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smAlbany Small Business Day 2010

[tweetmeme] I started my day remembering a blog I’d read the night prior.  Tea Contains Less Caffeine Than Coffee on the Broken Secrets blog.  I couldn’t get my caffeine soon enough!  I rarely drink coffee, but when I do I get the caffeine kick I need.  Since I knew I’d be talking to people though – I did them all a favor and DIDN’T drink coffee.  Coffee breath stays with me all day — so I opted for Mountain Dew Typhoon instead.  (I needed something caffeinated to help me function on 2 hours sleep!)

College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering

Once Michael and I checked in at the registration desk and mingled some, we settled in to the auditorium at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering building (For those that don’t know it’s the big glass building at the corner of Fuller Road and Washington Avenue Ext. in Albany)

Below are some notes about the forums that were offered.
I found as I started writing this that it was VERY difficult to keep up with all the information the panels were presenting.  Many of the following sections will appear more as “notes” vs. a “narrative.”

Times Union:  Tools for Small Business Success

Speaker: Tena Tyler – News and Information Services Senior Editor 518.454.5324

To have your business information printed in the Times Union you need to understand your audience.  You need to know how to speak their language.  She stressed that a business needs to know when to call an editor.  If you’ve sent in a press release and two weeks have passed and it hasn’t been published, make sure you call in.  Tena stated that one of the biggest problems with small businesses in the region is that they don’t accept that online is a form of publication.  Many businesses are turning to Facebook and Twitter to market their businesses, but small businesses seem to be slower to use the online medium for marketing.

The TU wants to help small businesses in the region
If you have a story about your business: TUBusiness@timesunion.com
If you have a business event and would like it added to our business calendar: TUCalendar@timesunion.com
If you want your event to be in the print version – please contact them 3 weeks in advance
Eric Anderson – Business editor 453-5323

Speaker: Craig Eustace – Retail Advertising Manager 518.454.5529
Craig spoke about the paid marketing that the Times Union offers.
The Times Union now has Niche publications.
Life @Home – geared towards your home – design ideas, DIY projects, etc.
Healthy Life – geared towards women’s issues and things women would like to read about.
Explore – Where to go what to do – travel/tourism
In Motion – Automotive magazine
Vow – Brand New – Wedding magazine (Just launched Tuesday!)

You can advertise your small business in these publications to get your ad in front of a targeted audience.
Pay per click is also offered.  You will know how many people clicked on your ad.  It is track-able so you will know what your return on investment is.

They offer direct mail marketing.  They can provide demographic lists.  For example – If you’re a roofer – they can get you a list of all houses in the readership area that are 25 years or older.  You can target them and send your ad to those target customers.

Tim Cronin & Lisbeth Calandrino

Keynote Speaker:  Lisbeth Calandrino – Make It Happen
Lisbeth CalandrinoOwner of Lisbeth Calandrino Business Consulting, speaker, trainer, business coach and author of Red Hot Customer Service.

We have huge growth in the technology market in the capital region.

2 out of 3 jobs are created by small businesses

Earlier this month Sam’s Club did a survey of their small business customers.
“What is it that you need in order to stay in business?” was the main question.
The answer: MONEY!  Sam’s Club partnered with the National Business Association and the Small Business Administration to figure out how to get small business loans for the small business community.  If the small businesses don’t have money to maintain their businesses, it will directly effect Sam’s Club’s bottom line.  This act alone shows that Sam’s Club partners with their customers.

What do small businesses need around Albany?
Many have good business but it isn’t steady.
Figure out how to get your customer out to shop.
Consumers are afraid to shop.  Afraid to spend – need to save their money.
If you want to make it as a small business, you need to be a partner with your customer
It’s your job to be friends with you customers.

She quoted 212 – The Extra Degree by Sam Parker & Mac Anderson
“At 211 degrees, water is hot.
At 212 degrees, it boils.
And with boiling water, comes steam.
And steam can power a locomotive.”

