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Showing posts from June, 2012

Time Management Tips

"Time is a resource that must be utilized wisely in order for professional and personal goals to be achieved. Goal setting is one of the best ways to make sure time is managed in a manner designed to reach success. A recent video article posted on the online source inc.com highlighted five great time management techniques that are easily understood and employed. The video was created by Scott Gerber. Leadership development within an organization must account for time management work with all leaders. Again, goal setting is the key to effective time management for any successful leader." Time Management: 5 Useful Tips

Common Social Marketing Mistakes and Solutions

"Unfortunately, the whole B2B/social media relationship isn’t without its own set of growing pains as well. Which is, naturally, to be expected; as exemplified by the aforementioned cat videos and pop stars, figuring out exactly how your business ought to engage on these platforms isn’t perfectly intuitive, nor have these channels been around quite long enough for their to be a widespread, well-established protocol. As a result, a great many businesses are not only failing to maximize the benefit of being present on social media, but they might also be hurting themselves." Here are a few common mistakes in B2B social marketing and how you can avoid them: B2B Social Marketing Mistakes You're Probably Making

TAM, SAM and SOM

Here is a great article from the Up and Coming Blog by Bplans. Having viewed several business plans over the years, a common (and very important) item missing from most plans is a breakdown of the company’s TAM, SAM and SOM in the marketing section of their plan. Wondering what these acronyms mean? Well you’re not alone – many entrepreneurs are not familiar with these terms. Here’s a quick explanation of what they mean, followed by an example:
TAM, SAM and SOM - huh??

Why and How to Beef Up Your Business Credit Score

From SBA:

Do you know your business credit score? Feel unnerved about relying on your personal credit score for business transactions? As a business owner, taking steps to separate your personal and business finances is a smart strategy. Obviously, this means implementing a strategy to build good credit in your company’s name.

What is Business Credit?

Business credit is much like your own personal credit score – it’s a proxy for your business’ ability to repay its debts. When you start a business, this type of credit may not be at the top of your agenda. But as you plan to expand and grow, establishing good business credit will be helpful if you decide to apply for a business loan.

Who Monitors Your Credit?

Business credit, also known as trade credit, is the single largest source of lending and is monitored by business credit bureaus. These bureaus gather data on trade credit transactions and produce business credit reports for the benefit of credit issuers. Credit is measured on a sc…

Doing business in China without getting ripped off

There is a great blog I came across called China Law Blog, which anyone wanting to export items to China. For instance, I discovered in this article that there are Fake China Law Firms...where companies "thought they were paying money to a Chinese law firm for something like registering a trademark in China or drafting a manufacturing agreement. Instead, they paid money to somebody that had set up a temporary website with the sole intention of bilking the unwary."

Also check out Protecting Your China IP. Me Thinks Thou Dost Worry Too Much.

A most useful site.

Everybody needs both Pinterest and LinkedIn

Or so says online marketing expert Tim Peter:

"A few days ago, Mike Moran noted "nobody needs both Pinterest and LinkedIn." And, generally, Mike's absolutely right. Too many guys in black turtlenecks and very cool eyeglasses try to fit their standard portfolio of tricks and tips to your business, without really considering how to various social channels fit your brand's needs. But…Why don't you need both Pinterest and LinkedIn? Actually, you might. Read on to find out why."

Since I don't even have a Pinterest account, I'm behind the curve...again.

Experts’ Advice for Small Businesses Seeking Foreign Patents

According to the expert panel of patent law attorneys that GAO surveyed, small businesses that are considering whether to seek patent protection abroad should identify and assess the full “cradle-to-grave” costs of acquiring, maintaining, and enforcing foreign patents. Other considerations should include the locations where small businesses intend to sell or manufacture their invention and whether the range of benefits obtained from foreign patents, such as increased sales or higher company value, is sufficient to justify their cost. Furthermore, small businesses should try to
understand foreign patent laws and systems and the quality of foreign patent enforcement, the expert panelists said. The small businesses that GAO surveyed agreed that foreign patent costs, benefits, and potential locations were important factors in their decisions to patent abroad. However, some small businesses did not properly evaluate long-term costs and could not determine whether foreign patent benefits ou…

Government Resources to Help With Difficult Financial Times

The mission at SBA is to to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise, and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of the nation.

USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov, the official web portals of the U.S. government, have put together helpful information on how to get help for difficult financial times.
If times are tough for you and your family, or your employees, sign up for the e-mail updates below:
Sign up in one-click for information to get help with difficult financial times and to receive featured updates from USA.gov.
• En Español - Suscríbase con un clic para obtener información que lo puede ayudar a superar dificultades económicas y recibir actualizaciones de GobiernoUSA.gov.

USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov will highlight government resources that will help you with unemployment, jobs, training, housing, debt and credit, family issues, health care and insurance.

What Do Employers Really Think About Social Media?

"Are you tweeting in your meetings? Do you complain online about your co-workers’ annoying quirks? If so, your employer probably doesn’t appreciate you sharing proprietary or negative information about their company with the world. But can they do anything about it? Yes, if they have a social media policy.

"While employers adore social media for brand promotion and marketing, they don’t like it when an employee opens up a party popper of bad news about the company that can cover the world in seconds."

Read more HERE.

Access to Capital for Small Businesses

If you are looking for capital to finance your startup or business growth, many signs suggest that lending markets are showing renewed vigor. Here are some tips to help you understand what SBA loans are available, where to get them, and how to prepare a successful loan application.





Small business trends are positive

The Small Business Quarterly Bulletin from Advocacy's Office of Economic Research is a brochure-style publication that contains commentary and analysis on the current employment and financing trends of small businesses.

From the current issue:

"While small firms with 20-499 employees provided three-quarters of the net employment growth since the end of the downturn, more recently, even the very small firms (fewer than 20 employees) and large firms (500 or more employees) showed solid net increases (Chart 4). Increases were driven by existing firms, as birth and death employment essentially netted each other out leaving little to no impact on the overall employment level. The decline in employment from births over the last decade has been accompanied by a corresponding decline in employment from deaths."

Local Businesses Build Local Communities, by Rhonda Abrams

If you want to do something to help your community, the environment, and yourself, there’s one easy step to take: Patronize your local small businesses. As a small business owner, you can also hire local contractors and use local service providers.

Once, Americans put their trust in local companies. We preferred to buy from the shop down the street or hire the contractor who lived in our community. But after decades of incessant marketing by huge corporations, many Americans now trust national brands more than their neighbors.

As small businesspeople and entrepreneurs, let’s help reverse that trend. After all, it’s in your own best interest to shop from local stores and patronize local service providers and contractors.

It’s a wise choice to buy from local, small businesses. Why?

Read more HERE

COMMITMENT TO AMERICA TAKES CENTER STAGE AS MANUFACTURING SECTOR GROWTH CONTINUES

ThomasNet.com's latest 2012 Industry Market Barometer® most notably shows continued growth and confidence among respondents in the manufacturing sector. Overall, this survey, with responses from 3,700 professionals, reveals an emergence of pride for the "Made in America" brand.

Companies are extremely committed to keep jobs at home where skilled labor is in demand, but also concernedly short of hands.

Read the full report and find out:

What's driving and sustaining business growth;

Where employment opportunities are and the challenges that surround hiring;

What are manufacturers’ key investment areas;

What can help change the image of American manufacturing;

And more!

Remember the Customer’s Name

"Don’t you love when someone remembers your name? Make an effort to remember your customer’s name when working with them. They will appreciate your extra effort to make them feel important."

This site asks: What’s your trick to remembering your customer’s name?

Among the good ideas:
1. Stop telling yourself that you are bad at remembering names
2. Repeat their name 4-5 times during your first conversation
3. Use a mnemonic device to associate their name with something else
4. Practice

Ownership Characteristics of Classifiable U.S. Exporting Firms

This first-ever report describes findings from the merging of two Census Bureau data products, the 2007 Profile of U.S. Exporting Companies and the 2007 Survey of Business Owners. The merged data provide new insights on the ownership of U.S. exporting firms by gender, ethnicity, race and veteran status. Among other findings, the statistics show that exports accounted for 14.4 percent of total receipts of minority-owned exporters compared with 5.4 percent of total receipts for nonminority-owned exporters.

