NARI NewsWatch
Apr. 30, 2014

Top 5 credit cards for small businesses
Wall Street Cheat Sheet
Running a small business is stressful. Whether it’s day-to-day operations, planning, or budgeting and expenses, you need to be on top of it all. Having a great business credit card can make some of that stuff a little bit easier. There are several great options out there – it just depends on what you’re looking for. In this article are five cards that offer great perks, including low-interest rates, great travel expense features and bonus points.More

Introducing new Legal Corner column
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
NARI is introducing its monthly Legal Corner column, which will cover topics related to not only employment law, but other areas, including legal issues surrounding liens, client interaction and your brand. This first column provides insight into what items are required to make a contract legal. Keep in mind that this Legal Corner column is professional advice to help you start a conversation with a legal professional in your area, as so many items vary from state to state.

If you have a legal topic you’re interested in learning more about , let us know via email at marketing@nari.org.More

Use Home Improvement Month in May to promote remodeling
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
May has been designated Home Improvement Month since 2002. NARI provides members a variety of tools — including press release templates, social media postings and graphics — and suggestions on how to use them tomorrow to kick your marketing efforts into high gear. Find out what’s available and ideas on how to use them here.More

EPA certification renewal date coming up in 2015
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
NARI wants members to start thinking about renewing the Environmental Protection Agency lead-certified renovator certificate to work on pre-1978 homes. For those who received the certification in the first year of the Lead Renovation, Repair & Painting program, 2015 is the renewal year of that five-year certification. In order to get renewed, remodelers will have to take a refresher course. Currently, that includes hands-on training, although the EPA is looking into removing that requirement.

If you are working in one of the following states — Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington or Wisconsin — you will need to check with your state-specific programs, using the hyperlinks included.

If you are a certified lead renovator — either through EPA or the state — don’t forget to send NARI a copy of your certificate to be listed as a certified lead renovator on the NARI website. You can email it to info@nari.org or fax it to (847) 298-9225.

For more information on the EPA’s LRRP program, to find a trainer or to download materials to share with your customers, visit the EPA’s website.More

Central Virginia chapter hosts social event
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
Join Central Virginia NARI at its 3rd Annual Beer & BBQ event on Wednesday, May 14, from 5-8 p.m. at the Charles Luck Stone Center. This is a social event so bring your spouse, employees and prospective members! Food and drink will be served. The cost to attend is $20, and you can purchase tickets from the chapter’s website.More

Learn about Houzz with Austin NARI
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
Austin NARI will meet Thursday, May 15, at the Norris Conference Center to learn about Houzz. The meeting will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cost to attend is $25. To find out more information and to register, visit the chapter’s website. More

NARI of Madison meets in May
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
NARI of Madison will be hosting a social event for its May Membership Meeting, on Monday, May 19, from 4-7 p.m. This will be the chapter’s last meeting until the fall. Join the chapter at Capitol Brewing for some BBQ and networking. First person from each member company is free. For more information and to RSVP by May 15, visit the chapter’s website. More

Should you outsource your marketing?
Forbes
How dynamic is your current marketing team? Many companies are learning that outsourcing marketing responsibilities can be a good idea. To decide whether you should outsource your entire marketing strategy, part of your efforts, or none at all, you need to really understand your company and its capabilities. More

4 budget-smart strategies for growing your business
FOX Business
Doing more with less has been the norm for many small businesses over the past few years, and that hasn’t changed so far in 2014. But, even though you are constantly pressed for time and have limited resources, there are ways to grow without breaking the budget. “Running lean and mean is no longer a mantra used solely in manufacturing,” says Chuck Fried, president and chief executive of TxMQ, an IT services company. “We're observing companies of all sizes strategically learning to do more with less human capital.” More

What CrossFit teaches us about pricing
By Marc Wayshak
Walk into any CrossFit gym, and you'll probably hear loud music blasting over the grunts of CrossFitters pushing their bodies well past what most would consider possible. They often train so hard they can hardly stand by the end of their workouts. Regardless of your athletic ability, though, CrossFit has a few lessons in store for you. In fact, all small business owners would be wise to learn a thing or two about pricing from the CrossFit business model. Consider this: CrossFit gyms typically charge two to five times more than typical gyms. More

3 Pinterest marketing strategies to boost sales
Business News Daily
Is Pinterest a part of your social media marketing strategy? If it's not, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity to increase brand awareness and sales. While product-based businesses are a natural fit for this visual social network, Pinterest has proved to be a low-cost, effective way for small businesses in a variety of industries to engage with and learn about their customers. More

