Also in this Issue...

10 Ways to Protect Your Privacy
In the digital age, it’s easier than ever for stores, snoops and scammers to access our personal information. While some use this data for marketing purposes, others may have a more malicious intent—like stealing your identity. Below are 10 tips to better protect your privacy:

  1. Password-protect all of your devices. You wouldn’t leave your front door or car unlocked, would you?
  2. Put a Google Alert on your name. Go to google.com/alerts, type your name (in quotations) into the search box, and Google will send you email notifications whenever it is published online.
  3. Sign out! Sign out of online accounts after each session to reduce the ability of advertising companies to track your Web surfing and prevent snoops from gaining access to confidential information.
  4. Don’t give out your digits. Forgo handing over your phone number, zip code and/or email to retailers, who use this data to create a profile of your consumer habits.
  5. Encrypt your computer. Mac users can activate FireVault, while PC users can utilize Bitlocker so no one can access your hard drive without a password or encryption key.
  6. Enable secondary authentication measures. Google offers two-step verification for Gmail, which requires entering a code sent to the user’s cellphone before allowing access to the account from a new device.
  7. Pay in cash. Using a credit or debit card can easily track your purchases back to you.
  8. Change your setting to “Friends Only.” Visit your Facebook privacy settings and make sure they’re not defaulted to “Public.” If using the “Custom” setting, be aware of what users and networks can see your profile.
  9. Clear your browser history and cookies frequently. Consider changing your browser settings to automatically clear your history after every session or “never remember history.”
  10. Use an IP masker. Hide your online footprint with software like Tor or one of many browser-based options.

Source: forbes.com


The Scoop on Small Business
Small businesses are the backbone of local commerce, adding character to our communities and spurring economic growth. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, small businesses accounted for 64 percent—11.8 million—of net new jobs created between 1993 and 2011. But what exactly is a small business, and what kind of impact do these firms have on the economy? Read on to get the lowdown on small business in America:

  • While definitions vary, the most widely used criteria, endorsed by the Small Business Administration (SBA), for defining what constitutes a small business is: a business with no more than 500 employees for most manufacturing and mining industries, and no more than $7 million in average annual receipts for nonmanufacturing industries.
  • As of 2010, there were 27.9 million small businesses in operation in the U.S.
  • Of those small businesses, 52 percent are home-based businesses, two percent are franchises, 73.2 percent are sole proprietorships, 19.5 percent are corporations, 21.5 percent are employer businesses, and 78.5 percent are non-employer businesses (firms without employees).
  • Sole proprietorships and partnerships comprise 94 percent of non-employers. Of small employer firms, 44 percent are organized as S corporations, 22 percent as C corporations, 16 percent as sole proprietorships, 11 percent as partnerships, and seven percent as nonprofits.
  • The latest census data suggests small businesses comprise 99.7 percent of American employer firms, 64 percent of net new private-sector jobs, 49.2 percent of private-sector employment, 42.9 percent of private-sector payroll, 46 percent of private-sector output, 43 percent of high-tech employment, 98 percent of firms exporting goods, and 33 percent of exporting value.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly half of all new business establishments survive five years or more, while only a mere third survive a decade or more.

For more information and resources for small business owners, visit sba.gov.


Small Business, Big Opportunity
Where is small business booming in the U.S.? According to cardhub.com, in Denver. Boasting a high concentration of small employers and the country’s second-fastest workforce growth rate, the Mile High City secured the No. 1 spot on Card Hub’s list of “The Best & Worst Cities to Work for a Small Business – 2013,” which ranked 30 of the nation’s largest metropolitans based on the state of their small businesses. Boston, Minneapolis, Seattle and San Francisco rounded out the top five, while the still economically struggling San Diego; Philadelphia; Sacramento; Riverside, California and Detroit ranked at the bottom of the list. View the entire report online at cardhub.com/edu/best-worst-cities-for-small-business-employees.

Best in State
And the winner of America’s Top States for Business 2013 is… South Dakota! The Mount Rushmore State snagged the top honor in CNBC’s annual study, citing its minimal tax burdens and low utility rates, commercial rent and business costs, along with high scores for business friendliness and a low crime rate. Illinois ranked at a paltry No. 37 on the list, due in large part to its high cost of doing business, poor economic conditions and low score for business friendliness. To view the complete results, visit cnbc.com/id/100727942.

Paws Off My iPhone!
Beware of Fido and Miss Kitty around your technology… A recent survey conducted by insurance company SquareTrade found our four-legged friends are responsible for the destruction of over eight million electronic devices—totaling more than $3 billion in damages! Smartphones topped the list of broken gadgets, accounting for about 30 percent of reported incidents. The results revealed dogs were twice as destructive as cats, while male pets were 50 percent more likely and overweight pets 72 percent more likely to be involved in the damage. iBi

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