Looking For A Business Loan?

59948705Many entrepreneurs have launched their small business with a loan from a parent, uncle, or any other relative willing and able to afford lending a small sum, and perhaps not getting their money back for many years. Not everyone has the means to do that, and that’s why getting a small business loan from a bank is so important for many entrepreneurs, or even the small business owner already established.  Many analysts believe the lack of small business loans available to small business owners has decreased over the years, and the terms of the loans are not very favorable to the small business owner or entrepreneur.  Looking at different alternatives seems the only way for anyone looking for a loan to launch their business idea.

For more about this topic, follow the link below.

Four Smart Ways To Finance Your Next Big Idea Or Small Business

If you’ve ever wanted to start a business of your own, there’s likely been one big hurdle getting in your way: getting the money to finance your big idea.

Fortunately, the internet has made this process a whole lot easier. In the mid-90s, I was able to self-fund my business through the first few dollars I made online, then kept scaling and putting money back into my business over time.

Like most online businesses, my startup costs were extremely low. But not all business models are created equal: Some may need more investment money and funding than others. To help with this process, I’ve listed four different ways you can start raising money or obtaining a financial loan for your next big business idea.

Pre-Sell Your Product Or Idea Before Launching

Wouldn’t it be great if you could prove your model worked before starting your business? In the offline world, this is quite expensive and hard to accomplish. But on the internet, it’s happening every day.

‘Fintech’ fast-cash loans are like ‘wild west’ for small businesses

If you run a small business, you’re likely seeing a flood of offers for easy-to-get loans — through direct mail, pop-up ads, even TV ads — promising fast money to pay your bills or buy new equipment. But that new world of fast cash can come with some costly catches.

“It’s been the wild west,” said Karen Gordon Mills, co-author of a just-released Harvard Business School study exploring the promise and challenges of alternative small-business lending. The sector has exploded in the last few years as a new industry emerged, referred to as “fintech” (for financial technology).

Typically, to get a loan, a small-business owner needs to provide a bank with tax returns, personal and business financial statements and a pile of other documents and data.  “You have to wait weeks or months,” said Mills, who co-wrote the report “Small Business Lending: Innovation and Technology and the Implications for Regulation” with Brayden McCarthy.

Moreover, there’s been a persistent “credit gap” — a dramatic lack of funds available for small businesses needing smaller amounts of money, less than $250,000.

Here Is What Small Business Needs From the Trump Administration

The nation’s 28 million small businesses and tens of millions of self-employed freelancers need a voice the President will listen to.

As President-Elect Trump is busy at work filling his Cabinet positions, the one area that may be among the most important, but is among the least talked about, pertains to small business.

Small business and entrepreneurship are at the center of creating jobs and growing the economy, which are key pieces of Trump’s stated focus. While previous presidents, including President Obama, have raised the Administrator of the Small Business Administration to a Cabinet-level position, Trump should continue his out-of-the-box thinking and make a small business Cabinet position even more front and center in his own administration.

As a leading small business advocate for the greater part of the past decade, I’ve identified several key areas that Trump’s appointee should be able to navigate in order to add full value to the administration, as well as the 28 million small businesses (and tens of millions of freelancers) currently at the center of our economic engine.


Small Business Saturday

small-shopNovember 26, 2016, is Small Business Saturday.   More than 16 billion dollars were spent last year at small retailers across the nation according to the Small Business Administration (SBA) and this year many believe will be bigger.  If you are a small business, this holiday weekend is sure to provide you with the extra sales you were hoping for and the extra income many small businesses need.

For more about Small Business Saturday, follow the links below for more information.

8 Ways To Boost Sales Using Social Media This Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday, was created to shift attention from big box stores to the smaller mom-and-pop shops offering carefully curated product selection and gift ideas you won’t find anywhere else. It’s a celebration of everything that makes small businesses special.

To take advantage of the spotlight being shone on Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26, 2016, make sure your business is leveraging social media to get the word out. Here are eight tactics to use:

1.Use The Hashtag #ShopSmall

On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, use the hashtag #ShopSmall to allow customers to easily find information about your business and to alert them that you’re participating in Small Business Saturday. And use the hashtag yourself to search social media for other ideas for promoting your small business during this busy time of year.

