Puerto Rican officials seek debt restructuring to avoid looming defaults

Debt-ridden Puerto Rico is facing a marked slowdown in new revenues, and even under a best-case economic growth scenario would be able to make just a fraction of the loan payments due over the next decade, officials said Monday.

Revised figures from the government’s fiscal and economic recovery plan show that the commonwealth’s long-running recession and fiscal crisis have crippled tax revenues and left the island in a ever-worsening cash-flow situation, even as it has slowed payments to suppliers, creditors and taxpayers due refunds.

The result is that Puerto Rico is sinking deeper into a fiscal hole that officials there said can only be filled with the help of comprehensive debt restructuring — which they have been pushing for many months, but to no avail.

“The information contained in the updated plan makes all the more clear that actions must be taken before the Commonwealth runs out of options to pay its debt and provide essential services to the people of Puerto Rico,” said Melba Acosta Febo, president of the island’s Government Development Bank.

The disclosure by Puerto Rico officials, which comes shortly before a meeting with creditors, seems to be aimed at prodding bondholders

Instagram looks to ramp up small business advertising

Welcome to Main Street Morning, The Washington Post’s daily collection of news affecting entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses with a special focus on policy and government.

Here’s what’s affecting my small business, my clients and other entrepreneurs today.


  • A bill giving more small businesses access to Federal contracts heads to Congress.
  • Some early evidence suggests that D.C.’s minimum wage law is having a pretty devastating effect on the city’s restaurant employment.

The Economy

  • A ranking of the economies of all 50 U.S. states and Washington, DC, from worst to best.
  • This is the state of U.S. small businesses entering 2016.
  • A stock market analyst uses data to predict that a win by an “original” National Football League team means the market will be up for the year and a win by a descendant of the old American Football League sends the market down.
  • Oxfam says that the richest 62 people are as wealthy as half of world’s population.

The Elections

  • Michelle Bachmann says something no one was expecting about Hillary Clinton.
  • Here’s what happened when Triumph, the Insult Comedy Dog crashed the Democratic debate spin room party.
  • Most of Bernie Sanders’s big ideas are dead-on-arrival in Congress.
  • Americans from one region turned

Amid slowdown fears, Main Street fights uncertainty

Amid growing worry the U.S. economy might be on the brink of a slowdown, smaller employers are trying to stay the course.

But if you have only a handful of workers and need every hire to keep the business afloat, layoffs aren’t really an option. So you tuck into survival mode and see how else you can ride out the global turmoil.

Fashion designer small business

Hero Images | Getty Images

“There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty with small business,” said Jeff Stibel, vice chairman of Dun & Bradstreet, which along with Pepperdine University releases a quarterly reading on small- and medium-sized companies. “The noise around what’s happening globally and in China is giving people enough uncertainty to create some pause,” Stibel said.

For larger businesses, uncertainty can mean layoffs to immediately cut costs and boost confidence. But for smaller businesses, even micro businesses with only a few staffers running an enterprise, strategic decisions are trickier. “With small business, if you only have one or two employees, you can’t lay off 50 or 100 percent of your staff,” Stibel said. “You have to find some other way to survive.”

Stibel added

The surprising psychology of shoppers and return policies

prime time for returns in the retail industry, the month where shoppers show up in droves to trade in an ill-fitting sweater from grandma or to unload the second and third “Frozen” dolls that showed up under the Christmas tree.

This post-Christmas ritual has always been costly for retailers, comprising a large share of the $284 billion in goods that were returned in 2014.  But now it is arguably becoming more urgent for the industry to think carefully about return policies, as analysts say the rise of online shopping is bringing with it a surge in returns. The return rate for the industry overall is about 8 percent, but analysts say that it is likely significantly higher than that online, since shoppers are purchasing goods without seeing them in person or trying them on.

Against that backdrop, researchers at University of Texas-Dallas sought to get a better handle on how return policies affect shopper behavior and, in turn, whether lenient policies such as offering a lengthy period for returns actually helps or hurts a retailer’s business.

