Friday, September 19, 2014

2014 FAST Tech Conference Thursday, September 25 at UAlbany

Are you looking to fund research or start a technology business?  Come and learn about how local entrepreneurs built theoretical business models into viable technology companies.  The program is open to students, faculty, researchers, alumni, and the general public, so reserve your seat today.

2014 FAST Tech Conference

Thursday September 25, 2014 from 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM EDT
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University at Albany - School of Business
School of Business Building - Living Room
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222
Driving Directions

School of Business

SBA Logo

Conference Schedule:

8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
Check-In and Networking

8:30 a.m. to 9:40 a.m.-Plenary Session
Tales from the Trenches

9:40 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.-Break-Out Sessions
Transitioning from Research to Commercialization
Growing your Start-Up and
Holding onto Equity
Building a Successful Team
Turning Data into Dollars

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.-Plenary Session
Interview with a Local Success Story

Cost to Attend:
No Charge
Event Contact:

Kate Baker
Small Business Development Center, University at Albany

On September 25th, the Albany SBDC will be hosting its 3rd annual technology conference.  Students, faculty, and staff from all colleges and organizations are welcome, along with all SBDC statewide staff.  The program is focused on startup and funding best practices from experts and local entrepreneurs. 

The conference features SBIR guru Drake Thomas of Brockport SBDC, and a keynote interview with Bob Godgart, founder of Autotask.  Autotask was recently purchased by a venture capital firm for an undisclosed multi-million dollars.  Please let us know if you would like to attend.  

The New York State Small Business Development Center (SBDC), based at the University at Albany’s School of Business, has been awarded the University’s President’s Awards for Exemplary Community Engagement in 2013 and 2014, a recipient of a Tribecca Disruptive Innovation Award (, and named among the top ten centers in the nation by the U.S. Small Business Administration in 2009 and 2013. ( 

3 Things You Need to Do When Choosing Technology for Your Business

As an SMB owner, you want to maximize the investments you’ve made in your business. You want to get more done in less time. And you want to ensure you’re communicating effectively with customers and employees. The right technology can help you do both. Here are three ways you can ensure you’re making the right technology decisions for your business.

1. Know that “free” often comes at a cost.

More from the America's SBDC.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Re-branding – how not to alienate your customers

Branding your business is tricky. You have to make sure it comes across as appealing, a ‘must have’ brand that’s not too pretentious.

Over time, your company will change leading to a need to refine your brand image, but even the smallest of changes can affect your target market and their perception of your brand.

Clive Rohald has written an interesting article in The Drum about how to give your brand identity a makeover without alienating your customers. Here are some of his thoughts.

Every company, at one time or another, will feel the need for a brand refresh. The question is, how can that be achieved without it turning into a disaster.

1. Why is there a need for change?

More from SmallBusinessNewz.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Why You Should Use In-Person Events to Foster Customer Relationships

Why do people buy from you? It boils down to two things: they found you, and they picked you.

Let's talk about "they found you."

To get people to find you, you've got to tell them about yourself or someone else has to tell other people about you. If you're the only grocery store in your town, you don't have a problem with people finding you. You stick a sign outside and reach 100% of your target market.

Most of us, however, spend a lot of brain cycles trying to figure out how to tell the world about our thing. We use ads, content, social media, and so on to try to spread the word.

Moreover, getting someone's attention is becoming increasingly difficult. The amount of stuff being created today—such as photos, tweets, blog posts, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, and emails—is making it hard for our message to squeeze its way into people's limited attention span.

Read more from MarketingProfs

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Top 30 Startups to Watch

In theory, entrepreneurship sounds awesome. You’re your own boss so you can set your own hours, work from home in your PJs and do work that really matters to you.

But as any entrepreneur will tell you, starting your own business is not nearly as glamorous. In fact, it can often be pretty scary and lonely. Entrepreneurs take a great financial risk to get their ventures off the ground, often using their own savings and quitting steady jobs to pursue their dreams. Yes, entrepreneurs make their own hours, but they put in many more of them than the average employee (often 12 a day or more) and, still, they face a high failure rate.

Entrepreneur values those who choose to create their own path, and we’re not alone.

Empact, a Princeton, N.J.-based company that provides education and networking opportunities to young entrepreneurs, today released its annual list of 100 startups led by entrepreneurs under 35 that should be on everyone’s radar. Those chosen for the Empact100 stood out among hundreds of submissions and impressed an all-star panel... Decisions were based on factors such as revenue, social impact, volunteer hours, growth over the past year and the number of employees.

We took the Empact100 and distilled it further, finding the 30 startups we think are most unique and have the potential to transform their industries, if not the world. While there were many impressive companies to choose from, these are the ones that excited us most.

Keep your eye out for them, and be prepared to tell your hipster friends that you heard of them before they got huge.

