Archive for 'Small business'

Today, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) and Congressman Rush D. Holt (NJ-12) cosponsored a Global Access for Small Business forum at Monmouth College. More than 80 representatives from New Jersey small businesses participated in the forum to learn how to export more goods and services.

The event was sponsored by Ex-Im Bank, Congressman Rush D. Holt, Monmouth University’s Leon Hess Business School, and the U.S. Department of Commerce Trenton Export Assistance Center.

“With 95% of the world’s customers outside the United States, it is critical that we provide small business owners with the resources they need to successfully compete in the global marketplace,” said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg. “Increasing American exports is vital to our economic recovery, and I will continue to host forums across the country that highlight the benefits of exporting.”

“Last year, New Jersey businesses exported $32 billion in goods, up 18 percent from 2009.  Facilitating trade between U.S. companies and buyers in new markets abroad is an essential component for long-term economic growth.  However, until recently the Ex-Im Bank has maintained a low profile,” said Congressman Holt.  “Under Chairman Hochberg’s leadership, the Bank has boosted financing of trades to record levels, especially for small-and medium-sized businesses.  He is one of the leaders in President Obama’s goal to double U.S. exports in the next five years, and I am pleased that he was able to share his vision and expertise with us today.”

In his presentation, Chairman Hochberg gave an overview of Ex-Im Bank’s new initiative, Global Access for Small Business, aimed at increasing the number of small businesses across the United States who export goods and services produced by U.S. workers. It is an integral part of President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) mission being led by the Commerce Department to double U.S. exports by 2015.

Global Access is supported by a wide variety of business and financial and government partners, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and the Bank’s 60-plus City/State Partners located throughout the U.S. This year, Ex-Im Bank is planning to hold more than 20 Global Access forums around the country. For more information, please see Global Access for Small Business on the Bank’s home page at www.exim.gov.

Panel discussions at today’s event featured success stories by local small-business owners and presentations by regional representatives of federal agencies, including Ex-Im Bank and the Department of Commerce.  Attendees also received one-on-one trade counseling. Among the local businesses highlighted were:

  • Gaffney-Kroese, a provider of industrial equipment machinery instruments headquartered in Piscataway.  The company has received $25 million in working capital support from Ex-Im Bank, which has enabled them to export nearly $115 million in products to India, Peru, and Italy.  Gaffney-Kroese supports 160 American jobs.
  • Hoffman International, headquartered in Piscataway, is a full service dealer of new and used heavy lifting and construction equipment.  The company has worked with Ex-Im since 1992 and is exporting in 80 countries.

 

Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital loan guarantees, export-credit insurance, and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.

Ex-Im Bank is self-sustaining and is able to cover all operating costs and potential losses while also producing revenue. The Bank has generated $3.4 billion for U.S. taxpayers over the past five years.

Ex-Im Bank also reported it authorized $10.8 billion for the first five months of fiscal year 2011 (Oct. 2010 through Feb. 2011), supporting $13 billion in U.S. exports and approximately 93,000 American jobs.  The Bank’s support of U.S. small business exports also grew to $1.7 billion, compared with $1.5 billion for the same five-month period a year ago.
http://www.exim.gov

Small Business Lender Tops $52 Million in SBA Loans

Small Business Lender Tops $52 Million in SBA Loans-Image via Wikipedia

SBA recognizes Huntington as “Lender of the Year” for second consecutive year

For the second year in a row, Huntington (NASDAQ: HBAN) (www.huntington.com) has supported more small businesses in Michigan than any other bank, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Michigan District Office.

The SBA named Huntington as Michigan’s “Lender of the Year,” the organization’s award for best overall performance, for approving 262 SBA loans worth more than $52.7 million in fiscal year 2010. In addition, Huntington was named “SBAExpress Lender of the Year” for approving 207 SBAExpress loans, and “PLP Lender of the Year” (tied with Citizens Bank) for the most loans approved by a preferred lender.

