Monday, December 01, 2008

Verbatim: Georgia's Martin-Chambliss Runoff Election Campaign Tops Week's Features

Every week, GoodBiz113 features influencers who are propelling the interests of small-business owners, entrepreneurs, consultants, self-employed folks, artists, etc.

* "Georgia voters are being hit with misleading ads from both sides as Republican Sen. Chambliss battles Democratic challenger Jim Martin [pictured] in a Dec. 2 runoff election... In one ad, Chambliss tells viewers that Martin 'wants to help Barack Obama raise taxes on nearly every small business in Georgia.' Not so. What Obama has proposed would affect only the most affluent 2.4 percent of small-business owners, or less." --, a project of the University of Pennsylvania's Public Policy Center ["Peach State Piffle," Newsweek, 11/21/2008]

* "You want businesses to focus on running their business. You don't want them to devote any brain cells to focusing on the tax code." -- Tim Kane, an economist and a senior fellow at the Kauffman Foundation ["Is a Small-Business Tax Cut Coming?" U.S. News & World Report, 11/24/2008]

* “The frozen lending market has left small businesses in the cold as we face the holiday rush... I'm glad the Secretary has taken our warnings seriously and taken this step forward. It should provide some needed relief at a critical time. We hope small businesses will continue to get the help they deserve as further steps are taken to repair our ailing economy.” -- Sen. John Kerry [D-Mass.], chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, on Nov. 25, after U.S. Treasury Department officials announced their plan to infuse $20 billion into the secondary market through loans to asset managers -- a middle-of-the-road approach that will help to inject some liquidity into the market, and should make it easier for entrepreneurs to gain access to credit as they look to stock up on holiday supplies and services. One week prior to the announcement, Kerry had collaborated with Sens. Olympia Snowe [R-Maine] and Charles Schumer [D-N.Y.] to urge Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to channel a portion of the $700 billion rescue package [AKA Wall Street bailout] to be used to purchase government-backed small-business loans through the Troubled Assets Relief Program [TARP].

* "We'll be looking for long-term sustainable solutions... I think everyone who knows me knows I'm a different kind of Democrat. I'm an Alaskan... I support drilling. Alaskans are libertarians, we are independent. We like to have our individual rights and freedoms but also recognize we are a resource state." -- Mark Begich, who defeated longtime Sen. Ted Stevens on Nov. 4, and has his sights on assignments on the U.S. Senate Appropriations, Finance, Commerce and/or Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committees. ["Begich Takes U.S. Senate," Homer Tribune, 11/26/2008]

* “We all know the economy is in deep trouble... I believe the best response is to create jobs on Main Street and provide the middle class with significant relief, while also building a solid foundation for long-term prosperity... President-elect Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan should be especially good for Minnesota, with his focus on infrastructure and renewable energy. I want to go back to Washington and advocate for this recovery plan, based on what we’re already doing in Minnesota and what more needs to be done.” -- Sen. Amy Klobuchar [D-Minn.], before embarking today [Dec. 1] on her weeklong, 17-city Main Street Jobs Tour of businesses throughout Minnesota, to focus on opportunities for job creation with infrastructure and renewable-energy projects

GoodBiz113's take: America's small businesses would be so much better off if all of our senators and representatives in Congress followed Sen. Amy Klobuchar's example; i.e., actually getting out to meet and talk with us about business funding, affordable health insurance, taxes, etc. Given his small-biz-friendly stance on such issues, Jim Martin impresses us one who would do just that. Hopefully, during tomorrow's runoff election, Georgia voters will elect Martin to the U.S. Senate.

SOURCES:, Homer Tribune, Newsweek,, U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. News & World Report, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Verbatim: 2008 Candidates Champion Small Business

Every week, GoodBiz113 features influencers who are propelling the interests of small-business owners, entrepreneurs, consultants, self-employed folks, artists, etc. Following, are comments made by some of the nation's leading politicos on the 2008 campaign trail.

* "Medicare is one of the great policy success stories in modern American history. We have a health care cost problem, not a Medicare problem. The problem that Medicare faces is the same problem that every family and small business in America knows all too well, and that is that health care costs are rising dramatically. Private premiums are up 78 percent during the Bush administration. There is no question that tackling spiraling health costs is a top priority for families, business and government. We absolutely must get a handle on our health spending to preserve American competitiveness. We also need to strengthen Medicare to allow people ages 55 to 64 to buy into it. And a prescription drug benefit." -- U.S. Senate challenger Kay Hagan [D-North Carolina, pictured], in response to a News & Observer [Raleigh, N.C.] reader question about Medicare Part D

* "I know we're not running against George W. Bush, but we are, in fact, running against the very Bush economic policies that John McCain wants to continue and is promising to continue... Policies that call for more taxes for companies that send jobs overseas, while providing no relief for a 100 million middle-class families. Policies that call for taxing your heath care benefits as if they're income. Policies that call for another four billion dollars in tax cuts for the Exxon Mobil's in the world, as if they need it." -- Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden, addressing a crowd in Marion County, Fla., last week [reported by The Bulletin: Philadelphia's Family Newspaper]

* "Washington sprung into immediate action when Wall Street was in trouble, but there's been no help for struggling homeowners on Main Street and no solutions for middle-class families and small businesses hurt by the failed economic policies of the last eight years... And now we find that the $700 billion bailout is being used not to solve the problem, but to hand-pick winners and losers on Wall Street. That's an outrage. Taxpayer dollars should be helping taxpayers, not going to pad the bottom lines of the Wall Street bankers whose bad bets got us into this mess. This is exactly why we should never have passed this bill without proper accountability. And it's time for Congress to take action." -- Minnesota DFL U.S. Senate challenger Al Franken [reported by GoodBiz113 on Oct. 29, 2008]

* "We're going to help small businesses. We're going to help the middle class. We're going to get health care under control. We're going to get government spending under control, because it's time for a change." -- U.S. Senate challenger Bruce Lunsford [D-Kentucky], before a crowd of supporters in Bowling Green [WBKO, on Oct. 24, 2008]

* "As voters head to the polls just two days from now, the stakes for New Hampshire couldn't be higher. We have the chance to turn the page on a failed economic agenda and instead stand up for small businesses and middle-class families again. In the last month, the need for a new economic direction has grown even more urgent. Families who were already struggling to pay for everything from gas to groceries now tell me they're worried about whether they will be able to retire or send their kids to college. And business owners are worried about whether they will be able to buy inventory or make payroll. Now, more than ever, we need meaningful change in Washington. And to do that, we need a new senator with the experience and the will to tackle the challenges we face..." -- Democratic U.S. Senate challenger Jeanne Shaheen, in an editoral she wrote for New Hampshire's Union Leader, Nov. 2, 2008]

* “The last eight years have proven that the philosophy of the Republican Party and how they managed this economy has been wrong. Eight years of believing in an economy based from the top down. [It] doesn’t work. We’ve got a terrible economic crisis in this country, but we’re going to fix it.” -- Democratic U.S. Senate challenger Jim Martin, during a campaign stop in rural Danville, Ga. [Chattanooga Times Free Press on Oct. 30, 2008]

* "Don't lose hope. The country is going to turn the page and we're going to get a fresh start." -- Democratic U.S. Senate challenger Mark Warner, to 200 employees at Geico Insurance in the Corporate Landing office park, in Virginia Beach, Va. [The Virginian-Pilot, on Oct. 30, 2008]

* "...After decades of broken politics in Washington, eight years of failed policies from George Bush, and twenty-one months of a campaign that has taken us from the rocky coast of Maine to the sunshine of California, we are one day away from change in America. Tomorrow, you can turn the page on policies that have put the greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street before the hard work and sacrifice of folks on Main Street. Tomorrow, you can choose policies that invest in our middle-class, create new jobs, and grow this economy so that everyone has a chance to succeed; from the CEO to the secretary and the janitor; from the factory owner to the men and women who work on its floor. Tomorrow, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election; that tries to pit region against region, city against town, Republican against Democrat; that asks us to fear at a time when we need hope. Tomorrow, at this defining moment in history, you can give this country the change we need." -- Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, addressing supporters yesterday in Jacksonville, Fla.

