Government Website Aids with Compliance
A newly launched federal government website, business.gov, provides business owners with a one-stop resource that searches federal government agencies for compliance information and resources. The site makes it easier to find information on taxes, immigration laws, workplace safety, environmental requirements and other regulations that can present challenges for small and mid-sized businesses.
“The end goal of business.gov is to cut through the red tape and make it easier for businesses to do business,” said Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Steven C. Preston. “This website will help streamline access to information and reduce federal compliance barriers and help businesses save time and money.” Business.gov is managed by the SBA in a partnership with 21 other federal agencies.
Small firms with fewer than 500 employees represent 99.7 percent of all businesses. These firms spend 45 percent more per employee than larger companies to comply with federal regulations, including taxes and environmental requirements, according to the SBA.
Originally launched in 2004, business.gov initially provided information on starting, growing and managing a small business. The new compliance focus is designed to better meet the needs of the business community as a whole. The site now contains links to a variety of useful topic titles, including everything from Wage Garnishment Laws to Truth in Advertising Laws, and from Import and Expert Statistics to How to Sell to the Government.
Convenience Stores: Hot Dogs and Hot Trends
Convenience store retailers recently gathered in Las Vegas to check out new products and preview technologies at the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) convention at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Currently, 990 convenience stores operate in Nevada, of which 767 – 77 percent – sell motor fuels.
Retailers at the convention checked out a new assortment of grab-and-go food items, as well as new packaging technologies designed to increase the shelf stability of items like bananas. Conventioneers also tested new candy products and premium-brand coffee products. Other hot items and traffic builders included stored-value gift cards and pre-paid phone cards.
The industry overall has seen a 25.5 percent growth in sales, driven largely by higher gasoline prices in 2005, according to the association. The top 10 in-store product categories in terms of consumer sales included cigarettes, non-alcoholic packaged beverages, foodservice, beer, other tobacco, candy, salty snacks, general merchandise, fluid milk products and packaged sweet snacks.
The 14.4 percent increase in in-store sales surpassed that of virtually every other competing channel, according to U.S. Department of Commerce data. The only channel that saw growth near that of the convenience store industry was warehouse clubs/superstores, which grew 11.7 percent. Overall retail sales climbed 7.0 percent, and other competing channels didn’t match that level, including restaurants (6.5 percent increase), drug stores (4.1 percent increase), grocery stores (4.2 percent increase) and discount department stores (0.8 percent).
NACS reported that the convenience store industry continues to be dominated by small, independent operators – stores that are owned and operated as a one-store business or franchise. Independent operators own 60.1 percent of all stores in the United States. At the other end of the scale, 13.4 percent of convenience stores are owned by companies with 500 or more stores.
Generation Gap at the Office? Maybe Not
They say age is a state of mind, and a new survey suggests this may be particularly true in the office. Eighty-four percent of workers polled said they would be comfortable reporting to a manager who is younger than they are; 89 percent said they wouldn’t mind supervising employees older than themselves.
The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of administrative professionals. “For the first time in history, four generations of employees are in the workforce, from the Silent Generation and baby boomers to Generations X and Y,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Companies recognize the benefits of having diverse, well-rounded teams, and employees may be just as likely to report to a younger supervisor as an older one. In either case, the boss’s management abilities are more of a factor in employee job satisfaction than his or her age. In an ideal office setting, managers and staff are focused on the skills and knowledge people bring to their roles, not what year they were born,” she said.