“Huntington has made an aggressive commitment to support small businesses in Michigan, and throughout the Midwest, because of the vital role our region will play in driving the economy forward,” said Mike Fezzey, Huntington’s SE Michigan regional president. “2010 was a difficult year for many businesses, but we’re excited about the impact we’re making in Michigan and grateful for programs like the SBA, which provide a much-need lifeline for businesses to support growth.”

Huntington is the fourth largest SBA lender in the country by number of loans and the No. 1 SBA 7(a) lender cumulatively, both in the number of loans made and overall dollar amount of those loans, within its six-state Midwest market.*  Including SBA lending, Huntington utilizes 14 various government-lending programs to help small businesses, including state and local lending, and agriculture and rural development loan programs.

In 2010, Huntington committed $4 billion over a three-year period to small business lending. In 2010, Huntington lent $1.1 billion to small business, meeting the bank’s plan for a stepped increase in small business lending through 2012 and beyond.

“Over the past two years, Huntington has uniquely positioned itself to be the bank for small businesses in the Midwest. We will continue to drive initiatives that support small business growth, working closely with our customers to find ways to offer credit and cost savings,” said Steve Rhodes, Huntington’s director of business banking. “We are committed to small business because we know these companies are the job-generating engine needed to turn around the Midwest economy and create the opportunities that will continue to build workforce talent and support growth.”

About Huntington

Huntington Bancshares Incorporated is a $54 billion regional bank holding company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1866, it provides full-service commercial, small business, and consumer banking services; mortgage banking services; treasury management and foreign exchange services; equipment leasing; wealth and investment management services; trust services; brokerage services; customized insurance brokerage and service programs; and other financial product and services.  The principal markets for these services are Huntington’s six-state banking franchise: Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia, and Kentucky.  The primary distribution channels include a banking network of over 600 traditional branches and convenience branches located in grocery stores and retirement centers, and through an array of alternative distribution channels including internet and mobile banking, telephone banking, and over 1,300 ATMs.  Through automotive dealership relationships within its six-state banking franchise area and selected New England states, Huntington also provides commercial banking services to the automotive dealers and retail automobile financing for dealer customers.

*Source: U.S. SBA from October 1, 2007, through December 31, 2010.

Member FDIC. The logo mark and Huntington® are federally registered service marks of Huntington Bancshares Incorporated.

CONTACT: Matt Samson, matthew.samson@huntington.com, +1-614-480-3763

Web Site: http://www.huntington.com

Looking for financing solutions, technical assistance and/or contracting opportunities to start or grow your business?

Then please mark your calendar to join us at this Small Business Forum where you will hear from federal, state, and local agency representatives about various resources available to maintain and grow businesses — as well as opportunities to expand through international trade.  Speakers will include representatives from the Small Business Administration, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Port of Los Angeles and several other entities that are dedicated to stimulating California small businesses.

For more information or to RSVP, you can contact Senator Curren Price’s office at (213) 745-6656 or by email at Senator.Price@senate.ca.gov

Supporting organizations include: CA Small Business Association, National Association of Women Business Owners-Los Angeles, Latin Business Association, Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce, Korean American Chamber of Commerce, Culver City Chamber of Commerce, 26th Senate District Commission on Trade and Investment in Africa, and the Port of LA.

Self Directed IRA Group Relocates to Miami Beach

IRA Financial Group, the leading facilitator of Self Directed IRA and Solo 401(k) Plans is pleased to announce the relocation of its Miami office to 235 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach

We are delighted to be in a spectacular building in a prime location in the heart of the City of Miami Beach. The move underlines our intention to invest further in our Miami office where we have a very strong and expanding team of employees.

IRA Financial Group, the leading facilitator of Self Directed IRA and Solo 401K Plans is pleased to announce the relocation of its Miami office to 235 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, the city’s premier business and shopping location.