More from

Monday, September 15, 2014

Top 5 Current Scams in International Trade

#1 The fake freight forwarder company scam.
The fraudulent forwarders pose as legitimate companies with spare cargo capacity. Their truck arrives on-time to collect the freight and then disappears, never again to be seen.

The Scoop:
Here is how it works: Once a signed and sealed agency agreement is in place between both parties and business starts, all appears to be normal. This is until the cargo arrives at the port and no-one has received the original bill of lading from the forwarder in China. When contacted, the forwarder demands a large ransom for the release of the original bill of lading. Companies which refuse to pay find themselves on an expensive rollercoaster ride of meetings with customers, lawyers, insurers and shipping lines in order to obtain the original bill of lading so the cargo can be released. By spreading shipments around a number of shipping lines, fraudulent forwarders can make this recovery process even more onerous. These forwarders may be real companies who are just out for the quick kill, or fraudulent companies that are not registered in China at all as a freight forwarder, making it more difficult to take any recourse.

#2 The Close The Deal Meal Scam

Friday, September 12, 2014

How Much Do Retail Marketers Personalize Websites and Emails?

Nearly one-third (31%) of online retailers in the United States with annual marketing budgets exceeding $1 million do not personalize their websites in any way, according to a recent report from Retention Science.

Moreover, of the 69% of companies that do personalize their sites, just 21% offer personalized offers to visitors.

A similar percentage (33%) of online retailers with annual marketing budgets under $1 million also do not personalize their websites; of the 67% that do, only 16% present personalized offers.

The most popular form of website personalization for large and small companies is product recommendations. Other common site personalization tactics include shopping cart reminders, displaying a customer's name, and social integrations.

Read more from MarketingPros

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Small Business Quarterly Bulletin for Second Quarter 2014

The Office of Advocacy has released its Small Business Quarterly Bulletin for Second Quarter 2014.  This two-page publication includes figures and tables of economic indicators to show the status of small business.  This latest quarterly bulletin shows promising signs for small businesses.  The bulletin includes data about proprietors' income, establishment births and deaths and various small business employment variables.

The Small Business Quarterly Bulletin for Second Quarter 2014 is available online at

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bagel: Taxed Cuts

When it comes to New York, bagels are serious business.

And they may also be taxable business -- if a knife comes out.

New York, like many other states, exempts groceries from its sales tax. Walk into a bagel place, order a dozen, buy some name brand cream cheese, and go on your way -- that feels like you're grabbing some groceries, and should be left untaxed. New York agrees. You pay the posted price and the state goes empty handed.

But what about one of those bagels, cut in a half, toasted, with some store-made scallion cream cheese, some lox, lettuce, and tomato, with some iced coffee to go with it?

More from Now I Know.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Five Branding Characteristics That Connect With Women (Without Losing the Men)

Brands have been focused on engaging female consumers for some time now, and with good reason. Women have truly impressive purchasing prowess—$5 trillion to $15 trillion annually, according to consumer research by Nielsen.

What many brand leaders are missing, however, is that even though women have been controlling the purse strings, men are shopping more.

That means branding and design of packaging, seasonal retail themes, product attributes, etc. don't merely have to engage women: They need to do it without losing the men.

Branding for women can be people-inclusive. Here are the five characteristics that can make it so.

Read more from MarketingProfs.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Use Your Business Plan to Get Ownership in Writing

Small Business Administration:

Way too often, you can add up the percent of ownership in the heads of the partners and discover between them they think they own 200% of the company. That’s because one thinks the idea was worth 50% or more of the ownership, the other thinks the day-to-day work was worth 50% or more of the ownership, and another thinks having written checks and invested was worth 50% or more of the ownership.

What I particularly hate in this context is when people spend the time and do the work and develop the business without spelling these things out, and then, when it’s way too late, discover that they had radically different ideas about who owns what.

This is a great use of the business plan. If there’s awkwardness about who owns what when friends and family are involved, you solve that with the need to spell it all out for the plan. Don’t wait. Don’t wonder. Talk it out. The business plan is a built-in natural format that all of you can understand.

The key here is to get it in writing. That doesn't mean legal contracts written and negotiated by attorneys, at least not in normal cases, and not in the beginning.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

How One Man Got Even With a Debt Collector… in Court

Kevin Jones just did what he felt was right, but you might think of him as a hero once you hear his story.

When Jones was hassled by debt collectors to pay a bill he didn’t owe, he did more than tell them to get lost. He sued — and got $1,000 and a whole lot of satisfaction. Here’s how.

Jones, 53, provided to an amazingly detailed record of events related to his lawsuit, which was filed in a Cook County, Illinois federal court. The first troublesome phone call came in 2007, but the formula he used to exact sweet revenge on the debt collection firm would work equally well today.

