Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ageism in the Workplace

Another interesting tidbit on the radio this morning was concerning ageism in the workplace – in both directions. The British government is only now introducing legislation to attempt to curb age discrimination in the workplace. On PersonnelToday.com, a favorite magazine for the HR professional, they ran a story in about a small survey done by a consultancy called Water for Fish that revealed that 27% of the recruitment ads in a national Sunday newspaper contained language that might put the listing companies afoul of future laws. The article suggests it may be challenging for companies to rethink their hiring practices. Elements like requiring a specific number of years experience, asking for information that would reveal the applicant’s age, and using language such as “young”, “mature”, “dynamic” or “new graduate” won’t make the cut in the future.

Survey exposes ageism in recruitment ads
PersonnelToday.com

Mike Berry
12 May 2006 09:32

Ageism laws set to transform job adverts
BBC News

By Julian Knight Personal finance reporter

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Salary Searching

Indeed.com, one of the free agregator sites of online job postings, has just released a beta version of a salary search tool, available at http://www.indeed.com/salary

Type in the job title you are interested in and a location, and it will provide average salaries for that, and related, positions.

Or change it up and create a comparison of jobs or locations.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Govt's Role in Aiding Small Biz Federal Subcontracting Programs in the US

From SBA:

Small businesses in the United States have received a share of federal procurement dollars not quite commensurate with their relative importance in the U.S. economy, according to a research study released by the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy. The study states that while 99.7 percent of all employer firms are small, they receive about 23 percent of direct federal procurement dollars and almost 40 percent of subcontracting dollars.

The Government's Role in Aiding Small Business Federal Subcontracting Programs in the United States was authored by Major Clark III, Chad Moutray, and Radwan Saade from the Office of Advocacy.

The study discusses the importance of the small business sector to the overall economy and the policy framework for the federal government's involvement in requiring federal prime contractors to subcontract with small businesses. It examines the policy from 1958 to the present; and discusses steps needed to improve the American small business subcontracting program to accommodate greater participation by these businesses in new and emerging global markets.

To obtain a copy, visit here. The research summary is located here.

Should you need further information regarding this report, please feel free to contact Major Clark at advocacy@sba.gov or (202) 205-6533.

Monday, September 25, 2006

2006 Guide to Hispanic Marketing & Media

Each year, the magazine Advertising Age publishes a supplement called the "Hispanic Fact Pack". This year's version can be found here. The table of contents for this 27-page PDF file promises such things as:
  • Hispanic ad spending by media and category
  • Top Hispanic DMAs by media spending
  • Top web sites by viewers & ad revenues
  • U.S. Hispanic population by race, origin, projected growth

And other items, too. It's a macro view, to be sure, but the document provides a nice intro to this subject.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Encyclopaedia Britannica for all

The Encyclopaedia Britannica, www.britannica.com, would like you to know more about their online encyclopedia. Usually available only to subscribers, the renowned publication has just announced that they will make full-text, extended articles available to websites and blogs that wish to link to them.
Users can then see the full entry, rather than the usual stub that appears for non-subscribers.
They even give webmasters the code to add the link.

Here's an example.
Information from Encyclopædia Britannica about business organization
* Don't be put off by the flags promoting full access through a free trial- there are 25 pages of information here. But only for this topic.

Read more in their press release: http://corporate.britannica.com/press/releases/faf.html

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

ADA


One recent reference question was about enforcement of the Americans with Disablilities Act. I scowled a bit. Even before I attended a workshop on the ADA at an ASBDC conference a few years back, I knew that the focus of the law was not so much on enforcement, but on creating accessibility. I remember one example from the workshop: a store trying to be more accessible might create a ramp, but that might not be practical; so one dry cleaner installed a bell at the bottom of the steps, so that the clerk would come out to the client. Accessibility achieved.

This is not to say that there isn't any enforcement, and even fines imposed by the US Department of Justice. It's just not the route of first resort. Read more about the ADA here.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Digital Life

Way back in May at staff training, we talked about your responses to a survey the Research Network had created one month earlier. Among the results to the survey was the majority's wish to have more information transmitted electronically. It's something we were interested in doing, so it's a good fit.

