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Arizona Business News Update, With Healthcare Enrollment and Job Growth Figures, ASBA, Phoenix, Arizona

Posted By Gabriel Salcido, Arizona Small Business Association, Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Updated: Thursday, July 31, 2014



If you didn't sign up for healthcare coverage through the marketplace, you can still get coverage outside of the marketplace, but wouldn't be eligible for premium subsidies.  The Obama administration says exceptions will be made for people who have had continuous problems with enrollment websites.

Even before the law passed in 2010, 8 out of 10 Americans had coverage through work or Medicare and Medicaid.  As far as the deadline, there are exceptions, including those eligible for Medicaid can sign up at any time and those eligible for Medicare can sign up anytime after they turn 65.

If you're insured now but lose coverage due to a job loss, for example, you can use the exchange to find a new policy then.  People can also sign up after the enrollment period in special situations like having a baby or moving to a new state.  The law says those not covered this year will be fined $95 or 1% of their income, whichever is higher and this will increase in later years.

Meritus announced they will be selling individual and family off-market plans outside of the enrollment period without a qualifying event needed.

A new study by Lee McPheters, of ASU's W.P. Carey School of Business has identified the top 10 cities for job growth in 2013.  Phoenix's non-agricultural job growth increased 2.7%, making it number 7 in the country and Arizona's overall non-agricultural job growth increased 2.1%, making it number 10 in the country.  The biggest surprise was what drove the job growth in the Phoenix area, which was information systems, of which Phoenix was number one in the country.

Arizona Business News, a featured network of Sequence Media Group, is brought to you by the ASBA, Arizona Small Business Association.

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Phoenix Job Growth Leading Nation

Posted By Gabriel Salcido, Arizona Small Business Association, Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Updated: Thursday, July 31, 2014



Phoenix is a leading city in job growth but still showing growth at about half the pace of what would be normal in a recovery stage, says Lee McPheters, Research Professor at W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

Phoenix is 7th in job growth, which is 2.7% greater than the nation as a whole.  A big surprise says McPheters, is the growth in the information and finance sectors. Phoenix ranked first in the rate of growth and the greatest absolute number of new jobs.  McPheters says this is because finance has several sub-components that are important right now, such as insurance and real estate.

McPheters says that one of the greatest factors that's still slowing down the economy in the state is the number of underwater mortgages and slow population growth.

Lee McPheters is a research professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.  For more information on him, click here.  He spoke with ASBA, Arizona Business News, part of Sequence Media Group.

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Fundation's Approach to Small Business Loans, With CEO Sam Graziano

Posted By Gabriel Salcido, Arizona Small Business Association, Monday, March 31, 2014
Updated: Thursday, July 31, 2014



There are alternatives for small businesses to obtain loans outside of traditional bank loans.  When Sam Graziano started looking into entering the small business loan market, he found a "barbell" in terms of products available to them.  At one end, businesses could walk into a bank for a loan through an arduous process but they had to have the credit quality and collateral available that banks felt comfortable lending to them.  On the other end, there were lenders geared toward sub-prime businesses by providing a payment structure and rates for businesses most likely not to pay back.  Graziano found   a huge gap in the market in terms of customers that were maybe not bankable but certainly not sub-prime.

Graziano started Fundation, providing an easy online application and has customers that could walk into a bank but came to Fundation because they want simplicity.  Fundation customers pay a slight premium as opposed to what they'd get at a bank but what they make up in that is time, says Graziano.

We lend on the possibility that someone won’t pay us back.

The difference between Fundation and a bank loan, says Grazaino, is there's a critical difference in the way Fundation conducts their business and that's simplicity in the way it leverages technology.  "We think of the technology as doing the hard work so you don't have to," he says.  They spent a couple of years developing their system at Fundation that, in essence, when a business applies, they supply Fundation with a limited set of information about who they are and what their business is, which allows Fundation to access a series of third party data services and pull that into their system to get  a good source of who you are and what you are, which helps streamline the process.

Fundation is lending on cash flow and stability so businesses and "we lend based on the probability that someone won't pay us back," Graziano says, which is a numbers game.  The ones that do pay back make up for the ones that don't.  A bank model, to contrast, would expect everyone to pay them back, so Fundation recognizes the fact that because they're no collateral available, when loans go bad, it's unlikely they'll get their money back, so it's a different pricing model, Graziano says.

Graziano believes Fundation will evolve having working with many different partners across the country, as they want to help other service providers to deliver their products to small businesses more efficiently.  Also, "we'll get better at delivery capital more efficiently and smarter and that will allow us to serve a broader base of businesses over time," says Graziano.  "We can grow for quite a long period of time where we have meaningful market share before the banks will get scared of us," he adds.

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2015 Phoenix Superbowl Economic Impact, Dennis Hoffman, Professor W.P. Carey School of Business, ASU

Posted By Gabriel Salcido, Arizona Small Business Association, Monday, March 31, 2014
Updated: Thursday, July 31, 2014



In 2008, when Phoenix last hosted the Super Bowl, $500 million was reportedly brought in and it was the beginning of the recession.  In 2015, when Phoenix is hosting the Super Bowl again, Dennis Hoffman, Professor of Economics at the W.P. Carey School of Business, expects an increase in that number, attributing it to the fact that more people might be inclined to travel at that point and that Super Bowl attendees are some of the most well to do people that travel, so they report considerable amounts of spending at hotels, entertainment and venues around the stadium and in the valley, with some doing some traveling throughout the state as well. 

Hoffman says that if you want to compare the southern venues and people wanting to get out of cold weather, there is an advantage of the Indianapolis or Detroit venues and it gives the opportunity for millions of people to see these blue skies and wide-open vistas, to get people thinking that it might be a great place to visit or do business.

The confluence of Fiesta Bowl activities, which Phoenix will also be hosting in 2015, all the way through the Super Bowl, is going to make for a very lucrative time for businesses in the state.  Hoffman thinks the real benefit is in quantifying the long-term benefit of the imagery that is put into people's minds when they see these events broadcast to millions of people.

Dennis Hoffman is a Professor of Economics at the W.P Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.  For more information on him, click here.  Hoffman spoke with ASBA, Arizona Business News, a featured network of Sequence Media Group.

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How a Raise in Minimum Wage Affects Small Businesses, With Michael Alter, President of SurePayroll

Posted By Gabriel Salcido, Arizona Small Business Association, Monday, March 31, 2014
Updated: Thursday, July 31, 2014



For small businesses, a higher minimum wage can be a material piece of someone's business, says Michael Alter, President of SurePayroll, as wages tend to be the largest single expense and as you increase them, the money has to come from somewhere.

The challenge here is that it's very hard to make generalizations about which cases work and which don't.  A lot of businesses and a lot of states have minimum wages that are higher than the national or federal minimum wage.  When looking at one individual business, you have see what they can afford and what are the implications of their business in terms of how important it is to retain certain people because they have a certain set of skills that are harder to find, how much profit is in that business and what is their ability to pay that piece.  The challenge for Alter has always been, when talking about federal minimum wage, is that it's a "broad-based concept that really needs to be addressed at an individual business level."  What one needs as a living wage in one part of the country, may be very different in other parts of the country and if we set one level across, it doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense, adds Alter.

We have to look at the minimum wage laws in context to all of the costs in running a small business and how they're changing over time, Alter says.

Michael Alter is President of SurePayroll.  He spoke with ASBA, Arizona Business News, a featured network of Sequence Media Group.

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