Social Media For Your Small Business

By now, millions of small businesses have been using social media to boost their sales, their recognition, or their brand awareness.  Many of those businesses are very successful and continue to promote their business and engage their customer base using social media platforms to accomplish their goals.  Are you using social media to your liking?  Are you comfortable engaging and answering questions from customers using Facebook or other media outlets?  For more about this topic, follow the links below.


How to Use Facebook Live for Your Small Business

Should you be using Facebook Live for your business? Is it worth your time and effort? According to Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), videos (live and otherwise) are viewed more than four billion times per day. And with Facebook giving priority to live videos in the news feed, you certainly may want to consider this service for getting your business message out.

So how can you make use of Facebook Live to engage with the platform’s over 1.1 billion active daily users, or at least those users who are likely to be customers? Here are a few tips.

Ways to Use Facebook Live for Your Small Business

Give an Inside Look at Your Business

As with Instagram Live or Periscope, you can use Facebook Live to give your customers a behind-the-scenes look at your business and how it works.

You can also use the service to focus on an aspect of your business that your audience would be interested in.


Small Business: How do you become a ‘Social Media Maven’?

Stephanie Boyette Nelson, owner of SBN Marketing, calls herself a “Social Media Maven.” She is highly skilled in social media and search engine optimization (SEO). We met at Earl’s Grocery to talk about how keyword-rich contents help match people to a business. SBN Marketing capitalizes on the algorithms used by Google and other search engines to rank websites.

Nelson, 41, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from UNC Chapel Hill. After graduation in 1997, she started in a sales position with Philip Morris tobacco company, but quickly realized that it was not for her. She moved through several positions in corporate America, all the while developing her marketing skills through seminars and hands-on experience. Nelson noticed how the marketing world was changing from the traditional hard copy mailers to online platforms.


2 Ways Small Business Owners Can Reclaim Time Through Technology

It’s common knowledge that small business owners wear multiple hats. It’s part of the excitement and challenge of building your own business. But while it’s fun and rewarding to develop a strategy, work with clients, carry out marketing plans, improve your offerings, and track finances, it’s also time-consuming. Sure, most entrepreneurs can move mountains, but the last time I checked, there were still only 24 hours in a day.

Finding enough time in the day to check off important tasks is a huge challenge for small business owners. Prioritizing and trusting your intuition to determine what needs to be done (and when) is a constant juggling act. Still, even the most intrepid, energetic entrepreneurs can’t keep all those balls in the air forever. Sooner or later, they realize that there’s too much work to be done and not enough time to complete it.



 

Small Business News And Information

We must not believe in polls or pollsters ever again, or at least for the near future.  Predictions were wrong when pollsters assured us of an imminent victory for  Hillary Clinton. And, according to them, small business owners’ optimism before the election was assuredly flat.  After the election, the pollsters tell us small business owner’s optimism is soaring. It is soaring so much that despite their great optimism about the new president elect, they are holding onto investing, waiting to see what it’s going to happen when he actually takes office.  As is everyone.

Follow the links for more about this and other stories.


One key thing is missing from small business owners’ euphoria over Trump’s win

Several surveys show that President-elect Donald Trump’s win was a confidence boost for business owners. However, they’re not immediately planning to invest more.

On Tuesday, the National Federation of Independent Business’ report on small businesses continued this trend.

“What a difference a day makes,” said Juanita Duggan, the NFIB CEO, in the release. “Before election day small business owners’ optimism was flat, and after election day it soared.”

The headline Small Business Optimism Index jumped by 3.5 points to 98.4. Like Wall Street, small business owners are betting that Trump’s promises to ease regulations and cut taxes would support their bottom lines.

In fact, compared to the bigger companies — whose shares have rallied since the election — small business owners  are likely more excited about these prospects because they have less muscle to cope in the current environment.


8 Powerful Ways to Market Your Business on a Limited Budget

When money is tight, think outside the box.

According to HubSpot, the third top marketing challenge for companies is the lack of budgeting resources. Unless you are a startup with venture or angel capital, you probably have a limited marketing budget. Here some ways you can market your business on a limited budget.

