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Welcome to the WISE newsletter, a program of
The Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship at Syracuse University

Thursday, September 29, 2005

A Part-Time Office Puts On a Good Face for Clients

A recent article in the New York Times looked at the need of entrepreneurs to have office space, sometimes just for the prestige as well as place to meet clients and hold meeting. The article says:
...part-time office space, along with a secretary to relay calls to you, can cost as little as $300 a month and $7 an hour for the time you actually spend in it. Use of fax machines, photocopiers and conference rooms is extra.
Using part-time office space is more cost effective, since the resources are shared among several part-timers, and thus the cost is shared.

The NYT article may require you to register (free) to read it in its entirety.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Event details: WISE High-Altitude Marketing

WISE High-Altitude Marketing: Tools for Business on the Rise
Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Syracuse Chamber of Commerce
572 South Salina Street
Syracuse, New York

The Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship at Syracuse University is proud to present its inaugural program "WISE High Altitude Marketing: Tools for Business on the Rise." This highly interactive seminar will feature nine of Central New York's top experts in three categories - advertising, public relations, and branding - who will offer three concurrent 45-minute roundtable discussions on the specific issues involved in marketing a growing business.

The seminar is limited to the first 81 applicants, so every expert will speak and give advice to a maximum of only 9 people per 45-minute session, true one-on-one advice. Attendees will be exposed to tangible ideas and critical concepts, leaving with real-life marketing skills that will elevate their current marketing processes.

So, bring your marketing and advertising dilemmas, questions, and potential ideas to our panel of top-notch professionals and successful entrepreneurs and learn the tips, the tricks, an the pitfalls to avoid while you are on the road to entrepreneurial success.

The brochure is available here which contains information on the presenters.

Register for the WISE High Altitude Marketing Event NOW!

Welcoming customers

How do you welcome customers? Are you joyful and ready to talk, or do you act distracted?

Barbara Winter, who writes Tips for the Joyfully Jobless (in order words, people who work for themselves), gives advice on talking to customers. One of her tips is "Be gracious in all encounters." Being gracious -- kind, courteous, polite, cordial -- means putting your customer first and thinking about that person's needs. It may mean setting aside what you're doing for a moment and focusing on your customer. Winter uses the word "host" and encourages us to think of our customers as guests.

In today's world where the norm is often to rush and push customers along, taking time -- and being gracious -- can really set you apart from your competition.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Notes from the Field: Starting a jewelry business in Malta

Starting a business can be daunting, no matter where in the world you are located. Sometimes it means juggling your responsibilities as a business owner and family member, and hopefully do so successfully.

WISE received a message from Charmaine Taliana of Cupid Accessories on the island of Malta (in the Mediterranean Sea) about her experience in starting her business. Taliana used to work in the financial services industry, but decided to start her own business after the birth of her second child. She writes:

Now I had time to develop further my artistic hobby for jewelry making. I made pieces which I gave out to family and the reaction was amazing, so that really spurred me on. Realising that I could turn my hobby into a business was thrilling. I asked mentors, and friends back from my old job for advice and they increased my confidence, but you do need to have self-belief.

I set up my own website featuring jewelry designs and although we had to fork out a sum of money, it was money well spent. When I have a rush of orders I carry on working after the children are sleeping but for me it works out as I can work around their hours. One big hurdle was the marketing as everything costs money, but surfing on the internet you can find very good solutions. My advice is to be honest, have a very good product – working with the best materials on the market, be flexible both with products and with postal service and very important keep prices low, this way both you and the consumer will be happy.

Like many businesses, Taliana offers online ordering to make it easy for her customers to acquire her products. She is using her web site to attract customers from Europe and other locations. She offers free shipping to Europe, giving them an incentive to purchase from her. Charmaine Taliana proves that no matter where you are, the world is your market.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Upcoming event: WISE High-Altitude Marketing, Nov. 2

Save The Date!

Nov. 2, 2005 from 7:30 a.m. - 12 noon will be WISE High-Altitude Marketing: Tools for Businesses on the Rise. The cost will be $55 - $75. Details will be posted soon on the WISE and WBOC web sites.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Tell them, then tell them again

Those who teach presentation skills will often suggest that you tell your audience what you are GOING to tell them. Then you TELL them. And finally, you tell them what you TOLD them. We often don't want to disclose everything we are going to tell them up front, but is there any harm in doing that? What if you allowed people to see your entire presentation before you gave it? Would they ask better questions or pay attention to the details differently?

These questions have come to mind today as I look at Tom Peters blog. They have updated the master slides for a presentation called "Re-imagine!" The slides are available for anyone to view. What is missing, of course, is hearing the commentary/speech that goes along with them. So does it hurt Tom Peters to allow you to view the slides ahead of time? No. In fact, it might make people more curious to hear his thoughts behind each slide.

What does this mean to you? Don't be afraid to tell people what you're going to tell them BEFORE you do your presentation. Be open...invite feedback...then settle down and tell them your message.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Free credit reports

Business owners sometimes use their personal credit for business purposes. Therefore, knowing what your credit history is can be very important.

