Archive for November, 2015

A Break for California Franchise Owners? New Law Gives Them More Control

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Assembly Bill 525

Franchises allow individuals to go into business knowing they have the backing of the franchisor. This has its advantages and disadvantages. Those positives ad negatives were recently highlighted in California as Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the strongest franchisee protection rules in the U.S.

One of the benefits of owning a franchise is that it comes with a lot of support from the franchisor. The downside is that, depending on the company, this support comes with some strict rules that franchisees have been claiming greatly favor the franchisor.

The new law, Assembly Bill No. 525 or AB525, gives new rights and protection to franchisees. The law passed with a large majority in the Assembly (56-12) and by 37 to 0 in the Senate. And it also received support from industry players after long negotiations.

Sometimes informally called the “Franchise Bill of Rights,” the new legislation has some revisions regarding the responsibilities of franchisors and franchisees, as specified in the California Franchise Relations Act (CFRA). The main points apply to the termination of a franchise agreement, compensation to the franchisee when an agreement is terminated or renewed, and the sale and transfer of the franchise by the franchisee.

Some of the finer points of the law are:

Franchisors can no longer terminate a franchise before the expiration of its term except for good cause. It is important to note the language. More specifically “good cause” has been a point of contention, and many see this as a gateway for litigation between franchisees and franchisors.  But the law goes on to specify and limit good cause to the failure of the franchisee to substantially comply with the lawful requirements imposed upon the franchisee by the franchise agreement.

When a franchise is terminated or not renewed lawfully, the franchisor must purchase all inventory, supplies, equipment, fixtures and furnishings that were purchased under the terms of the franchise agreement.  This purchase is to be made at the value of the price that was paid by the franchisee minus depreciation.

Franchisors cannot prevent a franchisee from selling or transferring the franchise whether it is in part, total or a controlling or non-controlling interest, if the person is qualified under the standards for the approval of new or renewing franchisees.

This law is supposed to curb the power franchisors exercise over franchisees. Earlier this year the law’s author, California’s Assembly Majority Leader Chris Holden stated in an official release, “Franchise corporations should not be able to use their dominance to rob franchisees of their livelihood. They should not be able to destroy someone’s future by hiding behind an unjust contract and weak state laws.”

The International Franchise Association was against the  legislation for obvious reasons, but in the end Gov. Brown did sign a bill into law after such overwhelming support by the legislature.

California Gov. Jerry Brown Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “A Break for California Franchise Owners? New Law Gives Them More Control” was first published on Small Business Trends

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India and France launch $1tn solar tie-up

Monday, November 30th, 2015

The International Solar Alliance aims to have 121 signatories to develop solar in tropical countries

Web.com Introduces Safe Email with Encryption for Business

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Safe Email Encryption for Business

Do you ever get the sneaking suspicion your email isn’t as secure as it could be? For the everyday, you probably don’t give email security much thought. But when sending confidential information and business files extra protection may be a good idea.  

What this boils down to is sometimes you just need a little more security.

That’s the idea behind Web.com’s new email encryption service. Called Secure Mail with Guard Encryption, the new service is provided through Web.com’s affiliated brand Network Solutions.

This video shows more about how the process works:

“While regular email is secure enough for everyday communications, small business owners often need the added security of email encryption,” stated Jason Teichman, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Web.com in a company release. “Guard Encryption provides an added layer of security that will let our customers send and/or store their private or confidential communications and files with confidence.”

Web.com is known for its online tools designed for small business owners. The company offers Internet services such as online marketing, build-it-yourself websites, eCommerce, and hosting. But this new service will add online security to the list.

Web.com’s tools and services are all aimed at saving time and frustration for small business owners.

According to the company, Secure Mail works by using PGP technology. PGP is a data encryption program that uses various “keys” to safely send emails and ensure only the intended recipients can read them. There are keys for the sender to secure the email, and keys for the recipient to unlock and read the email.

But Web.com claims all the complexity of PGP is completely transparent. This means that to use it neither sender nor recipient actually needs to know which key to use. Instead when you want to send an encrypted email all you have to do is click the “send secure” button that located in the upper right corner.

secure

Once the send secure button is turned on, Secure Mail automatically selects the right key to encrypt the email. Once sent all the recipient must do is open the email. Send Secure will again select the appropriate key to unlock the message without the recipient needing to do anything different.

It’s simple security without the need for any tech knowledge or complicated extra steps.

With a Secure Mail plan you get PGP email encryption and a number of other features. Features include tamper proof Encryption Guard that lets user “sign” an email and notifies a recipient if the email is altered in anyway. You also get 10GB email storage and 15GB files storage, an online productivity calendar, and mobile access to email, files, and calendar.

You can sign up for a Secure Mail plan through Network Solutions. Pricing starts at $7.74 a month.  

