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

Monday, November 28, 2005

Early-bird registration is open for WISE 2006

The past three WISE symposia in Syracuse have been successes, with the 2005 symposium a sell-out (~500 people!). The 2006 symposium promises an all new format and all new speakers. Early-bird registration is open until Feb. 1, 2006 ($35/person). The registration fee then rises to $45 and is $55 for walk-ins (if room is available).

Check out the tentative agenda here.

Everyone who attends this event gives it two thumbs up, so mark you calendar, send in your registration and be there on April 11, 2006.

Those Interactive Voice Response systems

Interactive Voice Response systems have become very popular with companies. They are used as a way to route calls efficiently without human intervention. Unfortunately, they can be maddening if the option you need is not obvious or not available. The question often becomes how do you get to a real person?

Paul English has amassed a cheat sheet on these systems and organized the information by the company that uses such a system. For example, want to get to a human on Mastercard's system, enter 000 on any menu. How about Home Depot? English writes: "When asked for account number, keep hitting ""#"". After 5 or 6 times, a human appears!"

If your company uses Interactive Voice Response (IVR), you should realized from this list and its popularity that people do want to talk to humans when they call your company. They want that option and will do anything to figure it out!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Article: Small-Business Owners Aren't Saving Enough

As the article states:

According to a September U.S. Census report, the number of businesses with no paid employees rose 5.7% to 18.6 million in 2003 from 17.6 million in 2002. That is the steepest increase since the agency started collecting the data in 1997.

Yet despite this growth, most micro-business owners don't feel confident about having enough resources for retirement. A September online member poll by the National Association of the Self-Employed found that only 7.5% of respondents feel "very confident about retirement," and 56.6% feel "not very or not at all confident." Almost 30% of the respondents have no retirement savings, and about 25% have less than $15,000.

Read the rest of the article here.

Friday, November 18, 2005

New York State Credit Union League Scholarship Program 2006

Business owners often find there money stretched to the limits. Saving for a child's education can be tough. Here is a scholarship program that could help (and is open to anyone).

Scholarship Program 2006

The Syracuse Cooperative Federal Credit Union (SCFCU) is participating in a statewide, college scholarship program offered by the New York State Credit Union League. SCFCU members will compete with high school seniors from credit unions across the New York State for a chance to win scholarships to either a two- or four-year accredited educational institution. Applicants will be judged based upon their academic achievements, extracurricular and community activities and the quality of a written essay. The deadline is January 27, 2006. For more information on the scholarship, eligibility, and to request an application please contact Christina Sauve at (315) 471-1116 ext. 250.

Classes hosted by the Syracuse Cooperative Federal Credit Union

These classes are hosted by
Syracuse Cooperative Federal Credit Union (SCFCU)
723 Westcott Street
Syracuse, NY 13210
fax: 315-476-0567

The QuickBooks workshop is offered as a partnership between Southwest Economic Business Resource Center and SCFCU

Marketing on a Shoestring
Free Workshop: Monday, Dec. 5, 6:00p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Location: DayHab Center, 512 Westcott St.
Parking Lot and entrance on S. Beech St.

call Ayesha 471-1116 ext. 223 or e-mail ayeshaali@syrcoopfcu.org to register

Presenter: Peter Svoboda, Adjunct professor at Syracuse University Svoboda's Programs: Consulting to Emerging Enterprise Program, Business Boot Camp Program, and Experiential Learning Program

Summary: Using traditional and advanced marketing ideas to promote your business.

2 Free Sessions: Dec. 6, 8 from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Location: Southwest Economic Business Resource Center,
506 E. Onondaga St.

Presenter: Bill Hamler, bookkeeper of the Syracuse Cooperative Federal Credit Union

Summary: Record keeping made easy. Learn how to develop an efficient and effective method of bookkeeping for your business.

Shared Home Ownership
—For Siblings, Seniors, Friends, Extended Families and More—
Free Workshop, Dec. 8, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Location: Home Headquarters, 124 E. Jefferson St.
Presenter: Bonnie Strunk, Seidenberg and Strunk Law Firm
Summary: A couples rights and responsibilities are defined by law. What happens if your spouse dies, moves out or pays more? It’s defined by law. However, if you are unmarried, legal contracts become complicated. Bonnie Strunk will talk about the tenants in common agreement and other relevant information in this session.

Contact Ayesha Ali at 471-1116 ext. 223 or e-mail ayeshaali@syrcoopfcu.org

Financial Tips and Tricks for 2006
Free 7-session class
Thursdays 6:00 p.m.- 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 18, 25
Feb. 1, 15, 22
Mar. 1,8

Contact Ayesha Ali at 471-1116 ext 223 or e-mail ayeshaali@syrcoopfcu.org

Syracuse Central Library
The Galleris of Syracuse
in the Horner Seminar Room
447 S. Salina St.
Syracuse, NY 13202

The U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce

A chamber of commerce just for women? Yes!

The U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce is the leading advocate for women on economic and leadership issues. The USWCC is creating economic and leadership opportunities for women by building a strong community voice, lobbying for you, and providing programs and benefits to support the growth of our women across America. Check the Chamber's web site for information on how it can help you, including what courses it is offering.

U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce
1201 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20004
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce888-41-USWCC

Friday, November 11, 2005

Europe's top 25 women

The Financial Times has released its list of Europe's Top 25 Women. Although the related articles are only available to FT subscribers, anyone can view the interactive gallery which contains photos and brief biographies of each woman.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The National Procurement Council

Looking to do business with the U.S. government? The National Procurement Council is the nation's leading government contracting trade association for small businesses. The NPC offers online workshops and other information to help businesses work with the U.S. government. Check the NPC's web site for information and to get on its mailing list (if desired).

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. National Procurement Council ArizonaNational Procurement Council
1200 G Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20005

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Call me on my cell phone

The Central NY Business Journal carried an article in the Nov. 4, 2005 print edition entitled "Call me on my cell phone." The article noted the success of advertisers and politicians to increase "customer" interactions by giving out their cell phone numbers in their advertisements. Giving out the cell phone number implies that the person is available 24/7 (all the time) and is ready to talk and work. With that in mind, here are some questions to consider:
  • What contact information do you give your colleagues and customers?
  • Do they have you cell phone number (or perhaps your cell phone is your business phone)?
  • Do they know your e-mail address?
  • Can they contact you using instant messenger?
  • Do they know the fastest and best what of "talking" to you?
  • Do they know if (or when) they can contact you 24/7?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Do your customers give you a second chance?

Research and experience has shown that when a customer has a bad experience with a business that the person is more likely to tell others about it than when the experience is good. Bad news travels fast. These days, that news travels through personal conversations as well as online messages that the world can see. In addition, that customer may not give the business a second chance.

It is important to keep your ears open for feedback -- both positive and negative -- so you can emphasize the things you do well and fix those areas that need it. If information isn't readily coming your way, then you need to reach out and gather feedback from customers as well as talk to prospective customers to see what is keeping them away.

If a customer has had a bad experience, what can you do to bring them back? Perhaps you can't do anything. It may be up to the customer to find a reason to come back and try your services again. You can only hope that the return visit will allow them to see and value the things that you do well.

T.T. Mitchell wrote recently about this in his blog. In "Second Chances", he talks about going back to a store for a second time and being pleased with the customer service (unlike his first experience). The store won him over! (And provided a happy ending to the tale.)