Commenting on the Miami office move, partner Adam Bergman, said: “We are delighted to be in a spectacular building in a prime location in the heart of the City of Miami Beach. The move underlines our intention to invest further in our Miami office where we have a very strong and expanding team of employees.”

He continued: ”Our new Lincoln Road office provides us with high quality, flexible office space with room to expand. The move will enable us to support our current client needs as well as offer us the needed space to continue to provide high quality services to our increasing expanding client base.”

Lincoln Road Mall is a pedestrian-only promenade and the epicenter of what’s happening in South Beach. Located between Alton Road and Washington Avenue, Lincoln Road offers unique shopping, sidewalk cafes, bars, galleries, and fine dining. People watching is also a favorite pastime.

About the IRA Financial Group

The IRA Financial Group was founded by a group of top law firm tax and ERISA lawyers who have worked at some of the largest law firms in the United States, such as White & Case LLP and Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP.

IRA Financial Group is the market’s leading “Checkbook Control” Self Directed IRA and Solo 401K Plan Facilitator. We have helped thousands of clients take back control over their retirement funds while gaining the ability to invest in almost any type of investment.

To learn more about the IRA Financial Group please visit our website at http://www.irafinancialgroup.com

Senior Care Franchises Growing in Demand

The sluggish economy has taken its toll on small business owners as many industries struggle to launch and build new ventures. A recently released study reveals that the inability to obtain credit for small business franchises could jeopardize 80,000 new jobs this year. And yet, the senior care and home health industries continue to lure entrepreneurs with the prospect of low investment and potentially high return rate, according to Franchise Business Review.

Many industries have experienced flat or even negative growth over the past few years, yet the senior care and home healthcare sectors continue to perform solidly.

More than 80,000 new jobs and in excess of $10 billion in economic output could be lost in 2011 unless credit flow to franchised small businesses increases, according to a new report just released by the International Franchise Association (IFA).

In spite of a more positive business outlook, a demand for franchise business growth far outpaces the ability of franchise businesses to access financing, according to Small Business Lending Matrix and Analysis, Vol. 3, prepared by FRANdata for the IFA Educational Foundation.

The report says franchise businesses will require $10.4 billion in new lending capital to fulfill 100 percent of the forecasted demand for new and transfer units in 2011, but credit flow may fall short by 20 percent. The statistics are a slight improvement over the estimated gap of 23 percent in 2010 due to four factors.
First, there is now increased investor demand for franchises, unconstrained franchisor capacity for growth, increased lending by banks to franchises from Small Business Administration loan guarantees passed last year and, finally, improved forecasts for economic recovery through 2011 and beyond, according to the report.

That’s even better news for an already booming industry. Many industries have experienced flat or even negative growth over the past few years, yet the senior care and home healthcare sectors continue to perform solidly, according to the December 2010 Franchise Business Review. In fact, senior care has been one of the fastest growing franchise segments in recent years, the publication noted.

The Home Instead Senior Care® network, in particular, stands out, according to Franchise Business Review. “The initial investment required to open a single senior care franchise office averages under $100,000 and can be as little as $50,550 with Home Instead Senior Care, which offers one of the lowest initial investments and the potential for one of the highest yield ratios in the group and has also been ranked best in category for franchisee satisfaction since 2007,” the publication reported.

“The growing demand for senior care has helped to build senior home care franchising into an appealing industry in which to own and operate a business,” said Tim Connelly, director of Franchise Development for Home Instead, Inc., the franchisor for the Home Instead Senior Care network. “The low investment rates make starting and owning a franchise business a forward-thinking option in today’s business environment.”

For information about senior care business opportunities, register for a one-hour Home Instead Senior Care Franchise Opportunities webinar. The next webinar is scheduled for April 27, 2011, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.

Small Business Owners Get Coupon Widget Platform

Digital couponing has exploded over the past several years as consumers have gone back to more frugal shopping habits.

