Monday, December 27, 2010

Third-Generation Kindle Now Amazon's Best-Selling Product of All Time

This morning, GoodBiz113 ad partner announced that the third-generation Kindle is now the best-selling product in Amazon's history, eclipsing "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [Book 7]." The company also announced that on its peak day, Nov. 29, customers ordered more than 13.7 million items worldwide across all product categories, which marks a record-breaking 158 items per second.

"We're grateful to the millions of customers who have made the all-new Kindle the best-selling product in the history of Amazon -- surpassing Harry Potter 7," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO.

"We're seeing that many of the people who are buying Kindles also own an LCD tablet," Bezos noted. "Customers report using their LCD tablets for games, movies, and web browsing and their Kindles for reading sessions.

"They report preferring Kindle for reading because it weighs less, eliminates battery anxiety with its month-long battery life, and has the advanced paper-like Pearl e-ink display that reduces eye-strain, doesn't interfere with sleep patterns at bedtime, and works outside in direct sunlight -- an important consideration especially for vacation reading.

"Kindle's $139 price point is a key factor. It's low enough that people don't have to choose."

Amazon Worldwide 2010 Holiday Facts
* On Christmas Day, more people turned on new Kindles for the first time, downloaded more Kindle Buy Once, Read Everywhere apps, and purchased more Kindle books than on any other day in history.
* On the peak day this season, Amazon's worldwide fulfillment network shipped over nine million units across all product categories.
* Amazon shipped to 178 countries.
* One of Amazon's most remote shipments contained the "Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue," "Toy Story" DVDs, "Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul," NHL 11, Halo Reach and Call of Duty: Black Ops, and was delivered to the hamlet of Grise Fiord, north of the Arctic Circle in Canada.
* Amazon shipped more than 350,000 units to APO/FPO addresses. 2010 Holiday Facts [ only]
* Kindle [Wi-Fi] and Kindle 3G were the best-selling products on this holiday season.
* "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" was the most purchased Kindle book on Christmas Day.
* "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" was the most gifted Kindle book on Christmas Day.
* Of Amazon's top 500 most popular Kindle books, "The Dork Diaries" saw the greatest gain in popularity on Christmas Day.
* There were millions of Price Checks from Black Friday through the FREE Super-Saver Shipping cut-off date [for delivery before Christmas].
* During the holiday season, the biggest mobile shopping days for iPad, iPhone and Android users was Sunday; however, the biggest mobile shopping day for BlackBerry users was Friday.
* The last One-Day Prime order that was delivered in time for Christmas, was placed on Dec. 23 at 6:48 p.m. PST and shipped to Billerica, Mass., for delivery on Dec. 24. The item was a Nautica Men's NST Chronograph Bracelet Watch.
* The last Local Express Delivery order that was delivered in time for Christmas was placed by a Prime member and went to Woodinville, Wash. It was an Apple Mac Mini that was ordered at 1:41 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and delivered at 8:04 p.m. that evening.
* Amazon customers purchased enough snow/tire chains to outfit the entire population of three of America's top ski cities: Aspen, Breckenridge and Sun Valley.
* For the holiday time period alone, Amazon customers bought enough copies of "Eclipse" for Edward Cullen to watch the movie 1,000 times a year for all 109 years of his life.
* Amazon customers purchased so many pairs of jeans that if you folded each pair and stacked them on top of each other, the height would be the equivalent of Mt. Everest.
* Amazon customers purchased enough Kyjen Hide-a-Squirrels to hide one toy squirrel everyday for the next 100 years.
* Amazon customers purchased more Philips Norelco shavers this holiday season than the average beard hairs on a man's face.'s Hot Holiday Bestsellers [Nov. 14 through Dec. 19, based on units ordered]
* Electronics: Kindle [Wi-Fi]; Kindle 3G; and Apple iPod touch 8GB
* Toys: Scrabble Flash Cubes; Qwirkle Board Game; and LEGO Ultimate Building Set
* Video Games and Hardware: Call of Duty: Black Ops; Just Dance 2; and Donkey Kong Country Returns
* Sports & Outdoors: Zumba Fitness Total Body Transformation System DVD Set; Razor A Kick Scooter; and Power Balance Silicone Wristband
* Movies: "Inception"; "The Blind Side"; and "Toy Story 3"
* Kindle Books: "The Confession: A Novel" by John Grisham; "Decision Points" by George Bush; and "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand
* Amazon MP3: "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" by Kanye West; "The 99 Most Essential Christmas Masterpieces" [Amazon Exclusive] by various artists; and "Born Free" by Kid Rock
* Watches: Timex Women's Sports Digital Watch; Timex Kids' My First Outdoor Black Fast Wrap Watch; and Casio Men's G-Shock Classic Digital Watch
* Beauty: Philosophy Limited Edition Hope in a Jar; Philosophy Peppermint Bark Duo; and Burt's Bees Essential Body Kit
* Home, Garden & Pets: Swarovski 2010 Annual Edition Crystal Snowflake Ornament; Cuisinart SmartStick 200-Watt Immersion Hand Blender; and Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler
* Clothing & Accessories: Levi's Men's 501 Jean; Levi's Men 550 Relaxed Fit Jean; and Levi's Men's 505 Regular Straight Fit Jean
* Shoes and Handbags: UGG Australia Women's Classic Short Boots; Red Large Vicky Giraffe Print Faux Leather Satchel Bag; and BEARPAW Women's Eva 10" Boot
* Health & Personal Care: Philips Norelco Men's Shaving System; Omron Digital Pocket Pedometer; and Philips Sonicare Essence Power Toothbrush
* Home Improvement: Black & Decker Ratcheting ReadyWrench; Striker Magnetic LED Light-Mine Flashlight; and Rockwell Jawhorse
* Automotive Parts & Accessories: Battery Tender Junior; Wagan Heated Seat Cushion; and Michelin Digital Programmable Tire Gauge
* Baby: Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes; Cloud b Twilight Constellation Night Light, Turtle; and Baby Einstein Bendy Ball
* Software: Anime Studio Debut 7; Manga Studio Debut 4; and Adobe Photoshop Elements 9
* Grocery: Coffee People Donut Shop K-Cups for Keurig Brewers; Vita Coco 100% Pure Coconut Water; and Numi Tea Bamboo Flowering Tea Gift Set
* Wireless: Samsung Captivate Android Phone [AT&T]; HTC DROID INCREDIBLE Android Phone [Verizon Wireless]; and Motorola DROID X Android Phone [Verizon Wireless]
* Frustration-Free Packaging: Transcend 4 GB Class Flash Memory Card; Fujifilm FinePix 12.2 MP Digital Camera; and Coffee People Donut Shop K-Cups for Keurig Brewers

