NLRB ruling extends union representation

You can change your business structure. You may need to adjust your  expectations to finance retirement by selling your business. More.

NLRB: Unions can represent franchise, contract workers

Last Thursday the National Labor Relations Board ruled that unions can negotiate on behalf of workers employed at franchises or as contractors. The ruling expected to impact a broad range of U.S. industries built on franchising and contract labor, from fast food and hospitality to security and construction.

In marketing, you can never rest

Know when its time to change your marketing approach, media, or even outsource it. Four successful marketers share harsh lessons from lost sales and lost effort. (Don’t you feel better knowing good marketers sometimes do bad marketing?)

The examples in this article are mainly from larger businesses, but its eight ways of doing cost-controlled marketing hold for businesses of any size.

You can change your business structure

If your business needs change, you can change your legal business structure. For example if you began operating as a sole proprietor, you can change to a limited liability company (LLC).   Be sure you and your attorney meet the deadlines for filing paperwork. You’ll save a lot of trouble by timing the change for the end of your tax year.

Webinars aimed at turning veterans into SBOs

Small Business Administration and the Veterans Business Resource Center are offering a series of webinars on small business topics. Some of the content is specific to veteran-owned small businesses, but most is relevant to all SBOs. The series is presented on most Wednesdays from 3-4 p.m.

Why your business won’t fund your retirement

Small businesses who plan to fund their retirement by selling their businesses are in for a shock. They may not be able to sell their businesses when they want to, or get the amount they want from the sales. Learn what you should think about long before you hit retirement age—like names of potential buyers and their expectations—and what to include in your plan B.

Hancock-area SBOs unite over water releases

A group of Hancock-area business owners has joined forces to lend a unified voice to their pleas regarding water releases from the Cannonsville and Pepacton reservoirs by New York City’s DEP. [Paywalled]

 Know other SBOs who need this publication?

You can forward the copy you got in your email to them with a note suggesting they “follow the blog” to get their own subscription. Getting it by email is the best way for folks to see how well the schedule and format works for them.

And if have a good contact in your local chamber, I’d appreciate your suggesting Rural New York Small Business Owner would be a great member benefit for the chamber to offer.



Challenges for SBOs from algae, Amazon

Storm mitigation money OK’d for Essex County. Rochester discovery good news for solar cell businesses.

Lakes have blue-green algae blues

Seneca Lake has its first official case of blue-green algae, which form ‘blooms’ that discolor the water and produce floating scums on the water surface. The floating scums can be hazardous to people and animals. An algae bloom has also been identified in Canadarago Lake in Otsego County.

Amazon Prime begins booze deliveries

Amazon said Tuesday it will begin delivering wine, beer and spirits to U.S. customers as part of its speedy delivery service, Prime Now, which already has on-demand grocery delivery. Amazon plans to add its own food line with items such as such as milk, cereal, and baby food. The growing grocery delivery market depends on regional hubs for warehousing and distribution.

Secessionists seek split from NYC metro area

Upstate groups will hold a rally in the Chenango County on Sunday to build support for upstate to secede from downstate. Voters will decide in 2017 whether to have a constitutional convention. A convention is required to consider changes to the state constitution, including secession. In his 2010 platform, Gov. Cuomo called for a constitutional convention.

Rochester discovery good for solar cell businesses

Natcore Technology Inc. has found a way to substitute aluminum for silver in mass-produced solar cells with no loss in performance. Because silver represents 11 percent of the cost of a solar module, the Rochester company’s discovery could give a big boost to businesses that manufacture, sell, and install solar cells. Solar energy boasts a network of grassroots support groups around the state.

SBO begins national distribution of granola

Five-year-old Gatherer’s Granola, which already distributed through local and regional businesses, shipped its first national distribution to Vitamin Shoppe the end of July. The Schenectady firm has the equivalent of eight full-time employees.

Storm mitigation money OK’d for Essex County.

Federal funds were approved for work on William Petro Dam in Essex County to prevent flood damage from severe storms.  Flooding from Hurricane Irene did over a million dollars’ damage to public infrastructure and extensive damage to Port Henry businesses.

