Get Started: Superstorm Sandy, online seminars

SUPERSTORM SANDY

A presidential task force that studied the government's response to Superstorm Sandy says the Small Business Administration should change the way it handles disaster loans for small businesses.

The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force created last December released a report Monday recommending a wide range of changes at a number of federal agencies. It said the SBA's disaster loan program, which gave $3.8 billion in low-interest loans to storm victims, did better than it did during Hurricane Katrina but still needs some changes. It said there should be a separate application process for small businesses, which often need money quickly to survive but end up in long lines behind the applications of large numbers of homeowners.

The task force also said coastal communities should assume that floods will happen more frequently. And it said the federal government should find ways to encourage businesses to develop fuel distribution and telecommunications systems less likely to be crippled by extended power outages like the ones that occurred during Sandy.

DISASTER PREP 101

The Small Business Administration is holding a series of online seminars in September to help small businesses prepare for a disaster. Although the seminars are being held in what is high season for hurricanes, they're intended to help companies get themselves ready for any type of catastrophe.

All the seminars will all be held on Wednesdays at 2 p.m. EDT.

The first, "Protecting Your Organization by Preparing Your Employees," will be held Sept. 11. You can learn more and register at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/668927705

On Sept. 18, the topic will be "The New 10 Steps to Preparedness — Lessons from the Past." Register at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/613804840

The final seminar, "Crisis Communications for Any Organization," will be held on Sept. 25. Register at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/918980200

HELP WITH THE HEALTH CARE LAW

The SBA and the advocacy group Small Business Majority are continuing their weekly seminars about the Affordable Care Act and what it means for small businesses and their employees. Among the topics being discussed are health insurance exchanges and employers' responsibilities under the ACA. Owners will also get some tips on keeping their health care costs down.

The seminars are being held on Thursdays this week and continuing through Sept. 26. They'll be held at 2 p.m. EDT. You can learn more about the seminars and register for them at http://tinyurl.com/mwjt2ma

CORPORATION OR LLC?

Many entrepreneurs don't think about what legal structure to give their new companies. There are several options that help protect a business owner from being liable for the company's debts, including a limited liability company and what are called S and C corporations. You can learn more about the different types of business structures and their advantages and disadvantages at an online seminar sponsored by SCORE, the organization that gives free counseling to small businesses. The seminar will be held on Thursday, Aug. 22 at 1 p.m. EDT. You can learn more and register at http://tinyurl.com/ldgq9f4

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