Tomorrow, Amelia & I will be attending a day-long seminar titled "Developing Digital Collections". It's the first of a four-part series, spread out over the next four months, on the subject of employing digitization in a library setting. We're very curious to hear from other librarians who've adapted this to their collection.

On another note, we're also close to upgrading our ancient copier. We'll be switching to one that will allow for scanning documents (for instance, our collection of 80+ start-up information packets), which can then be stored into specific files on our network. Scanning these will take some time, so it isn't like the arrival of a new copier will herald immediately a new era. However, it will speed up that era.

It's good to join the 21st century.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

En español, por favor

Many of our favorite information sources for general business advice are in Spanish as well as English. The following links provide access to some articles and documents that might be helpful to your Spanish-speaking clients.

Do you have other non-English resources? Things you’ve prepared? We’d love to be more multilingual on our website, so please think about what you might be able to share.

SBA en español: Online Library
http://www.sba.gov/espanol/Biblioteca_en_Linea/

SBDCNet Document exchange en español
http://sbdcnet.utsa.edu/docx/espanol.htm

SoyEntrepreneur.com
http://www.soyentrepreneur.com/

Mi Propia Negocio
http://www.myownbusiness.org/espanol/index.html

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

International Students

When I get a question about the number of international students in the United States, or U.S. students studying abroad, the source I check first is the Open Doors Report on International Exchange. There is a great deal of free information, such as:
Total Enrollment
Source of Funds
Source of Funds by Academic Level
Fields of Study
Leading Countries of Origin
Institutions with 1,000 or More International Students

while other data, such as
All Countries of Origin
All Institutions Enrolling International Students
Countries by US State
Fields of Study by State
are available in publications to members. A Research Membership is available for $50 for a month's access to all member data.

Here's some more examples of the great free data:

STATISTICS ON INTERNATIONAL EDUCATIONAL EXCHANGE IN NEW YORK

From the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors Report 2005, statistics particular to the state of New York are listed below. Additional statistics are available at IIE’s Web site.

FOREIGN STUDENTS IN NEW YORK 2004/05 (Rank # 2) 61,944 (down 2.2%)

ESTIMATED FOREIGN STUDENTS EXPENDITURE IN NEW YORK (in millions of dollars) $1,694.1

TOP NEW YORK INSTITUTIONS WITH 1,000 OR MORE FOREIGN STUDENTS 2004/05

Columbia University 5,278
New York University 5,140
SUNY at Buffalo 3,965
Cornell University 3,119
Syracuse University 2,200

LEADING FIELD OF STUDY FOR FOREIGN STUDENTS IN NEW YORK
Field of Study % Total

Other 21.8
Business & Management 15.0
Fine & Applied Arts 10.6
Engineering 10.1
Social Sciences 9.7

LEADING COUNTRY OF ORIGIN FOR FOREIGN STUDENTS IN NEW YORK

Republic of Korea: 11.8% - 7,294
India: 11.6% - 7,215
Canada: 10.3% - 6,365
China: 9.5% - 5,875
Japan: 6.5% - 4,001

TOTAL NUMBER OF U.S. STUDY ABROAD STUDENTS ENROLLED THROUGH NEW YORK INSTITUTIONS (03/04) 14,625

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembrance

Being a Monday, it's my day to post to this blog. However, it's a different kind of Monday - a day of reflection for many people in our country. Instead of small business, I had a poem that I read in the aftermath of those sad, chaotic days from five years ago. It speaks of hope, and it reassures me.

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June's long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You've seen the refugees heading nowhere,
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the grey feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

- Adam Zagajewski

Talk to you again, next week.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Shy Networker

It may be one thing to find opportunities to network, but it is quite another to succeed at it. For many people, the mere idea of networking is frightening, let alone entering a room full of strangers and striking up a conversation. I’ve come across a few articles that have some advice on how to network if you are not a natural.

Learning to Love Networking: How a Shy Guy Became a Master Glad-Hander
Inc. Magazine
August 2006 by Mike Spinney
Describes techniques to overcome anxiety including acknowledging the fear, and then having a plan of attack. First, avoid the boring intro, keep the listener engaged. As an example, the author explains how Reed Thompson, the focus of the story, improved his delivery:
You also have to keep them interested. To that end, he stopped telling people he was a personal financial adviser, which usually prompted glazed-over expressions and a change of subject. Instead, he began describing himself as the founder and president of a company that helps people take control of their finances. Suddenly, people began asking questions about him and his services.
Other tips include arriving early, practicing skills at more relaxed, familiar functions and keeping at it.