Meet the Media Who Cover The Local Business News
Moderated by Lydia Kulbida from WTEN and Times Union Blogger

The Panelists
Larry Rulison
Lauren Rose
Mary Darcy
Mike Hendricks

Read your tweets and messages out loud.  Would you want to buy whatever your pitching?
Engage with your audience – have a fun personality.
Friend every reporter out there to get your name out in many forms of media.
Comment on the blogs, Facebook, Twitter….
Interact with your customers on Twitter & Facebook with personal tweets and comments.

Times Union – Panel on Social Media, Blogging and Your Customers
Moderated by Mike Huber – Interactive Audience Manager at the Times Union

The Panelists
Sonja Stark

Merci Miglino
Lissa D’Aquanni
Rev. Alan Rudnick
Vic Christopher

Questions that you should ask yourself prior to blogging are:
“Why should people read your blog?  Why should they care?
People blog for different reasons.  Some blog to market their business, others blog to build a sense of community.
“Careful what you put out there.  Count to 10 before you hit publish.”
“What degree do ethics play in a community?”
Rev. Alan Rudnick spoke about people who “hide behind the veil” AKA – Anonymous bloggers.
Merci reminded us that “Blogging is a knee jerk – reactive media.”
“If you don’t believe in your product, in yourself, and that you can cheer yourself out of a corner – you shouldn’t start a blog.”
“Be a follower OR have a following.”  Your choice.
They spoke about the recent “Ding Dong Ditch” incident that happened locally last week.  Why did it become such a firestorm?  It was a story that contained emotion.  It could happen to any home owner.    Social Media helped that story spread like wild-fire.  So much so that CNN picked up the story.

An audience member Karen McGowan spoke that she hadn’t considered a blog for her business until today.  The panel encouraged her to start blogging about her business Capital Interior Scapes an interior plant scape business.  By blogging she would humanize her business and she would appear as an expert in her industry.  She could post customer recommendations, pictures of plant-scapes she’d designed, lists of plants that people could consider and so many other things.

Going Mobile – The Mobile Revolution in Social Media
Presented by Rhea Drysdale of Outspoken Media and Verizon Wireless

Why is  mobile taking over everyone’s lives?
It makes our lives easier.

What is social media?
“Social media are media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques…  They support the democratization of knowledge and information and transform people from content consumers to content producers.”

Benefits of social media
New customer acquisition
Current customer outreach
Loyalty rewards
Corporate branding
Personal branding
Brand monitoring and management

They spoke about using Facebook, Twitter, Ning, Yelp, FourSquare GetListed and Know Em to market your business.  Go to these sites and fill out your business profile.  They stressed to fill in EVERY blank and as many keywords as are relevant to help your business come up in internet search engine results.

54% of the phone users in the local market use Verizon service.
30-40% of them are smart phones.
52% of the phones sold last week in his store were smartphones – ie. Droids, Blackberries, etc.

Top 10 Things Your Small Biz Website Needs in 2010
Presented by: Miriam Paska – Creative Strategist from Intellisites

She didn’t present them as a “Top 10” but some of the key points were:

Have a unique Design
You need to know who you’re competing against and what their web presence and marketing strategies are.
Keep your important information “above the fold”
You want the viewer of your site to see the important information without having to scroll down the page.
Use keyword phrases in your blog and on your website so you will organically show up on Web search results.
She also spoke about using Google Alerts to monitor the online activity of your company name.

Using Social Media For Your Job Hunt
Presented by: Alexis Grant

Use social media to:
Tap into your existing network
Expand your network s to include contacts at the companies where you want to work.

Facebook
Biggest online community – most bang for your buck – IT’S FREE!
People know you, like you, and WANT to help you
Great excuse to keep in touch with people who could help you

She stressed the importance of making small-talk first.  Don’t friend request someone and immediately ask them if their company is hiring.  Make some small talk and as the conversation evolves, your job search will be mentioned.

Alexis spoke about using your Facebook privacy settings to control what potential employers could see on your profile.    You want to be personal, yet still professional.

LinkedIn
Connect with professionals you might not want to see your personal life on Facebook
Your resume will appear on Google, showing potential employers what you want them to see.
LinkedIn has job boards as well as groups you can join based on your alma mater and industry.
You can find out background information about potential employers
There is an introductions feature that you can use to meet someone who a mutual friend knows.

