Resources

SBAM in the news – analysis of the impact on small business of Gov. Snyder’s tax/budget recommendations

  • Small Business Association of Michigan Vice President Communications Michael Rogers tells WLNS-TV6 News that businesses create economic growth and jobs. 
  • “Small Business Association of Michigan official says Snyder's budget 'night and day difference' from Granholm's” – Mlive.com/Bay City Times
  • "He's proposed eliminating double-taxation, which is something we've been working hard on for years," said David Palsrok, vice president of government relations for the Small Business Association of Michigan. – The Detroit News

QR Codes

By John Westra, Director, NuWave Government Solutions. From the Small Business Association of Michigan’s member-only Focus on Small Business magazine.


You’ve probably noticed codes like the one shown here. They are popping up on in-store displays, print media and even Real Estate signs. They are called QR Codes and are a type of 2D scan code/tag. Next to the more familiar 1D barcode, QR codes are the most widely adopted form of scan code being used today. Microsoft has a competing and colorful 2D solution called Microsoft Tags, but very few content publishers have adopted it.


Besides linking to online web content, you can use QR codes for:
  • Contact information that will create a contact record on most phones
  • Email address that will open the smart phones email client and fill in the “To” address
  • Geographic (GIS) information that will allow people to quickly navigate to a destination
  • Almost any other free-form data you want people to have.

As the number of people using smart phones increases, you are going to see more of these QR codes being used. Like any other new technology, the greatest rewards will come to those who find a way to use it to add value, before their competitors!

Ready to get started? Connect to the Internet with your Smart Phone and point your mobile web browser to www.scanlife.com. The website will automatically detect if your phone is supported and you will be prompted to download the ScanLife software.

Listen to or download this week's Business Next radio show!

microphoneBusiness Next is a weekly program that presents tips and advice on how you can be a more profitable and successful small business owner.  Business Next is a production of the Small Business Association of Michigan. Visit the showpage and our Facebook page.

Click here to listen to this week's podcast version of Business Next:

  • An interview with State Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge), sponsor of Senate Bill 20. The bill, which passed the State Senate on Feb. 10, blocks state-mandated ergonomic standards in the workplace.
  • Small Business Association of Michigan Vice President Government Relations David Palsrok with the week’s small business legislative report.
  • Larry Eiler of Eiler Public Relations on small business marketing in the Internet age.
  • Benefits expert Gary Kushner of Kushner and Company on how federal health care reform is scrambling the small business benefits picture.
  • Julie Mann of JMann Consulting Group on the importance of recruiting even if you're not currently hiring.

Praise for Senate passage of repeal of 1099 reporting mandate

The U.S. Senate has approved a measure to repeal the burdensome 1099 reporting mandate included in the health care law. Last year, the Small Business Association of Michigan brought this issue to Michigan U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and reminded her how important repeal is to our members. Sen. Stabenow offered an amendment to the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration, which was the vehicle through which repeal was considered. The vote on the Stabenow amendment was bipartisan with 81 voting in favor and 17 voting against.

The Stabenow amendment repeals Section 9006 of the health care law, passed last year, which expands the requirement to submit 1099 tax filing forms for business expenses to include all transactions that total $600 or more per vendor per year. The provision would impact businesses, family farms, churches, charities and local governments.

Keep in mind that the Senate vote to repeal the 1099 provision is just the first step along the way to getting rid of this small business nightmare. On the House-side, Rep. Dan Lungren’s (R-Calif.) legislation (H.R. 4) would repeal the provision without any financial offset. It already has enough cosponsors to pass the House. The Ways and Means Committee, headed by Michigan Rep. Dave Camp, intends to move 1099 repeal legislation through the committee soon so that it can be sent to the floor and voted upon.

President Obama mentioned repealing the provision during his State of the Union address, saying the requirement that businesses submit to the Internal Revenue Service a report of any transaction adding up to $600 in business in a year would be an "unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses."

While it is not yet time to celebrate, 1099 repeal passing the Senate is a very important first step. As always, the Small Business Association of Michigan will keep you up to speed on this issue as it progresses.

Victory for small business as State Senate votes to prevent onerous ergonomic standards -- on this week's “Business Next” Internet radio show

On this week's Business Next weekly Internet radio program, you can hear an interview with State Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge), sponsor of Senate Bill 20. The bill, which passed the State Senate on Feb. 10, blocks state-mandated ergonomic standards in the workplace.

To listen to the show, go to TalkLansing.net and click on “Listen Now” between 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday.

The University of Michigan is Open for Business

By Daryl Weinert (from the Small Business Association of Michigan’s member-only Focus on Small Business magazine)

Recently, economists from the University of Michigan gave us all a rare piece of good news – Michigan will see positive job growth in 2011 for the first time in over a decade. At the same time, they asserted that challenges remain. One critical challenge is how to connect the state’s universities to the needs of the business community. At the University of Michigan, we’ve created The Business Engagement Center (BEC) – a new mechanism to help companies find solutions to real-world business challenges. 

Essentially, the BEC serves as a “matchmaker,” helping companies navigate the complex structure of the university to find resources for their business. One resource is student projects. When Adaptive Materials – an Ann Arbor-based fuel cell manufacturer – needed help with defining a new commercial market strategy for its fuel cell systems, the BEC matched the company to the Ross School of Business’s Multidisciplinary Action Program. This seven-week program pairs first year MBA students with companies seeking solutions to a variety of business challenges. The team was able to conduct research on the market, compile a list of customer contacts, and assemble a pitch for use in future sales campaigns. Additionally, the team delivered the tools to help company executives evaluate and prioritize new inquiries for other uses for their products.

