Showing posts from October, 2008

Information you find business solutions during an economic downturn.

Do you want to know more about what you can do as a business owner during times of economic downturn? Below are links to articles with solutions and guidelines on how to survive and possibly thrive during the current financial crisis. Congressional Research Services: Economic Slowdown - Issues and Policies (PDF File) Surviving a Slowing Economy National Federation of Independent Business: Ten Ways to Reject the Recession and Build a Thriving Business Business Week: Surviving the Storm Small Business Trends: Four Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make in a Recession Surviving an Economic Downturn

New Books in the Collection

The Bed & Breakfast/Country Inns Industry Study of Operations and Finance 2007-2008 Professional Association of Innkeepers International Table of Contents Introduction About the Study Glossary of Terms Regions Chart of Accounts Bed & Breakfast Inns Inns and Innkeepers - industry study (2006 data) Bed & Breakfast Inn Amenities Bed & Breakfast Inn Occupancy & ADR Bed & Breakfast Inn Employees Bed & Breakfast inn - Income Statements Country Inns Inns & Innkeepers - industry study Country Inn Amenities Country Inn Occupancy & Avergae Rate Country Inn Restaurants Country Inn Employees Counutry Inn - Income Statements Capital Expenditures Renovation Cost Business of Art An Artist's Guide to Profitable Self-Employment Table of Contents Preface Introduction Center for Cultural Innovation Chapter 1: Work Like an Artist, Think Like an Entrepreneur Chapter 2: Getting the Most Out of the Public Relations Chapter 3: Managing Money

Trends in Trends

How do you spot trends? What do you do about trends once they've been spotted? How will the financial crisis affect these trends and impact your business ? (For more answers to the latter, also check out this post from Alexis .) These are just some of the issues Trendwatching .com addresses in it's November briefing . A few weeks ago they asked readers to send in their questions, and they've set about to answer 15 of them. Among other things, they link to their trend watching tips , and their checklist of trendwatching tools , as well as updating some recently spotted trends in the face of our current economic situation. Some of their updated trend predictions: Indulgences? Big ones are out, small ones are in. Free stuff? People like free stuff, but advertising-supported businesses may suffer. Eco-chic? Look to " eco -cheap," efficiency and waste-reduction.

USLBA: Congrats! Buy Your Plaque Now!

On a listserv I monitor, I saw a post about someone receiving notice that he or she had been given an award by the US Local Business Association . the question was, "Is this a VALID organization? or a 'scam' to get companies to buy their award plaque?" Frankly, I didn't want to spend an inordinate amount of time on the question, since it wouldn't count in my monthly statistics,. But I did venture to the Better Business Bureau website, went to the national page, and found this about USLBA: The BBB does not have a current report on this company, which means it has not had frequent enough inquiries or a reason to open a file. The red flags that the BBB sees with this organization's pitch are: *There is no way to contact this company other than via email. *Web site domain registration information is privately registered via Go Daddy. We consider this to be a red flag. *Organization states that you have been awarded, and then presents you with the option of p

Rankings in State Investment in Technology

I've written about state rankings from the Milken Institute before. Here's another one, called the State Technology and Science Index . Published last June, this is their third version of this survey (they do it every four years). The survey attempts to rank each state by its level of investment and commitment to high technology and science. To understand how they do this, it's easier to quote from their site: "The State Technology and Science Index looks at 77 unique indicators that are categorized into five major components: * Human Capital Investment * Research and Development Inputs * Risk Capital and Entrepreneurial Infrastructure * Technology and Science Work Force * Technology Concentration and Dynamism" As you'll notice, New York ranks 15th in their list. This is where we ranked in 2004. Massachusetts ranks 1st, and they've held that spot in each of these surveys. If you click on New York on the map, you'll see a breakdown of where we rank am

Top 10 Business Books of 2008

As a librarian, I am a voracious reader of all types of books. Although lately I have been on a James Patterson reading spree, every now and then I love an informative, non-fiction book. Booklist Online has published a list of the Top 10 Business Books of 2008 and although these are not the type of books that need to be purchased for a reference library, they may be of interest to our clientele that would like to learn about the history of business and some of the more successful businesses in the past, present, and future.

Google Shortcuts

There are a few things you can do on Google to save a few steps: Type the airline and flight number into the search box and you can go straight to the departure and arrival times. Find out the currency exchange amount: type in 80 dollars in danish kroner and presto. This works for other measurements/conversions as well. The same goes for shipping tracking numbers. Type in temp in San Francisco and it will give you the latest. Type in a ticker in the search box and get price information. Try using your airport code: ALB airport and you can see local conditions. Use an area code to get a map of the area. Type define and the word you are looking up and you can get a quick definition. Use Google Image Search to gather information about a subject; like, for instance, looking up a name when you are not sure of the gender of the person holding it.