About Inc. [NASDAQ: AMZN], a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth's Biggest Selection. Inc. seeks to be Earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.

Amazon and its affiliates operate websites -- including,,,,,,, and and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as Books; Movies, Music & Games; Digital Downloads; Electronics & Computers; Home & Garden; Toys, Kids & Baby; Grocery; Apparel, Shoes & Jewelry; Health & Beauty; Sports & Outdoors; and Tools, Auto & Industrial.

Amazon Web Services provides Amazon's developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon's own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business.

Kindle, Kindle 3G and Kindle DX are the revolutionary portable readers that wirelessly download books, magazines, newspapers, blogs and personal documents to a crisp, high-resolution electronic ink display that looks and reads like real paper. Kindle 3G and Kindle DX utilize the same 3G wireless technology as advanced cell phones, so users never need to hunt for a Wi-Fi hotspot. Kindle is the #1 best-selling product across the millions of items sold on Amazon.


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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays!

To our growing, global list of GoodBiz113 readers and advertisers, we bid a heartfelt "Happy Holidays!"

In order to help illustrate the point, we've borrowed a piece from GoodBiz113 profilee George Rodrigue ["Louisiana Artist Brings Post-Katrina [Blue Dog] Relief to New Orleans"]. Measuring 20x16 and priced at $1,650 USD, "Evergreen Joy" [pictured] is part of Rodrigue's holiday collection. Check it out:

Oh, and for the latest developments regarding the always-bustling George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts: Youth Development Through Art in Education, go to:

Best to you and yours for a healthy and happy holiday season, and a fulfilling and prosperous 2011.

SOURCE: Rodrigue Studio

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

SBA Unveils New Website, Launches SBA Direct -- a Tool Delivering Personalized and Targeted Resources

As part of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s mission to ensure that small-business owners and entrepreneurs have access to accurate, timely and helpful information, SBA Administrator Karen Mills [pictured] today unveiled a newly redesigned SBA website.

The new site also features the launch of SBA Direct, a dynamic new Web tool with a variety of personalization features that will help small businesses start up, succeed and grow.

"With the launch of the new," said Mills, "we have reached a significant milestone in how the agency has evolved in using interactive Web tools, social media and blogs to engage with, and better meet, the needs of small-business owners.

"While the SBA website has traditionally been an information-rich site, we wanted to make it easier for small-business owners to navigate. With the new and improved, business owners can access the answers they need -- specific to their business profile -- in an instant. It truly presents the face of the future of SBA."

While the site features a variety of enhancements -- including a full redesign, new content and improved navigation -- the centerpiece is a dynamic new Web tool called SBA Direct.

SBA Direct allows visitors to personalize their browsing experience according to their business type, geography and needs. SBA Direct then delivers relevant and targeted information on all aspects of running a business; e.g., steps involved in getting started, business growth strategies, how to stay compliant with current laws and regulations.

SBA Direct also provides information on the available SBA programs that can help businesses succeed -- such as financial assistance; exporting and government contracting opportunities; and counseling and training.

"Transforming the SBA into a proactive, responsive and 'customer-centric' organization that better serves the needs of the nation’s more than 29 million small businesses is an exciting, yet enormous, effort," said Mills.

"We’ve made significant progress," Mills added. "The new is just one example among many -- including record growth capital financing, expedited loan approvals and the acceleration of disaster assistance resources and funds -- of how SBA has, and will continue, to support the growth of small businesses and job creation.”

Other new features to the website include:
* SBA’s small-business search that improves the accuracy and relevancy of search results -- saving time and frustration.
* Improved navigation that gives users one-click access to the information they need. Combined with the personalization features of SBA Direct, users no longer have to mine through pages of information to find answers.
* Integration of content -- including a variety of guides and tools that collate information from across government agencies to help business owners comply with laws and regulations, and take advantage of government programs.
* Interactive, location-based maps that allow users to quickly find small-business resources in their area -- including local SBA offices, plus other sources of training and support.
* User-rated content gives visitors to the site-direct control in determining the most useful and relevant information to feature by small-business topic.

SBA’s commitment to using Web services to provide small businesses with greater access to the pool of government resources available began in 2006 with the launch of the award-winning website; later, with the Community initiative in 2009 [the first government-sponsored online community built specifically for small businesses]; and, more recently, with SBA’s own social-media presence on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The new built on these achievements and best practices as a driver for its transformation. The project is also a flagship for the agency’s Open Government Plan, with the goal of building an online presence for SBA that is transparent, participatory and collaborative.

GoodBiz113's Take
SBA's new website is a vast improvement! It's far more user-friendly and visually appealing, and provides a wealth of at-a-glance links and info for small-business owners who are often too time-pressed to do much of anything besides focus on growing or launching their enterprises.

