Thursday, December 08, 2016

How to Hire for Emotional Intelligence

From Bplans:

Emotional Intelligence, also known as EI, is the ability to control personal emotions under extreme duress, as well as the ability to empathize and understand the emotions of others.

Studies were first being done on EI in the workplace in 1998. Now, almost 20 years later, it is gaining traction as one of the most important traits for an employee to have...

The reason?

Employees, managers, and company leaders all benefit from a high EI. They are more likely to communicate their needs, understand each other’s preferences, and feel welcome and engaged at the office.

Emotional intelligence is not just “wearing your heart on your sleeve,” but adjusting your behavior to make everyone feel comfortable and confident. When effectively integrated into business, EI is shown to increase profits by over 34 percent for some businesses, and increase employee positivity by nearly 58 percent.

The question then arises: How can a business hire for emotional intelligence?

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

How to Use Scenarios to Achieve Marketing Agility

From Marketing Profs:


Agile companies want to be able to rapidly adjust on all fronts, including Marketing. Companies are interested in marketing that's agile because they believe it will help them deploy the right elements of the marketing mix at the right time to influence the specific outcome they want to achieve.

Scenarios to Facilitate Agility

Scenarios are postulated sequences of events or other developments. Creating scenarios helps you consider a range of possible outcomes and drivers of change. Accordingly, scenarios are a powerful tool for understanding potential situations and then developing appropriate strategies for each of those situations.

In short, scenarios help you anticipate. They help you ask better questions and prepare for the unexpected. They increase your readiness—thus setting the stage for agility. And scenario analysis is an essential part of creating agility.

Creating scenarios that will be useful in helping to make marketing agile requires data and timing information. Therefore, you need answers to the following types of questions...

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Pay Attention to Your Supply Chain

From Entrepreneur:

At the mid-market level, many decision makers believe they lack time and resources and so must prioritize certain aspects of the business over others. Often, the supply chain is not seen important enough to merit scarce resources. However, having a supply chain strategy is equally important for midsize companies as it is for enterprise-level firms.

The most important aspect of a robust supply chain strategy is that it meets the current and future needs of the customer. Customers are more sophisticated and demanding than ever, and understanding them—will inform your long-term supply chain strategy. Talking to them directly is the best way to find out what they need.

Technology can help provide end-to-end visibility across all supply chain channels, and it can speed up process steps. But it’s crucial that mid-market businesses don’t just adopt the latest technology just for its own sake. A solid supply chain strategy will place the customer’s needs front and center when it comes to establishing the need for new technology, and determining the correct solution.

Unlike some other business processes, the supply chain is subject to many external forces. Mid-market businesses can prepare for potential disruptions by being knowledgeable about the latest trends in the supply chain, and analyzing in advance how their business will be affected by a multitude of different event types. Disruption can be deeply damaging—and potentially for a long time to come—from lost customers, to lower revenues, even to loss of brand value.

Besides, choose the critical new supply chain capabilities and prioritize them into a project plan that delivers those goals at a rate of spend your company can afford.

Monday, December 05, 2016

50 Things You'll Need to Do to Start Your Own Business

From NOLO


Thinking about starting a business? You're not alone. Every year, thousands of Americans catch the entrepreneurial spirit, launching small businesses to sell their products or services. Some businesses thrive; many fail. The more you know about starting a business, the more power you have to form an organization that develops into a lasting source of income and satisfaction.

Learn how to evaluate and develop your business idea; decide on a legal structure for your business; choose a name for your business; and much more.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Internet of Things

From IoT 2016:

The rapid advancement and ubiquitous penetration of mobile network, web based information creation and sharing, and software defined networking technology have been enabling sensing, predicting and controlling of physical world with information technology. Every business process can be empowered, and therefore, various industries redesign their business models and processes along Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm. To maximize the social and economic benefit of the technology, issues of interoperability, mashing up data, developing open platforms and standardization across technology layers have to be addressed.

