April 2015: Small Business Success

Set an effective marketing strategy

Columnist Jennifer McCluskey

Columnist Jennifer McCluskey

As spring dawns and businesses prepare for the summer season, it’s a good time to review your marketing strategies and evaluate their effectiveness. The goal of marketing is to get your name out there and have your brand become more recognizable in the marketplace. More importantly, you want to reach the right customers, make sales to them and help them turn into referral sources for future customers. As Andrew Klausner wrote in an April 2013 Forbes.com article, “developing awareness of your brand — who you are, what you do and why you are uniquely qualified — should in turn help you generate leads which will lead to more clients.” As you begin to lay out your marketing plan, be clear on specific goals and action steps, timing, your budget and message. [Read more…]

April 2015: Business Tech Bytes

Wait and see with Microsoft in ’15

Columnist Jill Van Hoesen

Columnist Jill Van Hoesen

Since, at times, my column’s subject seems to follow my day job, I’ve been spending a lot of time poking around Redmond lately. You know Redmond, Wash., the home base of software giant Microsoft. [Read more…]

April 2015: Agri-Business

Our region is one with the military

Columnist Jay Matteson

Columnist Jay Matteson

On March 20, we saw an enormous effort by the Northern New York community to demonstrate support for our men and women who serve at Fort Drum. Much is at risk for our community with potentially 16,000 soldiers being removed from the north country. Even if the Department of Defense cut 5,000 soldiers, our community would suffer devastating economic and social impacts. Before the March 20 public rally, someone asked me how a troop reduction would affect our agricultural industry. I explained that because we, unlike many military bases, are one community, agriculture would also feel a significant impact from a troop reduction. [Read more…]

April 2015: Commerce Corner

Family businesses need a solid plan

Columnist Lynn Pietroski

Columnist Lynn Pietroski

When many people think of businesses, they often ask if it’s a non-profit, a for-profit, or a corporation. We rarely really ask if it’s a family-run or owned business. Family-owned businesses are all around us, from small mom-and-pop stores to local restaurants such as Momma’s Kitchen or Shorty’s Diner, or larger ones like BMW, Walmart and Raymour and Flannigan.

But what does it mean to be a family-owned business? [Read more…]

April 2015: Business Law

Maintain clear shareholder pacts

Columnist Larry Covell

Columnist Larry Covell

In February’s column, I discussed options of an owner who wants to withdraw from a Limited Liability Company when there is a falling out between any of its members. If the LLC operating agreement has contract language on member withdrawal, the matter is easy since the method has been established. However, when an operating agreement fails to address it, the member who wishes to withdraw faces an uphill legal battle. [Read more…]

April 2015: Strategic Planning

Risks can cost you your business

Columnist Paul Luck

Columnist Paul Luck

If you are in business, I suspect you would agree that most everything costs something. Readily apparent are raw materials used to make products, employee wages, utilities, taxes, machinery, rents and office supplies. Costs can sometimes be negotiated but generally they are what they are. [Read more…]

April 2015: Executive Corner

Execute change with process focus

Columnist Reg Carter

Columnist Reg Carter

We last discussed our “Top 5” operational drivers that are most impactful on daily business success. The five concepts we believe essential to operate any business or organization, large or small, for-profit or nonprofit, public or private, are: customer focus, process focus, employee involvement, data analysis and leadership commitment. [Read more…]

April 2015: Economically Speaking

Health care IT improves outcomes

Columnist Corey Zeigler

Columnist Corey Zeigler

As health care consumers, we are all concerned with the cost, quality and access to care. But business owners have additional concerns regarding employee satisfaction, retention, health and productivity. [Read more…]

April 2015: Nonprofits Today

North country connects with 2-1-1

Columnist Bob Gorman

Columnist Bob Gorman

Since 2000, residents of Georgia and Connecticut have been using 2-1-1, the nationally authorized phone number that connects callers to nonprofit and government services offered in their community.

Since 2007, residents of Plattsburgh and communities in all but 10 New York State counties have enjoyed the same service.

And finally in February, 2-1-1 came to Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. [Read more…]

March 2015: Business Tech Bytes

Recognize the women around you

Columnist Jill Van Hoesen

Columnist Jill Van Hoesen

Today’s business world is very different from 50 or even 25 years ago. Advancing technology and evolving work and family roles of women have contributed to the modern business environment. The expanded role of the working woman has caused changes in many different aspects of life. According to a study by White & Rogers, “women constitute approximately 47 percent of the total labor force with most women remaining in the workforce for at least 30 years.” [Read more…]