GoodBiz113's take: Small business needs advocates and, as reflected here, we have a strong number of them running for election. These fine candidates deserve our support tomorrow, so get out and vote! Then, after the ballot-counting dust settles, the returns are in, and the pundits have finally retreated -- till Jan. 20, 2009, anyway [Inauguration Day] -- take a good look at Barack Obama and Joe Biden's Plan for Small Business. It's the consummate, win-win-win playbook for growing America's small businesses.

SOURCES: News & Observer, The Bulletin: Philadelphia's Family Newspaper, Al Franken for Senate, WBKO, Union Leader, Chattanooga Times Free Press, The Virginian-Pilot, Obama for America

Not sure where your polling place is? At, you can find out exactly where to vote and get crucial voting information.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Facing Campaign Financing Fraud Charges, Sen. Norm Coleman Tries to Smear Minnesota DFL Challenger Al Franken

This week, a Republican businessman in Texas by the name of Paul McKim filed a lawsuit this week against Nasser Kazeminy. Kazeminy is one of Sen. Norm Coleman's biggest donors and closest friends. In fact, he's the same man who flew Coleman on his private jet to vacations in the Bahamas and Paris.

Only a small portion of the lawsuit has anything to do with Norm Coleman -- but the part that does is incredibly serious. McKim's sworn affidavit, since corroborated by a second lawsuit, describes an effort to funnel $75,000 to Sen. Coleman's wife.

So, are the allegations true? That's yet to be determined. Still, no one at the Al Franken for U.S. Senate campaign reportedly knew a thing about this lawsuit, and had never even heard of this company or Paul McKim, until they read about it in the newspaper.

Then came yesterday. Instead of answering these very serious allegations, Norm Coleman released a TV ad, blaming DFL challenger Al Franken for the lawsuit. It shows Coleman, seated on a couch next to his wife, Laurie, as he looks directly into the camera and says, "This time, Al Franken's crossed the line... I'm fair game for his ugly smears. My wife and family are not."

"It's his most dishonest ad of the year," wrote Andy Barr, Al Franken for U.S. Senate's communications director, to campaign supporters today. "That ad is up on TV right now. And it's a despicable lie. Franken had nothing to do with this lawsuit. Norm Coleman, faced with sworn allegations of a conspiracy to funnel him improper payments, is trying to deflect blame by lying about Al Franken in a TV ad."

According to the Star Tribune, Coleman called this an "11th-hour attack" on his re-election campaign. The Star Tribune also reported that, "within an hour [of the ad's airing], Franken abruptly canceled an appearance at a campaign rally in Minneapolis to hustle over to a DFL Party news conference, where he denied the accusations and called Coleman's remarks 'insulting to voters.'"

There, Franken looked directly into the camera and flat-out discredited the notion of any wrongdoing. "Senator Coleman looks the people of Minnesota in the eye and lies," he said. "I'm being blamed for crossing a line and I didn't do a thing. And our campaign didn't do a thing."

"It has been a long campaign, and a tough one," noted Barr. "Norm Coleman has sunk to historic depths to smear Al Franken and make this election about something -- anything other than his own record and the issues that affect the people of Minnesota."

DSCC Issues Memo: "It's Time for Norm to Go"
These lawsuits come within days of a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee memo, rhetorically asking, "Does Norm Coleman deserve to be re-elected?"

It goes on to highlight a handful of compelling numbers reflecting Coleman's service as Minnesota's senior U.S. Senator in the seat once held by the late Paul Wellstone:
* 52 free trips paid for by special interests
* Over $600,000 from big oil and drug companies
* Living almost rent-free in the $1,000,000 home of a Washington insider
* Ranked the 4th most corrupt senator in Washington
* Coleman voted nearly 90% of the time with George Bush -- together, running up a $10 trillion national debt

The DSCC memo cites dozens of credible sources -- including specific votes that Coleman has cast -- and then concludes, "It’s time for Norm to go."

GoodBiz113's take: We agree: It is time for Norm Coleman to go. After all he's done for George W. Bush, big corporations and myriad special interests, he should be able to land at least one or two consulting and/or lobbying gigs. Now, it's time for small businesses, entrepreneurs, farmers, etc., in Minnesota and across the nation to have real champions in the U.S. Senate. Al Franken will aptly fill Paul Wellstone's seat with integrity, vision, ingenuity, compassion and, very likely, some terrific post-Bush era humor, too.

SOURCES: Al Franken for U.S. Senate, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Star Tribune

Not sure where your polling place is? At, you can find out exactly where to vote and get crucial voting information.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Franken Demands Immediate Congressional Hearings re Banks' Abuse of $700 Billion Bailout

Minnesota DFL candidate Al Franken -- the only U.S. Senate candidate who opposed the $700 billion Wall Street bailout -- today called for immediate hearings in light of reports indicating that banks may not be using those funds to unfreeze credit markets but, rather, for other purposes -- with the encouragement of the Treasury Department.

"Washington sprung into immediate action when Wall Street was in trouble, but there's been no help for struggling homeowners on Main Street and no solutions for middle-class families and small businesses hurt by the failed economic policies of the last eight years," said Franken. "And now we find that the $700 billion bailout is being used not to solve the problem, but to handpick winners and losers on Wall Street. That's an outrage.

"Taxpayer dollars should be helping taxpayers, not going to pad the bottom lines of the Wall Street bankers whose bad bets got us into this mess. This is exactly why we should never have passed this bill without proper accountability. And it's time for Congress to take action."

Earlier this month, the Bush administration announced that it would use bailout funds to inject capital directly into banks. They claimed that this would allow credit to start flowing again as banks lent that money to other entities. But recent reports indicate that, instead, the banks receiving these funds are using them to buy up other, smaller banks. And the Treasury Department, according to a column by New York Times financial columnist Joe Nocera, is encouraging the practice.

Meanwhile, Wall Street financial institutions like Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch continue to pay out billions in bonuses, despite receiving bailout funds.

This morning, during his statewide "For The Middle Class, For A Change" bus tour, Franken stopped at Bouquets by Carolyn, a small business located in St. Paul, Minn. There, he called for:
* Immediate hearings into potential abuses of the $700 billion bailout by Wall Street banks
* Straight answers from the Bush administration on its real plans for these taxpayer dollars
* An administration guarantee that banks receiving bailout funds will use them to lend
* A revocation of U.S. Treasury Department Secretary Henry Paulson's authority to implement the bailout if he cannot explain how his plan is serving taxpayers

In an editorial today, the New York Times wrote, "Shortly after the bailout was enacted, The Times's Mark Landler reported that Treasury officials also wanted to steer the bailout billions to banks that would use the money to buy up other banks. Now, lo and behold, with $250 billion in bailout funds committed to dozens of large and regional banks, it turns out that many of the recipients of this investment from taxpayers are not all that interested in making loans. And it appears that Mr. Paulson is not so bothered by their reluctance."

Case in point: Merrill Lynch. Two days ago, Bloomberg reported that, while Merrill Lynch is laying off employees, the financial institution is paying out billions in bonuses. According to Bloomberg, "Five straight quarters of losses and a 70 percent slide in its stock this year haven't stopped Merrill Lynch & Co. from allocating about $6.7 billion to pay bonuses ... The money Merrill has set aside for bonuses equates to an average $110,000 for each of its 60,900 people, up from $108,000 a year ago because more than 3,000 jobs have been cut."

Apparently, Merrill Lynch isn't the only bailout recipient that's utilizing taxpayer funds to reward its employees. Bloomberg also reported that Morgan Stanley and Lehman are both setting aside billions for bonus payments. According to Bloomberg, "Even some employees at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., which declared the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history last month, will get the same bonus they received a year ago ... Morgan Stanley, the second-biggest securities firm until it also converted to a bank, has $6.44 billion for bonuses, or $138,700 per person, down 20 percent from last year."

GoodBiz113's take: Al Franken is right: Congressional oversight is needed, post-haste, to hold the Wall Street bailout recipients accountable for seeing that taxpayer funds are used to help fuel America's economy [e.g., small businesses, homeowners, working families], as intended -- not to lavishly reward their own fat-cat executives and employees.

SOURCES: Al Franken for U.S. Senate, Bloomberg, New York Times

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Kerry Honors Women Entrepreneurs on Anniversary of Women's Business Ownership Act

Twenty years after important women’s business legislation was signed into law, Sen. John Kerry [D-Mass.], chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, recognized the progress women entrepreneurs have made in developing innovative and prosperous small businesses. The Women’s Business Ownership Act [H.R. 5050] -- the first comprehensive small-business legislation aimed to help women entrepreneurs succeed -- marked its official anniversary on Saturday.

