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AUG
20
0

Would you describe your work environment as an "experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers, redrawing the boundaries of what is acceptable?" That's how a recent article in the New York Times described Amazon, a behemoth of an idea-machine that demands long hours, encourages peer-criticism and is unrelentingly demanding on employees. Perhaps it's unfair to rest our focus too long on one company. But the number one online retailer in the world; the most valuable retailer in the country (eclipsing Walmart last month); a company worth over $250 billion, with a CEO coming in at the fifth-wealthiest person on the planet, ought to expect to come under the microscope.
AUG
18
0

When it comes to marketing your business, experts say, "Go where the people are!" And for many small businesses, that means get your business online. But as the focus to reach out through a heightened web presence and social media grows, some business owners might be forgetting an important sector: their local community. If you drew circles to represent potential customer quantities, your online market will likely be larger. With the right website, web-marketable services and a consistent voice in social media, you can reach a large number of people. Why turn to the smaller circle of potential local customers? Loyalty, opportunity for community involvement and face-to-face interaction are all positives when you market your small business to your community. If you're a store front, you have little choice, but even online-based businesses can and should get involved in local marketing.
AUG
11
0

The lending climate has changed considerably over the past seven years. When access to small business loans became nearly impossible in 2008, alternative options began to pop up. Answering a need were online lenders with new products and much quicker turnaround times, and this innovation has led to a new industry that is seeing growth. The growth has been largely unregulated, as often happens with innovation at a fast rate. However, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau has been keeping tabs on the alternative lending industry, participating in conferences and collecting data on borrowing habits and lending policies. And just recently the Department of Treasury launched an inquiry into online lending practices. Rather than fearing regulation, online lenders are using this attention to build awareness and determine for themselves how the industry will both grow and protect the business borrowers who turn to alternative lending for funding.
JUL
29
0

The SBA 7(a) loan program has run out of money, hitting its annual lending cap of $18.75 billion last week. Two more months remain in the program's fiscal year which begins again October 1. The7(a) loan program finances small businesses who likely won't qualify for a traditional bank loan in eight states across the country. The first freeze in a decade (other than during government shutdowns) leaves more than 900 applicants hanging. The good news is that just hours after the SBA suspended the program, Senate unanimously passed an entrepreneurship bill including an amendment to raise the cap to $23.5 billion, a record-setting amount. While the SBA and lenders say that any short-lived freeze will not significantly affect borrowers, specifically because of the 2-week application processing window, other leaders disagree.
JUL
23
0

It's the question that experts, lenders, small businesses, and industry reporters like Bob Coleman of the Coleman Report are asking once again during the AltLend Summit 2015 Conference in New York City this week, organized by Financial Research Associates. The industry, in an unyielding effort to grow in size, transparency, fairness, profitability and authenticity, has been focusing on topics such as current trends, interests and concerns of investors, improving underwriting models through better data collection and of course, regulation. Eyes are on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as they continue to consider how they work with agencies to collect data on small business borrowing. Earlier this month Senate Democrats, led by New Jersey's Cory Booker, explained in a letter that the lack of public data makes it difficult to monitor the industry and gauge whether or not fair lending laws are being followed and enforced.


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