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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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[tweetmeme] The Weekly Re-cap: This week we talked about my guilty little puppy and the fish in my pool.  I informed you of a rude person who works at Colonie Center.  I told you about our yummy chicken, zucchini and mushroom dinner and discussed the results of the library usage poll.  Finally we talked about Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo coming back to General Hospital as Brenda Barrett and the Delmar Homeowners who tackled a kid for ding dong ditch.

The Weekly Movie: Mr Destiny, and Batman-The Dark Knight

The Weekly Downer: People not returning phone calls.  It’s rude and unprofessional!

The Weekly Food: London Broil, Chicken with zucchini and mushrooms over pasta, Dewitt’s steaks with baked potatoes (they were soooo good!!), cheesecake & birthday cake.

The Weekly Amazing Fact: A hummingbird weighs less than a penny!

The Weekly Birthdays: Adriane Powell, Tim Niekrewicz, Suzanne Marshall Akers, Scott Carpenter, Jennifer White, William Tragedy Yager, Paul Bolk, Jamie Lubman, and Terry McCann.  I hope you all had wonderful birthdays!  Leave a comment and tell us what you did to celebrate your birthday.

The Weekly Craft: I miss having time to do crafts….

The Weekly Activity: Searching for a job, interviewing and going to Michael’s gallery reception.

The Weekly new people I’ve found on Twitter: 5 Below, Red Robin, Will King, Ritter Sport, Marilyn Elmore, Dutchess County Fair, Vista Print, and NYSLabor.

The Weekly Charity I’m Pimping: As part of the Albany restaurant Dale Miller’s ongoing series of fundraising cocktail parties for area nonprofits, Kristi Gustafson and Steve Barnes will be guest bartenders from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday July 26th.  Dale Miller will donate 25 percent of the food and beverage sales in the bar during that time to Equinox Inc., the community-services agency best known for its Thanksgiving dinner.  You can RSVP on Facebook here.

The Weekly Countdown: 482 days until Breaking Dawn is released. How excited are you for this movie??

Weekly Grand Totals: I was awake for 36 hours straight and I finally crashed around midnight last night – hence why the weeklies are being published a bit later than usual.  Than you for your understanding.

What are you doing this weekend?
Please comment and subscribe.

Raindrop image from:  http://whiteboydancefloor.blogspot.com/2008/06/rain-rain-go-away-come-again-another.html
Hummingbird image from: http://animals.howstuffworks.com/birds/hummingbird-sex.htm
Birthday cake image from: http://www.toward-the-goal.net/2007/06/

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Teen’s father calls incident ‘regrettable’

Update: Parent of teen in prank controversy speaks

UPDATED: Homeowner charged in apparent doorbell ditch incident

Ridiculous charges against Delmar homeowner

Lawyer: Bethlehem man “terrified” before tackling teen

All the above news stories and blogs have been online.  I’m sure there are more but these are the ones I’ve found so far.  Twitter is going crazy talking about this story.

The basic gist of the story is – 4 local teenage boys who were having a sleepover decided to play “ding dong ditch.”  In this instance the front doorbell was rang while someone pounded on the back door.  The homeowner saw shadows through his windows and decided to disarm his home alarm system and run out his door and attack one of the kids.  The stories say that he attacked the kid off of his property and then hauled him inside his house while he called the police.  In the man’s interview he claims that he was terrified for his family.

Here’s my take on this whole thing.

  • The kids should be punished by their parents.
  • They are guilty of ringing a doorbell and banging on a door.  (Not illegal last I checked)

People keep calling these kids “intruders.”

Main Entry: in·trude Pronunciation: \in-ˈtrüd\ Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): in·trud·ed; in·trud·ing
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin intrudere to thrust in, from in- + trudere to thrust — more at threat
Date: 15th century

intransitive verb 1 : to thrust oneself in without invitation, permission, or welcome
2
: to enter as a geological intrusiontransitive verb

1 : to thrust or force in or upon someone or something especially without permission, welcome, or fitness <intruded himself into their lives>

2 : to cause to enter as if by force

in·trud·er noun

  • I would love to know what is technical trespassing.  Does the law state that no trespassing signs need to be posted in order to press trespassing charges?  I agree the kids were trespassing.
  • These kids were NOT intruders.  From all the accounts that I’ve read these kids did not vandalize anything and made NO attempt to enter the house.
  • MY BIGGEST ISSUE – The homeowner states during his interviews that he was “terrified” for his family.  This guys does not know TERROR!  If he did he wouldn’t have ever disarmed his alarm system (as the news said he did) and opened a door.  He would have kept the alarm armed and called the police.  He opened the door and chased the kid while in his underwear.  I wonder if he locked the door behind him??  If he DIDN’T he just put his family in danger because the other 3 kids could have entered and harmed his family if that was the true intention which I don’t believe for a minute was the intention of these boys.  True terror doesn’t run towards the threat.
  • After tackling the kid, the homeowner hauled him into his house and told him he’d kill him if he said one word while he called the police.  IMHO – this is kidnapping.  At that point the homeowner had to know it was a kid in front of him.  Bringing him inside the house against his will shouldn’t have happened.  Go to the door, yell to your wife to call 911, that would have made this situation a little better.  Then the homeowner threatened the kid with death.

At the end of the day, the kids pulled a prank.  The kid who was caught was mouthy.  Kids will be kids.  Ground them, and punish them severely.  (Don’t go on a bad parenting tangent – none of us know how these kids will be punished)  The homeowner needs to be accountable for his actions.  He’s an adult.  He injured a child.  He intentionally threatened the child.  He should have called 911 and let the police handle the situation.

Another thought to ponder – Hypothetically, if the kid didn’t get tackled, but got picked up by the police, then released and went home.  If his parents hit him as punishment, everyone would be crying child abuse right now.  Remember that.

This kid had poor judgment.  That still doesn’t excuse the fact that the homeowner who is an adult made extremely poor choices given the circumstances.

**These are my opinions – I am VERY aware that most people have differing opinions.  I’m not writing this to start a big debate or an argument.  I am writing this to put a differing point of view out there for people to consider.  Because of this, this blog is closed to comments**

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