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Find Things To Do In Rochester, NY

| Blog | December 20, 2012

The Rochester NearSay website is a new website offering Rochester visitors and residents interesting articles and information about this upstate New York city. Visitors to the website can easily find interesting facts about the Rochester area in the main sections of news, marketplace, events and deals. Other categories listed for each of these main sections are services, family and kids, arts and entertainment, health and beauty, restaurants and food, nightlife, music, bars, shopping and real estate.

Rochester NearSay website visitors can find articles and other useful information about Rochester and the surrounding metropolis using the dropdown box located above entry listings for the main and sub section areas of the website. Rochester areas of interest include Rochester downtown, East Avenue, Park Avenue, Cornhill, South Wedge, East Side, Pittsford, Penfield, Webster, Fairport, Westside, Greece, Gates-Chili, Spencerport and Hilton.

Parents looking for unique family activities in Rochester will find interesting articles to read about special museum exhibits, events or other attractions in Rochester posted under the family and kids section. Rochester NearSay visitors will discover many informational articles on a variety of topics under the main and sub sections of the website. There are real estate articles on the best places to look for a new home or tips on selling a home in the Rochester area. The Rochester NearSay arts and entertainment section has posted articles about the best movie theaters or other entertainment venues. Articles posted under shopping and services offer Rochester readers other insights and tips. For example, there are articles about computer repair shops and stores selling shoes and other clothing item.

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Take Advantage of Every Resource For Your Business

| Blog | December 20, 2012


Image courtesy of utnapistim

Launching and sustaining a new business is never easy, but when the economy is struggling and people are stuffing their pennies in drawers and beneath mattresses instead of spending, it’s even more of a challenge. Keeping your business afloat in a savers’ economy requires equal parts determination and innovation. Knowing when to reach for help from unexpected places can mean the difference between riding out the tide or sinking.

Employees

Every employee on your team has a lot of knowledge that goes beyond what they do in the office every day. If you don’t tap into those hidden reservoirs of information and skill, you are missing out on one of the greatest resources you have immediately available to you. Give your employees a chance to offer input in a weekly brainstorming and nosh session with food provided by you. Not only will you get ideas you may not have considered, you’ll give your employees a reason to stick around. The opportunity to use their skills is a major factor in employee job satisfaction.

Family and friends

It sounds straight out of a cheesy made-for-TV drama, but turning to your family and friends during the toughest times isn’t a ridiculous notion. Chances are, you have a few retirees or college students in your life. By turning to the people you know and trust, you can get a little extra help when you need it without your budget taking on an additional salary. The retiree and college crowds are much more likely to work for extra spending money, and college students may even be happy with internship credit.

Online help

Another less-expensive employee option is to work with virtual assistants. Virtual assistants can be found on websites like oDeskCreative Assistants, and Freelancer.com. Since you hire by the project or timeframe, you pay for assistance only when you need it, saving you from unnecessary spending.

Software

When something goes wrong on the technical side of things and you don’t have an IT department, it’s tempting to rush to the computer repair center and make it someone else’s problem. It’s good to keep in mind those dedicated experts don’t care about your business like you do, though, so leaving vital data in someone else’s hands isn’t always your best bet. Consider turning to recovery programs first that can save your information. As long as you set a restore point properly, you’re unlikely to do any more damage and you’ll save yourself some money.

If you’re going to play IT for yourself, you don’t want to go it alone. In this day of online information-swapping, there’s no reason you should. You can find a lot of information on tech forums like CNET and TechRepublic, sites where other brave business owners have already navigated the world of self-repair and shared their harrowing tales. While you’re hitting up forums for tech information, consider a scroll through the general business forums online as well. Start Up NationLinkedIn, and Opportunity World’s Small Business Forum are some popular places where small business owners meet to swap knowledge and commiserate.

As a business owner, you have to look at an unstable financial landscape and unnecessary expenditures as threats. By recognizing them as the enemy, you can start fortifying and planning your defensive. Should danger come to your business, you’ll be ready for it instead of having to send up an SOS.

