SmallBusiness.com https://smallbusiness.com Small business information, insight and resources | SmallBusiness.com Wed, 23 May 2018 13:04:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 Why are Some U.S. Small Business Websites Subject to European Privacy Regulations? https://smallbusiness.com/policy/small-business-general-data-protection-regulation/ https://smallbusiness.com/policy/small-business-general-data-protection-regulation/#respond Wed, 23 May 2018 12:51:02 +0000 https://smallbusiness.com/?p=31769

Friday is May 25, 2018. Do you know where your General Data Protection Regulation compliant privacy policy is? Do you even know what that means? Don’t feel alone. Most internet users in the U.S. had little, if any, idea that European Union regulations had anything to do with them until our email inboxes started clogging up with new privacy policies. Fortunately, someone who thought we might understand it better if it was explained with American football metaphors came up with this clever info-video.


What is the GDPR all about?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a long list of requirements that businesses in the European Union must follow to be clearer about the information they collect and use from their users or customers. Another purpose of the GDPR is to impose a uniform data security law on all EU nations so that each member state will no longer need to write its own data protection laws.

Why should websites not in the EU care about the GDPR?

On the internet, it’s easy for customers from one region to use services and purchase products in other countries. Because internet users are just a click away from EU based websites and services, many American companies have up-dated their privacy policies to adhere to GDPR requirements.

For example, Shopify created an extensive guide for the online retailers who use its software. They also created a helpful “Privacy Policy Generator” someone can use to create a privacy policy that is GDPR compliant. (Note: The generator is not legal advice, just a place to start. Run any changes by your attorney.)

Bottom line: If you sell goods, products or services to internet users in the EU, you should update your privacy policies. Even if you don’t sell things in the EU, it’s probably a good thing to review your policies and start following them.

The privacy rights EU internet users will have beginning May 25

Here are some specific items covered in the GDPR (via: CNBC):

  • Consumers will have a right to be informed about the collection of their information.
  • People will also have the right to access their information and companies much provide it within a month. If any data is inaccurate, companies must correct it.
  • Consumers have the “right to be forgotten” — and data can be purged. They can also ask for their data to be restricted: companies can store data but not use it.
  • People will be able to move or copy personal information from one source to another, known as data portability.
  • Consumers will have the right to object about how their data is used — including for direct marketing.
  • They can object to profiling when companies automatically process data to make assumptions about a person for marketing.

Some of the key privacy and data protection requirements of the GDPR include:

  • Requiring the consent of customers for data processing
  • Anonymizing collected data to protect privacy
  • Providing data breach notifications
  • Safely handling the transfer of data across borders
  • Requiring certain companies to appoint a data protection officer to oversee GDPR compliance

In addition to EU members, any company that markets goods or services to EU residents, regardless of its location, is subject to the regulation. As a result, GDPR will have an impact on data protection requirements globally.

 


 

 

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Is This the Future of Digital Collaboration and Teleconferencing? | 2018 https://smallbusiness.com/tech/small-business-teleconference-hub/ https://smallbusiness.com/tech/small-business-teleconference-hub/#respond Tue, 22 May 2018 16:20:16 +0000 https://smallbusiness.com/?p=31711

On many TV military dramas or criminal “procedurals,” there seems to be a growing collection of telecommunications and computer technology that would require a super-sized budget in real life. Of course, there’s a long tradition of tech companies like Cisco that have been happy to supply (and often pay additional product placement fees) the types of technology big corporate procurement engineers specify.


At the top end of the price and feature spectrum, those big-budget interactive whiteboards and teleconferencing set-ups are getting more complex  At the same time, configurations of lower-priced technology (like some using Google Chromebox) are enabling other teleconferencing and collaboration “hubs” that are dropping in price.


Wikipedia has a long list of teleconferencing products and services.



The Microsoft Surface Hub 2

In a recent blog post (4/15/2018), Microsoft chief product officer Panos Panay previewed the next generation of the Surface Hub, Microsoft’s array of hardware and software that serves as a souped-up interactive whiteboard. The second generation of the Surface Hub will be available for purchase by “corporate customers” late in 2019. The next wave of the Surface Hub system will be targeting the enterprise marketplace and will include screen options that can run as high as $22,000. (Others are priced lower.) However, when compared to other corporate-focused configurations, that price is far below what some systems fetch.

