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

Thursday, December 28, 2006

What's right with CNY?

According to speakers at FUSE 2006 and Insight CNY this fall, what's right with our region is:
  • Governments in the region want to help business
  • High density of universities
  • The environment and quality of life
  • Lots of intellectual capital
  • New companies/spin-offs being formed and nurtured
  • The region is moving up in the rankings
  • Abundant water
  • Close to an international border
  • Very central to global economy
  • Access to recreation
  • Affordable housing
  • Engineering talent
  • Business acumen
  • People have a strong work ethic
  • Low-cost of living

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Rewarding sales staff

This press release points towards a report ($) and report summary (free, 6 pp.) entitled Best Practices in Sales Recognition Programs. The report is based on a study of 84 companies. Both tangible and intangible rewards for motivating salespeople were reviewed. According the summary:
One key finding that emerged was that companies, in aggregate, reported that a mix of 60% tangible and 40% intangible rewards was the preferred structure.
The press release notes:
Intangible rewards - that are clearly important to motivation - include special recognition by management at team meetings, praise in private and emails from direct managers. By contrast, tangible rewards are such items that can be touched or consumed such as gift certificates, trophies and plaques, and cash and dinner for two.
Informing sales staff of the rewards system requires a broad mix of communication methods, including face-to-face, company newsletter, orientation, e-mail and any other methods available to you.

It is important to remember that a reward will be valued if it is what the employee wants. So the report notes that you must know what will motivate the employee and solicit feedback.

Finally, Best Practices, LLC, the report author, does make you go through a few hoops before viewing the report summary. So be patient, if you decide to do so.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Article: 5 Ways To Prepare Your Website for 2007

In the Dec. 7 Vision of Success newsletter, five ways are outlined for improving your web site in 2007. They are:
  1. Increase the content on your website
  2. Build an online community with a blog
  3. Track the life cycle of the people visiting your site
  4. Ask your visitors to take action
  5. Optimize your site to begin to capture new clients
With that list in mind, how do you plan to improve your web site in 2007?

Is your web site winning you business?

This was the title of a presentation done on July 26, 2006 by Brian Bluff of Site-Seekers as part of the Dollar$ and Sense Workshop, held at the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce.

Bluff talked about the need to:
  • Drive traffic to your web site
  • Convert that traffic into contacts and sales
  • Measure the results
In his fast paced and information packed presentation, Bluff gave the audience some tips and information. Among them were:
  • He noted that the Internet is outside of most companies' core competencies. Therefore, companies may need to look to an outside "expert" to help them with their web site.
  • 45% of companies cannot measure the effectiveness of their web sites.
  • People will judge a web site in milliseconds. Therefore, it is important that people instantly be able to recognize what you do when they visit your site. He actually showed us web sites and counted how many seconds it took for us to recognize what the site did. "What" definitely should be evident in under five seconds.
  • Have your contact information on every page.
  • Keep your web site content fresh, which means updating content on a regular (frequent) basis. This will attract the search engine "spiders" that index the Internet.
  • Include a site map on your web site, since a site map helps spiders find and index all of your pages.
  • In the title tag on your web pages, place the product information first, not your company name. This helps with the indexing of your site in search engines.
  • Bold important text. Search engines assume that what is bolded is important.
  • Have target phrases for each page.
  • Make sure that there is synergy between the words in your title tags, the phrases that you bold, and the target phrases on each page. This is important so that the search engine spiders clearly understand what the page is about. It also helps with your search engine ranking.
  • Those sites that you link to should be "natural." In other words, if you are a software company, link to other web sites in your industry or in a related industry. Don't link to a site that is totally unrelated to what you do. (Of course, you should link to client sites.) Why? Because you want everything on your site to be focused on what you do and your subject domain.
  • Create your web site to be viewed on 1024 x 768 pixel size screen. Evidently, this is now the prevailing screen size.
  • Hotlink your logo so that it returns the person to your homepage.
  • Solicit and include customer testimonials.
  • Write white papers on your topic area and make them available on your web site.
  • The more pages a person has to go through to get the information they need, the fewer people who will do it. There is a 40% drop off for each page a person must go to in order to find the information he wants.
  • There is useful search engine optimization tools and information at SEO Book.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

In her own words: Dame Anita Roddick

Focusing on the customers is far more important than focusing on profit. You can't have one without the other and you must have the customers first.

-- Dame Anita Roddick
Founder of the Body Shop
Nov. 15, 2006 at the British Library

5 Ways To Prepare Your Website for 2007

In the Dec. 7, 2006 issue of the Vision of Success newsletter, they give "5 Ways To Prepare Your Website for 2007."
  1. Increase the content on your website
  2. Build an online community with a blog
  3. Track the life cycle of the people visiting your site
  4. Ask your visitors to take action
  5. Optimize your site to begin to capture new clients
For details on each, read the newsletter here.