New SEC Rule Allows Businesses to Raise Up to $50 Million Through Crowdfunding
On March 25, the SEC approved final rules to implement Title IV of the JOBS Act, which will allow small businesses and start-ups to raise up to $50 million through crowdfunding. The rules open the “investor” category to anyone, not just “accredited” investors.
Record Store Day Celebrates 200 New Indie Music Stores!
One great thing about vinyl albums’ sales growth is the decentralized nature of the market. The vast majority of sales are through indie stores, and no company controls more than 12% of market. See Record Store Day for all the info on this year’s special releases and events (April 18).
The Do-It Yourselves Downtown
A new investment co-op model lets communities own and develop their commercial spaces. Keeping more opportunities for local entrepreneurs is just one important benefit.
Manhattan Borough President Proposes Lease Mediation to Keep Local Businesses
Drastic rent increases are displacing scores of independent businesses in New York City, and grassroots pressure from groups like #SaveNYC is starting to generate action from local officials.
Beware: Walmart Inc is on a New Building Spree
“Walmart has crafted its own definition of sustainability, in which land development is an off-limits topic.” In related news, this photo essay explores why big boxes are a recipe for bad economic development planning.
Safer Streets, Stronger Economies
This new report from Smart Growth America analyzes projects from many cities and neighborhoods. It finds pedestrian and bike-friendly planning makes for safer streets and more potential customers for local businesses in those districts.
Pop-up Shops Bloom in Maryland
Warning: this tale of pop-up stores in Hagerstown, MD may inspire you to do it yourself. It includes loads of helpful information and rationale for using this tool to boost entrepreneurship and fill available commercial space.
Updated Graphs Show Your Audience the Power of Buying and Dining Local
When we realized recently that our introduction to the local multiplier effect has been cited and linked all over the world, we decided it was time to improve on the rather primitive graphs we presented there. The revised graphs are based on data from Civic Economics studies in a wide range of communities and enable your local residents or other audiences to see at a glance the huge economic benefit gained when people patronize local independents.
Even Airports Are “Going Local”
“Emphasis on local flavor” will be a key consideration in choosing new vendors at Tampa’s airport. The story interviews Tampa IBA founder Maryann Ferenc and includes Keep Saint Petersburg Local members.
Employment Is Improving, Thanks to Small Businesses
Small businesses created 83 percent of new private-sector jobs during the past four months, reports Bloomberg, which is even higher than their usual two-thirds of new jobs.
New to Member Resources
Local First Milwaukee has issued a challenge to all area businesses to shift more of their B2B spending to independent businesses (specifically to LFM member businesses) with a 45-day Shift Your Spending campaign. They’ve secured some highly desirable prizes for the businesses making the biggest shift, including an advertising package, a Wisconsin Public Radio on-air sponsorship package, a headshot photo shoot with a renowned area photographer and more. We’ve added this idea to our growing compendium of online Member Resources. Affiliates log in, then click here.
New AMIBA Affiliation Benefit: Unlimited Surveys and Templates
Surveying members of your local business organization can yield valuable information about sales leakage, what your members want from your organization, local policy concerns and much more. Every organization should make use of surveys, but we’ve found few do so effectively. To help change that, AMIBA now offers unlimited surveying capacity to member groups and has begun producing templates for a wide range of purposes, from assessing consumer behavior and sales leakage to collecting stories and photos from your member businesses.
Affiliates can log in and view the first few templates here. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, just ask — we’ll create it within two business days!
Contact us to learn more or see an overview of the benefits local business groups or trade associations gain through AMIBA affiliation.
Prepare for Critical Changes to Credit Card Processing
As of October 2015, fraud policies of all major card networks are changing in the U.S. and businesses need to plan ahead and update hardware to avoid being liable for fraudulent charges. All cards will shift from magnetic stripe technology to EMV, a global standard for authenticating credit and debit card transactions via embedded electronic chips.
Local business organizations can serve their members by informing them about the change, their options and opportunities. Local groups also can explore this shift as a way to enable collaborative gift cards (a great way to bite into the chains’ advantage in gift card sales) and loyalty cards by getting members to use compatible Point-of-Sale systems. Contact us for more detailed information on these options and vendors.
Also, American Express’ Small Merchant EMV Assistance Program is helping offset the cost of upgrading POS systems for all small and mid-sized merchants that accept their cards and are not part of a large chain. A one-time $100 reimbursement via an Amex gift card is offered to businesses purchasing new hardware by April 30, 2015. See FAQs, learn more and apply here. (American Express OPEN is an AMIBA sponsor.)
After extreme winter weather in the Eastern U.S. drove sales down sharply (up to 40%) in many cities and towns,Cambridge Local First (MA) and Shop Local Raleigh (NC) responded with incentives to help their members recover. CLF partnered with the Cambridge Community Development Department to create a Lovin’ Local raffle card game. The game is based on an idea they gleaned from the City of Boston. An array of raffle prizes includes lunch with the Mayor. During just the first week of the contest, more than 1,000 printed postcards were distributed, and more than 100 were downloaded from the City’s website.
Meanwhile in Raleigh, upon also seeing the Boston story, Shop Local Raleigh quickly followed suit. SLR director Jennifer Martin said the media have enjoyed this game (see an example of coverage) and will be doing a follow-up story once the winners have been announced. SLR plans to make the game an annual event no matter the weather!
Shop Local Raleigh also launched a brewers cooperative to enable microbreweries in North Carolina to purchase a range of equipment, supplies and products at lower group rates. SLR started with glassware, enabling participating brewers to procure custom-imprinted glasses at high-volume prices for even tiny orders. SLR, naturally, aims to source as much as possible with North Carolina-based independents.
SBN Mass hosted the Local Specialty Crop and Local Food Trade Show earlier this month, attracting 59 vendors and more than 120 participants from various local restaurants and institutions.
The Louisville Independent Business Allaince is revving up for their 7th annual Buy Local Fair, which engages hundreds of musicians, artists, craftspeople, chefs and farmers, as well as storefront business owners.
When it Comes to Chemicals, Who Speaks for Local Business?
Metro IBA (Minneapolis) board member Chris Hanson made the business case for eliminating unnecessary toxins in the Star-Tribune.
Could Your Pro-local Group’s Social Media Page Use a Fresh Banner?
Click the image below to grab a full-size banner from our Facebook page that you are welcome to use on your pages or website. Follow our Facebook page to see new additions in the weeks ahead.