Happy Anniversary LI Entrepreneurs.com

June 19, 2009

LI Entrepreneurs.com launched one year ago today. The site had no ambition other than to provide a virtual hub to network and exchange ideas. We’re now 100 members and growing.

It’s been a year of tremendous economic challenges across the globe and here on Long Island, perhaps the most demanding environment in decades. And yet we persist, and continue to chase our dreams fuelled by entrepreneurial spirit – and lots of caffeine.

So let’s celebrate our brotherhood. Because if there is someone who knows what challenges you confront on a daily basis, it’s the good people of LI Entrepreneurs.com. Local business owners empowering each other is the essence of this group. As we kick off a new year on this social network, please contribute to the conversation and bring newcomers into the fold.

+ Talk shop with a colleague? Ask that person to join.

+ Is there a debate or issue out there you have an interest in? Post a blog and get the conversation going online.

+ Know of an event that might be helpful? Add it to the calendar.

LI Entrepreneurs.com should be a resource. Use it and we’ll all prosper. Knowledge is power.

Blog originally posted at LI Entrepreneurs.com

Community Shred Day

May 29, 2009

I might throw a ticker tape parade for whoever came up with the following novel idea. A Huntington business is offering to shred any of your documents for free next Saturday. I’ll be there with a few boxes. Check out the press release:

Raymond James Financial Services and Shred-it will be hosting a community “Shred Day” on Saturday, June 6, 2009, from 11 am – 3 pm (rain date: Sunday, June 7). Local residents and business owners are invited to get their home or business paperwork organized and help to prevent identity theft by bringing their obsolete documents to 75 New Street in Huntington Village where Shred-it will have their specially equipped truck on site to destroy documents free of charge.

Attendees are invited to watch as their documents are instantly destroyed by one of the giant Shred-It high speed cross cutting machines. Susan Pearlman and Greg Kennedy of Raymond James Financial Services will be available to offer tips and resources on how to guard against identity theft and to answer questions about financial planning. They will also provide information to determine how long to keep your personal and business records.

Identity theft is the fastest growing form of consumer fraud in North America. It is estimated that a victim of identity theft spends approximately 200-600 hours and up to $1,500 to restore their identities and credit histories. Shred-its trucks contain cutting-edge proprietary technology that can safely dispose of business or personal papers that are no longer needed. Other items that can be shredded include computer discs, credit and ATM cards.

Community Shred events increase the knowledge of identity theft, making our communities safer places to live. Shredding personal information is a key step that individuals can take to prevent becoming victims of identity theft. The destroyed documents, in the form of confetti-sized pieces, will be transferred to a recycling facility, where they return to the marketplace in the form of items such as recycled household paper products.

Blog originally posted at LI Entrepreneurs.com

Bad Timing For Local Business

May 27, 2009

So you think you had bad timing. Here is an example of a high-profile local business that’s been struck down by the Great Recession. The good news is the New York Dragons pro football team, and Arena Football in general, look to move forward in 2010.

Check out the story from Dave Caldwell in The New York Times:

“EYLAN HARDING, the coach of the New York Dragons football team, has a windowless office so deep inside Nassau Coliseum that visitors might need a global positioning system to find it. He likes it that way. He can watch game film and work on his laptop in relative peace.

The Dragons’ 16-game Arena Football League season would normally be in full swing, but the league’s board, citing debt and higher expenses, canceled the 2009 schedule in December. Still, Mr. Harding and the rest of the scaled-down Dragons staff are preparing to resume play eventually.”

Blog originally posted at LI Entrepreneurs.com

LIA Mobilizes Businesses Against Albany

March 31, 2009

The Long Island Association and its president, Matt Crosson, are sounding the alarm for local business owners to look at what’s going on in Albany. Apparently, the state budget is not good for Long Island.

Here is an excerpt from the Long Island Business News, in the Monday, March 30 edition, regarding the LIA’s stance:

The head of the region’s most powerful business group is calling the budget deal struck in Albany over the weekend a disaster for Long Island.

In a statement sent to the Long Island Association board, President Matt Crosson said Albany’s leaders defied logic by passing a budget during a recession that would make job creation impossible.

“Governor Paterson and the majority leaders have found a way to make doing business even more expensive,” Crosson said. “It is a budget without logic, without common sense, and without a clear understanding of what is required to bring New York back from this recession.