Small Business Saturday is expected to be busier than ever

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Politicians and the Small Business Administration’s District director visited several small stores in Lakewood on Monday, a grass-roots marketing effort to bring attention to Small Business Saturday this weekend.

“We were in Lakewood to highlight Small Business Saturday which comes after Black Friday and before Cyber Monday because we want to encourage people to shop small this coming Saturday,” said Gil Goldberg, the SBA district director. “But we could have been in any town, city or village in Northern Ohio to illustrate the support that merchants in the community provide.”

Goldberg was joined by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers.

Last year, Small Business Saturday packed a big punch to the U.S. economy: 95 million consumers shopped in small and local retailers and restaurants and spent $16.2 billion, nearly triple ($5.5 billion) what consumers spent  with small retailers in 2012, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The shopping day was first started by American Express. The idea came about during the recession in 2009, and officially launched a year later. At the time, the nation was still recovering from the financial crisis, and eventually lost about 200,000 small businesses.

Rosenberry: Shop small business Saturday

Black Friday is almost here, which means the Christmas shopping season has officially begun.

More power to you if you want to fight the traffic and the crowds. But don’t forget: You also can get deals on Small Business Saturday — which happens just one day later.

In the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to scope out a small business that’s new to me, someplace I’ve never been; and I found the perfect place — a cute little craft store with a big heart.

Craft Bits & Pieces is located in Fairport’s Village Landing plaza. Unlike most places you may shop this holiday season, Craft Bits & Pieces’ sole purpose is a charitable one. It raises money for Perinton’s Senior Options for Independence, care management and transportation programs.

The shop relies on more than 50 volunteers to collect, sort, clean, package and shelve thousands of items donated every week. The shop has three part-time managers and is overseen by Joanne Haag, executive director of the Fairport/Perinton Senior Living Council.

True to its name, Craft Bits & Pieces is a crafter’s dream store, stuffed with fabric, notions, buttons, scrapbooking supplies, yarns, needles, dried flowers and more. Plenty of delights for non-crafters also line the shelves, including home decor items, glassware, jewelry, puzzles and books.


Small Business News For This Election Day


Today is Election day.  With the uncertainty in the economic climate of the United States, and the global economy, people cannot not participate in this election.  We have choices, and for better or worse as United States citizens, we have a constitutional right to vote. Indecisiveness does not help the economic climate, nor your small business. The small business policies the next president will institute in this country affects us, and the economy.  Think about it. Go Vote!

Survey: Small business owners worried about election impact

Small business owners are concerned about the impact the election could have on their companies but hold mixed views of how supportive the candidates are on different issues, according to a survey by researchers at Pepperdine University.

In the survey done by the Graziadio School of Business and Management, more than three-quarters said they were concerned about the election effect, with about half of those considering themselves very concerned.

Between the two candidates, 66 percent of the more than 1,350 business owners surveyed said Republican Donald Trump was more supportive on tax issues. Sixty-four percent called Trump more supportive on regulatory issues. When asked about equal pay for male and female workers, 59 percent said Democrat Hillary Clinton was more supportive. Fifty-eight percent said Clinton was more supportive of family leave.

The survey covered randomly chosen companies in Dun & Bradstreet Corp.’s database that had annual revenue of $5 million or less.

Indecisiveness Can Be Costly To Small Business Owners: Here’s How To Fix It

Major bottlenecks in businesses are often caused by indecision. It could be that a business owner is waiting on more data before making a decision on a big ticket purchase. They could be too busy to stop and make up their minds on something that needs to be done or perhaps they’re easily distracted by new options that are presented to them. But avoiding the tough decisions that need to be made can paralyse a business, leading to lost opportunities. Here’s some advice from small business expert Dr Greg Chapman to help business owners tackle the problem of indecisiveness.

Over at Australian Small Business Blog, Dr Chapman noted that while many bottlenecks like delays in issuing invoices or suppliers not honouring their commitments may create real costs for a business, being unable to make tough decisions in a timely manner could be even more costly:

Ohio’s tax policy rated one of worst in U.S. for business

COLUMBUS — While Ohio has bragged about being open for business, a Washington-based tax policy think tank ranks the Buckeye State’s business tax climate among the nation’s worst.

