Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Small Business Success Story - Mohawk Networks

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



Jeff Beekhoo
Mohawk Networks, LLC
Canton SBDC

The mission of Mohawk Networks, LLC is to provide reliable, affordable high-speed broadband Internet access to the residents of the North Country and beyond through existing fiber optics and new wireless infrastructure. Jeff Beekhoo consulted the SBDC for assistance in expanding internet services throughout the North Country. When he first met with Advisor Jennifer McCluskey at the Canton SBDC, Jeff was the general manager of the Broadband Department for the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe. 
At the time he was overseeing a $10.5 million USDA grant awarded to the tribe to provide internet access to the Tribal lands. Jeff and the Tribe wanted to create a new company, Mohawk Networks, LLC (MNLLC), to expand internet services outside tribal lands and throughout the region. Jeff needed assistance from the SBDC to develop a business plan and projections to present to the Tribe. Jennifer assisted Jeff in developing the plan with five-year projections. With the Tribe’s approval, MNLLC was created and a new facility was built for the business in Bombay. She also assisted Jeff in developing a presentation for local governmental leaders and key regional partners. 
Finally, Jennifer developed a spreadsheet to plan customer growth, which has been a foundation of the new LLC’s budget creation. Mohawk Networks, LLC has been in business for a full year, and now has 20 employees. The business provides internet services in its local area and has expansion plans for working with underserved areas throughout the region. MNLLC will work with key service providers in the region such as BOCES, hospitals, and local school systems, to ensure they have access to high-speed internet. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

What Entices Holiday Shoppers Into Physical Stores

From MarketingProfs:

Male holiday shoppers are more likely than female holiday shoppers to be drawn into brick-and-mortar stores by online ads and deals displayed in windows, according to recent research from Euclid.

The report was based on data from a survey conducted in September 2017 among 1,500 US shoppers who own smartphones.

Younger consumers are more likely than older consumers to say they would chose one retailer over another during the holidays because of the store experience.

Friday, December 08, 2017

THE BUSINESS CASE FOR BLOGGING

From: NameCheap

You’ve heard it a million times: your website should have a blog.
But why? You’re probably imagining a lot of work going into something no one will read anyway, right?

While it’s true that a blog can represent a significant investment of time (or money, if you hire a writer), in this article we’re going to suggest that all businesses—from small one-person shops to major corporations—can benefit from having a blog on their website.

Do you have enough customers or clients? Chances are, you’d like to bring in more business. A blog offers you a great opportunity to find—and keep—your customers. 
First of all, blogs offer a great way for people to find your website. By writing about topics relevant to your business, your blog posts will start showing up in search engine results, bringing more people to your website. Solid content is also a signal that your site is relevant and reliable, which will boost your overall site ranking.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

U.S Small Business Administration Survey

From: U.S. Small Business Administration


 The U.S. Small Business Administration is interested in learning more about the needs of current and aspiring small business owners. This survey will ask for input on the resources you have used to start and manage your small business and your satisfaction with those resources.   

This survey is being administered by CFI Group, an independent third-party research group. It is voluntary and will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Any information you provide will be strictly confidential. Neither names nor email addresses will be associated with any answer you provide.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Small Business Success Story - Alpine Made

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


Kerry Beiter 
Alpine Made
Buffalo SBDC

Bieter & Sons’ Farm LLC is a certified organic goat dairy farm and Ms. Kerry Bieter is the sole owner of the business. In 2012, Kerry founded Alpine Made LLC, a soap and skin care company, through which she sells goat milk soaps and skin care products at farmers markets in Western New York, wholesale to local retailers, and nationally through a website. Bieter & Sons’ farm uses sustainable and organic farming practices to raise alpine dairy goats. The business is certified organic through the northeast Organic Farming Association of New York. The farm is located in the town of Wales in an agricultural district 30 minutes south of Buffalo.