From Business Insider:

Many industry experts and excited consumers have pegged The Internet of Things (IoT) as the next Industrial Revolution or the Next Internet. Because it will be the future of the way businesses, governments, and consumers interact with the physical world.

From Forbes:

IoT is centered on the idea that there is a tremendous amount of sensor data that could be used to run value chains more effectively. Within demand management, however, there are already huge amounts of data that too few consumer goods and food & beverage companies fully leverage – Point of Sale (POS) data.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

How Big is Your Potential Market, Really?

From: Bplans



Whether you’re a startup or an up-and-running business, you should know what your total potential market opportunity is for your products or services.

Assisting many companies over the years, as well as judged several business plan competitions, and it's surprising how most business owners can’t confidently tell you their total market potential. They say things like, “My market is everyone who eats dessert,” or, “Everyone in my community who drives a car,” or, “Anyone in the world who uses social networks.”

You may think these are your markets, but you need to drill-down and get more realistic and specific about the true size of your market, or lenders and investors will question your credibility.

That leads us to TAM —Total Addressable Market. When looking at TAM, you need to know how to calculate it, what it’s used for, and why it’s important—but all three numbers can be helpful to reference while you’re writing your business plan.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

SaaS and Subscription Businesses: A List of Top Resources

From Bplans:

Bplans loves SaaS (or “software as a service”). It also loves SaaS businesses, subscription businesses, and the subscription business model in general. So, the company has made an effort to create resources to help you learn more about what running a SaaS or subscription business actually entails, and give you the tools to start and run one successfully.

Here, you’ll find all of the best SaaS and subscription business resources, starting with a detailed definition of a SaaS business (so if you’re still unsure what it actually means, don’t worry—it's covered), all the way through how to grow your SaaS or subscription business, and inspiration from some truly bizarre subscription products out there.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How to Request a Waiver of the One-Year-in-Business Requirement for NYS MWBE Certification

If you are a company that may qualify for a waiver of the one year in business requirement (typically licensed professionals going into business for themselves who can meet all the qualifications, are generating revenue, etc, but haven't been in business for a full year), here are updated guidelines from the ESD Certification Help Desk on how to make that request and what's required as support documentation:

A one year waiver for a business entity requires the following documentation before it can be forwarded to the Executive Director for final approval:

1. A letter requesting the one year waiver for the business entity in question to the NYS ESD Division of Minority and Woman Business Development explaining the services or products you provided leading up to the start of your new company;

2. The majority owner(s) current resume(s) typically listing training, and dates of employment history with brief explanation of role and responsibilities;

3. If applicable, any relevant license or certification or training that indicates your training and experience in the field or industry that your new business occupies or may require;

4. Proof of revenue generated by your new business entity. This simply means that you must have been able to sell your products or services and have received payment for those services under the auspice of your new company. There is no limit to the dollar amount of activity; only that you have been able to sell your services as this company.

Monday, November 28, 2016

SBA Increases Surety Bond Guarantees to 90 Percent

The Small Business Administration increased its guarantee percentage for bonds issued in the Preferred Surety Bond Program from no more than 70 percent to no more than 90 percent, per Public Law 114-92 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016.

SBA guarantees will be 90 percent if the original contract is $100,000 or less, or if the bond is issued on behalf of a small business owned and controlled by socially or economically disadvantaged individuals, veterans, service disabled veterans, or qualified HUBZone and 8(a) businesses. In all other cases, the guarantee will be 80 percent.

The increase will be effective Nov. 25, 2016. The new guarantee limits will expand bonding opportunities for many small businesses. For more information about the Surety Bonds Guarantees Program, please visit https://www.sba.gov/surety-bonds .

Friday, November 25, 2016

Our aging workforce

From the US Department of Labor:

It’s a fact: our workforce is aging. By 2024, nearly 1 in 4 people in the labor force are projected to be age 55 or over.

