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Showing posts from February, 2007

Fun with labor statistics

On Monday, Roger and I attended a workshop on information sources for labor statistics. Sponsored by the Capital District Business Librarians, James Ross, the NYS Department of Labors’ Regional Labor Market Analyst for the Capital Region, discussed the wild world of statistics available on the NYS Labor Department website.

There’s a lot here, but it is not always easy to get to. Here are just a few things that I found interesting:

Most of us are familiar with the occupational outlook reports available from the U.S. Department of Labor, which offers descriptive job outlooks for a variety of occupations. The NYS DOL provides more detailed and local statistics, offering a ten year forecast for more than 700 occupations, listed by their SOC code. Available statewide and by region, these tables list the current employment figures for that field, projected employment numbers for ten years later, with growth and replacement figures. For those less inclined to crunch the numbers, the occu…

A Taxing Situation

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There are those of you who have probably already filed your taxes, and may have found your refunds delayed by last-minute Congressional action.

Then there are those who wait until the last minute. For you folks, you'll have an extra day. Read Announcement Regarding a Change in the Due Date for Certain 2006 New York State Tax Returns to April 17, 2007, which applies not only to those who file in Andover, Massachusetts, but everyone.

Here's a Summary of Personal Income Tax Legislative Changes Enacted in 2006 and Summary of Corporation Tax Legislative Changes Enacted in 2006.

New York State and Local Sales and Use Tax Quick Reference Guide.

New York taxpayers who are preparing their personal income tax returns can take advantage of a host of family-friendly credits that may lower their tax bills and increase their refunds. Some tax breaks, like the New York State and New York City Earned Income Tax Credits, may result in a refund even when no tax is owed.
To view the entire document a…

Free International Market Reports

This link leads to the Market Research Library of the U.S. Commercial Service. There, you can access (for free) information about a specific country (or a specific industry within a country) from any of the following three reports:

1) Market Research
2) Country Commercial Guides (CCG)
3) Best Market Reports

Again, you can search by specific industry, region of the world, or country. Item #2 is particularly loaded with information. I pulled up the latest CCG for China, and it was 220+ pages of information on market possibilities, contacts within the country, habits & customs, etc.

It's a great for your import/export clients.

a Second Life for your business?

Lately I’ve been seeing articles and reading blogs all mentioning Second Life, but up until now I hadn’t taken the time to check it out.

Is it a computer game? An online community? A business opportunity? Turns out it is all of the above, and more (although I’m not even going to pretend that I understand everything involved). Members build avatars (they look a lot like the Sims), chat with each other, play games, build things, take classes, and even conduct business.

Introducing his interview with Second Life creator Philip Rosedale on Inc.com, Michael Fitzgerald writes,

Second Life is a place where anyone can have just that. It is a richly detailed virtual world where anything a computer programmer can imagine can exist: There are minutely detailed replicas of Rockefeller Center and human-size raccoons; sex and sadism and spiritual retreats; conference calls and a currency exchange. Almost all of it is created by the people who pay to dwell in it.”

Lately, it’s getting a lot more media …

The You're Not Fooling Anyone Department

10 Lies VCs Know You're Telling
In the quest for capital, many entrepreneurs stretch the truth. One venture capitalist calls them out.
By Guy Kawasaki Entrepreneur Magazine - March 2007

From "our projections are conservative" to "so-and-so are ready to sign us, so you better move fast" or "no one else can do what we do", Guy Kawasaki runs through the standard fare from venture capital seekers. I can imagine the eye-rolling that must go on. I especially liked the advice to entrepreneurs to perhaps plug into Google before traipsing off to a VC, all confident and ignorant of the competitors in the field.

Who's That President?

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It was Presidents' Day yesterday, and while I can name all of the occupants, and their years of service (useful for games shows, BTW), I'm not always sure of the accomplishments, if any, of many of them. Like the guy pictured. Who IS he?

So here are some links from:
the White House

The Internet Public Library

Grolier Encyclopedia

Here's a link to all of the Presidential Libraries.

Oh, and that guy pictured is James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States (1857-1861), James K. Polk's Secretary of State, who was totally ineffectual in stemming the tide towards Civil War, most historians suggest. He was our only "bachelor President".