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The Top Five Social Media Marketing Tactics

| Blog | December 18, 2012

In the past decade, social media has become a daily staple in the lives of most people.  Facebook alone has over one billion members alone with 600 million mobile members.  With these kinds of numbers, it is obvious that using social media in a marketing campaign can be an effective way to advertise and sell any product.  Using social media is a great way to reach a large amount of people quickly and efficiently.  But using this tactic effectively involves understanding a little more about advanced social media tactics.  If you are looking for ways to advertise through social media, consider using one or several of the top five social media marketing tactics.

Tactic One: Using Multimedia

Don’t just rely on text for your advertising.  People will typically respond better and more quickly to pictures, videos and other types of multimedia.  It is much easier to catch the attention of a potential customer with something such as a photograph.  Videos can be a great way to break down instructions or information about a specific topic.  Integrating writing, pictures and videos is a surefire way to guarantee a successful marketing campaign.  Make sure your text is well written, intelligent and informative, and that your pictures and videos are eye catching and relevant to your product.

Using pictures and videos is a great way to put a face on your company.  Using multimedia will make your company seem friendlier, and also give your customers a pleasant picture to associate with your product.

Tactic Two: Use Both Online And Offline Advertising

A successful marketing campaign involves the integration of many different types of advertising.  This remains true when using social media to advertise.  When you start integrating social media into your marketing tactics, don’t neglect your offline advertising, such as radio, print or cable ads.  When you integrate the two, you can increase the amount of people you reach.  And while social media is increasingly more popular, it still doesn’t reach every person.  Many people believe in the old fashioned way of reading the actual newspaper; including a print ad will ensure that you reach them.

Tactic Three: Adapting Your Message

Social media has many things in common, but each type has their own platform.  For example, the advertisement you use on Facebook may not work the same on Twitter.  When you have a message you’d like to get to your potential customers, you will need to adapt your platform to the specific network.  In some social media, a picture will be appropriate, while in others you will be able to include a more sophisticated ad.  Make sure that you change your ads to fit the specific type of social media you will be using in order to make it more effective.

Tactic Four: Utilize Local Networks

If you own and operate a small business, it is important to score high on the local list of social media.  Make sure that you include as much information as possible in order to be relevant to those in the same area as your business.  Continuously update any old news in order to keep your website up to date and keep your customers coming back regularly for more information.  Also, check the ads of your competitors to make sure that yours offers the best information.

Tactic Five: Include Giveaways And Discounts

Catching the eye of your customers is only the first part of social media marketing.  You will next need to keep their attention and keep them coming back for better deals and services.  Creating contests or discounts that are exclusive to social media is an effective strategy to catch the eye of potential customers and get them excited about your business.  It is also a great way to get them off the computer and into your store.

Learn More

If you are interested in using social media marketing tactics to better advertise your business, there are many ways to learn more.  There are even advanced degrees available in this specific topic, such as certain online college degree program as well as online MBA programs specifically geared towards social media.  Educating yourself on the exact uses and purposes of using social media to advertise is a great way to grow and develop your business.  Don’t fight the process of adapting to how most people get their information.

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Year-End Advice for Small Biz Owners and Accountants

| Blog | December 15, 2012

As the year winds to a close, you need to stay on top of many financial tasks related to your small business. Whether you complete your taxes yourself or pass the information along to an accountant, each of these steps will help you maintain accuracy on your taxes and get as many deductions as possible. Plus, many steps not only help you as you finalize your finances for this year, but also as you look forward into next year.

1. Set Up a Company Credit Card: If you don’t already have one, this is the perfect way to keep track of all of your business expenses and help you spread out your payments if needed. Plus, a credit card also allows you to make purchases at the end of the year if you want to increase your expenses for the year but don’t actually have the cash on hand. You can claim the expenses on your taxes for this year without having to pay the credit card bill until next year.

2. Check Independent Contractor Pay: Work done in December but paid in January can often create accounting problems if you forget to report the income in the year it’s supposed to be in. Therefore, now is the time to look up records for each of the independent contractors you work with and ensure that this year’s reports show payments for work they did last December that wasn’t officially processed until January.

3. Set Up Payroll Software: The end of the year is the perfect time to install and set up payroll software that you can use to track your employees’ time and pay. Once you get it in place, you’ll be able to know that all of next year’s pay will be recorded in the software. This will make all of your financial chores at the end of next year much easier because there will only be one place you have to look for information.

