American Express announces the opening of The Centurion Lounge in New York LaGuardia Airport, the latest in a series of American Express lounges opening in the United States.
Comexposium named the finalists for the first American SESAMES Awards. Based on the 19 year heritage of the SESAMES Awards held each year at the CARTES SECURE CONNEXIONS Exposition in France, recognize technology innovation for smart cards, digital security, identification, secure transactions and contactless technology developed for the U.S. market. The finalists include Emerging Payments, Oberthur Technologies for Omni-channel Wallet, ROAM for RP750x, Sequoia Retails Systems, Inc. for the QuadPoint Compact Register, Card Manufacturing, Oberthur Technologies for Lasink, SKIMPROT Ltd. for SkimProt, SmartDisplayer Technology Co., Ltd. for iCARD4, Identification, Brigham Scully Public Relations for Zwipe Biometric Card, DigitalPersona, Inc. for DigitalPersona Altus and GOTrust Technology Inc. for SDencrypter Lite.
Small business confidence in the economy continues its descent, with 54% indicating a poor outlook on the recovery in March, a figure having climbed from 41% in February. This is an unfortunate trend seen over the past 19 months, given a majority of small business owners have held this perspective during this time, but this is the greatest majority since September of last year. On the bright side, 27% feel conditions are improving, although this is down from the previous month figure of 34%, while 15% see no change in the economy, down from 20% in February. These findings are according to the March Discover “Small Business Watch” monthly barometer of economic confidence, which overall dropped to 86.5 from 90.2 in February.
A huge factor in all this is the skyrocketing gas prices we have seen throughout the first half of the year, to which 76% of small business owners have lost profits and 90% disclosed either a somewhat negative or very negative impact. This is partly to blame for the 42% whom say conditions are getting worse, up from 40% in February; the only 30% indicating they feel the economy is getting better, down from 33%; and the 24% perceiving no change, down from 25%. Overall, 56% rate the current U.S. economy as poor for no change from the month prior; 35% rate it as fair, up from 32 percent; a mere 6% says its good, down from 7%; and 3% say the economy is excellent for no change since February.
The February Discover Small Business Watch index dipped slightly from 91.0 in January to 90.2, keeping confidence flat this month thanks to increasing cash flow issues. In fact, 50% of small business owners reported temporary cash flow issues within the last 90 days, up a full 7 points from the prior month. On the bright side, 46% of small business owners reported no temporary cash flow issues, down 3 points from the prior month, while 34% said economic conditions in the country are improving, up 3% points from 31 percent in January. Naysayers still accounted for 41%, saying conditions are getting worse, which is unchanged from January, while 20% said conditions are the same, down from 24%. Additional findings show 33% feel conditions are getting better, up from 31% in January; 40% say things are getting worse, up from 38% in January; those who say conditions are the same dropped to 25% from 26% in January; 56% rate the current economy as poor, down from 57% in January; 32% rate it fair, down from 34%; 7% rate it good, unchanged; and 3% say the economy is excellent, up from 2%.
After falling in December, confidence among small business owners rebounded in January to 91.0 in January on the Discover “Small Business Watch” index, up 9.4 points from December 2010 and 5.5 points higher than one year ago, the highest the index has been since December 2007 at 92.7. With this, 31% of small business owners say the economy is getting better this month, up from 25% in December; 41% say it is getting worse, down from 51% last month; 24% say it’s the same, up from 22%; and 3% were unsure. Meanwhile, 31% of small business owners say economic conditions for their businesses are getting better, up from 25% the month prior; 38% see conditions getting worse, down from 43% in December; 26% say they are the same, even with December; 5% were unsure. Additional indicators show 30% will increase spending on business development , up 9 points to its highest point since March 2008; 40% will decrease business development spending, down from 42% last month; 27% do not plan any changes, down from 32%. Moreover, 57% reported the economy as poor, down 5 points from last month while 34% report it as fair, up 5 points.
More than 50% of small business owners are in favor of repealing the health care reform law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2010. Meanwhile, 46% say the current health care reform law will hurt their business; 47% who provide health insurance to their employees are considering discontinuing health insurance due to high cost; while 51% are not considering discontinuing the insurance and 2% are unsure. These findings, according to a “Small Business Watch” survey from Discover, also conclude 47% of those offering health insurance to employees are considering discontinuing it because of cost; 55% favor repeal of the health care law, 36% oppose it and 9% are unsure. Moreover, 69% reported difficulty in obtaining affordable health care for themselves and their employees and 38% report health care costs having a major impact on their business, up 4 points from last year.
