Category: Our Blog

Tips For Business Travelers in Houston Texas

The SBA Resource Guide for Houston can be a great source of information on local regulations and contacts.

There is no state or local income tax for individuals. There is, however, a corporate income tax of $2.50 per $1,000 of taxable capital. The state sales tax rate is 6.25%, and the local sales tax rate is 2.0%.

According to, Houston’s five largest employers are Shell Oil, Harris County, Exxon Mobil, the City of Houston, and JP Morgan Chase.

Located near the Gulf of Mexico, Houston’s climate is mostly humid, with generally mild temperature ranges. The city is susceptible to hurricane activity.

Petrochemicals, oil and gas supply equipment, steel, industrial gases, cement, and synthetic rubber are some of the commodities produced in the Houston area. Financial services, information systems, and scientific research are also prominent in the area’s economy.


Celebrating the legend of Sam Houston and the Battle of San Jacinto is an important Houston tradition, considering that the city was named after the man who led the Texans in winning their independence from Mexico and paved the way for Texas to become part of the United States.

When presented with barbecued ribs, hot sauce, crab cakes, or locally grown anything, pronounce it the best you ever tasted. Likewise, if you get an invitation to have a steak at Brenner’s Steakhouse, or Texas Creole cooking at Brennan’s of Houston, don’t turn it down. Local dishes are a staple of the Houston experience.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a source of pride for Houstonians – they get to show off the best of the old ranching traditions in true Texas style. Everyone gets to have all the fun they can handle for three weeks as they enjoy the parade, the concerts, the petting zoos, and the carnival atmosphere. The World’s Champion Bar-B-Que Contest is an event all by itself, and the livestock show is the largest show of its kind in America. Even if you never knew the difference between bull riding and bronco riding, you’ll be on the edge of your seat during Rodeo Houston.


NFL Football: Houston Texans (at Reliant Stadium)
NBA Basketball: Houston Rockets (at the Toyota Center)
MLB Baseball: Houston Astros (at Minute Maid Park)
AHL Hockey: Houston Aeros (at the Toyota Center)
MLS Soccer: Houston Dynamo (at Robertson Stadium)

If you like watching baseball from the comfort of your bedroom, try something new. Next time the Houston Astros play a home game, go to the Alden-Houston Hotel, make sure they give you room 1008, and open the drapes. You’ll be able to watch the game in person without having to leave bed.


“Inside the Loop” or “outside the Loop” can either refer to the I-610 beltway or to whether or not something is in style, depending on the nature of the conversation.

Most Mexicans who travel will visit Houston at some point.

The region is so diverse in population that there is no racial majority in Houston.

Considering all the money that flows through Houston, the city is still below the national average in terms of the cost of living.

Profit With a Home-Based Business In Houston Texas

Today’s economic climate is getting tough on not only consumers but business owners also.

Small business owners are especially being hit hard, as potential customers are not using the traditional ways to search and find any business. Essentially, much of the advertising being utilized today is not reaching potential customers, as most customers are using the internet to search for just about anything.

Traditional advertising like TV, radio, Magazines, Yellow pages, mailers, etc., are not as effective or affordable anymore. You may ask why is this happening. Well, just about every household uses a TiVo or DVR to skip commercials; more consumers are going to commercial-free radio or simply changing to another station during those 3 to 5-minute commercial blitzes; Yellow pages are becoming a waste of trees in that no one even picks them up anymore; and most customers are too busy to clip coupons from a magazine, mailers or newspapers.

To make matters worse, the actual cost of such traditional advertising is increasing as businesses’ demand for such advertising is dropping dramatically, as well as actual circulation. This reduction in advertising revenue and circulation means that most advertising companies have to increase the cost of their advertising.

In addition, with reduced advertising revenue coming in, these advertising companies themselves now have to cut costs, resulting in layoffs, reduction in the size of their media, charging more for the advertising, or worse, these simply go out of business.

It is predicted that several major newspapers will be out of business by 2010 mainly due to a loss of advertising revenue. The Rocky Mountain News closed, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has recently closed.

For example, recently listed these 10 newspapers that are in serious financial trouble. Again, the issues are due to a decline in circulation and most importantly, a lack of advertising revenue. Most of these newspapers, and others, will go digital to try to stay alive.

So, what does this mean for the small business owner? There have to be major changes in the way they advertise to reach potential, and even current, customers. Business owners must still drive traffic and interest to their business, but it must be done in a way that is cost-effective and gets a better return on the investment.

The answer is that all businesses must have an online presence that is effective and affordable. However, most business owners don’t know how to achieve this goal.

Less than 50% of businesses have websites. And, of those businesses that do have websites, these business owners have no understanding of how to promote their web presence, or it is too expensive and time-consuming.

Creating and being effective with an online presence is something that business owners need to do, but, it should not take away from why the business is there anyway – to make sales and stay in business. Business owners are good at running their businesses. Advertising and marketing should not take away from their main function.

But, in today’s economic climate, online advertising is the best strategy for businesses to stay competitive and reach customers. But, this effectiveness goes one step further. There is the need to focus their advertising on a targeted audience, with ads that are relevant on a localized basis.

However, most business owners do not know how, nor have the time to do this type of needed local online advertising.

For example, a lawn mower repair shop in Houston, TX is not effectively advertising online, when a customer searching for mower repair in upper New York state, sees the Houston business’s beautiful website on the internet.

Customers are already searching online for businesses and services, and that beautiful website that a business has does not have a chance to compete with the large companies. In addition, most business owners do not understand ideas like SEO or have the revenue to use Pay Per Click techniques like Google Adsense, etc.

Therefore, business owners need help in finding the best way to advertise online in their local areas, and without spending a ton of money to do it. Face it, the dollars being spent on print advertisements and coupons are just not working anymore.

The internet has always been a tool for businesses to connect with customers if the business could afford it.

And in today’s tough economic times, reaching the most targeted customers is the way to stay ahead of the competition, while keeping costs affordable.

Houston, Texas Auto Insurance

In a big city like Houston, car insurance can be a bit more expensive than in other parts of the state. However, there are ways you can save.

Take advantage of discounts. Most insurance companies offer a variety of money-saving discounts. If you have home insurance, insuring your car with the same company could save you five percent or more on your premiums. Other discounts include good student (important if you have a teenage or young driver in the house), low mileage, senior driver, anti-lock brake system (ABS), anti-theft device, and much more.

Comparison shop. Texas auto insurance rates have seen some decreases, and now is a good time to see if you can lower your rate. The Insurance Information Institute recommends at least three different quotes. This is easy to do online. You can visit individual company sites and request a quote from each, or even more convenient is a comparison site.

A comparison site doesn’t represent a single company, and you only need to enter your information once. Then, you’ll get several quotes back from agents or companies that do business where you live in Houston.

Whichever way you choose, make sure to provide the same information about deductibles and coverages to get the most accurate comparison. If you already have a policy, you can have it in front of you when you shop for quotes.

Keep in mind, for informational purposes, that Texas requires a minimum of coverages for Bodily Injury and Property Damage.

These are just the minimum requirements and it’s often advised to get more than the minimums to give you better financial protection. You could be financially responsible for any costs that are above your insurance policy limits.

Other ways to save include increasing your deductibles (this can lower your premium quite a bit) and keeping a good credit score and driving record.