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Obamacare? Trumpcare? What business owners need to know

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(This post originally appeared on Fox Business)

One of the biggest myths of the Affordable Care Act is that the law doesn’t affect small businesses. It does. Significantly.

Sure, businesses with less than 50 full time equivalent employees are exempted from the corporate mandates requiring that we provide affordable health insurance to our full timers. Yes, some very small businesses are potentially entitled to a tax credit. But the fact is that most businesses – big and small – do provide healthcare to our employees. And the ones that don’t provide healthcare find themselves at a significant disadvantage to their larger competitors who do.

In survey after survey, healthcare consistently ranks as one of the top benefits desired by employees. Not offering this benefit prohibits companies from attracting good people.

Unfortunately, Washington has now made things more difficult. Read More…

Google’s $2.7B EU fine: Why Main St. in America ‘gets it’

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(This post originally appeared on Fox Business)

The European Union came down hard this week on Alphabet-owned Google (GOOGL), fining the tech giant about $2.7 billion for “[abusing] its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors,” said EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager. Google said it “respectfully disagreed” with the ruling.

The backlash, particularly in the American online business community, was swift. The EU’s actions were “anti-American” some commenters said, citing other recent actions against U.S. tech companies like Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB). Others accused the EU of “shaking down” rich companies for money to make up for their community’s own lack of innovation. Read More…

China’s dog meat festival opened this week to protests…and profits

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(This post originally appeared on Fox Business)

There are plenty of ways for an entrepreneur to make money – and as long as it’s legal I’ve always been a strong advocate of holding back judgment, because who am I to judge how one person earns his or her livelihood, right?  But sometimes, even my efforts not to judge are challenged. Take for example, the vendors, buyers, sellers and restauranteurs who are profiting from this week’s Dog Meat Festival, which opened Wednesday in the southern Chinese city of Yulin.

“You shouldn’t force people to make choices they don’t want to make, the way you wouldn’t force someone to be a Christian or a Buddhist or a Muslim,” said one dog meat lover in this Channel NewsAsia report Opens a New Window., who stressed that “dog meat is the same as any other meat.” Read More…

What’s the Catch? Why Big Companies Give Money to Small Businesses

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(This post originally appeared on Fox Business)

Just this past week JP Morgan Chase announced a new programOpens a New Window. committing $75 million over three years to help small businesses, particularly ones owned by minorities, women and veterans. Pretty nice, right?

The program includes a $1.9 million grant to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) to support its programs to connect small business owners with alternative funding sources when they are unable to qualify for traditional loans. The bank also extended its collaboration with a nonprofit lender called LiftFund with another $4.6 million grant, which builds on the grants and financial support it has been giving in the past to organizations that support local entrepreneurs.

Read More…

More Profits for the Gun Industry. Good for Them

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(This post originally appeared on Fox Business)

Sprague’s Sports is a small business that sells guns.

The store, which is located in Yuma, Arizona – a town that boasts a population of about 125,000 people – also sells gun accessories such as ammunition, maps, cleaning gear and hats. It sells gun safes and offers repair services for firearms. It offers memberships to those who want to come and be trained how to shoot their guns safely in its state-of-the-art indoor range.

Read More…

Is This the Real Reason Restaurants Are Losing Customers?

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(This post originally appeared on Fox Business)

Is the restaurant industry about to enter into a recession? Some analysts think so.

According to this recent pieceOpens a New Window. from the National Restaurant News, “industry same-store sales are falling at such a meaningful rate that they’re signaling not just an industry-wide problem, but could be a ‘harbinger’ for a full-blown recession next year.” Industry analyst Paul Westra has already downgraded 11 restaurant chains, saying that that the fall “reflects the start of a U.S. restaurant recession” and that it “may also represent a harbinger to a U.S. recession in early 2017.”

Read More…

Can’t Get a Loan for Your Business? I Don’t Believe it

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(This post originally appeared on Fox Business)

I speak to many of my clients each month about how their businesses are doing — and the health of the economy in general. And to be sure, I hear the usual grumblings about high taxes, slow growth and too many regulations. But you know what I don’t hear? I don’t hear any complaints about getting financing. And there’s a reason for that. The financing environment for small businesses in 2016 is not just good: It’s great. In fact, it’s better than it was before the Great Recession.

Yes, venture capital and angel investing have both recently slowed. But that kind of financing is for a niche of start-ups and tech companies that aren’t truly reflective of small business in America. For my clients – the established small businesses who reside in industrial parks and office complexes around the country and distribute pipes, manufacture film, mow lawns, fix roofs and serve meals – the financing environment is strong. When they want loans to grow their companies they have plenty of options today. Read More…