This is a big change from 1994, when people ages 55 and older represented only 11.9 percent of the labor force – a share smaller than those held by other age groups: 16-24, 25-34, 35-44 and 45-54. But by 2024, their projected share will be the largest among these age groups.

There are two reasons for this trend. The first is an aging population: baby boomers − those born from 1946 to 1964 − are moving into older age groups. By 2024, the youngest will be 59 years old.

The second reason is an increasing labor force participation rate among older workers. Research shows many older people are remaining in the labor force longer than those from previous generations. According to one study, about 60 percent of older workers with a “career job” retire and move to a “bridge job”; that is, a short-term and/or part-time position. Another study found that about half of retirees followed nontraditional paths of retirement in that they did not exit the labor force permanently.

The big question is why: Why are older workers choosing to remain in the labor force?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Business Wizard license center option: "Contact us!"

Looking for assistance for a specific type of business NOT showing up in the very useful Business Wizard license center website?

There is a "contact us" link on the license center website, on the page where all of the drop-down menus are for the type of business. One of our NY SBDC has called often and has found the representative to be very helpful in helping to determine how to categorize certain business entity types. Sometimes it ends up being in more than one category.

For instance, our advisor had a taxidermy business, which does not show up as a choice. After several calls, the representative found the one person in the state who knew about the one law that applied to taxidermy!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies 2016

From Fast Company:

Our axiom when we set out to build our list of the World's Most Innovative Companies has always been that whatever challenges may be buffeting business--political uncertainty, market instability, international unrest--there are always pockets of extraordinary achievement.

We partnered with data-analysis outfit Quid to help us identify a broader pool of candidates; that breadth reinforced our conviction that a new wave of business practices is increasingly taking hold across the world.

And we were inspired by what we found.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Small Business Saturday - THIS WEEK!

From: SmallBusiness.com




Small Business Saturday is the Saturday after Thanksgiving in the U.S. In 2016, Small Business Saturday will be November 26. The day is intended to encourage American shoppers to consider small retailers and merchants as they think of their holiday shopping.



It comes as an answer to the Friday after the U.S. Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday of November) called Black Friday and the following Monday called Cyber Monday. Both of those days have come to be associated with discounts and promotions at large retail chains and ecommerce businesses.



Small Business Saturday is a promotional effort intended to encourage consumers to support local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Small Businesses Can Do Well By Doing Good

From: Forbes



Being a small business has its advantages. For example, it is generally easier for small or mid-sized companies to embrace social causes than it is for big companies.Interestingly, many of these socially-minded small businesses are finding that “doing good” also helps their bottom line



SaraBella was designed with a social agenda in mind. The underlying premise was that it was possible to change the fly fishing industry while simultaneously making a difference in the local community. The results have been astonishing.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

10 Reality Checks Before Starting Your Own Business

From Forbes


I have a certain friend who called me a while back, all excited about his latest revelation. “What if you could go to a web site and find all the recipes you could make today, with just the ingredients you already have in your kitchen? I’m going to start a website to offer this service!”

I’m sure you all realize that there could be quite a distance between a great idea and a great startup. But many people don’t have a clue on how to bridge the gap. So, trying carefully not to rain on his parade, I suggested to my friend that he complete the following analysis as due diligence on the idea before spending his life savings (and others) to roll out a solution:

I’m sure that many of you could add additional “idea due diligence” items, from bitter experience... By the way, if team experience and resources are the only limitation, it is better to give your idea away to a qualified group, rather than selfishly sit on it, or run it and yourself into the ground trying to make it work. Nobody wins with that approach.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

New York SBDC Receives National Accreditation from Association of Small Business Development Centers

Albany – SUNY Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright today announced that the New York Small Business Development Center (NY SBDC) has earned full accreditation from the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC), a national accrediting body for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The NY SBDC also received accreditation for its specialized Technology Services, one of only 15 programs in the country to earn this supplemental technology accreditation. The NY SBDC provides expert management and technical assistance to start-up and existing small businesses across the state.

