Tuesday, May 23, 2017

No One Is More Into the Sharing Economy than Millennials

From eMarketer:

Millennials are different than older generations in many ways. According to new research, that generation gap is even wider when it comes to the sharing economy.

March 2017 data from Maru/Matchbox, which surveyed 1,000 adult internet users in North America, found that millennials participate in many aspects of the sharing economy at a greater level than older respondents.

Millennials were almost three times as likely to use a space to stay, like Airbnb, or use professional services, like tax preparation, than people ages 35 and older.

They were also more likely to use car services like Uber.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Older workers: Labor force trends and career options

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
You enter the labor force, you work until a certain age, and you retire. Or maybe you don’t. More and more people are working into their later years, a trend that is expected to continue.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 40 percent of people ages 55 and older were working or actively looking for work in 2014. That number, known as a labor force participation rate, is expected to increase fastest for the oldest segments of the population—most notably, people ages 65 to 74 and 75 and older—through 2024. In contrast, participation rates for most other age groups in the labor force aren’t projected to change much over the 2014–24 decade.

BLS data reveal how the age makeup of the U.S. labor force is changing. From 1970 until the end of the 20th century, older workers—which BLS defines as those ages 55 and older—made up the smallest segment of the labor force. In the 1990s, however, these older workers began to increase their share of the labor force, while workers in younger age groups started to have declines in their labor force shares. And by 2003, the older age group no longer had the smallest share.

And, although they make up a smaller number of workers overall, the 65- to 74-year-old and 75-and-older age groups are projected to have faster rates of labor force growth annually than any other age groups.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Technologies That Will Shake Up Your Supply Chain

From ThomasNet:

The supply chain is going digital. In their annual industry report, Deloitte and MHI found that 80% of supply chain professionals believe that digital supply chains will overtake traditional supply chain models within the next five years.

To prepare for these changes, and to put their companies in the best position to succeed with a next-generation supply chain, industry professionals will have to fully understand the latest technologies.

So what's in store for supply chain folks? Here are a few of the technologies they'll need to know about

Thursday, May 18, 2017

This Is the New ‘Wild West’ of Retail Fraud

From: eMarketer.Retail




The rollout of EMV chip cards in recent years may have deterred criminals from making fraudulent in-store purchases, but it hasn’t stopped them dead in their tracks. They simply found a new target: call centers.

Call center fraud rates have increased steadily every year since at least 2013 and more than doubled between 2015 and 2016, according to an annual call center fraud study by the research lab of Pindrop, which helps financial institutions and retailers battle call-center fraud. It counts among its investors Google Capital and Citi Ventures.

For retailers, so-called chargeback fraud is the most common: Criminals call a retailer, make a fraudulent purchase using someone else’s identity and credit card number, and have the product sent to another address. Loyalty cards also have surfaced as a major area of attack as criminals use them to cash out reward points, said David Dewey, director of research at Pindrop Labs, in an interview.

The report, which studied more than half a billion actual call center calls, mostly in the US, and most of them involving companies that receive an average of 40 million calls a year, found that the fraud rate surged to 1 in 937 calls in 2016, up from 1 in 2,000 in 2015, and 1 in 2,200 in 2014. While every industry in the study is seeing increased fraudulent activity, the retail industry has an unusually high incidence rate.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Retailers Still Not Giving Customers a ‘Wow’ Experience

From eMarketer:

Customer experience is a big retail buzzword these days, but when it comes to actually delivering a “wow” experience to consumers, retailers are generally falling short.

A 25-country study by IBM found that on a scale of 0 to 100, retailers scored a subpar 33, and worse yet, they missed the mark on areas such as personalization, store and mobile experiences—key aspects of customer experience. In fact, the study ranked only 3% of brands as “leading edge,” compared with 39% of them it considered falling or lagging behind.

The study, IBM’s fifth annual customer experience report, covered 507 retail and consumer products brands. Mystery shoppers rated their experience in seven ways: store experience, digital experience, physical/digital integration, mobile experience, omnichannel supply chain, personalization and social media.

In an era when store experience is supposed to be a key weapon that brick-and-mortar retailers use to fend off competition from online rivals, the study sounds a dismal note: the store experience score was basically a failing 20.