Hikers see what Hudson River school artists saw

Escarpment Trail in  Windham is the only New York trail included in seven hikes in the footsteps of American artists on, the website of the Appalachian Mountain Club. From the trail people can see scenes that inspired Thomas Cole and his students at the Hudson River School.

Pick your customers

Having more good customers is better than having more customers. Tweak your marketing messages to  attract your best customers and communicate to your worst clients that they’d be better off going somewhere else.

Sweet tooth times

Help for business startups. Business emergency preparedness.  Best upstate spots to find apple pies and other sweet treats.

Webinar 2 pm today on chip card technology

SBOs who accept credit and/or debit cards need to know how the change to chip card technology could hit them in the wallet. If you don’t know about the Oct. 1  liability change associated with the EMV chips, a free webinar by SBA and Square at 2 pm Wednesday, Aug. 26, will explain. To see if space is still available, click here.

Startup help for aspiring entrepreneurs

All startups aren’t created equal. Here are three resources for entrepreneurs with different business focuses.

Some potential business owners prefer buying a franchise to setting up business on their own. In a post at on the blog, The Franchise King®, Joel Libava, tells potential franchisees what to expect and how to behave when they begin scouting franchise opportunities.

Non-franchise businesses need to pick a business name. Finding a good one is harder than it sounds.  Start by searching for a good domain name, since no business born after 2010 should be without one. Here’s more on naming a business, courtesy of the Small Business Administration.

Some potential business owners want to do social good as well as make a profit. Four in five social entrepreneurs never start a business because they’re too afraid of failure.  A free webinar for potential social entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid of getting up early will tell them how they can avoid failure to launch. It’s set for 7 am on Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Prepare your business for emergencies

This tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina should remind SBOs to be prepared for emergencies from power outages to a key employee out sick. Here are four simple tips on what to do. The Small Business Administration has materials to help you plan and prepare for worst-case scenarios.

Power up your laptop to learn to farm

Registration is open for 16 online courses to be offered this fall, winter and spring through the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project. The Cornell Small Farms Program courses will train farmers to be tech-savvy business people.

Sweet news for upstate food businesses

The Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trail was voted among America’s top 10 best food trails by USA Today’s readers. found the best apple pies upstate are in Phoenicia, East Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Lowville, East Aurora, Johnstown, Hancock, Peru, Syracuse, Cortland, Windham, and Fly Creek.

Craft beverage industry gets boosts

Changes in state law and a federal grant will aid micro-breweries. SBOs can use webcam video for business promotions.

Craft beverage industry gets boosts

Gov. Cuomo signed legislation last week that:

  • allows farm distilleries statewide to sell gifts and souvenirs;
  • authorizes retail stores to conduct tastings of liquor, beer and cider; and
  • exempts micro-breweries from redundant tax filing requirements.

Also last week, a federal grant to study the possibility of a new craft brewing incubator in eight-county Southern Tier region was announced.

Why antibiotic-free chickens are trending

Customer demand for antibiotic-free meat and poultry is motivated by fear of superbugs that aren’t fazed by antibiotics because they’ve grown up in a world full of antibiotics. (Penicillin inventor Alexander Fleming predicted this would happen when his drug became widely prescribed.)

Contaminated meat isn’t the only problem. People can also be exposed to superbugs in soil and groundwater fouled with animal waste.

Publish webcam video to YouTube

The latest video from British educator and trainer Russell Stannard tells how upload original webcam video to YouTube at the press of a button. SBOs can use Stannard’s teacher-targeted website to  learn for free how to use popular communications technologies. Video can personalize a business and mark a SBO as a subject matter expert.

Orange geocaching promotes art, tourism, farms

One way Orange County promotes economic development is through the Farm Art Geo Tour, an ongoing geocaching event that draws between 50 to 100 participants each week.  Geocaching is a high-tech, outdoor treasure hunt. Players use GPS coordinates to find hidden objects and solve a puzzle.  The Farm Art Tour caches are on farms that have stores open to the public. The tour ends at the Wallkill River School of Art gallery in Montgomery.