Rockfish (http://rockfi.sh) announced today the launch of CouponFactory, a turnkey couponing software platform that gives businesses the ability to easily create, customize and place their coupon widget wherever they choose.
CouponFactory is a simple, affordable digital couponing platform with a flexible interface that is a better solution for companies and consumers alike. For brands, retailers and small businesses, CouponFactory’s solution provides:

1.    Easy-to-use, turnkey web solution
2.    Customer data collection
3.    No set-up fees
4.    Detailed digital coupon analytics
5.    Coupon fraud control
6.    Mobile, web and social embed options

CouponFactory also provides a superior consumer experience including:

  • No 3rd party redirects
  • No downloading printing software
  • Simple, 2-click print

“Digital couponing has exploded over the past several years as consumers have gone back to more frugal shopping habits,” said Wade Allen, VP of Rockfish Retail. “Many CPGs, retailers, and small businesses have been unable to fully participate due to costs, fraud, and poor customer experience. CouponFactory was built specifically to resolve these issues for businesses and consumers alike.”

Premiering at the In-Store Marketing Summit in Chicago, CouponFactory has already been tested by leading national brands such as White Cloud to distribute offers through various forms of digital media.

“This breakthrough technology allows our Brand Advocate bloggers to embed a ‘widget’ into their blogs with very little effort, allowing their followers to print White Cloud coupons directly from their site without having to be redirected to a third-party site,” said John McPherson, White Cloud’s Director of Marketing.

For more information or to sign up, go to http://www.couponfactory.com/news

Through the Lendio/Capital Stack partnership, business owners now have more options to find business loans that fit their specific needs

Quote start“Access to capital is the lifeblood for new small business and the U.S. economy. Now the entrepreneur dream can be realized for more people.”Quote end

 

Lendio and Capital Stack just made it easier for entrepreneurs with lower credit scores to access money to grow their businesses.

“Access to capital is the lifeblood for new small business and the U.S. economy,” said Brock Blake, Lendio CEO. “Now the entrepreneur dream can be realized for more people.”

Many businesses today have a difficult time getting small business loans. Right now, Blake says nine out of 10 business loan applications fail. It’s why he created Lendio, an online platform that matches qualified business owners with the right lenders and loans. Through Capital Stack, Lendio customers can find more matches to unsecured programs, business cash advances and cash-flow-style bank loans.

“This new change of focus with Lendio is very exciting,” said David Rubin, CEO of Capital Stack. “Through this partnership, we developed a tremendous funding program for their small-to-midsized business applicants. This exclusive partnership will meet all the needs of the Lendio community, from immediate working capital to merchants of all credit profiles.”

Capital Stack can provide cash advances quickly and simply without regard to the business owner’s credit score. Even if a business has been turned down for a small business loan, it still may qualify for a business cash advance. Approvals are usually made in 24 hours or less, and funding can happen as quickly as 7 business days.

The Capital Stack and Lendio relationship stemmed from earlier roots when Lendio was FundingUniverse. As FundingUniverse, the company focused more attention on helping businesses access angel investors and VC funding. At that time, Capital Stack began funding businesses with credit scores below 650. The program was extremely successful for both entities.

“We will now be able to offer loan matches to business owners with lower credit scores, or those that are simply in a rush to get financing for a particular product and don’t have time for traditional underwriting timelines,” said Levi King, Lendio president.

About Capital Stack
Capital Stack, LLC delivers business cash advances, unsecured programs, and cash-flow-style bank loans. The company designs flexible programs to advance against future credit card receivable or structure and advance on the bank cash flow of the business. Its financing allows most business to expand their customer base and turn future receivables into immediate cash. Specialties include business cash advance, ACH bank program, electronic payment space, accounts receivable financing, PO factoring, inventory finance, and real estate finance. For more information, visit http://www.capitalstackllc.com/

About Lendio
Lendio makes small business loans simple by matching qualified small business owners with active banks, credit unions, and other lending sources. Through a proprietary matching technology, Lendio assists a business owner to identify the business loan category and specific lenders that offer the highest probability for that business owner to prepare for and secure a business loan approval. Lendio formerly operated as FundingUniverse.com. For more information, contact Lendio at press(at)lendio(dot)com, or visit http://www/lendio.com/

 

Starting now, more business owners are retiring than ever before. New research shows that selecting the right successor may be more challenging than they think.