Overall, a lenient return policy did indeed correlate with more returns. But, crucially, it was even more strongly correlated with

Disney loved its no-fly zone — until it wanted to fly its own drones

Florida pilots know the rule well — you better steer clear of Disney’s Magic Kingdom, or else. It has been a no-fly zone for over a decade – a luxury afforded to none of the other 400 theme parks in the United States, and a point of contention lingering over “The Happiest Place on Earth.”

But now Disney is asking the government for an exemption to the no-fly restrictions so that it can launch flocks of drones over Disney World and Disneyland, a move that has resurfaced frustrations and a debate in the aviation world over the merits of the no-fly zone.

“It was controversial that [Disney was] able to get those put in place in the first instance,” said Enrico Schaefer, a lawyer handling drone litigation at Traverse Legal. “Now for them to come back to ask for the exemption to fly within these areas that are restricted, it just seems like salt in the wounds to a lot of other folks in the aviation community.”

Critics say Disney used its lobbying muscle in Washington to block aerial advertisers under the guise of national security concerns after the 9/11 terror attacks. It was a win for Disney, which is no longer troubled with planes towing banners over

Main Street Morning: Self-driving strollers

Welcome to Main Street Morning, The Washington Post’s daily collection of news affecting entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses with a special focus on policy and government.

Here’s what’s affecting my small business, my clients and other entrepreneurs today.

The Elections

  • One big reason to be less skeptical of Trump.
  • From Davos, Trump is seen as “unbelievable” and “embarrassing” but his candor “hit a vein.”
  • One man’s final request: don’t vote for Trump
  • Hillary Clinton knocks Bernie Sanders on his foreign policy experience.
  • Sanders pulls ahead of Clinton in Iowa, according to a new poll.

The Economy

  • Manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region contracted for the fifth straight month in January.
  • The average U.S. rate on a 30-year mortgage fell to 3.81 percent.
  • Regional bank executives call the 2016 market sell-off overdone.
  • Oil surges as signs of a U.S. output correction emerges.
  • George Soros says he expects a hard landing for China’s economy.


  • The Buffalo Bills hires the NFL’s first full-time woman assistant coach.


  • American Express’ profit f0recast disappoints investors.
  • This is the best way to save a failing business.


  • Chipotle’s woes are reportedly leading to layoffs at their suppliers.
  • White Castle launches a food-“transparency” website to prove it’s the anti-Chipotle.


  • Some retailers are betting that virtual reality will make their customers buy more.
  • Amazon is offering refunds to customers who purchased hoverboards.


How driverless cars could kill the speeding ticket — and rob your city

One of the big benefits of driverless cars is that they aim to promote safety on the roads while reducing congestion at the same time. If cars are largely run by computers, talking to each other, they can travel closer together in a more coordinated fashion without fear of causing a fender-bender.

Those machines could obviously malfunction. But on the whole, driverless cars are known to behave more cautiously than their human operators. And by virtue of their, well, virtues, autonomous vehicles won’t know how to speed, run red lights, park illegally or make other traffic violations that would result in a ticket. And that could drive some city budgets into a deep hole.

Take the nation’s capital, which operates the most speeding and red-light cameras of any city in the country. In 2014, the District issued an average of 773 tickets a day from its speeding cameras alone — adding up to roughly $37.5 million worth of fines, according to the latest figures from AAA Mid-Atlantic. Since 2007, speed cameras have been a cash cow for the city’s police, resulting in nearly $357 million in revenue, AAA said.

Last year the city pulled in less money from parking tickets, partly due to

How Starbucks rang up gangbusters holiday sales when others struggled

Retailer after retailer has announced in recent weeks that they saw tepid or downright disappointing sales during the crucial holiday season.

And then came Starbucks, dropping a blockbuster earnings report on Thursday that stands out as a clear bright spot in retail. The coffee giant announced that revenue soared 12 percent to a record $5.4 billion. Sales at its U.S. restaurants open more than a year were up 9 percent, and nearly half of that growth came from a surge in foot traffic.