4. Plan Next Year’s Pay and Benefits: The end of the year is often the time when you re-evaluate what you’re paying your employees, and the way you structure the pay can have a big effect on your taxes. Instead of giving a pay increase for next year, consider whether your employees may appreciate receiving additional fringe benefits instead. Many of these benefits help you qualify for tax breaks.

5. Update W4’s: You aren’t the only one who should be making preparations for next year. Encourage your employees to update their W4s based on changes in their personal situations, like adding a new family member. Then you should use the information they provide to set up their correct withholding amounts in your payroll program for next year.

Staying on top of your taxes will require some extra time and attention at the end of the year, so plan ahead. Don’t let the details slip by during the busy holiday season, but take the time now to get things in place. Your efforts will pay off when it comes time to submit your tax return next year.

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What is employee retention?

| Blog | December 14, 2012

Reward employees to boost morale, retention and productivity

As a business owner, you know the importance of keeping your employees, especially the top ones, happy and wanting to return to work each day. It’s important for any business owner, manager or human resources team to understand how to identify top employees. It’s also equally important to understand and be able to implement a reward system for those top-performing employees.

Identifying top employees

There are multiple ways to keep track of how well each of your employees performs their job duties, including an HRIS software program. These programs will help you keep track of those who go above and beyond, have good attendance and other factors.

Another way to know which employees are excelling is to watch and observe. You can easily see how an employee does on a project or handles a customer just by checking on them occasionally. You can also ask other managers, fellow coworkers and customers how an employee is performing.

Reward the best

Once you have identified your best performing employees, it’s time to set up a system to reward them for an outstanding job. There are many different types of reward programs you can offer, including compensation, benefits, recognition and appreciation.

Recognition is the best form of reward when an employee not only does their job, but also goes above and beyond to help the company and other coworkers. Say thanks immediately after a job well done. This lets the employee know they are appreciated and you recognized their hard work now, rather than letting them assume someone had to point it out to you. You can also present a plaque or certificate for a job well done. Another way to say thanks is to include a notation in an upcoming newsletter.

Award systems can also be developed for your company or for individual departments. This type of reward system offers employees added incentive to work hard and achieve specific goals. Awards can include various items, such as cash, household items, office accessories, pizza parties and company logo merchandise. Other popular reward programs can include a spot bonus, an employee referral bonus or a bonus at the completion of a project.

A point system can be used that will give the employee incentive to reach a certain point level. This type of reward system gives employees the freedom to choose which reward they want to receive and when they want to redeem their points. Create a point chart with rewards and point amounts for various prizes at different levels.

Consider implementing rewards that will offer a mutual benefit to both you and the employee. For example, if you offer perks and benefits that will increase employee morale, their productivity will increase as a result. These perks can include bonus time off, travel incentives, recreational gifts and team outings.

Benefits of employee recognition

Keeping your employees happy and feeling appreciated will help keep company morale and productivity up. How you choose to reward your top performing employees is up to you, but keep a few things in mind. The bigger the project, the better the reward should be. If someone truly goes above and beyond you need to recognize that with more than just a piece of paper stating they did. But if they do what is required of them a simple thank you will go a long way.

If other employees see a coworker receive a special reward and recognition for doing something special, it may inspire them to do the same. Thus, in the long run, you will see an increase in productivity and more top performing employees will emerge through the ranks.

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When IT becomes a one man show

| Blog | December 11, 2012

The steady flow of downsizing over the past several years has created vacuums of adequate staffing in many businesses around the country. When employees are let go from their positions, those who remain are often asked to step up to the plate and absorb their laid-off colleagues’ tasks.

The IT department is no exception to this phenomenon, since IT employees have highly specialized skills that create a dent in a company’s budget and may be among the first in line for lay-offs. Companies understand that, as long as they retain one or two skilled IT workers, they can keep their company running due to improvements in technology such as cloud computing.

The HR department needs to ensure that the remaining IT staff has the appropriate skills to manage any technological functions and tasks that the company intends to keep on-premises.

Companies turn to cloud computing for data storage

One way to alleviate some of the stress and strain for remaining IT employees is for companies to switch over to cloud data storage. With cloud storage, companies contract with a third-party company that stores the company’s data in a remote location that is easy to access and is protected by cloud antivirus software at all times.