The Surface Hub 2 was designed from the ground up to be used by teams—”to get people out of their seats, to connect and ideate, regardless of location,” Panay says.

Some of the features include:

  • 4K cameras that rotate and tilt with the device
  • Integrated speakers
  • Far-field microphone arrays
  • Multi-user sign in

More features can be seen here.

Is a teleconferencing and collaboration hub worth it?

While high-end systems can have staggering prices, certain types of professions can easily justify the price of a teleconferencing hub when compared to the cost of air travel or the ability to pull-together far-flung talent.

There are even do-it-yourself alternatives that can help you take small steps into the world of digital collaboration.

Or what about wearing 3D virtual reality devices like the Oculus Riff?

We’ll explore these and other options in upcoming articles.


Promotional video from Microsoft:


Images via Microsoft

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How to Create and Manage Your Business Location on Apple Maps | 2018 https://smallbusiness.com/marketing/apple-maps/ https://smallbusiness.com/marketing/apple-maps/#respond Mon, 21 May 2018 18:49:23 +0000 https://smallbusiness.com/?p=31731

Previously, we’ve reviewed the ways in which small businesses can use Google My Business to keep their Google company listing and map location up-to-date. While Apple has a similar feature, we recently discovered that many businesses overlook updating their location on Apple Maps. Okay, we confess: we recently discovered we were one of those many businesses that had forgotten to update that our address has changed.


Managing Apple Maps is simple, although it can require you to jump through some hoops initially (as you also need to do with Google). Also, it could take a few days to get into Apple’s database.

 

Apple uses a simple dashboard it calls Maps Connect (https://mapsconnect.apple.com/)

Here’s all you need to do.

1. Go to https://mapsconnect.apple.com

Log in with your Apple ID and password. If you don’t have an Apple ID, click on the link to set one up.

2. Select your relationship to the business.

“I’m the business owner or “I’m authorized by the business owner.”

3. Enter your business details.

Simple information like the name of your business.

4. Verify your business phone number.

You will be prompted to allow Apple to call the number you supply.

5. Confirm your business location.

6. Confirm your hours of business.

Using the toggle click number, indicate the hours you are open

7. Add links to your website and social media accounts

8. Review your business information and click “submit.”

New listings should appear within Apple’s Maps app within a week at most.

9. If additional verification is required, you will hear from Apple.


Previously on SmallBusiness.com

How to Use Apple Maps Connect to List Your Business on Apple Maps

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Two-Thirds of Americans Dream of Opening a Small Business | 2018 https://smallbusiness.com/start/survey-start-a-business-2018/ https://smallbusiness.com/start/survey-start-a-business-2018/#respond Thu, 17 May 2018 16:13:15 +0000 https://smallbusiness.com/?p=31689

Two-thirds of Americans dream of opening a small business, according to a recent study by Atomik Research commissioned by the UPS Store. And among individuals ages 37-57 (Generation Xers) 75% of those surveyed had the dream of opening a small business.


“Gen Xers (individuals between ages 37-57) feel the most optimistic and most willing to branch out and start their own small business,” according to Dr. Luke Pittaway, Ohio University College of Business Copeland Professor of Entrepreneurship. “This portion of the workforce is most likely well established in their career, financially equipped and starting to think about how they’ll spend the final stages of their career. In many cases, even when Gen Xers and Boomers reach retirement age, instead of grabbing their golf clubs or boarding a cruise ship, they’ll be looking for their next professional act. More and more we’re seeing that later career stages and retirement is the time professionals open a small business, and for many, it’s the first time.”


 See related | The SmallBusiness.com Guide to Starting a Business


American adults of all ages dream of starting a small business

66% | Survey respondents who said they dream of starting a small business

Respondents who are 37-57 especially want to start a small business

75% | Generation Xers who dream of starting a small business

Of these Generation Xers, what types of businesses would they start

29% | Businesses that provide technology solutions
22% | Food/restaurant services
21% | Product/consumer goods

Reasons respondents give for starting a small business

38% | Being their own boss
17% | Believing in the power of their own idea
15% | Creating their next career path

Top fears related to opening a small business

45% | Financial insecurity
39% | Financial commitment required
37% | Fear of failure

Both men and women are optimistic about opening a small business

47% | Percentage of men optimistic about opening a small business
43% | Percentage of women optimistic about opening a small business

Where would they operate a small business?