Once again, Administrator Mills and her team have delivered on their promise to actually help current and would-be small-biz owners easily navigate funding, contracting and counseling opportunities. Oh, and the unprecedented, "one-stop-shopping" transparency re agencywide staff contacts, Recovery Act-funded opportunities, congressional testimonies, etc., is also appreciated.

Kudos to all involved in effectively designing and developing this valuable resource. It epitomizes form and function for the small-business community and our stakeholders.

See for yourself. Take the two-and-a-half-minute tour of SBA's new website here.

SOURCE: U.S. Small Business Administration

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Registration Opens for 2011 DOE Small-Business Conference

This just in from the U.S. Department of Energy...

The time has come to register for the the 12th Annual U.S. Department of Energy Small Business Conference & Expo, taking place at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Mo., from May 10-12, 2011.

Register as an Attendee
Register as an attendee for DOE's 12th Annual Small Business Conference & Expo, where you will build connections with like-minded business professionals; acquire invaluable information from general sessions and educational workshops; and solidify contract opportunities with prime contractors, government agencies, and large companies during the expo and matchmaking sessions.

DOE's last event brought in record attendance, and they want you to get in on the action. Register NOW and take advantage of early-bird registration before the discounts expire.

Attend as an Exhibitor
Attend as an exhibitor to showcase your products or services. Increase your visibility by sponsoring the event.

As an exhibitor or sponsor, your company will appear on the 2011 DOE Small Business Conference website, where more than 30,000 potential clients, customers and business partners will recognize you before, during, and after the event! Additionally, your business’ identity will be present throughout the venue and in the conference guide -- further establishing your place in the minds of folks representing those potential networks.

For more information, and to stay up-to-date on the conference and related news, visit the 2011 DOE Small Business Conference website, and be sure to follow the annual event on Facebook.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Economic Impact and Diversity

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

George Rodrigue's Educational 'Blue Dog 123' Coming to Apple's App Store Soon

GoodBiz113 profilee George Rodrigue ["Louisiana Artist Brings Post-Katrina [Blue Dog] Relief to New Orleans"] just tweeted, "Our first iPad eBook/app, 'Blue Dog 123,' should be available in Apple's App Store in the coming weeks."

To preview his debut educational app, go to:

Additional developments regarding the world-renowned artist...

Rodrigue's Holiday Collection includes works dating back to 1993. For a timely stroll through the artist's online gallery, visit his Facebook page:

To track the latest awe-inspiring events of the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts: Youth Development Through Art in Education, go to:

SOURCE: George Rodrigue

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SBA Announces Two New Initiatives to Boost Lending to Underserved Markets

While small-business owners and entrepreneurs in traditionally underserved communities continue to face challenges accessing capital, the U.S. Small Business Administration today announced two new initiatives aimed at increasing SBA-backed loans to small businesses in these markets.

SBA Administrator Karen Mills also today named Catherine L. Hughes [pictured], chairperson and founder of Radio One Inc. [NASDAQ: RAIO] -- and, in fact, a former SBA borrower -- to chair the agency’s new Advisory Council on Underserved Communities.

SBA and U.S. Department of Commerce studies have shown the importance of lower-dollar loans to small-business formation and growth in underserved communities.

With that in mind, the two new loan initiatives -- Small Loan Advantage, and Community Advantage -– are aimed at increasing the number of lower-dollar SBA 7[a] loans going to small businesses and entrepreneurs in underserved communities. The agency’s most popular loan product, 7[a] government-guaranteed loans, can be used for a variety of general business purposes -- including working capital, and purchases of equipment and real estate.

In conjunction with the implementation of these two new Advantage loan initiatives by March 15, the agency will end its existing Community Express pilot loan program on April 30.

"Over the last two years, we’ve seen lending to all small businesses tighten up, and that tightening has been even greater in traditionally underserved communities -- including among minorities, women and in rural areas," said Mills. "These new Advantage initiatives are aimed directly at getting more loans into these markets, so these small-business owners can get the capital they need to start or grow their business and create good-paying jobs in local communities across the country."

Built on what the agency refers to as its "Advantage" platform, both Small Loan Advantage and Community Advantage will offer a streamlined application process for SBA-guaranteed 7[a] loans up to $250,000. These loans will come with the regular 7[a] government guarantee; i.e., 85 percent for loans up to $150,000 and 75 percent for those greater than $150,000.

Small Loan Advantage will be available to the 630 financial institutions across the country in the agency’s Preferred Lenders Program [PLP]. Under PLP, which includes most of the agency’s highest-volume lenders, SBA delegates the final credit decisions to lenders.

With Community Advantage, the agency will expand the points of access that small-business owners have for getting loans by opening SBA’s 7[a] loan program to "mission-focused" financial institutions -- including Community Development Financial Institutions, Certified Development Companies and nonprofit microlending intermediaries.

Community Advantage will leverage the experience these institutions already have in lending to minority, women-owned and start-up companies in economically challenged markets -- along with their management and technical assistance expertise -- to help make their borrowers successful.

"These two new loan initiatives tackle a couple of factors we know exist when it comes to the challenges small-business owners face,” Mills noted. "First, to add more incentive for lower-dollar loans in these communities, we are providing a streamlined process for lenders along with the regular 7[a] government guarantee.

"Second, we are taking steps that will increase the number of places small-business owners in underserved communities can go to get loans. And also, with Community Advantage, we are making sure that the additional assistance some borrowers may need through counseling and technical assistance will be available."

Mills added that the new loan initiatives are in line with the agency’s core mission of supporting small-business growth and job creation, and goals of the new Advisory Council on Underserved Communities, announced today. The Council will provide input, advice and recommendations on how SBA, through its programs, can help strengthen competitiveness and sustainability for small businesses in underserved communities.

