Showing posts from January, 2018

Small Business Success Story - Integrated Aquatic Sciences, LLC

Each year the New York Small Business Development Center recognizes outstanding small businesses in a variety of ways.  This Success Story from the  North Country SBDC appears in our 2016 Annual Report

Margaret Murphy Integrated Aquatic Sciences, LLC
North Country SBDC Integrated Aquatic Sciences, LLC, was formed in 2015 to provide comprehensive aquatic consulting services to clients in both the public and private sector. Services include fish community evaluations and fisheries management, water quality monitoring, habitat restoration and management. The company provides a cost-effective scientific approach that works within the natural environment.  Principal scientist and owner, Margaret H. Murphy, Ph.D. is a Certified Fisheries Professional through the American Fisheries Society with more than 20 years of experience in the field. Margaret consulted the SBDC for assistance in starting her business and to gain a better understanding of the WBE and WOSB certification process. She also w…

Retailers Still Struggle with Personalization

From eMarketer:

Retailers have been racing to crack the personalization code for some time.

For most, personalization is a key to success. In fact, more than nine in 10 US retailers surveyed by RIS News said personalization capabilities are at least somewhat important to their company's business goals. And 39% of respondents said personalization was extremely important.

Many respondents employ personalization in hopes of increasing sales, improving overall loyalty, and of course, making sure customer engagement levels are high. Improving these capabilities, however, isn’t always an easy task for retailers.

It’s important for retailers to get personalization right because the price of personalization failure is costly.

Why Should Small Business Owners Think About Ethics?

From Bplans:
Why should busy small business owners worry about ethics?

Because whether you are a software startup or have a taco truck, ethics failures can hurt the bottom line, writes Shanté Roddy, CEO of Intuitive Risk Management International.

“Ethically treating employees, good relationships with the public, and correct information shared with stakeholders are all responsibilities of the top leadership and have a direct impact on the overall growth of the company,” Roddy writes.

Business owners have to sweat the small decisions, because, as Aileron puts it, “business ethics issues always start small.”

SBA Presents Free Webinar Series to Help Small Businesses Navigate the HUBZone Program

From the Small Business Administration:

The U.S. Small Business Administration will present a six-part, free webinar series to help small businesses navigate its Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Zone Program that will run from February to mid-March.  The hour-long webinars will cover the following topics:  February 7 HUBZone Contracting:  Make the Federal Government Your Customer 2-3p.m. EST Small businesses will learn about HUBZone contracting vehicles and regulations. Click on this link 10 minutes before the Feb. 7 webinar begins: February 14 HUBZone Joint Ventures: How to Partner with Other Companies for HUBZone Contracts 2-3p.m. EST Small businesses will learn how to enter into a HUBZone joint venture and the importance of having a well-defined joint venture agreement whether or not the agreement falls under the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program. Click on this link 10 minutes before the Feb. 14 webinar begins:…

The Facebook News Feed Conundrum

From eMarketer:

In the latest episode of eMarketer's "Behind the Numbers" podcast, we consider the changes planned for Facebook's News Feed and the possible implications for advertisers.

Will the shifting focus of the News Feed, with an emphasis on "personal" posts, force changes for marketers?

What about nonprofits? Here's
"What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know about Facebook's New Algorithm" from TechSoup.

Would Consumers Rather Lose Their Phones or Their Wallets?

From MarketingProfs

How important have smartphones become to modern life?

Would consumers rather lose their phones or their wallets? KPMG surveyed 10,000 adults in China, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and asked that very question.

Some 42% of consumers in India, 36% of consumers in China, 35% of consumers in the US, and 21% of consumers in the UK say they feel a strong sense of anxiety if they leave their mobile phone at home when they go out.

VA looks to SBA for Future Vet-Owned SB Certification

From Lexology:

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has published two Notices of Proposed Rulemaking which, in effect, (1) would shift the duties of certifying Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSBs) as relates to Ownership and Control (O&C) from the VA to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA); and (2) revises the regulations dealing with set-asides and sole source awards under the Veterans First Contracting Program. While subject to comment periods and final rulemakings, the big picture storyline is that this revised regulatory scheme, if passed, will shift much of the oversight on VOSBs from the VA to the SBA.

