Made in America – A Difference for Your Neighbors and Our Future

 

Festivals, parades and fireworks displays are all a part of summer fun in the United States. When buying goods for your family do you look for products made in America?sparklers_Flag

I grew up checking to see where products were manufactured. My father and grandfather were union carpenters who stressed it was part of being a good citizen to support American jobs whenever possible.

It is still very important to millions of jobs. Manufacturers contributed $2.18 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2016 according to the National Association of Manufacturers.manufacturing_industrial

 

Deloitte’s Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index finds the United States is no longer the world’s top manufacturing center. While China is the top manufacturing nation currently, Deloitte analysts predict the United States will regain the number one position from China by the end of the decade.

One entrepreneur is giving shoppers new options to buy American. Todd Lipscomb, an Asia expert and former tech industry executive, was so haunted by what he learned living in Asia; he chucked it all to found MadeinUSAforever.com  workman_tools

The website features American-made products in one easy to use site with thousands of small businesses represented. It is one of several websites making it easier to locate American made goods.

Writing about my dad and grandfather and their commitment to buy American whenever possible I want to share this vintage commercial that with a catchy jingle!

Happy birthday America!

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Small Business Tip: McAfee to Launch New Online Support Community

Small business owners and entrepreneurs will soon have the opportunity to link online with the world’s largest dedicated security technology company. 
blogpainMcAfee is working to launch an online support community so users can interact with each other to share ideas, discuss emerging trends and help resolve problems.  McAfee technicians, developers and product managers will be able to engage customers in new ways to enhance products and improve processes according to a media release.

Barry McPherson, executive vice president of worldwide support and services at McAfee, said the online community “will enable us to evolve beyond traditional phone and e-mail based services and focus more on collaboration with our customers through discussions, blogs, wikis, user groups and community polling.”

McAfee already monitors Twitter and Facebook. The online community, which will launch in the fourth quarter, will run on Jive’s social business software platform. Please follow me on Twitter to learn more about small business trends and events to give you a competitive edge in business at http://twitter.com/danitablackwood   To learn more about vital technology issues impacting your enterprise; head to http://www.sbtv.com/Technology

Small Business Tip: Best ‘Business-Friendly’ Tax States

Tax rates matter to a small business owner or aspiring entrepreneur.  A new report examines the most ‘business friendly’ tax systems across the nation.  South Dakota comes out on top in the new analysis from the Tax Foundation. The Tax Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization tracking federal, state and local taxes since 1937 and has released the 2010 State Business Tax Climate Index.

The annual analysis measures the competitiveness of the 50 states’ tax systems and ranks them accordingly based on the taxes that matter most to businesses and business investment: corporate income, individual income, property, sales, and unemployment insurance taxes.

The top 10 most business friendly states were South Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska, Nevada, Florida, Montana, New Hampshire, Delaware, Washington, and Utah.

The 10 least friendly are New Jersey, New York, California, Ohio, Iowa, Maryland, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Vermont.

Looking for a state I did not list?   The Tax Foundation has a slide show to accompany the report you can access with a click here.  There are many more tax resources online at www.taxfoundation.org

Please follow me on Twitter to learn more about small business issues and events to give you a competitive edge.  Just go to http://twitter.com/danitablackwood

Google Testing Service to Manage Multiple Phones with One Single Number

Running your own small business requires wearing many hats and doing business on the go.  But juggling a home phone, perhaps one or more work phones along with mobile phone numbers can get complicated for the busy entrepreneur.  A new free phone service is making headlines in entrepreneurial magazines, business newspapers,and small business websites including SBTV.com.

Google is testing Google Voice, a free service to mange telephones through a single, Internet-connected phone number. There’s no charge, although you still have to pay for your regular phone services.

 Google Voice is in trial mode with new users being added as testing progresses.  You can apply online now at https://www.google.com/voice for the free service. You will find more great technology ideas for building a small business or growing an existing enterprise at SBTV.com

Google Testing Service to Manage Multiple Phones with One Single Number

Running your own small business requires wearing many hats and doing business on the go.  But juggling a home phone, perhaps one or more work phones along with mobile phone numbers can get complicated for the busy entrepreneur.  A new free phone service is making headlines in entrepreneurial magazines, business newspapers,and small business websites including SBTV.com.

Google is testing Google Voice, a free service to mange telephones through a single, Internet-connected phone number. There’s no charge, although you still have to pay for your regular phone services.