"Many entrepreneurs and small-business owners across the country have enormous potential to drive economic growth and create good-paying jobs in their local communities, but too often they face barriers in fulfilling that potential," said Hughes, who will chair the council.

A Nebraska native, Hughes began a career in radio in 1969 at KOWH, a small black-owned radio station in Omaha. She came to Washington, D.C., as a lecturer at Howard University’s School of Communications, and worked at several local radio stations before she and then her husband purchased a small D.C. station and turned it into Radio One. Later, Hughes bought out her husband and became sole owner -- at one point, moving into the station to make ends meet.

In January of 2004, Hughes launched TV One, a cable television channel targeted at the African American community. Today, Radio One owns 52 radio stations in major markets across the country, making the company the largest black-owned radio chain in the nation.

"I’m excited to be a part of this effort to strengthen the link between these entrepreneurs and the SBA’s wide variety of resources," Hughes said. "SBA assistance played a critical role in my success, and I’m eager to do all I can to help make sure others have access to these same opportunities."

The agency’s new Advisory Council on Underserved Communities will consist of 20 members from across the country. Over the next few weeks, the SBA will accept nominations for members to serve on the CUC.

Members will provide a critical link between SBA and small businesses in traditionally underserved communities. It is anticipated that members will reflect a variety of key sectors -- including business owners, banking and finance, community development, nonprofit and academia. Member nominations can be emailed to

Senator Landrieu Praises New SBA Programs
Sen. Mary L. Landrieu [D-La.], chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today issued the following statement after the SBA announced its two new lending initiatives for underserved communities:

"Since the start of the financial crisis, we have seen credit lines completely shut off," said Landrieu. "As a result, small businesses in underserved areas of the country have had the hardest time obtaining adequate credit.

"The two new loan initiatives announced today have the potential to open up the credit lines to these struggling small businesses by streamlining the application process and increasing the number of lenders that entrepreneurs can choose from when obtaining a loan. By improving the access to credit in these areas, we would give these businesses in underserved communities the opportunity to boost our economy and create jobs.

"Furthering their commitment to increasing loans in underserved areas, the SBA’s Advisory Counsel on Underserved Communities provides the added support these businesses need to access SBA resources and take advantage of these lending programs.

"I look forward to working with the Council once they are assembled to energize small businesses in the most underserved areas of America."

GoodBiz113's Take
SBA's Karen Mills and her colleagues are clearly in touch with the plight of promising small-business owners whose dreams have been hamstrung for far too long by far too many cash-hoarding banks. The two programs announced today should prove to be a boon for small businesses, as well as for those banks that have have been reticent to lend money to them.

Further, the appointment of Catherine L. Hughes to chair SBA’s new Advisory Council on Underserved Communities is a welcome move to help spread the far-reaching wealth of entrepreneurship. Her solid business experience, success and leadership will likely benefit legions of current and would-be small-business owners.

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

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NFIB Small-Business Optimism Index Posts Fourth Consecutive Gain

The National Federation of Independent Business Index of Small Business Optimism rose 1.5 points in November, rising to 93.2 -- the highest reading since December 2007, and the fourth consecutive monthly gain. The bad news: 93.2 is, from an historical perspective, still a recession-level reading [the average was about 100 before the recession started].

The last time the index was this low [prior to 2008] was in 1993. The recovery in the index continues to underperform all recovery periods since 1973, the start of the NFIB surveys.

"The index is trending up, but at a very slow pace," said Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB’s chief economist.

After hitting "zero" in October, the average increase in employment per firm turned positive in November. The average gain per firm was .01 workers per firm -- hardly different from zero, but it was not negative, which is good news.

Nine percent [seasonally adjusted] reported unfilled job openings -- down one point and historically very weak. This index component is a very good predictor of the unemployment rate -- and this number indicated the rate will nudge higher.

Over the next three months, nine percent plan to increase their employment [up one point], and 12 percent plan to reduce it [down one point], yielding a seasonally adjusted net four percent of owners planning to create new jobs -- a three-point gain from October after a four-point gain in September, an encouraging trend and the strongest reading since September 2008.

"Overall, job creation is likely to continue, but at a tepid pace," noted Dunkelberg.

Capital Spending and Outlook
The frequency of reported capital outlays over the past six months rose four points to 51 percent of all firms, pulling away from the recent record-low reading of 44 percent.

Of those making expenditures, 35 percent reported spending on new equipment [up three points]; 19 percent acquired vehicles [up three points]; and 12 percent improved or expanded facilities [up zero point].

Four percent acquired new buildings or land for expansion [up one point], and 12 percent spent money for new fixtures and furniture [up three points].

The percentage of owners planning capital outlays in the future rose two points to 20 percent, but is still historically quite low.

"Spending seems to be primarily in maintenance mode," said Dunkelberg. "If it breaks, replace it."

Nine percent characterized the current period as a good time to expand facilities [seasonally adjusted] -- up two points, and seven points better than earlier in the year. A net 16 percent expect business conditions to improve over the next six months -- a 31-point improvement since July, and the best reading since June 2005.

"Apparently, the future is looking brighter for more owners, although much will depend on what Congress does in the closing weeks of the year," said Dunkelberg.

Sales and Inventories
The net percent of all owners [seasonally adjusted] reporting higher nominal sales over the past three months worsened by two points to a net-negative 15 percent -- 19 points better than March 2009, but still indicative of very weak customer activity. Unadjusted, 21 percent of all owners reported higher sales [last three months, compared to prior three months -- down two points], while 33 percent reported lower sales [up two points].