New State Librarian Announced

Here's a press release that I just received. It's good to read that the State Library has found its new leader. We've been the beneficiaries of a lot of work done by the NYSL, and we wish Mr. Margolis all the best. BOARD OF REGENTS APPOINT BERNARD A. MARGOLIS NEW YORK STATE LIBRARIAN The Board of Regents today announced the appointment of Bernard A. Margolis as the New York State Librarian. He will assume his new responsibilities in January 2009. State Education Commissioner Richard Mills said, “We live in an age of information, and libraries play a critical role in providing us with access to that information. They are vital to our economy and our communities. They promote literacy and lifelong learning. And in these trying economic times, they are vital to people seeking information about jobs. I am thrilled that the Regents have appointed a dynamic and innovative person like Mr. Margolis to serve in the critically important position of State Librarian.” Mr. Margolis wi

Information you start a bike shop

Want to start a bike shop? Here are some free web resources that offer industry stats and advice to get you going. National Bicycle Dealer's Association: Want to Start a Bike Shop? Bicycle Retailer & Industry News: Bike Stats (Including the 2008 Bike Stats Issue) Bikes Belong Coalition: Survey Says: High Gas Prices Are Fueling Bike Sales The Outdoor Industry Association: The Active Outdoor Recreation Report, Bicycling

ASBDC Chicago: Triple Bottom Line and Sustainability

Most entrepreneurs have a pretty good idea that they need to know about the bottom line. But which one? Usually, it's the economic bottom line, involving capital, i.e., money. But in recent years, business folks have focused on other bottom lines such as social (people capital) and environment (natural capital). People in this movement use terms such as performance, features, reliability, durability, serviceability, aesthetics, and perceived quality. In this economic climate, an appetite for cheaply-made items with planned obsolence may have come to an end. But brands that provide for a more sustainable future, concerned with health and safety, honesty, doing good as well as convenience, will come to the fore. To that end, the leaders of the Going Green workshop I attended in September recommended these websites: Branding for Sustainability LOHAS - Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability U.S. Green Building Council Pennsylvania Material Trader - a free online service established

Series on Small Business

Yesterday, the New York Times began a series that will focus on six individual small businesses in the New York City area, and how each of them is dealing with the current economic situation. Here's their introduction: "A butcher’s longtime customers stop paying their bills. A building contractor has half as many jobs as he did a year ago. A restaurant owner considers sharing space to stay afloat. Steadily, inexorably, the fallout from Wall Street’s layoffs and the credit crisis is trickling down to small businesses across the region. Over the coming months, The New York Times will track six of those businesses to see how they are weathering the economic storm. " Give it a read. Recognize what these people are saying? By the way, in the past month, emails have been sent out from the Association of SBDCs, soliciting client stories on behalf of journalists from the Times , Business Week , and The Wall Street Journal on issues currently being faced by small business owne

CIA World Factbook

Many of our businesses deal with exporting and importing. When dealing with business associates in foreign countries, it is essential to know detailed cultural information. The CIA World Factbook is an almanac-style resource that provides current and relevant facts on 266 countries and areas in the world. Updated every few weeks, country profiles include the following categories: Introduction - Background Geography People Government Economy Communications Transportation Military Transnational Issues Although not very applicable to our clientele, I also find the CIA publication Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments an interesting resource.


I am most familiar with using widgets on my Mac where you can add elements to your desktop like a clock, various tickers, games or news headlines. You can make good use of widgets to keep up-to-date on what is going on in your sphere of interest. There are more and more available everyday. A widget is a small application that you can add to your desktop. Yahoo ! explains how you can add elements to your desktop, as does WikiHow . Google Desktop stands opposite Yahoo! - you've probably been invited to download Google Desktop, which allows you to add stuff to your desktop as well as search your desktop. You can tailor your desktop to include mini-versions of the sites you visit for news, updates on political candidates, the weather or whatever catches your fancy. I personally don't use Google Desktop because I have most of my tidbits on my Google homepage but it is an option. Here are a selection of widget sites.

General Social Survey

Looking for information on how Americans feel about...well, almost anything? Check out the online data available through the General Social Survey . The GSS has asked the same core " demographic, behavioral, and attitudinal questions" since 1972, allowing us to monitor social change throughout this period. You can browse variables (alphabetically) here. It's literally "abortion" to "zodiac."