The call came on a Thursday night in November, said Jones, who lives in Evanston, Ill. It was an automated call; he didn’t answer, but he did call back.

More from

Friday, September 05, 2014

Endless Summer: How Six Seasonal Industries Stay Warm in Winter

Warm weather facilitates family vacations, outdoor activities and cold refreshment sales, providing several industries with an opportunity to generate enough revenue to sail through the rest of the year. These seasonal industries struggle to remain lucrative throughout the winter months, as frigid temperatures and annual changes in consumer behavior challenge profitability. While many seasonal industry operators anticipate May’s arrival, when demand increases as the sun also rises, these six industries are determined to make a splash year-round, come rain or shine.

More from IBISworld.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Freshening Up for Fall: 3 Ways to Tidy Your Small Business

From the Small Business Administration:

Summer is nearly over, signaling the start of school for students and teachers and the end of the fiscal year for the federal government and businesses throughout the country. This change of seasons is also a good opportunity to take a break from the frantic day-to-day grind and find new ways to reboot your small business. Let’s call it a bit of spring-cleaning for fall.

Here are just a few ways you can tidy up your business and improve operations:

*Glance back at your new year’s goals.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

FTC Updates Telemarketer Fees for the Do Not Call Registry as of October 1, 2014

All telemarketers calling consumers in the United States are required to download the numbers on the Do Not Call Registry to ensure they do not call those who have registered their phone numbers. The first five area codes are free, and organizations that are exempt from the Do Not Call rules, such as some charitable organizations, may obtain the entire list for free. Telemarketers must subscribe each year for access to the Registry numbers.

The access fees for the Registry are being increased as required by the Do‑Not‑Call Registry Fee Extension Act of 2007. Under the Act’s provisions, in fiscal year 2015 (from October 1, 2014 toSeptember 30, 2015), telemarketers will pay $60, an increase of $1, for access to Registry phone numbers in a single area code, up to a maximum charge of $16,482 for all area codes nationwide, an increase from the previous maximum of $16,228. Telemarketers will pay the same as last year for numbers they subscribe to receive during the second half of the 12‑month subscription period, $30 per area code.

For consumers who want to add their phone number to the Registry, registration is free and does not expire.

The Commission vote authorizing publication of the Federal Register notice announcing the new fees was 5-0. (FTC File No. P034305; the staff contact is Ami Dziekan, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202‑326‑2648)

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Carryovers of Unused Tax Breaks: Use ‘Em or Lose ‘Em

From the Small Business Administration.

New taxpayers, such as recent graduates who’ve just entered the job market, probably have a clean tax slate. But seasoned taxpayers have a history that can impact their taxes going forward. Due to limitations and restrictions, some tax breaks cannot be fully used in the year in which they are generated but can be carried over and used in other years. Failing to know what these are and keep track of them wastes valuable tax breaks that can cost you money.
Tax breaks subject to carryovers
Dollar limits and other restrictions curtail write-offs for your current and past outlays. Here are some to note:

Monday, September 01, 2014

Webinars for Small Businesses

The IRS broadcasts webinars on a variety of subjects aimed at educating tax professionals on issues affecting them and their clients. The webinars are free.


Friday, August 29, 2014

How to Accept SNAP Benefits at Your Store

SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly Food Stamps) offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities. SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net. The Food and Nutrition Service works with State agencies, nutrition educators, and neighborhood and faith-based organizations to ensure that those eligible for nutrition assistance can make informed decisions about applying for the program and can access benefits. FNS also works with State partners and the retail community to improve program administration and ensure program integrity.

Apply online to accept SNAP benefits at your store or Farmers’ Market. It’s fast and secure. You can complete the online application in as little as 15 minutes. It’s so easy. By applying online, you can also check the real-time status of your application online using your USDA account. Applying to accept SNAP benefits at your store or Farmers’ Market is a three step process: get a USDA account, fill out an application online, and mail your supporting documentation to complete your file.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

FTC Warns Against Government Imposter Scams

Can you spot a government imposter?

Even if your phone’s caller ID says “FTC” or “IRS,” or shows Washington, DC’s “202” area code, it could still be a scam. Scammers know how to show fake information on caller ID.

The Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers about scammers who pretend they’re with the government to scare you into sending money. They say you owe taxes or some other debt, and tell you to put money on a prepaid debit card and tell them the number — something no government agency would ask you to do.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Top 25 Companies for Culture & Values

Want to work for a company that cares about its culture and values? Check out Glassdoor's report of the Top 25 Companies for Culture and Values (2014).

In addition to salary, location/commute, and career opportunities, company culture is one of the top factors that job seekers consider when researching a new job.

Based entirely on employee feedback shared over the past year, the results of Glassdoor's inaugural report may surprise you. Find out which companies made the list (and which didn't)!