A Senate idea to get behind: new bill would help ex-prisoners start a business

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

Ben Cardin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate committee on small business and entrepreneurship, last month introduced the New Start Act. The legislation is designed to enable the Small Business Administration to award grants, counseling, training and other services to convicted criminals returning back to society after time served, all with the aim towards helping them start businesses.

Cardin is not new to the issue of prison reform. He was a co-sponsor of another bill, enacted at the end of 2018, which reduced sentences for certain low-level non-violent offenders and provided programs to help people who have been in prison rejoin their communities. The New Start bill will take this one step further. Read More…

Microsoft Just Announced These Three Cool Things That Will Impact Your Business

(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

Yes, the Microsoft community are a bunch of nerds. My firm is a Microsoft partner. So we should know.

But Microsoft loves these people. And can you blame them? They’re the ones that develop tools and technologies that help them – and us – make more money. During Microsoft’s Build 2019 conference, which wrapped up yesterday and which attracted approximately 15,000 of the company’s finest programmers, developers, partners and code-builders from around the world, Microsoft announced a bunch of super-nerdy programming tools that will not interest most business owners.

But the company also introduced three new things should interest business owners a lot. Read More…

Loans, government contracts, advice: The many different ways small businesses can get help from SBA

(This post originally appeared on Philly.com)

This week is National Small Business Week, a period set aside to recognize the contributions that nearly 30 million small businesses in this country make to the economy. For the U.S. Small Business Administration, this week is like the Super Bowl.

That’s because the SBA – which was created more than 65 years ago – uses this time of year to increase awareness of what it can do to help support those businesses, which include 750,000 that are located in the 40 eastern counties of Pennsylvania alone.

Some of my clients are aware of the agency. Many are not. I’m not sure why. But here’s what I do know: The government spends billions of dollars every year on contracts, loans, programs and services specifically devoted to small businesses. So why not take advantage? To that end, here are ways to profit from a relationship with the SBA.

Read More…

10 Small Business Apps, Services And Tech Platforms Every Entrepreneur Should Know About

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

If you want to know the best place to keep up with technology for your business, follow my weekly tech roundups for entrepreneurs each week. You’ll learn because I’m always learning.

So what have I learned? Businesses that invest in the right technologies are assuring future growth and success.  I’ve also learned that there are a few apps, services and technologies – about ten categories in all – that are critical for small businesses in 2019. So in honor of National Small Business Week, I thought it would be helpful to share. Read More…

Now Shopify Users Can Easily Advertise On Snapchat…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 – Snap has a new partnership that opens it up to hundreds of thousands of advertisers

Snap and e-commerce company Shopify this past week announced a new partnership that will let small businesses that sell on Shopify easily buy ads on Snapchat Discover. The integration is designed to let Shopify customers – many of who small businesses and solo merchants – to buy and manage a Snapchat Story ad campaign directly on Shopify’s platform. (Source: CNBC) Read More…

Here’s one tax that restaurant owners just might approve of

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

Ask any restaurant owner today and they’ll tell you that running their business is not easy. Costs are creeping up, margins are tight and the competition is tough. So the last thing a restaurateur would want is another tax, right?

Maybe not.

That’s what Anthony Myint is hoping. Myint is the co-owner of Mission Chinese, a popular restaurant with locations in the Bay Area and New York. He’s concerned with the environment and particularly global warming. So he has decided to do something about it. And because of his efforts, the state of California will have a new tax this fall that restaurant owners are being asked to levy on their customers. It’s called the Restore California Renewable Restaurant program. But don’t worry, tax-haters: this tax isn’t as onerous as you might think. Read More…

Employers and contractors enjoy a harmonious relationship

(This post originally appeared on The Hill)

On Monday, the U.S. Labor Department (DOL) wrote a letter to a company that employs independent contractors. In the letter, the department re-affirmed the Trump administration’s position that those workers were not employees. Good.

Besides the Labor Department letter, April also saw a new rule from The Texas Workforce Commission that classified “gig” workers that were hired for jobs through online applications as independent contractors and not employees. Read More…