CBJ on Small Business
Your weekly roundup of news and views impacting small businesses around the Corridor for Thursday, May 5, 2016.

Compiled by Adam Moore, [email protected]
MetaCommunications launches new content tool
A look at the ProofMe interface
MetaCommunications, an Iowa City-based developer of productivity and workflow software, has launched ProofMe, its latest platform for managing creative projects from start to finish.
ProofMe offers users and teams the ability to track, comment and collaborate on print, graphic, video and interactive content in real time. It is built to work with other communication and cloud storage tools like Slack, Dropbox and YouTube, and allows users to send out customized email invitations to clients, streamlining the review and approval process.
"We can have discussions around one element of a brochure within ProofMe, for example," explained Jennifer Henderson, a Meta spokeswoman, during a live demo for the CBJ. "So we can solve those challenges from within the proof. For our team, that's been huge."
The tool, which was launched into private beta last November and just crossed the 10,000-user mark, is being offered on a 'freemium' model, where customers can use it for free or pay to access additional features.
Meta has already attracted an "interesting cross-section of users" for the software, including marketing agencies, student groups and nonprofits, Ms. Henderson said. The company will showcase ProofMe at HOW Design Live, a national conference for visual designers set to take place in Atlanta later this month, and at the Adobe MAX conference this fall.
"We're trying to build awareness among freelancers, creatives and teams with small budgets," said Chief Marketing Officer Kate Beihl. "This is an example of the cool tech coming out of Iowa."
For more information on the tool, visit https://proofme.com.
Bellhops seeking students ahead of peak moving season
Students working for Bellhop, with the company's trademark green headbands. 
Bellhops, a tech service connecting college students with moving and lifting jobs, is looking for 150 area students ahead of the peak moving season for work in Iowa City.
Founded in 2013 and now in nearly 90 cities, Bellhops has been described as the "Uber for moving," since jobs are claimed off a smartphone app, similar to the one used by the popular ride-sharing company, which coincidentally just began operations in Iowa City.
The service grew in Iowa City by 180 percent last year, according to Bellhops COO Matt Petterson, and needs to add "a slew of bellhops to support that growth" in 2016.
Bellhops contracts college students to work on small- to medium-sized moves, which are booked over the phone or on the Bellhops website. Workers are paid between $13-$15 per hour, with the average move costing about $165, according to the company's website.
Applicants are background checked, take part in a video interview, and are routinely rated by their peers and customers.
Students from Cornell College, Kirkwood Community College and the University of Iowa are currently claiming Bellhops jobs in Iowa City, the company said in a release. More than 6,000 college students have joined the platform nationwide.
FedEx launches fourth-annual Small Business Grant Contest
The 2016 edition of FedEx Corp.'s Small Business Grant Contest offers 10 small businesses a chance to win a piece of a $100,000 prize pool, the largest amount since the contest's inception.
The 2016 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest is open to U.S.-based for-profit small businesses that have less than 50 employees and have been operating for six months or more. To enter, participants must visit write a short profile about their business and upload photos of their business or product, including their logo. While not required, participants also have the option of submitting a 60-second "elevator speech" video.
The public will be invited to vote for businesses from May 17-June 13, with the Top 100 nationwide to be announced June 20. From there, a grand prize winner will receive $25,000, one business will win $15,000 and eight more will receive $7,500 prizes.
The 2015 contest attracted candidates from across the United States and garnered more than one million votes. The Grand Prize-winning small business was In Blue Handmade, an 11-person operation in Asheville, North Carolina,, specializing in handmade, customized leather goods.
The contest entry period is open from May 3-30. To learn more, visit the FedEx contest website.
Metro Sports Report mounts comeback with new revenue playbook
Jim Ecker 
Metro Sports Report has announced that the publication will continue operation under a new business model targeting specific communities, despite a recent announcement that its ownership was looking to sell or close the publication.
For the last six years, Metro Sports Report provided free high school, college and professional sports coverage, but Editor Jim Ecker said in March that the publication's "shoestring" budget prompted plans to close.
Yesterday morning, however, Mr. Ecker wrote on the publication's websfite that it plans to re-launch sometime this month under a new model using "targeted" advertising paid for by team fans or booster groups, as opposed to the "general" advertising revenues that previously supported the operation.
Mr. Ecker said the new model may not be ideal, but was required after the financial hardships of the earlier model, which forced the site's closure.
Starting this month, Metro Sports Report will only cover the schools and teams that have significant financial support from community members. That means the publication will only cover a high school or college in the metro area that has at least $10,000 in annual advertising support, which Mr. Ecker said will not be permitted to come from school districts.
The new arrangement is being extended to Jefferson, Kennedy, Linn-Mar, Marion, Prairie, Washington, Xavier and Cedar Valley Christian schools, as well as Kirkwood, Coe and Mount Mercy, and the Kernels, RoughRiders, Titans and Rampage. The site will also negotiate coverage of other organizations for a lesser amount if their season lasts only a few months.
Mr. Ecker said the new revenue model will not influence editorial content, or potentially quell negative stories surrounding a team due to a possible conflict of interest.
"If we need to write stories about high school football coaches who have been accused of abusive behavior, we certainly will," Mr. Ecker said. "And if one of 'our' coaches gets ejected from a game, we'll write about that, too."
Corridor Main Street leaders, projects win statewide awards
The Village/Bryson Block project in downtown Washington. Photo courtesy: Main Street Washington 
A handful of Corridor business leaders were recognized by Main Street Iowa for innovation and leadership in local Main Street districts during the organization's April 29 awards ceremony in downtown Des Moines.
Rick and Trude Elliott, the owners of the First Street Community Center in Mount Vernon, were honored with one of three Entrepreneurship Awards, for their work at redeveloping the former Mount Vernon Middle School into an incubation space for small businesses.
The renovation and redevelopment of the historic Bryson Block building in downtown Washington for The Village store was awarded its second Main Street Iowa Award, this time in the Innovation category, which recognizes "innovative property development and Main Street district revitalization strategies." The project last won for Best Building Rehab over 5,000 Square Feet in 2009, according to Main Street Washington's website.
The following leaders were honored with Leadership Awards for   "significant volunteer contributions to local Main Street programs":
  • Sue Riher, of Bell Plaine Community Development
  • Gail Naughton, of the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District in Cedar Rapids
  • Michelle Wilson, of Uptown Marion
  • Deb Harrmann, of Mount Vernon / Lisbon Community Development
  • Don and Marge Kline, of Main Street Washington
  • Tara Langley, of Main Street West Branch
Main Street Iowa celebrated its 30th anniversary at the event. The statewide program has helped create nearly 13,000 new jobs, 11,000 new businesses and guided more than $1.6 billion in private investments in local Main Street districts in that time, the organization said. As a grassroots program, Main Street communities have contributed over 2.8 million volunteer hours in local revitalization efforts.
For more information about Main Street Iowa, visit the IEDA's Main Street Iowa webpage. 
Consulting: New overtime rules expected in July
In this week's consulting spotlight, Cathy Johnson of Terry, Lockridge & Dunn and World Trend Financial explains what you should know ahead of the new overtime rules on the horizon:
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is expected to release new rules about who is exempt from overtime pay this summer. It is also anticipated the rules will go into effect prior to the end of the year.
There are a number of employee categories under Section 13 (a) of the Fair Labor Standard Act. This article is limited to discussing the potential changes to those included in Section 13 (a) (1): bona fide executive, administrative and professional employee categories.
In order for an employee in one of the above categories to be exempt from overtime pay, they must meet a number of tests. The rules in effect today are as follows:
  • The employee must be compensated on a salary basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week
  • The employee's primary duty must be managing the enterprise, or managing a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise
  • The employee must customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two or more other full-time employees or their equivalent
  • The employee must have the authority to hire or fire other employees, or the employee's suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion or any other change of status of other employees must be given particular weight.
Read the full column at the TLD website.
From around the web:  
Corridor Stocks 