All of this will relieve the remaining IT employees from having to worry about the company’s servers and they can manage the daily on-site computing needs for the company such as helping staff access documents in the cloud. The IT staff may also act as liaisons between their company’s staff and the cloud computing company’s client services staff.

Automation is king

In addition to saving on on-site storage — saving money in the long term and increasing overall efficiency — cloud computing also helps reduce the number of daily computing issues the IT department has to deal with. User errors such as neglecting to update virus software or running the software according to schedule can eat into a lone IT staff member’s day. Being able to entrust antivirus software, and all necessary updates, to a trusted and secure cloud computing company will save time and money for the company and help avoid any breaches in security.

To BYOD or not to BYOD – that is the question

At this point, the answer to this question is “not to BYOD.” BYOD means “Bring Your Own Device,” and it is an exciting proposition for IT staff so they can access the company’s internal systems and data at any time from their personal devices such as smartphones and tablets. However, the policies are still too new and complex to implement easily and safely for everyone. The protocols involved with take time to implement since there will be a tight wireless security protocol for the IT staff to adhere to and for the company to administer. Once all of the details are worked out, the integration of employees’ personal devices will be a great asset to the company and its goals, particularly with the utilization of cloud computing technology.

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Your Personal Guide To Boston

| Blog | December 10, 2012

Boston’s residents and visitors should visit the new Boston NearSay website to learn about the city’s main attractions and read news articles about the city. Deciding what events in Boston to attend or learning about the terrific deals in Boston are conveniently listed at this website. Marketplace listings provide important details regarding restaurants, businesses and professional services that are available in the Boston area.

Information about Boston’s theaters is available in the arts and entertainment section. Articles about health and beauty or other services offer Boston NearSay website visitors useful tips and suggestions. A listing of museums in Boston is posted in the family and kids section. Finding information about shopping or real estate listings in Boston is easy at the Boston NearSay website. Boston visitors and residents interested in information about what to do in the evening and on weekends in Boston can find this information in the nightlife and music section of Boston NearSay. A final category of information for dining out is the restaurants and food section.

The Boston NearSay website is a good place to find articles about restaurants, museums, businesses and services in different locations around Boston in one convenient place. These areas of Boston include Fenway, Kenmore, Back Bay, South End, Beacon Hill, Central Boston, East Boston, West Roxbury, Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan, Dorchester, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Brookline, Coolidge Corner, South Boston, Cambridge and Charlestown. The Boston NearSay website is a wonderful way to stay current on everything going on in your favorite city.

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Thinking Of Starting Up In California? Know What You’re Getting Into (Infographic)

| Blog | November 30, 2012

Small Business Concerns Study 2011-2012 , California Bank and Trust
Presented By California Bank and Trust Small Business Banking

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You’re a great candidate but how’s your social presence?

| Blog | November 15, 2012

How can you make a great first impression to your future employer in a digital context?

How can you make a great first impression to your future employer in a digital context?

You’ve scoured the job boards, tailored your perfect cover letter, proofed and reproofed your résumé. You’re a great candidate, but is being great good enough? The way employees are hired in the Information Age is very different than it was even 10 years ago. Your prospective employer can now pull together a comprehensive report of your online presence and history before deciding whether or not to even offer you an interview. Your digital personality speaks to employers. It tells them what groups you’re involved in, the company you keep, your interests, passions and polarized positions. Keeping all of that in mind, here are four tips to consider when looking for jobs.

1. Be proactive

In order to land a job these days, you have to be creative, attracting interest through the Web and networking often to land a job. Build your online presence so prospective employers come to you, love what they see and offer you the job. Don’t risk being passed over because your online profile is lacking. Initially, human resources personnel were responsible for complying with hiring and employment laws, processing payroll, and overseeing company procedure. The department’s responsibilities have evolved to include improving employee retention, resolving conflicts, providing training and offering wellness programs. Human resources representatives are looking for people who will work well within the culture and climate of their business.

2. Be social

Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest have become the norm. What you post online can tell a company a great deal about you and most organizations take advantage of that fact. Potential employers will review your profile to see what kind of person you are outside of work, who you’re connected to and how well you communicate. Do you carefully proofread everything you post to your social networks? You should. It will speak to your employers whether you want it to or not.

