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Posts Tagged ‘Albany NY’

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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I haven’t posted rants on here in the past, but I had a situation happen last week that still annoys the hell out of me when I think about it.

I was visiting Colonie Center in Albany, NY.  I went to the customer service desk.  At this desk you can purchase lottery tickets, gift cards, and get general information about the mall.

In my experiences throughout my life I was led to believe that people at customer service desks should be courteous to the patrons of the business they’re working for.  I have worked with the public for years, and though I’d never say the words “the customer is always right” I do subscribe to the idea that you ALWAYS treat the customer with respect and you always say “Thank you.”

I approached the customer service desk.  I moved slightly to the side to fill out a form.  While I was doing this two additional customers walked up.  They were immediately assisted.  (She had a snotty attitude, but she answered their questions.)  While she was helping the second woman I finished up my form, and put my money with it on the counter.  It was quite obvious I was finished.  As she finished with the second, I incorrectly assumed she would move on to helping me.  She looked right at me and moved 3 feet to her right and started typing on her computer.  It was obvious she was playing on Farmville (or some similar online game) and logged out to proceed to log in to another website.  After about a minute, she walked back to the counter and took my form and money, processed it and laid my receipt on the counter.  While she was processing it, a security guard walked up to the counter and started shooting the breeze with her.  She commented to him that she needed to log into an online customer service training that she was required to complete.  At this point I picked up my receipt and I couldn’t resist commenting.  “Since you’re going to be taking your required customer service training, let’s pray that it teaches you to acknowledge your customers in front of you and how to say “Hello” and “Thank you” since you didn’t say a single word to me during my entire transaction.” As I was walking away she screamed after me “Thank you Ma’am, please come again.” In an extremely snotty tone.

When I told a friend of mine about the situation he immediately physically described the girl and knew exactly who I was talking about because he’s dealt with her in the past and agreed that she needs a serious attitude adjustment.

From now on – I’ll take my business of that sort to Crossgates.  They may not be a ray of sunshine over there, but at least they’ll acknowledge my presence…..

What kind of bad customer service have you had to deal with?
Do you still do business with the establishment?
If yes, explain why.

Customer Service Graphic from: http://www.whalecottage.com/blog/tag/whale-cottage-camps-bay/

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This picture was supposed to go in my mini profile over on today’s On The Edge Mini-Profile under the “What’s in your refrigerator right now question….

Is there a special treat that your pet will do incredible things to earn?

Please comment and subscribe.

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OppositesConnect.com

About a month ago there was a write-up on All Over Albany about a new online dating site being developed called Opposites Connect.  The gist of the site goes off the premise of “opposites attract.”  I think it’s a brilliant idea!  The founder Larry Wilson is set to launch the site on June 1st.  If you sign up on the site now you’ll get a free membership for life.

Earlier tonight I stumbled upon the Opposites Connect Facebook Fan Page and started reading through the status messages.   They ask questions in their status messages such as “Heinz or Hunts?”  “Mary Ann or Ginger?”  “Partridge Family or Brady Bunch.”  The one that caught my eye though was this:  “What sticks out in your mind as the most memorable, intriguing, special moment of a recent date, or any date you’ve been on?”

LIAR!!

Well, as many of you know I have gone online and played the online dating game.  (And it’s funny that I call it a “game” because my profile always said “No head games!”  LOL!)  I have stories to tell, both good and bad.  I think the most memorable one was with a guy I’ll call Joe.  Joe asked me to meet him at Houlihan’s in Crossgates Mall for a drink one night after work.  (I LOVE Houlihan’s Guavatinis!!) We got together, had a couple of drinks and even ordered an appetizer.  Our conversation was okay, but it was kind of bland and I really didn’t find the guy super physically attractive.  Plus I HATE it when people lie.  (Always tell the truth!!)  Joe’s profile said he was 5′ 9″ – did he somehow think I wouldn’t notice that he barely came up to my shoulder?  (I’m 5′ 6″)  Fast forward a little bit – to when the bill arrived.  Joe dove for it.  Fine, I’m not going to arm wrestle and tear it in two.  I asked him to see the bill so I could at least pay half.  He insisted that he pay.

The Bill

I have male  friends who were participating in online dating around the same time and they always complained about girls who went out with them, got dinner, etc. and never called again and how they were going broke because of it!!  So, being the considerate gal that I am I thought it only fair that I pay half for two reasons.  One – I didn’t know the guy well and felt I should pay my own way.  I didn’t want to feel as if I “owed” him anything.  Two – Since I really wasn’t attracted to him and knew we wouldn’t be going on a second date – I felt guilty letting him pay.

After about half an hour of going back and forth about the bill I finally just gave up and let him take it.  Trust me – I argued.  I couldn’t let it go on any longer because I was honestly getting really annoyed.  If I had liked the guy prior to getting the bill, the back and forth over who was paying would have killed any shot of a second date because he was kind of a jerk about it.