The Tax Foundation, a Washington-based nonprofit research center, judges states on how well it believes their tax structures encourage or hinder economic growth. Its 2017 report ranks Ohio 45th, ahead of only Minnesota, Vermont, California, New York, and New Jersey.

Ohio trails all of its neighbors. Indiana ranks eighth; Michigan, 12th; West Virginia, 18th; Pennsylvania, 24th; and Kentucky, 34th.

“Ohio has done some good things in recent years, particularly in lowering the individual income tax rates,” said Jared Walczak, policy analyst with the foundation. “But structurally, the state has a more complex tax code and one of the least neutral tax codes.”

Ohio lawmakers and Gov. John Kasich’s office have preferred to point to other business climate rankings, such as this month’s latest from Site Selection magazine. The magazine gauges corporate opinions and tracks announced project sitings.


The State of Small Business Borrowing


A loan pre-approval offer for your business to expand, invest, or cover payroll may not be on the table any longer. Small businesses are dealing with a lot of rejection this time around when looking for a small business loan, and banks seem unwilling to go forth with loans that were pre approved only a few month ago. “The loan is no longer available to us because that was a special offer a few months back, and the bank is not offering it now.” A small business owner claimed. The companies that are struggling to pay past loans are high, and that can be an indication why banks are unwilling to acquire more debt int he form of loans made to small businesses.

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.

U.S. small business borrowing falls, delinquencies rise

Borrowing by small U.S. firms slipped in September, and the percentage of firms late on repaying existing loans rose to its highest in nearly four years, data released on Tuesday showed.

The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index fell to 128.9 from a downwardly revised 132.8 in August. Measured from a year earlier, it was the fourth straight monthly decline, with the index at its lowest point since January.

Companies also struggled to pay back existing debts, PayNet data showed. Loans more than 30 days past due rose in September to 1.64 percent, the sixth straight monthly increase and the highest delinquency rate since December 2012.

Bank turned down your small business loan? Now it must offer an alternative

From today, the UK’s nine largest banks will be legally required to help entrepreneurs find funding elsewhere, thanks to the bank referral scheme

Katrin Herrling felt she had nowhere to go when, in the midst of the financial crisis, her bank suddenly changed its lending terms. She had inherited a dairy farm and needed support with her cash flow during the four months of the year the cows weren’t producing milk. “Nothing in our position had changed but the banks felt they had to rebuild their balance sheet,” she says. “I didn’t know where to turn … I [knew] that just going to another bank where I didn’t have an established relationship wasn’t going to solve the issue. Outside of banks, I had no idea.”

From today, entrepreneurs should not find themselves in Herrling’s position. As part of the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, the UK’s nine major banks will be legally required to refer those SMEs they refuse to finance to an alternative provider, under the bank referral scheme.

Study: Women Small Business Owners Being Shut Out of Major Government Contracts

Jane Campbell

Jane Campbell is the director of the National Development Council’s Washington office and president of WIPP.

When Komal Goyal started her IT company, 6e Technologies, in 2003, she knew she had what it takes to run a successful business. She’d made a name for herself in the IT services space and had a robust list of contacts in the commercial arena. What she didn’t have was a hefty government contract—something that could propel her business to new heights—so she set her sights on locking one down. Thirteen years later, she’s still trying to nab one of the large umbrella contracts with the federal government that could double the size of her business in just a few years.

The problem is that most of these super contracts—the kind many federal agencies favor because they create a pre-approved list of businesses that can supply unlimited goods or services during a specified period, of up to 10 years—have requirements to allow various socio-economic groups to compete, but not for women.“The contracting officers putting together a list of possible vendors must ensure certain groups have access to these contracts,” Goyal said. “If women-owned businesses aren’t one of those boxes to check off, we don’t even get the chance to compete.”


Branding Your BusinessThe Right Way


As a small business owner, the branding of your business may not seem important enough for you to worry about it just yet.  Getting the business off  the ground seems to take all the time you have to worry about branding your business, or the social media aspect of it.  But, remember that having a brand that customers identify quickly, can be a great boost to your business.  Having your business logo, colors and fonts form a cohesive image that translates to social media can help customers identify your business online, and perhaps begin a relationship that can last for many years.

For more about branding, follow the links below.