Personalization was another area where retailers still have a lot to catch up on.

NYSBDC Bonded Contractor of the Year – Eli Smith, So Gone Trash Removal

The New York Small Business Development Center is pleased to recognize the boldest, brightest, and best small companies and enterprising individuals in New York State.  Eight small business owners were honored at the 2017 Client Awards ceremony on April 24, 2017.  Read all their stories here.

Eli Smith has been in business since 2011. His business, So Gone Trash Removal, which includes 24 employees, provides trash hauling, demolition, post clean-up on job sites and estate clean-outs – full service junk removal. They recycle as much as possible in order to promote a healthy environment today and for years to come. In 2013 he participated in the Onondaga SBDC’s MWBE Contractor training program. The SBDC provided assistance with the training and connected him with Empire State Development, as well as other local programs and opportunities to expand his business. Advisor Melissa Zomro also assisted Eli with business expansion and financing advice. In October 2016, Eli was awarded one of the first annual Carey Gabay Excellence and Innovation Awards for Minority-and Women- Owned Business Enterprises at the New York State MWBE Forum Transformation 2016. The award recognized Eli’s “Entrepreneurial Spirit and Achievement as a New York State-Certified MWBE.” He was chosen for this award in part because he secured $5 million dollars in surety bonds. He has also secured over $1million in contracts. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Real Work on Your Content Begins After It's Published


From Marketing Profs:

Many components of content marketing are controllable and predictable. But you know what isn't? Your audience's response. Surprises are the one thing you can count on.

So, what can you do when a piece of content you've created simply doesn't produce the right results?

Based on our experience, there's a lot you can do. In fact, with most content, the post-publishing optimization process can improve an article's performance significantly.

Examples we've come across are as simple as a piece that was too long and made users drop off, or one, which tested readers' knowledge of a topic, had too many questions about other, unrelated subjects, leading to frustration. Some situations are more complex and harder to spot, such as an article with a positive headline but a negative tone in the content itself, or any kind of mismatch between the way an article is being promoted and the substance it in fact provides.

All of those issues can be spotted and solved before your content reaches full audience exposure.

NYSBDC Growth Company of the Year - Doris Ulysse, Doris Ulysse LLC

The New York Small Business Development Center is pleased to recognize the boldest, brightest, and best small companies and enterprising individuals in New York State.  Eight small business owners were honored at the 2017 Client Awards ceremony on April 24, 2017.  Read all their stories here.

 The story of Doris Ulysse is testimony to the grit and talent of a determined inner city African American woman entrepreneur. Doris specializes in network design and administration. She is particularly adept at configuring and integrating hardware and software for a full spectrum of client types. After years of working as an IT professional she consulted the Brooklyn SBDC  to test the waters of entrepreneurship. Advisor Janet Page guided her through the business planning process and MWBE certification protocol. Doris became an MWBE subcontractor through the NYC Office of General Services and a contractor for the NYC Housing Authority. After two years Doris returned to the SBDC to better learn how to use the 8A system. Doris obtained a $5,000 line of credit to demonstrate financial capacity. She learned how to search the federal database to find prime contractors looking for partners, and also how to find other 8a firms with which to network. Doris’ next steps are to get an even larger line of credit, finish the NYC Mentorship Program, enter the SBA Mentor-Protégée program, and win multiple federal contracts.

Monday, May 15, 2017

US Adults Now Spend 12 Hours 7 Minutes a Day Consuming Media*

From eMarketer:

In an annual contest at Coney Island, participants vie to see who can eat the most hot dogs in 10 minutes. It has seemed in recent years that US adults bring a similar spirit to their consumption of media, cramming as much as possible into an average day.

Thanks to multitasking (and our method of accounting for it, explained in a moment), US adults’ average daily time spent with major media will slightly exceed 12 hours this year, according to eMarketer’s latest report, "US Time Spent with Media: eMarketer’s Updated Estimates and Forecast for 2014-2019".

But while our reports early in the decade told a story of robust gains—with increases in digital usage more than compensating for declines in time spent with nondigital media—growth has been petering out.