The NY SBDC is administered by State University of New York and funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the State of New York, and host campuses. Since its start in 1984, the NY SBDC has worked directly with 427,740 businesses, helping them to invest $5,870,293,418 in the state's economy. They, in turn, have created or saved 188,301 jobs. “National accreditation demonstrates that SUNY’s program upholds the highest of quality standards and services,” said SUNY Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Alexander Cartwright. “My congratulations to State Director Jim King and the SBDC network on being recognized for their ongoing support of the economic well-being of our critically important entrepreneurial and small business sectors.”

The SBDC Accreditation Committee reviewed all areas of New York’s program, including leadership, organizational management, strategic planning, client and stakeholder focus, service delivery, and program performance. Their high standards ensure that the public investment in the program from the federal government, the state government, and the host institutions results in strong returns for New York’s economy. This is the sixth time the NY SBDC program has been awarded accreditation or the predecessor certification. Notably, in this year’s accreditation report, the NY SBDC received four commendations highlighting best practices:

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Women Business Owners – Find the Help You Need to Start Up and Grow

From SBA:

There’s no doubt about it, women are a rising force in American entrepreneurship. Here are some fast facts on women-owned businesses:
•The latest Census data indicates that 7.8 million U.S. businesses are owned by women. This represents a stunning 44% increase from 1997-2007, twice the growth rate of men-owned businesses.
•Women-owned firms now make up close to a third (29%) of all nonfarm businesses across the country.
•These firms generate a total of $1.2 trillion annually and employ 7.6 million people.


Clearly, women-owned firms are not in the minority. Neither are they a small niche market, but they are a major force in the U.S. economy.

Monday, November 14, 2016

How President-Elect Trump's Immigration Plan Would Impact Employers & Entrepreneurs

Visa PitStop

As November 9th, here’s what we do know in terms of where Trump stands on immigration that would significantly impact U.S. employers and foreign entrepreneurs based on his August 31, 2016 10-Point Speech on Immigration.

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement entered into by Canada, Mexico and the U.S., in 1994, a new professional visa category (TN visa) was created to enable Canadians and Mexicans to enter the U.S. and fulfill certain occupational work here. The Agreements allows for any party to withdraw under Article 2205, by providing written notice six months in advance to all parties.

Trump wants to impose new requirements for all immigration-related visas, particular for the H-1B, by requiring employers to first test the labor market by 1) attempting to fill any open positions with U.S. workers first before hiring foreign workers and 2) by requiring employers to pay a certain prevailing wage level.

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Veteran's Manufacturing Story

Taken from ThomasNet:

Over the next five years, one million service men and women will transition out of the military and into civilian life. So this Veterans Day, we should not only thank veterans for their service and dedication; we should also show our appreciation by making their transition as smooth and seamless as possible.

Seventy-one years ago, Richard McCarthy was in the middle of such a transition. After serving in the Pacific during World War II, the 21-year-old veteran headed back home to Pennsylvania, eager to start the next phase of his life. He not only did that; he started a career, a business, and a legacy for his family.

In 1941, Richard was a high school senior with a budding interest in machining. In fact, he recently started serving as a machinist’s apprentice in a railroad company. However, on December 7 of that year, Pearl Harbor was attacked, and the United States was drawn into World War II.

Ten months later, just weeks after graduating and celebrating his eighteenth birthday, Richard was drafted into the military.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Role of Mobile in Holiday Shopping

From MarketingProfs:

Some 90% of consumers say they value having a mobile device with them when holiday shopping in-store, according to recent research from Opera Mediaworks.

The report was based on data from a survey of 800 consumers in the United States who use mobile devices.

Nearly half (47%) of respondents say they use a mobile device to check competitors' prices when holiday shopping in a store, 36% say they look up product reviews, and 30% say they sign up for store promotions/discounts.

Some 40% of respondents say they have made a purchase because of a mobile advertisement, and 57% say they would do so if an offer were relevant.

Check out the infographic for more findings from the report.