NASE on Micro-Business

Archive for May 2009

The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 (H.R. 627/S. 414), a bill designed to protect consumers from unsavory practices employed by credit card companies, was recently signed into law by President Barack Obama. The NASE was disappointed to see that an important amendment introduced by Senate Small Business Committee leadership, Senators Landrieu (D-La.) and Snowe (R-Maine), failed to pass. The amendment would have extended these protections to the business credit cards of firms with 50 or fewer employees. However, we still applaud the efforts of Congress and the Administration to increase transparency and consumer protections relating to these popular financing tools.

Click here for a fact sheet on the credit card reform law, or tune into YouTube to see President Obama explain the details of the new bill.

For more updates like this, please subscribe to Washington Watch, the NASE’s weekly e-Newsletter covering our legislative efforts here in Washington, D.C. on behalf of micro-businesses.


The SBA’s Office of Advocacy recently released the latest version of their annual study on lending to small firms.  The study found that for the year ending in June 2008, the rates of small business and micro-business lending were down from the previous one-year period, but were still in positive territory.  The largest increase was in the number of micro-business loans (loans under $100,000), which increased by 15.7 percent.

The whole study has detailed and interesting information, but be sure to check out the tables of top lending institutions organized by state and territory.  The table for top small business lending institutions (loans less than $1 million) starts on page 38, and the table for top micro-business lending institutions (loans less than $100,000) starts on page 51 of the study.  There is also a helpful chart on page 16 of the study that explains the variables on the state charts.

refined technology solutionsThis week’s member blog comes from Adam Edelman of Refined Technology Solutions, based in Baltmore, Md. Adam has been an NASE Member for six months now, and has owned his business since 2002. Refined Technology Solutions helps small- to mid-size companies grow their business through the integration of marketing and technology.

Adam says he started his blog, Marketing on Demand, “to discuss the different ways in which the ‘marriage’ of marketing and technology can help businesses acquire and keep clients.”

Started just a year ago, Adam’s goal is that “people will see the blog as an educational, idea generator as it relates to marketing on-demand and automation.”

Adam’s blog shares a lot of new technologies he’s come across, (like one recent post about the technology that allows e-mail subscribers to share the content of an e-mail on a social networking site. I saw this in action last week on an e-mail pitch from Ann Taylor — with a simple click of the mouse I could post to my Facebook profile that the store was having a sale this weekend) and also his opinion on the latest marketing research (such as this post responding to the claim that marketing firms should bear some of the blame for the current economic crisis).

Adam says he sticks to business on his blog about 95% of the time, and doesn’t often veer off into personal posts. It’s clearly a blog the helps potential clients learn more about Adam and his expertise — I like how the blog is prominently featured on the “About us” page of Refined Technology Solutions’ Web site. But also in the reverse, if someone stumbles upon Marketing on Demand, it’s made clear that the ideas are coming from Adam’s company.

Thanks to Adam for writing in to tell us about his blog! Do you have a business blog? Tell us about it and you could be a featured NASE Member Blog of the Week! Send us a link to your blog in the comments!

The House passed a bill on Wednesday by a vote of 361-64 that limits the ability of credit card companies to raise fees and interest rates for credit card holders.  The Senate voted in favor of the bill by a vote of 90-5 on Tuesday.  President Barack Obama is expected to sign the legislation by the end of the week.

While the bill offers protections for consumer credit cards, protections may or may not extend to small business owners depending on how your business is incorporated and the type of card you have.

The legislation doesn’t apply to corporate cards, so under the legislation you should be covered if:

-You use your personal card to make business purchases
-You have a business card based on your personal credit (like many sole proprietors do)

The  regulations for traditional corporate cards remain the same under the bill. Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), the Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, respectively, proposed an amendment to the legislation that would have extended protections to any businesses with 50 or fewer employees. However, that amendment was not included in the final version of the legislation.

Hat tip: CNNMoney.

Will this legislation apply to your business? Do you think this legislation will help or hurt your business?  Let us know in the comments.

What wonderful people! This year’s National Small Business Week was jam-packed with stuff to learn about, people to meet, and old friends with which to reconnect.

The conference site was crammed with folks who care enormously about small businesses, either because they own one or they are with organizations/businesses that advocate for them.

Our very own Kristie Arslan, Executive Director of our DC office, even attended an event hosted by the White House.

I had a great time meeting with smarties like Duct Tape Marketing’s John Jantsch (blog) and Rieva Lesonsky of GrowBiz Media (Q&A).

Check out their sites when you have the time. Definitely worth a look!

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about “necessity entrepreneurs” – people who might not have been planning on starting a business, but did so after they were laid off.

Keith Hall, NASE’s National Tax Advisor and the man behind the NASE TaxTalk program, encountered a number of necessity entrepreneurs at the tax seminars he hosted around the country this March. He said that at each seminar, there were always a handful of people filing their business taxes for the first time this year after unexpectedly losing their jobs.

The NASE grant review committee commented on it yesterday, too, after reading the April Business Development Grant applications. One applicant talked specifically of being laid off in November, and several others seemed to fit the bill.

And the Wall Street Journal recently featured four start-ups that described themselves as necessity entrepreneurs.

It’s to be expected in today’s economy. And hopefully, these necessity entrepreneurs will be so successful and fall so in love with self-employment, that they won’t go back!

If you find yourself unexpectedly looking to start your own business, has some words of wisdom on avoiding scams. Check out the article, “Think ‘Career’ not ‘Biz Opp’ when looking for home-based business.” It has some great tips to think about.

You can also get help from the NASE consultants, even before becoming a member. Check out ShopTalk 800, ABCs of Finance and TaxTalk (and once you’re started, EstateTalk can help you plan for the future!).

The SBA recently announced that some small businesses suffering financially in the economic downturn may be eligible for a new loan program.  The SBA will begin guaranteeing the America’s Recovery Capital (ARC) loans on June 15. 

According to an SBA press release:

“ARC loans are deferred-payment loans of up to $35,000 available to established, viable, for-profit small businesses that need short-term help to make their principal and interest payments on existing qualifying debt.  ARC loans are interest-free to the borrower, 100 percent guaranteed by the SBA, and have no SBA fees associated with them.”

SBA Administrator Karen Gordon Mills said the ARC loans “will free up capital and put more money in the hands of small business owners when they need it the most.”

Check out for more information on the ARC loans.

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