The contrast suggests that Starbucks is outgunning its peers, at least for the moment, in tackling some of the problems that have befuddled the industry. One place where this is evident is in its digital strategy, which has centered heavily on incorporating mobile devices into the in-store experience.  The company’s app accounted for over 21 percent of transactions in the quarter.  At a time where shoppers have not widely embraced mobile payments, Starbucks appears to have built a digital ecosystem that customers have found especially useful.

It may be tempting to think that this doesn’t mean much for Starbucks’s bottom line, because you might presume that people are buying the same latte and croissant they always did, but just paying for it differently. But that overlooks some key, if not immediately obvious,

After woozy ride, U.S. stocks pull out first week of gains of the year

U.S. stocks recovered ground Friday following a tumultuous week that ended with a bounceback in oil prices and hopes for further global economic stimulus.

All three major indexes ended the week higher than they began, marking the first week of gains so far this year. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite climbed 2.66 percent Friday, while the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index rose 2.03 percent and the Dow Jones industrial average was up 210.83 points, or 1.33 percent.

Oil prices, meanwhile, climbed back above $32 per barrel after a bruising rout that had pushed them to the lowest levels since the start of the Iraq War. The price of benchmark crude rose 8.43 percent, helping to lift the overall stock market.

“For several months now, it’s all been about oil prices,” said Torsten Slok, chief international economist at Deutsche Bank. “That’s driving everything.”

Indeed, energy companies dominated the gains, with shares of pipeline company Williams Cos. up more than 23 percent. Natural gas company ONEOK and pipeline operator Kinder Morgan both posted gains of nearly 11 percent.

Markets in Asia and Europe also staged a comeback. Japan’s Nikkei led the way overnight with a 5.9 percent jump, while European shares registered their largest two-day rise since 2011. The rally

Your Marketing Automation Reality Check

Have you ever heard the term Use it or Lose it? What about Garbage In, Garbage Out? Using only part of your marketing automation platform is only going to hurt you in the long run. The information needed to maintain a marketing automation program needs to be monitored and updated regularly with intelligent and relevant data.


It all starts with the set up. Goals need to be discussed and established, an outline sketched out, criteria determined. There is a learning curve as with any new adventure. Being prepared with a specific plan of action with help with that curve.


Marketing Automation only works if you understand and can identify your target audience and are able to provide them with content that matters to them. This reiterates the Garbage In, Garbage Out theory. Your goal is to obtain qualified leads. Your prospective client is only going to give you so many opportunities to engage with them. For some it will be a one time shot. You must provide them with a reason for them to give you their information for further follow up. You don’t want to be dismissed as garbage.


Using only a portion

Flags Represent Some Of Those Little Things Life Is Worth Living For

Truly speaking, some things cannot change. Flags in many senses depict who we are and what we wish to be. That little piece of cloth combines colors and symbols and speechlessly projects the innermost aspirations of a nation of many millions. Flags withstand the ravages of time, politics, media, war and everything else. Pictures really speak thousands of words.

Come to think of it, offices and even residences take on the patriotic touch with the flag fluttering away, whether the national one that reflects fifty states or even the state emblem. Besides, you have all those hundreds of flags that represent a variety of organizations, be it sports, wildlife, world organizations, whatever affiliation the office or family is connected to. The procedure to install the flag is neither cumbersome nor costly but will require careful selection of product and accessories to ensure a long life of happy flag adulation.

Flag Pole Suppliers display a range of diameters and gauges usually in aluminium or fibreglass that are most practical materials. Besides, they are resilient enough to stand the stresses of weather assault, exposed as they are to the elements. Go in for the durable and sturdy products for a lifetime of happiness. Installation

How To Make Extra Money From Home

If you know the proper knowledge, you can turn your home into a place where you earn more income than you ever thought possible, at this day and age. About 34 percent of people around the world are looking for ways that they can make more money than they already make. Hundreds of people have taken great advantage of the Internet and have become extremely wealthy. Unfortunately, one of the common reasons why people fail at earning money from home is people do not take the time to fully understand how to use the power of the Internet to your financial advantage. In addition, the people who have become millionaires and billionaires from home all share unique qualities that are vital for financial success from home. If you want to be successful, you must stay focused, be consistent, and prepare to make sacrifices.