NYSBDC Exporter of the Year – Susan Jablon, Susan Jablon Mosaics

The New York Small Business Development Center is pleased to recognize the boldest, brightest, and best small companies and enterprising individuals in New York State.  Eight small business owners were honored at the 2017 Client Awards ceremony on April 24, 2017.  Read all their stories here.

Susan Jablon Mosaics, LLC was founded in 2000 and since then has grown to be a world-class manufacturer-supplier of mosaic tiles. Under Susan’s guidance, unmatched quality of mosaic tiles created by the business, which employs eight full-time people, has gained notoriety worldwide. Susan’s inventiveness has resulted in her creations being featured in hotels and casinos, on the DIY network’s various programs, on every episode of Hell’s Kitchen, and in the movie Men in Black 3. Her product is unique and desirable in upscale markets in places in the United States, Canada, France and United Arab Emirates, resulting in steady employment and growth in the business. Susan initially became a client of the Binghamton SBDC following the damage caused by Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Irene. The SBDC worked with her as she recovered from the storms and then expanded into a larger manufacturing facility, which Susan purchased. Her commitment to her employees, her customers and to the Binghamton area is remarkable. Susan was nominated for SBA Exporter of the Year, and was the winner for the Region as well as for all of New York State.

Friday, May 12, 2017

NYSBDC Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year – Mark Dyson, Spinland Studios

The New York Small Business Development Center is pleased to recognize the boldest, brightest, and best small companies and enterprising individuals in New York State.  Eight small business owners were honored at the 2017 Client Awards ceremony on April 24, 2017.  Read all their stories here.

Spinland Studios, LLC is a 3D-modeling and computer animation service started in 2010 by U.S. Air Force veteran Mark Dyson. The company’s primary focus is on broadcast media and advertising, but also supports areas such as instructional and/or educational messages. Over the past 15 years, he’s built & animated 3D aircraft models for the DoD Flight Simulator line, built real-time interactive data displays and controls for DoD clients using 3D gaming engines, built and animated 3D models for industrial firms, and provided VFX support for feature films. Mark began working with the Mohawk Valley SBDC in 2012 to support his transition from a full-time job to full-time focus on his growing business. In 2016 he once again connected with SBDC representatives and reached out for additional support around government contracting and marketing. The business now works with clients throughout the country. Next he is interested in working with the SBDC to pursue the new NYS service-disabled veteran-owned business (SDVOB) certification. Mark has been selected as a new Chamber Board member, another indication of his commitment to the small business sector.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

NYSBDC Procurement Entrepreneur of the Year - Ben Primicias, School Daze

The New York Small Business Development Center is pleased to recognize the boldest, brightest, and best small companies and enterprising individuals in New York State.  Eight small business owners were honored at the 2017 Client Awards ceremony on April 24, 2017.  Read all their stores here. 

J. Ben Primicias has been in the school supply business for a long time. He opened his first store with the assistance of the Watertown SBDC in 1991, selling a variety of educational items for teachers and parents. In 1996 Ben returned to the SBDC for assistance in buying property and building a structure with more room for inventory. The expansion required that he add new employees. Most of Ben’s in-store business is from local teachers, schools and parents, but his catalog has generated sales from across the country and overseas and account for nearly half his total sales. In 2008, Ben added another aspect to his business, consulting the SBDC before building an attached seasonal ice cream stand called Cool Craze, which serves both soft serve and hard ice cream. By 2015, Ben was considering closing the business and retiring because of increased competition with state contracts. He talked to his SBDC Advisor and determined that as a native Filipino he qualified as a minority vendor. It took nearly a year of perseverance, but he finally received his NYS certification as an MWBE business, gaining access to more contracts. With his revenues growing again, Ben decided against retirement and has added more employees.

