Archive for January, 2018

Mexico raises close to $100bn in oil sector investment

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

Shell secures nine contracts in largest tender since reforms in 2013

Meltdown and Spectre Bugs Could Threaten Your Small Business’s Computers

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

Fixes for Processor Flaws Meltdown and Spectre Not Happening Any Time Soon

Nearly every computer manufactured in the past 20 years is affected by Meltdown and Spectre, two momentous computer bugs. And the rollout of the patches is not going well, leading an expert in the field to say it will take years for full implementation.

Fixes for Processor Flaws a Long Way Off

One of those experts is Paul Kocher, who was part of the research team that discovered Spectre. He told Selena Larson of CNN Money, “If you look at how long it’s going to take for all of the relevant software on your PC, including the drivers and such are updated, you’re probably looking at many years before that process is done.”

Small businesses that rely on computers for their daily operations don’t have years. So the questions are what are these bugs, how vulnerable is your computer and are the patches working?

What are Meltdown and Spectre?

Explaining Meltdown and Spectre is a bit complicated. But basically, here is what takes place. When the processor on your computer performs speculative execution and caching, the data is supposed to be isolated and protected.

Speculative execution is used by computer chips to essentially predict the future enabling them to execute functions faster. It starts working on probabilities before you make a choice by tackling multiple logical branches.

Caching is used to speed up memory access by using a small amount of memory storage called CPU cache. Because it lives on the CPU and speculative executions are also stored in cache, issues with protected memory arise.

If this vulnerability is exploited, hackers can gain access to data which until the discovery of these bugs was deemed protected.

You can take a look at the video by RedHat to get another perspective on the bugs.


Affected Computers

The flaw in the processors goes back 20 years so most if not all brands will be affected. Intel did introduce a fix but later warned computer companies to wait before implementing the patches. Microsoft, AppleGoogle, and Firefox have issued fixes so you can go to their sites and get more information by clicking on the name of the respective company.

If you want a more detailed explanation, the Google Project Zero team has the information here.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Meltdown and Spectre Bugs Could Threaten Your Small Business’s Computers” was first published on Small Business Trends


Shale powers US oil output to heights of 1970

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

Surge to flows of 10m b/d a day means shake-up for global crude market

Congo on collision course with miners over tax rises

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

Royalties for cobalt could jump from 2% to 10%

Trump Addresses Small Business in State of the Union Address, But Leaders Say More is Needed

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

Trump Addresses Small Business in the State of the Union Address -- Dems Say He Comes Up Short

President Donald Trump noted small business and even invited two small business owners and one of their employees to sit with First Lady Melania Trump to watch the speech.

Trump delivered his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night and spent a large portion of that time focused on the economy. And while many small business leaders praised the administration’s efforts thus far, some also added more is needed.

Small Business in the State of the Union

Here’s what the President said during his State of the Union speech regarding small business:

Small business confidence is at an all-time high. And just as I promised the American people from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history. Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses.

Small businesses have also received a massive tax cut, and can now deduct 20 percent of their business income.

Here tonight are Steve Staub and Sandy Keplinger of Staub Manufacturing — a small business in Ohio. They have just finished the best year in their 20-year history. Because of tax reform, they are handing out raises, hiring an additional 14 people, and expanding into the building next door.

Keplinger and her brother, Staub, are co-founders of Dayton, Ohio-based Staub Manufacturing Solutions. They say that the policies Trump has pushed forward in his first year in office have revived their business and even made good on a promise to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., to the benefit of their company, specifically.

Their company is a member of the National Association of Manufacturers and Keplinger and Staub met with Trump at the White House last year and in 2016. Trump also visited their facility in Dayton to hear what changes he could make to help small businesses.

“In welcoming NAM member manufacturers to the State of the Union, President Trump has once again demonstrated that manufacturing workers are at the center of his agenda and that manufacturers not only have a seat at the table in this administration, they also have the best seats in the House,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, in a prepared statement.