With the onslaught of baby boomers entering retirement over the next decade — an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 people a day starting this year — who will take over the leadership of privately held firms and family businesses? “The choice of successor to lead your business can propel it to great success or plunge it into failure,” says Richard A. Morris, principal of ROI Consulting in Evanston, Ill. “With less than 30% of family businesses successfully transitioning to the next generation, leadership selection is a key consideration.”

Through his research, Morris has identified three techniques business owners typically use to choose successors that often lead to a poor long-term prognosis for the company:

1. Anointing the firstborn. Often the owner will follow a tried and true method of leadership transition, taken straight from royalty, by anointing the firstborn the next leader. This method can avoid arguments among siblings and often adheres to family tradition. However, it fails to take into account the desire or capabilities of all of the children or other potential candidates.

2. Selecting whoever is interested. Just because a family member has decided to come work for the company and has expressed interest in taking on the leadership role does not mean he or she has the right capabilities. Morris warns, “Often we find that family members working at the company are there for all the wrong reasons. It may be, for example, that they were unable to find another career and drifted back to the family business. Is that who you want running the company?”

3. Choosing the person who “does it like me.” Many family business leaders who are thoughtful about their succession decision choose a person to run the company who has skills similar to theirs. “This may appear to be the correct choice, but most of the time it is exactly the opposite of what is needed for the next phase of the company,” explains Morris. Research defines four lifecycles or stages: Start-Up, Growth, Mature, and Reinvent, and each requires a leader with a different skill set.

Morris points out, “For example, leaders need a great deal of creativity and determination during the start-up phase of a company, while exceptional management and MBA skills are required during a massive growth cycle.” Typically when leadership changes hands, the company has entered or will be entering the next phase of its lifecycle, requiring a new leader with a skill set that matches the new needs.

To avoid making these common leadership succession mistakes, Morris recommends business owners develop a list of skills required by the stage the business will be entering. “Then owners should assess all of the family candidates to see who may have the needed skills. If there are no family members with the requisite skills, it may be better to hire a professional manager,” Morris advises. “I’d rather own a company that succeeds than run my family firm into the ground.”

Richard Morris is principal of Evanston-based ROI (Resource for Ownership Intelligence) Consulting which helps family owners expand and pass down their business to subsequent generations. He also provides family business education, consulting and strategic planning for cooperatives, franchises and associations, and is an adjunct professor at the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. Previously, he managed marketing and acquisitions for his family’s 80-year-old privately held company, Fel-Pro Incorporated, and served on its Board of Directors until the sale of the business in 1998. Morris also co-authored the book “Kids, Wealth and Consequences: Ensuring a Responsible Financial Future for the Next Generation” (Bloomberg Press).

Free Dating Site Forced to Change

Bright Productions Ltd, the parent company of FreeDating 24/7, one of the UK’s more popular free dating sites, have recently completed a site enhancement, improving its product to help keep it ahead of its competitors during the current economic climate.

Quote startWe put in place a careful and meticulous plan, which we thought covered all the potential pitfalls. However, in the real world until you actually start the process you will never be entirely sure how smoothly it will go.Quote end

 

As part of the free dating sites ongoing series of improvements the latest project included an enhanced design and the site was migrated onto new servers using 64 bit technology. The aim was to provide FreeDating 24/7 (http://www.freedating247.com/) members with a faster and leaner product, making their online experience a more enjoyable one.