1. Go guerilla.

Guerilla marketing looks to leverage creativity, imagination and originality in place of a big budget. Smart small businesses with a limited budget often use guerilla marketing to compete with huge companies. There is no shortage of creative guerilla marketing ideas. Here are just a few examples:


In the shadow of Trump Tower, small businesses suffer

The holiday season is typically a busy one for Judge Roy Bean Public House in midtown Manhattan.

The bar and restaurant had been on a solid run, up 20 percent overall for the year, and owner Peter Pernicone had high hopes for strong sales to close out 2016.

Then came Election Day.

The small business is located in the shadow of Trump Tower on West 56th Street, which is now swarmed with New York police officers and Secret Service agents, guarding President-elect Donald Trump as he makes the transition from businessman to commander-in-chief.

“For November, we’re down 30 percent,” Pernicone said. “They’re keeping the streets open, then closing them down. There’s no rhyme or reason. We don’t know what to expect. The police presence on the corner has been intimidating, and tourists are scared to walk down 56th street.”


 

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.


 

Competition, Profitability and Retirement; Are You Ready?

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“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”

— Thomas Jefferson

As a business owner, there are many that believe the above mention phrase and relish the opportunity to be their own boss, and profit from the hard work they do.

Online marketing has given many small businesses the opportunity to compete with bigger companies, and be successful with it.  Marketing a business is no longer for the big guys. Small businesses can have successful online marketing campaigns to attract customers, and to market their business and benefit from the results.  Now, the attraction and the challenge for every small and big business is the ability to compete in a  global market and come up on top.

For more about this and other topics concerning the small business owner, follow the links below.


How to Deal With Competition in Business

The way I see it, competitors are everywhere. Whether you’re a startup owner or veteran, you need to know how to deal with competitors in business.

After being a business owner for over 30 years, I’ve learned how to handle the competition. I know first hand how important it is to pay attention to businesses in your industry but also to not make them your priority.

You don’t want to be completely oblivious to your competition. You should put your energy into your own entrepreneurial tasks above all else.

Why you shouldn’t ignore the competition

Ever hear the saying, Never underestimate your opponent? The same holds true for business.

I have a general idea of where my competitors are, where they’re going, and how fast they’re going to get there. Other than that, I don’t lose sleep over them.


5 facts you didn’t know about retirement

Here are some important retirement-related facts about Social Security, long-term care, retirement savings balances, homeownership, and taxes.

If you want to have the best retirement possible, it’s important to take steps to prepare for the things that could affect you the most. Here’s a closer look at five retirement facts that could have a huge impact on your retirement plans, and there’s a good chance you may not even know about them.

Whether you’re a few years or still a few decades from retirement, these five facts are important. Let’s take a closer look at how they could affect you.

1. You’ll probably need long-term care (and have to pay for it)

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of people who live past 65 will need long-term care. If you’re married, there’s a 90% likelihood either you or your spouse will need long-term care. In other words, if you live to retirement age, the odds are good that you’ll end up needing some sort of long-term care.


How to Manage Your Profitability in Your Small Business

A profitable small business is rarely an accident; you have to constantly work for new revenue.

Projecting profits on a financial statement in a business plan can make you feel hopeful as an entrepreneur. But your business plan is simply your hypothesis of what you thing will happen in the marketplace of your business. However, the only way to ever realize the profits you want is to mentally, and physically, exert your leadership while executing your sales plan. The following are several important factors I would encourage you to consider as you work to focus on the profitability of your business.

Invest Wisely

You have a very narrow margin of error in a small business. Therefore, making wise investment decisions is critical to your profitability. Whether hiring a new employee or acquiring equipment or assets for your company, always assess the potential return on investment. Before buying a building, furniture, resale products or supplies, consider the direct or indirect impact the investment has on your bottom-line.


 

Borrowing And The Small Business

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For many small and medium size businesses, borrowing money to pay for new equipment, expansion, new hires, or even the monthly payroll, is a reality.  But, more and more of those businesses find it hard to go to a traditional bank for their loan, preferring to seek a different alternative.  And, although many of those businesses can find loans for a comparable rate, some of them are finding it hard to pay them back.  According to economists, small business borrowing is a sign the economy is growing, but if those businesses cannot pay their loans back, are they hiring too many people? 

For more about small business finances, follow the links below.


US small business borrowing up, as are delinquencies: PayNet

Borrowing by small U.S. firms rose in August, in part because the month had more business days than July, and the percentage of firms late on repaying existing loans also increased, data released on Tuesday showed.