The net percent of owners expecting higher real sales gained five points from October, rising to a net six percent of all owners [seasonally adjusted] -- a nice bump on top of October’s four-point gain. Not seasonally adjusted, 24 percent expect improvement over the next three months, while 37 percent expect declines.

Small-business owners continued to liquidate inventories, and weak sales trends gave little reason to order new stock. A net-negative 15 percent of all owners reported gains in inventories [more firms cut stocks than added to them, seasonally adjusted] -- only a point better than October. Unadjusted, 10 percent reported gains in inventory stocks [unchanged], but 25 percent reported inventory reductions [unchanged].

November is the 32nd negative double-digit month in a row, and the 42nd negative month in a row for inventory changes. For all firms, a net-negative three percent [down four points] reported stocks too low, and an unexpected deterioration in owner satisfaction with current stocks [compared to expectations for sales and the economy that have actually improved]. Plans to add to inventories rose four points to a net zero percent of all firms [seasonally adjusted] -- a surprise with the increased dissatisfaction with current stocks.

Fourteen percent of the owners [unchanged] reported raising average selling prices, and 20 percent reported average price reductions [down two points]. Seasonally adjusted, the net percent of owners raising prices was a net negative four percent -- a one-point increase from October.

Still, November is the 24th consecutive month in which more owners reported cutting average selling prices than raising them -- a condition that might support concerns about deflation now worrying the Federal Reserve.

Reports of higher worker compensation continued to edge up, while reports of compensation cuts continued to fade. Six percent reported reduced worker compensation, and 13 percent reported gains.

Seasonally adjusted, a net eight percent reported raising worker compensation -- double October’s reading, and 10 points better than February’s record-low reading of negative two percent.

Reports of positive earnings trends fell four points in November, registering a net-negative 30 percent. Still, far more owners report that earnings are deteriorating quarter-to-quarter than rising. Part of this is due to price-cutting, which is fading in frequency as the economy continues to grow. Not seasonally adjusted, 15 percent reported profits higher [unchanged], but 43 percent reported profits falling -- a three-point increase.

Of the owners reporting higher earnings, 60 percent cited stronger sales as the cause, and seven percent credited higher selling prices. For those reporting lower earnings compared to the previous three months, 56 percent cited weaker sales; five percent blamed rising labor costs; seven percent, higher materials costs; five percent, higher insurance costs; and nine percent blamed lower selling prices. Seven percent blamed higher taxes and regulatory costs.

Overall, 91 percent reported that all their credit needs were met, or that they were not interested in borrowing. Nine percent reported that not all of their credit needs were satisfied. A record 53 percent said they did not want a loan. Only four percent reported financing as their No. 1 business problem.

However, 30 percent of the owners reported that weak sales continued to be their top business problem, followed by 22 percent citing taxes, and 15 percent citing government regulations and red tape [taxes that consumes capital and time].

The historically high percent of owners who cite weak sales means that, for many owners, investments in new equipment or new workers are not likely to pay the business back. This is a major cause of the lack of credit demand observed in financial markets.

SOURCE: National Federation of Independent Business

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Monday, December 13, 2010

New SBA-Microsoft Technology Guide Helps Entrepreneurs Grow Their Small Businesses and Create Jobs

A new technology tool for small businesses is now available to help them grow and create jobs. The new education resource, Business Technology Simplified, helps small-business owners connect the dots between entrepreneurship and technology to give them a competitive edge.

The U.S. Small Business Administration and Microsoft, a GoodBiz113 advertiser, have teamed up to develop this free, comprehensive guide on how technology can improve the small-business owner’s chances for success. The Business Technology Simplified guidebook includes fundamentals on the importance of technology, and on how it can be used to achieve a business’s goals.

In the guidebook’s foreword, Earvin "Magic" Johnson writes about his journey in developing a multimillion-dollar company and the value of technology to remain competitive.

"Our goal as an agency is to get information, tools and services into the hands of small-business owners more quickly, so they can spend more time doing what they do best -- creating the jobs that will drive our economic recovery," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. "This new guidebook is one more tool available to support small-business growth through access to information and resources."

Business Technology Simplified offers straightforward tips on how to use technology and innovation to make businesses work more efficiently. The guidebook incorporates relevant and practical material on simplifying work tasks; do-it-yourself marketing; cloud computing; time management; finding and cultivating customers; plus much more.

"Small businesses, which employ nearly 50 percent of the U.S. workforce, rely on trustworthy technology that is easily adaptable and scalable to support growth, and give them freedom to focus on the innovation and passion that drives their businesses," said Cindy Bates, Microsoft’s vice president of U.S. Small and Medium Business [pictured]. "We are thrilled to continue our longstanding relationship with the SBA and small businesses by providing this free resource that will arm this community with the technology know-how to safely and smartly grow their businesses in many strategic ways."

Business Technology Simplified is available in a printed format in SBA district offices and local SBA resource partners, or may be accessed online as an electronic publication and as an electronic distance learning course. The new online course has been created for self-paced access to practical guidance on applying technology to build and grow strong companies.

The Business Technology Simplified online course allows quick access by small-business owners to learn more about basic technology tools that can help their companies run more efficiently. The course features an audio guided lesson, indexed by modules, that includes information on how to use technology to save time in day-to-day tasks; how to better manage a business; mobile solutions that work; and tips on expanding customer base.

To access the course, go to, then click "Business Technology Simplified" in the Highlighted Courses section. It is one of nearly 30 online tutorials offered by the SBA, and is available 24/7.

About SBA
The U.S. Small Business Administration is the nation’s largest financial backer of small businesses. The SBA’s programs and services help business owners start, run, and grow their businesses, and provide a range of financial, technical, and management assistance. SBA also plays a major role in the government’s disaster-relief efforts by making low-interest recovery loans to both homeowners and businesses.