56% | Home-based business
30% | Brick and mortar retail
20% | e-commerce business

 


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Also on SmallBusiness.com

Half of U.S. Millennials Want to Start a Business During the Next Three Years

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Eisenhower on Leadership: You Don’t Lead by Hitting People Over the Head | #MondayMotivation https://smallbusiness.com/monday-morning-motivation/art-of-leadership/ https://smallbusiness.com/monday-morning-motivation/art-of-leadership/#respond Tue, 15 May 2018 01:20:33 +0000 https://smallbusiness.com/?p=31698

Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States. During World War II, he served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, leading the Allied invasion of France and Germany and to victory over the Axis powers.


As a child, Eisenhower was involved in an accident that cost his younger brother an eye. He later referred to this as an experience that taught him the need to be protective of those under him; a lesson in leadership that can be seen in today’s #MondayMotication.Eisenhower believed leadership did not come from bullying those under his command. “Leadership,” he said “is the art of getting someone else to do something you want because he wants to do it.” Leadership, he said, comes from patience and conciliation.


You do not lead by hitting people over the head.
Any damn fool can do that,
but it’s usually called “assault” not leadership.

President Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower


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NRF Taps Economist-Actor Ben Stein for Pro-Trade Advocacy Campaign https://smallbusiness.com/policy/nrf-ferris-buellers-day-off-parody/ https://smallbusiness.com/policy/nrf-ferris-buellers-day-off-parody/#respond Mon, 14 May 2018 14:32:56 +0000 https://smallbusiness.com/?p=31691

The National Retail Federation (NRF) today (5.14.2018) launched an advocacy campaign targeting President Trump’s trade tariffs. The campaign uses a TV commercial parodying the famous classroom scene in the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, complete with actor-economist Ben Stein reviving his “anybody? anybody?” character from the movie.


 

 

“Ferris Bueller was one of the best comedies of its generation, but there’s nothing funny about tariffs and trade wars,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “It’s simple — tariffs are bad economics and always lead to unintended consequences. While we are encouraged by trade talks between the United States and China, the very threat of tariffs is causing significant uncertainty for American businesses. We support the administration’s goal of changing China’s unfair trade practices, but tariffs are the wrong approach and will only drive up prices for American consumers.”

The TV spot, which includes both a 30-second and 60-second version, can be viewed on the campaign landing page TariffsAreBad.com. It began airing on television today on the Fox News Channel morning program, “Fox and Friends.”

The ad will also air during the final episode of the season for the NBC show “Saturday Night Live” this weekend and on ABC’s “Roseanne.” The television ads will be supported with a digital campaign encouraging Americans to contact the White House and members of Congress.

Also on SmallBusiness.com

Trade Tariffs Have Unintended Consequences Warn U.S. Retailers, Farmers

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Small Business Optimism Continues its Climb to a 45-Year High | May 2018 https://smallbusiness.com/economy/nfib-optimism-index/ https://smallbusiness.com/economy/nfib-optimism-index/#respond Tue, 08 May 2018 22:50:47 +0000 https://smallbusiness.com/?p=31673

NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index sustained record-high levels increasing to 104.8 in April. According to the association, small business optimism continued to improve based on reports of increasing profits, the highest in the survey’s 45-year history. Additionally, the number of small businesses reporting poor sales fell to a near record low. April was the 17th consecutive month of historically high readings, according to NFIB.


NFIB said small business earnings were the highest in the history of its monthly survey, which dates back to 1973. It also noted that small business optimism increased in April to a level in the top 95th percentile of its all-time average.

 “Never in the history of this survey have we seen profit trends so high. The optimism small businesses owners have about the economy is turning into new job creation, increased wages and benefits, and investment.”

Juanita Duggan
NFIB President and CEO


“Consumer spending, the new tax law, and lower regulatory barriers are all supporting the surge in optimism across all small business industry sectors,” NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said.

 

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Small Business Owners Rank Inability to Find Workers as Number 1 Business Challenge | May 2018 https://smallbusiness.com/economy/lowest-unemployment-since-2000/ https://smallbusiness.com/economy/lowest-unemployment-since-2000/#respond Fri, 04 May 2018 23:49:07 +0000 https://smallbusiness.com/?p=31653

The nation’s unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent last month (April, 2018), its lowest level since December 2000, according to today’s (May 4, 2018) monthly employment report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Today’s numbers closely align with yesterday’s NFIB Small Business Economic Trends, a tracking survey that has issued quarterly surveys since 1974 and monthly surveys since 1986.