“Thanks to regulatory relief and tax reform, Staub Manufacturing Solutions is able to invest in its employees’ future with raises, bonuses, new hires and an expanded facility. Manufacturing workers are seeing the same good news every day at other companies across America. Small manufacturers are at the heart of the NAM and our industry. They are the strength of our economy and our country, and it is tremendously encouraging to have a President who is eager to recognize their contributions to the state of our union with the whole nation watching,” Timmons said.

Check out this video NAM produced ahead of the State of the Union to feature Staub:


In the time since the President visited the company, Staub Manufacturing has grown from 23 employees to 37. Prior to this, the company founders say they were struggling to make payroll.

Reaction from the business community was largely positive but called on Trump for more help for small business.

National Small Business Association President and CEO Todd McCracken said in his own prepared statement following the speech:

“In addition to highlighting the current high levels of small business optimism, President Trump correctly emphasized the importance of tax reform to business — something NSBA ultimately supported. However, NSBA continues to press for action on the pieces of the small business tax agenda left out of the most recent reform, the need to address tax complexity, parity among all forms of business, and  the looming U.S. debt.

“President Trump highlighted his plans to provide federal funds for infrastructure projects with an emphasis on innovation –something that ought to deeply involve the most innovative business sector in the U.S.: small business,” McCracken added. “Doing business with the federal government is an extremely convoluted process for small businesses, and any kind of broad spending initiative that seeks innovative approaches must make small-business involvement a pillar, and remove barriers to their participation.”

McCracken concluded by explaining: “President Trump emphasized the economic growth and low unemployment we’ve seen in recent months. Small business access to credit and capital, however, continues to lag — a fact that prevents many smaller companies from fully participating in the ongoing national economic growth. According to data from NSBA’s forthcoming Economic Report, more than one-quarter of small businesses still cannot obtain adequate financing.”

Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council President and CEO Karen Kerrigan echoed those sentiments. She largely cheered the speech but also called on Trump to open access to more funding for small business.

In her own statement, Kerrigan said:

“President Trump delivered a powerful address about the state of our nation and how pro-growth policies have lifted the economy and small business optimism. Building on his policy successes by advancing the next layer of small business priorities will fuel the dynamism and energy that our economy needs to extend opportunity and the promise of the American dream to everyone.”

Kerrigan added: “Several issues that small business owners want to hear more about include efforts to lower health costs, and improve access to growth capital and global markets. These are key areas that will boost entrepreneurship and small business growth. We look forward to working with the Administration and his team on these specific issues, as well as all of our priorities for small businesses and entrepreneurs.”

To counter that sentiment, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), the leading Democrat on the House Small Business Committee, said Trump came up short for small businesses. In her statement to the press, received by email, Velázquez said:

“President Trump had a chance tonight to reach across the aisle, but instead opted for partisan rhetoric and empty promises. By failing to offer meaningful solutions to issues like immigration and infrastructure reform, the President yet again turned his back on America’s millions of small businesses.”

She added: “Our economy and the small business sector continue to benefit from policy decisions made under President Obama and the small business confidence numbers cited in the President’s speech reflect that economic inertia.”

“In other areas, the President’s proposals tonight directly threaten our small business sector,” Velázquez said. “Immigration and entrepreneurship have long stood as twin pillars fundamental to American prosperity. Immigrants start businesses at rates double that of the broader population and, by demonizing immigrants, the President threatens to undermine what has long been a key ingredient to our economic success.”

She  added: “One thing is clear — America’s small businesses deserve a better deal. As lawmakers, it is our duty to cross party lines and develop lasting policies that ensure entrepreneurship remains the bedrock of the American dream. There was little substantive in tonight’s speech to suggest the President is ready to give our entrepreneurs the support they need to succeed.”

Did you watch or listen to Trump’s State of the Union?

You can watch the full address here:


What were your reactions to the speech? Let us know in the Comments section below.


