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2014 FAST Tech Conference Thursday, September 25 at UAlbany

Research Network Blog of NYS SBDC - September 19, 2014 - 3:07pm
Are you looking to fund research or start a technology business?  Come and learn about how local entrepreneurs built theoretical business models into viable technology companies.  The program is open to students, faculty, researchers, alumni, and the general public, so reserve your seat today.

2014 FAST Tech Conference

Thursday September 25, 2014 from 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM EDT
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WhereUniversity at Albany - School of Business
School of Business Building - Living Room
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222
Driving Directions

Conference Schedule:
 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
Check-In and Networking
8:30 a.m. to 9:40 a.m.-Plenary Session
 Tales from the Trenches
9:40 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.-Break-Out Sessions
 Transitioning from Research to Commercialization
Growing your Start-Up and
Holding onto Equity
Building a Successful Team
Turning Data into Dollars
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.-Plenary Session
 Interview with a Local Success Story
Cost to Attend:No Charge Register Now! Event Contact:
Kate BakerSmall Business Development Center, University at Albanykbaker@albany.edu518-380-5073

On September 25th, the Albany SBDC will be hosting its 3rd annual technology conference.  Students, faculty, and staff from all colleges and organizations are welcome, along with all SBDC statewide staff.  The program is focused on startup and funding best practices from experts and local entrepreneurs. 
The conference features SBIR guru Drake Thomas of Brockport SBDC, and a keynote interview with Bob Godgart, founder of Autotask.  Autotask was recently purchased by a venture capital firm for an undisclosed multi-million dollars.  Please let us know if you would like to attend.
The New York State Small Business Development Center (SBDC), based at the University at Albany’s School of Business, has been awarded the University’s President’s Awards for Exemplary Community Engagement in 2013 and 2014, a recipient of a Tribecca Disruptive Innovation Award (, and named among the top ten centers in the nation by the U.S. Small Business Administration in 2009 and 2013. ( 
Categories: News from others

3 Things You Need to Do When Choosing Technology for Your Business

Research Network Blog of NYS SBDC - September 19, 2014 - 11:45am
As an SMB owner, you want to maximize the investments you’ve made in your business. You want to get more done in less time. And you want to ensure you’re communicating effectively with customers and employees. The right technology can help you do both. Here are three ways you can ensure you’re making the right technology decisions for your business.

1. Know that “free” often comes at a cost.

More from the America's SBDC.
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Re-branding – how not to alienate your customers

Research Network Blog of NYS SBDC - September 18, 2014 - 11:29pm
Branding your business is tricky. You have to make sure it comes across as appealing, a ‘must have’ brand that’s not too pretentious.

Over time, your company will change leading to a need to refine your brand image, but even the smallest of changes can affect your target market and their perception of your brand.

Clive Rohald has written an interesting article in The Drum about how to give your brand identity a makeover without alienating your customers. Here are some of his thoughts.

Every company, at one time or another, will feel the need for a brand refresh. The question is, how can that be achieved without it turning into a disaster.

1. Why is there a need for change?

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Why You Should Use In-Person Events to Foster Customer Relationships

Research Network Blog of NYS SBDC - September 17, 2014 - 11:03am
Why do people buy from you? It boils down to two things: they found you, and they picked you.

Let's talk about "they found you."

To get people to find you, you've got to tell them about yourself or someone else has to tell other people about you. If you're the only grocery store in your town, you don't have a problem with people finding you. You stick a sign outside and reach 100% of your target market.

Most of us, however, spend a lot of brain cycles trying to figure out how to tell the world about our thing. We use ads, content, social media, and so on to try to spread the word.

Moreover, getting someone's attention is becoming increasingly difficult. The amount of stuff being created today—such as photos, tweets, blog posts, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, and emails—is making it hard for our message to squeeze its way into people's limited attention span.

Read more from MarketingProfs

Categories: News from others

Top 30 Startups to Watch

Research Network Blog of NYS SBDC - September 16, 2014 - 3:32pm
In theory, entrepreneurship sounds awesome. You’re your own boss so you can set your own hours, work from home in your PJs and do work that really matters to you.

But as any entrepreneur will tell you, starting your own business is not nearly as glamorous. In fact, it can often be pretty scary and lonely. Entrepreneurs take a great financial risk to get their ventures off the ground, often using their own savings and quitting steady jobs to pursue their dreams. Yes, entrepreneurs make their own hours, but they put in many more of them than the average employee (often 12 a day or more) and, still, they face a high failure rate.

Entrepreneur values those who choose to create their own path, and we’re not alone.

Empact, a Princeton, N.J.-based company that provides education and networking opportunities to young entrepreneurs, today released its annual list of 100 startups led by entrepreneurs under 35 that should be on everyone’s radar. Those chosen for the Empact100 stood out among hundreds of submissions and impressed an all-star panel... Decisions were based on factors such as revenue, social impact, volunteer hours, growth over the past year and the number of employees.