“A vote in favor of this budget is a vote against the future of Long Island and Long Islanders,” Crosson said.

Read the rest of the story here: http://libn.com/blog/2009/03/30/crosson-state-budget-is-a-disaster/

Here is the email blast the LIA sent regarding the issue:

It’s rare that the Long Island Association, the region’s largest business and civic organization since 1926, asks the Long Island community to get into the trenches to fight bad legislation in Albany, but this time we need your help.

The state budget agreed to by Governor Paterson, Senate Majority Leader Smith and Assembly Speaker Silver will be disastrous for Long Island and for your business. Here are a few of the many reasons why. This budget:

+ Imposes new income taxes on 60,000 Long Islanders, including thousands of small businesses
Will cause property taxes to increase.

+ Eliminates $370 million in STAR property tax offsets.

+ Will increase LIPA bills.

+ Will increase all health insurance premiums through new taxes.

+ Provides no economic development programs or stimulus for the Island.

+ Does nothing to reduce state workforce costs, as almost all businesses are doing.

You can help defeat this budget and it won’t take much time. We want you and all of your employees to send an e-mail to the Long Island state legislators. Here’s how you can do it in just a minute or two:

Go to www.LIAonline.org. Under the column “LIA Action” click on “Let Your Voice Be Heard.” Click on the boxes labeled “State Senate Members” and “State Assembly Members.” Write your e-mail. All you need to say is: “This budget will be a disaster for my business and Long Island. You must vote against it.” Click “Send E-Mail.”

Your e-mail message will go to all of Long Island’s legislative delegation.

Blog originally posted at LI Entrepreneurs.com

Future of LI Media: Uncertain Forecast

February 6, 2009

As I sat in on the Press Club of Long Island’s forum on the Future of Long Island Media at Newsday on Thursday night, it became obvious that the esteemed panel — and the companies they represent — were still grappling for answers on how to weather the current storm.

Newsday Publisher Tim Knight hinted the age of free Internet may be over. It’s a topic several newspaper publishers have openly discussed in recent months as papers continue to lose revenue to big search firms such as Google and niche products such as Career Builder.com and Cars.com. The struggling economy has only heightened the media industry’s troubles as fewer companies advertise.

“I have a family,” Knight said. “I have to find a way to make this work. This is hand-to-hand combat for every advertising dollar. It’s being really smart about what news you put out there. It is a much more challenging business.”

Ad dollars aside, several panelists concluded the current media model may well be broken, a sentiment echoed by Long Island Press publisher Jed Morey. “Our thing is broken and people don’t want to pay for it anymore and we have to figure that out.”

While Newsday isn’t going away any time soon, not every business will survive. The free weekly Long Island Press comes to mind. It’s a sobering thought for anyone in the media business. Check out the Press Club of Long Island for more on this topic.

Blog originally posted at LI Entrepreneurs.com

Watching My Nest Egg Crack

January 21, 2009

Good thing I’m only 35. I’ve got time to rebuild my retirement funds. When I left Newsday a year ago to pursue business interests, I did what nearly everyone leaving a corporate job today does with his 401K. I rolled it into an IRA.

I was tempted to take a good chunk out, pay the penalty and use it to help bankroll my venture. But I didn’t. As it turns out, I was even more dumb. Sensing my youth and bullish outlook on tech, I placed all into Yahoo. I can hear the groans already. I’m rolling my eyes as I write this.

Needless to say, my investment tanked my more than half.

So after a train-wreck September, October and November, I finally cashed out of Yahoo and kept the assets in a money-market fund. Until the beginning of the new year. I sensed the new administration might signal the start of a turn around.

I went all in once again. This time I spead my IRA over many stocks, including high-yields Bank of America and Citigroup. (I thought the worst was over, what can I say?)

Anyway, you know what happened next. My nest egg has been scrambled — or poached!

I’m assuming there are plenty more like me out there. So if you are reading this, I feel your pain.

I’m holding on to those stocks. Let it ride. I’m in it for the long haul. At least now I have no choice. It takes the most volatile aspect of this all out of the decision-making process. That would be me.

Blog originally posted at LI Entrepreneurs.com

The Problem With Social Networks

January 7, 2009

I’m a big fan of social networks. I’ve even developed Facebook apps and used Twitter to deliver news. The Internet has made the ability to communicate over multiple platforms an exciting time for grass roots journalism.