“As the fastest-growing segment of the nation’s business community, employing more than 7 million workers and pumping over $1 trillion into the economy, women entrepreneurs are vital to the growth of this nation,” said Kerry. “Despite the immense progress made in the last 20 years, women still face hurdles.”

One of the biggest challenges still facing women business owners is gaining equal access to government contracts. While women-owned firms account for 30 percent of all small businesses, they receive less than 3.5 percent of federal contracts -- far short of the five percent goal.

To help women compete for federal contracts, Congress passed the Equity Contracting for Women Act of 2000 [H.R. 4897], a set-aside program to provide federal contracting assistance to small-business concerns owned and controlled by women. In September, the Small Business Administration [SBA] finalized a rule for the program that seriously undermines women’s ability to compete for contracts, because of the narrow definition they applied to the program -- labeling just 31 of 140 industries studied as underrepresented.

Women entrepreneurs have lost more than $6 billion in potential revenue over the last eight years because of a lack of access to contracts. Kerry continues to push for a wider, more inclusive, definition for the program.

“Eight years ago, when Congress passed this law, our intent was to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs,” Kerry noted. “This ruling does the opposite, creating more roadblocks for women. Any meaningful change that we could have enacted through this program has now been vastly constrained.”

Kerry has also worked in a bipartisan manner to strengthen the more than 100 Women's Business Centers across the country. Last year, Kerry led passage of an amendment providing permanent funding for established centers, and successfully urged the Administration to implement the new program immediately.

In addition, Kerry pushed SBA to correct management practices, after Inspector General and U.S. Government Accountability Office reports found massive management failures of the Women’s Business Center program. Since the September hearing, management has significantly improved.

“We must do everything in our power to help encourage entrepreneurship in these difficult economic times,” said Kerry. “When run properly, these business centers are valuable resources that help to stimulate innovation, create jobs and boost our economy.”

GoodBiz113's take: Sen. John Kerry, a longtime champion of small businesses, is to be lauded for his diligent efforts -- especially on behalf of women-owned enterprises seeking those elusive federal contracting dollars. Thank you, Sen. Kerry!

SOURCES:, Library of Congress, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

'Jobs, Baby, Jobs': Al Franken Wins Fourth Debate by Focusing on Minnesota's Middle Class, Small Businesses; Kicks off GOTV Bus Tour

By all accounts, Al Franken won his fourth consecutive U.S. Senate debate last night -- not by yelling the loudest or throwing the most elbows at his opponents, but by focusing on his middle-class economic agenda.

"Al Franken is proving that you don't need to be a career politician to win debates if you're the candidate of change in an election that's all about change," said Andy Barr, Al Franken for U.S. Senate communications director, just after the debate ended.

"Tonight, Minnesota voters saw that it's Al Franken who will be a strong voice for the middle class," Barr noted. "It doesn't matter how slick his opponents' rhetoric is, or how many elbows come his way. Al Franken won this debate for the same reason he'll win this election: He's the candidate of the middle class, and the candidate of change."

Perhaps in recognition of Al Franken's recent lead in public polls, both Norm Coleman and Dean Barkley frequently attacked Franken. But Franken stayed focused on his core economic message.

"The reason I voted against -- or would have voted against -- the bailout package, is that it didn't really do anything on golden parachutes and bonuses," Franken noted during the dabate. "That's one of the many reasons...

"Look, people are hurting, and we need to get the economy working again. Now my mantra is 'jobs, baby, jobs,' and here are the things that I would do to keep the jobs that we have and create new jobs:

"One, build. Build new bridges and roads and schools... infrastructure. We've always built infrastructure, and it always has a multiplier effect and creates good jobs.

"Secondly, let's address the housing crisis head-on. I agree with Barack Obama: We have to help families -- who, through no fault of their own, are in trouble -- stay in their homes.

"Third, let's stop rewarding companies that are offshoring our jobs, American jobs, overseas. They're getting tax breaks; we should stop that.

"OK, let's get credit into the hands of small businesses. That's fourth.

"Fifth, a green economy. Let's make Minnesota the epicenter of a green economy that can create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

"Finally, [get] tax cuts into the hands of the middle class. The middle class is the engine of our economy. We have to stop tilting all these tax cuts and tax giveaways to the special interests."

"For The Middle Class, For A Change"
This morning, Al Franken kicked off his "For The Middle Class, For A Change" get-out-the-vote bus tour at a DFL get-out-the-vote rally in St. Paul. The rally launched a statewide barnstorm of Minnesota for the last 10 days of the campaign.

Franken called for fundamental change in Washington, detailed a bold economic agenda for Minnesota's middle class, and urged supporters to take action as part of the DFL's grassroots GOTV campaign. The unprecedented campaign will involve 77,000 volunteers making 1.5 million phone calls and 2.8 million door-knocks before Election Day.

"Folks are frustrated, they're anxious, and, frankly, they're outraged -- and they have a right to be all three," Franken declared. "Washington just isn't working for Minnesota's middle-class families. And if we want change, we're going to have to work for it.

"I want to go to Washington and work with President Barack Obama and Sen. Amy Klobuchar to stand up for Minnesota's middle-class families. And I'm calling on everyone who's ready for change to stand with me in this campaign."

Al Franken also detailed his plan for rebuilding the middle-class economy:

* Bring back oversight on Wall Street and address the housing crisis
* Cut taxes for middle-class families
* Make health care and college more affordable
* Protect Social Security
* End giveaways to special interests, like big drug and oil companies
* Repeal tax breaks for companies that ship American jobs overseas
* Create jobs by investing in infrastructure and renewable energy
* Make credit available to small businesses

Today, Franken headed to St. Paul, Albert Lea, Austin and St. Peter; Vice President Walter Mondale joined Franken in Austin and Albert Lea. Tomorrow, Franken will campaign with Congressman Keith Ellison in St. Paul and Minneapolis.

On Monday, Franken will visit St. Cloud, Morris, Crookston, Climax, Moorhead, Brainerd and Bemidji. Congressman Collin Peterson will join Franken for several events throughout the 7th Congressional District.

GoodBiz113's take: It's no wonder that Al Franken carried the day with his strong, clear and focused economic agenda for Minnesota's middle-class families and households, and small businesses. Franken truly is the candidate of change for Minnesotans, and all Americans will benefit from his win-win-win vision and service in the U.S. Senate.

SOURCES: Al Franken for U.S. Senate, Twin Cities Public Television

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kerry Responds to Bush Administration's Failure to Meet Its Small-Business Contracting Goals

Sen. John Kerry [D-Mass.], chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, released the following statement regarding the Bush Administration’s failure to meet its small-business contracting goal. This comes after yesterday's release of the Small Business Administration’s [SBA] annual contracting Scorecard, which shows that just 17 of 24 federal agencies met their 2007 small-business contracting goal:

"For the second year in a row, the Bush Administration has short-changed America's small businesses. But the fact that the government missed its contracting goal isn't even the worst of it. Like the administration itself, the numbers just can't be trusted. They don't count the millions of small-business contracts that have slipped through the cracks and gone to corporate giants.

"Eight years of budget cuts and lax oversight show that the Bush Administration thinks small equals less important. Given the impact entrepreneurs have on our economy, we need leadership that is more aggressive in giving small businesses the chance to succeed in the federal contracting arena."

SBA’s Scorecard builds on a series of significant initiatives the agency began two years ago to improve small-business access to federal contracts. SBA, along with the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, ordered the federal contracting database to be scrubbed, removing many cases of non-profits, state or local governments, and large companies that were recorded erroneously as small businesses.

The annual Scorecard rated federal agency performance in meeting the overall small-business goal and the component contracting goals for small disadvantaged businesses, small businesses in HUBZones, and small businesses owned by women, and service-disabled veterans.

The following 17 agencies met their small-business contracting goals: the departments of Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Office of Personnel Management, and SBA.

GoodBiz113's take: America's small-business owners, entrepreneurs and self-employed folks are fortunate to have Sen. Kerry advocating on our behalf, to see that we're awarded the contracts that have been set aside for us -- at least 23 percent of all federal contracts, according to Federal Acquisition Regulation [FAR] -- Part 19 standards. Hopefully, the next Administration will be much fairer in spreading the wealth of federal contracting dollars, and all 24 agencies will meet their small-business contracting goals across all components.

