Archive for December, 2011

Teenagers Have 11% of Abortions in Bulgaria – EU Data

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

A total of 10.7% of all abortions in Bulgaria are carried out by girls under the age of 20, according to a major report based on EU data.

The report, circulated in the British media, shows that nearly a quarter of all abortions in Britain are carried out on girls under the age of 20.


US court blocks new emissions rules

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

The ruling ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to delay implementing regulations designed to limit interstate air pollution, giving a boost to power companies

Vialogy in data analysis software push

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Efforts stepped up to win acceptance by big oil and gas exploration companies of seismic mapping technology

Confusion Doesn’t Look Good On You: Profile Your Way To Clarity

Friday, December 30th, 2011

If confusion and overwhelm was an outfit, I would tell you to take it off, because it doesn’t look good on you. If it’s old, worn out and faded, then let it go.

confused laptop

What you wear should enhance what you have instead of playing up your weakness. In fashion, the goal is to wear what looks good on you. I’m saying clarity and balance looks good, so wear it well and wear it often. But how?

In “What Not to Do: The Most Important Decision You’ll Make,” John Mariotti says,  “Refocus your time, talent and money on the important things, the big things, that will make a difference.” Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but here are two things worth your time—profiling your profitable passions and your ideal customers.

The goal is to understand your passion and your customers.

Profile your profitable passions

What do you want to do and can it pay for your lifestyle?

Ivana Taylor shows you how to find your passion and turn it into a profitable business. But it takes effort. You not only need to discover what you are interested in, but you must also find the market who would buy the product or service and the language that would get their attention, using tools like Google, eBay and Amazon.

And after you find the right niche, then it’s time to put more effort into clearly identifying your clients.

Profile your ideal customers

Who do you serve, what do you they want, where are they now and how do you reach them?

The last three questions become much easier to answer when you figure out the first one.

Ivana says:

“When you narrow your message…to a group who values what you are selling, then the rest of your marketing system becomes obvious and easy to implement.”

I spent a lot of time confused and it didn’t look good (or feel good) on me either. To profile my target client I used 3 of the 8 creative ways to profile ideal customers that Ivana mentions—complaints, Web traffic and character descriptions.

Understanding what my clients complain about and the types of people visiting my site based on my profile made it easier to create a character sketch of my target audience. And when you understand what your target audience looks like, then you can figure out where they shop, what they read, where they go to have fun, etc. All that knowledge creates opportunities to meet, market and serve them.

Now that’s a good use of time. Get clear and then get busy.

Confusion Photo via Shutterstock

From Small Business Trends

Confusion Doesn’t Look Good On You: Profile Your Way To Clarity


Italy, Germany: Merkel Didn’t ‘Kick Out’ Berlusconi

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Italian and German officials have formally refuted a newspaper report claiming German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a “secret” October telephone call to Italy’s president had asked for the ouster of then premier Silvio Berlusconi.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano’s office issued a statement denying the account, which had appeared in the US daily Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

“With reference to some press rumous – international and Italian – it is stated that in the phone call, not at all secret, of October 20, 2011, to the president of the republic, Giorgio Napolitano, the chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Angela Merkel, did not pose any questions on Italian domestic politics,” the statement said, as cited by German press agency DPA.


Romanian Tourists Fill Up Bulgarian Black Sea Resorts for New Year’s

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Romanian Tourists Sweep Bulgarian Black Sea Resorts for New Year’sThousands of Romanians have chosen to celebrate New Year’s Eve at Bulgarian Black Sea resorts, according to hotel owners.

Those hotels at the Bulgarian seaside resorts that did not close for the winter have been almost 100% booked with their New Year’s packages.

The overwhelming majority of the bookings belong to Romanian tourists, with the number of Bulgarians actually declining compared with last year, the bTV channel reported citing hospitality business representatives.


Silistra Mayor Strips State-Issued Cell Phones from Municipal Employees

Friday, December 30th, 2011

The municipal administration in the northeastern Bulgarian city of Silistra has had to give up on the convenience of state-issued cell phones.

Silistra’s Mayor, Yulian Naydenov, has collected the cell phones used by the public employees in a bid to cut costs at the debt-ridden municipality.

Naydenov told journalists that Sliven’s municipal administration had already run up a bill of BGN 4000-5000 for the current month, which he said were costs that needed trimming.


Ex Secret Agent Sues Scandalous Bulgarian TV Journalist for Libel

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Controversial former secret agent Alexey Petrov is suing TV journalist Nikolay Barekov for libel and seeks BGN 250 000 in compensation for non-monetary damages.

