Archive for March, 2010
Whether or not you agree with the legislation, the benefits it brings to small business owners and employees is indisputable. Steve Strauss, small business expert and USA Today contributor writes (in this article) that, overall, the bill is good for small business. Just consider the status quo, he says.
• Only 49% of businesses with 3 to 9 employees (the vast majority of small businesses) offered any type of health insurance to their employees in 2008, down from 58% less than a decade ago.
• 29% of employees at businesses with 25 employees or less were uninsured in 2007, and the number is certainly higher today.
Strauss goes on to say that, “the main reason health insurance is so expensive for small business is that there is a narrow pool of people being insured. Bigger companies with more employees are better able to spread the risk, so premiums are lower, and they also have more buying power due to their size.”
What the bill does is allow small businesses and the self-employed to purchase insurance plans through cooperative pools, or exchanges. “By pooling small businesses together,” Strauss writes, “these purchasing cooperatives are expected to offer rates that should be lower because of 1) increased group purchasing power, and 2) bigger pools of insured customers.”
But mandates for small business employers to provide health care coverage is what seems to have most people upset. These mandates, he says, will have little effect on small businesses, and exempt businesses with less than 50 employees. But even those companies are expected to buy in because of incentives like low cost through exchanges and the various tax breaks and credits included in the legislation.
Additionally, these benefits are also expected to lead to a boost in employment at small firms now offering coverage, or where affordable coverage has become available through purchasing pools.
So even if you think health care reform is a pill you just can’t swallow, know that these changes do in fact benefit small business and hopefully you’ll be seeing these changes soon.
What do you think about the bill? Leave a comment.
If you’ve been following the blog the last couple of weeks, you know that we’ve been investigating the concept of applying social media to your marketing efforts as a small business owner or entrepreneur. We’ve focused on the “what” and the “how” of social media, but what’s more interesting is the “why”: what are the effects of using social media that would lead you to create this kind of presence?
Well, we recently came across a study from Mashable that tracks the effects of companies and brands using Facebook and Twitter. They report that “consumers are 67% more likely to buy from the brands they follow on Twitter, and 51% more likely to buy from a brand they follow on Facebook. Moreover, they’re 79% more likely to recommend their Twitter follows to a friend, and 60% more likely to do the same on Facebook.”
The study also indicates thats consumers may have a “negative perception” of a brand that hasn’t tapped in to social media.
See the original post here.
What do you think about these statistics? Leave a comment.
The major social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn) have become household names and major marketing tools for business. However, two factors are often overlooked when a business decides to jump into the social media marketing:
First, there are dozens of social media sites (loosely defined) which can push your marketing message. Once you determine which sites seem to be popular with your target market, you can begin to focus your efforts and even create orchestrated campaigns to “cross market” your messages (aka “advertise your advertising”). Here’s a short list to get you started:
http://www.ezinearticles.com (also, http://www.articlemarketer.com)
Second, after Google acquired YouTube, their search algorithms changed and now give YouTube postings an advantage in Google search results. Therefore, video clips on YouTube will generate a better click-through rate to your website and your message than most other efforts at SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
And finally, what most marketers miss—even those who successfully use online marketing such as Social Media sites—is the Conversion Rate. That’s the ability to capture visitors to your site, turning click through visitors into bona fide leads, newsletter subscribers, etc.
Today, WBC Executive Director Melinda Rath Sanderson is in Albany, participating in a Public Hearing held by the New York State Senate MWBE Task Force, New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, and the Assembly Sub-Committee on Oversight of MWBEs. At the hearing, which aims to reform Article 15-A, Melinda will be testifying about our experience at the Women’s Business Center with MWBE goals, current participation, and state agency practices.
You may have seen that we recently held a webinar series with William Lobbins of the Erie County Equal Opportunity Division and Gerald McDuffie from Empire State Development about MWBE (Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise) certification and government contracting. So we definitely realize a need for these kinds of opportunities for women and minority business owners, as well as the need to make small business owners aware of these kinds of opportunities.
The NYS Senate Task Force has similarly acknowledged that minority and woman business enterprises have “historically experience difficulty in obtaining access to capital” and now, in the midst of a global credit crisis, these issues need to be addressed with stronger legislation and more accessible procurement opportunities.
What do you think? Leave a comment.
Here in Buffalo, the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women and the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library are presenting a whole month of events. See the full line up here (adobe pdf).
If you’re on Twitter, I recommend following @womenable, published by Julie Weeks. She has a great series of “You Go Girls” posts in honor of Women’s History Month. She tweeted this great article yesterday about the diversity of women entrepreneurs, “The Power Girls.” Check it out here.
Are you doing anything to celebrate this month? If you’re local, do you plan on attending any of the special events?