SOURCES: U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, U.S. Small Business Administration

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Franken Proposes Bold Economic Solutions for Middle Class, Main Street

DFL U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken today addressed the Humphrey Institute 2008 Candidate Forum at the University of Minnesota. In his remarks, Franken called for bold action to help Minnesota's middle class: cutting taxes on working families; ending giveaways to special interests and companies that outsource; creating jobs by investing in short-term infrastructure projects; and helping small businesses find credit in an uncertain economy.

Franken also reiterated his opposition to the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, describing his concerns with the lack of oversight for the financial-services industry and the failure of Washington to address the housing crisis that sparked the economic downturn.

"We have got to change the way Washington handles the economy," Franken told the audience. "There are too many people there who believe that wealth comes from the top -- that what drives our economy is when a CEO gets a big tax cut and builds, oh, I don't know, a seventh house.

"Well, I guess that does create a few jobs, especially if it's a really fancy house. But I grew up in a middle-class family in St. Louis Park [Minn.]. And I know that it's the middle class that is the engine of prosperity in America. And what drives our economy is when everyone has a good job, and makes a decent wage, and we're building millions of homes.

"So, I believe that if we're going to re-build our economy in the wake of this massive collapse, it's going to start with re-building the middle class. That means stopping the giveaways to the special interests and putting more money in middle-class family budgets. And it means creating and protecting good jobs that offer people a chance to get ahead.

"This bailout was the exclamation point on eight years of economic mismanagement. Now is the time for us to change fundamentally the ways of Washington, so that at least it might, indeed, be the end of the sentence.

"And if we make that change, we'll be alright. We are Americans. We are the country that beat communism and beat fascism, and we can beat this crisis.

"But the people who will get our economy moving again don't work on Wall Street. They work here on Payne Avenue and in every city and town in this country. They own body shops and hair salons, and they sell bicycles and lawnmowers and homemade cookies. And, you know what? They need help. They need it now. And it's time Washington got to work."

Al Franken believes that we need fundamental change from the policies that have put our economic security at risk. But the best way to emerge from the current economic downturn is by creating and protecting middle-class jobs here in Minnesota.

A Lifeline for Minnesota Small Businesses
Minnesota's small businesses -- which create four out of every five jobs in our state -- are paying the price for the mess on Wall Street. They are finding it harder and harder to obtain the credit they need to cover start-up costs, expand their operations, or hire new employees. To help them, Al Franken will work to unfreeze the credit market.

* Expand the Small Business Administration's Loan Guaranty Program by $1 billion, and make another $4 billion available for direct loans to small businesses.

* Simplify the loan approval process and eliminate fees for lenders and borrowers, and expand the network of lenders to increase liquidity and help small businesses get better loan rates.

Create Jobs by Investing in Infrastructure
According to the Department of Transportation, each $1 billion invested in transportation development creates over 47,500 jobs and over $1.3 billion in worker income -- and up to $6 billion in additional gross domestic product. Right now, there are projects ready to be started -- and Minnesotans ready to do this important work.

* Create nearly 150,000 jobs by investing $2 billion to pay for deferred infrastructure repair projects, and another $1 billion for capital costs of facilities and equipment needed to improve multi-modal transportation options like the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative.

An Apollo Program to Create Green Jobs
Our energy crisis could be a huge opportunity for Minnesota. With an Apollo program for renewable energy and energy efficiency, we can end our dependence on foreign oil, make our nation more secure, improve our environment -- and create "green" jobs by making Minnesota the epicenter and the engine of a new energy economy.

* Invest in research and development into new and existing renewable energy technologies: wind, solar, biofuels, carbon sequestration, and more.

* Support U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar's work to make increased availability and use of rail -- light rail, commuter rail, inter-city passenger rail -- a reality.

* Work with entrepreneurs in Minnesota to support energy-efficient technologies, such as windows and other "green building" initiatives.

End Tax Breaks for Companies That Ship Jobs Overseas
We've lost over 600,000 jobs in America just this year. Now, Minnesota's unemployment rate is the highest it's been in 22 years -- with 170,000 people unable to find work. Part of the problem is that we've seen our tax code changed to encourage companies to ship American jobs overseas. Al Franken will work to reverse that.

* Strip companies of the nearly $40 billion in tax breaks they received to ship American jobs overseas, and use that money to promote domestic manufacturing.

* Support worker re-training programs that help those whose jobs have been lost.

GoodBiz113's take: Al Franken's proposed solutions are bold -- and very much needed in order to help get small businesses, and our nation, moving again. Kudos to Al Franken for having the vision and guts to conceive and articulate such a far-reaching strategy.

SOURCE: Al Franken for U.S. Senate, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Small Business Administration

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kerry Urges President Bush to Help America’s Small Businesses

In a letter to President Bush yesterday, Sen. John Kerry [D-Mass.], chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, pleaded for action to help save America’s entrepreneurs. With private banks shutting their doors to struggling business owners, many are turning to the Small Business Administration [SBA] for help, but they’re finding little assistance.

“Since last November, I’ve urged this Administration to prepare for the looming credit crunch,” said Kerry. “In letters and hearings, members of the Committee asked the SBA to step up to help small businesses. Despite the extraordinary financial crisis, the agency has been of little help to the very people they’re meant to serve.”

In September, Kerry introduced the Small Business Lending Market Stabilization Act of 2008 [S. 3596], which temporarily suspends fees for government loans, and Sen. Barack Obama [D-Ill.] has proposed a similar measure. Kerry has also held two hearings on the credit crisis and sent a previous letter to the SBA, urging them to work in a bipartisan manner to help solve the crisis. The SBA has ignored Kerry’s repeated warnings and calls for action.

Kerry’s letter comes as new data shows that lending for the SBA’s largest loan program – the 7[a] lending program, which is the nation’s largest source of long-term small business capital – has fallen by nearly 50 percent, compared with the same period last year. The SBA’s fees for these loan programs, along with banks' rising cost of funds, have made SBA loans out of reach for many entrepreneurs. Small-business owners are having an increasingly difficult time maintaining their businesses, as other sources of credit -- such as credit cards and home equity loans -- are drying up as well.

In addition to temporarily reducing fees, Kerry noted that the Administration could make disaster loans available nationwide, to serve as bridge loans until the rescue package takes effect. A similar approach was used after 9/11 and proved to be helpful.

Among further changes to help stabilize lending in the 7[a] program: allowing weighted average coupons to sell SBA loans on the secondary market; adopting a different rate index, to get the best rate for borrowers and to make the program compatible with other rate standards; and temporarily adjusting the rate cap for the loans, which will make the 7[a] program more efficient and cost-effective and restart the flow of capital to small businesses. Congress is pushing for such changes, but the SBA has the immediate authority to revise the program.

“The Administration should take immediate action to jump-start small-business lending,” said Kerry. “Waiting for a larger bailout of banks isn’t an option for many firms in desperate need of capital. My hope is that the President will see the urgency of this matter, to push the SBA to work with us to save hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs.”

GoodBiz113's take: Last April, when President Bush helped kick off National Small Business Week, he told the audience of small-business owners and stakeholders, "The truth of the matter is, every day ought to be Small Business Day in America... Small businesses create over two-thirds of all new jobs in America. And if you want your economy to grow, and if you want the country to be hopeful, it seems like you ought to be celebrating the talent and the energy of our small business owners -- daily." Indeed, Mr. President. Now, how about heeding Sen. Kerry's call for bipartisan action to bolster our entrepreneurial endeavors with the financial resources needed today, so that we can continue to fuel America's economy for all -- Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike?

To read the letter that Sen. Kerry sent to President Bush, please click here.

SOURCES:, Obama for America, Peace Corps Online [photo], U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship,,

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Franken Campaign Releases Two New Ads Focusing on the Economy, Middle-Class Families and Small Businesses

Just one day after Minnesota's U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken unveiled his proposal to unfreeze credit and help small businesses create jobs, his campaign released two new television spots highlighting Franken's strong message on middle-class economic issues and supporting small businesses. The ads -- "Get to Work" and "Honest Differences" -- began airing this morning and will run statewide.