Despite being a branding company, how we failed and sailed with our internal branding

We all know that a brand is an intangible asset. It’s a heavy word though. Branding is what makes or breaks a brand, isn’t it? Well, it’s certainly an exercise that can help you differentiate yourself from your competitors. For instance, with consistent advertising, and a decent product, you can create a brand image that is way above your competitors. It can help you make your brand aspirational. What’s more? It can influence people to associate with your brand. Even if that means they have to pay a premium to associate with your brand. So, the power of branding cannot be ignored.

Unfortunately, more often than not, we think that branding is all about external communication only. But to cut a good picture externally, companies tend to forget that branding is a lot about what’s done internally too. It’s only after burning our hands that we tend to really understand the power of internal branding.

Branding feelings: Why marketing leaders do it

A name. So you think that a brand is about remembering a name. A company, product, or service. True, but there is more. When you hear a name, how do you feel? Strong brands evoke strong feelings. Including the “I gotta have it” urge that propels buyers to the checkout counter. What about other feelings?

Trust. Trust is the foundation feeling. We bond with businesses, products, people, and places we trust.

“Great companies that build an enduring brand have an emotional relationship with customers that has no barrier. And that emotional relationship is the most important characteristic, which is trust.” – Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO

Feeling dominoes

One good feeling leads to another. When we trust a brand, other feelings are added. Positive feelings about quality, special features, usability, service, and overall value.

Loyalty. That is the sticky feeling that keeps us coming back for more. The stronger our composite feelings about a brand, the more we are inclined to continue buying from that company and their products. Even when a competitor has strong offerings.

6 Ways Personal Branding Is Your SEO Secret Weapon

Search engine optimization (SEO) has a lot of potential angles and strategies associated with it. Though there are some universal best practices you’ll need if you want to rank higher (such as cleaning up your technical on-site SEO and building natural inbound links), there are variable approaches you can take to find success in your own niche.

For example, you may adopt a local SEO strategy to gain more traction against your larger competitors, or you could opt for niche, long-tail keyword targeting to get a faster rise for lower-volume queries.

But there’s one angle—my personal favorite—that can propel almost any SEO strategy forward, and I don’t see nearly enough companies and organizations using it to fuel their ongoing efforts. Personal branding is your secret weapon, and it’s time you integrated it into your campaign.


Small Business Challenges Facing the Small Business Owner

Customer Relationship Management business chart on a digital tab

Data security for the small business owner that deals with merchant accounts or other type of high sensitive information, is a very serious business.  Keeping the information secure is for many small and big businesses nothing short of miraculous.  Target, a big retail store had a security breach not long ago, and following that, had to settle a law suit because  of it.  For many small business owners, the idea of being in charge of their own data security is daunting.  The need to have a data security expert in your payroll may not be possible, but the need is real and many small business owners need to address the issue right away.

For more news about this, follow the links below.

5 Data Management Challenges Facing Small Business Owners

Small business owners must now where an additional hat – the data scientist hat.

As small business owners, we generally wear all the hats. And if we’ve grown to where we aren’t wearing all the hats at the same time, we at least rotate through them a few times a month.

One hat that is becoming increasingly important – and scary — to wear is the data scientist hat.

Although data scientists come in many forms, with varied skills, a small business data scientist is mostly responsible for parsing through and analyzing data to present key findings about a business. The goal is to use data and the findings to address challenges, find opportunities, and ultimately, help a business save time and money.

While most of us don’t have the luxury of hiring a bona fide data scientist to handle these figures, there are a few things you should know and consider as you run your business and aim to become as efficient as possible in your business functions.

7 ways to make your small business attractive to venture capital funding

In 2015, venture capitalists invested over $58.8 billion in businesses, yet African-Americans only received one percent of venture capital funding. While opportunities to grow small businesses have been scarce in the past, large investors are beginning to dedicate more attention and inclusion to minority commerce that fosters growth and success. This leaves new opportunities for African-Americans to obtain the money they need to reach more customers.

Before jumping into the big leagues of expanding your business and making a global impact, here are seven ways to attract the right venture capital players and stand out from the competition.

  1. Know Your Business

Investors are looking for companies who have studied their market, discovered loopholes and are creating a valuable solution to a problem. When presenting your plans,you must be very knowledgeable of your project and of the venture capitalist industry. Useful websites like A VCand Both Sides of the Table offer practical advice through the lense of very successful startup founders and investors. From the materials used to where investors distribute their money, build your confidence so that no investor will doubt the future of your company.

The SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard®: Most Still Struggle to Offer, See Value in 401(k)s

Less than a third of small business owners offer the retirement saving vehicle.

GLENVIEW, Ill.Sept. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The majority of small business owners (66%) do not offer a 401(k) plan and 42% of those not offering it don’t see the value in it, according to the August 2016 SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard®.

Thirty-five percent of those not offering a plan said the fees are too expensive, and 23% said they don’t know how to manage a 401(k).

The small business owners that do offer a 401(k) said they do so to build retirement savings for themselves and their employees, with just 5% saying they offer it to attract new employees and 6% saying they offer it for tax breaks.

In total, 28% are offering a plan and another 6% plan to add one soon, the Scorecard survey found.


Small Business Hiring And News

64002400Small business owners across the United States are being careful after the dismal reports of hiring across the country.  They are holding off any hiring they may do, and are still reticent to make any moves that will put their financials in jeopardy.  Economic growth seems to be inching forward a bit slowly, and some small business owners are still holding off till elections are over.

To read more about this and other stories follow the links below.

Dear Donald Trump: I’m a Small Business Owner, and I Want More Regulation

We love the election-year attention but the presidential candidates are focusing on the wrong things

In election years, I love calling myself a “small business owner.” It’s the one time when the act of selling falafel, building a website or otherwise trying to make a buck comes off as heroic. We’re the “backbone” of the economy, you know, and the “heart and soul of equal opportunity,” as Fran Tarkenton told the Republican convention.

It’s the season when politicians shower us with love and policy papers. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have put forward proposals to make our businesses great again, together. I prefer Clinton’s, but mostly I think the election-year pandering to small businesses misses what really matters.

 Trump, like most Republicans, focuses on tax relief. He proposes lowering the top rate for pass-through business income to 15%. This doesn’t move me. Why? My company doesn’t earn enough for the proposal to make much of a difference, as is true for most small business owners. The lion’s share of pass-through income is earned by a small percentage of businesses, which means wealthy individuals would catch a giant tax break while the majority of small business owners are unaffected.

Columbus, Ohio: A growing mecca for small business

In a prior life, Joe DeLoss worked as a banking analyst, but today, his day job couldn’t be more different. DeLoss owns the wildly popular Hot Chicken Takeover in Columbus, Ohio, serving up Nashville Hot Chicken, a spicy style of fried chicken.

 But it’s not the leap from banking to fast food that makes his story so interesting. It’s the fact that his two-year-old restaurant is staffed by a nearly 50-person workforce that has largely experienced incarceration. Some employees have criminal arrest records, while others have served time for everything from misdemeanors to felonies. DeLoss admits they might be overlooked by other employers, but he’s a firm believer in second chances. Make no mistake, though; it’s no charity.

“We created Hot Chicken Takeover to be a fair chance employer. A large part of our workforce has been affected by incarceration in the past, but it’s not what defines our future. We have a team that works harder, is more productive and more motivated than most people in our industry,” DeLoss said.

 State lawmakers OK parental leave for small-business workers

SACRAMENTO — California parents who work for small businesses would be eligible for six weeks of job-protected leave under a bill heading to Gov.Jerry Brown.

The bill was among the myriad of proposed laws sent Wednesday to Brown on the final day of the two-year legislative session. Brown has until Sept. 30 to act on the hundreds of bills on his desk.

With Wednesday’s adjournment, lawmakers concluded a year in which they raised the minimum wage, extended greenhouse gas reduction targets to 2030, added gun control measures and approved $2 billion in bond money for housing and treating mentally ill Californians who are homeless.

On a lighter note, lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday declaring denim as the state’s official fabric under AB501 by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael.


Business News For The Small Business Owner


It is perhaps the ability of a small business owner to keep optimism at high levels to be able to do what they do every single day.  There is no other people telling you what to do, or what jobs require top priority.    As a small business owner, the credit and blame stop with them.  There is no employee that works in a small business, that is not the responsibility of the owner.  The successes and the failures mean something else for them as well.  To be a small business owner is to be different.  To have the courage to do what many others wish to do, but are afraid to take the first step.  Read more about business news by following the links below.

