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Small Business Owners Are Feeling the Love

From MarketWatch:

DES MOINES, Iowa, Oct 13, 2015 (BUSINESS WIRE) — As election season fast approaches, American business owners with 10 to 500 employees are feeling more confident about the current and future state of the economy, according to new research from The Principal Financial Well-Being Index [SM] : Business Owners. This year, 45 percent of small business owners are optimistic about the economy, up from 26 percent in 2012.

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A staggering 92 percent of business owners rate the financial health of their business as growing or stable. Two-thirds added staff and roughly as many feel their financials have improved in the past year.
Small businesses are often regarded as the backbone of the U.S. economy, and are drivers of America’s well-being. They employ half of U.S. workers, represent 99.7 percent of all employers, and have generated 63 percent of new private-sector jobs (net) between 1993 and mid-2013. They also produce 16 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms [1] .

Small business owners not only believe in the current success of their businesses, but believe the economic climate will hold and allow for prosperity in the next year. Sixty-six percent believe their business financials will improve in the next 12 months, up from 55 percent in 2014. Forty-two percent plan to add staff in the next 12 months, 32 percent plan to add benefits and another one-third plan to increase wages.

However, of the 74 percent of business owners that report having surplus capital, more than three-quarters (77 percent) are not spending it. They most commonly cite saving for future growth, economic uncertainty and lessons from the economic crisis as their primary reason for not spending surplus capital.

“We are seeing a clear rise in financial confidence from small business owners,” said Amy Friedrich, senior vice president at the Principal Financial Group [®] . “When business owners are adding jobs, increasing wages and adding benefits, we know they’re feeling good about their business, which bodes well for economic growth.”

Read more: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/small-business-owners-are-feeling-the-love-2015-10-13

Contractors Working to Successfully Complete the Dulles Greenway Toll Road

With one of the most intricate engineering designs man could master, the Dulles Greenway interchange improvement linking Route 653 and 654 to existing Route 606, widening the four lanes to now six, expanding the mainline toll plaza, widening the already in place dual 660 foot mainline access bridges over Goose Creek took the combined effort of several contractors.

A careful analysis of each contract bid was performed to not only keep cost at a required level, but to ensure the work performed was not only at requirements, but was designed and performed with the expectations of the Frank Haney Company. Roadway and bridge plans were submitted with approval for eighteen separate plan meeting criteria with enhanced safety features and increased capacity at the helm of requirements.

The responsibility of completion, construction, awards and finalization of the project was to be handled by Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
Dulles Transit Partners, with a team led by Bechtel Infrastructure, was in charge of Phase I of the Dulles Greenway project. In terms of the project completion, they were charged with the construction of the Dulles Corridor.
Phase II was a company encompassing three different groups. Capital Rail Contractors, Clark Construction Group, LLC along with Kiewit Infrastructure South Co. lead the effort to complete Phase II within specified times and requirements.

A completely separate phase known as Package B which was the Rail Yard contract was awarded to the Hensel Phelps group.

Final design contracting was awarded to Shirley Contracting Company, LLC with Dewberry Consultants, LLC overseeing as the Designer.

WG Construction Company was instrumental in securing improvements to the Dulles Greenway project. This firm built and secured several critical improvements to an access ramp veering from the exchange taking travelers from the Dulles Greenway to Dulles International Airport. The contractor was charged with three construction projects. One of which was to extend a triple 12’x8′ concrete box culvert. Their second charge was to build a 430 foot long pile foundation (cast in place) concrete retaining wall. Thirdly, they were responsible for procuring a second 430 foot long stabilizing wall securing and stabilizing the earth surrounding the exchange.

Finally, beautification by landscaping was performed by VGL Valley Green Landscaping, INC.

When the project was completed, the operation of the Silver Line, maintenance and yearly requirements to keep the design flawless with minimal incident was placed in the hands of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).

Why Small Businesses Are Worth the Investment

A small business is born because an entrepreneur has a passion and saw a need that could be filled. During a time when the economy is still emerging, small businesses and start-up are the answer to new job creation. These start-ups are the key to America’s financial health.

It makes sense to nurture small businesses and start-ups through investing and venture capital. Many of us benefit from companies that were once just an idea or a small operation of one to two people that began by conducting business out of a garage. These start-ups and small businesses need capital in order to establish their company, perfect their product and share their service or product with the community. It takes a lot of courage to strike out on your own, and these businesses could have much to offer the local business economy when they flourish and grow in scope.