Packaging Blues

I noticed a number of news stories over the weekend that cited the 2006 "Oyster Awards," as given out by Consumer Reports.This article provides an overview of this year's "winners," dedicated to those products sabotaged by companies with an interest in tormenting anyone foolish enough to buy these things.

(Click "Winners" in the left-hand menu. As someone who spent a fair amount of holiday time trying to liberate toys for a 9-year-old, I can relate.)

For all those clients interested in finding packagers for their products, make sure they see this site, if only to know what NOT to do.

Getting into the Stores

For our fashion industry clients, other than, or in addition to, building their own bricks and mortar or online shop, another approach is often to get their designs into larger retailers. Here are a few guidelines and sources to help that process along.

Getting your goods in the department stores.
Katherine Gray
Los Angeles Business Journal
August 1 2005

Get into stores
Nov. 3, 2003
Mary Stewart Center for Entrepreneurship
Ask an Expert

Apparently very useful for listings of US and international fashion events:
Fashion Calendar


Glam Central
A blog worth checking out for profiles of fashion editors, coverage of fashion week and to locate other fashion blogs:

I know you get WWD, but maybe you should run through if you haven’t already and scan articles for the names of buyers at stores that you might market to. As an example, this is a recent one that mentions quite a few people. By the same token, you can check the magazines for the names of fashion editors to see if you can send them a card or som…

Women buy stuff.

Women buy stuff.

And marketers are paying attention. With increasing incomes and more purchasing power within the family, even traditionally male dominated fields are re-examining their approach to female buyers.

Just how? Check out this New York Times article from October 2006 .

A variety of online resources are popping up to assist the female consumer. Here are two mentioned in the above article:

AskPatty.com http://askpatty.com/
According to this site, “Women purchase half of the vehicles sold in the United States each year, spending billions of dollars a year in new car purchases. Yet, shopping for and buying a car can be a challenge for women who are first time car buyers or for women who had a bad experience in the past with a car salesman or dealership. The Ask Patty.com, Inc. web site is a safe place for women to get advice on car purchases, maintenance and other automotive related topics.”

BeJane.com http://www.bejane.com
The NYT article cites a study from the National Association o…

2006 Was the Hottest Year On Record (or maybe not)

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In the midst of this cold snap many of us are enduring, think back to the balmy days of December 2006. That unusually mild month may have put the year into the record books. About.com has an article describing the process of determining the temperature, which is over two degrees Fahrenheit higher than the 20th Century mean, which may suggest evidence of global warming.

I note this, in part, because of the fact that there is apparently more than one way to measure these things, and that 1998 may instead be the "winner". Something for clients, advisors, and especially librarians to remember when they look for, or receive, information is that there may be more than one way to parse the data, about global warming, the number of small businesses, or anything else. (I do believe, BTW, that there IS global warming, and that humans have contributed to it; it's the different methodologies that I wished to comment on.)

And speaking of heat, here's a list of individuals currentl…

Top Telemarketing & Internet Scams - 2006

Last year, I wrote a posting about our experiences with a scam artist in Canada. We also get lots of inquiries on behalf of clients who are cautious about their dealings with certain companies.

On the heels of this, here's a brief article from the National Consumers League, discussing its recently-released lists of the top telemarketing and Internet scams for 2006. (If you click on the link in its first paragraph, click on the "Telemarketing Fraud" or the "Internet Fraud" icons to read the lists.)

In both cases, the NCL is concerned about the rise of fake check scams. Read the lists, and pass them on to your clients as a warning to the "increasing sophistication" of scam artists' methods.

Mass Mailings: Yea or Nay?

Here are a sampling of points of view on mass mailings:
BusinessWeekOnline
Five Good Reasons to Do a Mass Mailing
From AllBusiness.com *

Mass E-Mailings: How To, and How Not To
“Getting folks to your web site may take some “push” and bulk e-mail could be
the answer. Here are some cheap and easy ways to get started.”
By Bob Weibel
Found on eFuse “The friendly place to learn to build a better web site."

also in Guerrilla Marketing Articles:
What Guerrillas Know About Email
by Jay Conrad Levinson


Gail Goodman: E-Mail Marketing
Building Your E-mail List
By Gail Goodman
www.entrepreneur.com
March 06, 2006
"Got a pocket full of business cards from that last networking event? Don't forget to ask permission before adding those names to your e-mail marketing list."