The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index rose to 133.7 in August from an upwardly revised 123.1 in July, which had three fewer working days. Borrowing by companies in most industries, except construction and recreation, fell.

“It’s malaise, rather than freefall,” said Bill Phelan, PayNet’s president.

Companies also struggled to pay back existing debts, PayNet data showed. Loans more than 30 days past due rose in August to 1.63 percent, the fifth straight monthly increase and the highest delinquency rate since December 2012.

The figures come as the Federal Reserve mulls the timing of its next rate hike. Higher interest rates tend to slow economic growth. Movements in the index typically correlate with movements in gross domestic product growth a quarter or two ahead.


Finding Cheap Loans Is Getting Harder For Small Businesses Around the World

It’s still tough out there.

Small businesses are increasingly having to pay more for their loans, according to a new survey that examines credit constraints for more moderate ventures across the U.S. and Europe.

Only 48 percent of small- and medium-sized businesses said they can get financing at rates below 8 percent, according to a new survey from C2FO, a financial technology startup that has created a marketplace where small- and medium-sized businesses can get paid early by the large companies they supply. The inaugural such survey, released last year, showed nearly 60 percent of respondents were able to secure funding at rates below 8 percent.

The survey comes despite benchmark interest rates hovering at record lows, particularly in Europe where the central bank has begun buying corporate bonds in an effort to lower borrowing costs. Regulation introduced after the 2008 financial crisis, as well as a continued wariness of riskier loans, is often said to have made small business lending less attractive for banks, encouraging a host of new entrants eager to grab a slice of the market.


How SMBs — And Their Lenders — Brace For Regulation

As the fluctuations within the small business lending industry continue, SMEs must keep their eye on the state of the market: whether capital is available, how affordable it is and where it’s coming from.

Marketplace lender Bizfi released today (Sept. 13) the results of its research on how small businesses are managing the changes made to how they access financing. And in an interview with PYMNTS, Bizfi Founder Stephen Sheinbaum offers his own take on how alternative finance players are managing those changes, too.

What SMEs Face

According to Bizfi’s Small Business Growth Survey, demand for financing from alternative funding sources is at a “record high.” More than two-thirds of companies surveyed said they prefer to seek loans from alternative sources rather than traditional banks. Less than a third of small businesses plan to seek a bank loan from a local bank, while nearly 28 percent said they’ll use a credit card or line of credit for their financing needs.


 

Productivity In The Workplace

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There are many factors that affect the profitability of a firm.  For managers and directors of firms, one of the most important factors is to increase profitability for their stakeholders.  The income a company earns over a fiscal year must exceed the expenses they incurred.  Profitability is then one of the many reasons management tries to increase the productivity of their workforce.  Productivity in the workplace is a major challenge for many companies, and research over the years have shown that happy employees are more productive than non happy or stressed employees. But how about working remotely? How is the productivity level compared to those working at the office?  For more about this, follow the links below.


Study: Whopping 93% Say They’re More Productive Working Remotely

Catherine Conlan’s spent her fair share of time in offices. These days, though, the rural Minnesota writer clocks in from home to a content marketing agency in Baton Rouge, La. Still, many of the work-life balance challenges are the same.

“There are days where I’m still rushing around to pick up the kids or the laundry just doesn’t get done, because I’ve put a priority on my work productivity,” Conlan says. “But working remotely, especially with an employer who embraces a project- or results-based approach to work and is dedicated to supporting employees’ lives away from work, can make finding a sense balance a lot easier.”


Boosting America’s Workplace Productivity

Here’s the plain truth: whether at home or at work, productivity tends to suffer under stress. And while stress triggers are highly personal, one thing many workers seem to have in common is uncertainty around how to handle personal finances. In fact, according to a recent study commissioned by MassMutuali, while most Americans say they prioritize understanding the importance of their personal finances, many admit they actually know little or nothing about them, and half say they don’t know how much to spend on benefits. Worse, 37 percent of those surveyed find managing their personal finances “somewhat” or “very difficult” and 40 percent say personal financial problems are a distraction at workii.