How To Make Extra Money From Home-Stay focused

“Rome wasn’t built in a day” has some relevance here. A lot of people think as soon as they start they will hit success immediately. There is a lot of time and hard work that is involved before you ever reach that first huge paycheck. So, it is imperative that you

How Strategic Planning Company can help you to Achieve Organization’s Goals

Strategic planning gives an outline to realize the organization’s vision. Yet numerous organizations regard it as a onetime occasion hastily completed so that everybody can start their work again. There is nothing surprising in the fact that the greater part of organizations fail to attain their strategic goals. According to several study and research conducted, it is estimated that not even 10% of businesses are able to achieve the financial goals outlined in their strategic plans. Hence, the companies are not able to progess as they should.

Therefore, we should understand the importance of strategic sourcing services and hire the professionals who can make our business successful. Strategic planning consultants work in a systematic order to accomplish the long and short term of the business. They divide these services into different phases like frame up, truth telling, and decision making.

Frame Up – The professionals make a plan of action to figure out what an effective result would resemble. They make sure to have crisp and clear answers to all the questions like:

  • What should be the outcome of this plan?
  • How much time will be required to accomplish the desired goals?
  • What are the different guidelines to be provided to the team?
  • Who will be

Know the Power of Online Marketing

The idea of promotions and marketing has changed due to technological advancement. The world is changing every second and latest improvements are making life more and easier. Online marketing Dubai can help you launch your product or service in the most convenient manner. You can see every human to use technology to find genuine information about anything and everything in the world. They use traditional computers, laptops, mobile phones or tablets to look for information about a certain thing. Utilize this aspect to make your product known to the great mass of people in the world.

Internet marketing Dubai will help your website appeal to the target audience to incorporating attractive videos and audio of the product. Most people do not like to read long pages and want something instant to have a detailed idea about the product. Photos from various angles given in nice colorful mode can help them fall for your product. You must be able to give all the salient features in the website to make the consumer know exactly what your product has to offer. Never hide any secrets from the customer and give them the opportunity to ask questions and write reviews and give feeds after

Mistakes We Do When Working From Home

We all dream to be able to work from home. It is easy to dream until the moment it becomes reality. But how well can we plan and organise things to the point we forget we are working from our living room?

Let us go over the most common mistakes that we do when we start working from home.

  1. We spend to much time alone

Lonelyness is the fact most people complain about when they start working from home. We start spending to much time in front of the PC and forget to socialize. Because there no more meeting we might forget to get out a few days in a row. The exception is if maybe we work in sales and thus the client interaction is almost mandatory.

  1. Chaotic schedule

One wants to work more and forgets to unplug and even feels guilty if he stops. One can end up getting up early and the first thing he does is start working. And in the evening one cannot go to sleep because he is thinking about different aspects of the project or different projects.

  1. You accept to many interruptions

You can start to spend too much time on so called socializing networks because you know

Tips to Stick to Your New Year’s Business Resolution

With the start of a new year, we make so many resolutions, some are too realistic some are hilarious and some take the resolutions sarcastically. This is because we generally fail to fulfill them. But this excuse is not allowed when it comes to business resolutions. If you do not fulfill any resolutions you will end losing a lot. However, following are some easy ways to complete your resolution for the business.

The plan must be simple and realistic- Make sure that your plans are not to vague. Decide one or two targets that you want to achieve and are practically reachable. Generally it is operational budgets and business plans that we have for each division. But it is necessary to keep them simple enough that people know them by heart. When you keep everything simple it keeps everything clear, there are less chance of confusion and easy execution of the goals.