Moving on – we walk out into the mall to say our goodbyes because I had plans and had to meet someone.  He said something along the lines of  “I had a really nice time with you – would you like to go see a movie this weekend?”  I told him that I thought he was nice, but I really didn’t think we were a good match and I didn’t want to waste his time.  Can you believe the guy had the _____ to say “Are you kidding me?  I just paid for your food and drinks and you won’t go on another date with me??”  The guy honestly looked like he believed I was into him and I owed him another date as if he bought a ticket for admission.  Can you imagine how annoyed I was at this point?  I think I told him something along the lines of “No, you’re not getting a second chance to make a first impression, and for future reference, starting an argument with a girl on a first date is NOT a good idea.  I made myself clear I wasn’t comfortable letting you pay – you insisted and I caved so you wouldn’t cause a scene in the restaurant.”

I have other interesting dating stories in my archives, but I’m curious what stories you guys have.  Since I think for the most part I have different readers – I’d like to hear your answer to their question on Opposites Connect’s Facebook Page.

“What sticks out in your mind as the most memorable, intriguing, special moment of a recent date, or any date you’ve been on?”

Please comment and subscribe.


Photo’s from:
http://oppositesconnect.com/
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.hometowncleveland.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/liar.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.hometowncleveland.com/%3Fp%3D1876&usg=__T09lVF2dZN0s91KMajUWnpTFdLU=&h=500&w=500&sz=38&hl=en&start=47&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=ruSYDFy_TsIllM:&tbnh=130&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dliars%2Bneed%2Bnot%2Bapply%26start%3D40%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26sa%3DN%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26ndsp%3D20%26tbs%3Disch:1
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://debbiegray.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8357a343069e200e55383e6248834-320pi&imgrefurl=http://debbiegray.typepad.com/&usg=__sioXpBWvLl7ydyjdNEp9lQxB3-8=&h=250&w=250&sz=12&hl=en&start=21&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=EKzI9tcRV6FZ6M:&tbnh=111&tbnw=111&prev=/images%3Fq%3DHoulihan%2527s%2BDinner%2BCheck%26start%3D20%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26sa%3DN%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26ndsp%3D20%26tbs%3Disch:1

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On Friday my friend Rob Madeo wrote a blog called Vibrators and Gardening Clogs over on his Times Union BlogMan of a Certain Age.
One of the items that got mentioned in his blog was:

Picture from Solutions

They’re tag line is: “With these pads, you won’t worry when the wind blows!”
I’ve got to say – I find it disturbing that there’s a thong in the picture!


While reading the reviews on the site one reviewer states that it masks the odor, but not the sound.  They don’t give her brother “carte blanche to toot away.”  Another reviewer said she has gas attacks after large holiday meals and says “Now I just discreetly slide on one of the neutralizer pads and let my worries and flatulence go.”  Why does she need to do it discreetly?  She makes it sound as if she’s putting on her pad at the dinner table when she phrases it like that!

All the reviewers gave Subtle Butt 5 out of 5 stars.

I brought up the question to Rob “Do you think they could stifle a dog fart?”  See the comments on his page to see the whole exchange.


Did you hear that?    It wasn’t me!!

There were just soooo many funny photos for this blog!!

What are some of the off the wall items you’ve found online or in catalogs?

Please comment and subscribe.

No Farting Zone!!

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Sorry I’m posting this up so late.  I’ve been letting Michael use my computer since his crashed and sharing isn’t so easy when it comes to my laptop….

Last night was the Times Union’s “Media 2010: How Blogs Shape The New Conversation” in the Touhey Forum in the Thelma P. Lally Building at The College of St. Rose in Albany, NY.  They had a panel of their top bloggers to speak and answer questions from the audience.   They had a video of some local bloggers who spoke briefly about what their blogs were about.  One I found amusing was the Parent to Parent blog.  Tracy Ormsbee said I’m here to give you parenting advice from an experienced standpoint and Jennifer Gish said something along the lines of “I’m kind of the parenting how not to, I’m the train wreck you can’t turn away from.”

They mentioned that the Times Union “readership” is split into thirds:

  • 1/3 of readers only read the paper
  • 1/3 of readers only read online
  • 1/3 of readers read blogs and the paper
  • The TU blogs have an average of about 1,300 comments  day
  • There are over 150 blogs on the Times Union site

There were many other statistics given, but I don’t remember them all.

The blogger Libby Post writes a blog about LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-gender) issues.  I would guess that she has one of the most controversial blogs on the site.  She seemed to handle herself with confidence and reasonableness.  She spoke about how she approves 98% of the comments that come through the site.  The 2% that are denied are erroneous, make no sense, or they advocate violence.  I think that’s very fair on her part.  She’ll let comments through that disagree with her and that’s good for adult discussions if you ask me.  She did speak about people posting anonymous comments.  No blogger likes when people post anonymously.  She made the comment about “the cowardice of anonymity.”  I’m a big believer that if you’re not willing to put your name to a statement you’re going to make, then you probably shouldn’t be making the comment.  Michael spoke a little bit about it in his blog today as well….

I’m so glad that the Times Union sponsored this event and they had a great turn-out.  Below are some other people that were there, were mentioned, or weren’t there – but I like their local blogs.  I’m going to put them in alphabetical order so nobody thinks I’m showing preference.

Check out some of their blogs and let me know what you think.  Leave them comments and show them some love.  We all love blog visits, but we love comments even more.  🙂

Do you have a blog?  If I don’t read your blog, tell me your link so I can check it out.

Please comment and subscribe 🙂

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