Friday, July 31, 2009
Social Media 101: Use Twitter to Attract Prospects and Engage Customers - Must sign up to read full article. Signing up is free.
Facebook, Twitter and More: The New Rules of Social Networking
6 Things You Should Never Do on Twitter or Facebook
Thursday, July 30, 2009
You Say Tomato, I Say Agricultural Disaster
Published: August 8, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
In “How to Train New Employees in Social Media,” Ben Parr of Mashable suggests writing a social media policy, testing employees knowledge of social media tools, making a list of required reading, and then handing over the reins without policing their activity.
Ready to write your company's social media policy? Read 10 Must-Haves for Your Social Media Policy first.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Small business owners are being crushed by rising health care costs, and feel left out of the current health care debate in Washington, according to a new report released by U.S. Public Interest Research Group this month.
The new report, The Small Business Dilemma, which surveyed hundreds of small business owners and managers across the country, makes clear that small business owners want and need health care reform.
According to the 14-page report:
•Small businesses value health insurance as a key to business success because it allows them to attract better employees.
•78% of small business owners surveyed who do not offer coverage would like to do so.
•80% of those who would like to offer coverage cite the expense of coverage as a reason why they don't
Also, Small Businesses Struggle to Offer Healthcare from Black Enterprise cites a survey commissioned by Aflac, "the largest provider of supplemental insurance in the United States", finding that "small business owners are taking drastic measures to remedy their company’s insurance dilemma."
Friday, July 24, 2009
Site Maps Stimulus Spending - Information about maps available on the national recovery webpage that help show how much funding is being distributed to each state, how much funding is being provided to each state by each federal department, how the funding is flowing to individual contractors, and how many jobs are being created in the locations.
NYWORKS Webcasts - Available on the NYS Recovery website, these webcasts focus on broad topics related to the stimulus package, including Energy Funding Opportunities, which will air on July 30th at 1:00 P.M.
Businesses Underbidding for Stimulus Projects
How Many Jobs is the Stimulus Creating? Depends Whom You Ask
Budget Boss Defends Stimulus, Sees Joblessness Up
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Here on the blog we’ve been talking about Twitter and have offered some reasons that small businesses might want to participate in the world of 140 character messages. Now Twitter itself is telling you why your business should be tweeting, and what you can get out of the service.
Check out Twitter 101, a collection of how-to information, best practices and case studies for the business twitterer. Why the new info? It looks like Twitter will be rolling out commercial applications for Twitter users, including fee-based analytics and account verification tools in the next few months. Before they ask you to pay for a Twitter service, they want to make sure you understand its value.
While we’re on the subject of social media and why you should care, here are a couple of lists on using Facebook and LinkedIn for your business:
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Copyright Clearance Center deals with different licensing packages. Ask Before You Act is hot on getting permission for copyrighted material, even things others might consider fair use. The site's put together by the Software & Information Industry Association, the principal trade association for the software and digital content industry, who run a vigorous anti-piracy campaign.
Also, Deciding What Information Is Fair to Use.
Monday, July 20, 2009
One feature in both book & website is the idea that a well-designed, well-constructed sign is a fantastic marketing device for a business. A sign should not be some afterthought - a random appendage thrown together at the last minute.
Recently I read an article titled "Good Marketing Begins After Sale is Made," which holds out the thought that effective marketing should be about repeating a consistent message, "from the way your receptionist answers the phone to what your business card looks like," and that, "in these difficult economic times, we must be communicating on every front."
Which I agree with, wholeheartedly. I held out a glimmer of hope that its author would also touch upon signage as yet another marketing channel where a company's message could be emphasized to potential consumers.
Sigh. He did not.
Instead, I will say it here again: signs work for a business every hour of every day, and that, for most retail and service operations, it's a more cost-effective means of marketing than TV, radio, Yellow Pages, or print. It is a space as geometric as any 1/4 page ad, and requires the need for a concise expression of a business message as important as any radio script or website home page.
It is part of the marketing mix, and I'll keep harping on that until it becomes a common feature in articles on small business marketing.
Friday, July 17, 2009
About a week after Google announced its plan to launch an open-source operating system, Microsoft announced it will launch a “free version of its dominant Office software that users can access over the Web,” according to Jim Finkle’s article from www.wired.com. The web-based operating systems and applications will allow users to create, store and share information quicker and for less money. This is a great concept but there may be a downside. Is there enough bandwidth to support more people accessing the Internet and more people participating in bandwidth-demanding activities?
Will Small Business Lead the Jobs Recovery?
Why Small Business Will Win in this Economy
Small Businesses Most Likely to Lead Economic Recovery
Small Business Role in Economic Recovery
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
"Crowdsourcing" is a new term for me, but not for many in the business world. According to Wikipedia, crowdsourcing is “the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people or community in the form of an open call.” Now usually, I wouldn’t turn to Wikipedia for a definition, but in this case, user generated content seems perfectly appropriate.
There are lots of examples of crowdsourcing in business. Take Threadless: the online t-shirt retailer receives scads of t-shirt designs submitted by professional and amateur artists. Website visitors then vote for their favorites, and those top ranked designs are put into production, and sold on the site.
It’s certainly not a new concept in journalism either. News websites and reporters solicit viewer reports on the weather, gas prices, or even injuries at amusement parks.