But for big media companies, this is not good. It’s judgement day.

In case no one has noticed the sky is falling! Classifieds are gone and the current economic climate has forced everyone to reevaluate how they spend ad dollars. Seriously bad news for newspapers — headline in 80-point helvetica bold. The free flow of information on the web has served one purpose in the case of newspapers — to steal a product that costs money and manpower to create.

How do you right this imbalance? My suggestion is to turn the clock back to 1995 and start charging for access.

Media organizations need to own their content and develop their own audience — independent of the Facebooks of the world. And lock down their content.

By the way, in my opinion, another problem with chasing these social networks? It puts more and more burden on reporters to update blogs, Twitter, etc. It takes time away from going out and reporting a story or working the phones. Oh, and don’t forget to post a web-only story ASAP and then edit video you shot while writing the story for the daily paper. Even Matt Drudge would choke on all that…

Blog originally posted at Wired Journalists

Keep It On Long Island

December 12, 2008

Just met with Felice Cantatore, the general manager of the Long Island Press. They are working on a new web portal that just might change the way you surf. It’s called KIOLI.ORG, short for Keep It On Long Island. And the vision is a big one.

KIOLI.ORG hopes to bypass Newsday and Craigslist as your one-stop reference point for everything Long Island. If you check out the Dec. 11-17 edition of the Long Island Press, you’ll find the centerfold is all about LIOLI.ORG. It’s point? Support home-grown businesses as opposed to big box retailers or even the Amazon.coms of the world.

The site is smart and insightful. I believe Cantatore, one of the driving forces behind the concept, and the Long Island Press have hit on something important. Especially in these dire financial times, if you are going to spend a dime, spend it where it will do the most good to the local eceonomy.

For example, KIOLI.ORG endorses Mario’s Pizzeria, a local chain, over California Pizza Kitchen. Or even P.C. Richard over Best Buy. (That’s a personal tough one for me, but I get the point.)

Anyway, check out the site and see how it can help your business grow.

Blog originally posted at LI Entrepreneurs.com

Grab A Domain Name Today

December 4, 2008

So you want to get on the web. It starts with a domain name — preferably one featuring your company, product or service.

But what if the name you want is taken? There are more than 100 million domain names registered worldwide, according to one domain registrar. Many websites are simply parking pages with Pay Per Click advertisements. ISPs and web hosters will often point unused domains to a parking webpage with PPC advertising.

In other words, most registered names are not being actively used. So if there’s a domain you must have, track down the owner and make an offer. The going rate for regional domains can be as low as $400 to $1,200. That’s a reasonable figure.

And in this economy, individuals or companies sitting — cybersquatting is the less flattering term — on a domain name may be more willing to part with one with a little negotiation.

Domains are real estate. If you think of it in those terms, then a good domain name is worth paying for.

I’m in the business of acquiring domains and helping others come up with the right fit for their venture. I recently brokered a deal between a regional sporting goods store and a domaineer for the rights to a domain that best represented their company.

But if you balk at paying big dollars for a name that’s already been registered, then I can help you dream up a whole host of options — names that have yet to be registered.

Even if you aren’t prepared to launch your web business yet, getting the name and adding it to your portfolio for future use is vital. Get yours now before someone else grabs it instead.

Blog originally posted at LI Entrepreneurs.com

Fun Networking Group

October 25, 2008

I arrived at Rookies in Huntington on Thursday evening not knowing what to expect. It was my first meeting with the Huntington Chamber of Commerce’s Under 30 group. I’ve been a member of the Chamber for nearly a year. I’ve found the general networking sessions useful.

But this was a little different. The Under 30 group, which is a misnomer because half the members are over 30, is really about connecting new and young entrepreneurs. (As an aside, they want to come up with a better, more fitting name. Young Entrepreneurs makes sense. Apparently there’s already a Chamber group for high school students with that name. So if you have a good idea, suggest it.)

What made this networking session, open to non-members for a $10 cover, different was the atmosphere. It was more vibrant. People were more relaxed. And one member gets to spotlight what they are doing with a short presentation to the group. Did I mention the beer and wings were free? All and all a solid event.

Blog originally posted at LI Entrepreneurs.com

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