3. Be visible

If you don’t already have a personal website, consider getting one to form the base of your online presence strategy. If utilized effectively, your site should help drive your search engine rank to number one in searches for your name. Your website should link to your social media and vice versa. The more interaction, social sharing and quality content you provide, the higher your search engine rankings will be.

4. Be relevant

Your website and your various social media profiles have become a sort of résumé. In some cases, you can actually generate a digital version of your work history that can attract jobs directly to you. Though some companies can pull your work history from sites like LinkedIn, you might have to upload your résumé to a prospective employer via an applicant tracking system. These systems, designed to filter out candidates that don’t fit the job requirements, rank candidates based on relevance to the position. Give yourself the best shot at landing an interview and utilize relevant keywords from the job description in your résumé and cover letter. You want to catch the digital or human eye that’s quickly looking for the perfect candidate.

Being prepared and establishing your online presence is crucial to your job search. Get your website, start blogging, sharing and providing genuine content. Put yourself out there and develop a following that would make any company proud to call you their employee.

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What is Employee Turnover?

| Blog | November 14, 2012

It’s not just expensive to replace the employee who left–you may need to pacify those who didn’t leave. Better to just hire the right employees who will stay with you in the first place & then make sure that you hold up your end of the bargain–delivering on your commitments & communicating when there’s trubulence

Simply put, employee turnover is what happens when you lose some staff and hire their replacements. As many as 50 percent of all employees leave a job within two years and 25 percent leave within the first six months. This fact is especially problematic for small businesses where there isn’t a large workforce to mitigate some of the losses.  Companies tend to take a deep interest in turnover rates because replacing workers is so costly.

What causes turnover

Both employees and the company they work for can be at fault for turnover. Organizations might not understand the true needs of their employees, therefore turning them away from the company. Employees might also jump ship if they can see an organization is not doing well. If the company doesn’t have enough work to go around, employees know someone will get laid off.  A company might not foster an employee’s need to learn and grow and provide appropriate training or the opportunity to move up within the company. Employees might leave because they desire a higher salary or better benefits. An employee might also leave a company if he or she is not offered enough recognition or feels as though management does not follow its own rules.

Employee retention

When you think of human resources, you usually think of the department that handles hiring, termination, benefits, payroll, recordkeeping and employment laws. Personnel also handle employee retention, conflict resolution, wellness, training and compensation. If you don’t have a strong human resources department, it’s important to create one. Consider as well using online software and consulting services to ensure your time, attendance and personnel tracking are properly managed for your company. Once you have these services running smoothly, your human resources department can better focus on employee satisfaction and retention. Consider the following should you have concerns about turnover at your company.

  • Training and mentoring: If you want your employees to feel valued, offer them plenty of opportunities for training. Training helps employees hone their skills and learn about current trends and best practices. Employees feel valued, which works to the company’s advantage as well. A newly trained employee will put his or her newfound knowledge to work, thereby boosting your bottom line. Mentoring offers an opportunity for employees to learn from management. Workers, especially those new to the world of business, gain invaluable experience and information while management gets a fresh perspective on what is working for the employees down in the trenches. Mentoring also fosters a relationship between management and those up-and-comers, which provides a way to informally prepare management successors.
  • Culture shift: Every company talks about their great culture and the values they practice. The trick is to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk. Actually follow through with your mission and values. Make sure management believes in the mission and lives it daily. Establish trust with your employees. If you show confidence in their abilities, they’re more likely to be happy and stay with the company.
  • Innovative compensation: Be creative in how you reward your employees. Sometimes a company-wide pizza party goes a long way. Try to make your employees’ rewards meaningful to them. Offer bonuses, paid time off, tuition reimbursement or wellness programs. Show appreciation for your employees’ hard work and they’ll be inspired to go above and beyond the call of duty.

Providing benefits and incentives to your employees can be costly, but nothing is more expensive than having to repeatedly hire and train new staff members. Combat turnover with a solid company culture, reliable and trustworthy human resources personnel and open and honest communication from management. Deliver for your employees and they will be far more likely to stick around and help the company succeed.

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