CAPCO programs have fostered growth in small business and start-ups by investing. Through investing CAPCO has created high wage jobs and has improved Washington D.C.’s infrastructure of venture capital. It is particularly wise for insurance companies to invest in CAPCO due to the fact that they receive a tax credit. In fact, there are three powerhouse companies that have been certified to provide $50 million in loans and equity during a ten year period. These companies include Enhanced Capital District Fund, Advantage Capital and Wilshire DC Partners LCC.

Today’s start-up can be tomorrow’s thriving business that creates high paying jobs. These employees will then spend their resources in the local business community, and the entire community will experience a trickledown effect as the result of those jobs that were created. America needs to be infused with a spirit of innovation. Entrepreneurs are a wealth of ideas. We need individuals that seek to improve services, products and quality of life. When investing in right start-up or local business improves the local economy, it makes sense that multi-million dollar companies should invest in their future. Investing in the future of small business in turn has a positive impact on other companies and the economy as a whole.

Investing in small business is worthwhile because it is an investment in the future. By providing capital to a start-up you could be supporting the ideas of the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. The economy can be revived through the small business sector; and as a country we thrive on innovative ideas.

The Oil Industry is Vital to the U.S. Economy

The world is a fast moving economy, and the demand for fuel is extremely high. While there are dozens of fuel producing countries across the globe, the instability throughout all of these countries makes oil an extremely unstable commodity.

Fortunately, the United States is able to produce a great amount of oil. From large oil producers like Chevron and Exxon Mobil to smaller, independent oil companies like Cunningham Energy, the United States has been extremely successful in its exploration and production of oil.

The United States has long been one of the greatest producers of oil in the entire world. When the combustion engine was first discovered, oil quickly became an extremely hot commodity. Throughout the two World Wars the United States was known as one of the greatest producers of oil in the world. After the second World War ended, the United States oil industry was slowly forgotten.

Today, with growing instability in the Middle East, as well as in South America, the world is looking for new sources of oil, and one of the best and most stable sources of oil in the world is the United States. Today, the oil industry is one of the biggest drivers of the United States economic success.

While you probably rarely think about it, oil is absolutely critical to the success of the United States. 95% of all transportation happens because of oil, and it is extremely important that the oil continues to pump. Fortunately, the United States has a wide variety of sources of oil. These sources range from the oil up in North Dakota, the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, and many other oil wells across the United States. The United States offers a wide range of sources of oil, and the oil industry is rapidly adapting to the new global climate in order to provide the oil that Americans need.

One of the best parts of the oil industry is the fact that the oil industry provides a great deal of tax revenue to the United States. This tax revenue helps to build roads and schools, and it is making an incredible difference throughout the country. The tax revenue that the oil industry contributes to the United States economy is making a major difference in the world, and it is a vital part of the economy.

While the United States economy continues to grow and change, it is extremely important to realize that some aspects of the economy continue to remain fundamental to the country. Americans are recognizing the oil industry as one of the most vital parts of the United States Economy today is the oil industry.

Three Lessons from Uber and Airbnb on Leveraging Technology

We’ve all seen this customer. He or she is rude to the staff, complains incessantly and becomes a general nuisance. Up until recently there was little or no recourse if you were a seller or service provider. You simply had to take it. These vampires drained employee morale and took the joy out of the equation for other customers.

The Rules Are Changing

Along came Uber and Airbnb. Following the footsteps of eBay buyer reviews, Uber allows drivers to rate customers and Airbnb allows hosts to leave reviews of guests. It is now transparent on both sides of the register. Technology has leveled the playing field. Your history as a buyer follows you from one transaction to the next. Poor behavior may keep you from getting a ride or staying at the apartment of your choice.

Continue reading…

Originally published by forbes.com

 

The CEOs of DC Real Estate

There are many real estate transactions that occur in Washington, DC. A number of real estate CEOs like Frank Haney (https://www.linkedin.com/company/franklin-haney-company) do their business in the nation’s capitol city, Washington, DC. Some CEOs have had a great deal of success in the real estate business in the nation’s capitol city. Major real estate companies, such as Century 21, do business in Washington, DC. However, there are some real estate companies that are specific to the DC area.

One real estate company, called City Chic, located in Washington, DC does all of it’s business in DC and the surrounding area. The executive of this company, Lindsay Dreyer, has run a highly successful real estate business. She has helped in the process of hundreds of different real estate transactions. Her licensure is valid in Maryland, DC, and Virginia.

Another real estate company from DC, Evers and Company real estate is run jointly by a couple. They offer services in Maryland, Virginia, and DC. They are both very knowledgeable about the architecture of the buildings that they assist people in buying and selling.