 Google Voice is in trial mode with new users being added as testing progresses.  You can apply online now at https://www.google.com/voice for the free service. You will find more great technology ideas for building a small business or growing an existing enterprise at SBTV.com

Student Entrepreneur is a One Man Economic Stimulus Powerhouse for Small Business

In just weeks, college student Cary Silverman will graduate with a degree in marketing, but he probably won’t be looking for a job because he is already at work as the founder of three successful and growing small businesses.

The University of Missouri student has been a business owner since he was nine years old and started a lawn-mowing business. By the time he was a sophomore in high school, he had five hundred weekly accounts and over 1,700 yearly customers in his original green business.

The enterprising student found another opportunity while in classes. As a college sophomore, Silverman started his own successful online small business! The name of his enterprise is a bit of marketing magic to appeal to students looking for a good grade, Grade Genie. There is not a magic lamp needed to tap Grade Genie, an online company where students from 2,700 schools across the country can form cyber study groups. Silverman created an online platform where students everywhere can put notes, old study guides, and old papers on the Website and other users can download them. This innovative approach got the attention of late night comics including NBC’s Jay Leno who quipped it seemed more like old fashioned cheating than a business building collaboration between students.

Silverman’s small business marketing expertise is evident on the Grade Genie home page asking users to help spread the word about the online portal by helping create a killer viral marketing campaign. The student entrepreneur asks users to download the Grade Genie logo and create a photo, video or story about how Grade Genie changed their college experience. There is even a Grade Genie Hall of Fame for the best business marketing ideas. This student owner could write a book on marketing strategy for the start-up business owner!

While this student was studying in classes on how to start a successful small business; Silverman was putting his lessons to good use. There was another idea on how to start a business and how to market it at Silverman’s neighborhood movie theatre. He got the idea for another successful small business concept while waiting in line at a movie theatre near school. When Silverman saw college students sneaking alcohol into a theater to drink with their popcorn, he saw an opportunity for another small business to start and market with Pub Corn, alcohol flavored popcorn. He tried many ways to flavor the popcorn and after many attempts, partnered with a company to develop non-alcoholic flavorings for Pub Corn.

Available in a variety of adult beverage flavors including beer, Irish cream, and pina colada, Pub Corn is sold at gourmet stores, bars, pubs, and grocery stores. Silverman also has a website selling the cocktail flavored popcorn and is promoting his new snack in stores between exams and business plans.

This student is something of a one-man economic stimulus plan and I can’t wait to see what he does when he graduates!

Dateless? Wish for Great Conversation & Clean Windows? Would You Rent-a-Gent?

Valentine’s Day is coming up and if you find yourself without a sweetheart, one entrepreneur hopes you will consider becoming his client.    In a sign of the times, a downsized Homeland Security agent is offering to be an escort, driver, or do odd jobs in his new business named ‘Rent-A-Gent™.’

Rene van Uum is the Texas man finding an interesting way to help make ends meet with his ‘Rent-A-Gent™’ business. The Garland man is now online with his unusual business and his Website describes a “educated, mature, responsible, tri-lingual, well traveled, internet-savvy, articulate,  resourceful, calculating, punctual, husband & father of twin daughters” willing to do odd jobs to support his family.

webb_picture_1582106The 50-year-old has photographs and descriptions of some of the jobs he can do on the website:  everything from oil changes to washing windows or  pets.  He has helped clients with deliveries and errands; and also worked as a driver and companion on some road trips.
This ‘Rent-A-Gent™ business owner is also available as an escort or date!  His wife, Becky, is supportive as long as she approves the event and client in advance.  I did notice on the site the rates for an upcoming party or special function for women are $25.00 per hour, and for men, $125.00 per hour!
This enterprising baby boomer also provides companionship for senior citizens who want visitors or some help when it comes to shopping or getting to appointments.  Gift shopping is another service the ‘Rent-A-Gent™’ offers.  The rate for most jobs is $25.00 an hour.
Are you inspired to start your own business?

Check out this short streaming video from SBTV.com on some of the hottest ideas and best ways to start a small business: click here.
Would you consider using a service like ‘Rent-A-Gent™’ to make a long car trip less stressful?  Is it a possibility for the next wedding where you don’t feel like going alone?  Let me know what you think about this unusual business and if there is anything like it in your area!