It’s clear from the research that personal finances bedevil many Americans, especially when it comes to understanding and making the most of their employee benefits. And employee stress doesn’t just affect employees – the prevalence of distracted employees in the workplace poses a huge productivity issue for employers that, if left untreated, will likely become worse.


Productive mobility is poised to give business a virtual boost

Throughout history, new technologies have constantly changed the way we’ve worked. They’ve been responsible for full-scale revolutions. And continued investments have come as corporate demand for worker productivity drives tech spending.

We should expect augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to eventually attract increased spending in the enterprise as they combine with new mobile network advancements to make an emerging trend called “productive mobility” a reality.

Productive mobility is about being as productive out of the office as inside, and as productive in a virtual instance as a physical one.

Consider Boeing’s use of augmented reality glasses to streamline plane assembly workflows, decreasing assembly time and reducing errors by 25 percent. This is amazing. It’s also just the beginning of this reality-transforming workplace future.

That’s where critical mobile network developments come in. Many of the most exciting AR applications require instant environmental interpretation, and rapid delivery of contextually relevant information and functionality. VR, in particular 360 stereoscopic video, greatly raises the payload overhead of rich media.

Fixed and mobile broadband network advancements like fiber and 5G, along with service provider-centric content delivery topologies, deliver higher throughput with lower latencies. New convolutional network designs find patterns among previously insurmountable massive data sets, enabling rapid, intelligent predictions about the network, the things connected to it and the users engaging with it.


 

Productivity In The Workplace

64735957For a small business owner with few employees, matching the right job to the right person may seem easy.  After all, if you hired the right people, you know their qualifications, and their strengths.  It is important to note that delegating business tasks to employees, have to be carefully monitored to ensure that it is done properly in the beginning.  Matching the right job to the right person is one of the most basic decisions a business owner makes, but some times the task seems impossible.  Know your employees, their strengths and their qualifications, and you will have a strong team in your business.


7 Digital Tools to Help You Get More Done Every Day

Think about the last time you completed a huge project, organized your space, or completed a bunch of necessary tasks. When it comes to work, whittling down a to-dolist may be one of the most gratifying things a person can do. To help, here are several tools to skyrocket any office worker’s productivity.

Typeform

If you need any kind of form on your website, this communication tool can help. It’s a software platform that lets visitors register or pay for things, complete job applications, provide ideas for a suggestion box, fill out incident reports, contact your company, or do anything else that necessitates a form. Focusing on a conversational user experience, Typeform is designed to increase response rates from users by making questions more engaging. The platform has 170,000 active users, about 1 million registered users, and launched in beta in 2013.

Price: Plans range from free to $70 a month at Typeform.


Management Starts Here: 5 Ways to Increase Office Productivity

In the business world, lots of decisions come down to the bottom line, and that line is almost always financial. We’re accustomed to looking at whether or not we can afford to make certain decisions.

Productivity is always key; especially in the United States, we’re accustomed to viewing the most productive workers as the best workers.

It’s all well and good to make something great, but if someone else can make 10 things that are good at the same time it takes someone else to make one thing that’s great, well, a lot of companies will choose good over great every time.

Seth Godin calls this mode of thinking the race to the bottom, the urge to compromise instead of insisting on the highest possible quality. We think you don’t have to give up productivity in order to have greatness.

Here are five things you can do to increase productivity and its value while still offering amazing results.


The 8 Digital Productivity Tools Everyone Should Adopt

I’m a super adopter. I love trying out hundreds of new applications, social networks and devices every year. But not everybody wants to live the thousand-app lifestyle. For most people, the goal is to adopt the smallest number of tools necessary to work efficiently. That’s why my friends and colleagues often ask me which technologies I regard as must-haves: the tools and tactics that will make a big impact on their productivity without spending a lot of time or money getting up and running.

While I often find myself recommending specific technologies to people with particular challenges, there are some tools I suggest again and again, because they are useful to just about everybody. In many cases, they are tools that not only benefit individual users, but entire teams, by reducing inbox clutter and communications overhead. But in other cases, they are applications I suggest because I find it viscerally painful to see someone using Microsoft Office for something that could be better accomplished with a purpose-built note-taking or collaboration tool.


 

CyberSecurity And Your Business

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Billions of dollars are spend yearly in cyber security globally, and according to the most recent surveys, that amount is likely to reach $101 billion by the year 2018.