For more information on SBA’s programs and services. visit

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft serves millions of small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S., helping them start, grow and thrive by leveraging today’s powerful and affordable technologies. At the pillar of these technologies lies cloud computing, in which Microsoft has more than 15 years of experience. The company understands how to meet the demands of SMBs for simplicity and impact, with enterprise-grade capabilities, flexibility and affordability in a familiar environment.

For more information on Microsoft technologies for small and mid-sized businesses, visit

SOURCES: Microsoft, U.S. Small Business Administration

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George Rodrigue's Holiday Collection Celebrates Christmas Past

GoodBiz113 profilee George Rodrigue ["Louisiana Artist Brings Post-Katrina [Blue Dog] Relief to New Orleans"] just sent us a holiday greeting that features his "Ho Ho Ho" silkscreen, circa 2000 [pictured].

Rodrigue's Holiday Collection includes works dating back to 1993. To browse his online gallery, go to his Facebook page:

To track the latest awe-inspiring events of the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts: Youth Development Through Art in Education, visit

SOURCE: Rodrigue Studio

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The Office Depot Foundation Honors SCORE's Mark Dobosz with Listen, Learn, Care Award

Last Friday, the Office Depot Foundation presented the Listen, Learn, Care Award to Mark Dobosz, executive director of The SCORE Foundation and vice president of development at SCORE "Counselors to America’s Small Business," for his outstanding creativity, innovation and achievement in serving the community of mankind.

Dobosz received the Listen, Learn, Care Award at the fourth annual Office Depot Foundation Tropical Holiday Celebration on Dec. 10, 2010. This annual event celebrated the outstanding work of the Office Depot Foundation, and featured the presentation of the annual Listen, Learn, Care Award to five exceptional individuals.

Mark Dobosz has spent more than 26 years working in a variety of leadership roles and areas for nonprofit organizations. He has been responsible for developing new fundraising programs, as well as expanding several annual giving, planned giving and special-event programs. Mark has helped raise more than $27 million for the organizations he has served.

"Mark Dobosz has demonstrated foresight and vision for SCORE’s future through his commitment to SCORE fundraising," said SCORE CEO Ken Yancey. "He has tirelessly worked to ensure that the message of securing outside support becomes widespread across SCORE.

"Mark has been integral to SCORE’s effort to expand its mission of serving small businesses across America and building the economic strength of local communities."

About The SCORE Foundation
The mission of The SCORE Foundation is to support and leverage the work of SCORE by soliciting, investing and managing resources for the benefit of SCORE. Learn more about The SCORE Foundation at

Since 1964, SCORE has helped more than 8.5 million aspiring entrepreneurs. Each year, SCORE provides small-business mentoring and workshops to more than 375,000 new and growing small businesses. More than 13,000 business experts volunteer as mentors in 350 chapters serving local communities with entrepreneur education to help grow 1 million small businesses.

For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800-634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you.

Visit SCORE at and

Connect with SCORE at, and

SOURCES: Office Depot Foundation, SCORE, The SCORE Foundation

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Friday, December 10, 2010

SBA Renews Popular Patriot Express Loan Initiative for Three More Years

A very popular initiative that, in just three-and-a-half years has provided more than $560 million in loan guarantees to nearly 7,000 veterans to start or expand their small businesses, is being renewed for three more years, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Patriot Express, a streamlined pilot loan product based on the agency’s SBA Express program, offers an enhanced guaranty and interest rate on loans to small businesses owned by veterans, reservists and their spouses. Over the past two years, due in part to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, loan volume increased dramatically.

"America’s veterans have the leadership skills and experience to become successful entrepreneurs and small-business owners," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. "The impact of this program over the last three-and-a-half years has meant thousands of veterans and their families have had the resources to pursue their dreams as entrepreneurs and, at the same time, create jobs and drive economic growth at a critical time for our country.

"Renewing it means we can continue to fulfill our sacred commitment to the men and women who serve our country by giving them every opportunity for success."

Patriot Express was launched June 28, 2007, to expand upon the more than $1 billion in loans SBA guarantees annually for veteran-owned businesses across all its loan programs. SBA also offers counseling assistance and procurement support each year to more than 200,000 veterans, service-disabled veterans, reservists, and members of the National Guard and their spouses.

Patriot Express loans are offered by SBA’s network of participating lenders nationwide and feature one of SBA’s fastest turnaround times for loan approvals. Patriot Express loans are available for up to $500,000.

The Patriot Express loan can be used for most business purposes -- including start-up, expansion, equipment purchases, working capital, inventory or business-occupied real-estate purchases. Local SBA district offices can provide lists of Patriot Express lenders in their areas. Details on the initiative can be found at

To learn more about additional opportunities for veterans available through the SBA, please visit the website at

SOURCE: U.S. Small Business Administration

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Initiative Announced Today

Today, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke [pictured] joined seven other U.S. government agencies in launching a coordinated effort to promote renewable energy and energy-efficiency exports: the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Initiative.

The initiative was developed through the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee Working Group on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, which includes representatives from the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Energy, State, and Agriculture. Other members include the Export-Import Bank of the United States [Ex-Im]; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation [OPIC]; the U.S. Trade and Development Agency; and the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Through the initiative, the U.S. Government will support renewable energy and energy efficiency [RE&EE] exporters by offering new financing products; enhancing market access; increasing trade promotion; and improving the delivery of export promotion services to current and future RE&EE companies.

"The initiative lays the foundation necessary to help U.S. renewable-energy and energy-efficiency companies take better advantage of current market opportunities," Locke explained. "It also positions federal government programs to better support U.S. global competitiveness in these sectors over the long run."

