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Showing posts from November, 2005

New Books on the Shelves

Federal yellow book:
Fall 2005

New York State government directory 2005-2006

New York State Farm fresh guide 2002-2003
Central Region
Western Region
Metro Region
Eastern Region

Clinkinbeard, Curtis J.
Hypergrow your business -- double, triple or quadruple
any business by harnessing the natural laws of growth.

Aiken, Richard
The Relationship between wildlife watchers, hunters, and anglers
Report 2001

Private and public land use by hunters
Report 2001

We also get a number of special issues and supplements from journals in our collection that we don't always get to share. A few on my desk are:

Advertising Age's

Hispanic Fact Pack: An Annual Guide to Hispanic Advertising and Marketing, 2004 and 2005
Fact Pack: An Annual Guide to Advertising & Marketing, 2004 and 2005
Agency Preview Guide 2004
Point: Marketing at C-Level, March 2005

American Demographics

Marketing Tools Sourcebook 2003
Diversity in America

Good business

Purloined verbatem from an e-mail. For all except the first article, tou will have to register with BNET, but it's free.

BusinessWeek has a great interview/book review on the importance of details to customer service.

Author Michael Levine says that operational details, such as limited hours and dirty bathrooms send a message to customers about the general quality of a business.
These details have a more significant effect on customers than you might think:

"The consumer mind has a logical and emotional part, and if you don't speak to both, you will lose them, especially when they're hungry, tired, angry, or lonely.
"We're living in an age of anxiety. When people are not hungry, tired, angry, or lonely, the emotional side will win the debate with the logical part of the brain 80% of the time. When they're hungry, tired, angry, or lonely, emotion wins 100% of time. We are often hungry, tired, angry, or lonely, so it's exceedingly dangerous if you're a…

Grocery Items - Private Label Database

The Web site for Private Label Buyer magazine has a searchable database of their 2005 Supplier Source Book:
http://www.privatelabelbuyer.com/guide/

This magazine describes itself as being geared towards supermarkets and other retail chains selling store-brand products. This section of their Web site is aimed at buyers for supermarket or grocery stores.

Every supermarket has a line of products that they sell as their own, but, in actuality, are obtained from one of these manufacturers.

Clients who've manufactured a product typically sold in such a place have this site, then, as a possible marketing tool. The site allows for three ways to search - by a specific company name, by a location, or by a product category.

If you have a client who's interested in getting placed on this database, contact information for the staff at Private Label Buyer can be found here:
http://www.privatelabelbuyer.com/contact.php

Tourism Research Sources in New York State

I was very excited to go to a session at the State Data Center affiliates meeting in late October. It was designated with the title listed above. We often get requests for regional tourism data. I was less excited at the end of the session.

I assumed that the folks who bring us I Love NY would have great statistics that would show the success for ther campaign. Unfortunately, most of these statistics are for sale, if they are available at all. The state Department of Economic Development receives merely a summary of the data compiled by D.K. Shiffet & Associates. For your clients to buy them would be extremely expensive (five figures).

As for the hotel occupancy numbers, they are tallied by Smith Travel Research, which will cost at least a few hundred dollars. Fortunately, many newspapers subscribe, so we CAN often provide data based on articles.

Other sources cited but not discussed:

Travel Industry Association of America Decent state level data.

U.S. Department of Commerce. Good …

WebMQS - Contact/Prep/Clerical time issues

This post covers two distinct situations:

1) There've been questions asked recently at certain Regional Centers regarding what constitutes clerical time in the Counselor Hours section for WebMQS case records. Some advisors feel that they're doing clerical work (such as doing data entry on WebMQS), while others feel that clerical work is exclusive only to office managers or other support staff.

To clarify, time spent by the advisor to prepare for a client meeting, to review documents, to follow-up after a meeting, and in completing other tasks relating to the case (including data entry for WebMQS) should be counted as Prep Time.

Conversely, time spent by the office manager or other support staff to prepare for a client meeting - such as making copies, assembling information packets, and so on - should be counted as Clerical Time.