Networking Strategies for Shy Professionals
WSJ CareerJournal.com
By Judy Rosemarin
Done right, networking is a lifelong, evolutionary process that you should do frequently, if not daily. It's as natural as eating and sleeping. Whenever you talk with others and seek their opinions to make an informed decision -- even if it's just to find a good restaurant, movie or electrician -- you're networking.

How Do I Overcome Shyness in Marketing My Home Business?
www.iVillage.com
by Ellen Parlapiano and Pat Cobe, The Mompreneurs

Don't be shy: Networking tips for the timid
BizJournals.com
Joan Lloyd

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Market 2.0

Web 2.0: The power of 2

This article gives a very perceptive and thoughtful overview of howWeb 2.0 applications can change the nature of marketing. Some Excerpts:
"Social networks, blogs, user-generated content, tagging, wikis, P2P - all those are about conversation and fall neatly under 'reputation management', which is, essentially, PR," says Howell. Companies need to be out there, looking at what people say about them online, and respond in an open and appropriate way. Ignoring even one customer's negative comments on a blog could do serious damage to a brand's reputation.



Brands can learn an awful lot from blogs and social networks, which they can use to their advantage; not just to get their marketing messages right but also on a deeper business level, by involving consumers in product development.

An interesting example of this approach backfiring:

...car brand Chevrolet placed tools on its site that allowed users to remix and 'mash-up' its latest Chevy Tahoe ads.

Later,

[Chevrolet] took down its 'Make Your Own Tahoe Commercial' site after receiving a different response than expected. While it attracted 400,000 participants, 16 per cent created ads mocking the over-sized cars, the nature of the ads and the company.


Then, the success stories:

A rising number of digital marketing campaigns over the past year have enabled users to generate their own content. Here's a few:

Orange Paper Film Festival, by Poke

Entrants were invited to shoot a film on their mobile and send the clip via MMS to the Orange web site, where they could then edit them, and add a soundtrack and titles. Winners of the 'Palm de Paper' were presented with awards at a ceremony. The campaign won a BIMA award for best integrated campaign last year.

Sony PlayStation Summer of Freedom, Greenroom Digital

Sony ran a competition to find four 'Freedom Explorers' to act as cheerleaders for the brand. They were whisked to events throughout the summer and kept video blogs of their experiences, which users could read on the PlayStation Freedom site. Visitors could also upload their own video blogs, with a prize awarded to the best each week.

Coca-Cola World Cup campaign, bdnetwork

The soft-drinks giant invited users to take a digital photo of themselves, which showed just how much they love the World Cup, and send it in via MMS or email for the chance to win a pair of tickets to see a World Cup game every day throughout June.

Levi's Mobile Audio Mixer (MAX), Lateral

The fashion brand created web tools that enabled users to create a ringtone as part of an online competition last year. The best submission had their track remixed and pressed on to vinyl. There are rumours that the brand is considering launching the winning track as a single.


Read the whole article here:

Web 2.0: The power of 2



Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Analysis of 2003 Personal Income Tax Returns


"This report describes the prominent features of New York’s personal income tax, with particular emphasis on the 2003 tax year. It also includes taxpayer profiles consisting of number of taxable returns, sources of income, federal adjustments, New York modifications, deductions, dependent exemptions, tax liability and credits by NYAGI class, filing status and return type. In addition, it includes separate sections on income, itemized deduction amounts, exemptions, available credits and information on refundable credits. Finally, it compares statistics for 2003 with those from the prior year for most of these items."
The PDF of this report is 125 pages long, but if you feel so compelled to print it out, please note that a number of even-numbered pages are actually blank.

On a related topic, "The Rockefeller Institute of Government has released State Revenue Preview # 65P, the first in a new series of releases covering state tax collections. The Preview provides an early snapshot of the more comprehensive State Revenue Report, by reporting on tax collections for states that supplied information within one month after the close of their fiscal quarter." This PDF is two pages long.