Kerry began working with Buffalo SBDC Advisor Andrea Lizak in 2011 when she was in the planning stages of opening her business. Alpine Made opened a year later in 2012 and since then Kerry has continued to work with the center. Andrea has assisted Kerry with many facets of her business including start-up procedures and the development of her business and funding proposals. With Andrea’s assistance the company has made tremendous progress. Armed with a well-prepared plan, Kerry secured funding from various sources, which has enabled Alpine Made to expand in multiple directions. One major development was to move the business to a much larger facility. Most recently, Kerry landed a contract with one of the largest and most distinguished grocery retailers in the United States - Wegmans. The SBDC continues to help Alpine Made succeed as one of New York’s exceptional small businesses. 

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Invaluable Advice From 18 of America's Top Small-Business Owners

From Entrepenuer
Every state in America picked one small business owner as its small business person of the year as part of National Small Business Week. Each one of them was up for the national award as well. These people are doing amazing things, from contracting with the Department of Homeland Security to making silver-gallium nanoneedles.



Max Nisen, Guidance Aviation is a high-altitude flight school and John Stonecipher just won Small Business Person Of The Year.  
One piece of advice for small business owners:"Surround yourself around the best people you can and give them an opportunity to do what they love to do best. Each one of my staff and faculty are leaders themselves. I cannot succeed without them."

Monday, December 04, 2017

Marketing Is Not About Your Company’s Values

From: Medium

Marketing is really about how customer values translate into aspirations, insecurities, fears and motivations.

Marketing, at the end of the day, is not just about a company’s values — it’s about understanding what these mean to a customer, and getting that meaning to be felt strongly enough that they buy.The success of a business — and its marketing message — is partially figuring out what people want. And partially the promise of fulfilling it.

There are a number of companies popping up that sell clothing with elephants on it and donate part of the proceeds to “saving the elephants.”
They’re popular. And they’re popular not because donating makes people feel good, but because elephants make people feel good.It’s not accidental. These companies aren’t donating to, say, endangered Amazonian spiders or rock moss.No. It’s elephants.Why? It’s simple. You want to sell some fast-fashion casual clothing? Look at who’s buying it. Once you know who’s buying it (and we all know who it is: early 20’s to early 30’s women), then look at why they’re buying it — their values, their insecurities, their wants and aspirations and motivations.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Seven Perfectionism Pitfalls to Avoid in Your Writing

From: MarketingProfs


Writing can take a lot of time. Sometimes that's because research needs to be done; sometimes the business owner you're working with may have unexpected changes; and sometimes you can be your own worst enemy by making your writing process inefficient—especially if you're a perfectionist.
Trying to create a "perfect" piece as you write can hinder creativity and slow you down. But the good news is that you are in control of making your writing process faster and more productive, and today's infographic by Enchanting Marketing offers tips to help.
"Perfectionism becomes unhealthy when you mix it with self-doubt and undermine your creative productivity," the graphic begins. "To speed up and enjoy your writing, become a writing pragmatist."
For example, a perfectionist wants to use perfect sentences in a first draft, whereas a pragmatist simply puts down ideas on paper that can later be finessed, the graphic explains. "Ugly drafts" are a great way to get a project moving.
Are you guilty of perfectionism in your writing? Check out these seven tips to get your creative process on a faster track.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Can Collaboration Shore Up Brick-and-Mortar Retail?


From: eMarketer

Brick-and-mortar retailers often gripe that they are at a competitive disadvantage against online retailers because of their relative inability to map a more complete view of their customers are and their traffic, browsing and purchasing behavior.

As malls, department stores and other retailers struggle to drive traffic, some players are considering sharing data.

Mall developer Westfield, the owner of 35 shopping centers, is seeking to persuade retailers, brands and even competing malls to share data such as what consumers have just bought to allow partners/rivals to better target potential customers for related sales.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Small Business Success Story - Doris Ulysse

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


Doris Ulysse
Brooklyn SBDC

The story of Doris Ulysse is testimony to the grit and talent of a determined African American woman entrepreneur. Doris specializes in network design and administration. She is particularly adept at configuring and integrating hardware and software for a full spectrum of client types. She first consulted the Brooklyn SBDC after years of working as an IT professional to “test the waters” of entrepreneurship. 

