Monday, September 27

National News

Indian E-Commerce Firm Flipkart Announces Another $700 million in Investments
National News

Indian E-Commerce Firm Flipkart Announces Another $700 million in Investments

The most current e-commerce statistics from Statista.com state that 40% of internet users worldwide have purchased products or goods online, and that number is only expected to grow. Although it may seem like world e-commerce leader Amazon is poised to take over the rest of the market, a newbie company from India may give it a run for its money. Sachin and Binny Bansal (who are not related) started their careers in e-commerce in 2007 as Amazon.com engineers, assisting the U.S.-based company with its expansion into India, where the two men are from. Now, the Bansals' post-Amazon small business venture is set to oust Amazon as the top online retailer in India. India's young e-commerce market is currently being dominated by Flipkart, the brainchild of the two Bansals, and they recently anno...
Great News for Small Town Americans: Affordable Care Act Has More Options for 2015
National News

Great News for Small Town Americans: Affordable Care Act Has More Options for 2015

Even though Monday, Dec. 15 was the deadline for a Jan. 1, 2015, healthcare plan start date, there is still time to sign up under the Affordable Care Act, according to officials. Enrollees have until Jan. 15 to sign up if they want coverage to start on Feb. 1. Open enrollment will last until Feb. 15 for coverage that will begin on March 1. Even those who signed up in 2014 are still encouraged to take a look at their health insurance options this time around. Some premiums have changed, and all who bought insurance get subsidies on their incomes, so it's important to check that personal information is accurate on www.healthcare.gov. In 2014, the penalty for not having insurance was 1% of a person's income or $95 per person -- whichever amount was higher. That amount goes up to 2% o...
2014 Small Business Saturday Significantly Less Profitable Than Expected
National News

2014 Small Business Saturday Significantly Less Profitable Than Expected

In what may have been one of the most unknown and unexpectedly successful marketing ploy in recent years, the tradition of "Small Business Saturday" recently took place on Main Streets across the country. The event was started by American Express in 2010, and in the past four years, it has become a "nationally recognized day," according to Boston Globe correspondent Jennifer Smith. Small Business Saturday has created a sense of community and has fostered the growth of many small businesses, which might otherwise have gone unrecognized in their respective communities. But as Forbes contributor Gene Marks notes, a study published at the beginning of December by The National Federation of Independent Business and American Express, shows that this year's Small Business Saturday (which was hel...
U.S. Forest Service Developing Strategy to Accommodate Nationwide Demand for Outdoor Recreation
National News

U.S. Forest Service Developing Strategy to Accommodate Nationwide Demand for Outdoor Recreation

When it comes to the idea of the "great American pastime," forget baseball -- because it seems that camping is now the go-to activity for American families. In the last year alone, about 43 million Americans went on a camping trip. And with the number projected to grow even higher in the future, the U.S. Forest Service is now developing a strategy to meet this demand and give Americans more room to enjoy the great outdoors. According to a December 13 Ravalli Republic article, a few Forest Service officials recently met with trail crew foremen, landscape architects, wildlife biologists and more to construct a plan to sustainably expand the amount of public recreation area that is available to Americans. The Forest Service is also grappling with ways to fund upkeep for these lands, accord...
New Survey Finds Work Time and Personal Time Bleeding Together, And That’s a Good Thing
National News

New Survey Finds Work Time and Personal Time Bleeding Together, And That’s a Good Thing

The thin veneer separating work time and personal time has seemingly disappeared. Mobile devices, like smartphones and tablet computers, now allow professionals to get to work as quickly as it takes to unlock their home screens. They can respond to emails, field phone calls, answer texts, edit presentations, and more, all on their mobile devices. Plus, they're the dominant way for people to get online now, too. Consumers spend about 60% of their time online on mobile devices, as opposed to laptops or desktops. Perhaps surprisingly, many business professionals think that this is a good thing. According to a new survey from Entrepreneur, about 80% of surveyed professionals felt positively about being tethered to their offices via their mobile devices, while nearly three in 10 thought it w...
Predicting the Growth of Public and Private Cloud Computing Through 2018
National News