State Tax Department Touts Improvement to Business Taxpayers

The state tax department is portraying its website thusly: "Business taxpayers can refer to our new and improved web pages designed to help them comply with New York State tax law throughout the business lifecycle." For more information, select the links below: Starting or buying a business Expand a business Close or end a business

Demographic Sources

Demographics are a very important part of the research that we do here at the Research Network. While demographic is defined on as "a statistic characterizing human populations (or segments of human populations) broken down by age or sex or income etc", this definition does not cover the many uses of demographics. Demographics can help a small business owner decide where to open a new business, who the business' target audience should be, and many other essential aspects of operating a small business. Below are links to demographics information that is available for free. Bureau of Labor Statistics Demographic Data American Fact Finder - Demographics from the U.S. Census Social Statistics Briefing Room - The White House I also found a useful pathfinder from the University of Michigan Documents Center on Statistical Resources on the Web - Demographics and Housing

Coffee and Farmers' Markets

Two new items we have in our library are: National Coffee Drinking Trends 2008 What You Need to Know, When You Need to Know It Table of Contents Highlights Background Research Methodology Overview Detailed Sections Coffee Consumption Frequency Coffee by Type Coffee Consumption by Age Coffee Consumption by Region Coffee Consumption by Time of Day Coffee Consumption by Location Drivers and Barriers Country Origins/Certifications Coffee Additives Consumer Profiles Appendix A Guide to Developing a Community Farmers' Market from the Farmers' Market federation of New York, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets. Table of Contents Introduction Building Interest Market Research & Assessing a Need for a Market Market Organization Preparing for the First Season Evaluation Appendices: Checklist for Developing a Farmers' Market Sample Survey for Farmers Sample Survey for Consumers Sample Rules and Regulations for a Farme

Video: The Credit Squeeze on Small Business

We all know that it is increasingly difficult for even well-established small businesses to get credit. But your SBDC can help! Tom Morley (and I think I saw Geri Kavanah too) from the Westchester Small Business Development Center, and their client, Carol Conolly of Discovering Me Nursery School, discuss these issues with Business Week TV. Watch it here:

Trade Show Handbook

Stolen from J.J. Hill Library blog because I found out about some sources I didn't know about before. Trade shows are a tried and true way of reaching out to and interacting with numerous potential customers in a short period of time. But they can take some finesse to do right. The Trade Show Handbook can help you put together that "just right" show. The site offers guides and tutorials for choosing and maximizing a trade show presence, links to directories of trade shows by industry , and a listing of convention centers by state . You'll also find lists of event planners and suppliers for help bringing it all together. Trade shows, as with any form of marketing, should be entered into with forethought and a solid plan. Formulate that plan with the Trade Show Handbook.

Screening Employees

Here's an article that offers a few tips on screening employees through the Internet. Some of it is rather obvious (check Google . . . really?). It also cites a few fee-based sites that help with background checks. On a similar note, the Degree Check website is a useful tool to see whether or not a candidate for a position really has that MBA. There are likely dozens of additional sites that perform similarly useful functions. Anyone know of any off the top of their head?

The Year That Was

Happy Fiscal New Year to everyone on the Federal calendar. Tuesday saw the end to what's been a turnaround year for our library. We hired Alexis in March, and she seems to be the final piece to the puzzle. We just finished the busiest September in our 16-year history. Requests are up 31% over last year, to a point not seen around here since 2003. A few weeks ago witnessed the 25,000th request in our history. Turnaround time has been cut in half. In addition, we've incorporated an SBDC presence on Facebook , LinkedIn , and Twitter . We've been defined in Wikipedia . We've been slowly building a Spanish-language collection, and a long-overdue LISTSERV has been built for SBDC personnel. There's miles to go . . . we're about to embark on rigorous training in GIS services. We'd like to explore podcasting, both for what we do & how to help our clients do the same. There's lots more to come. It's been a fun year. We're looking forward to the next o

Recession Guide for Small Businesses in New York State

The central office for the NYSSBDC has created a document that can be used as a guide and information source for our clients in today's rough economy. Originally created in July, we recently found it was necessary to update and revise the document. The guide combines facts and figures regarding the current state of the economy as well as tips and stragtegies for surviving in down times. In order to create the document, we visited major and business news websites and found the most recent articles and blogs that are applicable to our client base. We would be happy to send the document to any advisor or NYSSBDC employee who requests a copy. Feel free to call, email, or leave a comment and we will send you what we are calling the "white paper".

Multimedia Search

"Hmmm.... I think I heard about that somewhere..." Have you ever wanted a search engine that can search through multimedia content, including audio and video files without written transcripts? Here's a tool that might be helpful. EveryZing's ezSEARCH "is the web’s first integrated universal site search solution, enabling multimedia content to be indexed and searched just like any web document." Search results yield the multimedia file where your term occurs, and links you to the part of the file where your term is spoken.