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...]

Strategic Planning: Control your risks while you grow

Don’t grow your business. Wait … what? Why would anyone say that? Growth is one of the most powerful ways to increase the value of your business, isn’t it? Owners are in business to build value, aren’t they? So why not grow by increasing sales?

As unlikely as it may sound, growing your business may actually decrease your business’ value and reduce your profits. Growth can very well expose and magnify the risks that exist in your business and create new risk. Risk is never good. Uncontrolled, or unknown risk, can very well cripple a business. When risk exists, it must be controlled. When risk is not controlled, business value is impaired. Don’t let your business value get impaired. [Read more...]

Seasonal clients benefit everyone

Michelle Collins

Michelle Collins

Warmer weather is finally returning to Northern New York and it’s not just us natives who appreciate the beauty of our region during the summer months. Tourism is one of the north country’s largest industries and it’s not only the communities that offer seasonal attractions that can benefit from the influx of summer visitors. More and more, travelers are looking for an authentic, localized experience and many small businesses in our communities are well poised to offer just that. [Read more...]

4G LTE network good for business

Jill Van Hoesen

Jill Van Hoesen

What is 4G LTE? The term “4G” stands for fourth-generation wireless technology. First-generation wireless was standard analog voice service. Remember when your old analog cellphone would no longer work and “digital” was arriving on the scene? That was second generation, or 2G wireless, this included not only digital voice but data service. Unfortunately, the data download was still very slow and clunky on a cell phone and we were definitely not all toting around iPads and tablets since data speeds were roughly equivalent to dial-up. [Read more...]

A different type of regional toursim

Jay Matteson

Jay Matteson

Each year thousands of people travel to Northern New York to enjoy the beauty of nature and the relaxing climate and culture that places like the Thousand Islands region offers. With more than 150 miles of shoreline along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, Jefferson County certainly offers opportunities to sit and watch sunsets, fantastic fishing, and many other water-related opportunities. Inland, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties boast the foothills of the Adirondacks, hundreds of miles of forested trails, canoeing, kayaking, camping, and other types of tourist related opportunities. Traditional tourism is a big part of our north country economy. There is another type of tourism that is slowly growing here. [Read more...]

Policies, procedures guide business

Lynn Pietroski

Lynn Pietroski

What are policies and procedures? [Read more...]