They Say About a Brand

From MarketingProfs:

Remember those mobile phone carrier commercials that used colored balls to represent the four big carriers? It was red for Verizon, blue for AT&T, yellow for Sprint, and pink for T-Mobile.

Consumers didn't need explanations about which color represented which brand, because we made the associations automatically. That goes to show the power of color when defining your brand.

Vistaprint worked with Dr. Sally Augustin of Design With Science to analyze color popularity among the print company's customers, define the feelings those colors elicit, and explore which colors are popular in which industries. That information was summarized into a graphic.

Should you choose a color that your competitors use, or should your brand stand out? That's a decision you'll need to make, and the tips in the graphic might help you out.

Friday, November 24, 2017

7 Tips From Successful Small Business Owners

From Small Biz Ahead
Many long-time small business owners would agree with the line from the 1970s song by the band Faces: “I wish that I knew what I know now.” Over years of running a small business, owners inevitably gather many lessons about how to grow and run a business more effectively. Thankfully, many of these owners are more than happy to share their insights.

 Here are seven tips from several successful small business owners that are worth paying attention to:
 1. Build a Support Network For Laura Kelly, being a business owner can be an isolating experience at times. “Especially if you’re a solo business owner, you can lose touch with other business owners,” says Kelly, who 15 years ago started The Handwork Studio, a Narberth, Pennsylvania-based company that runs needlework camps and classes for kids in 10 states along the East Coast.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Labor force participation rates projected to decline over next decade

From Bureau of Labor Statistics:

After reaching its historical peak at 67.1 percent in 2000, the labor force participation rate for all workers (age 16 and over) is projected to decline to 61.0 percent in 2026.

The decline in the rate is largely the result of the aging population, as more and more workers move into higher age groups that tend to have lower participation rates. The overall labor force participation rate has been declining since 2000, dropping sharply following the 2007–09 recession and reaching 62.8 percent in 2016.

The continued shift of the population into older age groups will have long-lasting effects on the labor force and the overall labor force participation rate. In 1996, the entire baby-boom generation was in the 25-to-54-year-old group, with a labor force participation rate of 83.8 percent. In 2001, the first of the baby boomers moved into the 55-and-older age group.

Although the 25-to-54-year-old group shows the strongest attachment to the labor market, its participation rate has been gradually declining since 2000 and is expected to change little over the coming decade. The participation rates of both 16-to-19-year-olds and 20-to-24-year-olds have decreased sharply over the past several decades. Their rates are expected to decline further, although at a slower rate.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

7 Ways to Create a Pleasant Work Environment for Your Employees

From Small Business Bonfire
Working in a pleasant environment helps people feel positive and motivated. If employees enjoy their time at work, they will be less likely to take long breaks or go on sick leave. The benefits for business owners include increased productivity and reduced staff turnover, leading to lower recruitment and training costs. Here are some ways to create a pleasant work environment for your employees.

Three Creative Cold-Email Templates That Will Get Replies

The problem: You worry that members of your sales team are not following the right messaging guidelines in their cold outreach to prospects.

The solution: You can give them templates to one-click insert.

Giving cold-email templates to your sales team guarantees two things: (1) You can rest easy knowing they're using the right positioning; and (2) Sending emails with proven copywriting techniques will increase their open and reply rates.

Remember: cold emails aren't about the sale; they're about initiating conversation and getting the ball rolling.

Sounds familiar to what you do every day, right?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Gift Card Purchases Continue to Rise


Despite the struggles of brick-and-mortar- retail, the purchase of physical gift cards has grown for three consecutive years, according to new survey data. Digital gift card purchases also has risen sharply this year.

Consumers spent an average of $38 more than the value on their gift card this year—up $10 over 2016. And 44% of respondents said having a card caused them to go to a store they would not have visited otherwise.

Private Labels No Longer Just About Price

From eMarketer:

Growth of the private-label market in recent years has been driven by demand from lower-income shoppers as well as budget-conscious millennials. But these products are attracting wealthier consumers, creating yet another challenge for national brands.

According to an IRI survey released last week, over half (52%) of consumers with household income of more than $100,000 said they expect to buy more private-label products over the next six months. For those earning $55,000 to $99,000, 62% planned to do the same.

Those percentages are still smaller than the responses among consumers making less than $35,000 and millennials in general (76% and 74%, respectively). However, the private-label buying plans among the more affluent were higher compared with previous findings, according to IRI.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Best Business Credit Cards of 2017

From: U.S News

Access to credit can be difficult to come by and expensive for small businesses. Small business credit cards can be flexible, invaluable tools for business owners facing short-term cash crunches. Interest rates can be lower than they are for other convenient sources of credit, such as advances against accounts receivable or credit card receipts and unsecured loans available from small business lenders on the Internet. Thanks to credit card incentive and rewards programs, it may make sense for business owners to route as much of their normal expenses as possible through their business credit card.
If you spend a significant amount on business expenses each month, you should consider applying for a business credit card. However, it’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of business credit cards as well as the wide array of offerings on the market.Business credit cards provide business owners and entrepreneurs instant and convenient capital they can use for any business need.
There are lots of different business types and business owners, and they may not always resemble a traditional view of a business. You don’t need to have a storefront or warehouse or any major facilities or hard assets to be issued a business credit card. If you have good personal and business credit and otherwise meet the issuer’s criteria, you can get a business credit card issued in any industry. So don’t be discouraged if you’re self-employed or you fall into one of a non-traditional business categories.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Video Ad Campaigns

From eMarketer:

Recent studies from key players in the world of ad tech tell quite different stories of how video ads seem to be performing, based on completion rates, viewability rates, clickthroughs and more.

Although the body of research on video ad metrics is still limited, the noisiness in the data is remarkable given how concrete some of these metrics are. Nevertheless, those who have followed the industry understand that many complicating factors are at play.

One such factor is that each company measures activity on its own platform, which is only a small sample of the broader universe.

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: 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 ( 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

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 For other data concerning U.S. exports, check out the Foreign Trade data page.