"The election comes down to a simple choice," said Andy Barr, communications director of the Al Franken for Senate campaign. "Norm Coleman chose Bush economics over Minnesota's middle class. And, now, Minnesotans have a chance to choose a new direction. In these ads, Al Franken lays out his plans to help the middle class: Cut taxes for middle-class families, create jobs, bring real oversight to Wall Street, and work to put our economy back on track."

SCRIPT: "Get To Work"
Al Franken: It's such a tough time. People's life savings are literally slipping away. We have got to change the disastrous policies of the Bush administration. I don't have all the answers – but here's where we start. Let's stop the billions of dollars in giveaways to big oil and drug companies. Bring real oversight to Wall Street. Work to make college affordable. And fix the economy to help the middle class. I'm Al Franken. I approve this message. Because it's time to get to work.

SCRIPT: "Honest Differences"
Announcer: Honest differences on the issues that matter to your family. The economy: Al Franken supports tax breaks for the middle class. A five thousand-dollar tax credit to help families pay for college. Stop giveaways to the special interests. Norm Coleman? He supported George Bush's economic plan all the way, voting for budgets that have left us ten trillion dollars in debt. It's Al Franken who will stand up for the middle class. For a change.

Al Franken: I'm Al Franken, and I approve this message.

GoodBiz113's take: During this election year, while far too many candidates have stooped to unleashing petty, baseless and mean-spirited attacks on their opponents, it's refreshing to see and hear specific, pragmatic and forthright proposals -- especially those that pertain directly to economy-propelling small businesses.

SOURCE: Al Franken for U.S. Senate
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Joined by Sen. Dorgan, Franken Proposes New Lifeline for Minnesota Small Businesses

Joined by Sen. Byron Dorgan [D - N.D.] and two local small-business owners, DFL U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken [D-Minn.] today offered a new proposal to unfreeze credit for Minnesota small businesses. His initiative is part of an economic recovery plan designed to create jobs and help Minnesota families in these tough economic times.

Franken unveiled the plan today at a news conference, joined by Dorgan and two local entrepreneurs:

* Mallard Teal is the owner of Payne Ave. Body Shop. A small-business loan enabled him to renovate his storefront and expand his business.

* Mary Leonard is the owner of Chocolat Celeste. She applies for a seasonal loan each year to expand production and hire additional employees for the busy Christmas season -- but this year, has been unable to acquire that capital.

"George Bush and Norm Coleman just don't get it: giveaways to the special interests and tax cuts for millionaire CEOs don't create jobs," Franken declared. "Small businesses create jobs. And, while Washington rushed to bail out huge corporations on Wall Street, we're going to lose jobs here in Minnesota if we don't do something to unfreeze credit for our small businesses. My proposal will ensure that folks like Mallard and Mary can continue to grow their operations and get our economy moving again."

Dorgan wholeheartedly agreed. "Al and I both opposed the bailout because it didn't protect taxpayers by adding in provisions to make sure this type of meltdown would not happen again," he said. "Al Franken is now proposing smart ideas to get this economy moving. We need him in the Senate to help fight for the middle class and stand up to the special interests."

Franken's proposal generates $4 billion for direct loans to small businesses through the Small Business Administration [SBA], and adds another $1 billion to the SBA's loan guaranty programs. It also simplifies the process of obtaining these loans; eliminates associated fees; and expands the network of lenders to increase liquidity and secure better loan rates for small businesses.

The initial $5 billion investment will be repaid by small businesses, resulting in no net cost to taxpayers over time. But Franken called for the $5 billion upfront cost to be paid for, in the short term, by taking it out of the $700 billion earmarked for the bailout package, or by eliminating unwarranted and excess stock-option deductions on executive compensation.

SOURCE: Al Franken for U.S. Senate

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Obama Proposes New Small-Business Rescue Plan

During his final American Jobs Tour stop, in the Appalachian community of Chillicothe, Ohio, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama [D-Ill.] demonstrated steady leadership and introduced a new short-term proposal to address the credit crisis of struggling small businesses.

Sen. Obama’s goal is to put all tools on the table to ensure that necessary steps are taken to help Americans who are scrambling financially. Many small-business owners can’t even make their payroll or finance their holiday inventories. Obama’s proposal is one giant leap toward helping them during this time of financial crisis.

While the financial-market rescue plan [AKA bailout] is designed to unfreeze credit, which will indirectly benefit small businesses, Obama recognizes that small businesses need direct and immediate access to capital now. Yesterday, he called for a Small Business Rescue Plan to help small firms get the loans they need to conduct day-to-day operating expenses, undertake short-term investments, and meet payrolls.

The plan will use tools available through the Small Business Administration [SBA] to aggressively extend credit to struggling firms, while providing tax cuts for small businesses to encourage job creation. With America's 27 million small businesses responsible for more than two-thirds of new job creation, this plan is vital to stemming job losses and turning our economy around.

Barack Obama’s Small Business Rescue Plan includes:

* A Nationwide Emergency Lending Facility for Small Businesses: Just as our nation did in the wake of 9/11, when businesses all around the country were facing economic injury, Obama is calling for the SBA to directly lend to small businesses that cannot access other sources of capital. The facility will be run through the SBA's Disaster Loan Program, which is designed to offer affordable, fixed-rate loans to small firms to meet operating expenses, undertake needed short-term investments, or to refinance debt. Loans should be available with an expedited approval and disbursement process, so that firms can access the credit needed to meet their operating expenses immediately.

* Expanding SBA Guarantees to Encourage Private Lending to Small Businesses: Obama is calling for expanding the SBA’s key loan guarantee programs -- 7[a] and 504 -- by temporarily eliminating fees for borrowers and lenders, and increasing the guarantee rate on private loans. These steps will give lenders new incentives to lend and help unlock credit for small firms. It will send a clear signal that the government is standing with small businesses and ensuring sources of loans.

* Temporary Tax Incentives to Encourage Small Businesses to Invest in Jobs: Barack Obama will give small businesses additional incentives to make investments and start creating jobs again by providing temporary business tax incentives through 2009. February's Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 increased maximum Section 179 expenses to $250,000, but this expires in December 2008. This provision will encourage all firms to pursue investment in the coming months, but will benefit small firms in particular, who generally have smaller amounts of annual property purchases and so choose to expense the cost of their acquired property.

"If we're going to rebuild this economy from the bottom up, it has to start with our small businesses on Main Street -- not just the big banks on Wall Street," Obama declared at yesterday's American Jobs Tour rally stop in Ohio. "Small businesses employ half of the workers in the private sector in this country, and account for the majority of the job growth. But we also know that a credit crunch has dried up capital and put these jobs at risk. Shops can't finance their inventories, and small firms can't make payroll. It's harder to get an idea off the ground, or to provide health care for your employees. If we don't act, we'll be looking at scaled back operations, shuttered shops, and laid off workers.

"That's why we need a Small Business Rescue Plan, so that we're extending our hand to the shops and restaurants -- the start-ups and small firms that create jobs and make our economy grow. Main Street needs relief and you need it now. We won't grow government; we'll work within the Small Business Administration to keep folks afloat, while providing tax cuts to lift the tide. It's what we did after 9/11, and we were able to get low-cost loans out to tens of thousands of small businesses. That's one of the many steps we can, and should, take to help stop job losses and turn this economy around.

"It starts with a nationwide program to provide affordable, fixed-rate loans to small businesses across the country. We can run this through the SBA's Disaster Loan Program, which provides loans to small-business owners to get the help they need to maintain their inventory and meet their payroll. We'll also make it easier for private lenders to make small-business loans by expanding the SBA's Guaranty Loan Program. By temporarily eliminating fees for borrowers and lenders, we can unlock the credit that small firms need to move forward, pay their workers, and grow their business.

"Just as we make lending more available, we need to relieve the tax burden on small businesses to help create jobs. That's why I've proposed eliminating all capital-gains taxes on investments in small businesses and start-ups. And today, I'm proposing an additional temporary business tax incentive through next year to encourage new investments. Because it's time to protect the jobs we have and to create the jobs of tomorrow by unlocking the drive, and ingenuity, and innovation of the American people. That's what I'll do as president of the United States."

