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Small Business and Retail—State chamber offers small biz labor law Web site



Fear of Hackers Limits Small Business Use of Web for E-Commerce

The California Chamber of Commerce has launched a new human resources Web site to provide information to small businesses to help ensure employers stay in compliance with state and federal employment laws.

The Web site (www.HRcalifornia.com) is a one-stop shop for employers looking for answers to employment law questions. It provides comprehensive, easy-to-understand information on California labor law, said Kathy Fairbanks, spokeswoman for the California chamber.

The site also allows employers to get answers to their questions on labor law topics and other issues, and to get updates on changes in the law. Employers can also customize and print out key human resource forms and checklists, compare wage and salary ranges and benefits packages to other California businesses, and look at national job postings and resumes at the hiring center.

“HRcalifornia gives employers the type of information they need to ensure that their businesses are not only successful but are complying with state and federal laws,” said Allan Zaremberg, president of the California chamber. “This Web site provides easy access for employers who need the correct information quickly with little hassle.”

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For information on how to sign up, go to the California Chamber of Commerce’s Web site at (www.calchamber.com), and click on the HR California link on the first page. Subscription price is $250 annually.

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Speaking Of The Internet: Fear of hackers may be holding small business owners back from establishing a presence on the World Wide Web.

According to a recent online survey of more than 700 owners nationwide conducted by SurveySite Market Research, 80 percent of small business owners consider the Internet to be critical to their financial livelihood , yet only 50 percent have a company Web site.

Rhonda Barreras, marketing director for Amarillo, Texas-based security software R & D; firm Systems Advisory Group Enterprises, Inc., which commissioned the survey attributes this largely to the fear of hackers.

“I think there are a lot of small business owners who shy away from getting a company Web site because they’re afraid of a hacker attack destroying their online investment. But if they’re adequately protected, a hacker can’t get in,” she said.

According to the survey, reliance on the Internet to conduct business on a day-to-day basis is strong. The majority of respondents have at least one employee , and sometimes more , dependent on the Internet to perform daily duties.

“With so many companies relying on the Internet daily, it is critical to have a security mechanism in place,” Barreras said. “If you’re a small business, securing your Web site should be as much a part of routine business practice as locking the office at the end of the day.”

WTA In Driver’s Seat: A small car company based in El Cajon recently completed a major contract to expand into the Caribbean and Central America.

World Transport Authority announced its negotiations with Pan American Automotive Corp. on Jan. 2. Under the agreement, Pan American will acquire a master license to build the WTA’s World Star vehicle in Antigua, Bermuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Surinam and other Caribbean countries.

This is on top of Pan American’s earlier agreement to build World Stars in the Central American countries of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, said Johnny McDonald, spokesman for the publicly traded WTA.

Under the terms of the deal, Pan American is providing WTA with 1 million common shares of its stock, currently valued at 31 cents a share, for the master license for Central America. Pan American will provide an additional 2 million shares for the Caribbean nations, and plans to acquire the master license for Mexico at a later date for an additional 4 million common shares, he said.

Instead of building cars, WTA, with 27 employees, contracts with other companies which build the factories to build the cars. It also contracts with a factory in the Philippines to provide the raw materials to build the other factories, McDonald said.

What the company itself provides is the design of the vehicle. The World Star, with fewer than 500 moving parts, is designed to be easy to build, durable and adaptable to the fuel most commonly in use in the host country.

There are several advantages of this method. It avoids the high tariffs that come with importing cars, while building the cars where they will be sold takes advantage of local, semi-skilled labor, further keeping the costs down, McDonald said.

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Here’s One For You, 19 For Me: The California Board of Equalization is conducting a free “Small Business Tax Information Day” on March 2 at Point Loma Nazarene University. To register, call (760) 744-6284, or send a fax to (760) 510-5876, or send an e-mail to sdtaxday@boe.ca.gov.

A schedule of the day’s events will be mailed in early February to those registered.

Please send small business and retail items to Lee Zion at lzion@sdbj.com. The deadline for the next issue is Jan. 19.

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