Showing posts from June, 2010

Occupation Descriptions

A while ago, there used to exist a multi-volume set called the "Dictionary of Occupations". It has since been folded into the O*NET Online website . This is a handy site to use when you have businesses starting out, or looking to expand (there are some out there . . . really), and need some kind of basis to write a job description. This site is far more user-friendly than the old DofO, which was laid out in a less-than-intuitive classification system. Once you have that, you'll need to know rough estimates of what to pay those who are hired. For that, check out the "Wages by Area and Occupation" section on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, here . is leading the way in democratizing public sector data and driving innovation. The data is being surfaced from many locations making the Government data stores available to researchers to perform their own analysis. Developers are finding good uses for the datasets, providing interesting and useful applications that allow for new views and public analysis. This is a work in progress, but this movement is spreading to cities, states, and other countries. For instance, type in the word migration , and you'll get 2007-2008 State-to-State AND County-to-county Migration Inflow AND Outflow, along with the source of that data, which is the IRS. Enter the term business and find Business Employment Dynamics, Licenses and Permits Search, and Loans Search.

Search Engine Optimization

At this point, many small businesses have websites. But it is unlikely that they are all using Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, to maximize the effectiveness of their website. For assistance in how to utilize SEO, there is 20 Essential Search Engine Optimization Tips for Small Business Owners . For something more in-depth, check out the 15 Minute SEO List , a list of 77 best and worst practices for designing a high traffic website

National Resource Directory for Service Members, Vets Redesigned

The U.S. Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs, as part of their continued commitment to our Nation’s Service Members, Veterans, and their families, launched a new and improved National Resource Directory . This free online tool provides access to thousands of services, programs and resources at the national, state and community level. The Web site has a fresh look with many key features that include an improved search engine, Really Simple Syndication (RSS) news feeds, subscriptions to e-mail updates, and new subject areas such as “Homeless Assistance.” The National Resource Directory is designed to serve a broad base of users including transitioning Service Members, Veterans, Wounded Warriors, and their families and caregivers. In addition, it is a useful tool for service providers who support Veterans and Service Members, such as Department of Defense Recovery Care Coordinators and AW2 Advocates, Veterans Affairs Federal Recovery Coordinators, health care providers

Seven reasons to say no to new business

From Debbie Bermont at ConnectItNews If your company is dependent on larger sales from fewer customers, then you could put yourself at financial risk by taking on the wrong customer. One of the most common mistakes business owners make is to accept money from anyone who is willing to pay for their product or service -- even if the customer is not the ideal fit for their business. Whether you're a startup or a large corporation, taking on a new customer who doesn't match your ideal customer profile can be a big mistake. Here are seven situations that indicate you should say no to new business. If you don't heed this advice on when you should turn down new business you will be in serious danger of having a database of customers that can take your business into bankruptcy.

Online Shopping Cart Abandonment

SmallBusinessNewz had a story last week entitled Shopping Cart Abandonment - Seller's Fault or Consumer Behavior? It cites a Forrester Research report that said: "Despite improvements in site design and increased consumer comfort with online purchasing, 88% of Web buyers say that they have abandoned an online shopping cart without completing a transaction. This is the same percentage as five years ago, suggesting that retailers have yet to address the primary drivers of cart abandonment: frustration with the amount of shipping costs, unpreparedness to make a purchase, and a desire to comparison-shop for a lower price." Personally, I never abandon a purchase unless: 1) I feel I've been a victim of "bait and switch", i.e., the price or item isn't really what I thought it was 2) the vendor makes it too difficult to complete the transaction. Sometimes, I'm supposed to log in, and cannot as Guest. And the site asks me a bunch of things that I don't

Don’t Get Greenwashed

4 powerful ways to promote your green credentials "You’ve probably heard of greenwashing, a term describing marketing that makes exaggerated or otherwise misleading claims about the green credentials of a company or product. Greenwashing is a problem for consumers who wish to make truly informed decisions. And unfortunately, consumer skepticism in the face of all the green messaging that’s out there means that even scrupulous business owners promoting real environmental benefits need to make sure their message is credible."