Barack Obama's comprehensive and far-reaching Small Business Rescue Plan marks yet another bold move on behalf of America's small businesses. He and running mate Sen. Joe Biden [D-Del.] have also proposed the following:

* Zero Capital-Gains Rate for Investment in Small Businesses: Barack Obama believes that we need to encourage investment in small businesses to help create jobs and turn our economy around. That’s why he will eliminate all capital-gains taxes on investments made in small and start-up businesses. Unlike John McCain, who wants to give $200 billion in new tax cuts to America’s largest and most profitable businesses, Obama wants to cut taxes for those small businesses that create jobs, but are struggling with restricted access to credit -- alongside skyrocketing health-care and energy costs.

* Tax Cuts for the Vast Majority of Small Businesses: Barack Obama believes that we need to reduce burdens on small-business owners -- many of whom are struggling to succeed in the midst of our economic crisis. Unlike John McCain, Obama has proposed direct tax cuts for small businesses -- including zero capital gains for investments in small businesses, plus a new 50 percent tax credit for businesses that offer health care to their employees on behalf of their employees, and to small businesses with no employees. Obama will provide a $1,000 Making Work Pay middle-class tax credit to 95 percent of workers and their families, which will help individuals with small-business income -- including the country’s more than 20 million self-employed individuals. And, because the Obama plan preserves existing tax rates for families making less than $250,000 a year, nearly 99 percent of small-business owners won’t see any tax increase under the Obama plan.

* New Small-Business Health Tax Credit: Barack Obama will exempt small businesses from any requirement to offer health insurance to their employees or contribute on their behalf. Instead, he will give small businesses new incentives to provide health care with a Small Business Health Tax Credit. The Obama Small Business Health Tax Credit will provide a refundable credit of up to 50 percent on premiums paid by small businesses.

* Investment of $15 Billion a Year in Renewable Sources of Energy: Barack Obama will create five million new, green jobs over the next decade -- jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced; jobs building solar panels and wind turbines and fuel-efficient cars; jobs that will help us end our dependence on oil from Middle East dictators.

* Investing in Our Nation's Infrastructure: Barack Obama will put two million more Americans to work rebuilding our crumbling roads, schools, and bridges -- because it is time to build an American infrastructure for the 21st century. He would also work with the building trades to expand apprenticeship programs, so that young workers can develop their skills.

GoodBiz113's take: Wall Street has gotten its $700 billion bailout. Unfortunately, it'll be awhile before small businesses on Main Street, as well as in America's rural farming areas, benefit from the supposed "trickle-down effect" of that massive cash infusion. Barack Obama and Joe Biden's innovative Small Business Rescue Plan is just what small businesses, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and working families and households need for short- and long-term endeavors, and deserves to be funded and implemented ASAP.

SOURCES: Internal Revenue Service, Obama for America, U.S. Small Business Administration
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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Palo Alto Software Releases New Marketing Plan Pro Powered by Duct Tape Marketing®

As students head back to school, small-business owners are revving up their enterprises. Need help? Good news! GoodBiz113 ad partner Palo Alto Software, in partnership with small-business marketing guru John Jantsch [pictured] of Duct Tape Marketing, just announced the release of its new Marketing Plan Pro powered by Duct Tape Marketing®.

In this latest release of Marketing Plan Pro, Palo Alto Software has taken the award-winning Duct Tape Marketing methodology and embedded it into Marketing Plan Pro. The result: a product that will guide users through the process of creating a powerful marketing action plan that will help them understand how marketing and advertising can help grow their businesses.

Marketing Plan Pro powered by Duct Tape Marketing -- the best way to write a successful marketing plan -- is all-new for 2008. Small businesses often struggle with marketing strategies, and how to put an action plan in place that will actually grow their sales numbers. Marketing Plan Pro will give any business a clear plan to start working from, and get them started on creating a winning marketing strategy in just 30 minutes.

Your First Marketing Plan -- Within 30 Minutes!
Creating a marketing plan doesn't have to take months. In fact, Jantsch recommends starting with the simplest marketing plan outline, and then returning to add detail as implementation of your marketing plan progresses.

Marketing is a system, not an event, and Duct Tape Marketing is a systematic approach to marketing that is as elegantly simple as that sticky and trustworthy roll of duct tape. The Duct Tape Marketing system shows customers how to develop and execute marketing plans that will give businesses life and longevity. Audio introductions narrated by Jantsch are also included for major topics.

This new version of Marketing Plan Pro will help you:
* Build your marketing vision to identify your business goals.
* Focus on action, not words.
* Find your customers.
* Identify your remarkable difference and help figure out how you stack up against your competition.
* Forecast sales and budget expenses.
* Publish your plan securely online.
* Present your plan in style.
* Track your progress.
* Get free books [including a copy of Jantsch's own bestseller, "Duct Tape Marketing"] and more!

“It’s been exciting watching my Duct Tape Marketing system go from blog to book to software,” said Jantsch, creator of Duct Tape Marketing. “Merging my system with Palo Alto Software’s Marketing Plan Pro software will make this methodology available to anyone wanting to see their business succeed. The 30-minute plan will allow anyone to get from plan to action immediately.”

“Working with John Jantsch to bring Marketing Plan Pro powered by Duct Tape Marketing to market has been a great experience for Palo Alto Software,” noted Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto Software. “Our Marketing Plan Pro software still employs the core elements that have always made it a great value — including the step-by-step approach that guides users seamlessly through the process of creating a marketing plan that will be immediately available for use and get results.

“Palo Alto Software’s collaboration with John Jantsch and the Duct Tape Marketing system will be nothing short of remarkable for new and repeat customers, and we are very proud to bring this version to market.”

Learn From the Best in Class
Marketing Plan Pro and Duct Tape Marketing are both widely recognized as the best solutions in their class. Among their accolades:

“If you're going to market with a new product or service, Marketing Plan Pro will deliver all of the professional documents that you need to plan your launch.” -- Entrepreneur Magazine

“Marketing consultant and entrepreneur John Jantsch has earned a large following among small-business owners... He dispenses tips, strategies and tactics to help entrepreneurs expand their businesses.” -- BusinessWeek

Practically speaking, summer's over. Now, focus on growing your business!

Marketing Plan Pro powered by Duct Tape Marketing is available as an instant online download or on CD-ROM [download included] via Palo Alto Software. All Palo Alto Software products come with a no-risk, 60-day, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee.

SOURCES: BusinessWeek, Entrepreneur, Palo Alto Software

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Angie Morgan, Nine-Year Marine Corps Vet and Small-Biz Leader, Helps Kick Off 2008 Democratic National Convention

Today, when the 2008 Democratic National Convention kicks off in Denver, Col., Angie Morgan [pictured] will lead conventioneers in the Pledge of Allegiance. Morgan is a nine-year U.S. Marine Corps veteran who co-founded Fairfax, Va.-based Lead Star LLC, a leadership consulting and development firm, with fellow ex-Marine Courtney Lynch.

A glimpse at the DNC schedule reveals a refreshingly multicultural Who's Who of Democrats who will grace the convention stage during these four days, from Aug. 25-28. Given that some 29 million small businesses are fueling the U.S. economy, it is both fitting and refreshing that small business be prominently represented during this truly democratic event -- subtitled "Americans Gathering to Change the Course of a Nation."

Indeed, it is prudent, thoughtful, pragmatic and compassionate leadership that's required in order to move our nation in a new and better direction, and the folks who assemble in Denver this week are at the core of making that happen. By week's end, a powerful duo -- i.e., Barack Obama and Joe Biden -- will be leading the charge toward achieving a better tomorrow for us all.

Besides co-founding their business, Morgan and Lynch also co-authored the best-selling Leading from the Front: No-Excuse Leadership Tactics for Women. The book tells of the Marine Corps leadership skills that enabled them to succeed in their post-military careers.

Like the Marines, the male-dominated business world requires special navigation techniques for women. This book reveals 10 key practices -- each with its own chapter -- that will help transform readers into respected and efficient leaders.

To track this week's Democratic National Convention coverage, go to PBS's Vote 2008 Election Connection.
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Aug. 31 Marks 2008 Nike+ Human Race, the World’s Largest One-Day Running Event

On Aug. 31, 2008, GoodBiz113 ad partner NIKE Inc. will hold its Nike+ Human Race -- the world’s biggest one-day running event ever -- offering runners across the globe the chance to compete together. The 10k event will span multiple continents and cover 25 cities, including Los Angeles, New York, London, Madrid, Paris, Istanbul, Melbourne, Shanghai, São Paulo and Vancouver. Following races in each city, participants will be treated to an exclusive music concert featuring one of today’s top artists.