Weekly goals work- When the week starts set the goals that you plan to achieve in the week. For example, if your new year resolution is to cut down on office supplies expenses, then make sure that you purchase it online. Set a target for a week to research about

To Be Successful

We all want to make it big, we all want to be famous and rich, and we all want it easy in life. Sadly those statements contradict each other, having it easy in life won’t guarantee success and fame. Every businessman and celebrity you look up to has gone through a fair share of struggles and problems the difference is they came out victorious at the other end. These great people have strived and worked hard to get where they are now and nothing came easily to anyone.

Many of us try to emulate them and follow in their footsteps, but the one advice they all give is, stay unique and stay proactive, be ready to put your ideas into action at any given point. People like Warren Buffet, Azim Premji, P Mohamed Ali and many more have created history in the field of business. The one thing they all have in common, is a multi-million dollar company, humility and altruism. P Mohamed Ali has a company in Oman and in India and he has started schools and colleges in both countries, because he sees the importance of education for holistic growth of any community. Warrren Buffet and others have spent

How to Become a Successful Digital Media Agency

You can reap great rewards from your business if you have what it takes to become the most sought-after online marketing agency. We have narrowed down few points that can help you achieve this.

  1. Identify the target market

Identifying your target audience is the preliminary step in running an effective social media campaign that you have started. According to professionals of SEO agencies in Bangalore, narrowing down the exact target market also leads to successful campaign results. Many reputed ad agencies in Delhi are also of opinion that marketing products to people who have no use for them is moot.

  1. Set your goals

Define goals and envision the result that you want to achieve before launching a social media campaign. For example – running a quiz contest online relevant to the event for its promotion. Creative agencies in Bangalore suggest that listing to the required output is an effective way to measure the success of a social campaign.

  1. Selecting the right social media channel

Increase your efforts on social media channels that the target customer is active on. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are social networking websites used by online advertising companies in Delhi and Bangalore. Create a unique strategy for all platforms. Campaign promotions

California farmers shore up for El Nino

In the San Joaquin Valley in California — where more than a third of America’s vegetables, and two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts are produced — temperatures are roughly in the 40s. The monthslong citrus harvest continues, and farmers are tucking young almond tree plantings into the ground. And during these tasks that make up farming, there are moments to look to the horizon and hope. There’s snow topping the Sierra Nevadas.

After four consecutive drought years, farmers are hoping and betting their livelihoods that the snowpack along the 400-mile-long Sierras, from north to south, will accumulate. Then in the spring, the snowpack will melt and trickle down to fill surface water reservoirs and hopefully bring down soaring water prices.

But there’s also worry a naturally occurring weather pattern known as El Nino will bring fast and furious precipitation. Acres of land have been left idle in the drought, making that barren land susceptible to flooding, mudslides and erosion. “A strong El Nino is expected to gradually weaken through spring 2016,” according to an update released Thursday from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center.

Qin Chen | CNBC
Jesus Ramos, citrus farmer in

I couldn’t use THIS but you should: Janice Bryant Howroyd

You don’t become the first African-American woman to own a billion-dollar company overnight. The journey of ACT-1 Group founder and CEO Janice Bryant Howroyd began during the battles over civil rights.

When Howroyd enrolled in an integrated school in the Deep South, she said, her teacher spoke about how blacks were well suited for slavery. Howroyd, 63, recounts forcefully biting the inside of her jaw in reaction so as to not shed a tear, for crying could seem like accepting defeat.

The memory of this moment inspired Howroyd to persevere and never accept failure when building her own firm.

“When I founded my business, I did not have the technology that I employ today to help immediate success as well as strategic success,” she told CNBC. “All I had was a brain, a phone and a phonebook.”

But Howroyd was determined to succeed anyway. She was able to build what is the largest certified woman-minority-owned staffing agency in the U.S.

For entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses today, Howroyd said it’s a worthwhile investment to harness the power of technology that she wasn’t able to employ.

“The advantage of technology has given so much to the business world,” she