Twitter
Network outside your circle of friends
Prove yourself as an expert
Hear about jobs
Keep on top of new trends in your industry
Make connections with companies and employers who may not have otherwise noticed you)

Tips when using social media
Fill out your profile completely
If you’re not going to do it well, don’t do it at all
Rather than being on every network – choose a few and grow quality followings

Thank you to Tim Cronin and Larry Zimbler for the invitation to be a VIP Guest Blogger at the smAlbany Small Business Day 2010.  I look forward to interacting with you in the future.

smAlbany Image from: http://www.smalbany.org
Mountain Dew Image from: http://thishelpdesk.com/mountain-dew-typhoon/
College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering Image from: http://todaysfacilitymanager.com/facilityblog/2009/12
Tim Cronin and Lisbeth Calandrino image by Michael T. Henry: http://tcrpmg.wordpress.com

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My good friend Cute~Ella wrote a blog today about not being so good about being present.

Like her I am guilty of multi-tasking in my mind.  I think most people tend to let their mind go in different directions while engaging in conversations with others.  I don’t do it to be rude, it’s just hard to turn the other tracks of my mind off.  I find it helps to keep a notepad around to jot down ideas because I’m better at letting the thoughts go if I know I have them documented somewhere and I can refer to them later.

Cute~Ella asked the question can she learn to be just in the moment?

Years ago a friend stated the words:

Live in the moment and don’t keep score.

I have always done my best to remember those words.  He meant it more in the “don’t think of the consequences or guilt of your actions” kind of sense, but I think it also applies to the “being present” concept.

So for today
Don’t think about the extra calories
Don’t worry about being 5 minutes late
Don’t worry about getting wet in the rain
Don’t worry about tomorrow’s blog topic
Don’t think about what other people will think

Tell those that you care about that you love them
you never know if you possibly won’t get another chance….

What have you done lately while living in the moment?

Please comment and subscribe.

Photos from: http://jeremyfoster.blogspot.com/2009/05/take-deep-breath-you-are-alive.html
http://blog.shaneandpeter.com/2007/11/03/the-million-dollar-question/
and http://www.nostalgictreasures.com/Dance%20and%20Shine/dance_shine.html

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To read about how this series started please read the 1st blog in this series.

#2 – Uncover The Joy of You

“You are the only one who can do exactly what God has planned for you.”

“Value what God has given you.  Creating home-cooked meals that are nutritious is a gift.  Balancing roles of teacher, worker, parent, grandparent, spouse, and friend is a gift.  Loving those around you is the ultimate gift.  You have talents and abilities that are uniquely yours.”

“Look at yourself in the mirror today without finding faults and flaws.  Recognize your uniqueness, and notice the difference when you smile.”

I hate when people tell me how I “should” act.  I hate the words “you should.”  Not to say the words have never passed my lips, but I’m now more aware when it happens.  I try my best to instead say things such as “Have you tried” or What about this idea” or “Have you thought of this?”  Nobody can live your life for you.  We all have choices in life and the outcome of our life can vary greatly based on the choices we make.

Lend A Helping Hand Picture from Rishi Menon http://www.flickr.com/photos/rxmflickr/4358918644/

I try to help people with the talents I have.  I’m hoping they find the joy of my talents helpful.  I have lots of friends who can’t cook (or can’t be bothered because they live alone and let’s face it, it’s not fun to cook for just one) so I try to cook for them.  Nothing says “I care” like a home-cooked meal.  I used to do this much more often when I had extra money around for food, lately though the disposable income is scarce….

I’m also an okay writer – so when a friend needed help writing their resume from scratch – I was able to help.

I try to be the best daughter, niece, sister, aunt, girlfriend, and friend that I can be.  I try to help people when I can because I’m a big believer in what goes around comes around.

A close friend who’s had a few major crisis’ in her life and I had a discussion about how you find out who your true friends that you can count on during major tragedies in your life.  She’s right!  Sometimes it’s as simple as being a friend to listen, other times it’s muscle needed to help with a big move….  I remember when I lived out-of-state who would take the time to meet me out for dinner when I was in town to visit and who couldn’t be bothered to drive across town to see me after I’d driven hours to get there.