The lawsuit was filed at the Sofia City Court over Barekov’s remarks over the July 19 explosions in front of the offices of the marginal conservative Law, Order and Justice (RZS) party and the right-wing Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB) party, news portal mediapool reported on Friday.

The former secret agent and alleged organized crime boss complains about Barekov’s on-air comments that participants in online forums had no doubt and were 99% certain that Petrov had planted the bombs.


Small Business Story of the Year: The Rise of Alternative Lending

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Supporting small business was among the top economic stories of the year, and the rise in lending to those growing companies was the most important development in 2011.

pirate story

It’s a story we saw developing since the credit crunch tightened the spigots on funding for small businesses. When the big banks said no, small banks and non-bank lenders increasingly said yes. Over the course of 2011, big banks rejected loan applications about 90 percent of the time. Smaller banks approved nearly half of small business funding requests, while alternative lenders granted approvals more often than not.

Many people ask me, “Who are the alternative lenders?” They are comprised of credit unions, CDFIs, micro lenders and accounts receivable financers.

Credit Unions
A credit union is a cooperative, not-for-profit financial institution owned and controlled by its members. Credit unions are established and operated for the purpose of promoting thrift and providing credit at competitive rates and other financial services to their membership. They are locally focused and lend at reasonable rates, which accounts for their tremendous growth in small business lending in 2011.

Credit unions are becoming more aggressive in soliciting deposits and are seeking to double the 12.5 percent cap on small business lending set by the government. The National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU) provides a list of its members online.

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI)
Community Development Financial Institutions are financing entities that have a primary mission of community development. Established by the Reigle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994, CDFIs are certified by the Treasury Department, which provides funds to them through a variety of programs. Biz2Credit has helped numerous small business owners in New York to get funding from the New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC).

The organization helps provide term loans to small businesses that sometimes are unable to meet the requirements for traditional financing. In many cases the financing incorporates multiple participations, SBA guarantees, flexible amortization and long-term payouts.

NYBDC also manages the Empire State Certified Development Corporation (“The 504 Company”), which is licensed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide SBA 504 Loans that are designed to stimulate economic development and spur job creation for eligible New York State businesses.

Micro Lenders
Micro lenders provide small loans designed to spur entrepreneurship in economically disadvantaged areas. Often they are granted to women and minority entrepreneurs and to companies that have been established in economic empowerment zones. Often the startup businesses in these neighborhoods are created by individuals who lack collateral or a long credit history and therefore are unable to meet even the most minimal qualifications of traditional creditors.

ACCION USA is a microfinance organization that lends with the mission of empowering business owners with access to working capital and financial education. ACCION offers business loans up to $50,000 and financial education throughout the U.S. and specializes in working with small business owners who cannot borrow from the bank due to business type, a short length of time in business, or an insufficient credit history.

Accounts Receivable (AR) Lenders
Accounts Receivable (AR) financers — often known as “factors” — purchase a company’s accounts receivable, at a discount, to provide them with working capital when they need it. With factoring, financing is provided to the seller of the accounts in the form of a cash “advance,” often 70-85% of the purchase price of the accounts. The balance of the purchase price is paid upon collection, often as a percentage of credit card transactions. Interest rates generally are higher with factoring.

However, the lender is assuming a higher level of risk, which justifies the return. Many times, small business owners who have little or no credit history or who need a lot of money quickly turn to AR financers. In the past few months, my company has connected a number of entrepreneurs with lenders such as Cash Advance Network (CAN), the largest lender in this category.

In November, so-called alternative lenders approved 62 percent of small business funding requests in November, a rise from the 61.8 percent during October, according to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, an analysis of 1,000 loan applications.

Among alternative lenders, credit unions granted 57 percent of small business funding requests, up from 56.6 percent in October. Meanwhile, loan approvals by small banks were 47 percent in November and approvals by large banks reached 10 percent in November — for the first time since April.

Overall, I believe optimism is returning in the credit marketplace. We have seen a steady increase in loan applications, a good sign for the economy. We can all hope that this momentum in the fourth quarter of 2011 bodes well for the coming year.

Money Story Photo via Shutterstock

From Small Business Trends

Small Business Story of the Year: The Rise of Alternative Lending


Bulgaria’s Finance Minister Gets Another Warning from PM

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Prime Minister Boyko Borisov issued another warning for Finance Minister Simeon Djankov over his injudicious remarks on healthcare reform in Bulgaria.

Borisov countered Djankov’s claim that healthcare reform would probably be postponed for the next term in office of center-right ruling party GERB by saying that a lot of achievements had been made in the sector.

“The weaker a Finance Minister, the weaker a government, the better it is to have common European laws….


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