July 2007

Sales Tax Rates: CA & All U.S.

SCL Biz hates to mention the ‘t’ word, but it is a fact of doing business. If you provide sales or services in other areas you may have to pay the local rate. Here are some sites to help you find the correct rate:

  • State Sales Tax Rates: An alphabetical list by state name with rate and exemptions.
  • California City and County Sales and Use Tax Rates: View all jurisdictions in a particular county or an alphabetical list of all California place names. You can also download Sales & Use Forms for California.
  • If you need the rate for a specific city or county, try an Internet search such as sales tax rate dallas texas and you should find a link to a chart with the local rates.

Current Industrial Reports

From the U.S. Census Department, “the CIR program has been providing monthly, quarterly, and annual measures of industrial activity for many years. The primary objective of the CIR program is to produce timely, accurate data on production and shipments of selected products.”

These reports are available in Adobe .pdf or Excel formats. The CIR codes do not match SIC or NAICS codes, so SCL Biz suggests browsing the subject listing. Information for each industry varies depending on the type of product (e.g., Carpets & Rugs give shipments in dollars and square yards of different weaves; Flour Milling Products reports sacks and tons of various grains milled, etc.).

For more websites see the SCL Biz Guide to Internet Resources.

22nd Annual Education & Business Partnership Breakfast

“Bringing business people & educators together to recognize the contributions teachers make to our community”, hosted by the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce. Bob Blanchard, the Mayor of Santa Rosa and SRJC Political Science Instructor, is the guest speaker.

August 14, 7-9am
Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa
2777 Fourth Street, Santa Rosa

Information and registration or call (707) 545-1414, ext 0.

Brochures to Speeches – Make Your Biz Writing Pop

tips.jpgYou may be the best manager or sales person in your company, but writing is not your strong point – here’s some help. 135 Tips for Writing Successful Business Documents, by Sheryl Lindsell-Roberts, Houghton Mifflin 2006, is loaded with suggestions for writing great brochures, business plans, press releases, articles, proposals, grants, PowerPoint presentations, speeches, etc.

See the SCL Biz Guide to Managing a Business for more help.

Employment Licensing in California & the U.S.

Many businesses and occupations require a license – if you are in California, check this list for California licensing requirements and online applications.

You can check on licensing in other states by searching on the Internet (e.g., search licensing Georgia and you’ll get a link to the Georgia State Secretary of State Professional Licensing Boards Division ) or use a commercial website, such as Business Licenses Online for the Entire U.S., with “Every federal, state, county, & municipal business license, permit, & tax registration.” SCL Biz thanks Debbie for sending us this website information.

Fortune Global 500

Fortune Magazine published its annual list of the 500 largest companies in the world in the July 23, 2007 issue. The list includes this year’s and last year’s ranking, country, 2006 revenues and changes from 2005, along with the top twenty ‘biggest’, ‘fastest’, leanest’. There is also a list of the 50 largest global employers. #1 on both lists? Wal-Mart: 1,900,000 employees and $351,139,000,000 revenue in 2006. The online version of the list will also show you the top performers & biggest losers, women CEOs, companies by country, etc.

market-share.jpgThe Library has a subscription to the Market Share Reporter, a Thomson-Gale publication, that covers both international and U.S. market shares with over 3,600 entries, each with a descriptive title, data and market description, list of producers/products with their market share, numerous graphics, and more. Arranged by SIC code, with indexes by company name, place name, brands, and products, this is a very detailed source. Want to know the top grocery stores in California? Raley’s (17.9% share), Albertsons (13.5%). Top grocery stores in Romania? Metro (17.9%), Rewe (7.1%), Carrefour (2.4%).

Kendall-Jackson in Business Week

Congratulations to Jess Jackson and Kendall-Jackson Vineyard Estate! Robert Parker featured K-J in his July 30, 2007 Business Week column, “Parker on Wine.” Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the first K-J Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay, Parker observes that “The chardonnay’s bountiful cash flow allowed the company to amass more than 12,000 acres of prime vineyards, introduce other inexpensive Vintner’s Reserve varietals, and develop a portfolio of premium wines.” He also lists some of the best wines and best values from Kendall-Jackson. Nice picture of Jess, too.


Making sure you have the correct permits for your type of business can be a tough search, and an expensive one if you make a mistake. Use CalGold: Business Permits Made Simple, a State of California website that will “…assist you in finding the appropriate permitting information for your business, the CalGOLD database provides links and contact information that direct you to agencies that administer and issue business permits, licenses and registration requirements from all levels of government.”

You’ll find “descriptions of the requirements, the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the agencies that administer those requirements and issue the permits and licenses, and in most cases a direct link to the agencies’ Internet web pages.”