7 Words You Need to Eliminate If You Want to Be Successful

From: The Balance


Becoming a successful entrepreneur is as much of a mental game, as it is one of finesse and expertise.
You can be the most intelligent, talented, and respected person within your industry, but if you don't believe in yourself and continue to be brutally honest as you move through the extremely difficult stages of growing a business, your failure is all but inevitable.
Everything from the way you feel about getting up to head into the office each morning, to the quality of relationships with your business partners, and the words you use on a daily basis, will have a long-term effect on whether or not you'll become successful.
Whether you intend to or not, if you allow yourself to use words and phrases that convey doubt, insecurity, and a lack of true belief in what you're saying, you'll eventually lose faith.
Not only does this effect your own mental well-being, but the people you're communicating with will read into your word choice and pick up on your sentiment & body language.
Here are the seven words you'll need to eliminate from your vocabulary if you want to be successful.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

New FTC Website Helps Small Businesses Avoid Scams and Cyber Attacks



Attacks can be especially devastating to small businesses; Agency provides information on how they can protect themselves
At the direction of Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen, the Federal Trade Commission has launched a new website – ftc.gov/SmallBusiness – with articles, videos, and other information aimed at helping small business owners avoid scams and protect their computers and networks from cyberattacks and other threats.
“Small businesses are critical to our economic strength, building America's future, and helping the United States compete in today's global marketplace,” Acting Chairman Ohlhausen said. “This innovative new website is a one-stop shop where small businesses can find information to protect themselves from scammers and hackers, as well as resources they can use if they are hit with a cyberattack.”
According to the U.S.Small Business Administration (SBA), there are more than 28 million small businesses nationwide, employing nearly 57 million people. Scammers frequently target small businesses with deceptive tactics designed to get them to pay for supplies they didn’t order, donate to fake charities or trick them into giving access to their network or downloading malware that can corrupt their business’s computers.
Cyberattacks can be particularly devastating to small businesses, and many of them lack the resources that larger companies have to devote to cybersecurity. Symantec Corp.’s 2016 Internet Security Threat Report(link is external) indicates the percentage of spear-phishing attacks targeting small business rose dramatically from 18 percent to 43 percent between 2011 and 2015.
The FTC’s new web page offers specific information to help small businesses protect their networks and their customer data. This includes a new Small Business Computer Security Basics guide, which shares computer security basics to help companies protect their files and devices, train employees to think twice before sharing the business’s account information, and keep their wireless network protected, as well as how to respond to a data breach. It also has information on other cyber threats such as ransomware and phishing schemes targeting small businesses. The FTC is continuing to work with the SBA on additional ways to help small businesses.

NYSBDC Female Entrepreneur of the Year – Gloria Lovece, Infrastructure Unlimited Inc.

The New York Small Business Development Center is pleased to recognize the boldest, brightest, and best small companies and enterprising individuals in New York State.  Eight small business owners were honored at the 2017 Client Awards ceremony on April 24, 2017.  Read all their stories here. 

Gloria Lovece is President of Infrastructure Unlimited Inc., the construction company she started with her two brothers. The company specializes in the installation and remediation of public infrastructure - notably bridges, railroads and power lines. Her company is a certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) in NY and NJ with certification pending in Ohio. In a male dominated industry, she has worked hard to overcome many obstacles. As a startup, Infrastructure Unlimited was awarded its first contract, sealing 28 bridge decks on interstate highways with heavy traffic and finished the project ahead of schedule. Gloria worked with the SBDC to find additional capital to fund her continued growth and to navigate the process of DBA certification. Gloria’s firm received a $375,000 SBA guaranteed loan from M&T Bank, and combined with an additional investment in cash and equipment the company has added three new full-time positions and bidding on more projects. As an entrepreneur, Gloria is fulfilling her childhood dream of having a company where women and minorities are welcome and able to thrive.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Fake News Means Fact-Checking Must Be Part of Your Content Strategy

From MarketingProfs:

Hillary Clinton wasn't the only loser in last year's elections.

Facebook and the media were put on the defensive about their role in what has become known as "fake news," which has spread in a "post-truth" political climate.

It looks like facts may have been the biggest casualty of the elections.

And that has implications for brands that produce content: With the rise of fake news, content marketers eager to maintain their reputations must focus on making sure that their content is truthful. It's too easy to get duped by a false "news" story, which can have an adverse impact on your credibility in your industry and possibly even your site's rankings.

Fortunately, you can ensure the accuracy of your content: Incorporating fact-checking into your editorial process will help you build confidence in the quality and authority of your brand-produced content.

Here's what you need to know.