Advisor Janet Page expertly guided her through the business planning process and MWBE certification protocol. Doris became an MWBE subcontractor through the NYC Office of General Services and a contractor for the NYC Housing Authority. She learned that having certifications had little to do with getting contracts as a Prime or sub-contractor. After two years of frustration with lack of access to government contracts, Doris returned to the SBDC. 

Advisor Sanford Gerber, a 35-year veteran of the SBA 8A program, showed her how to use the 8A system as it is intended. At Sanford’s suggestion, Doris re-focused her attention on the 8a certification process. He helped Doris obtain a $5,000 line of credit to demonstrate financial capacity. Then he showed her how to research the federal database to find prime contractors looking for partners, and how to find other successful 8a firms with which to network. Doris gives both Janet Page and Sanford Gerber credit for being as passionate about her business as she is. Doris’ next steps are to get an even larger line of credit, finish the NYC Mentorship Program, enter the SBA Mentor-Protégée program, and win multiple federal contracts. She just obtained certification in Hospitality Management from Cornell School of Hotel Administration. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Small Business Of Trying To Go Big Online

From Digg:
In August, the U.S. Small Business Administration found that self-employment is ticking upward, but hasn't yet reached the heights it reached before the 2008 financial crash. Now, using census data, the office estimates that just over 15 million Americans are self employed. The SBA also reported that in 2013 there were 28.8 million small businesses — that is, a business, or firm, that employs less than 500 employees.3 Which might explain why the U.S. Census Bureau found that small businesses employed 56.8 million people, about 48 percent of the private industries. The new face of a small business is the perpetual freelancer, which means we have to start considering what this means when this entire generation retires — or, more likely, can't afford to. We already worry about how we'll provide for the population as more and more people live longer but are unable to work. If there's a place for mid-level earners on the internet, does that carved-out space include retirement, cheaper preventative health care, assisted living facilities that aren't garbage, and basically anything you'll need when you're not young, healthy and beautiful?

Monday, November 27, 2017

Most Popular Colors in Business & What They Say About a Brand

From MarketingProfs:

Remember those mobile phone carrier commercials that used colored balls to represent the four big carriers? It was red for Verizon, blue for AT&T, yellow for Sprint, and pink for T-Mobile.

Consumers didn't need explanations about which color represented which brand, because we made the associations automatically. That goes to show the power of color when defining your brand.

Vistaprint worked with Dr. Sally Augustin of Design With Science to analyze color popularity among the print company's customers, define the feelings those colors elicit, and explore which colors are popular in which industries. That information was summarized into a graphic.

Should you choose a color that your competitors use, or should your brand stand out? That's a decision you'll need to make, and the tips in the graphic might help you out.

Friday, November 24, 2017

7 Tips From Successful Small Business Owners

From Small Biz Ahead
Many long-time small business owners would agree with the line from the 1970s song by the band Faces: “I wish that I knew what I know now.” Over years of running a small business, owners inevitably gather many lessons about how to grow and run a business more effectively. Thankfully, many of these owners are more than happy to share their insights.

 Here are seven tips from several successful small business owners that are worth paying attention to:
 1. Build a Support Network For Laura Kelly, being a business owner can be an isolating experience at times. “Especially if you’re a solo business owner, you can lose touch with other business owners,” says Kelly, who 15 years ago started The Handwork Studio, a Narberth, Pennsylvania-based company that runs needlework camps and classes for kids in 10 states along the East Coast.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Labor force participation rates projected to decline over next decade

From Bureau of Labor Statistics:

After reaching its historical peak at 67.1 percent in 2000, the labor force participation rate for all workers (age 16 and over) is projected to decline to 61.0 percent in 2026.

The decline in the rate is largely the result of the aging population, as more and more workers move into higher age groups that tend to have lower participation rates. The overall labor force participation rate has been declining since 2000, dropping sharply following the 2007–09 recession and reaching 62.8 percent in 2016.