Predicting the Growth of Public and Private Cloud Computing Through 2018

Cloud computing technology has quickly become the go-to solution for companies of all sizes around the world. By the end of this year alone, American businesses will have spent approximately $13 billion on cloud-based technologies. But how does cloud computing's future look? According to recent studies, we can expect the cloud's growth to continue on the upward trajectory it's been on for the last few years. According to a Cloud Tech article, a recent Cisco study found that some 78% of all workloads will be based in and processed by cloud data centers by 2018 -- with global annual cloud network traffic reaching an astonishing 6.5 zettabytes (for comparison, one zettabyte is equivalent to one trillion gigabytes). Of these cloud-based workloads, approximately 69% will be located on privat...
Research Shows that Half of U.K. Small Business Owners Don’t Know What They Spend on Utilities
National News

Research Shows that Half of U.K. Small Business Owners Don’t Know What They Spend on Utilities

According to recent research, more than half of small business owners in the United Kingdom have no clue what they actually spend on their utility bills. In a survey conducted by Utilitywise, a U.K.-based energy and water consultancy, 52% of small businesses in the U.K. reported no knowledge of the overhead they were spending on gas, electricity and water. A third of respondents reported being unable to access data that would tell them how much energy they use. Small businesses have a lot of responsibilities to take care of, from cleaning carpets to reduce indoor air pollutants, to regularly maintaining HVAC systems and operating equipment. Keeping track of utilities is the key to constructing a budget that allows for all these costs. Monitoring of utility expenditure is also the only w...
“Waters of the United States” Rule Pits EPA against Small Business Administration
National News

“Waters of the United States” Rule Pits EPA against Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy is clashing with the Environmental Protection Agency over the agency's “Waters of the United States” rule. The EPA hopes that the rule will help clarify which smaller bodies of water (like streams and wetlands) that the agency is responsible for regulating under the Clean Water Act. The Agency website states that jurisdictions for streams and wetlands became unclear following Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006. The SBA, however, argues that the proposed rule would give federal regulators jurisdiction over water even on private property, like ditches and pastures, and put undue strain on small businesses by forcing them to meet regulations. According to a letter sent by the SBA to the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the r...
Why Are More Small Businesses Not Making Energy-Efficient Improvements?
National News

Why Are More Small Businesses Not Making Energy-Efficient Improvements?

Energy-efficient measures could save smaller businesses money, but a recent roundtable discussion presented by The Guardian determined that many of these businesses aren't take advantage of these resources. The roundtable, which was sponsored by ScottishPower, gathered experts in the fields of small business and energy. The group discussed ways in which small and medium enterprises (SMEs), a classification used by the European Union, could improve their efficiency, thereby reducing their energy costs. The discussion comes at a time when businesses, especially startups, need to save money more than ever. A survey by the Forum for Private Businesses found that 87% of companies reported increased energy costs in 2013, yet the Business Energy Index found that 53% of UK small businesses had n...
Why Germany Is Considering Legislation To Restrict After-Hours Work
National News

Why Germany Is Considering Legislation To Restrict After-Hours Work

After a German study of 57,000 people showed that more than half of the participants worked outside of their normal hours -- e.g., working in the evening after leaving the office, and possibly not being compensated for this extra work -- a movement to restrict working hours across the country is expected to show up in federal legislation soon. Although much of this extra out-of-office work seems to materialize in the form of phone calls from co-workers on the weekends or emails from a boss in the evenings, and it seems feasible for workers to ignore the interruptions, it's clear that the majority of workers aren't leaving their work at the office. Experts theorize that the explosion of the smartphone and easily accessible wi-fi has caused employees to feel obligated to check their work e...