And how about the news coming out of Iran during the height of the recent election protests? The State Department asked that Twitter delay its system updates, so that we wouldn’t lose contact with Iranian Twitter accounts. The “crowd” was informing our major news networks, and was an invaluable source of information.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
The answer is...it depends:
Q: What if I want to start my own business?
A: Notify the Telephone Claims Center before you take any steps to start a business. Unless you are enrolled in the Self Employment Assistance Program (SEAP), these activities may result in the loss of unemployment insurance benefits. For more information on SEAP, click here.
You are considered to be employed if you are engaged in operating or starting a business either by yourself, with a partner or in a corporate arrangement. Time spent during the day or evening or on weekends preparing to start or actually operating a business may be considered employment even though no sales are made nor any compensation received.
To contact Telephone Claims Center (TCC) staff:
Call TCC toll-free at 1-888-209-8124 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. If you live outside of NYS, call toll-free at 1-877-358-5306.
Hearing impaired individuals, who have Telephone Device for the Deaf (TTY/TDD) equipment, may contact the Telephone Claims Center by calling a relay operator at 1-800-662-1220 and requesting the operator to call 1-888-783-1370. Service at this number will only be provided to callers using TDD equipment.
The TCC is less busy on Thursday and Friday afternoons. During heavy call loads, such as after a Monday holiday, callers may hear a message that all representatives are busy with other callers and it will be necessary to call back to speak with a representative regarding your claim.
Write: New York State Department of Labor, P.O. Box 15130, Albany, NY 12212-5130
Fax: 518-485-7377. Be sure that your Social Security number appears at the top right hand corner on all pages. Save your fax confirmation sheet as we do not confirm the receipt of a fax or written correspondence.
Q: What is the Self Employment Assistance Program (SEAP)?
A: State and Federal legislation has established the Self Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) which provides certain eligible individuals the opportunity to start their own businesses while collecting unemployment insurance benefits. In order to be considered eligible for this program, you must first be identified by the State's profiling system as likely to exhaust benefits.
If you are interested in participating in this program or wish to obtain additional information, contact your local Division of Employment Services office nearest you. Click here for the office locations.
You must comply with program requirements and receive written acceptance into the SEAP program before you can start or operate your own business while collecting benefits.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 09, 2009
So, there is one more reason to visit youtube besides learning to use chopsticks or solve a rubik's cube.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Did you know that most entrepreneurs were married and had children when they started their businesses? Would you guess that a little more than half of new business owners had interest in becoming entrepreneurs during their college years? How about that the average birth order of entrepreneurs is 2.2 and the average number of siblings is 3.1? These are just some of the interesting factoids from the July 2009 Kauffman report, “The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur: Family Background and Motivation.” This study examined the backgrounds, life histories and motivations of 549 company founders from a variety of industries, generating a different perspective on today’s entrepreneur.
But what’s the future of entrepreneurialism in the U.S.? We’re counting on small businesses to help us out of the recession, but the age distribution of our population is getting older. What’s going to happen to entrepreneurialism in this country when there are fewer young people to start businesses? Don’t despair – those baby boomers aren’t fading into retirement, many are starting businesses, which may lead to a different kind of entrepreneurship boom. Read more in another Kauffman report, “The Coming Entrepreneurship Boom.”(Thanks to Linda Willett for finding and pointing out these interesting reports!)
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
From the official website - primary color, not shockingly, is green.
While the CARS Act makes transactions on and after July 1 potentially eligible for credits under the CARS program, interested dealers and consumers may want to wait until all of the detailed issues that must be addressed in the implementing regulations are resolved and the final rule is issued. Issuance will occur around July 23.
Important Things to Know
*Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date
*Only purchase or lease of new vehicles qualify
*Generally, trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements)
*Trade-in vehicles must be registered and insured continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in
*You don't need a voucher, dealers will apply a credit at purchase
*Program runs through Nov 1, 2009 or when the funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.
*The vehicle that you are trading in is required to be destroyed. Therefore, the value you negotiate with the dealer for your trade in is not likely to exceed its scrap value. The law requires the dealer to disclose to you and estimate of the scrap value of your trade-in vehicle.
Lots of other details explain just how much of a rebate one can get. The short answer: depends on the fuel efficiency of the new vehicle vs. old one.
Friday, July 03, 2009
How to Tweet to be Useful, Helpful, and Get Re-Tweeted"
Social Media is How You Need to Communicate
A Businessperson's Guide to Using Twitter
Thursday, July 02, 2009
If you click on any of the industry links, it will run down gross profit margin, EBITDA margin, return on equity/assets, accounts receivable days, operating profit/sales.
It is guide created by Sageworks who do benchmarks for private companies.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
That's the question Ann Kirschner asks herself in this piece, "Reading Dickens Four Ways" published in the Chronicle of Higher Education. When discussing Little Dorrit in her book club, the author decides to experience the book in four ways: paperback, audiobook, Kindle, and iPhone. You'll have to read the article to discover her preferences, but what are yours?
This discussion also reminds me of how we get information out to you all - how do you like to read what we send? How about your clients? I've done a lot of reading from the computer screen (grad school = no money for printing articles I only needed once), but not everyone is comfortable with that. Do you have the capability of just saving a few of the PDFs we send instead of the whole package? You probably do, but if you're not sure how, please give us a call. Do you find that you're printing out a lot of information for less techno-savvy clients? We're always interested in what happens after our research is complete. We also have a new version of Adobe in the office, so if you have any trouble with the PDFs, please let us know.