With fewer small business owners perceiving the economy as improving, the Discover “Small Business Watch” monthly index dropped for first time in three months to 81.6 in December, down a whole 6 points from 87.2 in November and down nearly four points since the beginning of the year. Still 4.6 points higher than one year ago, 25% say the economy is getting better this month, down from 33% in November; 51% said it is getting worse, up from 46%; and 22% said the economy is staying the same, up from 17% the prior month. Additional index findings show 25% expect economic conditions for their businesses to improve in the first half of 2011 for a 3% drop since the month-ago period; 26% expect conditions to remain the same, up from 24%; and 43% expect conditions to worsen, down from 44% in November. Meanwhile, 21% of small business owners will increase spending on business development in the next 6 months, down from 25% in November; 42% will decrease business development spending, up from 40%; and 32% do not plan any changes, up from 28% last month; and 62% rate the current economy as poor, up from 59% in November while 30% rate the economy fair; 5% rate it good; and 3% rate it excellent.
A third of Americaâs small business owners are using smart phones these days, most of whom put the devices to work for business needs beyond e-mail and phone calls. Meanwhile, 19% of small business owners have taken or are currently taking actions to make it easier for mobile users to access their businesses; 34% use a smart phone device; 33% use the devices âvery much,â 41% use it âsomewhat,â 21% said ânot muchâ and 3% said ânot at all.â This, according to the Discover “Small Business Watch,” also shows 44% wished there were better mobile applications available to small business owners, 20% werenât sure and 35% expressed no desire for more applications. Interestingly, 100% of small business owners ages 18 to 29 use their devices âsomewhatâ or âvery muchâ for business, beyond phone calls and e-mail, but age wasnât a huge differentiator in smart phone usage among small business owners, with more people in their 30s using them than in other age groups.
Social networking by small business owners has nearly tripled in the past three years, jumping 23% in the past six months alone, but less than a third of owners are using it to promote their businesses. In polls conducted in April and October of this year, the percentage of small business owners who are members of an online social networking community increased from 48 percent to 59 percent. But only 29 percent of all small businesses said last month that they have ever used social networking websites to promote their businesses. Discover has been surveying U.S. small business owners about the issues that affect them for more than four years through the Small Business Watch. The first poll about social networking was conducted in October 2007, when only 22 percent of small business owners said they were members of a “popular general-interest online community.” In April 2010, the question was rephrased to ask if they were “a member of any online social networking community such as Facebook, Linked-In, MySpace or Twitter,” and 48 percent said they were. By October of this year, the number climbed to 59 percent.
The Discover “Small Business Watch” monthly index rose to 87.2 in November, up 3 points from 84.2 in October for a third consecutive monthly gain, up more than 10 points since the year ago period. Additional index findings show 25% of small business owners reported they will increase spending on business development in the next six months, up from 22% in October; 40% will decrease business development spending in the next six months, down from 46% in October; and 28% donât plan any changes. Also, 33% believe the economy is getting better, up from 31% in October and the highest since May; while 46% believe the economy is getting worse, down from 48% in October; 17% believe itâs staying the same, equal to last month; and 4% are not sure. Meanwhile, 24% of small business owners extend credit to their customers and over the past three months 66% reported customers delayed payment, down from 73% in 2009.
Small business economic confidence was way up in October for the second month in a row, as the Discover “Small Business Watch” jumped to 84.2 in October by 10.4 points from 73.8 in September. This biggest one month gain since April demonstrates From a political standpoint, 51% of small business owners say it would be better for the GOP to control Congress, 39% said it’s better for Democrats to remain in control, 12% aren’t sure; more small business owners report economic conditions for their businesses and for the country are getting better, with 28% of small business owners expecting economic conditions for their businesses to get better in the next six months, up from 20% last month, while 43% think conditions will worsen, down from 55%, and 24% expect no change. Meanwhile, 31% say the economy is getting better, up from 26% in September; 48% say it’s getting worse; 17% think it’s the same; 22% plan to increase spending, up from 16 percent last month; 46% plan to decrease spending, down from 57% in September; 30% expect no changes for the next six months; 46% have cash flow issues, unchanged from last month; 50% do not have cash flow issues; 61% rate the economy as poor, down from 68% last month; 31% rate it fair, 5% rate it good, and 2% rate it excellent. From a political standpoint, 51% of small business owners say it would be better for the GOP to control Congress; 39% say Democrats; 12% aren’t sure; 49% would choose the Republican candidate if the elections were held today, 38% would vote for the Democrat, 4% would choose another party and 9% are not sure.
Starting October 17, shoppers with a Target “REDcard,” Target Credit Card, Target Visa Credit Card and Target Debit Card can get 5% off nearly all purchases made at any Target store or on Target.com. Additionally, cardholders will receive a coupon good for 5% off a future day of shopping every time they fill five prescriptions at a Target pharmacy with a Target REDcard. This replaces the existing Rewards program in which new account holders receive an initial 10%-off coupon and existing cardholders earn coupons for 10 percent off a future day of shopping, which ends October 16 at close of business. The Target credit card segment offers branded proprietary credit card products.