We took the Empact100 and distilled it further, finding the 30 startups we think are most unique and have the potential to transform their industries, if not the world. While there were many impressive companies to choose from, these are the ones that excited us most.

Keep your eye out for them, and be prepared to tell your hipster friends that you heard of them before they got huge.

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Categories: News from others

Top 5 Current Scams in International Trade

Research Network Blog of NYS SBDC - September 15, 2014 - 11:14pm
#1 The fake freight forwarder company scam.
The fraudulent forwarders pose as legitimate companies with spare cargo capacity. Their truck arrives on-time to collect the freight and then disappears, never again to be seen.

The Scoop:
Here is how it works: Once a signed and sealed agency agreement is in place between both parties and business starts, all appears to be normal. This is until the cargo arrives at the port and no-one has received the original bill of lading from the forwarder in China. When contacted, the forwarder demands a large ransom for the release of the original bill of lading. Companies which refuse to pay find themselves on an expensive rollercoaster ride of meetings with customers, lawyers, insurers and shipping lines in order to obtain the original bill of lading so the cargo can be released. By spreading shipments around a number of shipping lines, fraudulent forwarders can make this recovery process even more onerous. These forwarders may be real companies who are just out for the quick kill, or fraudulent companies that are not registered in China at all as a freight forwarder, making it more difficult to take any recourse.

#2 The Close The Deal Meal Scam

A big deal is closed and the middle man encourages you to come to China (usually meetingclients in person is good advice) but while there suggests a celebratory meal for you and gift for your new customer.

The Scoop:
There is no deal and, in fact, there is no Chinese company either. The big lure of this scam is that nobody wants to fly all the way to China, have a great meal at someone else’s expense, and then be too cheap to spend USD$3,000 to $8,000 more to seal the deal.

#3 The new bank account to pay us scam.
This scam is usually employed against a foreign company that has been making purchases from a Chinese company for an extended period. The foreign company has been making its payments pursuant to purchase orders that specify the company bank account to which payment should be made. Suddenly, the “Chinese company” (note the quote marks here) sends an email to the foreign company requesting funds for outstanding POs be made to a new bank account. Often, the name on the bank account is not the same.

The Scoop:
What is the scheme here? It is always possible that the Chinese company has changed its bank account, but you had better be quite certain of this. In the old days, the scheme was either that the Chinese company had hit hard times or an employee at the Chinese company was seeking to get your payment instead of the company. The Chinese company would get the money in Hong Kong and then claim that you had never paid and still owed them money because it was your fault for having made the payment to someone other than to them.

Last year this scam became even more sophisticated when computer hackers started hacking into Chinese companies’ computers and sending out invoices that purported to be on behalf of the Chinese company. This means that you can NEVER trust an email communication from a Chinese company. Email is inherently insecure in China and you never know with whom you are really dealing when engaging in electronic communication.

Chinese companies tend to be very loyal to their banks and so you should view with extreme suspicion any request to make a change in the payment bank. You should not even consider following such a request unless the request is made in writing on a revised purchase order stamped with the company seal. Even in that case, it is important to contact someone you know in the company with supervisory authority to ensure that the request is valid.

#4 The IP registration scam
This is a tried and true favorite and it comes back in new forms every year. A favorite is the fake law firm or fake trademark/copyright/patent agent scam. Under that scam, a website proclaims really cheap trademark, copyright and patent registrations in China. The foreign company sends money and nothing ever gets filed.

The Scoop:
There are two variations on this one, one much more sophisticated and harmful than the other. The first and more simple version is for the fake China law firm or China IP agent
to get a one-time payment and then do absolutely nothing further. Under this scenario, this foreign company quickly realizes it has been scammed and, more importantly knows
it must still legitimately register its IP in China.

Under the more sophisticated version, however, the fake Chinese law firm or IP agent keeps updating the foreign company and keeps requesting more money along the way. Many (probably even most) legitimate law firms and IP agents charge for registrations in stages so even savvy foreign companies see nothing wrong in this. The smartest of these sophisticated scammers even eventually send the foreign company a fake trademark registration certificate or copyright registration certificate (I am personally not aware of this having gone so far with a patent registration, but I would not doubt that it has). The foreign company then thinks it is covered for its China IP registrations and
does not learn for many years later that it is not.

#5 The fake company scam. Even the Alibaba Gold Vendor ones!
This is why you use the U.S. Commercial Services IPS service (official name is International Partner Search, Betty Sue calls it the “International Check ‘Em Out Service”)

The Scoop:
The old familiar, just a plain old fake company or posing as part of a real company or the newer version where criminal organizations buy failing operators and continue to trade under their name in a state of virtual insolvency. They are able to identify and accept cargo which is subsequently stolen in transit.

Export Connector says "Source unknown but will be glad to give credit where credit is due...when I ?nd out!"
Categories: News from others

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