The continued shift of the population into older age groups will have long-lasting effects on the labor force and the overall labor force participation rate. In 1996, the entire baby-boom generation was in the 25-to-54-year-old group, with a labor force participation rate of 83.8 percent. In 2001, the first of the baby boomers moved into the 55-and-older age group.

Although the 25-to-54-year-old group shows the strongest attachment to the labor market, its participation rate has been gradually declining since 2000 and is expected to change little over the coming decade. The participation rates of both 16-to-19-year-olds and 20-to-24-year-olds have decreased sharply over the past several decades. Their rates are expected to decline further, although at a slower rate.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

7 Ways to Create a Pleasant Work Environment for Your Employees

From Small Business Bonfire
Working in a pleasant environment helps people feel positive and motivated. If employees enjoy their time at work, they will be less likely to take long breaks or go on sick leave. The benefits for business owners include increased productivity and reduced staff turnover, leading to lower recruitment and training costs. Here are some ways to create a pleasant work environment for your employees.

Three Creative Cold-Email Templates That Will Get Replies

The problem: You worry that members of your sales team are not following the right messaging guidelines in their cold outreach to prospects.

The solution: You can give them templates to one-click insert.

Giving cold-email templates to your sales team guarantees two things: (1) You can rest easy knowing they're using the right positioning; and (2) Sending emails with proven copywriting techniques will increase their open and reply rates.

Remember: cold emails aren't about the sale; they're about initiating conversation and getting the ball rolling.

Sounds familiar to what you do every day, right?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Gift Card Purchases Continue to Rise

From:eMarketer


Despite the struggles of brick-and-mortar- retail, the purchase of physical gift cards has grown for three consecutive years, according to new survey data. Digital gift card purchases also has risen sharply this year.

Consumers spent an average of $38 more than the value on their gift card this year—up $10 over 2016. And 44% of respondents said having a card caused them to go to a store they would not have visited otherwise.

Private Labels No Longer Just About Price

From eMarketer:


Growth of the private-label market in recent years has been driven by demand from lower-income shoppers as well as budget-conscious millennials. But these products are attracting wealthier consumers, creating yet another challenge for national brands.

According to an IRI survey released last week, over half (52%) of consumers with household income of more than $100,000 said they expect to buy more private-label products over the next six months. For those earning $55,000 to $99,000, 62% planned to do the same.

Those percentages are still smaller than the responses among consumers making less than $35,000 and millennials in general (76% and 74%, respectively). However, the private-label buying plans among the more affluent were higher compared with previous findings, according to IRI.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Best Business Credit Cards of 2017

From: U.S News

Access to credit can be difficult to come by and expensive for small businesses. Small business credit cards can be flexible, invaluable tools for business owners facing short-term cash crunches. Interest rates can be lower than they are for other convenient sources of credit, such as advances against accounts receivable or credit card receipts and unsecured loans available from small business lenders on the Internet. Thanks to credit card incentive and rewards programs, it may make sense for business owners to route as much of their normal expenses as possible through their business credit card.
If you spend a significant amount on business expenses each month, you should consider applying for a business credit card. However, it’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of business credit cards as well as the wide array of offerings on the market.Business credit cards provide business owners and entrepreneurs instant and convenient capital they can use for any business need.
There are lots of different business types and business owners, and they may not always resemble a traditional view of a business. You don’t need to have a storefront or warehouse or any major facilities or hard assets to be issued a business credit card. If you have good personal and business credit and otherwise meet the issuer’s criteria, you can get a business credit card issued in any industry. So don’t be discouraged if you’re self-employed or you fall into one of a non-traditional business categories.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Video Ad Campaigns

From eMarketer:

Recent studies from key players in the world of ad tech tell quite different stories of how video ads seem to be performing, based on completion rates, viewability rates, clickthroughs and more.

Although the body of research on video ad metrics is still limited, the noisiness in the data is remarkable given how concrete some of these metrics are. Nevertheless, those who have followed the industry understand that many complicating factors are at play.

One such factor is that each company measures activity on its own platform, which is only a small sample of the broader universe.