As of September 1, 2005, all New Yorkers are entitled to receive free credit reports once a year in order to check on their credit history and ensure that the information reported is accurate. For more information on this new program and to obtain your credit reports from the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies -- Equifax, Experian and TransUnion -- go to www.annualcreditreport.com.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Notes & Quotes: Roslyn Rasberry

On September 7th, Roslyn Rasberry was the speaker for the Women Business Owners Connection (WBOC) in Syracuse. Rasberry is the owner of Vital Change and is an extraordinary change agent. Her presentation was filled with inspirational words and quotes including:
  • We are truly the stuff that stars are made of.
  • Only shooting stars break the mold.
  • All change begins with awareness… (Deepak Chopra)
  • Know who you are and where you’re going will follow.
One quote from the beginning of her presentation carried through the night. It was from the TV mini-series “Roots” and was said by a father as he introduces his newborn to the night sky:
Behold the only thing greater than yourself.
Roslyn Rasberry believes that we are people with limitless possibilities, who build walls and rules that limit/bound our capabilities. She sought to show us that we can transform ourselves (change) in ways that allow us to expand our horizons and be like the stars…and she succeeded.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Using the 70/30 rule

We try to build consensus thinking that we must have 100% agreement, but that is often not possible. What if you could get through the major roadblocks and agree to not let minor difference stand in the way? In other words, what if people could say, "I agree with 70% of the plan and can live with the other 30%"? That could lead to real progress.

With change being constant, there will always be another time to work on those "minor" issues, should they prove that they need further attention.

Thanks to Steve Abram for writing about this recently. It's indeed a rule worth living by.

Statistics on women-owned businesses

According to the Center for Women's Business Research, "one in every 11 women in the U.S. is a business owner." Other statistics show that "As of 2004, almost two-thirds (63%) of all women-owned businesses are privately-held, majority (51%) or more women-owned. That's a total of 6.7 million firms, employing 9.8 million people, and generating $1.2 trillion in sales."

Thanks to Yvonne DiVita for pointing out those statistics in her September 2005 article in the RPCN News.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Courses through the Institute for Professional and Organizational Development

SUNY Oswego's Institute for Professional and Organizational Development is offering two new non-credit courses this fall that may be of interest to you.
  • How to Write a Marketing Plan, Instructor: Betsy Bedigian, five Monday evenings beginning Sept. 12, cost $279
Gain the information and skills needed to implements a proven six-step process. Develop realistic marketing strategies and tactics; write a logical, detailed marketing plan tailored to your product line, service or company; oversee the implementation from initial planning to actual execution; and create effective monitoring and control procedures to keep your marketing plan on track. Your completed marketing plan will contain everything you need for a profitable future. (Note: This class is part of the American Management Association (AMA) series of offerings.)
  • PowerPoint: A Tool to Market Your Business, Instructor: Peter Connell, four evenings beginning Sept. 19, cost $329
Enhance your sales and increase your customer base by learning how to design PowerPoint slides as an effective marketing tool for use at your place of business, customer sites, trade shows, etc. Discover the appropriate times when PowerPoint should be used. Learn to balance and design aesthetically appealing presentations that will attract and information a targeted audience. Understand how and why various fonts, fillers, and artwork will reflect the essence of your company's product or service. Become knowledgeable and aware of the logistical consideration of setting up a PowerPoint presentation off-site. At the end of this class, each student will have created a customized, read to use PowerPoint presentation. (Note: Basic computer skills required.)

Registration forms are available at the Institute's web site.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Half-Off National SBIR/STTR Conference Fee

From Central New York Technology Development Organization

NYSTAR is offering a 50 percent discount off the $350 registration fee to the National SBIR/STTR conference in Albany, NY, on November 14-17, 2005. At this conference, startup and existing high-tech companies can learn about the SBIR/STTR Program and what it takes to win part of the $2+ billion in annual funding. Visit the Conference Site for additional information.

What is SBIR/STTR?:

Each year, 11 federal departments and agencies are required to reserve a portion of their R&D funds for award to small businesses through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. SBIR/STTR funds high-risk projects at the earliest stages of technology development - before companies can attract venture capital - and helps companies commercialize technology, products, and services.

Awards are generally up to $100,000 for phase I (exploring the technical merit or feasibility of an idea or technology) and up to $750,000 for phase II (R&D, prototype development, and evaluating commercialization potential). New York companies were awarded $62 million of SBIR/STTR funds (224 awards) in the most recent year available.

NYSTAR Scholarship Eligibility

To qualify for a NYSTAR scholarship the applicant must be or plan to be a New York State company with fewer than 500 employees, individually-owned and operated by U.S. citizens or permanent residents. A NYS company is a for-profit enterprise with a permanent place of business located in New York employing a full-time workforce. The total number of scholarships is limited and only one will be awarded per company.

Scholarships are available in three tiers:

  1. Companies that are affiliated with or referred by a NYSTAR award recipient and have not previously won an SBIR/STTR award. Apply anytime but they are encouraged to apply by Sept. 1 to maximize likelihood of a scholarship.
  2. Companies that are affiliated with or referred by a NYSTAR award recipient and have previously won only a Phase I SBIR/STTR award. Apply anytime after September 1.
  3. Any NYS company, researcher or inventor that is affiliated or referred by a NYSTAR award recipient. Apply anytime after October 1.

For more information and to apply, contact your NYSTAR-designated Regional SBIR Specialist:

Central New York, Capital Region, North Country, Southern Tier, and Mohawk Valley regions:
Marcie Sonneborn
Central New York Technology Development Organization
1201 East Fayette Street, Syracuse, NY 13210
Phone (315) 425-5144 Fax (315) 233-1259

Western New York and Finger Lakes Regions:
John McGowan
Insyte Consulting
726 Exchange Street, Suite 620, Buffalo NY 14210
Phone (716) 636-3626 Fax (716) 845-6418

New York City, Long Island, and Mid-Hudson Regions:
Franklin Madison, Jr.
Industrial and Technology Assistance Corporation
253 Broadway, Room 302, New York, NY 10007
Phone (212) 442-2990 Fax (212) 442-4567

About NYSTAR's SBIR Outreach Program

NYSTAR supports three specialists who help companies and entrepreneurs with strategies on how to approach SBIR/STTR; coaching on licensing issues; pre-submission proposal review; unfunded proposal reviews; and more. Learn more at: http://www.nystar.state.ny.us/sbir/outreach.htm.