AEGON AEG 5.52 -0.09 -1.60%
Alliant Energy  LNT 72.48 0.33 0.46%
Deere & Company DE 81.2 -0.98 -1.19%
Dow Jones ^DJI 17,660.71 9.45 0.05%
General Mills GIS 62.07 0.33 0.53%
GoDaddy Inc. GDDY 29.6 -1.04 -3.39%
Great Western Bank GWB 30.57 -0.09 -0.29%
Heartland Express HTLD 17.7 0.09 0.51%
ITC Holdings  ITC 44.25 -0.08 -0.18%
KemPharm KMPH 15.67 -0.92 -5.55%
Marsh & McLennan MMC 63.44 0.08 0.13%
MidWestOne  MOFG 27.02 -0.24 -0.88%
Pearson PSO 11.58 0.22 1.94%
Pepsico PEP 104.25 0.23 0.22%
Principal Financial  PFG 42.25 0.27 0.64%
QCR Holdings QCRH 25.85 0.18 0.70%
Rockwell Collins  COL 89.94 0.75 0.84%
S&P 500 ^GSPC 2,050.63 -0.49 -0.02%
Tanger Factory  SKT 35.59 -0.33 -0.92%
Procter & Gamble  PG 81.28 -0.32 -0.39%
United Fire Group UFCS 40.19 -2.2 -5.19%
U.S. Bank USB 41.64 -0.08 -0.19%
Wells Fargo  WFC 48.95 0.01 0.02%
West Bank WTBA 18.04 -0.25 -1.37%
Whirlpool  WHR 176.31 1.13 0.65%
Short-Term Event Planner
May 6
Leadercast,the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce , 8 a.m.- 5 p.m., the Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa, 2301 Oakdale Blvd., Coralville. During this one-day event, a live broadcast live from Atlanta will connect more than 100,000 leaders to speakers. For more information, visit bit.ly/20wvwUc.

UI Children's Hospital Recruitment Fair, by the University of Iowa, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Old Capitol Town Center, 201 S. Clinton St., Iowa City. Opening in December, the university's new children's hospital is designed as a healing environment for children and families, intended to match the quality of care and service being delivered. Free. Questions should be directed to the nursing recruitment office at (319) 356-2285.
Headlines from CBS 2/FOX 28
hese news items are provided by CBS 2/FOX 28  

CRF Frozen Foods is expanding a voluntary recall of hundreds of its frozen fruits and vegetables because of potential listeria contamination.
The recall includes all frozen organic and traditional fruit and vegetables made by the company at its Pasco, Washington, facility since May 1, 2014. The products affected have best by or sell by dates between April 26, 2016, and April 26, 2018. All together, it affects 358 products under 42 different brands.  The recall expands on an initial recall that was issued last month.
For the complete list of all affected products, click  here.

T hese news items are provided by CBS 2/FOX 28 
CBS 2 Chief Meteorologist Terry Swails' Weather First Forecast
A few thin clouds are expected overnight with lows in the mid- to upper 40s. The warm weather continues with sunny skies tomorrow. Highs reach the lower 80s for the day tomorrow with a few clouds and 50s tomorrow night. Rain chances will stay fairly low through the weekend, with a few spotty showers and thunderstorms possible Saturday afternoon. Sunday will be mostly dry, partly cloudy and slightly cooler, with highs near 70.