Image: Web.com/YouTube

This article, “Web.com Introduces Safe Email with Encryption for Business” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Bulgaria Records Budget Surplus of BGN 63.9 M as of End October

Monday, November 30th, 2015

According to monthly data of first-level spending units, the Bulgarian finance ministry reported a budget surplus of BGN 63.9 M as of end October 2015, which represented 0.1 % of the projected GDP .

For comparison, Bulgaria registered a deficit of more than BGN 1.7 B at the end of October 2014, which means that the budget stance as relative share of GDP has improved by 2.2 percentage points.

At the end of October, the revenues and grants were in the excess of BGN 26.5 B, which represented 87.4 % of annual plans under the 2015 state budget.

Compared to the same period last year, revenues and grants increased by 10.5 %, which amounted to more than BGN 2.5 B.

In structural terms, tax revenues increased by 7.5 %, non-tax revenues grew by 5.4 %, while grant proceeds (mainly from EU funds) increased by 48.3 %.

The expenditures at the end of October, including the Bulgarian contribution to the EU budget exceeded BGN 26.4 B, which is 80.6 % of annual plans.

Compared to the same period in 2014, expenditures increased by 2.7 %, amounting to BGN 689.8 M.

In structural terms, there was a growth in capital expenditures, while non-interest current expenditures were close to the figures recorded for the same period last year.

The fiscal reserve as of end October was BGN 10.2 B.

 

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India & France launch $1tn solar tie-up

Monday, November 30th, 2015

The International Solar Alliance aims to have 121 signatories to develop solar in tropical countries

Bulgaria’s Plovdiv Hosts Documentary, Animation Film Festival

Monday, November 30th, 2015

The second largest city of Bulgaria will host the 22nd edition of the Golden Rhyton documentary and animation film festival between November 30 and December 5.

The festival, which is organised by the Bulgarian National Film Centre, is dedicated to the promotion of Bulgarian documentary and animated movie-making and is one of the largest film events held in the country.

The Opening Night Gala will take place at hall one of the LUCKY cinema house in Plovdiv on Monday with a screening of the short documentary “Smiling with Bulgarian comedy films”.

The programme of the festival features Bulgarian documentaries, animation movies, popular science films as well as co-productions with Bulgarian participation.

A jury of five professionals in the area of movie-making will assess the participating movies and select the winners of this year’s edition of the festival.

The winning movies will be screened at the Closing Night Gala on Saturday at the LUCKY cinema house.

In addition to movies, the festival will also offer to the audience presentations of books, journals and projects promoting Bulgarian culture of documentary movie-making.

The event is organised by the Bulgarian National Film Center with the support of the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture, the municipality of Plovdiv and other organisations and institutions.

The festival is held at the LUCKY cinema house and Petnoto Club with all events and screenings being free of charge.

More information about the program, participants and special guests can be found at the website of the festival.

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World powers are aligned in Paris

Monday, November 30th, 2015

An agreement is needed to prevent countries from freeriding on others’ efforts, writes Jeffrey Sachs

Bulgarian Prosecution Demands Four Years in Prison for Ex-Deputy Parliament Speaker

Monday, November 30th, 2015

The Bulgarian prosecutor’s office demanded on Monday a four-year imprisonment for the former deputy speaker of parliament Hristo Biserov.

Sofia City Court (SGS) is to deliver its judgement on Tuesday, daily Dnevnik informs.

Biserov is charged with tax evasion amounting to BGN 26 000, undeclared currency deals and failure to declare to the national audit office bank accounts held in Switzerland.

Meanwhile,  Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov demanded BGN 18 965 from Biserov in unpaid taxes, 24 Chasa daily reports.

Initially, Biserov and his son Ivaylo Glavinkov had also been accused of money laundering, but subsequently the charges against him were dropped, while a separate case was launched against Glavinkov.

The former deputy parliamentary speaker from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) refrained from answering questions of the media.

Biserov resigned as deputy parliamentary speaker in 2013 just days before reports emerged that he was under investigation over tax crimes.

In April, SGS froze property of Biserov worth more than BGN 1.5 M.

 

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5 Alternative Ways To Share Content Other Than Social Media

Monday, November 30th, 2015

share content

When you want to get your content in front of new readers, tapping into the dozens of targeted platforms on social media is an obvious choice. Whether you share a blog post on Facebook or an infographic on Twitter, social media outlets boast millions of users. These established, engaged audiences give you a chance to not only get your content read, but also shared frequently.

However, there are times when you’ll need to go beyond normal social media sharing. Maybe you’ve found that your target market isn’t as active on traditional social sites as they are elsewhere. Or maybe you feel you’ve gained as much as you can from posting content to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and similar services. If you want to grow your audience further, you’ll need to think outside of the box when it comes time to share content.

Fortunately, there are plenty of options to share content besides the major social media sites. When you’re ready to take this step, pay particular attention to sites where you can share content that other people will then curate from, allowing you to get even more bang for your social buck. Here are five alternative ways to share content other than social media platforms to consider.