Energy is a $6 trillion global market, and clean energy is the fastest-growing sector.

The initiative, which is described in a report being released today by the Commerce Department, comes on the heels of formation of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee, which is made up of industry leaders. Locke chaired the committee’s first meeting today. This committee will advise Secretary Locke on the development and implementation of programs and policies that will help to expand the competitiveness of the U.S. renewable-energy and energy-efficiency industries.

This initiative is the U.S. Government’s first-ever coordinated effort to support the promotion of renewable energy and energy-efficiency exports. Through the implementation of 23 inter-agency actions, the initiative is designed to facilitate an increase of RE&EE exports during the next five years, helping to meet the goals of the National Export Initiative and President Obama’s challenge to become the leading exporter of clean-energy technologies.

As part of the initiative, the federal government is launching a new online portal to provide renewable-energy companies easy access to U.S. Government export resources. Further, the Commerce Department is committing to an increased number of RE&EE trade and trade-policy missions.

Additionally, the initiative calls for:

* Creation of foreign buyers' guides for U.S. RE&EE technologies;
* Commitment by OPIC to invest an additional $300 million in financing for renewable-resource projects in emerging markets, plus additional new products for energy efficiency-subordinated debt financing and clean-energy technology equipment leasing;
* Streamlining of RE&EE financing applications at both OPIC and Ex-Im;
* Formation of a new subcommittee at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to address market access barriers facing the U.S. RE&EE industry in foreign markets; and
* Expansion of USDA’s Market Access Program [MAP] to include biomass wood pellets. [Currently, the program focuses on biofuel products, but not biomass.]

The report is available for download from the new Web portal at

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce

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Employers Gain Access to Database to Recruit Workers With Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense, today made available the 2011 Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities database. This resource is intended to assist federal and private-sector employers in identifying workers with disabilities.

The more than 2,200 candidates in this year's database represent all academic backgrounds and are working toward, or recently earned, associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral or law degrees. Students have been interviewed by recruiters from various federal agencies. Some seek summer employment, while others are looking for regular, full-time positions.

"This database is filled with talented students who are highly motivated to prove their skills in the workplace," said ODEP Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez [pictured].

To take advantage of the new database, federal officials can visit to register and search independently for candidates who meet their hiring needs. They also can track the status of candidates they are interested in interviewing, including whether they already have been hired.

Private-sector employers can search the program's database through ODEP's national Employer Assistance & Resource Network by making a toll-free telephone call to 866-327-6669, or filling out a request form at

More than 20 federal agencies regularly utilize the Workforce Recruitment Program as a recruiting tool, and it has provided employment opportunities for more than 5,500 students since 1995. The program supports President Obama's executive order titled "Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities."

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Labor

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Monday, December 06, 2010

SBA Chief Announces One-Page Form for Claiming Small-Biz Health-Care Tax Credit

SBA Administrator Karen Mills [pictured] just released an open letter to small-business owners, announcing a simple one-page form that we can use to claim the health-care tax credit for 2010. Following, is the text of her letter:

* * *

December 2, 2010

Dear Small-Business Owner,

As I've traveled the country this year, I have heard from many of you who are looking forward to the new tax credits, health insurance exchanges, and other tools that will help you provide health insurance coverage to your employees as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

The most immediate benefit of the new law is a tax credit that will help America’s smallest employers and nonprofit organizations [fewer than 25 fulltime equivalent employees with average annual wages below $50,000] who have been hit hardest by premium increases in recent years. Today, I'm pleased to announce that the Administration is releasing a one-page form and instructions [available at] on how to claim this credit for the 2010 tax year.

In addition, new guidance released today answers questions that many of you have asked related to: your current contribution arrangements, eligibility for certain religious institutions, and participation by multi-employer health and welfare plans. In each case, the Administration has worked to ensure that a broad range of small businesses can qualify.

These credits are available for tax years 2010 through 2013, and for any two years after that. Through 2013, the maximum tax credit is 35 percent of premiums paid by small employers, and 25 percent for eligible tax-exempt organizations. Beginning in 2014, those levels increase to 50 percent and 35 percent, respectively.

Importantly, these credits are just one of many benefits in the Affordable Care Act. Most notably, in 2014, firms with up to 100 workers will be able to pool their buying power and reduce their administrative costs by purchasing coverage through a health insurance exchange.

Finally, the new law strengthens America’s entrepreneurial spirit, overall. For example, it outlaws discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions, giving more Americans the ability to break out of "job lock" and start their own companies. The new law also prohibits insurance companies from dramatically increasing premiums for a small business just because one worker gets sick.

Overall, the Affordable Care Act is a critical tool that will help millions of small-business owners provide health insurance to people who you often consider to be members of your extended family -- your employees. As a nation, we owe you nothing less as you work to grow, create jobs, and lead us toward full economic recovery.

Warm regards,

Karen Mills
SBA Administrator

* * *

GoodBiz113's Take
This latest move effectively underscores the Affordable Care Act's profound import to small businesses' short- and long-term financial and tax-reporting interests. Once again, the Obama Administration has demonstrated that it truly believes in the power of small businesses to propel America's economy, and has delivered on its promise to promote entrepreneurship and affordable access to health care.

SOURCE:, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Small Business Administration

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Saturday, December 04, 2010

Bipartisan Landrieu-LeMieux Letter to Treasury Secretary Geithner Urges Swift Implementation of Small-Business Lending Initiatives

Yesterday, United States Senators Mary L. Landrieu [D-La., pictured], chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and George LeMieux [R-Fla.] sent a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner requesting swift implementation of the Small Business Lending Fund [SBLF] and the State Small Business Credit Initiative, two provisions in the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.