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority grants

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is accepting applications from eligible building owners and leaseholders for financial incentives to improve the energy efficiency of new and substantially renovated buildings. The New Construction Program offers technical assistance to identify and evaluate energy-efficiency measures, capital financial incentives for installation of cost-effective electric measures and additional incentives for green buildings.

* Eligibility: Businesses, local governments, not-for-profits and private institutions, public and private schools, colleges and universities, multifamily buildings (seeking green building certification), and health care facilities. Eligible applicants are New York State electricity or firm gas distribution customers of a participating utility company and who pay into the System Benefits Charge.

* Funding: A total of $90,981,268 is available.

* Deadline: Funding is available on a first-come, first-served…

How NYS sales tax applies to charges for shipping and delivery

When a taxable product or service is sold, any charges for shipping or delivery that the seller includes on the bill become part of the receipt subject to sales tax.

If the product or service being sold is not taxable, any charge to the customer for shipping or delivery is also not taxable. This also applies when the customer gives the seller a valid resale certificate or other exemption document.

When taxable and nontaxable products or services are combined into a single charge on one bill, the entire bill is taxable, including any shipping or delivery charges.

When charges for taxable and nontaxable products or services are listed separately on a bill, sales tax is not collected on the nontaxable charges. However:
If only one charge for shipping or delivery is listed on the bill, the entire delivery charge is treated as part of the taxable portion of the bill.
If the charge for shipping or delivery is fairly allocated between the taxable and nontaxable products of the bill, …

3 Disastrous Hiring Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

From HERE:

Small business owners struggle with many issues, but one of the biggest challenges is finding help (even in a down economy) that is reliable and trustworthy.

In my experience working with successful entrepreneurs, problems in hiring nearly always come down to one common source which is both easy to identify and difficult to fix… it’s you!

Not to worry, it’s me as well.

Most owners are unprepared to be the manager and fall into the role suddenly when the business becomes too much to manage alone.

This pressure, combined with a lack of experience, can lead to disastrous hiring decisions.

Using the New American Fact Finder, v. 1.1

American FactFinder (AFF) is the Census Bureau’s primary dissemination tool for many Census Bureau Programs, including:
Decennial Census
American Community Survey
Population Estimates
Economic Census of the United States
Economic Census of the Island Areas
Survey of Business Owners
Commodity Flow Survey
County & ZIP Code Business Patterns
Nonemployer Statistics
Annual Survey of Manufacturers

These programs listed above account for more than 60 datasets and publish data for over 12 million different geographies.
To accommodate this large amount of data, AFF follows a topic based approach. You build a search by selecting keywords and filters from different search menus. As you add additional keywords and filters, the search results become limited to only the tables that meet the criteria. Once you have refined the search results to a suitable level, you can either download or view one or more tables. The table(s) will display the data selected.

Foreign-Born Workers: Labor Force Characteristics - 2011

The unemployment rate for the foreign born was 9.1 percent in 2011, down from 9.8 percent in 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The jobless rate of the native born was 8.9 percent in 2011, compared with 9.6 percent in the prior year. The foreign born made up 15.9 percent of the labor force.

Data on nativity are collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of approximately 60,000 households. The foreign born are persons who reside in the United States but who were born outside the country or one of its outlying areas to parents who were not U.S. citizens. The foreign born include legally-admitted immigrants, refugees, temporary residents such as students and temporary workers, and undocumented immigrants. The survey data, however, do not separately identify the numbers of persons in these categories.

NYS SBDC Technology Company of the Year: Mary Carol Chruscicki & Pat Baskinger, AgileX

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From the Mohawk Valley SBDC

Mary Carol (“MC”) Chruscicki and Pat Baskinger, became unemployed in the spring 2011 when the Northrop Grumman office in Rome closed. Rather than collect unemployment, they decided to open Agile-X, a business that provides very specialized services relating to hardware, software and communication systems. AgileX principal investigators are experienced leaders in the research and development of secure information and communication capabilities for airborne, maritime and ground platforms from concept through operational deployment in theater. AgileX experience and toolset enables the analysis of alternatives and the impact assessment of the technologies and architectures on mission effectiveness and mission assurance. The clients worked closely with Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome to develop mobile networking technology to equip planes deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. AgileX works closely with its partners to build quality components and systems for t…