Another critical resource is talent. Recently, the BEC helped North American Bancard – a Troy-based credit card payment solutions provider- sponsor a ‘Hackathon’ – a 48-hour mobile device application creation contest. Through their sponsorship, the company was able to increase their visibility specifically to a targeted group of students and establish a pipeline program for students to participate in internships and independent study courses. The university has also experimented with several small company programs building on its research strength. EcoMotors, an Allen Park-based developer of clean, efficient and lightweight propulsion systems, participated in the university’s Small Company Innovation Program. This cost-sharing research collaboration allows companies to leverage U-M research expertise by partnering to tackle relevant technical challenges (the university provides matching funds of up to $30,000). The BEC also helps to connect companies with university collaborators in pursuing federal or state research grants such as Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funding.

The university has also launched a small company career fair to expose students to job opportunities at smaller, high growth companies within the state of Michigan. Known as the MPowered Career Fair, nearly 100 organizations attended in 2010. Companies that attend the career fair can also apply for the Small Company Internship Program, which offers university cost sharing to hire students for a 12 week summer internship.

The University of Michigan has never before been so ready for collaboration. With programs designed to unlock the entrepreneurial aspirations of our students, with our Technology Transfer office spinning out companies and commercializing ideas at an increasing pace, and with new interfaces like the Business Engagement Center, U-M is open for business as never before. The BEC is designed to help companies find talent, explore research partnerships, educate professional staff, identify technologies, engage with students, and consult with faculty. Make a date with the Business Engagement Center: www.bec.umich.edu.

Daryl Weinert is Executive Director of the University of Michigan’s Business Engagement Center.

State of UnEmployment! Better Think About Recruiting – Even if You Aren’t Hiring Now!

By Julie Mann, MSIR, SPHR, CCP

While the news focus is on the state of unemployment in Michigan, the state of employment has become a topic of the past. But yet, we know that history repeats itself and that the positive signs of things to come are becoming visible; the tide in Michigan is turning. As this tide turns, while we need to keep a watchful eye on the unemployment rate, critical to business success will be our focus on the state of employment.

Human Capital remains the number one asset in organizations and is a key to success and growth. We need to retain our talent, know how to attract new talent and know how to stay ahead of the talent curve. So, how? Do we simply just try to network more? If our business isn’t hiring right now, do we care? If not hiring, the state of employment doesn’t matter to my business, right? Wrong.

I recently asked a client, “Are you hiring?” They said, “No.” I then asked, “Are you recruiting?” After the client gave me one of those ‘didn’t you hear me’ looks, he responded, “I just said no. What’s your point?” Ah-hah…that’s the conversation!! Building your virtual bench and always recruiting becomes paramount to success. Let’s examine…

According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, there are:
  • 120,208,320 people employed or seeking work
  • 77,555,280 are employed but open or seeking a new job
  • 39,952,72 are employed and not open to a new job

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average lifetime number of employers for a worker has risen from:
  • 4 in the 1960’s to
  • 10.8 in 2006 and
  • 14 is the Gen X prediction

What does this mean to your business? It means that two thirds or 53 percent of employed adults are open to a new job or actively looking for a new job!

In today’s state of employment, we need to “Dig our well before we’re thirsty.” Even if not hiring, we need to constantly be recruiting for the best talent in the marketplace. And with 53 percent of people open to a new job, if they are an “A Player,” then other companies know who they are too and may just be talking to or recruiting them before you.

Therefore, keeping an eye open for talent isn’t something that we should just passively continue to “try” to do; we must actively pursue building our virtual bench. Let’s face it, if you’re waiting until you have a hiring need to try to identify talent, the task becomes that much more challenging. We need to always recruit and keep an eye open for people who you’d like to work with and be talking to them regularly about your business. Even if you can’t/won’t hire them immediately, A Players know A Players and when you are ready to hire, A Players can also recommend A Players and you now have people you think highly of who know about your business. Is this networking? Sure it is, but it is networking with a distinct purpose and not just something we ‘try’ to fit into our “To Do List.”

As the state of employment becomes more robust, networking for talent, virtual bench building, isn’t something successful businesses will just ‘try’ to do. When the outcome is important, we leave “TRY” out of the equation. We don’t “try” to love our kids, right? So, the next time you’re about to say that you’ll “try to do” something, reconsider. If the outcome of the activity is important, like hiring the right people, don’t just try. Like Nike says, “Just do it.” Your business will distinctly benefit from it.

Julie Mann is the CEO & President of both The Rock Star Factory and JMann Consulting Group. The Rock Star Factory is a professional placement firm specializing in matching companies with rock star quality employees, while JMann Consulting Group provides on-call HR Manager services for small & medium sized businesses. Julie can be contacted at 51

Small Business Association of Michigan Names Daniel Mahoney as New Vice President for Membership and Development

Dan MahoneyThe Small Business Association of Michigan announced that Daniel Mahoney has been named the association’s Vice President for Membership and Development. Mahoney will be responsible for the Small Business Association of Michigan’s membership growth and political/corporate development.

Before joining the staff of the Small Business Association of Michigan, Mahoney held senior fundraising positions with former House Speaker Andy Dillon and the Michigan House Democratic Caucus.

“I’m delighted to have someone with Dan’s development experience and expertise join our staff to direct our aggressive growth strategy,” says Rob Fowler, president and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan. “He brings a strong cause-oriented background that will help propel our mission of focusing the power of small business.”

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