Web design starts with a strategy

Jill Van Hoesen

Business Tech Bytes column || by Jill Van Hoesen

Now that the Internet is providing enormous amounts of consumer information and transparency in the form of reviews, price comparisons and social media sharing, creating a Web presence is just as imperative to your business’s success as the resources most commonly associated with building a brand. If you are just starting your website or planning a redesign it is imperative you focus on how and where your customers will be accessing your website and begin to differentiate yourself. [Read more…]

Young people need to sharpen skills

Agri-business column by Jay Matteson

Agri-business column || by Jay Matteson

During the 2014 Workforce 2020 program hosted by the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce, Paul Mason from Riverhaven Dairy Farm near Cape Vincent, Mike Hunter, agronomist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County and I interviewed approximately 45 high school students interested in agricultural careers. As we went through the morning, with students lined up sometimes 10 deep waiting for an open seat, Paul, Mike and I were excited and concerned about the conversations we had with local juniors and seniors. [Read more…]

How to foster employee longevity

Commerce column || by Lynn Pietroski

Commerce Corner column || by Lynn Pietroski

Every two years, the U.S. Department of Labor measures employee longevity and since 2004, the median tenure has been on the increase. However, the average tenure is just 4.6 years. Is this a good thing for employers or employees and what does it say about today’s workforce? Many factors can sway a person’s opinion on this topic. [Read more…]

Some tips for exceptional service

Nonprofits Today column || by Rande Richardson

Nonprofits Today column || by Rande Richardson

A new year always creates a marker between what was and what is yet to be. For the best nonprofits, this is a continual self-assessment process that happens all year long. It is no secret that the nonprofit landscape has changed significantly over the past decade and there is a heightened sense that the “new normal” is moving less from new and more toward normal. [Read more…]

Is your business a hobby or not?

Small Business Success column || by Sarah O'Connell

Small Business Success column || by Sarah O’Connell

Most businesses we work with at the Small Business Development Center are clearly motivated to be profit-generating enterprises, with business loans or lines of credit, payroll taxes to be paid, liability and property insurance and all the other expenses that need to be matched and exceeded by revenues. [Read more…]

Small Business Success: Trust me, it’s not me, it’s really you

With the rise of social media marketing in the past few years, advertising is much, much different from how it was back when I was a small-business owner. The big buzz words now are “customer engagement.” So when I say, “It’s not me, it’s you,” I mean that my marketing campaign needs to concentrate on you, the customer, not me, the business owner. We business owners have to grab your attention and get you to spread the word for us far and wide. This is one viral situation that you should desire. [Read more…]

Business Tech Bytes: Understand value of CRM systems

It was not so long ago your business had customers. Your customers came to your brick-and-mortar building or at least called your office on a landline. This is no longer necessarily true today as the Internet has led to websites and mobile devices that enable you to reach a larger audience without geographical boundaries. With this new reach come new challenges as to how to manage a new pool of potential customers and is sometimes referred to as audience reach. Recently more and more companies are turning to customer relationship management systems or CRMs. Such systems come in all price ranges and can help your business streamline your sales processes and increase productivity and revenue while managing demographic and other audience-specific information. [Read more…]

Agri-Business: Farm-based beverage sector grows

Within the past decade, Jefferson County and Northern New York witnessed a refreshing emergence of new businesses making beverages and growing ingredients from agricultural products. Our region is well known for producing large amounts of high-quality milk and turning that milk into award-winning cheeses and cultured dairy products. Our dairy industry will continue to thrive and grow for the foreseeable future. But the emergence of other opportunities in agriculture has invigorated local entrepreneurs not interested in dairy farming. The question is, what can our region support? [Read more…]

Nonprofits Today: We can make ‘good enough’ better

Some of the best things in our communities came to be not because they were mandated, but because it was the will of the people to make it so. People from all walks of life have built and sustained some of our most cherished community assets. Our museums, libraries, health care organizations and a variety of other human service, arts and culture, environmental and quality-of-life enhancing entities exist as a result of the great north country charitable and can-do, giving spirit. [Read more…]

Commerce Corner: Manage all complaints effectively

“Constant complaint is the poorest sort of pay for all the comforts we enjoy.” — Benjamin Franklin

Nearly every day each of us is faced with the word complaint. Ever more difficult is the delivery of the complaint — they can be received via social media, email, phone or in-person. How a person deals with this is the most crucial and fragile thing that we can encounter. However, we are all humans and are entitled to an opinion and the right to be heard. The challenge most people face is the ability to listen effectively with an open mind to hear what the other person is conveying, right or wrong. [Read more…]