January 2016: Small Business Success

It’s Maine-ly business in New England

OConnellWebLast October, I took a 1,500-mile solo road trip through New England to visit a small entrepreneurial venture way up in Down East Maine, and I’ll be sharing his story in my March column.

For now, I want to share a little bit of my adventure through the beautiful state of Maine. What I discovered was, you can take the small business advisor out of the office, but you can’t take the small business perspective out of her. [Read more…]

December 2015: Small Business Success

Start-Up NY partners with colleges

Jennifer McCluskey

Jennifer McCluskey

Many business clients I see have questions about Start-Up NY, what it is, who is eligible and how it works. Much of the information below, along with further details, can be found at the Start-Up NY website: startup.ny.gov. [Read more…]

November 2015: Small Business Success

Ensure your product’s price is right

OConnellWebOne of the decisions a business owner has to make is how to establish the price for their product or service. Especially for a new business, this can be a daunting process. But taking it step by step, it’s just a matter of looking at a number of factors about the product. [Read more…]

October 2015: Small Business Success

Grant-funding your small business

Jennifer McCluskey

Jennifer McCluskey

Business owners who we work with at the SBDC are often looking for funding and ask us if there are grants available to start or grow a business. Unfortunately for a for-profit retail or service business, grant funding is unlikely. [Read more…]

September 2015: Small Business Success

Pick the right kind of wave to ride

Columnist Sarah O'Connell

Columnist Sarah O’Connell

I had a chance to visit Melbourne Beach, Fla., a few years ago and learned that it was one of the top surfing spots in the eastern United States. It was fascinating to watch the line of surfers floating on their boards, letting wave after wave pass by until all at once they’d start paddling furiously toward shore, standing, and then riding the curl until they either fell or it ran out. I wondered how surfers knew that a certain wave was going to be “the one.” [Read more…]

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…]

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…]

June 2015: Small Business Success

Business networking with Facebook

Columnist Jennifer McCluskey

Columnist Jennifer McCluskey

One of the benefits of running a business in the North Country is being able to build strong face-to-face networking connections with others living in your small town. I often attend business networking groups, chamber of commerce events, shows, and the like where business owners interact together to build both their businesses and the communities. After one of these groups approached me recently to create a presentation about networking with each other through Facebook, I realized that this is an area that may be lacking in our business community. How can these businesses who have formed strong relationships with each other in-person continue to build on their networking with social media? [Read more…]

May 2015: Small Business Success

Take some time to renew yourself

Columnist Sarah O'Connell

Columnist Sarah O’Connell

In my last column I talked about making resolutions in our personal and business lives to improve our productivity and organization; I wrote about de-cluttering and prioritizing. That’s still going really well. This month I said I’d tell you about my third resolution: trying new things. [Read more…]

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…]