Abrams: Small businesses have already won the gold

Small-business owners: If you’ve been watching the Olympics, you may be getting the wrong message. I’m here to tell you that you’re winners, even if you never get the business equivalent of an Olympic gold medal.

For the past week, I’ve been mesmerized watching swimmer Katie Ledecky breaking world records with ease. Usain Bolt running faster than any man on Earth, and smiling as he does it. Those amazing, fearless gymnasts, led by Simone Biles, risking life and limb.

But one aspect of Olympic coverage that frustrates me is when someone asks a silver- or bronze-medal winner if they’re disappointed because they didn’t win the gold.

Most of these fantastic athletes react the way American swimmer Nathan Adrian did when asked whether he was upset that he “only” got a bronze. He looked surprised, then, with an endearing grin, he reminded the correspondent that hey, he was at the Olympics and he won a medal. How great is that?

The Truth About Hiring Friends in Your Small Business

Hiring friends must be done with care to be successful.

Small business ideas are often mulled over by friends long before you take the plunge and say, “I’ve made the decision. I’m starting my own business.” Friends’ reactions may range from encouragement to total negativity, but there’s a good chance at least one friend might be interested in working for you or with you.

While mixing business with friendship can work out, many people choose to keep business separate from friendships. Business relationships gone sour can ruin relationships, and some people avoid this risk by starting out with a “no hiring friends” policy. Most people fall between the two extremes of wanting to hire friends and refusing to do so. With strict boundaries, it’s possible to successfully hire friends for your business.

Hiring a Friend Will Be Fine, Right?

Maybe? After deciding to start your own business, it’s intuitive that many people want friends on board to help build the business. And since close friends tend to be vocal supporters of your ideas, and may be willing to work long hours with little or no pay it makes the choice a quick solution.

Aetna ditching 70% of its ObamaCare business

Insurance giant Aetna won’t be offering coverage under ObamaCare next year in 11 of the 15 states it now serves — an announcement that instantly became an issue in the presidential race.

Aetna’s decision led Donald Trump to charge that President Obama’s health care reform was “imploding.”

“Aetna’s decision to leave the Affordable Care Act’s public marketplaces is the latest blow to this broken law that is slowly imploding under its regulatory red tape,” said Trump campaign deputy national policy director Dan Kowalski.

“Millions of Americans have lost their health coverage under this disastrous policy, eliminating their ability to choose their doctors. Thousands of businesses have been forced to cut employment or shutter their doors in response to Obama’s signature achievement,” he added.

The company had previously warned that it expected to lose more than $300 million this year on the 900,000 patients it covers under the Affordable Care Act.

Aetna said it is pulling out of ObamaCare markets in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.



Is Your Company Culture Positive?

54640451Although a company’s culture is not a visual entity, it is a palpable entity that most employees can tell you exist in their place of work without pinpointing the exactness of it.  For a large company to succeed or a small business to be able to generate the sales they need, a positive, transparent working environment is always a positive asset to have, without investing too much in other training programs elsewhere.  Lines of communication between departments and employees should be an important asset owners and managers alike should strive to exploit for the benefit of the business.

Tax-Free Weekend Lifts Sales for Small Businesses

STATEWIDE — Shoppers across Texas enjoyed a tax-free weekend on clothing and school supplies. While many flocked to large chain stores, some small businesses also saw a boost.

“Definitely it’s working,” said  David Marrs, owner of Vagabond Vintage Clothing in San Marcos. “I don’t think it can compare to the outlet mall, but I think I saw my sales double yesterday.”

While the San Marcos outlets are always a big draw, shoppers saved 8.25 cents on every dollars of eligible purchases during the weekend no matter where they shopped. For some, it was the reason for a shopping spree. For others, a pleasant coincidence.

“I forgot that it was tax-free weekend,” said Matt Counts, a shopper at Vagabond.

“Until we didn’t pay tax!” laughed his wife Mandy Counts.

Business leaders say shopping at locally-owned stores is a move consumers can feel good about.

Highlight Company Culture to Attract Candidates with Passion

Recruiting motivated, purpose-driven candidates and matching them up to a job and company culture that matters to them will improve employee engagement and retention, according to recent research from LinkedIn.