2) To reiterate from my 6/20 blog posting, some advisors are in the habit of adding the time spent in communicating a request to the Research Network to t…

Small Town Shops and the Web

An article in yesterday's New York Times discusses how "the Internet is allowing small stores...to develop the niche products that shield them against big-box retailers." Small-Town Shops Bulk Up on the Web gives several examples of small-town shops meeting success through a combination of Internet sales and Main Street store fronts.In upstate New York, downtown Ithaca is a hub of new retail activity and tourist trade generated by Internet marketing and sales. "There's an upside and a downside of marketing on the Internet," said Gary Ferguson, the executive director of the Ithaca Downtown Partnership, a business development group. "The floral business has been changed dramatically by the Internet. More and more people are buying flowers online. We had a business called Plantations that had been here for 30 years and had a hard time with the transition and didn't make it. "On the other hand, we have three used-book stores, and they do half thei…

Customer Relationship Management

Wikipedia has a pretty tidy definition of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) exists “to enable organizations to better manage their customers through the introduction of reliable processes and procedures for interacting with those customers.” This is a bit more than a mere definition; it covers some tips on improving customer relationships. Worth a visit. Obviously written by someone who cares, albeit with some differences of opinion on whether CRM is a “real” area of expertise. These pages can be quite lively with discussions about issues relating to the main topic.
I would argue that these “specialties” pop up because so many businesses fall down in these areas. There is often money to be made on someone else’s failures. So, it seems that there is the idea behind CRM and then the technology.

IT Toolbox: CRM Knowledge Base
A community of IT professionals sharing best practices, discussion groups, and newsletters as well as white papers and links. One of many key topics, CRM or Cu…

Bureau of Economic Analysis

The BEA, a federal agency, is where you will find an Overview of the Economy, including:

Sales of U.S. Tourism Industries

Gross Domestic Product

Personal Income and Outlays (including Disposable Income)

U.S. International Transactions (including Balance of Trade)

Most of these are detailed, but national. One obvious exception is the Gross State Product

Click on the article title for more data.

Languages - Who Speaks What, and Where?

The Web site for the Modern Language Association has a feature that "displays the locations and numbers of speakers of the thirty languages most commonly spoken in the United States."

If you have a client who seeks to know where a certain language/ethnic background is located, this site is a decent starting point: http://www.mla.org/census_main

The site combines mapping & data tables that are simple to use & understand. Like many sites have done, MLA has taken a lot of information that you can find yourself on the Census Bureau Web site, but re-packaged it in such a way as to make it a snap to find language-related data.

Identity Theft Prevention

Roger has touched on the issue of identity theft in a previous post or two. Today, I came across an excellent article on preventing identity theft written by a woman whose identity has been stolen three times. It contains steps to identity theft prevention including "Ten Things to Do Today" and "Seven Things to Do By Next Week" as well as what to do if your identity is stolen and lists of contacts to help. Where should you start? Read the article from Information Today at http://www.infotoday.com/searcher/nov05/ebbinghouse.shtml. Take action on the author's suggestions: request a credit report, consider getting a P.O. box, and perhaps add a photo ID to your credit card and/or debit card. These are just a few of the tasks that can limit the odds of identity theft.

Latest Volume of Business Plans Handbook

Here's the list of sample business plans from volume 11 of the Business Plans Handbook:

Adventure Travel Lodging Company: Cobra Travel Adventure Group
Brewpub: Hopstreet Brewery
Cigar Company: Smokescreen Cigars
Construction Development & Real Estate Firm: Black Pearl Development & Real Estate LLC
Construction and Home Rehabilitation Company: Pedro’s Construction
Daycare Facility: Rachel’s Clubhouse
Giftware Company: Jenni Frey Gifts
Handmade Greeting Card Company: Heartsongs
Handyman Service: “I’m the Man!” Handyman Services
Homeless Shelter: Sister Joan of Arc Center
Interior Design Company: Make It Your Own Space Inc.
Interior Painting Service: Eyecatching Interiors LLC
Internet Loyalty Program: Tunes4You
Internet Services Portal Site: Net Solutions
Massage Therapists: MASSAGEWORKS
Mentally Disabled Care Facility: Welcome Home Organization
Motorcycle Dealership and Racetrack: Zoom Motors
Online Mortgage Company: Valuable Mortgage
Pizzeria: Coastal Pizza
Private Investigator: FBEyes