Media Ownership: Who Owns What?

It's hard to keep track of who owns U.S. newspapers, publishing firms, tv stations, radio stations and the like on any given day. Luckily, the Columbia Journalism Review will manage that information for you.

Their "Who Owns What" page features major media-owning corporations, listing their outlets in a variety of forms. The site also presents corporate timelines for several of the largest companies, and has links to media ownership news items as well.

Useful if exploring bias in the media, or if you just want to keep tabs on what's happening to your favorite media conglomerate.

Say Pepsi, Please

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I read an interesting story last month: "How Pepsi Opened Door to Diversity; A 1940s All-Black Team Targeted a New Market And Broke a Barrier" by Stephanie Capparell, in the Wall Street Journal: January 9, 2007. pg. B.1., adapted from her new book, The Real Pepsi Challenge: The Inspirational Story of Breaking the Color Barrier in American Business.

Here's the article abstract:

Their jobs turned most of the men into Pepsi fanatics. Said team member [Jean Emmons]: "All of my friends had to buy Pepsi. I kept stockpiles of Pepsi in my house. All the places I went had to have Pepsi. If I was out with someone and they ordered Coke, I might have thrown a glass of water in their face. . . . My wife would say, 'I think you're going crazy -- Pepsi, Pepsi, Pepsi!'"

He launched three major press campaigns from 1948 to 1951. For the first, he found accomplished African-Americans to profile for a "Leaders in Their Fields" series -- about 20 names in all. T…

Tons of info at Melissa Data

We've written occasionally about Melissa Data's website before. There is a wealth of data available. Instead of me listing the highlights for you, below is a list of information that is provided by the site. I've broken it down by the level of geography by which data can be found. With respect to providing research for our clients, I find the links for home sales, nonprofit organizations, business credit reports, and income tax returns especially useful.

General
U.S. Addresses - Verify & correct any U.S. address.
Canadian Addresses - Look up & correct Canadian addresses.
Carrier Routes Radius - Displays the Carrier Routes in a radius around a given street address.
People Finder - Locate anyone anywhere with public records.
Business Credit Report - Comprehensive financials and credit risk facts. Easy-to-read format.

By ZIP Code
Home Sales - Get the monthly home sales and selling price by ZIP Code.
Income Tax Statistics - Income statistics by ZIP Code.
House Numbers by ZIP - U…

Changes in Information Delivery

In our efforts to convert to a purely digital information distribution library, we created a section on the SBDC website where we'd put large PDF files for you to download. The page was password protected, and the files would only be available for a week or two before being removed.

This method didn't solve the problem of how you get the information to the client. If we can't attach these big files in an e-mail to you, how would you do the same to a client?

Starting this week, we've come up with a new method. Some of you have already seen it happen. Instead, we'll be sending you a link directly to the file. It'll look like this:

http://www.nyssbdc.org/RNFiles/[filename].pdf

The old method is no longer in place, so don't worry about remembering passwords.

Another plus is that you can forward that link directly to your clients. There won't be an issue with the client seeing files meant for other people, as there was in the old system. Obviously, this s…

The Green Business

More and more we are hearing ads from established companies touting their "green" efforts. lately Hannaford has been running ads about how they are environmentally responsible and we've all heard a lot about what Walmart is doing to improve it's reputation. Here are couple of sites that offer businesses some advice on getting with the program...

Greening Your Business: A Primer for Smaller Companies
Greenbiz.com

"This GreenBiz Essential offers tips and resources for small and mid-sized companies, though many larger firms likely will benefit, too. The links in this document are culled from the more than 2,000 resources found on GreenBiz.com"

October 16, 2006
Greening Your Business
Business Week Online
Tip of the day

Sustainable Business.com
Sustainable Business Reference Library

"Join in the Fun! Wouldn't you rather get your energy from clean solar or wind sources than dirty oil? Of course you would! Wouldn't you rather feed the world on food that hasn&#…