While the SBA oversees almost all small business concerns related to federal procurements, including the SDVOSB program, the VA has had its own veteran-owned business certification program, called the Vets First Verification Program. Arising out of the Veterans Benefits, Health Care and Information Technology Act of 2006 (PL 109-461), this program granted the VA w…

Small Business Success Story - Adirondack Barrel Cooperage

Each year the New York Small Business Development Center recognizes outstanding small businesses in a variety of ways.  This Success Story from the  Mohawk Valley SBDC appears in our 2016 Annual Report

Joe & Kelly Blazosky Adirondack Barrel Cooperage
Mohawk Valley SBDC Adirondack Barrel Cooperage, LLC, owned and operated by Joseph & Kelly Blazosky in Remsen, is one of only three cooperages in New York State. The work of a cooperage is the ancient art and craft of making barrels used by wineries and distilleries. At ABC, they artfully blend the precision of high tech European woodworking equipment with skillful hand-craftsmanship to build premium quality White Oak barrels. Adirondack Barrel Cooperage uses revolutionary charring and toasting technology. Extreme accuracy of temperature control allows for low temp toasting, releasing desirable flavor notes unique to each customer needs. Temperature profiles are stored for individual barrels and batches for data analysis, quality con…

Consumers Fret Over Prices

From eMarketing:

Despite the continued strength of the US economy, shoppers remain focused on prices, and that focus drives decisions about whether to shop online or in-store.

According to a recent survey, nearly six in 10 US shoppers say they prefer to shop online instead of in-store because of several factors, one being price transparency.

The study from e-commerce and supply chain solution provider Arvato, which surveyed 2,000 US adults in October 2017, revealed that 61% of respondents said it was easier to compare prices online vs. in-store—even when they were already shopping at a physical location.

What’s more, roughly one in five (19%) respondents said they would abandon an in-store purchase if they found a lower-priced product while webrooming via their mobile device.

But while price may be a big motivator for why consumers choose to shop online, it can also contribute to abandoned carts. Nearly a quarter (24%) of shoppers surveyed said they would abandon an online order if th…

E-Verify Requirement for New Federal Contractors

From U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Federal contractors and subcontractors with the E-Verify Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) requirement must enroll in and use E-Verify. 

Beginning January 5, new federal contractors and subcontractors with a FAR requirement must provide their Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) during the E-Verify enrollment process. Existing E-Verify employers designated as federal contractors with a FAR requirement do not have to provide their DUNS number, but will be prompted to enter it in E-Verify when they update their company profile. 

To learn more about enrolling in E-Verify, use the E-Verify enrollment checklist and view the enrollment video.

Subscribe to the mailing list and follow  @EVerify for the latest employment eligibility verification news.

Protecting Small Businesses (computer security)

From the Federal Trade Commission:

As a small business owner, you have a lot on your mind. You can’t afford to lose time or money to scammers or a compromised network. We can help you avoid scams, protect your computers and networks, keep your customers’ data safe – and protect your bottom line. You also can find out what the FTC is doing to protect small businesses. Stay connected by subscribing to the FTC’s Business Blog.

Check out the article Computer Security Basics for Small Businesses. Also:

Start with Security: how businesses can protect their computers and networks against threats.
Develop a plan to protect your customers’ personal information.
Learn what do if there is a data breach.
Read the Stick with Security blog series.

Scammers target small businesses. Learn to recognize those scams:

Read the Small Business Scams publication.
Report scams against small business at and let us know it affected a small business. Reporting it helps stop it.

Many Consumers Avoid Retailers with Strict Return Policies

From eMarketing:
Returns are a big thing for consumers. So much so that many avoid shopping at retailers that have strict return policies in place.

In fact, more than half of US internet users surveyed by coupon and discount website last November agreed that they avoid such places, while over a quarter of respondents agreed strongly.

When it comes to various return policy options, many consumers look for the same thing. For example, when shopping in-store, 37.9% of those polled said getting a full refund—not just an exchange or store credit—was their most important return-related concern. Almost as many consumers (33.6%) felt the same way with regard to digital shopping.

Small Business Success Story - Kingston Holiday Inn Express

Each year the New York Small Business Development Center recognizes outstanding small businesses in a variety of ways.  This Success Story from the Mid-Hudson SBDC appears in our 2016 Annual Report

Chan Patel Kingston Holiday Inn Express
Mid-Hudson SBDC The Mid-Hudson region has long been a magnet for visitors from around the nation and the world. Yet it has been common knowledge that the local accommodations infrastructure was not able to keep up with demand, leaving travelers frustrated and the region missing out on a potentially lucrative and important economic development resource. Recognizing both the existing need and the untapped potential, a group of seasoned industry entrepreneurs lead by Chan Patel decided to invest in the development of a state-of-the-art 100-room Holiday Inn Express for the Kingston area.  SBDC Advisor Sam Kandel met with the group and started working on a funding strategy. He contacted the Ulster County Executive’s office and it’s Industrial Development Agen…