Akridge is a larger real estate company that is located in Washington, DC. They have a more elaborate corporate structure and 100+ employees. Matthew Klien is the president of this company. He has fully thirty years of experience in the real estate business. Matthew Klien has been president of this large real estate company for fourteen years. He has also done work as a developer and real estate investor.

As you can see, there is a great variety in the types of people who are real estate executives in Washington, DC. The real estate business attracts people from different backgrounds. Their businesses also vary a lot in their approach to the markets and their experience level. Some real estate executives are in charge of large real estate corporations, such as Matthew Klien. Others have smaller real estate businesses.

However, there is one thing that the real estate CEOs of Washington, DC have in common. They all have a passion for helping others as home buyers and sellers. They all are personally invested in the real estate market of Washington, DC.

Oil Drilling in the Utica Shales Yields High Quantities

The Utica Shale, is an oil and gas field which is seated in the Appalachian Basin. It has been getting much attention lately because it has been yielding large amounts of natural gas, natural liquids, and crude oil. The Appalachian Basin is covers New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Quebec in Montreal. Right below is the Marcellus Shale which should not be confused. The name is derived from the city of Utica, New York.

Cunningham Oilfield services is a division of Cunningham Energy formed in 2008 run by Ryan E. Cunningham which drills in the Utica Shale. Services and equipment that Cunningham Oilfield provides would be the basic necessities ranging from drilling rigs, work-over units, rouster pickup trucks, vacuum water trucks, pipeline, dozers and many more. Cunningham Oilfield services are currently working on a partnership program which will develop into investment opportunities as the drilling progresses. They are currently located in Charleston, West Virginia.

The Utica Shale is composed of rich, organic, and calcareous shale which is recognized as quality shale. The rich organics give the shale a dark grey, fade to black color. When determining the quality of the shale, thickness plays lesser or equal role than the actual organic capacity. The amount of organics in the shale vary vertically throughout the rock. The thickness of the shale ranges from 100 feet to over 500 feet, thickest being on the eastern area thinning to the northwest.

Geologists have considered the shale to be an oil and natural gas source rock. Most of these are produced from reservoirs in overlaying rock units. There is still plenty of oil and gas still trapped in the shale. This is also a major source of tight gas in Quebec and slowly making it’s way in Ohio. The field ranges around 2,000 feet below sea level in the North and Western parts and goes up to 14,000 feet around the areas of Pennsylvania.

Future development of the Utica Shale will be focused on parts of Lake Erie and parts of Lake Ontario most likely to contain natural gas.

Other producers which play major roles in the Utica Shale are Exxon, Chevron, Chesapeake, Forest Oil, and Rex Energy. The potential yield for drilling in the Utica Shale would be around 1.3 to 5.5 billion barrels of oil and 3.8 to 15.7 TcF of Natural Gas.

The West at Its Best

There is no time for despair. There is no time to cower in the shelter of the familiar. Oh no! According to Than Merrill CEO of FortuneBuilders, there are much better choices to be made — and just outside and around San Diego at that! So you think that it’s all too expensive and you could never afford to move where the sun is always shining and the balmy breezes beckon you? Well think again. Have you ever heard of Vista, or Pauma Valley? Ramona or Valley Center, perhaps? Let me tell you about these amazing little towns around San Diego that are calling your name.

Vista is located in northwestern San Diego County and boasts a moderate size. For all you mechanically minded, machine driven people, you’ll find the famous Antique Gas and Steam Museum that entered existence in 1965 and contains functioning farm equipment. For those with a green thumb, you’ll find the Alta Vista Gardens — bringing together people, art and nature. History buffs will also enjoy wandering through the Rancho Guajome Adobe, and 1850’s adobe hacienda.

If that community doesn’t appeal to you, however, drive over to Pauma Valley, an independently minded town nestled near the Palomar Mountain and the town of Valley Center. Are you a golfer? Look no further than the Pauma Valley Country Club, boasting the famous Robert Trent Jones, Sr Gold Course. This course was rated among the top ten in California by Golf Digest and has even hosted the US Open Qualifier.

Skip over to the town of Valley Center, and you will find some more affordable living space. One humorous detail is that this town was originally named “Bear Valley” after a huge Grizzly bear ambled into town in 1866. Never fear, however; the bear is no longer around, the name of the town was changed to “Valley Center” and you will now find that small town, cozy feeling among the little shops still located there. If you would rather peruse the large chain department stores, Escondido or Temecula are right around the corner. Valley Center focuses mostly on agriculture and farming.

Finally, you can explore the town of Ramona for affordable housing as well. Founded in 1886 by Milton Santee, it is located 36 miles from San Diego and originally named “Nuevo.” If you relish the Old West, you will be right at home here! Alive with history revolving around Kit Carson, Confederate soldier, and cowboys and miners, you have plenty to keep you busy with rodeos, wine tasting, hiking, barn dances and art shows.
Don’t wait a moment longer if you are looking to settle in affordable communities near San Diego. You have your pick from these wonderful towns and more.

Whether to Rent or Purchase Commercial Property

If you’re looking to open a business like Frank Haney or have some other type of commercialized need, you may be wondering what your best option is pertaining to a property. Commercial properties can be a great option for those who want to run a business and have their own set location. The property might be in a mini mall or it might be in its own empty lot that needs to go under construction in order to create the actual location. One of the questions you might want to carefully consider would be whether to rent or purchase the property that you need for your business.

Both renting and owning property have their perks and disadvantages. Knowing what each will offer to you as a business person will enable you to make a solid decision on what’s best for you. When it comes to renting property, you will not have to worry about property tax or the underlying concerns that property owner’s face. Some of these concerns might involve water lines, electric problems and even something as simple as waste removal. Renting is often done on a contract basis, so you will not get locked into a mortgage that takes decades to pay off. If you’re a brand new business owner, renting the commercial property might be the best option for you.

On the other hand, buying a commercial property can be beneficial to established businesses that want a good location they can depend on regularly. When you rent a commercial property or building, the actual owner can easily end the contract once it is finished. This puts you and your business out on the street, while owning a property does not pose this type of risk. It might be more worth your while to find a good mortgage rate and simply buy the property that you need.

Whether you choose to rent or purchase commercial property, it’s vital that you have something that suits your business needs. If you can only afford to rent a property, this may be the best option for you until you can afford something more. If you feel that buying commercial property will enable you to meet your business goals, this is obviously what you’ll want to consider. The key is to find a good property in a great location so that you can be successful in terms of running and operating your very own business.

Another highpoint in all this real estate action was the fact that many investors were interested in industrial properties to purchase, not lease; eschewing the high cost of leasing that in some cases was approaching $185,000 per square foot – ouch! So if you’re asking yourself how long these blue skies and green lights will continue, the usual suspects are suggesting (maybe predicting) that available metro Washington D.C. land and space will tighten up over 2015 and several years beyond.

In the meantime, thanks to several downtown D.C. revitalization initiatives in the metro area, the shovels are out and apartment complexes and other new multifamily developments have been penciled in. And that includes a 326 unit luxury apartment community. One of the key factors in all this rush for developers and investors to get a piece-of-the-action, has to do with the stock market volatility. The folks with the “bucks” are pouring more money into real estate which, in turn, is driving down capitalization rates.

Why Partner and Vendor Relationships Are Important for Business

Relationships between vendors and associations have become important due to the changing economic trends. Vendors aggressively compete with each other. This means that partners have to work hard to get association business with the vendor and even fight to keep that good relationship. The vendors know that your success is their success. Well-selected, reliable vendors can help you develop your products and increase your market share in a competitive business environment. Here are some of the reasons why partner vendor relationships are important for business.

Quality improvements

The main aim of any business is to deliver quality products or services to the customer. Sometimes, your products can have defaults that need to be corrected. Without a good partner, you will not be able to identify and correct those flaws. Vendors are the people who hear more feedback from your customers. They are the ones who are more close to the customer than you are. Unless you conduct a survey, which in some cases can be skewed, it is very hard to establish what the customer wants from your product. A strong vendor relationship will make it easier for you to identify customer needs and the changing trends in the market.

Customization

A strong vendor relationship will help the partner to develop more customized products. For example, the vendor can identify a certain product that is needed in the market. You can use this information to develop a product that will address this need. You can also sync your data with the vendor and share with them important information about customers and products. The vendors will also help you in delivering your customized products.

Flexibility

Increased customer demand require you to change adjust to accommodate those change. Vendors are always willing to change to serve their customers in the best way. If you have a strong relationship with your vendor, it is very easy to communicate with the vendor and make the necessary adjustments. This will allow your business to grow and gain that extra edge over your competitors.

New opportunities

When you develop a strong relationship with vendors, your business will have a chance to expand. The vendors will take your products or services to other are that you could not have explored on your own. The vendors become an extension of your team. You can rely on them to give you the most important information about the market.