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Showing posts from August, 2006

Creativity

It is only too easy to find fall into a rut. Everywhere you look it is easy to see examples of situations where the joy has gone out of a thing, and no creativity is being used to solve problems. So, how to keep things fresh? How does that creative problem solving go away? The main thing seems to be to exercise your mind, by thinking. Like the cardinal rule of brainstorming, don’t censor. Spend time looking beyond your realm of expertise, to other disciplines and exercise your imagination by using it. Here are a couple of articles and sites that explore how we maintain our creativity.

The Brain Behind Creativity
USA Today: Science and Space
Updated 8/27/2006 10:04 PM ET

Creativity
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Creativity Techniques – an A to Z
Creativity Innovation mycoted Science and Technology

de Bono Consulting
"The quality of our thinking will determine the quality of our future."-Edward de BonoBooks by Edward de Bono:Teach Your Child How to Think by Edward de Bono

Serious Cre…

Labor Day 2006

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I enjoy the irony of celebrating Labor Day by not working. Even though there are 2 1/2 more weeks of the season, it's dubbed "the end of summer." Well, who am I to be contrary?

Labor Day, as described by:

The US Department of Labor

Wikipedia

Geocities

PBS

How stuff works

something called Wilstar




Science editors have the nicest links

I think it is fair to assume that most science editors are smart people. But who knew that they could put together such a nice list of internet reference links? The Council of Science Editors has indeed put together lovely pathfinder page, available at http://www.councilscienceeditors.org/links.cfm.

Having stumbled upon this site when I interned for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, I’ve bookmarked it ever since. Some links are particularly science-y (like the link to FishBase, a database of over 28,400 species of fish), while others are just cool (check out the link to the dictionary of clichés or the internet anagram server).

I probably should have just blogged about the neatest links individually, thus providing myself with blog fodder for some time. But I’m nicer than that, so here’s the whole kit and caboodle.

New Books on the Shelves

Reference

Community Sourcebook of zip code demographics 2006

Community Sourcebook of county demographics 2006

Kids count data book

NACS State of the industry 2005:

Northeast Center for Small scale food entrepreneurship:

Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S.: Distilled spirit sales

The PMI Book of Project Management Forms


Circulating

Klees, Emerson. Entrepreneurs in history-- success vs. failure : entrepreneurial role models

Klees, Emerson. Staying with it: role models of perseverance

Moltz, Barry. You need to be a little crazy: the truth about starting and growing your business

Godfrey, Joline. No more frogs to kiss: 99 ways to give economic power to girls

Hornjak, Boris.The Project Surgeon: a troubleshooter's guide to business crisis management

2005 American Communities Survey

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It's likely you've read about the 2005 American Communities Survey, which was released last week. The new "data products include estimates of demographic, social, and economic characteristics of people, households and housing units (both occupied and vacant) for every state in the Nation, Puerto Rico, and most areas with a population of 65,000 or more." The 2004 ACS was limited to places with 250,000 or more.

In the Capital District, it's already created controversy, with the Albany mayor indicating that there is an undercount, and Colonie officials elated with their town's growth. This article, which talks a bit about the survey process, may be helpful. Surveys are sent to households, and if there is new construction in a geography which the Census Bureau doesn't know about - usually because the geographic entity has failed to provide information to the Census Bureau - then this could lead to the appearance of an undercount.

The ACS is still a fairly new t…

Survey - How Much Money Does It Take to Start a Small Business?

Some of you may have already gotten wind of this, but a brief article appeared in last week's issue of the Central Valley (CA) Business Times titled "Survey: What it costs to start a small business". The text was based on a press release from Wells Fargo, based on their latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index study.

Wild World of Wiki

As if the folks who contribute to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia don’t have enough fun in cyberspace, they recently convened for the second annual “Wikimania” convention. Here, founder Jimmy Wales discussed his intent to focus on quality over quantity. Although a recent article in Nature gave Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Brittanica close marks in accuracy for their scientific articles, Wales appreciates that the whole encyclopedia isn’t there yet. There’s work to be done, but Wiki devotees seem up to the task.