But, although billions of dollars are spend trying to secure the amount of information hackers or other people have access to, many cyber analysts believe that spending more in cyber security does not necessarily mean better security.

For more about this topic, follow the links below.


Mobile Messaging Apps: 8 Tips For Keeping Your Workplace Secure

The old struggles over BYOD have been replaced with application struggles, as employees use favorite mobile messaging apps for enterprise purposes. As with BYOD, pushing back isn’t the answer. Innovating forward is.

Using popular third-party messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Snapchat for business communication can introduce a level of discomfort for IT, as well as for your legal, corporate, and governance and compliance teams. In many ways, it’s like the early days of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement; these days it’s all about Bring Your Own Apps.

“The issue of employees using personal social media accounts/networks, and their non-work personas, for business purposes is very real and it does impact IT, especially when considering that electronic communications should be retained for legal and regulatory purposes,” Mike Pagani, the chief evangelist at Smarsh, told InformationWeek in an interview.

Smarsh offers an archiving platform that supports social media, text messages, email, and other platforms so that they’re indexed, policy-checked, able to be supervised, and easily retrievable if they’re needed for auditing or litigation.


A reality check for security leaders on insider risk

Mike Tierny shares his insights on successfully implementing processes to combat insider risk by engaging the right people at the right time in the program.

“I trust the people in my company. I still monitor everyone.”

That statement came during the MISTI CISO Leadership Summit I lead on Sunday at InfoSecWorld. One of the security leaders made that comment during our session on trust. It got a lot of nods and even more discussion.

Just the week prior, I talked with Mike Tierney (LinkedIn, @mikejtierney) the COO of Veriato Inc. about the reality of insider threat and our need to engage others in the process. As COO, Mike is ultimately responsible for organizational security.  His insight on insider risk is forged by experience and his success implementing processes across the organization.

During our conversation, he talked about the leadership approach of engaging others in the process – before we have problems. He shared some things I hadn’t seen implemented before. Approaches that made sense.


Cybersecurity spending: more does not necessarily mean better

Cybersecurity is not something you can just buy, but something you should thoroughly build.

Last week, I had a great opportunity to explore the APAC cybersecurity market and meet many brilliant people during Black Hat Asia 2016. Singapore’s economic miracle made its cybersecurity market as attractive as the North American one, attracting the largest security vendors to the region.

Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) protection, Threat Intelligence, Enterprise Immune Systems, Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB), User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) – these are just a few of the offerings currently available on the cybersecurity market. I bet that many security industry professionals (including myself) hardly understand the real meaning of some of these terms, or to be more precise – the real difference between them and the generic terms existing for years. But this is a topic for a dedicated article, and in this piece we would rather concentrate on cybersecurity budgets and related challenges.


 

Small Business Financial News

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Depending on what news you read small business in the United States might be doing great or it may not.  According to CNBC -small business confidence is at the lowest since February 2014.  If you instead look at the survey conducted by Gallup at the beginning of this year for Wells Fargo, you will find that small business optimism jumped 13 points to reach the highest level in a year.

As a small business owner you have to decide for yourself – Bank statements handy — whether the economy and your optimism are at a good point at this time for you and your business.  Your industry may be doing extremely well while others industries are collapsing, or you may be ready to hire employees this year independently of what the polls are telling you. You know your small business better than anyone, make decisions that benefit your business and those working for you. Everything else will fall into place.

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


Small businesses in best financial shape in eight years

Most small business owners are feeling good about their financial situation, and that’s improved their outlook for the coming year.

That’s according to a quarterly survey of small business owners conducted in January by Gallup for Wells Fargo. This survey’s index of small business optimism jumped 13 points from November to 67, its highest level in a year.

These results run counter to what the National Federation of Independent Business found in its January survey of its members. NFIB’s small business indexfell last month to its lowest level in two years. The questions in each survey are slightly different, so that might account for some of the difference in the results.

The most noteworthy finding in the Wells Fargo survey was that two-thirds of small business owners rated their financial situation as good. That’s the highest percentage in eight years. More than 70 percent expect their financial situation will be good 12 months from now.