NYSBDC Minority Entrepreneur of the Year – Laura Cueva, Cueva Interior Innovations

The New York Small Business Development Center is pleased to recognize the boldest, brightest, and best small companies and enterprising individuals in New York State.  Eight small business owners were honored at the 2017 Client Awards ceremony on April 24, 2017.  Read all their stories here. 

At Cueva Interior Innovations they believe that space matters. Laura Cueva and her staff help businesses, educational facilities and medical facilities enhance employee productivity through creative space planning and cost-effective furniture solutions designed to promote employee well-being in the workplace. Laura first consulted the SBDC for assistance in starting her business, and later worked with SBDC to complete the paperwork required for MWBE certification and as approved in 2014. Most recently, Laura consulted with Roxanne Mutchler about marketing and procurement issues. With SBDC assistance, Laura submitted an application to the NYS MWBE Bridge-to-Success Loan Program to obtain financing to support a government contract with SUNY Oneonta for almost $300,000. She was approved by NYBDC for a line of credit for $250,000. Laura has received several small contracts with SUNYs and her Bridge to Success loan will catapult her business to the next level.

Monday, May 08, 2017

NYSBDC Manufacturer of the Year – Jaime Sweet, Hartman Enterprises Inc.

The New York Small Business Development Center is pleased to recognize the boldest, brightest, and best small companies and enterprising individuals in New York State.  Eight small business owners were honored at the 2017 Client Awards ceremony on April 24, 2017.  Read all their stories here. 

Hartman Enterprises Incorporated is a precision machine parts manufacturer located in Oneida that employs more than 45 people. The business’ facility consists of over 25,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Since taking over the family business, CEO Jaime Sweet has achieved her father’s dream of making the business woman-owned and certified. She worked closely with the Mohawk Valley SBDC to achieve this goal and to navigate the various federal and state certification programs. The company is now HUBZone and WOSB certified, and their MWBE certification application is pending review by New York State. Jaime has also worked tirelessly to garner the company various awards, grants, upgraded industry certifications, and other enhancements that strengthen its infrastructure and competitive position in the manufacturing marketspace. These training grants that support the company’s Safety and Quality Management System Upgrade from its existing 15 years of ISO 9001 Certification to AS 9100 Rev C to enable it to do business for the aerospace industry. Hartman Enterprises has already obtained new aerospace customers as a result of this effort.

What the Reversal of Net Neutrality Means for Small Businesses

From ImpactBnd

The regulations against net neutrality have been moved back into the spotlight.

On April 26th, Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman, gave a speech in Washington where he announced his move to undo an Obama-era FCC regulation against broadband internet providers.

His proposal looks to undo the 2015 rules that implemented net neutrality with a Title II classification. But people on each side of the debate have varying concerns about altering the regulation and how it not only affects the big companies but the little guys as well.

With an initial vote coming up on May 18th, many are looking to better understanding of net neutrality, review the proposed changes, and weigh the benefits and worries the changes may create.

So, what do you need to know?

In this article, we’ve outlined the key details about the current and proposed legislation, how it may affect small businesses and operations, and what the future may hold if it’s passed.

*What is net neutrality anyways?*

Net Neutrality (also known as Open Internet) revolves around the idea that all internet service providers (ISPs) treat the deliverability of web traffic, applications, and content equally.

Friday, May 05, 2017

4 Tips I Used to Find the Perfect Work/Life Balance

From: Impact
Over the past several weeks, I've been really thinking about balancing work and life.
As one of IMPACT's Marketing Strategists, I'm often juggling 100 different things for clients any given week -- and as a mom of three under the age of 10, I'm juggling a million personal objectives and tasks on top of that.
Balancing work and life, with or without kids, is probably the most challenging thing to figure out for anyone.
Whether you are in marketing, a CEO, or heading off to college for the first time, we all deal with it daily, and honestly, I still don't know how the heck I do it.  
But, the point of any blog from IMPACT is to provide value and help.
Despite knowing I will spend the rest of my career fine-tuning my work/life balance, I'll let you know what works for me and for others I have spoken to over the last several weeks, and hopefully you'll be inspired to find your perfect work/life balance too.