Scoop.it

On Scoop.it, you can share content on specific boards that are centered around the niche topics and keywords that are relevant to your business, your industry and your audience. People start to follow your content boards – similar to Pinterest – which can drive a lot of relevant traffic to your website as a result.

Add your own unique perspective to each article that you “scoop”, and share it not only to your content category but also on your website, blog and more. Many professionals rely on Scoop.it for their own content curation efforts, so posting your work here will increase your chances of having it be shared by others.

Triberr

Dubbing itself “A community of talented Bloggers and Influencers come together to read and share great content,” Triberr is another targeted place to share content other than social media.

To use Triberr, join specific tribes or groups of people sharing a specific category. By joining tribes that are related to your industry and interests, you can share content with a group of people eager to both read and share it with others. You can locate tribes exploring everything from SEO to women’s issues – there’s never a shortage of niches for you to tap into and grow your tribe.

Email Marketing

Email marketing has proven to have a consistently high conversion rate, and sharing your content to your email list is a sure-fire way to have your content reach those who are interested in what you have to say.

You can email your list a digest of content on a regular basis, including your own fresh content and interesting pieces you’ve curated from reading others’ work. Or, send your blog posts out as an email, and include the entire text of the blog in the email message itself. Before you launch, make sure that your email service provider is setup to handle the format, graphics, and links that you want to include. If your service provider has an RSS option, use it to translate your already-published content into your email.

Video Marketing

Not everyone enjoys reading and translating text and copy. Instead, sharing your content via video can be a great way to expand your reach. In fact, HubSpot shows that 40 percent of people respond better to visual information than written, making videos a relevant and useful option.

Videos can quickly be uploaded to a variety of sharing sites, as well as embedded in your website and sent to email subscribers. As with all content, simply creating a video or audio clip isn’t enough – you need to share and promote it. By adding it to your landing pages, email signature, and sharing sites such as Vimeo and even Google Hangouts, you’ll be able to send your content to thousands of new people without using social media.

Guest Posting

Creating guests posts on popular business news sites such as Inc., Forbes, and Entrepreneur can be a great way to share your thoughts without using social media. When you guest post, you not only reach the audience of a much larger website, you also get the credibility of the larger site as a tacit endorsement when people read your content.

When executed correctly, guest posting can bring tremendous additional traffic to your website and landing pages, while also creating buzz around your ideas, visibility and the ability to position yourself as a thought leader in your field. The secret to successful guest posting? Being selective about where you publish. Consider all of your content sharing options and select only those that will position you and/or your brand in the best possible light.

Sharing your content doesn’t have to end with the main players of social media like Facebook and Twitter. By adopting these five alternative ways to share content other than social media, you’ll find and reach a new audience of engaged readers, viewers, and listeners every time you produce new content.

Where else do you share content outside of social media? 

Crop Dusting Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “5 Alternative Ways To Share Content Other Than Social Media” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Bulgarian President – Fighting Climate Change Could Have Economic Benefits

Monday, November 30th, 2015

According to Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, the fight against climate change is not only a moral duty, but also necessitates rethinking of the approaches towards achieving economic growth.

Plevneliev made the statement on Monday during the summit held within the framework of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), which is taking place in Paris between November 30 and December 11.

The conference aims to reach a legally binding and universal agreement on climate between all the participating countries.

Plevneliev thinks that such an agreement will not only bring to a successful end two decades of negotiations on action against climate change, but will also accelerate the transformation of the world economy.

The Bulgarian president reminded that in the past years the price of “clean energy” has considerably decreased, which could allow for abandoning the old production models that relied on intensive exploitation of natural resources.

In his words, countering global warming requires changing our lifestyle and way of work and all countries have to make their contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

At the same time, countries could benefit from the economic opportunities created by a low carbon economy.

Plevneliev was firm that the new model of growth should not become a priority only of the developed countries and called for more investments and accelerated transfer of low carbon technologies to less developed countries.

The head of state assured that Bulgaria and the countries of Southeastern Bulgaria are part of the efforts on fulfilling the targets of the EU in the area of climate and energy for the period until 2030, which foresee the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 40 % until 2030.

As a member state of the EU, Bulgaria backs the creation of an open European energy union, which could be opened for participation of non-EU countries.

Plevneliev noted that the energy efficiency, accessibility and diversification are of key importance for the sustainable development.

He noted the efforts of Bulgaria in implementing the third national action plan on climate change as well as the fulfillment of an ambitious national programme on energy efficiency.

The president reminded that Bulgaria had managed to fulfill seven years earlier than scheduled the targets set by the EU on the introduction of renewable energy sources and at present their share in the energy mix reaches up to 20 %.

Furthermore, Bulgaria managed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 % and to increase energy efficiency by 20 %.

In his words, the protection of ecosystems and biodiversity is fundamental to alleviating the effects of climate change.

Plevneliev pointed that Bulgaria ranks first in the EU in the number of protected areas under the NATURA 2000 network, which encompasses 30 % of the country’s territory.

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