The perfect small business social media game plan
Business 2 Community
If there is truth in one thing, it’s that social media is on the rise. In fact, it’s more like blowing the roof off digital marketing as we know it today. Did you know that, according to SmallBizTrends, over 85 percent of marketers view social media as a foundation for Internet marketing, but at the same time only 36 percent of marketers think their current Facebook marketing efforts are producing results. If you execute the following tips into your social media marketing plan, you will convert visitors to prospects, help drive traffic back to your site, and realize your potential for nurturing client relationships. More

How to make your business unforgettable
FOX Business
There are many different theories as to what creates more revenue for a business. Some methods are successful, and some are just a waste of time. There are, however, a few general guidelines that have proven to be effective over time. Keeping a positive image of your business in the minds of your customers will always help you create more revenue. More

Avoid these 5 common small business accounting mistakes
Forbes
Keeping the books is one of the more challenging aspects of running a company. It’s also one of the most important. Accounting errors can be damaging — even fatal — to businesses, but mistakes are surprisingly common. Here’s how to avoid five of the most common accounting mistakes that plague small businesses. More

How to make better hiring decisions
By Mel Kleiman
The best applicant and the best employee are rarely one in the same, so I recommend following a "hire tough, manage easy" philosophy. Even if you occasionally miss the mark, you will still be hiring to a higher standard. The following "best practices" will help you build an excellent team. First, remember there are two parts to every interview: gathering information and evaluating that information. To the best of your ability, keep them separate. Most interviewers have a tendency to let one good or bad answer skew their take on subsequent responses. More

Small business lending plummets as loans to big business soar
The Huffington Post
Even as their big competitors are awash in capital, many locally owned businesses are struggling to secure the financing they need to grow. Since 2000, bank lending to large businesses is up 36 percent, while small business loan volume has fallen 14 percent and "micro" business loans — those under $100,000 — have plummeted 33 percent, according to a new analysis from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. More

The real secret to small-business success
Forbes
What separates thriving businesses from those that struggle? Is it an amazing idea? A well-crafted business plan? Attracting an influential board? Being in the right place at the right time? A new report released recently suggests a far-different answer. The secret may be the owners’ discipline in managing their personal finances and business cash flow, which for many tiny businesses are closely intertwined, according to findings from “In Search of Solid Ground: Understanding the Financial Vulnerabilities of Microbusiness Owners,” a report based on a survey by the Corporation for Enterprise Development. More

US Economic Health Tracker
D&B
D&B's U.S. Economic Health Tracker is a monthly, multi-dimensional view of the health of the economy. The Tracker provides unique, leading insight on jobs, small business and key business indicators such as viability, delinquency and total loss. More

Home remodeling growth expected to ease
U.S. Finance Post
By the end of the year, strong growth in the home remodeling market is expected to begin easing, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity index released by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. Home remodeling spending is expected to continue stay strong this year, peaking at $159 million during the third quarter, up 14.5 percent from the same time last year. According to the study, spending is predicted to fall to $153 million in the fourth quarter, which will still represent a 9.4 percent increase from the previous year. More

Affluents plan to spend more on remodeling, other major items
Appliance Magazine
Affluent consumers are planning to increase spending for major items, including home remodeling, according to the American Affluence Research Center, whose new survey results show strong improvement in affluent/luxury consumers’ 12 month outlook for the economy, the stock market and personal wealth. The survey results showed the index for future business conditions at 117, up 12 points from the survey in the Fall of 2013. More

5 reasons to use a virtual phone system with your small business
Digital Technology
Technology since its evolution has always been developing. It has provided various useful products to society through its ever rotating wheels. It won’t be an exaggeration, if it said that current era is almost entirely dependent upon this aspect. Consequently, the world is getting advanced day by day. Things have been completely transformed when compared with their earlier forms. More than a requirement it is now mandatory to move ahead with the latest available techniques to meet and tackle the on going challenges. More

Microsoft warns of major Internet Explorer bug; no fix for Windows XP
Los Angeles Times
Windows XP users are getting their first taste of life without security updates after the discovery of a major flaw within the Internet Explorer Web browser. Microsoft issued a warning regarding the flaw recently, saying it affects Internet Explorer versions 6 through 11. The vulnerability makes it possible for hackers to take control of a user's computer after it has been infected with malicious code. More

3 ways to stay on top of small business technology
FOX Business
Small business owners know that rapidly changing technologies offer great potential for profit. But with countless technology offerings and few clear ways to weed out gems from the fads, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. “Small business owners are masters at their craft, and one of the challenges they often have is wearing all the other hats,” says Ken Yancey, CEO of SCORE, a small business counseling and mentorship non-profit. More