Runners everywhere can still join by visiting to “Save A Spot” in their city of choice. Runners outside of the 25 race cities can also still participate and run in their hometown by using Nike+. With Nike+ iPod and Nike+ Sport Band, runners can track their miles and sync.

“The Nike+ Human Race is about inspiring and connecting a million runners worldwide,” said Trevor Edwards, Nike Vice President for Brand and Category Management. “We’re offering runners new ways to compete and race on courses through legendary landmarks, each ending with a headlining musical act. It’s an unprecedented way for us to bring an entirely new running experience to consumers around the globe.”

Each city’s race will start on the same day, with the first race kicking off in Taipei and the last ending in Los Angeles. Race courses take runners by famous landmarks, such as the famed Los Angeles Coliseum, Taipei 101 [the world’s tallest building], Mexico City’s historic center, and the Puerta del Sol in Madrid. Istanbul’s race course will span the city’s famous Bosphorus Bridge, closing it to car traffic to literally allow participants to run from Europe to Asia, and back again.

Pre-race and race day activities will include top Nike athletes such as seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong in Austin, Texas; six-time marathon winner and current New York City Marathon champion Paula Radcliffe in London, England; Beijing gold medal hopeful Craig Mottram, attending in Melbourne, Australia; and Korea’s Yuna Kim, Grand Prix Final gold medalist in Seoul.

“Having just completed the Boston Marathon, I believe that running is one of the greatest expressions of human potential,” Armstrong said. “As a committed runner, I’m proud to be participating in the Nike+ Human Race and encourage runners of all levels to join the global running community through this event.” will be the official destination for the Nike+ Human Race and for all pre-race training needs. Here, runners can learn more about new training gear [e.g., the Nike Zoom Victory+, Nike’s latest performance training shoe featuring Flywire, its lightest and strongest new footwear construction technology], or stay motivated by checking out the latest Nike+ Sport Music offerings. Sport Music offers runners the best in original Training Run and Coaching Mixes, designed specifically for treadmill and road runs.

As part of the Nike+ Human Race, runners will be able to run for a cause to help support and give back to the global community, including the Lance Armstrong Foundation, The UN Refugee Agency, and WWF.

For more information on the Nike+ Human Race and a complete listing of race cities visit

NIKE Inc., based near Beaverton, Oregon, is the world's leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly owned Nike subsidiaries include Converse Inc., which designs, markets and distributes athletic footwear, apparel and accessories; Cole Haan Holdings Incorporated, which designs, markets and distributes luxury shoes, handbags, accessories and coats; Umbro Ltd., a leading United Kingdom-based global football [soccer] brand; and Hurley International LLC, which designs, markets and distributes action sports and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories. For more information, visit


Tune your run. Get connected to your running experience with Nike + iPod!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Congressional Budget Office Report: Billions of Taxpayer Dollars Go to Contractors in 'Unprecedented Level of Dependence on Private Firms' in Iraq

According to a new Congressional Budget Office report, one in every five dollars devoted to Iraq has gone to private contractors, who now have more people in Iraq than the U.S. military does. [The accompanying graphic depicts U.S. government obligations for contracts in the Iraq theater -- in billions of dollars.] The New York Times describes this as "a second, private, whose roles and missions and even casualties among its work force have largely been hidden from public view."

As chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Sen. Norm Coleman failed to hold a single hearing on the waste, fraud, and abuse that sabotaged the reconstruction of Iraq.

"Whenever Norm Coleman is put in charge of Minnesota tax dollars, you can be sure there are corporate special interests getting a big payday," declared Al Franken, Democratic challenger for the U.S. Senate seat that Coleman has held since 2003. "But it's simply unconscionable that he allowed our troops to be put at risk, just so that his cronies could cash in. Instead of being a watchdog, Norm Coleman was a lapdog – and, every day, we learn more about the cost of his inaction."

The New York Times reports: "The United States this year will have spent $100 billion on contractors in Iraq since the invasion in 2003, a milestone that reflects the Bush administration's unprecedented level of dependence on private firms for help in the war, according to a government report to be released Tuesday [Aug. 12, 2008].

"The Pentagon's reliance on outside contractors in Iraq is proportionately far larger than in any previous conflict, and it has fueled charges that this outsourcing has led to overbilling, fraud and shoddy and unsafe work that has endangered and even killed American troops."

A defense contracting expert, Peter Singer, noted, "We have just handed over functions to contractors in a very haphazard way."

And Sen. Byron Dorgan [D-N.D.] said what Al Franken has been saying for years: "It's unfathomable to me that we don't have a bipartisan investigative committee on contracting in Iraq."

This, like so many other Tales from the Oversight-Free Zone, took place while Chairman Coleman, who accepted campaign contributions from Halliburton -- described as "the largest Pentagon contractor in Iraq" -- sat idly by.

Coleman Took $4,000 From Halliburton's PAC
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2001 and 2002, Coleman's U.S. Senate campaign accepted four $1,000 contributions from Halliburton's political action committee. Hmm-m-m...

GoodBiz113's take: As any small-business subcontractor can attest, trying to do business with a federal agency can be challenging -- even to score a five- or six-figure deal. The multimillion- and multibillion-dollar no-bid contracts that the Bush administration has awarded Halliburton, Blackwater and other prime contractors is, point-blank, deplorable. It's time for a changing of the political guard -- in Congress and the White House -- to get our country back on a fiscally accountable, transparent and prosperous track for all.

SOURCES: Center for Responsive Politics, Congressional Budget Office, New York Times

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Franken Frames U.S. Senate Race at Farmfest Debate

As today's three-day 27th Annual Farmfest kicked off at the Gilfillan Estate in Redwood County, Minn., U.S. Senate challenger Al Franken took on incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman [D-Minn.] during their first debate of the general election.

During the course of the debate, Franken effectively framed the race while making his case that Minnesotans need a senator who will stand up for them -- not the myriad special interests with which Coleman has been linked. The upshot: Franken's strong performance demonstrated that he's ready to bring change to Washington as a United States Senator.

"Al Franken kept this debate focused on the issues -- the economy, energy prices, farm policy -- and on Norm Coleman's record of selling out the middle class," said Andy Barr, communications director of the Franken campaign. "That's how Al won the debate, and that's how we'll win this election."

Franken discussed his vision to create new opportunities in Greater Minnesota by supporting our family farmers, revitalizing rural Minnesota, and investing in education, health care, R&D, and infrastructure. Franken believes farming is vital to Minnesota and to the country's well-being. He highlighted the need to strengthen the middle class and change the broken system in Washington.

Franken also effectively used the debate as an opportunity to hold Norm Coleman accountable for his record of backing George W. Bush, putting special interests ahead of Minnesotans, and supporting Big Oil.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Coleman has received more contributions from the oil and gas industry than any other senator in Minnesota history. Coleman has taken at least $244,900 from the oil and gas industry since 2002 -- over $60,000 more than the next senator, Rod Grams.

Coleman Has Supported President Bush Almost 90% of the Time
On June 29, 2008, shortly after interviewing Sen. Coleman, award-winning WCCO-TV reporter and Sunday morning news anchor Esme Murphy spoke on-air with Larry Jacobs, a University of Minnesota professor and esteemed political analyst.

"Let's talk about the campaign ad I mentioned, in which the senator's wife brings up the point that a lot of people think that he is a rubber stamp for the Bush administration," said Murphy. "If you look at the record, definitely for the first four years, he was. I mean, he really did vote with the president. In the past two years, he has clearly distanced himself."

Want proof? Check out CQ Vote Studies, a service provided by Congressional Quarterly's On the site's "Bush Era Scores" chart, one can see that, during his time in office, Norm Coleman has supported President Bush an average of 83% of the time -- including a whopping 98% of the time in 2003, his first year in the Senate.

Rubber stamper? You decide.

GoodBiz113's take: U.S. small businesses fuel nearly 75% of our nation's economy -- and family farmers play no small part in that. Al Franken's common-sense proposals are good for all small businesses -- including farmers -- and for America as a whole.

