SmallBiz Vote
  • Equity- and debt-based crowdfunding could help U.S. businesses

    We've reported here about the JOBS Act, which is designed to make it possible for small businesses and startups to use social media and friends-and-family networks to raise investment or debt-based capital through "crowdfunding." U.S. entrepreneurs won't be able to take full advantage of this practice until the SEC establishes rules (expected by January 2013), but a report released yesterday shows the significant amounts of money organizations around the world have already raised using several different crowdfunding approaches.

    According to the crowdfunding research firm massolution, 452 crowdfunding platforms worldwide raised a total of $1.5 billion for more than 1 million campaigns in 2011. Massolution reports that the majority of those campaigns were in the donation-based crowdfunding category, which is unregulated in the U.S., and that North America was the largest market for fundraising with $837 million raised by 532,000 campaigns.

    But outside of the U.S., in places where

    Read More »from Crowdfunding a Promising Option for Businesses Seeking Loans and Investors, Report Indicates
  • Do Romney’s 10 Deliverables Address Your Small Business?

    Mitt Romney (photo credit: Gage Skidmore via flickr)

    The economy, and in particular small business, has taken center stage in the Presidential campaigns this week. Mitt Romney and President Obama both took the opportunity to emphasize how bad the other is for the growth of US businesses.

    An Obama campaign ad released this week accuses Romney of outsourcing American jobs to Mexico, China, and India and argues that the corporate tax breaks Romney wants will go to aid the companies that still do.

    Romney told crowds along the campaign trail that President Obama's policies have made life more difficult for entrepreneurs, and said the administration is "anti-small business."

    Meanwhile, a new seven-minute Obama campaign video declares that the President rescued the auto industry, created 4.1 million new private sector jobs in the last 25 months, and brought middle class taxes to historic lows.

    But a Romney campaign ad, called Broken Promises, points out that the nation's total public debt has reached a record $15.6 trillion under this

    Read More »from Do Romney’s 10 Deliverables Address Your Small Business?
  • Small business owners say clean energy policies are good for growth

    Clean air standards are good for business, survey says

    A majority of small business owners in six U.S. states support EPA standards and believe they're conducive to job creation and economic growth. That's according to results of a survey of 600 small business owners in Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia commissioned by the Small Business Majority, an advocacy group focused on policies that create jobs and maximize business opportunities and cost savings for small businesses.

    Although more than half of survey respondents said their businesses would be impacted by EPA oversight of greenhouse gas emissions, more than three-quarters agreed that EPA should determine limits on new power plants' emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, and 56 percent support EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, even if it would bring increased utility prices. More than 80 percent surveyed support new EPA requirements to reduce emissions of mercury and other toxics from power plants.

    "Across all industries and at

    Read More »from Small business owners say clean energy policies are good for growth
  • A way to get business loans from your Facebook friends

    JOBS Act Makes it OK to Tap Social Networks for Business LoansBecause most reporting on the JOBS Act has focused on how the new law will make it easier for "small" companies to sell equity and go public, truly small businesses might think there's nothing in the legislation for them. Stock and IPOs? Not on the radar of most Main Street businesses.

    But a pioneering company called SoMoLend is leveraging an underreported aspect of the JOBS Act to help very small businesses raise money through debt financing. SoMoLend will help entrepreneurs to crowdfund small loans from people they know. Bakeries, bike shops, florists, hardware stores, and lawncare services are the kinds of businesses that stand to benefit.

    Many entrepreneurs get their start with cash from friends and family. But until now, Securities and Exchange Commission rules kept them from advertising to solicit investors. The JOBS Act makes it legal to seek loans from, say, 500 of your Facebook friends or Twitter followers, and to pay them back with interest.

    Cincinnati-based Candace Klein, a

    Read More »from A way to get business loans from your Facebook friends
  • Have you claimed your small business healthcare tax credit?

    Are you eligible for the healthcare tax credit?If you're among the small business owners who will be spending your weekend with your tax accountant, there's still time to cash in on a credit you might be eligible for, courtesy of the Affordable Care Act.

    According to John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of the Small Business Majority, more than half of small business owners are unaware of a tax credit provided by healthcare reform legislation to small businesses that provide health insurance to employees. Those who are aware of it saved thousands of dollars on their 2010 tax returns, and expect to save as much this year. "Currently, businesses with fewer than 25 full-time employees who pay at least 50 percent of total premiums are eligible for a credit of up to 35 percent of their premium contribution," Arensmeyer said, adding that in 2014, the benefit will jump to 50 percent contributions.

    Contrary to the argument that healthcare reform is costing small businesses more, Arensmeyer says employers like Nan Warshaw and Ron Nelsen are

    Read More »from Have you claimed your small business healthcare tax credit?
  • Another small business group stands up for Obamacare

    Many news outlets this week are speculating about how a Supreme Court decision to throw out the Affordable Care Act could affect election results. Regardless of how the Court's decision helps or hurts the incumbent or his GOP opponent, overturning Obamacare would be a disaster for small business, according to Frank Knapp, Jr., vice-chair of the American Sustainable Business Council.