For more great websites see the SCL Biz Guide to Internet Resources.

Improving Workplace Performance

improve1.jpgFor maximum business success a manager has to be able to identify workplace problems, find solutions, and evaluate the results – Roger Chevalier’s book, A Manager’s Guide to Improving Workplace Performance [Amacom 2007], will help you do just that in your place of business. Chevalier encourages a manager to develop a team and to identify and remove barriers to performance.

For more help visit the SCL Biz Guide to Managing a Business .

Opening & Operating a Restaurant – SCORE Workshop

“You will be guided through every step required to open a restaurant and receive pointers about leases, concept, design and equipment, financing, hiring your personnel, menu, food production, as well as details about formalities such as taxes and licenses.

In the second half, you will learn how to operate a restaurant: how to prepare quality food, how to provide efficient service, and how to create a pleasant ambiance – and make a living. You will be treated to several bits of wisdom acquired over decades in the business: No free Come-ons, no Two-for-One coupons, no personal checks, no unproductive advertising gimmicks.”

August 11, 2007 8:30am – Noon
SRJC, Emeritus Hall on Elliott Avenue, Room 1597

Information & online reservations.

Business Forms Online

SCORE has a gallery of business form templates – view as html files or download (free) as Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, or Adobe .pdf files:

  • Business Plan for a Start-up Business or
  • Business Plan for an Established Business
  • Balance Sheet (Projected)
  • Bank Loan Request for Small Business
  • Breakeven Analysis
  • Cash Flow Statement (12 Months)
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Financial History & Ratios
  • Loan Amortization Schedule
  • Opening Day Balance Sheet
  • Personal Financial Statement
  • Profit and Loss Projection (12 Months or 3 Years)
  • Sales Forecast (12 Months)
  • Start-Up Expense

Walkabout Talkabout: Celebrating Wine History

wlasc.gifThe Wine Library Associates of Sonoma County (WLASC) presents this three part celebration on Saturday August 11 – go to any or all of the events:

  • Walking Wine History Tour of Healdsburg
    Tour starts and ends at the Healdsburg Library, Piper & Center Streets
    4-5 PM, Led by Darla Meeker of Healdsburg Walking Tours (LLC) and Bo Simons, Sonoma County Wine Librarian.
  • Free Wine Tasting & Tour of Sonoma County Wine Library
    5-6:00 PM, Piper & Center Streets
    Public Invited – Free Admission
  • Living Wine History
    6:30 pm, Seghesio Winery, 14730 Grove Street, Healdsburg
    Gaye LeBaron talks with Rachel Ann & Ed Seghesio
    $75 public and $50 WLASC (Become a Member and Save!)

Proceeds benefit the Sonoma County Wine Library – tickets are limited, call (707) 433-3772, x5, today. For more information about Walkabout Talkabout.

Finding Suppliers and Potential Customers

The Library has long had a subscription to the Thomas Register of American Manufacturers and Thomas Register Catalog, the go-to source for every type of material manufactured in the United States and Canada, as well as many services. Need nameplates? Corrosion resistant coatings? Custom metal fabrication? A heat exchanger? Specialty adhesive? Prototyping or CAD services? Would you like a list of companies that will be interested in buying a product you make? Now you can search their database from home or work.

ThomasNet is online and free for basic directory information. You can search by product or service or browse the extensive directory of categories for a list of all companies, then limit by state/province served if you’d like. Information on listing your business on ThomasNet (fee).

For more online resources see the SCL Biz Guide to Internet Resources.

Does Your Business Stick in Your Customer’s Mind?

stick.jpgWhy do some ideas ‘stick’ and become part of our culture? Chip Heath, Stanford University Professor in the Graduate School of Business, and Dan Heath, a former researcher at Harvard Business School, answer this question in their new book, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, Random House, 2007.

With many examples of the author’s six principles of ‘stickiness’ to help, you can devise advertising and marketing that will make your business product or service ‘stick’ in a consumer’s mind.

For more help with marketing, advertising, and public relations, see the SCL Guide to Growing a Business.

Writing an Effective Business Plan – RESBD Workshop

“A business plan serves as a guide to chart the course of a successful business. Attendees will learn the basic elements that go into writing a business plan such as the components of a well-designed business plan, the importance of forecasting before writing the plan and how to implement the plan in making day-to-day business decisions. An opportunity will be provided to write parts of the Business Plan during class. ”

August 1, 2007 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Redwood Empire Small Business Development Center
606 Healdsburg Avenue, Santa Rosa

For more information and reservations or call 1-888-346-SBDC

Next »