Home page for the convention: http://wikimania2006.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
Article about Wales’ comments: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060804/ap_on_hi_te/wikimania
Read more about the study from Nature:
http://www.nature.com/news/2005/051212/full/438900a.html

FITA: The Federation of International Trade Associations

Under the category: a lot of stuff in one place, this site is a gateway to a lot of good international organization sites, directories, and advice relating to international trade. I had a look at the "Getting Started in Importing or Exporting?" and found a number of information sheets or pathfinders for various aspects of a international trading company. It offers a nice compilation of a number of other sites on all aspects of import/export.

Northern New York Tourism Research Center

The NNY Tourism Research Center was created in 2001 to fill an information void felt by communities, tourism professionals, entrepreneurs and others. Among its reports are the 2004 STATISTICAL COUNTY TOURISM PROFILES, 12 - 16 page PDF files for these counties:
Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, St. Lawrence, and Warren; plus the Town of Webb in Herkimer County.

Economic Impact of NYS SBDC: 2004

As some of you might know, Dr. James Chrisman (from Mississippi State University) frequently conducts impact studies on behalf of the SBDC program. Surveys were mailed from Central earlier this year to those long-term clients (i.e., those with a minimum of 5 hours of contact time) seen during 2004.

This, from the report:
"In 2004 the New York SBDC provided long-term consulting assistance to 14,984 clients. Of these, 4,226 owned established small businesses and 10,758 were seeking to start new businesses (pre-ventures). A mail questionnaire was sent to the 9,368 long-term clients for whom the SBDC still had valid mailing addresses in 2006. A total of 1,405 clients returned questionnaires. This represented a 15.0 percent response rate."

From these responses, Dr. Chrisman was able to compile his analysis of the New York program's performance for 2004. It's a detailed report, but here are some of the highlights:

Aggregate sales impact:
Established Firms = $354,294,300
Pre…

WorldCat is now online

The contents of more than 10,000 libraries, with 1.3 billion records for books and lots of other materials are now available in one place, free, and online.

If a library owns it, it’s probably in here.

OCLC’s WorldCat is available at the new beta site, http://www.worldcat.org/. To learn more check out http://www.oclc.org/worldcat/.

Give it a whirl.

Nations Online Project

Another helpful site I don’t think we’ve mentioned before is www.nationsonline.org which is what it sounds like: information on nations and regions of the world. It promotes itself as “among other things, a more or less objective guide to the world, a statement for the peaceful, nonviolent coexistence of nations.”, which works for me.

It also includes some useful information like population statistics, international news, maps, culture, flags, languages, currencies and airports. And most useful at this time of threat to air travel, there is a link to compilations of global travel safety advice.

Due diligence

From Entrepreneur magazine:

The process by which persons conduct inquiries for the purposes of timely, sufficient and accurate disclosure of all material statements/information or documents which may influence the outcome of the transaction. Due diligence is a critical component in mergers and acquisitions.
Due Diligence definition – usually associated with contracts or investments, this term , in general, means that proper efforts will be made in investigations or examinations of efforts put forth in a transaction. Good faith efforts are to be made in performing obligations.

First, the definition should mean nothing more than an investor being "diligent" when checking out the substance of the claims made by an entrepreneur with respect to the market, the product or service concept, the competition, the management team and so on. The term "due" means that it's expected and someone has to perform this task. So the concept is really all about the diligence that is d…

Turnaround Times & Signs

Two quick things this week. I've been remiss in giving an update regarding the turnaround time for your requests. Right now, there's a seven-day gap between when you ask a question and when we answer it. We plan on keeping it around that level for a while longer.

