Saturday, May 16, 2009

Can You Use 4000 Years of Experience?

score_tjpg_woodard This article was written by Carl Woodard, Chairman, SCORE Orange County

We can give you that opportunity!

Hi, I’m Carl Woodard, the new chairman of the Orange County Chapter of SCORE. Our Chapter has over 100 experienced members who have owned, managed or launched successful businesses and have faced opportunities and challenges similar to yours. We easily represent more than 4000 years of real-world business experience and we stand ready to help you. Simply dial 714-550-7369 and tell us what you need, or you can connect with us at www.score114.org.

If you have read this newsletter frequently, you know most of the programs which we offer, but I want to list just a few which are popular and growing.

Workshops- Within the year, we conducted 169 workshops on popular business subjects at 16 locations throughout Orange County. Attendance topped 6000. In the current six month schedule alone we will offer 32 workshops on Marketing, 21 on Finance and 11 which teach you how to construct a Business Plan. There are many other topics, as well. Check our website to find a location and topic that you can use.

Face to Face Counseling- Last year we spoke personally with more than 4500 business people about their specific business needs. We can do that for you, also. Appointments can be arranged with a counselor who has experience which you can use. And we are convenient. We can meet you at our primary location in Santa Ana or elsewhere, if it’s more convenient.

Cyber-Counseling-  More than 2600 received counseling from specially trained counselors last year after contacting us via email. If that is more convenient for you, just let us know.

Women in Business breakfasts- Six times each year we have breakfast for 80-100 women in business at the Center Club in Costa Mesa. Programs of interest are presented along with the delicious meal and network opportunities are abundant. While you do not need to be a woman to attend, everyone needs to register in advance at our website. Our next one is Friday, July 10.

Guest Speakers- If your organization needs a speaker to present a business topic of interest, just let us know by calling our number and asking for our Speakers’ Bureau. We respond to many requests throughout the year, and I’m sure we can fill yours.
We hope to see you or hear from you in the near future. As you know, our counseling sessions are totally free of charge. And the workshops are most often free, or carry a nominal fee if not sponsored.

You have 4000 years of experience at your fingertip, waiting to respond as soon as we hear from you. Visit our website or give us a call.

Orange County SCORE Scores Big by Partnering with HP and American Express OPEN

score_tjpg_morland This article was written by Bill Morland, SCORE Orange County Management Counselor

SCORE Orange County Chapter 114 is honored to have been selected by both HP and American Express OPEN to host major events in Orange County to help the local small business community in tough economic times.

The HP event took place on Thursday, April 30th at the Huntington Beach Public Library. It was attended by 103 businesses with 134 attendees were able to attend a great workshop put on by HP followed by a networking lunch. The workshop topics were Business Security, Technology, and Marketing. The guest speaker at the lunch was the former head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Hector Barreto. HP underwrote the entire cost of the event so there was no charge to the attendees.

hpamex1 The American Express OPEN counseling event took place on May 12th at the Anaheim Hilton. This all day event and was attended by 220 local small businesses with over 300 total attendees. Each business had a 30 minute business coaching session with one of 50 SCORE counselors. In addition, each attendee was able to attend four different workshops on finance, marketing, government contracting, and success stories. Marty Keller, the small business advocate in the Governor’s office, gave a welcoming talk in the morning. Dr. Esmael Adibi, the head of the Economics Department at Chapman University, delivered the luncheon keynote address on the economy. The entire cost of this no charge event was underwritten by American Express OPEN.

hpamex2 At both events Orange County SCORE provided a computer station where small business owners who wanted additional no-charge business counseling could schedule a follow-up appointment with a SCORE counselor. You can easily book your own no-charge face to face business counseling appointment by calling 714-550-7369 any working weekday between 9 AM and 2:30 PM.

hpamex3 Our thanks go out to HP and American Express OPEN for allowing Orange County SCORE to participate and give our local small businesses increased awareness of the services that SCORE offers on a daily basis.

A Bank and Stock Analysis Term that Small Business Persons Should Know About

score_tjpg_Ginnaty This article was written by Dick Ginnaty, CPA

Asset Quality is a term used by bank analysts and others in evaluating the Balance Sheet of a potential lendee. It is an analysis of the quality of the important classes of assets that the bank will rely on as collateral for making a loan, and judging the credit quality of the business. It is a concept that every business person should be aware of also.

Usually the quality that banks are interested in are those associated with accounts receivables, inventory and fixed assets, but they can look at other assets listed on the Balance Sheet if they are meaningful.

