This Week In Small Business: The Employer Mandate
A weekly roundup of small-business developments.
What’s affecting me, my clients and other small-business owners this week.
The Economy: Seven Charts
Manufacturing activity increased, but the service sector slowed. Constructionspending rose in May. Small-business borrowing rose, and SurePayroll’s Small Business Scorecard reports increased optimism. Nissan expands production in the United States, and the Restaurant Performance Index hits a 14-month high. The Agriculture Department expects food prices to climb. Apparently sequestration wasn’t as bad as feared, and these seven charts show where the economy is headed.
Jobs: Hiring Up
The economy added more jobs than expected in June, and ADP reports thatsmall-business hiring beat forecasts, too. Another survey found that nearly a third of manufacturers and distributors plan to increase the size of their work force in 2013, and 10 of 36 states saw employment growth in June. But the National Federation of Independent Business said that small-business employment edged down for a second straight month. Minneapolis has thelowest unemployment rate for a major city.
Health Care: Mandate Delayed
The health care law employer mandate has been delayed until 2015, and Ed Rogers believes that the decision could hurt small businesses. Ezra Klein says the employee mandate should not be delayed — “it should be repealed.” The Wall Street Journal apologizes for not being “critical enough” about the Affordable Care Act. Connecticut struggles to get ready to introduce coverage. More than 40 percent of uninsured Americans aren’t aware that they could be required to buy coverage next year, according to a Gallup survey.
Online Payments: Bitcoin Mania
Many small businesses are embracing Bitcoin, and some wonder if it will drive more sales (and for those still wondering what it is, here’s a definition). A Google-backed distributed currency exchange is trying to make it easier for people to pay others with the alternative currency. Michel Bauwens explains how the “Bitcoin 1 percent” manipulate the currency, deceive its user community, and make its future uncertain. Kate Craig-Wood explains how shemade a fortune with bitcoin. This ATM will turn bank notes into bitcoins, and the Winklevoss Twins want to sell you a bitcoin fund. Here are eight ways investing in bitcoins could go terribly wrong, and a seminar that will explore the currency’s future.
Employees: Amy’s Baking
Amy’s Baking Company makes news again by requiring employees to sign a contract. Amanda MacArthur explains how restaurant tipping is evolving. A Staples survey finds workers want naps, better technology, and the ability to work from home. Former MSNBC and “Saturday Night Live” interns targetNBCUniversal in a lawsuit, while thousands of other emboldened and disgruntled former interns are potentially eligible to sue media companies. A teacher has worn the same outfit in his yearbook photo for 40 years. A grumpy cat becomes a “cat-alyst” for social good.
Entrepreneurs: The Walking Dead
An entrepreneur explains how he went from a village boy to chief executive of India’s largest bus-ticketing service. Kim Kaupe says there are four ways entrepreneurs can avoid becoming the walking dead. This is how tech entrepreneurs in three different countries get on their bikes. A new live radio show will let Americans vote on contestants’ ideas for business ventures. A Detroit entrepreneur transforms personal tragedy into lifesaving inventions. A 10-week training program from the Kauffman Foundation that promises to build skills in entrepreneurship is accepting applications from military veterans.
Cash Flow: This American Business
Jules Olbermann tells the story of how separate accounts helped keep her and her husband together. PayPal Galactic can help you pay for that Mars vacation you always wanted. Ira Glass explains why “This American Life” is thriving as a business. An online marketplace and a crowdfunding platform team up. Chris Peden shares a small-business owner’s guide to applying for a mortgage.
Start-Up: 30 Days To Live
Jacob Goldstein says that his start-up has only 30 days to live, and Andrew Montalenti explains why start-ups fail. Ariel Diaz thinks start-up schools areincredible places to recruit outside of Silicon Valley. This five-time entrepreneur shares five crucial ways to know when you should start up, and here’s how to try out your business idea before you dive in. New York barely breaks the top 20 in start-up investment per capita (and a prank brings out thebest and worst in its citizens).
Around The Country: Boating is Back
Jon Xavier explains how the Defense of Marriage Act ruling complicates business, but California’s wedding industry loves the Prop 8 ruling and studies show that the L.G.B.T. market is affluent and influential. The boating industrymakes a comeback. In a new contest, Wal-Mart offers entrepreneurs a chanceto compete for shelf space. These are the top 10 states for new manufacturingjobs. Oregon gets closer to a plan to provide free college education.
Around the World: Your Flight Number
In Colombia, Coke tests a bottle made of ice. Israel’s start-up culture is luring more M.B.A.’s. A film banned as pornography in China was accidentally shownon a large screen in a public square. And in case you were wondering, here’s what your flight number means.
Laurie McCabe explains eight ways to grow your small business, while a family business owner learns a few hard lessons about succession. Larry Kudlowinterviews successful manufacturers about how they can afford to make things in America, and Jim Smith lists six important small-business tasks for the second half of 2013. Joe Taylor Jr. says there are five ways that relocating a small business can cut costs. A few tech giants offer advice to small-business owners, and here are five business lessons from the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air.”
Marketing: Why It Isn’t Working
Craig Newmark reminds us of the glorious future of shopping. Jim Connolly explains why your marketing isn’t working, and Andrew Gothelf suggests three ways to motivate your sales team (and they are not about money). Jay Baer shares three modern marketing mistakes. Barbara Austin wonders if you really need to do in-person marketing. These are 15 e-mail subject lineformulas that work, and here are three Web site add-ons that are worth buying.
Social Media: Must-Use Sites and Apps
Jeff Bullas looks into the facts, figures and statistics of social media. Here is how social media is driving huge online video growth. This infographic explains the five essential elements of viral content, and here are seven “must-use” sites and apps to boost social media. Megan Conley explains how to increase your Google+ engagement, and Lynn White shares advice on how to use Facebook to promote events. The federal government spent $630,000 to“buy” Facebook fans when it could have used these techniques.
Red Tape: Regulatory Issues
Paychex identifies the top five regulatory issues of the summer, and Rick Harrison slams anti-business regulations. Many small-business owners backtaking action on climate change. The General Services Administrationcontinues to exceed its small-business goals, and the Small Business Administration and Native American Contractors Association agree to astrategic alliance. Hundreds of new laws went live on July 1.
Mobile: The 99 Percent
Here are seven mobile marketing stats that will amaze you, and this is how to avoid mobile-app overload. Felix Salmon explains why mobile payments will never take off. A major app vulnerability could affect 99 percent of Android devices.
Technology: Mind-Blowing Products
A couple of ZDNet editors delve into the challenges and opportunities that small businesses face in making decisions about technology. This new printingmethod works on any surface. Gartner predicts that tech spending will reach $3.7 trillion in 2013. Yahoo kills a dozen more products to sharpen its focus, while Google continues to work on these “mind-blowing products.” Here are 10 traditional industries that have been transformed by tablets, and these are the worst cloud outages of 2013 (so far).
Tweet Of The Week
@CherylHeppard: If your own market is small right now, pair up with another, stronger marketer and release your product together.
The Week’s Best Quote
Ryan Derousseau says you can change your luck: “There are tons of ways to fix the problem you’re having, especially if it’s not life-and-death. All you need to do first is change your perspective of the problem. Once that’s accomplished, then that first small step can take place.”
This Week’s Question: Have you tried accepting bitcoins for payment? Can you explain what a bitcoin is?