Employment numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

3.9%, | April’s BLS unemployment rate, its lowest level since December 2000.
164,000 | New jobs generated by U.S. employers during April
$26.84 (2.6% over April 2017) | The average hourly earnings of an American worker

49,000 | Increase in construction and manufacturing jobs
54,000 | Increase in professional and business services jobs


Small Business Economic Statistics released by NFIB

In NFIB’s report, small businesses continue to demonstrate strong economic growth.

57% | Percentage of small business respondents indicated they are hiring or planning to hire, up four points from March.
33% | Percent of small business owners reporting higher worker compensation

Like the BLS jobs numbers released today, NFIB’s job numbers are the best since 2000.

“This month’s jobs report reinforces small business owners’ optimism about the economy. They are hiring, and compensation is up,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “In previous years, small businesses were most concerned about taxes and regulations on their businesses, now they are setting plans to grow, and they want to find workers to fill these jobs.”

88% | Percentage of small businesses with plans to hire who reported difficulties finding qualified candidates.
22% | Percentage of survey respondents who say “difficulty of finding qualified workers” as their single most important business problem. Second month in a row, this is their #1 business problem.
35% | Percentage of owners who say they cannot fill open positions.
12% | Owners who reported using temporary workers, up two points from the previous month.
48% | Percentage of construction companies that cannot fill an open position
48% | Percentage of manufacturing companies that cannot fill an open position

“The shortage of qualified workers is clearly holding back even stronger economic growth,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The high demand has real impacts. In some industries, nearly half of the firms have unfilled openings. It’s especially severe in construction and manufacturing.”


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What the IRS Wants You to Know About the Employer Credit for Paid Family and Medical Leave | 2018 https://smallbusiness.com/employees/family-leave-tax-credit/ Fri, 04 May 2018 17:17:21 +0000 https://smallbusiness.com/?p=31638

An employer credit for paid family and medical leave was created by the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”  passed in 2017. Employers may claim the credit based on wages paid to qualified employees while they are on family and medical leave. 


(Information via IRS.)

Facts about the paid family and leave credit

To claim the credit, employers must have a written policy that meets certain requirements:

  • Employers must provide at least two weeks of paid family and medical leave annually to all qualifying employees who work full time. This can be prorated for employees who work part-time.
  • The paid leave must be not less than 50 percent of the wages normally paid to the employee.

A qualifying employee is any employee who:

  • Has been employed for one year or more.
  • For the preceding year, had compensation that did not exceed a certain amount. For 2018, the employee must not have earned more than $72,000 in 2017.

For purposes of this credit, “family and medical leave” is leave for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Birth of an employee’s child and to care for the newborn.
  • Placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care.
  • To care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition.
  • A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her position.
  • Any qualifying event due to an employee’s spouse, child, or parent being on covered active duty – or being called to duty – in the Armed Forces.
  • To care for a service member who is the employee’s spouse, child, parent, or next of kin.

The credit is a percentage of the wages paid to a qualifying employee while on family and medical leave for up to 12 weeks per taxable year.

An employer must reduce its deduction for wages or salaries paid or incurred by the amount determined as a credit.  Any wages taken into account in determining any other general business credit may not be used towards this credit.

The credit is generally effective for wages paid in taxable years of the employer beginning after December 31, 2017. It is not available for wages paid in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2019.


Questions & Answers | Employer Credit for Paid Family and Medical Leave

Q | What is the employer credit for paid family and medical leave?

A |  This is a general business credit employers may claim, based on wages paid to qualified employees while they are on family and medical leave, subject to certain conditions.


Q | Who may claim the employer credit for paid family and medical leave?

A | Employers must have a written policy in place that meets certain requirements, including providing:

  • At least two weeks of paid family and medical leave (annually) to all qualifying employees who work full time (prorated for employees who work part-time), and
  • The paid leave is not less than 50 percent of the wages normally paid to the employee.

Q | Who is a qualifying employee?

A | A qualifying employee is an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act who has been employed by the employer for one year or more and who, for the preceding year, were compensated more than a certain amount. For an employer claiming a credit for wages paid to an employee in 2018, the employee must not have earned more than $72,000 in 2017.