Preparing for College Financially

One of my State Data Center colleagues, Dale Miller, pointed this out to me. He thinks this is important to share, and I quite concur. Moreover, this being the graduation season, it’s timely! He has discovered that many parents are quite surprised about how much they are expected to contribute to their kids’ college costs. Dale writes, "This is referred to as their Expected Family Contribution (EFC). What typically happens is that parents bumble along (I know we did) until their child is a junior in HS and then they go through the process of applying to colleges and for financial aid at the website when WHAM >>>> - they get a reality check upside the head when it comes to how much the federal government thinks THEY can contribute toward attending school." I can imasgine there are MANY parents sitting in financial aid office with tears in their eyes over this. What can the schools or government could do to reduce this sticker shock when it comes to EFCs?

Free Credit Scores?

In answer to a question about websites or other resources that offer free credit score information, as opposed to just free credit reports , a colleague pointed out a Wall Street Journal article, Credit Scores: Can You Get Them Free? If you are curious about your credit scores, you may have tried one of the plethora of Web sites and services that offer some free credit information, then lure you into paying for your scores, usually as part of a credit-monitoring package. Consumers are entitled by law to a free credit report— which is simply a record of your borrowing and repayment history — but the numerical scores derived from these reports will cost you, in part because credit-reporting agencies aren't required by law to provide them for free to consumers along with the reports. Now, a handful of companies are launching services that give consumers at least a glimpse at their credit scores free of charge. The sites— Inc., Credit Karma Inc.'s and Qu


In their third annual survey to measure and monitor consumer behaviors that have an impact on the environment, the National Geographic Society and the international polling firm GlobeScan have found that environmentally friendly behavior among consumers in 10 out of 17 countries has increased over the past year. The survey results show that environmentally friendly consumer behavior, as measured by the Greendex, has now increased from 2008 levels in all but one of the 14 countries polled in both 2008 and 2010. By environmentally friendly consumer behavior, we mean people’s transportation patterns, household energy and resource use, consumption of food and everyday consumer goods, and what consumers are doing to minimize the impact these activities have on the environment. Greendex 2010: Consumer Choice and the Environment — A Worldwide Tracking Survey is a comprehensive measure of consumer behavior in 65 areas relating to housing, transportation, food and consumer goods. Greendex 2010

New Organic Production Guides

For the commercial organic farmers or any one else who grows fruit, vegetables or runs a dairy: Cornell's Integrated Pest Management Program has released nine new organic production guides . The new guides provide information on how to produce certified organic apples, blueberries, grapes, lettuce, potatoes, spinach, strawberries and cole crops, including cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. The guides cover integrated pest management techniques, with sections on cover crops, resistant varieties, crop rotation, field selection and soil quality.

2007 Economic Census Workshops in Albany, Syracuse, NYC

The Census Bureau is conducting a half-day workshop for data users on the 2007 Economic Census. • New users learn about the range of data about businesses available from the Census Bureau, including both the Economic Census and more frequent data sets. • Experienced users learn about new features of the data, comparability issues, and qualifications of the data. • Attendees gain skills in accessing Economic Census data in American FactFinder. • Attendees have the opportunity to tell others about their own practical applications of the data and learn what others are doing. Albany, NY Wednesday, June 23, 2010, 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM Cost: FREE Location: College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering of the University at Albany CESTM Auditorium, Building 251 257 Fuller Road Albany, NY 12203 Register HERE Directions Additional Workshops in New York State: Additional workshops are planned for New York City (June 10 and 11, 2010) and Syracuse (June 24, 2010). For details about these workshops se

SBA Urges Disaster Preparedness

WASHINGTON – With the June 1 start of another Atlantic hurricane season, the U.S. Small Business Administration and Agility Recovery Solutions are launching a new Web site to help small businesses develop an emergency preparedness plan before disaster hits, and reminding homeowners and renters to plan ahead as well. "Regardless of where you live, it’s a good idea to be ready for any kind of crisis," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. "Every threat, from wind storms, floods, wildfires and earthquakes, to power outages and computer system failures, reminds us to be proactive when it comes to building strategies to survive a disaster and recover quickly. Recent disaster events demonstrate the need for preparedness to reduce the risk to life and property." Weather experts are predicting this year’s storm season may be the most intense since 2005, when Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma devastated the Gulf Coast states. In an effort to encourage businesses to plan ahead

Privacy Settings for Facebook

Everywhere you look there are articles on how to ensure your privacy on Facebook. With new releases, the default settings change but here is a visual representation of how the default privacy settings on Facebook have evolved over the years. You can check it out here . To ensure you do not get caught up in updates to Facebook that adversely affect your privacy, have a look at this article from Electronic Frontier Foundation that explains the latest changes and what your options are. They have also created a video .