February Agri-Business

What’s ahead for local agriculture?

Jay Matteson

Columnist, Jay Matteson

We are coming off a good year for agriculture in Jefferson County and across Northern New York. Our dairy farms prospered, the Afgritech Plant in Watertown completed an expansion, and another agriculture-related business opened its doors on Bradley Street. On balance, 2014 for most was an upbeat positive growth year locally and across  the state. As we focus on the year ahead, a few more challenges face our dairy farms that will slow growth, but in other ag sectors we should see the excitement continue. [Read more…]

February Business Law

Review LLC operating agreements

Columnist, Larry Covell

Columnist, Larry Covell

As a result of changes in the Limited Liability Company law and a recent court decision, members of LLCs should review their operating agreement to determine if revisions are necessary. [Read more…]

February Business Tech Bytes

Guard against network attacks

Columnist, Jill Van Hoesen

Columnist, Jill Van Hoesen

Just a few short weeks into 2015 and we’ve had the “The Interview” Sony hack and the Central Command Twitter and YouTube account breaches, just to name a few. This is all the more reason to ensure your business and customers are not the target of cyber criminals. Last October, USA Today featured s report headlined: “Hacking a big danger for small businesses,” which highlighted the reason why cyber attacks are increasingly not just reserved for large enterprises. As breaches at Home Depot and Target dominated news reports in 2014, you and your business continue to be targets that are more at risk than ever. [Read more…]

February Commerce Corner

Understand the new generations

Columnist, Lynn Pietroski

Columnist, Lynn Pietroski

Millennials, Generation X, Generation Y, and now Z. They’re common labels that designate different generations of our population, but who are they and what does all the alphabet soup really mean? [Read more…]

February Economically Speaking

Make sense of health care reform

Columnist, Brian Marcolini

Columnist, Brian Marcolini

Health care reform comes in many different shapes and sizes. More than ever before, individuals are debating how to transform, what programs to be part of and with whom to partner. Nationally, people debate all varieties of reform, when in reality there are pros and cons to each option. [Read more…]

February Small Business Success

Develop the right social media mix

Columnist, Jennifer McCluskey

Columnist, Jennifer McCluskey

It can be difficult to decide which social media outlet you should use to get the message out to your customers. You may feel overwhelmed by the different options, especially if you are not someone who regularly uses social media. This brief overview may help you pick which ones are most likely to reach your target audience. Trying out a new social media platform could be a good way to expand your marketing during a slow winter season. [Read more…]

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…]