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Posts Tagged ‘Capital Region’

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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Interview Series ~ derryX

Meet my friend derryX

While brainstorming about what to write blogs about, I wanted to find a way for my readers to get to know some of the awesome people who I know.  The best way I could come up with was an interview series.

Meet my friend derryXderryX is a great guy who I want to play some Ducktales with!!  I loved the TV show, and now I want to try the game!!

Name: @derryX

Age: 30

Location: Capital Region of NY

Relationship Status: In a state of flux

Blog Link: http://www.twitter.com/derryX

Occupation: Research Scientist at a contract pharmaceutical manufacturing company

What is the most challenging part of your job? Being overqualified. I took my current job with little negotiation due to economic hardship at the time of the offer. Having the education and background that I have, my learning curve was relatively short compared to my peers and also superiors who started after me. Finding the right balance of initiative to improve my position and working at my level is difficult at times because I feel that I am capable of so much more than what is expected of me.

What talent do you wish you were born with? I really have no issues not having talents that others have. I wish I could fly, but having that ability probably means I’d have to save people, so no thanks.

I know you’re a gamer.  What is your favorite video game? This is kind of a difficult question, as I’ve been gaming since I was very young. Moving through the generations of gaming, I’ll list some key games so you can get a flavor. Galaga, Mike Tyson’s Punchout!, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. 3, Ducktales, Super Mario World, Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, Mortal Kombat II (arcade), Sonic 3 (and Knuckles), Marvel vs Capcom (arcade), Doom, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Suikoden, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 and 4, anything with Katamari in the title, Bioshock, Guitar Hero/Rockband. This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of my favorites, but if you sat me down with any of those and told me I had to play for 10 hours straight or you’d shoot me in the face, I wouldn’t argue with you.

What are your favorite songs to sing at karaoke? Another difficult question! I very much have the desire to entertain in my personality, so when I pick songs that I want to karaoke, the entertainment factor goes into that. My absolute favorite song to sing is “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga, and that is because I put a lot of time into listening to her song to learn the nuances and turn it into something enjoyable for all. I also like doing “Tribute” by Tenacious D with my brother @dompap. Other than these staples, I don’t have too many others that I feel confident with. I’m trying to change that, but I get picky when I flip through those books.

What is your drink of choice? I really don’t have any standard thing that I get all the time. I love scotch, but seldom order it when I am out. Lately, if I order beer, it is usually one of the delicious micro brews by Dogfish Head. Coffee-wise, IT’S ESPRESSO! But I order lattes and regular coffee many times too.  Flavour Café’s Almond Joy latte is awesome (make sure you order it “with extra joy” to be cool like me). Otherwise, I’ll either drink water or Diet Coke.

Where is your favorite place to eat out? Living in the capital region, I don’t think it’s possible to have one place. We have a very diverse selection of different cuisines that makes the Capital Region a great place to live. I guess what I’ll do is go through my favorite types of food and list my favorite establishment and if there’s anything in particular I always order.

PizzaRed Front [COB (Cheese on bottom)]

SushiSushi Tei

IndianKaravalli

ChainFriendly’s

Hot WingsBuffalo Wings and Rings fulfills that urge sometimes (it used to be Scubbers, hands down, but they closed)

ItalianLoPorto’s [Chicken Milanese]

MexicanPancho’s but it’s not authentic Mexican the way El Bandito in Middletown, NY is.

Your parents own an Italian Specialty Food Store. Did this make you a good cook?  What are some of your favorite Italian Meals? I definitely learned a lot of cooking skills by working in the store for years. The problem is that since the cooking done there is on a larger scale, that’s all I really know how to do. So to me, cooking for 2 is the same thing as cooking for 20, so I always have tons of leftovers.

Believe it or not, I actually don’t like pasta with red sauce! I’m probably the only “Italian” this way, but I don’t see that as a problem; it gets me to order more diverse dishes. Chicken parmigianna is my favorite dish when prepared right. I tend to stay away from the dishes that have lemon in the sauce (i.e. francaise or picatta). In fact, I tend to like things with as little sauce as possible. My favorite meal ever is my mom’s chicken cutlets with her saffron risotto.

You and your brother seem to be pretty close.  How different do you think your life would be if you were an only child? It’s really hard to say. Mainly I think my sense of humor wouldn’t be as developed as it is. A big part of our interactions with each other is trying to make jokes about things, and we kind of riff off each other, molding the joke into something amazing. This would have a huge Butterfly Effect on me in that I probably wouldn’t be as sarcastic as I am. I think I’ll get to this in a later question…

LOST - Tuesday Nights 8-10PM EST on ABC

When you’re not online or gaming, what other hobbies do you have? I like reading a lot, either comic books or literature. I haven’t done much of it in the last 5 years, but I am turning over a new leaf and trying to read more. I also like designing recipes for home brewing beer. This is a really fun hobby because you get to drink what you make. I’m gonna take a break from this hobby because Dogfish Head beers are too good right now. I collect movies and shows on DVD. I am particularly obsessed with LOST and can watch that no matter where I am or what I’m doing. I also play guitar. There was a time where I was good enough (maybe in my own mind) that I could fill in for James Hetfield of Metallica, that’s how well I knew to play those songs. I don’t pick it up as much as I used to, but it’s fun to play around from time to time.

What is the biggest misconception about you? I have a very strong opinion about what I think is funny which manifests itself as sarcasm, and, many times, people perceive this as me being serious. I always tell new people I meet, rule # 1 is to never take me seriously. Of course, this poses issues when I am actually being serious. For the sake of comedy, however, I’m willing to take this risk for that 1% of the time that I am serious.

How do you see your life a year from now? I definitely see myself in a better place mentally. I will most likely also be working hard at my career, trying to synchronize my job title to my level of ability. I anticipate being able to get to 1000 followers on twitter, I just have to figure out how. I probably will have watched the entire series of LOST three to four more times. Other than that, the year ahead has some major changes lined up, and I’m really looking forward to it!

How about 5 years from now? I never was one to plan this far ahead, but, for the sake of this questionnaire, in 5 years, I’d like to own a house and start getting settled into my career without feeling pressured for continuous advancement. By then, I think I will have worked hard enough for me to achieve a level of stress with work that is not as erratic as now. Other than that, it’s really hard to say. What the last several weeks have taught me is that the direction of the current can change at any moment, and that re-evaluation of priorities should be an ongoing process.

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