What small businesses can learn from a big business’s mistakes

It’s not hard to think of big businesses that have run into problems trying to grow in an economy that’s expanding in low single digits and where organic growth is very hard to generate. Mergers and acquisitions are increasingly becoming the best way to deliver the rapid growth that owners want and investors demand. Unfortunately merging and acquiring is a minefield – no matter how big or small the numbers involved might be.

The list of businesses that have overreached by borrowing money to buy a rival is long. Think of Hewlett Packard’s $5 billion write-off following its $11 billion acquisition of the software group Autonomy. Or Quaker’s disastrous takeover of Snapple, a deal which ended up costing Quaker $2 million for every day it owned the soft-drink group. Then there was the telecommunications giant Sprint, which ended up writing off a staggering $29.5 billion after buying Nextel. Its due diligence and haste to make the deal happen resulted in one of the biggest write-downs in corporate history.


Are the Conservatives losing the small business vote?

Government cuts alongside changes to tax returns, pensions and taxes on dividends is leading to a growing sense of outrage among entrepreneurs.

hen the first Conservative majority government in nearly 20 years came into power last May, there were high hopes among business owners. The Tories had assiduously courted support from SMEs during the election campaign, even launching a small business manifesto, pledging to cut red tape and review business rates.

With Cameron et al in Downing Street, many business owners breathed a sigh of relief. Among them was Richard Merrin, managing director of communications business Spreckley. “The biggest inhibitor over the past year was the prospect of the general election itself,” says Merrin. “It was no surprise to me that the very next day we saw an immediate uplift in new business inquiries and there is no doubt that the more business friendly Tories gaining an outright majority added to that confidence.”


 

Ohio’s Economy

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At the beginning of 2016, and even at the end of 2015, the global market has lost trillion of dollars, and the end of it doesn’t seem to be near.  The U.S economy and Ohio’s economy cannot do better than what is happening globally.  It is not surprising then to know that the unemployment rate increased in December of 2015, and with the quarter of a percent increase in interest rates, small business owners are a bit hesitant about hiring new employees, and have the challenge of meeting payroll month after month.

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


Ohio jobless rate climbs to 4.7% in December

Ohio’s unemployment rate ended 2015 by going in the wrong direction.

The state reported on Friday, Jan. 22, that the jobless rate rose to 4.7% in December from 4.5% in November.

Nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 15,200 over the month, to 5,451,500 in December from a revised 5,436,300 in November, according to data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

However, the number of workers unemployed in Ohio in December was 269,000, up 14,000 from 255,000 in November. The number of unemployed has decreased by 23,000 in the past 12 months from 292,000, the state said. A year ago, in December 2014, Ohio’s unemployment rate was 5.1%

Goods-producing industries, at 900,000, added 3,500 jobs over the month, as job gains in manufacturing (+3,200) and construction (+500) outweighed job losses in mining and logging (-200).


Ohio ranks in bottom third nationally for financial stability of residents: CFED Scorecard

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Ohio ranks in the bottom third of the nation when it comes to the financial stability of its residents, according to a scorecard released Monday.

The 2016 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard ranks the 50 states and Washington, D.C., in a range of areas, from financial assets and income to businesses and jobs to education. Ohio ranks 36th out of 51. The Scorecard is done by the Corporation for Enterprise Development in Washington, D.C., or CFED, which is focused on empowering “low- and moderate-income people to build wealth.” Ohio ranked 35 last year.

The Scorecard refers to such measures of financial stability – most often based on analyses of government data — as outcome rankings. Of 61 outcomes, Ohio performed below the national average on several of them most often crucial to ensuring financial stability for a state’s residents, according to Lebaron Sims, research manager at CFED.


Small-business lending: The next fixed income frontier?

Forget the U.S. government — how about lending to your neighborhood dentist instead?

That’s what firms like Direct Lending Investments aim to allow investors to do, albeit indirectly. The $450 million fund buys loans from nonbank lenders, and packages them in portfolio form for consumption by accredited investors (although it is attempting to transition into a more accessible closed-end fund).

The potential opportunity arises from a few different factors. Over the past several years, traditional bank lending has slowed, and yields on Treasurys and other ultrasafe bonds have fallen, which has increased the demand for nontraditional loans, resulting in outsized yields.

For instance, even as Treasury bonds returned basically nothing in 2015, Direct Lending Investments delivered an 11.7 return. This as the default rate on loans in the portfolio ran at 4.6 percent.