Secondly . . . after many delays, and a lot of work, the website for the SBDC book "What's Your Signage?" is nearly complete. It's a collaborative effort between the SBDC and the International Sign Association (ISA). Right now, a volunteer team of fifteen ISA members are looking it over to see if we've got the details correct regarding their industry.

Next week, I'm going to send an e-mail out to some lucky group of SBDC advisors to look at the site from a small business perspective. You could be the big winner! Seriously, it won't take too much of your time, and your feedback will be valuable. It'll be a random selection of advisors, with a mix from upstate & downstate. (O…

LaGuardia CC International Trade Fair

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Sent by the LaGuardia Community College SBDC in Long Island City


Are you in the import or export business?

Attend the LaGuardia Community College International Trade Fair & Symposium

"Growing American businesses through strengthening trade opportunities with the world"

August 22 - 24, 2006 in the E- building Atrium on the LaGuardia Community College Campus

MEET DIRECTLY WITH SUPPLIERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD!
Bangladesh, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Greece, Mexico

Agro-industrial Products Leather Goods Textiles Handicrafts & more!
· Business trade fair with up to 50 foreign and domestic exhibitors
· Educational seminars and workshops on trade
· Business networking, matchmaking and marketing opportunities

:: Be an Exhibitor
· US wholesalers and importers of international products
· Multinational businesses looking to sell in the US market
· Transportation & logistics companies
· New York trade and business assistance providers

:: Be an Attendee
· No fee to attend
· Register to participa…

The Ways of Great Leaders

The Three Ways of Great Leaders
“In a new study, some leading business thinkers identify the attributes of great leadership -- and nominate the best bosses of the 20th century.”
From: Issue 98 September 2005 Page 50 By: Bill Breen
Fast Company

This Fast Company article looks at “contextual intelligence” or the ability to see opportunities in the winds of change. C.W.Post and his product samples, Louis B. Neumiller of Catepillar, taking advantage of circumstances to become a permanent fixture on the global scene, or Lee Iococca’s ability to use demographics in his favor: they all capitalized on what was going on in the world and used their individual styles to put their products in the limelight.

Another Fast Company article on leadership offers the flipside:

Ten Self-Defeating Behaviors to Avoid
"Want to Succeed at Work? First Step: Get Out of Your Own Way"
2005-09-26 by Mark Goulston
Fast Company
The article starts out with some advice from Warren Buffet and goes on to describe w…

Web site, web site, website

Just how are you supposed to spell website these days? Darrin and I pondered this very question the other day, and here’s the answer:

Depends who you ask.

Merriam-Webster and the Associated Press will tell you it should be Web site. Afterall, "Web" refers to the World Wide Web, which as a proper noun always gets capitals.

American Heritage goes both ways, but offers this usage note:
http://www.bartleby.com/61/57/W0075725.html
“The transition from World Wide Web site to Web site to website seems to have progressed as rapidly as the technology itself. The development of website as a single uncapitalized word mirrors the development of other technological expressions which have tended to evolve into unhyphenated forms as they become more familiar. Thus email has recently been gaining ground over the forms E-mail and e-mail, especially in texts that are more technologically oriented. Similarly, there has been an increasing preference for closed forms like homepage, online, and prin…

What’s Taxable? State Issues Quick Reference Guide For Sales and Use Taxes

Here's what the press release says:

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance has published a convenient quick reference guide and research tool to help business and individual taxpayers meet their New York sales and use tax obligations.

Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Andrew S. Eristoff today unveiled Publication 850, New York State and Local Sales and Use Tax: Quick Reference Guide, designed to provide general information about State and local sales and use taxes.

Commissioner Eristoff said, "Sales and Use tax can be confusing for many taxpayers. Over the past 12 years the Department of Taxation and Finance has made great strides in simplifying our rules and regulations, clarifying our forms and instructions, and making interaction with the Department more convenient.

"Publication 850 takes this a step further by bringing all of these simplified and revised resources together in a handy reference guide. No longer will taxpayers need to wade through a pleth…