    Though it was the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) that took its case against the Affordable Care Act to the Supreme Court, the group did not speak for all business owners. The Small Business Majority, the Main Street Alliance, and the National Association for the Self Employed all disagree that the health care law should be overturned.Does Obamacare benefit small business?

    In an essay that appeared yesterday on the congressional news site The Hill, Knapp, who is also president and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, piled on to the claim that NFIB's opposition to the Affordable Care Act does not

    Read More »from Another small business group stands up for Obamacare
  • Compliance said to cost more than new e-commerce tax generates

    If yours is one of the 10 million small businesses that generated a share of the aggregate $194 billion in sales rung up online in 2011, you're likely aware that, new this year, the IRS requires merchant- and third-party-payment processors, such as PayPal and Square, to report on form 1099-K any income paid through their services to individuals and small businesses. And you might be interested in a report that appeared on TechCrunch yesterday under the headline, "New Government ePayment Regulation Costs Small Business $10 Billion."Complying with new e-commerce tax can be costly

    As TechCrunch contributor Steven Aldrich explains it:

    "The 1099-K form reports 'gross sales' made, without adjusting for items like fees, refunds, returns, or fraudulent transactions. … [B]usiness owners are saying that the gross sales number on the form is coming in much higher than they expected and is causing each business to spend significant time and money to get their taxes done correctly. …Without taking this new law into account, $140 billion and 3.5

    Read More »from Compliance said to cost more than new e-commerce tax generates
  • Kill it or keep it? Small business groups at odds on Affordable Care Act

    Which small business group represents you on health care reform? The National Federation of Independent Business will present its case against the Affordable Care Act to the Supreme Court this week. But two other organizations, the Small Business Majority and the Main Street Alliance, submitted a friend-of-the-court brief defending ObamaCare. And a fourth group, the National Association for the Self-Employed, would like to see the Court strike down the part of the law  mandating that all individuals purchase health insurance, but opposes overturning the law altogether.

    Small businesses are at odds about the Affordable Care ActAs business owners know well by now, the health reform law will legally obligate private, state, and local government employers with 50 or more full-time employees to provide "minimum essential coverage" and to pay for at least 60 percent of the actual costs of employees' benefits by 2014. Those employers who don't will be penalized $2,000 per employee beyond their first 30 employees, payable to the IRS. The mandate

    Read More »from Kill it or keep it? Small business groups at odds on Affordable Care Act
  • Readers call new regulatory guidance phony

    Yahoo! SmallBizVote readers responded with overwhelming cynicism to a report we posted yesterday about an Executive Office memo to federal regulatory agencies. The guidance, issued on Tuesday by regulatory chief Cass Sunstein, instructed agencies to consider the special challenges that redundant, overlapping, and inconsistent regulations pose to small businesses and startups.

    SmallBizVote readers say the memo is phony election-year pandering. In 14 comments and 71 "likes" (indicated by readers who gave a comment the "thumbs up" symbol), readers expressed their resounding distrust of the Administration's too-little-too-late guidance.Yahoo! readers say a government regulatory guidance is political pandering

    "It takes election season for the White House to hear your cries," remarked a reader with the pseudonym He Lies.  Hope commented, "So the EPA regulations, Obamacare, and Dodd-Frank are job killers...duh!" And T-Rex wrote, "What a coincidence. Obama is suddenly worried about small businesses! Appears to be major league pandering in an election year."


    Read More »from Readers call new regulatory guidance phony
  • Small business owners struggling under the burden of regulatory compliance, take heart. In this election season, the White House hears your cries.

    The Executive Office yesterday reminded the heads of federal departments and agencies that some "sectors and industries face a significant number of regulatory requirements, some of which may be redundant, inconsistent, or overlapping." A guidance "effective immediately" urged agencies to take into account the costs of cumulative regulations that "can create special challenges for small businesses and startups."Regs create "special challenges" for small businesses

    Cass Sunstein, the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the Office of Management and Budget, instructed agencies to "avoid unintentional burdens that could result from an exclusive focus on the most recent regulatory activities."

    Sunstein's memo follows a meeting earlier this month between President Obama and the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of leading U.S. companies with combined

    Read More »from U.S. agencies instructed to consider regulatory burdens on small businesses, startups


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SmallBiz Vote discusses candidates, policy, and news of the 2012 U.S. elections from the perspective of business owners and entrepreneurs.

SmallBiz Vote Bloggers

  • Adrienne Burke, Blogger/Writer, Yahoo! Small Business

    Adrienne Burke has been editing and writing for B2B publications since 1993 …

  • Virginia Hines, Yahoo! Small Business Advisor

    Virginia Hines leads the Yahoo! Small Business Advisor product team.



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