Pitching a product idea

From: Medium

Communication matters. Here are a few ideas to help communicate product ideas effectively: Describe the problem you’re solving. Every product should have a reason for existence and a story for why people’s lives will be better after this product comes to the rescue. But before you can talk about the superior future you want to create, you should set the stage by describing the dismal present we currently living in. Envision the start of an infomercial, where people are stumbling around in black and white, wallowing in tears while cutting onions… because they don’t yet have the Slap Chop! Describe how many people have this problem. Now that you’ve broken it down to human terms, the next step is to expand this with market research to show just how large this problem is.

State Department’s New Travel Advisory System

From Afar:

On January 10, the U.S. Department of State unveiled a new-and-improved travel advisory system in an effort to make its rankings more easily understandable to the public.

The new system gives every nation in the world a travel advisory ranking from one to four. Level 4 indicates “do not travel”; Level 3, “reconsider travel”; Level 2, “exercise increased caution”; and Level 1, “exercise normal precautions.”

In addition, an interactive map color-codes countries by their official ranking: red for 4, orange for 3, and yellow for 2. Countries with a level 1 ranking are not color-coded.

“While we will issue an overall travel advisory level for every country, levels of advice might vary for specific locations or areas within a country,” the State Department said in a statement. “For instance, we might advise U.S. citizens to ‘exercise increased caution’ (Level 2) in a country, but to ‘reconsider travel’ (Level 3) to a particular area within the country.”

While the State Department …

Why Costco Will Never Raise the Price of Rotisserie Chicken

From Eater:

It’s hard to believe, but before 1994, grocery stores did not sell packaged rotisserie chickens. Boston Market is credited with convincing consumers to pay for one of the easiest meals to make at home, in the early 1990s, and that’s when grocery stores saw an opening, according to a new Wall Street Journal report.

Last year, Americans bought 625 million rotisserie chickens at supermarkets; Costco alone sold 87 million, according to the Journal, 36 million more than they did in 2010.

Today, practically every major publication, from Bon Appetit to Buzzfeed, has published a list of ways to most efficiently transform a grocery store-roasted chicken into several meals. The pre-roasted birds, packaged in plastic or paper and sitting beneath heat lamps at national chains like Kroger and Costco, might be flavored with garlic and lemon or barbecue spices. In addition to the convenience, the smell is a draw, as the Journal points out. It’s enough to get people into the store in the…

The Global Competitiveness Report 2017–2018

From The World Economic Forum:

Ten years on from the global financial crisis, the prospects for a sustained economic recovery remain at risk due to a widespread failure on the part of leaders and policy-makers to put in place reforms necessary to underpin competitiveness and bring about much-needed increases in productivity, according to data from the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018.

The Global Competitiveness Index 2017-2018 presents a framework and a corresponding set of indicators in three principal categories (subindexes) and twelve policy domains (pillars) for 137 economies.

Drawing on data going back 10 years, the report highlights in particular three areas of greatest concern. These include the financial system, where levels of “soundness” have yet to recover from the shock of 2007 and in some parts of the world are declining further. This is especially of concern given the important role the financial system will need to play in facilitating inve…

Small Business Success Story - GIG Computers, Inc.

Each year the New York Small Business Development Center recognizes outstanding small businesses in a variety of ways.  This Success Story from the Queens-LaGuardia SBDC appears in our 2016 Annual Report

Tony Yang GIG Computers, Inc.
Queens-LaGuardia SBDC Tony Yang started Gig Computers, Inc. from his dorm room while attending the University at Albany in 1995. Gig provides premium IT consulting service in upstate New York, including computer networking, VOIP phone systems, and data center solutions. He initially applied for a loan with NYBDC, who referred Tony to the LaGuardia SBDC for assistance with the financial projections. Business Advisor Rosa Figueroa prepared the financial projections that helped Tony obtain a $150,000 SBA guarantee loan to purchase equipment and expand the business to NYC. The loan enabled Tony to create four jobs and save six others.  The challenge was to secure a location for Gig Computers at a reasonable price. Rosa suggested NYDesigns, which since the compan…

Justice Department Scraps ADA Guidance

From Disability Scoop:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he’s rescinding more than two dozen guidance documents including several clarifying the implications of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Among the 25 revoked documents are a number of ADA-related items dating as far back as 1995 offering guidance on everything from service animals to accessible building practices as well as a 2016 letter on employment of people with disabilities...

