August 2015: Small Business Success

Branch out beyond social media

Columnist Jennifer McCluskey

Columnist Jennifer McCluskey

In the past couple of years, I have noticed a great increase of network marketing companies in our area. For items from personal care to kitchen equipment, and even to electricity sales, it seems like network marketers are everywhere. So what exactly is network marketing, and how can the Small Business Development Center assist network marketers to be successful in their businesses? [Read more…]

August 2015: Business Tech Bytes

Plan for future digital demands

Columnist Jill Van Hoesen

Columnist Jill Van Hoesen

Now that the Fourth of July is over and the last of the fireworks have been lit, the third quarter is looming already. No time is better than now to look at your business’s IT capability to support your digital demands for 2015 and beyond. Do you have the IT infrastructure to support the demand? Have you explored the risks? Before you simply install the latest security tools, you should evaluate the latest technology trends and the possible impact on your business, IT department and employees. [Read more…]

August 2015: Agri-Business

Protecting the fabric of agriculture

Columnist Jay Matteson

Columnist Jay Matteson

One warm evening recently, my son and I drove to Black Pond Wildlife Management Area to take his dog, Jeter, for a swim in Lake Ontario. As we drove across Route 178 from Adams to Route 3, I noticed several small roadside stands for fresh vegetables and fruit. Driving back from the lake, I swung south and picked up Route 193 back across the countryside from Southwick Beach State Park to Route 11 in Pierrepont Manor. Again I noted several vegetable stands along the road. I reflected to myself about a phone conversation I had earlier in the day about what is agriculture and what tools exist to protect and enhance the industry. [Read more…]

August 2015: Economically Speaking

Building our best health workforce

Columnist Tracy Leonard

Columnist Tracy Leonard

The current emphasis of health care transformation focuses on the politics, benefits, challenges and costs of health care reform. One of the biggest areas of change involves the health care workforce, where employment is growing and work roles are evolving due to a combination of things such as the Affordable Care Act, the economy, provider shortages, retirements, an aging population that needs more and different kinds of care and market and regulatory pressures related to cost and quality of care, as well the new models of person-centered care. [Read more…]

August 2015: Commerce Corner

Advance your networking skills

Columnist Brooke James

Columnist Brooke James

In business and in leadership it is so important to develop professional relationships, whether it is with colleagues or customers. One aspect of developing a personal connection is by remembering and recalling a person’s name. How many times have you said or thought, “Wow, he remembered my name,” and been impressed. How many times have you approached someone thinking, “I know this person. Why do I know this person? What is their name?!” And then you are on the spot and must reintroduce, or avoid names all together.

People feel special when you know their name, and if you are trying to develop yourself as a leader and as a company that provides excellent customer service, take note of the following tips.

Name associations

At the time you are introduced to a new person try to pay close attention to their name, not just their face. As soon as possible, try to identify a word using the same letter or sound as their name that will help you remember that person. It may be an identifying word, such as blue-eyed Bill or crazy hat Kathy, or something random that connects to their personality, like fishing Frank. You can add any descriptive word to the name, such as Michigan Sally or Toyota Robin, or think of someone you already know well with the same name: “Cynthia, like my neighbor.” Try to play with these tricks to see what works for you. When you leave the person, try to repeat that name in your head and picture their face.

Write it down

If someone gives you his or her card, find the first opportunity to write the name of where you met them, and topics of conversation or associations that you made with them. For example, “NNY Business 20 Under 40 Luncheon, Watertown” and the date. And then “daughter at Cornell,” “loves to can peaches,” and “follow up on 2015 visitor statistics.” Any little details that will help to remind you of the individual person. This will also help you to remember the person when you look back through your cards and follow up with a personal greeting: “It was great to meet you at the marketing meeting last spring. I hope your daughter is enjoying her senior year at Cornell.” This will make you appear to have a great memory and will actually be helping to build your memory of the person. If you have a customer service management program or a contact book or online database, type in the business card when you return to the office and send a follow-up email, especially if it is a good lead. Immediate connection will help in the long run.