Sens. Landrieu and LeMieux were instrumental in including the SBLF in the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 -- legislation that has created a $30 billion strategic partnership with community banks to boost lending to small firms.

"As you know, community banks participate disproportionately in small-business lending compared to large banks," Sens. Landrieu and LeMieux wrote in the letter. "With this in mind, it is imperative that we do all we can to assist these community banks in increasing small-business lending. The thoughtfully designed programs in the Act are crucial for community banks across the country. Thoughtful and prudent implementation is also necessary, and we ask that you act as quickly as possible. We urge you to retain small-business access to capital as your top priority in implementing provisions of the Act.

"For months during the crafting of the underlying bill, we heard from bank after bank that would benefit from the Small Business Lending Fund, as well as from the State Small Business Credit Initiative. Since the bill was signed into law on Sept. 27, 2010, our offices have heard from countless additional banks that are eager to access these important programs. Banks who participate will have economic incentives to increase their small-business lending. In turn, this will provide vital support to our small businesses in these difficult economic times."

The Small Business Lending Fund would inject $30 billion through community banks into the small-business economy. This provision is estimated to save taxpayers $1.1 billion over 10 years.

SBLF was endorsed by several organizations, including the Independent Community Bankers of America, American Bankers Association, National Small Business Association, National Association for the Self-Employed, Small Business Majority, National Bankers Association, and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, among others.

The State Small Business Credit Initiative provides $1.5 billion in grants to support at least $15 billion in new small-business lending through already-successful state-run programs. Many of these state-run programs are facing cutbacks due to budget shortfalls, and this initiative will allow states to build upon successful models for state small-business programs, including Capital Access Programs [CAPs], collateral support programs, and loan guarantee programs -- including those targeted at rural and agricultural small businesses.

To view the full text of the letter sent to the Treasury Department, go to:

GoodBiz113's Take
Who says that Washington is devoid of bipartisanship? This is a prime example of how Democrats and Republicans can actually work together -- in this case, on behalf of small businesses.

Kudos to Sens. Landrieu and LeMieux for doing what Americans want our elected officials to do: cooperate and collaborate for the greater win-win-win good.

SOURCES: OpenCongress, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, U.S. Small Business Administration, The White House

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Friday, December 03, 2010

Dec. 9: SBA Web Chat to Focus on Year-End Tax Planning for Small-Business Owners

It's not too late for business owners to reduce their 2010 tax bills and plan ahead for 2011. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s December Web chat -- to be held from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, Dec. 9 -- will focus on tax preparation for small-business owners. Participants can get useful year-end tax tips and information, and learn more about tax deductions and credits that can help to reduce their taxes.

Edward S. Karl [pictured], vice president of taxation for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants [AICPA], will host the online event, "Year-End Tax Essentials for Small-Business Owners." Chat participants can get valuable information on how to prepare now, with useful tax-savings tips and mistakes to avoid. Karl will answer questions on how to get the most out of year-end tax planning.

SBA’s Web chat series provides small-business owners with an opportunity to discuss relevant business issues online with experts, industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs. Chat participants have direct, real-time access to the Web chats via questions they submit online in advance, and during the live session.

Participants can join the live Web chat by going online to, and clicking "Online Business Chat." Web chat participants may also post questions before the Dec. 9 event by visiting

To review archives of past Web chats, visit online at

SOURCE: U.S. Small Business Administration

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Verve Inc. Introduces Sugar-Free Glee Gum

GoodBiz113 profilee Verve Inc. ["Verve Inc. Puts Sustainable Bite on All-Natural Chewing Gum and Educational Candy-Making Kits for Kids"] has just introduced a new product: Sugar-Free Glee Gum.

Sugar-Free Glee Gum is sweetened with 100% xylitol, a sugar alcohol made from birch bark. It looks and tastes like sugar, but has fewer calories and breaks down differently. While the company's xylitol comes from birch, this swell sweetener also is found naturally in the fibers of fruits and veggies; e.g., corn, raspberries, plums.

Verve Inc. chooses to use xylitol because it is all-natural and also because it benefits dental health. Studies have shown that xylitol can help fight cavities, reduce plaque, and even clear nasal passages. And it’s a safe choice for lots of folks on restricted diets.

Sugar-Free Glee Gum comes in two brand new, refreshing flavors: Refresh-Mint and Lemon-Lime. Like the rest of the Glee Gum line, Sugar-Free Glee is all-natural with no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives. It’s free of all major allergens, and it’s Verve Inc.'s first product that’s also corn-free!

For now, Sugar-Free Glee is exclusively available on But keep your eyes peeled for its imminent arrival at a store near you.

For those who love regular ol’ Glee Gum, fear not. Company officials tell us that they will continue to produce its standard Glee, sweetened with organic cane sugar and brown rice syrup. But, now you have the option to go Sugar-Free. Yippee!

SOURCE: Glee Gum

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

May 10-12: U.S. Department of Energy to Host 12th Annual Small-Business Conference

This just in: The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization will present its 12th Annual DOE Small Business Conference & Expo at the Kansas City Convention Center, in Kansas City, Mo., on May 10-12, 2011.

The event will feature plenaries, educational workshops, an exhibit hall with 200-plus exhibitors and sponsors, as well as matchmaking sessions. Over 1,600 attendees will represent all levels of federal, state and local government agencies, large/prime contractors, small businesses and more.

The largest civilian contracting agency within the federal government, DOE spent over $25 billion in contracts in FY 2010. The 12th Annual DOE Small Business Conference & Expo is a great opportunity for small-business owners and large companies alike to network and partner. Registration for the event will open later this month.

For more information, check the event website, or e-mail DOE at:

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utililization
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