Disability advocates indicated they are particularly worried about the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to pull a statement issued under the Obama administration addressing the implications of the ADA’s integration mandate on employment.

“The civil rights of persons with disabilities, including individuals with mental illness, intellectual or developmental disabilities, or physical disabilities, are violated by unnecessary segregation in a wide variety of settings, including in segregated employment, vocational and day programs,” the Obama-e…

How to Successfully Wed Creativity to Data

From Marketing Profs:

What does it mean to be human (and a marketer) in a world where even the most creative and intuitive endeavors are being turned into automated, optimized, and streamlined processes?

With the onslaught of stories about the launch of new, fantastic pieces of software or technological advancements that'll make life simpler and computers able to make essential data connections, it seems that we're quickly entering a full-blown "Artificial Intelligence Age."

At the root of AI are perception and cognition, which also happen to be two of the fundamental tenets of the marketing industry. It's no surprise, then, that software, algorithms, and AI applications are consistently used to help marketers and make their job of "adaptive persuasion" more effective and efficient.

Far from being a substitute for the creative process, though, data is empowerment. By offering deeper and more comprehensive consumer insights, data fuels curiosity and rais…

The Workforce of the Future

From ThomasNet:

Currently, the industrial and commercial labor worlds are facing an unprecedented rate of rapid change. New technologies are becoming old-news almost as soon as they hit the marketplace, social attitudes fluctuate with the share of a Tweet, and government policies struggle to keep up with high tech developments.

All of this adds up to the inability to predict how the workforce will evolve over the course of the next decade. With the future so uncertain, how can companies and individuals continue to maintain relevance?

According to a report compiled by PwC, a global industry-focused service provider and consulting company, keeping up with the unknown realities of tomorrow means reshaping the traditional business conventions of today into flexible practices that can adapt and vacillate with the changing tides. The report’s conclusions are derived from the findings of a research project that began in 2007 and are based on the collected surveys from 10,000 people in the U…

Starting a New Business? Here’s What You Can and Can’t Deduct

From Bplans:

If you’re planning to use your personal savings to launch a new business, you’ll be happy to hear that many of the costs you’ll incur are tax deductible.

Business startup expenses are categorized differently from standard business expenses. Distinguishing between the two depends on when the cost is incurred.

In the eyes of the IRS, you are technically in “startup phase” until you open up your doors for business, or until you start earning income from the business—whichever comes first. Your costs during this period are categorized as startup costs.

Once you have launched or made your first sale, costs are categorized as business expenses.

However, not everything can be claimed as a startup expense during the startup phase.

Small Business Success Story - Versa-Tel T.S., Inc.

Each year the New York Small Business Development Center recognizes outstanding small businesses in a variety of ways.  This Success Story from the Farmingdale SBDC appears in our 2016 Annual Report
Michael D'Antoni
Versa-Tel T.S., Inc. Farmingdale SBDC Retiring from the U.S. Air Force in 2004 with more than 20 years of honorable service, Technical Sergeant Michael D’Antoni has stated that with his military experience; “there is no telecommunication or fiber optics scenario he can’t handle.” Today, the owner of Versa-Tel T.S. Incorporated, a leader in telecommunications, boasts a successful history for performing installations across Long Island to include Long Island MacArthur Airport, US Armed Forces Command Center in Amityville, NYS INFORM traffic control signal / information systems, Theodore Roosevelt Executive Building in Nassau County, SUNY Stony Brook MART/Tower, SUNY Farmingdale as well as public schools, libraries, and other large-scale data and voice networks all over Lon…

A bad job with a Good Boss is Better than a Good Job with a bad boss

From LinkedIn:

My boss made a mistake on a project we were working on and instead of owning his mistake, he said it was my fault. I sat through that meeting feeling shocked and disappointed. Although this happened a couple of years ago. I remember the details quite well.

When we left the meeting he told me, "You are a good sport.” I knew I needed to start planning my exit strategy. I loved my job but I couldn’t trust my boss. He would throw you under the bus in a heartbeat to make himself look good. In spite of how good a job is, once you don’t have a manager that has your back, you will be miserable in that job.

A bad manager can take a good staff and destroy it, causing the best employees to flee and the remainder to lose all motivation.

People don't leave bad jobs, They leave bad bosses.

xkcd: Immune Systems

From xkcd:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.