On discussing the project, one of the dating sites directors Jon Hayes said, “We put in place a careful and meticulous plan, which we thought covered all the potential pitfalls. However, in the real world until you actually start the process you will never be entirely sure how smoothly it will go.” In the end there were issues due to subtle differences between the 32 and 64 bit versions of Cold Fusion and SQL Server. This resulted in production delays with the move being completed two months behind schedule.

To help smooth the migration the company sought financial assistance in the form of a loan from its bank. As with similar requests from many other small businesses this was flatly turned down. As Jon’s business partner Andy Blundell said, “You see the odd chief exec being interviewed on the news claiming that the banks have set aside so many billions for small businesses, but trying to get hold of it is a different matter. We tried everything, securing the loan, a guarantor, but they would have none of it. We were fortunate as we only had to wait for a few weeks and our cash flow sorted itself out on its own. The only real issue for us was a delay in our project delivery time. I am sure that there are many other small businesses out there who have not been so fortunate.” Jon added ,“With the dating industry being one of the most heavily subscribed sectors on the web, with new sites appearing and disappearing on a weekly basis, it is crucial to keep pace with, or surpass our competitors. We are always looking at ways to improve our product and new development work is always in the pipeline.”

For more information on one of the web’s premier free dating sites, FreeDating 24/7, please visit http://www.freedating247.com/

BizSugar, the social media news site for small businesses and entrepreneurs, achieves over 500% growth in its registered user base, with the number of registered community members now at 175,000 users.

“We are on track before the end of the year to achieve a quarter million members.” Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends LLC

BizSugar, the small business social media news site, has achieved a new milestone, with the number of registered community members now at 175,000 users, with 95,000 weekly newsletter subscribers.

BizSugar is a business-to-business resource dedicated solely to the small business community. On the site, small business owners, managers and entrepreneurs can share news, blog posts, videos, podcasts and other useful content. By doing so they can highlight their thought leadership, while bringing visibility to their businesses and their online content. Others who are searching for tips and information to start a business or operate their existing businesses more effectively can search through the content shared by others for valuable insights.

BizSugar helps anyone in the business community navigate successfully through the challenges, obstacles and issues they face each day. And the best part is that it’s completely free.

BizSugar was launched in 2007 and subsequently acquired by Small Business Trends, LLC in the summer of 2009. Since then, its popularity and usage has grown.

“The entire BizSugar team, including our Moderators and Advisory Board, are thrilled with the response by the small business community and entrepreneurs. The rapid growth rate of 500% in under 2 years is proof that small businesses want social media platforms dedicated to their interests and needs,” said Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends LLC. “We are on track before the end of the year to achieve a quarter million members.”

Shawn Hessinger, Community Manager, adds, “One remarkable benefit of BizSugar is that it is a two-way street. You share AND learn. BizSugar helps highlight the hard work of small business leaders and staff. At the same time, it is a learning tool where one can find important business resources and advice provided by other community members who own or operate small businesses. And there is a good feeling of community and active networking among members of the site. Relationships are built and reinforced everyday on the site.”

Visit BizSugar, click the “Register” tab and join this vivid community of small business leaders and entrepreneurs.

About BizSugar.com:
BizSugar is a free social media resource for small businesses and entrepreneurs. The site assists entrepreneurs and small business leaders in sharing information with other business members, networking and building relationships with one another, and gaining online visibility by establishing thought leadership. BizSugar is owned by Small Business Trends, LLC. BizSugar also has a blog, The BizSugar Blog.

BizSugar updates are published on Twitter @BizSugar and users can connect with BizSugar on Facebook.

About Small Business Trends, LLC:
Small Business Trends LLC is in the business of providing information, news, advice and online community to small businesses and entrepreneurs. The company was founded in 2003 and is based in Ohio. Its flagship website, Small Business Trends, is one of the leading sources of commentary, information and online community touching over 1,500,000 small businesses annually.

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