NEW YORK (AP) — HOMETOWN SUCCESS
Entrepreneurs who start their companies in their hometowns or places where they've lived for a long time are more likely to be successful than those who start their businesses far from home. That's the finding of professors at the Yale School of Management and Aalborg University in Denmark.
The study found that entrepreneurs who spent an average 6.4 years in an area had a 9 percent lower business-failure rate than owners who were newcomers. They also had about $8,172 more in annual earnings. Each year that a founder was in an area lowered the failure rate by nearly 2 percent, and each added year in the region meant $1,362 more in profits.
"We suspect having deep roots in the region matters most for raising the capital and recruiting the personnel necessary to start these ventures," said Yale Professor Olav Sorenson, one of the authors of the study.
HELP FOR VETERANS
The federal government is launching a new program to help people leaving military service, and veterans, to start their own businesses.
The program, called Operation Boots to Business, will provide training and counseling and other services, according to the Small Business Administration. The program will include an introductory course in entrepreneurship, to be given at military bases around the country. It will start in four locations: Quantico, Va., Cherry Point, N.C., Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Twenty-Nine Palms, Calif. The SBA says the program will be expanded across the nation during the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.
Veterans can also get training and advice at already existing organizations around the country sponsored by the SBA: Small Business Development Centers, Women's Business Centers and Veterans Business Centers. Veterans interested in finding these centers should visit the SBA's website, www.sba.gov
Help is also available in person and online through SCORE, the organization that offers free advice from business owners and executives. SCORE volunteers can be located through www.score.org
The SBA says that each year, more than 250,000 people leave military service. It says that 9 percent of small businesses are owned by veterans.
READY FOR THE FUTURE — OR NOT?
If the American entrepreneurial dream is to own your own company and make enough money to retire, many small business owners aren't even thinking about that prospect right now, according to a survey by MassMutual Financial Group. The survey of about 1,600 business owners found that only 46 percent are confident that they're doing a good job of preparing for retirement. Only 35 percent said they have a formal plan that outlines how they'll manage their income after they retire. Twenty-eight percent of the survey participants said they're too preoccupied with taking care of everyday expenses to think about the future.
Similarly, many owners haven't taken steps to be sure their companies keep running after they retire or if they die. Only 26 percent of those surveyed have a formal business succession plan in place. Still, more than half — 54 percent — said they plan to leave the business to a family member.
A BREAK FOR CONTRACTORS
The drop in commodities prices over the last year is giving contractors a break on what they pay for fuel and materials like copper. The Associated General Contractors of America, a trade group, says an index of prices that contractors pay fell 0.6 percent in June, its second straight monthly drop after a 0.3 percent dip in May. The index was up by just 0.5 percent from June 2011.
The change from a year ago "was the smallest year-over-year swing since December 2009," said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the contractors' group. He said the price of diesel is down nearly 11 percent from June 2011. Prices for building materials made from copper and brass prices have fallen 12.6 percent since June 2011, a reflection of the 20 percent drop in copper prices over the last year.
Joyce Rosenberg can be reached at http://twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg