(Image by David Wright on Flickr)

As a kid, the word “business” conjured images of ties and briefcases. It represented a stuffy world I did not want to loan my time to. I’d rather play a game.

But according to a recent New York Times article, people who think business and games don’t go together better think again. The pieces is called,”All the World’s a Game, and Business Is a Player” and appeared in the business section of the newspaper on Christmas Eve. The article begins,”Congratulations. Reading the first paragraph of this article has earned you a badge.” It goes on to detail the recent trend of turning every day activties into games thanks to smart phones and applications like Foursquare.

“Foursquare,” the writer explains, “[is] the social networking app that helped popularize the gamification idea, gives people virtual badges for checking in at a local cafe or restaurant.” There are also tools the use a digital rewards system to encourage subscribers to go to the gym or go green. Some businesses are using these games to motivate employees. One system ranks and rewards waiters at a given restaurant. Boston start-up Objective Logistics offers the restaurant service and plans to introduce “Karma Points” which will reward wait staff for taking on extra shifts at work.

  Macy’s stores around the country are being loaned out as guinea pigs this holiday season. Macy’s is testing out what will likely become a national trend of major retailers staying open over nights leading up to Christmas Eve.  Late last week, Macy’s department store announced plans to extend its annual one day sale an extra 24-hours. Macy’s — the second largest retailer in the United States — has been running a last-minute shopping marathon since 2006 in one form or another. But this year select stores will be open for 48-hours leading up to Christmas Eve. This will be a among the largest last minute shopping initiatives ever take on by a major retailer. But, as Bloomberg Businessweek point out, if this experiment goes well for Macy’s other retailers are sure to follow suit next year. “For the first time ever, Macy’s will keep most stores open around the clock for the last weekend of holiday shopping, an expansion of our successful marathon that

Last week, retail giant H&M announced that it will begin collecting old garments for recycling in select stores around the world. Shoppers who bring in a bag of textiles will be rewarded with a 15% discount on an item of clothing. The sustainability initiative will begin in February. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data sets, the average American spent $1,725 on apparel and related services in 2009. That same person spent $1,700 is 2010. She spent $1,740 in 2011. The Council for Textile Recycling, estimates that when no longer needed, only 15% of apparel and other textiles are donated or recycled. According to the council each person in the U.S. throws away 70 pounds of textiles each year. Swedish retailer H&M’s in store recycling program is part of the corporation’s larger mission to cutback on textile waste. This initiative is unique because it brings the issue and the savings to the consumer. Some say that more that 95% of the clothing Americans throw out each year could be

According to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, a monthly report on 1,000 small business loan applications on Biz2Credit.com, approval rates for small business loans grew by 30% in September. Biz2Credit’s analysis shows that small business loan approval rates jumped from 10.9% in August to 14.2% in September among large lenders such as Citibank, Sovereign and Citizens Bank. September’s approval rates are the highest since the Index was created in 2011. Despite Improvement, Bank Approval Rates Remain Much Lower Than Alternative Lenders Although approval rates among big banks are improving, they are still significantly lower than approval rates among alternative financing providers, including merchant cash advance lenders, micro lenders, accounts receivable financers, and other financing sources. Approval rates among alternative lenders was 64.6% during September. It is important to not that Biz2Credit only analyzed loan applications from firms that had been in business a minimum of 3 years.  Additionally, the average applicant’s credit score was above 680. Business owners who have only been in business

Alternatives To Bank Loans For Business Owners With Bad Credit The number of small business owners applying for loans continues to dwindle, with many reporting a lack of confidence in their likelihood to secure financing. Recent polls conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Small Business Administration indicate that a growing number of business owners are choosing not to apply for loans at all. Additionally, many of those who have applied for funding reported being denied due to issues such as having no collateral or low credit scores. These trends indicate that business owners whose loan applications have been denied by banks are increasingly likely to give up on securing financing altogether. However, there are a variety of alternative financing options available for entrepreneurs with bad credit. Merchant Cash Advance Loans issued by banks require applicants to undergo an extensive review and approval process, put up collateral, and meet minimum credit requirements. For business proprietors who need capital right away, have

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