Quality in this context means are they “good” assets, meaning are the receivables collectible and being collected on a timely basis,  is the inventory good in the sense is it selling and how long is it taking to sell it, and in the context of fixed assets, what are these assets worth in liquidation (remember we are talking from the banker’s perspective).

Banks will discount (lower the value for purposes of lending) those assets that are of low quality. So, if your receivable aging (the report which shows who owes you, and how long the invoice has been outstanding) shows substantial balances over due, the banks will not give you full credit for them. Same with inventory, if an inventory turn report (a report which shows the inventory in hand in dollars and in units, and calculates
how soon in months the inventory will be sold based on unit sale history) shows that significant inventory items are selling slowly relative to industry norms, then the inventory is going to be discounted for purposes of lending.

Knowledge of this type of analysis is needed when going for a bank loan, and is important as you look at your own business, or analyzing businesses you are
buying.

(If there is any area in accounting or tax that you think needs to be addressed in this newsletter please e-mail Dick at Ginnatycpa@aol.com and if it is of general interest, he will address it in future articles)

Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance Program

score_tjpg_lefson This article was written by Bern Lefson, SCORE Orange County Management Counselor

In these difficult economic times, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) has a program that may help alleviate some of the financial burden and aid in retaining key employees.  The Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance program allows for the payment of benefits to individuals whose wages and hours have been reduced.  The basic purpose is to avoid layoffs and, for temporary situations lasting for a reasonable period of time, to share the available work and make up lost wages through eligibility for unemployment insurance payments.

This Program is practical and helpful by providing employers to quickly gear up when business conditions improve. Employers are spared the expense of recruiting, hiring, and training new employees. Employees are spared the hardship of total unemployment.  For employers who must reduce their workforce, this Program may be used as a transition to the workforce reduction.  Affected employees can continue to be employed while seeking other employment prior to the effective date of the layoff.

Work Sharing is flexible.  Employees may be rotated so different employees have reduced work hours and wages each week.  The Program allows the employer to determine which week(s) will have hours and wage reduction.  The employer also may designate which employees are to participate.

A Work Sharing plan is approved for a six month period.  If, at the end of six months, there is a need to continue the plan, a new application must be filed.  Such a new plan may be approved to be effective immediately following the original plan expiration.

Eligibility and approval of the employer’s plan requires the following:

  • The Work Sharing plan must be submitted to EDD for approval using Form DE 8686.
  • Benefits cannot be paid prior to the approval of the plan by EDD.
  • The employer’s Work Sharing plan must include at least two employees and 10% of the workforce or work unit.
  • There must be at least 10% reduction in hours worked and wages earned for each participating employee.

It is recommended that anyone interested in the Program contact EDD for more information and for the required Form(s).  Call the Employment Development Department at: (916) 464-3343

An Update on Copyright Procedures

score_tjpg_Fulton This article was written by Jim Fulton, SCORE Orange County Management Counselor

A copyright is a protection provided by the US Government to anyone creating a work.  The work can take any form.  Its primary characteristic is it “expresses an idea.”  The copyright does not protect or restrict the underlying idea.  It only protects the expression of that idea; typically in words, painting, sculpture, music, theater, etc.

A copyright lasts for the lifetime of the author plus 75 years.  The rules are a bit more complicated for material created by a group.  Talk to a lawyer about that situation.

A copyright is issued by the national government and is only good within that countries jurisdiction.  However, there is an international copyright convention.  Talk to a lawyer if you need more on that convention.

The basic US Copyright law has changed considerably in the last few years.  Under the current law, a copyright can exist in several forms.   The act of expressing an idea results in a common law copyright as soon as you complete the expression.  No formal action is required.  However, this common law copyright is of limited value.  It is hard to defend in court.  A second situation occurs when you “assert your copyright.”  In this case, you provide notice of your copyright by adding the following statement to the document in a prominent location, “Copyright 2009, <owner’s name> or the briefer “© 2009, <owner’s name>.”  The third situation is the strongest.  You go to the website of the Library of Congress, www.loc.gov and click on the Copyright Office in the left column.  The site contains some important tutorial material and a FAQ page.  After reviewing their guidance, you fill out the specific form for your type of expression, text, movie, music etc., pay a nominal fee (about $35) and submit two copies of the work, or various parts thereof in the case of a computer program, to the Government address provided.  You are then entitled to use the notice “Registered Copyright 2009 <owner’s name>.”  This can be shortened to Reg Copyright 2009 <owner’s name> or ® 2009 <owner’s name.”  If you ever need to go to court to protect your copyright, the Government will certify to the date they received your two copies of the work.