Research and be ready

Before you attend a meeting or a conference, look over the invite list if available. Do some research on the people attending through company websites or social networks like LinkedIn. If you can find out more about them or find a profile photo and have face recognition in advance, you are more likely to remember their name and can focus on meaningful conversation when you meet in person.

The awkward reintroduction

Everyone has the experience of not remembering a name when faced with an already-introduced person. If you know you are bad with names and have not yet perfected the above tips, here are a few ways to turn the situation around.

Bring a “wingman”; in this instance, think of this friend or colleague as the “social butterfly,” “networking” kind of wingman. Prep your partner ahead of time by admitting your weakness and ask that they be forthcoming with their handshake and name when you introduce them to people. This is your chance to hear the name when they respond. When you depart that conversation, be sure to use the person’s name — “Great seeing you again John” — and then practice the above tips to solidify it in your brain for the future.

Alternatively, if you are flying solo, just be brave and reintroduce yourself: “Hi, I’m Brooke from the chamber. We met at a previous meeting. What is your name again?” By reintroducing yourself, they are thankful and will kindly appreciate your reminder.

If you know names are a weakness, the best way to improve your skills is to put yourself in as many practice situations as possible. Networking is really important in today’s world, where word of mouth and personal connections go a long way. One great place to practice is through business associations such as chambers of commerce where networking events are hosted frequently.

Brooke Rouse is executive director of the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Promotion Agent. She is a business owner, holds a master’s degree in tourism and is a former SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center Advisor. Contact her at or 386-4000.

August 2015: Business Law

Know options for eviction petition

Columnist Larry Covell

Columnist Larry Covell

This is a second column in a three-part series concerning landlord-tenant evictions from the perspective of the landlord or small business owner. In the last column, I discussed the types of actions, non-payment and holdover proceedings, the required notices and methods in which the notices can be served on the tenant. The next step in most evictions proceedings is the “notice of petition” and the “petition.” Each legal document must contain certain information about the summary proceeding or the action will be dismissed as defective. [Read more…]

August 2015: Entrepreneur’s Edge

Jump in and ‘figure it out’ already

Columnist Joleene Moody

Columnist Joleene Moody

I am a go-getter. I always have been. When I see something I want, I go get it. I ask questions and read blogs and show up to find answers. I figure it out. When I worked in the newsroom as a reporter, one of the producers used to call me a pit bull. He would say, “Give that story to Joleene. She’s a pit bull. She’ll get what we need. She’ll figure it out.” [Read more…]

August 2015: Guest Essay

A call to ‘Honor the Mountain’

A rendering of the proposed 10th Mountain Division Monument in Thompson Park’s Tower Square, Watertown.

A rendering of the proposed 10th Mountain Division Monument in Thompson Park’s Tower Square, Watertown.

By Gilbert H. Pearsall Jr.

Recently, a group of Northern New York residents and business leaders formed a committee, the North Country Honors the Mountain, to build a monument honoring the sacrifice and service of the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division and the Fort Drum civilian workforce. It will also commemorate the 30th anniversary of the reactivation of the division in 1985 and the 70th anniversary of the 10th Mountain Division’s role in the allied victory of World War II. The city of Watertown has graciously donated its premier location to erect this monument: Tower Square in Thompson Park, an Olmstead-designed park. [Read more…]

July 2015: Small Business Success

Continually assess your risk levels

Columnist Sarah O'Connell

Columnist Sarah O’Connell

One of the questions that usually appears in one of those “Are You an Entrepreneur?” quizzes is, “Are you comfortable with taking risks?” I think it’s a fairly common perception that risk is inherent in starting up or expanding your own business. [Read more…]

July 2015: Business Tech Bytes

Apple vs. Android battle heats up

Columnist Jill Van Hoesen

Columnist Jill Van Hoesen

Are you an Android or an Apple? I am personally a Google girl and pretty excited about the new redesigned Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones that were recently released. They are pretty slick and have generated a lot of interest, with “Samsung placing orders for an additional million units to over 8 million,” according to a March report in the Electronic Times newspaper of Korea. [Read more…]