SOURCES: Al Franken for U.S. Senate, Center for Responsive Politics, Congressional Quarterly, WCCO-TV

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Friday, August 01, 2008

Sens. Kerry, Snowe Press SBA on Energy Efficiency to Ease Crisis

Yesterday, Sens. John F. Kerry [D-Mass.] and Olympia J. Snowe [R-Maine] urged the Small Business Administration to implement several energy initiatives aimed at helping small businesses through the current energy crisis. With rising energy prices topping the list of concerns of small-business owners, the senators requested that the SBA redouble their efforts to implement programs passed as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

“Small businesses are hurting, and the SBA can help alleviate the strain of the current energy crisis,” said Kerry. “Small businesses account for more than half of our fuel consumption, and we should give them the tools to become more energy-efficient -- whether it's loans to purchase renewable energy systems, or effective telecommuting programs. Every drop of oil or kilowatt of electricity saved is more money in a company’s bottom line.”

“With over three quarters of small-business owners reporting an inability to cope with exorbitant energy prices,” Snowe noted, “it is vital that the SBA swiftly implement the provisions that Chairman Kerry and I included in last year’s Energy Independence and Security Act.”

“The SBA has the opportunity and the responsibility to play a leading role in combating climate change and curbing skyrocketing energy prices. I hope that the SBA will fully implement the critical provisions to make loans for energy-efficiency improvements, promote small-business energy audits, and establish a priority for energy-efficiency projects under the Small Business Innovation Research program. With energy prices where they are today, the SBA cannot afford to drag its feet and stand by while the American economy suffers.”

In a July 31st letter, Sens. Kerry and Snowe, chairman and ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, respectively, called on Acting SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza [pictured] to implement a number of initiatives passed as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which became public law 110-140 in December of 2007. Specifically, the bill calls for the SBA to develop and implement programs to do the following:

* Establish an energy clearinghouse program that works with the EPA’s Energy Star program to help educate small businesses on energy efficiency;

* Create a small-business energy-efficiency pilot grant program that would offer grants to Small Businesses Development Centers to conduct energy audits of small businesses and help them reduce their energy consumption;

* Encourage innovation in the field of energy efficiency by requiring federal agencies to give priority to SBIR/STTR program solicitations by small businesses that participate in, or conduct energy efficiency or renewable energy system research and development;

* Allows loans to be made through the SBA’s Express Loan program for the purpose of purchasing a renewable-energy system or financing of energy-efficiency projects;

* Establish a renewable-fuel capital investment company program designed to promote the research, development, production, and marketing of renewable energy resources;

* Initiate the small-business telecommuting pilot program, authorized in the Energy Bill, to provide information regarding telecommuting options to small-business owners and their employees.


Here's the full text of their letter:

July 31, 2008

The Honorable Jovita Carranza
Acting Administrator
U.S. Small Business Administration
409 Third Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20416

Dear Acting Administrator Carranza:

There are nearly 26 million small businesses in this country, representing nearly 26 million business owners that are focused on keeping their doors open and putting food on the table for their families. The National Small Business Association’s recently released 2008 survey of small- and mid-sized business reported that spikes in energy costs have negatively impacted 77 percent of small-business owners.

In response to rising costs, 37 percent of businesses have increased their prices, 33 percent have reduced their business travel, 11 percent have cut their production schedule, and 10 percent have reduced their workforce. It is clear that, along with health-care costs and global competitiveness, energy prices are at the forefront of challenges confronting America’s small businesses.

In fact, according to a 2008 National Federation of Independent Business [NFIB] survey entitled, “Small Business Problems and Priorities,” NFIB members ranked the cost of natural gas, propane, gasoline, diesel and fuel oil as their second-greatest concern -- behind access to affordable health insurance -- with 42 percent of NFIB members surveyed indicating that this problem is “critical.”

As you may know, the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship recently held a hearing to examine the dramatic increase in home heating oil prices. This was the fourth hearing our Committee has held on rising energy prices this Congress. With gas prices in New England averaging over $4.00 per gallon, and heating oil prices approaching $5.00 per gallon, it is clear that we are facing an energy crisis where short and long-term solutions must be put on the front burner.

As Chairman and Ranking Member of this Committee, and as longstanding stewards of the environment, we firmly believe that small businesses should play a leading role in forging a solution to global climate change and rising energy prices. That is why we introduced small-business energy-efficiency legislation that was included as a title in the Energy Independence and Security Act [H.R. 6], which became public law on December 19, 2007. This title will not only help protect the environment by incentivizing small businesses to make a smaller carbon footprint, but will also significantly lower the energy costs for cash-strapped small businesses.

The SBA has had adequate time to review the small-business requirements included in this law and make plans for carrying them out. We request that the SBA provide the Committee a progress report on implementing these vital provisions. Please provide a list of concrete steps SBA has taken to implement these, as well as what specific steps you will take within the near future to complete implementation.

The small-business requirements contained in H.R. 6 include:

* Ensure that the SBA completes its requirements under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 [Sec. 1203]. Within 90 days of enactment, the SBA must complete all of its requirements under the Energy Policy Act, including setting up an Energy Clearinghouse that builds on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program. Has this program been fully implemented? What specific steps, in addition to establishing a website link, has SBA taken to complete these requirements? What furthers steps will SBA take on this matter?

* Create a Small Business Energy Efficiency Pilot Grant Program [Sec. 1203]. This pilot competitive grant program would be administered through the national network of Small Business Development Centers [SBDCs], which would provide energy audits to small businesses to enhance their energy-efficiency practices, as well as providing access to information and resources on energy-efficiency practices, including on-bill financing options. Has this program been fully implemented? Why or why not?

* Encourage Innovation in Energy Efficiency [Sec. 1203]. Federal agencies shall give priority to Small Business Innovation Research [SBIR] and Small Business Technology Transfer [STTR] program solicitations by small businesses that participate in, or conduct energy efficiency or renewable energy system research and development. SBA will issue guidelines to assist federal agencies and departments in determining whether priority has been given. Has SBA issued these guidelines yet? Why or why not?

* Allowing SBA Express Loans for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency [S. 1201: Clean Power Act of 2007]. The bill allows loans under the SBA’s Express Loan program to be made for purpose of purchasing a renewable-energy system, or financing an energy-efficiency project for an existing small business. How many small businesses have taken advantage of this key initiative? How can we increase the amount? How is the SBA conducting outreach of these loans?

* Establishes a Renewable Fuel Capital Investment Company program. The purposes of this Renewable Fuel Capital Investment Company are: 1] to promote the research, development, production and bringing to market of renewable energy sources; 2] establish a venture capital program to address the unmet investment needs of small businesses engaged in the production and distribution of renewable energy sources; and 3] to make grants to the Renewable Fuel Capital Investment Companies. Has this program been implemented? Why or why not? Please provide a detailed update on SBA’s specific actions to implement this program.

* Small Business Telecommuting. The bill instructed SBA to initiate a telecommuting pilot program to provide information regarding telecommuting to employers that are small-business concerns and to encourage such employers to offer telecommuting options to employees. Which regions have been selected, and what was this selection based upon? What steps have been taken thus far to implement the telecommuting program? Have their thus far been any success stories?

These vital provisions are even more necessary at this critical juncture, as there is no doubt that our country’s current rising gas and energy costs are hurting the competitiveness of America’s small businesses. With small businesses accounting for over half of our fuel consumption, this bill puts small businesses in the driver’s seat in the fight for a cleaner, greener future.

Through efforts to increase energy efficiency, small businesses can contribute to America’s energy security, help to combat global warming, and add to their bottom line all at the same time. Please provide the Committee with the information requested above within one month from the date of this letter. We believe that the SBA can play a significant role in assisting small businesses to become more energy-efficient, and implementing the requirements of this law is a crucial example.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or have a member of your staff contact Jeremy Marcus [Senator Kerry] or Alex Hecht [Senator Snowe] on the Senate Small Business Committee at [202] 224-5175.


John F. Kerry

Olympia J. Snowe
Ranking Member

GoodBiz113's take: The innovative initiatives proposed by Sens. Kerry and Snowe, and passed by Congress, promise to deliver far-reaching, win-win-win results for small businesses, the U.S. economy, and the environment. SBA needs to act swiftly to see that these bipartisan initiatives are fully enacted, post-haste, to help small businesses prosper and be good environmental stewards.

SOURCES:, Library of Congress, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

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