Also, Fi…

Proprietary Schools

The Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision (BPSS) oversees and monitors non-degree granting proprietary schools in New York State. The Bureau is responsible for ensuring that the overall educational quality of the programs offered will provide students with the necessary skills to secure meaningful employment and for protecting students' financial interests while attending proprietary schools. BPSS licenses/registers proprietary schools and credentials proprietary school teachers to ensure that appropriate standards are met. The Bureau investigates student complaints and conducts comprehensive investigations of schools to assure compliance with Education Law and Commissioner's Regulations. Proprietary schools under BPSS jurisdiction include trade and business schools, computer training facilities, and for-profit English as a Second Language (ESL) schools.

So, if you have clients who want to start a school to teach bartending, pet grooming, cosmetology or barbering, modeling…

Business Lists - How Old is the Information?

Creating lists of businesses is a daily occurrence at the Research Network. The (vast) majority of time, we use the American Business Disc to create them. Clients use these lists for mailings. Often we hear of how the list is out-of-date.

ABD is one of several products published by infoUSA. Since so many of you ask for lists, I called infoUSA to learn just how the data in ABD can be.

Subscribers to the ABD (such as ourselves) get two editions every year. Both editions represent a snapshot of a database that is constantly changing. These snapshots are taken roughly at the end of a calendar year (that's the first edition), and at the end of June (the second edition). (They don't take the snapshot at the same time every year, which is why I say "roughly".)

The CDs are then distributed to infoUSA customers on a staggered basis. The first edition is ready to be mailed starting in March or April, while the second is sent out starting in October or November. We typica…

Hurricane Vehicle Fraud Database

If you or your clients purchase used vehicles, this free resource, Hurricane Vehicle Fraud Database, may be of interest. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has compiled a database of vehicles and watercraft affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The information in the database was gathered from a number of sources, including insurance companies, salvage yards and state and local authorities. As a result, the NICB has not independently verified most of the information in this database and cannot, therefore, vouch for the accuracy of this information. In addition, there may be many additional vehicles and watercraft affected by the hurricanes not included in this database.

Inventors New Show

ABC has another reality-TV program idea from the producers of American Inventor. Now inventors will have an opportunity to show their stuff on American Inventor, the new prime-time program set to premiere in early 2006. Contestants can show off their product and have it voted on by the American public, with hopes to win the million dollar prize for best concept. Auditions are being held through November and December for those of our clients who are less tight-lipped about their inventions. Host City is New York for December 7th. Time and place have yet to be set.

“An embodiment of the ultimate American dream, the show will uncover the hottest new product and make some struggling inventor's dream come true. The show will celebrate the best in homespun American ingenuity and will turn one person's idea into the next big thing.”

There are some products that are ineligible:

Drugs
Medical devices
Plants
Adult entertainment products
Firearms and explosive devices
Hazardous chemicals or ma…

SBIR

In anticipation of the SBIR conference taking place in Albany in a couple weeks, I urge you to familiarize yourself with the Small Business Innovation Research program by going here. You'll find an overview of the program. Click on the Announcements and Solicitations button on the left, and you'll be directed to the SBIR websites for the 10 participating agencies, which are:

Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce
Department of Defense
Department of Education
Department of Energy
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Transportation
Environmental Protection Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Science Foundation

There are three phases of the grant process:

Phase I is the startup phase. Awards of up to $100,000 for approximately 6 months support exploration of the technical merit or feasibility of an idea or technology.

Phase II awards of up to $750,000, for as many as 2 years, expand Phase I results. During this time, the R&…