This article, “Trump Addresses Small Business in State of the Union Address, But Leaders Say More is Needed” was first published on Small Business Trends


Utilities’ golden decade in danger of losing its shine

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

Tighter regulation and higher borrowing costs could crimp returns

Qatar makes foray into Mexican oil, wins 4 blocks

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

How Michelle Weinstein Built a Business as the Pitch Queen

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

Sales Pitch Tips from Michelle Weinstein, The Pitch Queen

As a small business owner, you have to constantly be selling. It’s not just about selling products to customers, either. You have to sell investors on your company, sell new employees on jobs with your business and sell ideas to clients.

Michelle Weinstein, a.k.a. The Pitch Queen, is well aware of the importance of selling. She recently spoke with me as part of Small Business Trends’ exclusive Smart Hustle Report, where she discussed her journey to entrepreneurship and the important lessons she’s learned along the way.

“In the world of being an entrepreneur and working for yourself and starting your own company, you are always pitching yourself,” she said.

A former financial analyst, fitness coach and meal planning service provider, Weinstein has built up her sales experience in a variety of industries. She’s pitched to major outlets like Costco and the Vitamin Shoppe and appeared on Shark Tank.

Now, she shares that knowledge as a strategist and online using platforms like Facebook Live and her podcast, Success Unfiltered. She mainly focuses on high value selling. But she also offers some valuable insights for any business owner that could use some sales help.

Check out some of the top tips from the discussion below. You can listen to the full episode here for even more insights.

Sales Pitch Tips

Take Lessons from Every Situation

You don’t have to be pitching a huge investor to learn valuable sales lessons. Weinstein actually says she learned some of her most valuable lessons by working as a cocktail waitress when she was 18.

She explains, “All of these things relate to everything I do today and what I teach today. It is about building rapport and relationships.”

So whether you’re crafting a major pitch or just asking for a raise at your day job, you can take it as an opportunity to craft your pitching skills.

Listen for Pain Points

But when it comes to pitching, it’s not actually all about what you have to say. It’s more important to listen to the person you’re selling to. Specifically, Weinstein says, you should listen for complaints or pain points so you can find ways to frame your product or service as a solution.

Weinstein says, “The number one thing for you to work on when it comes to pitching whatever it is, especially if it’s a high ticket offer, that you’re doing about 20 percent of the talking and 80 percent of the listening.”

Actually Ask for What You Want

From there, you have to learn how to actually ask for what you want. According to Weinstein, too many entrepreneurs craft great pitches that leave out a specific call to action.

Weinstein says, “I would say a lot of us start businesses and have these great programs and then you’re on the phone with a client or you’re pitching to raise money and you never even ask for the money. You don’t ask for the sale.”

Image: Michelle Weinstein

This article, “How Michelle Weinstein Built a Business as the Pitch Queen” was first published on Small Business Trends


The dollar keeps weakening. Is that good news for the world?

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

AT THE start of 2017, just before Donald Trump was inaugurated as president, a survey of fund managers by Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) found they believed that being positive on the dollar was “the most crowded trade”. It turned out they were right to be cautious. On a trade-weighted basis, the currency has fallen by 9% against other major currencies in the past year.

It is not clear what the Trump administration thinks about this. At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Steven Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, said: “Obviously a weak dollar is good for us as it relates to trade and opportunities.” Although the rest of his statement was more nuanced, it is unusual for anyone in his position to depart from a “strong dollar” line. The greenback duly fell in price.

Mr Trump then followed up with a statement in favour of a strong dollar in the long term, which caused a rebound. Since it was only last April that he referred to the dollar as being “too…Continue reading

12 Years Imprisonment for a Father who Regularly Raped and Abused his Daughter

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

12 years of imprisonment under a strict regime received a father who has been raping and abusing his under-14 year old daughter, the press office of the Appellate Prosecutor’s Office in Varna announced.

The 50-year-old man from the village of Okorsh, near Silistra, has demanded that his case be dealt with under a reduced court hearing to reduce his sentence by one-third.

The composition of the Silistra District Court has joined this effective punishment and a suspended sentence of 2 months and 10 days.

A civil claim of BGN 5000 is also admitted.


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