The global network’s 2016 Global Talent Trends survey of over 33,000 professionals on LinkedIn revealed that those who see themselves staying at their current company for three or more years were more likely than others to be primarily motivated by a sense of purpose.

Forty-one percent of respondents said they couldn’t imagine being at their current company two years in the future, while 37 percent see themselves staying for three or more years. Of those who envision a longer future at their current organization, the largest percentage (39 percent) said they are motivated most by personal fulfillment and purpose and that they tend to accept a job because of a company’s culture, vision and products.

“Their primary motivation is using their work to advance a greater good, a higher cause, a mission they deem worthy of working toward,” said Esther Lee Cruz, global marketing manager at LinkedIn and a co-author of the survey’s report. Of the remaining 61 percent of respondents who intend to stay for three or more years at their current job, 35 percent indicated they are primarily driven by career status and compensation. Twenty-six percent did not indicate a primary motivator.

3 Telltale Signs of Toxic Company Culture – and What to Do About It

What is company culture? Look around you – company culture encompasses everything from your office layout, to the way you collaborate with peers and managers, to the costume contest held every Halloween. In today’s workplace landscape, culture has quickly moved from a “nice-to-have” to a “must have”. However, a recent study by Deloitte University Press reported that HR leaders consider culture and engagement their number one challenge.

So, how can your organizations create a strong company culture and avoid toxicity? It starts at the top. Leadership must vigilantly watch for warning signs and take proactive measures to ensure culture is protected.

Here are three warning signs of toxic company culture:

1. Knowledge Hoarding

Shared knowledge increases efficiency, improves employee performance, and fosters innovation. However, some individuals develop a “figure it out yourself” attitude instead of sharing tacit knowledge openly and willingly. They become territorial and lack the willingness to share their hard-earned skills and experience with colleagues. Some hoard information because they feed off of power and control. Others hoard knowledge because they believe sharing their knowledge with others will only make them disposable.


The State of Small Business Today


Many small businesses where the minimum wage has increased, are dealing with issues that they believed are detrimental to the growth of their companies.  Federal law regulation about overtime pay went into effect December 1, 2015, making this another issue to overcome.  As a small business owner, is 2016 a better or worse year for you?

To read more about this and other news, follow the links below.

What You Need to Know About the New Federal Overtime Rules 

Scheduled to go into effect Dec. 1, 2016, the new rule changes overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime protections. Previously, employees were excluded if they were salaried, earned at least $455 per week ($23,660 per year) or were in positions considered executive, administrative or professional. Now, those exemptions will be lifted and the pay threshold for overtime protections will be raised to $913 per week, or an annual salary of $47,476. That pay threshold will be updated once every three years, indexed to wage growth over time.A rule change announced May 18 by the U.S. Department of Labor (U.S. DOL) would expand overtime protections to an estimated 4.2 million workers, extending the rule to cover those making less than $47,476 per year and removing long-standing exemptions in the law. Business News Daily dug into the specifics of the new regulation and spoke with labor policy experts and human resources professionals about the anticipated effects of the change, for both employers and workers.

Paychex Sees Small Business Job Growth Dip in May

The pace of small business job growth dropped slightly in May after a strong start earlier in the year, according to a new report from the payroll giant Paychex.

The Paychex | IHS Small Business Jobs Index, which the company compiles with the research firm IHS, declined 0.18 percent in May, from 100.77 to 100.59. Nevertheless, the pace of small business employment growth has increased 0.22 percent since the beginning of 2016.

“It’s roughly flat compared to a year ago, but the pace of small business job growth slowed a bit in May after a pretty hot start in ’16,” said Paychex president and CEO Martin Mucci. “We had a good start, but it’s dropped off a little bit. We’ll see if it’s a trend or not, but at this point we still feel like we’ve got pretty good job growth in small business, despite a little slowdown in May.”

Instagram targets small business ad revenue

SAN FRANCISCO — In a major bid to ramp up advertising revenue, Instagram is rolling out new features for small- and medium-sized businesses including the ability to buy an ad within the mobile app.

“This is really the first time you can advertise like this within the app,” James Quarles, Instagram’s global head of business and brand development, told USA TODAY.

“We have millions of businesses, great community members, and today we want to help them to have the capability to be a business on Instagram, not just be an account,” he said.