Author Archives: Associated Press

Vital but vulnerable, cleaners hold the line against a virus

Virus Outbreak Cleaning Workers

When hospitals need to prep a room for the next coronavirus test, when jetliners discharge their passengers at the gate, when suburbanites start to take sanitary precautions more seriously, the call goes out: Send in the cleaners. These largely unsung workers are often the first line of defense against the global COVID-19 pandemic, cleaning and disinfecting homes, offices, medical facilities ...

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Coronavirus forces small businesses to rethink strategies

Renee Brown, Coffee, coronavirus

Renee and Michael Brown planned to open a third location for their coffee company — and put their plans on hold when the coronavirus hit. Sales at the Browns’ San Francisco coffee shop, Weaver’s Coffee & Tea, are down about 4%; while that’s not drastic, the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. is still in its early stages and the Browns ...

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Small businesses at risk for cyberattack but few take precautions

Cybersecurity, cyber attack

Although businesses are increasingly at risk for cyberattacks on their mobile devices, many aren’t taking steps to protect smartphones and tablets. That’s one of the conclusions of a report on mobile security released last week by Verizon, which found that nearly 40% of companies had their mobile security compromised, up from 33% in 2019. But many companies don’t prioritize mobile ...

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Small businesses embrace wellness to help retain staffers

Wellness, health insurance

Every month, the 30 staffers at Chris Boehlke’s public relations firm each get $100 to pay for anything that contributes to their wellness. And not just for typical expenditures like gym memberships or yoga classes. “You can get nails done, anything you feel is helping your overall well being,” says Boehlke, co-owner of San Francisco-based Bospar. The company also has ...

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U.S. small businesses are getting upbeat news on the economy

shoe repair, small business

Small business owners have received some upbeat news on the economy this month. Retail sales figures released Friday showed that consumers were inspired by unseasonably warm weather to spend on their homes in January, but that overall sales growth was modest. The Commerce Department reported a 0.3% gain last month following a 0.2% gain in December. Although economists called the ...

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Retailers try clothing rental, but will it be a good fit?

Clothing rentals

Renting clothes could be the future of fashion — or it could just be a fad. But traditional retailers can no longer afford to wait on the sidelines to find out. That’s why a growing number are now offering customers the option to rent clothes for a monthly fee instead of buying them. Bloomingdale’s, Banana Republic and Urban Outfitters are ...

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Market for small businesses rebounds after 4 quarterly drops

money stacks

The market for small businesses rebounded in the last three months of 2019 after four straight quarterly declines caused in part by uncertainty about U.S. trade policy. That’s the finding of a report analyzing business sales released by BizBuySell.com, an online marketplace for companies. BizBuySell.com counted 2,340 small businesses sold during October-December, up nearly 2.3% from 2,288 sold in the ...

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New law may encourage small businesses to offer retirement plans

Retirement plan, 401K

A new law expanding retirement plan options for small businesses may encourage more companies to offer the benefits to their workers. The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act, known as the SECURE Act, won final congressional approval in the Senate last month and was signed into law by President Donald Trump. One of the bill’s features makes it ...

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Want to sell on Amazon? Businesses must weigh pros, cons

Marian Nixon

While many small manufacturers and retailers believe Amazon is the place to be, Lyris Autran is forgoing the opportunity. Autran wants to keep the prices on her leashes, bowls and other products for dogs competitive. It costs money to sell on Amazon.com — a 15% fee on each sale and additional charges for shipping — and that would force her ...

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Startups see a market in renting couches by the month

furniture rentals

Zachariah Mohammed’s living room is filled with stuff he doesn’t own. He pays $200 a month for the sofa, side table, bar cart, dining table and four chairs in his living room. It’s worth it, the 27-year-old New Yorker says. If he needs to move, which he’s done twice in the last 12 months, he won’t need to lug a ...

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