Q | What is “family and medical leave” for purposes of the paid family and medical leave credit?

A | This is a leave for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Birth of an employee’s child and to care for the child.
  • Placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care.
  • To care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition.
  • A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her position.
  • Any qualifying exigency due to an employee’s spouse, child, or parent being on covered active duty (or having been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty) in the Armed Forces.
  • To care for a service member who is the employee’s spouse, child, parent, or next of kin.

If an employer provides paid vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave (other than leave specifically for one or more of the purposes stated above), that paid leave is not considered family and medical leave.  In addition, any leave paid by a State or local government or required by State or local law will not be taken into account in determining the amount of employer-provided paid family and medical leave.

The credit is a percentage of the amount of wages paid to a qualifying employee while on family and medical leave for up to 12 weeks per taxable year.

Q | How is the paid family and medical leave credit calculated?

A | The credit is a percentage of the amount of wages paid to a qualifying employee while on family and medical leave for up to 12 weeks per taxable year.  The minimum percentage is 12.5% and is increased by 0.25% for each percentage point by which the amount paid to a qualifying employee exceeds 50% of the employee’s wages, with a maximum of 25%.  In certain cases, an additional limit may apply.

Q | How does the credit impact an employer’s deduction for the wages paid to an employee while on family and medical leave or claim for any other general business credits?

A | An employer must reduce its deduction for wages or salaries paid or incurred by the amount determined as a credit.  Also, any wages taken into account in determining any other general business credit may not be used in determining this credit.

Q | What is the effective date of the paid family and medical leave credit?

A | The credit is generally effective for wages paid in taxable years of the employer beginning after December 31, 2017, and it is not available for wages paid in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2019.

Q | Will the IRS provide additional information on the credit?

A | The IRS expects that additional information will be provided that will address, for example, when the written policy must be in place, how paid “family and medical leave” relates to an employer’s other paid leave, how to determine whether an employee has been employed for “one year or more,” the impact of State and local leave requirements, and whether members of a controlled group of corporations and businesses under common control are treated as a single taxpayer in determining the credit.

(Information via IRS.)


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Amazon Wants You to Know How Close it is to Small Business https://smallbusiness.com/digital-marketing/amazon-small-business/ Thu, 03 May 2018 17:29:47 +0000 https://smallbusiness.com/?p=31624

Amazon today issued a “Small Business Impact Report” highlighting details about the million+ small businesses* that sell products on Amazon.


The Small Business – Amazon Ecosystem

As SmallBusiness.com has often shared, when it comes to Amazon and small business, there’s a unique and unprecedented form of coopetition. We’ve even shared a counter-intuitive theory that competition between big-box book retailers and Amazon ended up helping small independent bookstores grow in number.

Today, for reasons we can only guess, Amazon issued an infographic that attempts to show how the company has impacted small businesses in positive ways during the past 20 years.

Here are some highlights, primarily focused on the number of small businesses (including individuals and “medium-sized” businesses*) that sell products on Amazon.

50% | Half of all items purchased on Amazon come from small businesses

50 | The number of states where small businesses are selling on Amazon
1 million | The number of U.S. small business selling on Amazon

300,000 | The number of small businesses that started selling on Amazon in 2017
20,000 | The number of small business that surpassed $1 million in sales during 2017
$1 Billion | The amount lent to U.S. small businesses in 2017 through the Amazon Lending Program

130 | The number of countries where small businesses are selling on Amazon
189 | The number of countries where there are customers who purchase products from small businesses who sell on Amazon
900,000 | Amazon’s estimate of the number of jobs that have been created worldwide by small businesses selling on Amazon

Top product categories sold on Amazon by small businesses

  • Health & Personal Care
  • Home
  • Electronics
  • Beauty
  • Apparel
  • Sports
  • Toys

State-by-State Stats | U.S. Small Businesses Selling on Amazon

 


 

But Wait, There’s More

There are many ways, the small business – Amazon coopetition is carried out daily, ranging from fulfillment services to cloud computing solutions. Bottomline: Unlike big-box retailers impact on small, local retailers, the relationship between small businesses and Amazon is still shaking out. For some small businesses, Amazon may be a killer threat. For others, it may be the source of small business creation and success.

*Amazon uses the term “small and medium-sized business.” As SmallBusiness.com believes there is no such thing as a “medium-sized business,” we keep it simple with the term “small business.”

 

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