I remember growing up that I was taught not to be mean and tease people.  If I didn’t like someone I tended to just keep to myself.  I didn’t want to play into the meanness, because gosh knows there was enough of that though-out the school years!  Kids can be cruel and I saw my fair share of it around me through the years.  I tried my best to be friends with the band geeks, nerds, artists, goth girls, jocks, cheerleaders, etc.  It really didn’t matter to me.  (Now I guess I’m getting back to what I talked about in the 1st blog in the series huh?)

What are the joys of you?
Do you use them to help people?

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Betty White with the cast of The Golden Girls

Something occurred to me around the time of the Super Bowl.  At what point are we proud to be old?  I got thinking about it when I saw Betty White all over the place.  We all know her from The Golden Girls but that was 20ish years ago.  She’s been in many things – just check out her IMDB profile…  Recently she was in the movie The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds.  She won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the SAG Awards.  (The press release from them was awesome!!)  Then she was in the Snicker’s commercial during the Super Bowl.  Next I was asked to join (back then it was still join – instead of “like”) the Betty White to Host SNL (Please?)! fan page on Facebook.

Betty White with Sandra Bullock in The Proposal

Betty White at the SAG Awards

After it was confirmed that Betty White will be hosting SNL, Larry King had her on his show Larry King Live for an interview.  (March 17, 2010)  Larry made a comment that Betty was 88 years young.  He said when you get to be that age you’re proud to say it.  Betty replied that she didn’t know where the breaking point was.  “at first you try to hide it and then you begin to brag about it.  Now I’m to the point of hello, I’m Betty White, I’m 88.

KING: How do you explain your longevity?

WHITE: Sheer, blind luck.  I’m the luckiest old broad that ever drew breath.

KING: Just luck?

WHITE: Just…

KING: No talent?WHITE: Well, I mean I think – I think the reason for the longevity is that people have generations – several generations have – have gotten to know me over the years.  So I’ve become sort of part of a – you know, you have relatives that you’re not thrilled with – sort of part of the family.

Later in the interview Larry asked her about her age again:

KING: Did you ever think you would be 88?  Or you don’t think about it?

White: I think I learned at my mother’s knee, we never thought age.  Everybody else is so age conscious.  You go for a long time – no, not wanting anybody to know how old you are.  And then you pass a breaking point.  I can’t tell you where that comes, where then you brag about it.  I don’t think – it’s my health and my energy that I’m so blessed with and so grateful for, that I’m busy being grateful for that, rather than worrying about how old I am.

Betty White on Larry King Live

I got a good laugh when Larry asked her about if she got “romantic urges” and then later said “Last night was terrific, right?” and then about a month later he and his wife are separated….

Betty White

This weekend is what 509,240 (at the time I’m writing this) fans of the Betty White to Host SNL (Please?)! page have been waiting for.  This Saturday night May 8th Betty White WILL be hosting Saturday Night Live.  I’m planning to set my DVR for it, but I’m also hoping to be able to watch it live from my hotel room while I’m on vacation.

I wish I knew at what point we’re supposed to go from “29 and holding” to being proud of our age.  I asked my Mother when she noticed it in my Grandmother and she thought it was sometime in her 80’s.  It’s almost as if she was thinking “I’m proud to be 97, I’ve outlived all those other people!

Hopefully one day I’ll be a bold, full of life, outgoing older woman like Betty and my Grandma 🙂

Have you ever thought about this?  Do you see it with some of the older people in your life?

Please comment and subscribe.

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Great Book!!

I started reading this book last night.  It’s kind of interesting to see what people say when they’re on their death beds!
One that sounds like something I would say was:

“Throw a quilt over her.”

FREDERICK THE GREAT

Emperor Frederick the Great of Prussia was a splendid ruler.  During his long reign in the late 18th century, he abolished religious persecution, established a free press, and protected private property.  Nonetheless, he believed his subjects were ignorant cattle and reserved his affection for his army and his pet dogs.  For his deathbed, he saw his favorite greyhound shivering, and issued this order to his valet.

This sounds like something I would do on my deathbed if Isabella was sitting next to be shivering.  She’d most likely be shivering from fear of what her life would be like without me!

Any idea of what you think you might say on your deathbed?

Please comment and subscribe.

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