Learning to be rural

A girl from a “big town, little city” learned how to be rural. What would you add to what it means to be rural?

Are we hitting the sweet spot yet?

We’re feeling our way along, looking for an about-right number of stories and mix of subjects. How are we doing on the number of stories?

Thanks for clicking. If you have anything else to add, please put a note in the comments. Your feedback will help us know what to look for to help you in your rural New York business.


Natural gas pipeline plan tabled

NYS distributor tables its plans for natural gas delivery along the I-88 corridor. Ideas for boosting online sales, improving website security.

NY natural gas distributor shifts focus to PA

Natural gas distributor Leatherstocking Gas Co. LLC is shifting its attention to Pennsylvania, citing the DEC’s lengthy Constitution Pipeline review process as the reason for its change of plan.The  Pipeline’s route would stretch from Susquehanna County, Pa., along the Interstate 88 corridor into Schoharie County.  Leatherstocking was to have piped gas from the Constitution Pipeline to nearby communities.

Storage facility loan program expanded

USDA’s Farm Service Agency expanded its Farm Storage Facility Loan  program to provide very low-interest financing to farmers to build or upgrade storage for unprocessed meat and poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, flowers, hops, rye, and aquaculture. The program is expected help farm operations meet increasing customer demand for healthy, regional foods.

Farm to school programs are potential beneficiaries of better storage facilities.  Farm to school programs enjoy substantial public support, a new national survey found.

Ideas for getting more sales online

From Small Biz Trend‘s 11 ways to generate online sales, pick one or two to try. Put one into operation. Track results so you know how well it works for you. Then either add a second idea or replace your first, if that was a dud. Track again.

Remember, even if yours is an online business not all sales need to be generated online. Some of the 11 tips work offline, too. You can, for example, reach out to groups of people and do cross-promotions in person.

Prove yourself creditworthy to online lenders

Online lenders methods of assessing a potential borrower’s creditworthiness aren’t terribly different from traditional  lenders. Learn what they look for, what turns them off.

Immigrants to Buffalo find Erie County farm jobs

Legal refugees fleeing persecution in countries like Sudan and Napal are doing jobs that Erie County farmers haven’t been able to fill because of problems with undocumented workers. A Cornell Cooperative Extension staffer saw the refugees’ need for jobs as a match for farmers’ need for workers who live in the area.

Elsewhere in the US,  farmers are paying up to $17 an hour for Latino workers to harvest fruit and vegetable crops.

Your website needs to be secure is accepting requests for early access to its online security community. Joining SECUR1TY (the name is spelled with the numeral 1 in place of the L.) gives you free access to its search engine, free tools, and security grading system to help you prevent security breeches and malware infections.

The company hasn’t posted prices yet, but it’s common practice to offer the early access list discounted prices.  Secur1ty is based downstate in SOHO.

On a lighter note

You know about farm-to-school and farm-to-table. Now there’s ballet to farm.

Enjoy your weekend.


Rural NY job outlook improving, mostly

Most areas of rural NY are recovering from negative job growth numbers. Also: tips for marketing, better biz credit rating.

Rural NY lack new job growth

Three of every four jobs created in NY from 2009 to 2014 were downstate, but upstate cities  showed job growth. Rural areas—Central New York, North Country, Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley—are still doing poorly in 2015 although only the Southern Tier had negative job numbers so far this year.

Improve your business credit rating

Your business credit report determines how easy it is for your business to get credit. To improve your  scores, use these five tips from the SBA.

Two marketing tips that customers will like

1. Few businesses sell a unique product or service. To stand out, a
business needs a human face. Check these suggestions for differentiating your business in a digital marketplace.

2. Customers crave video. They want it short. They want it often. Learn easy, cheap ways to produce video that draws repeat customers—and do it without a video recorder.

Verizon ditches 2-year contracts

Verizon Wireless is trading two-year contracts for monthly payments, which give SBOs the flexibility to change carriers without worrying about early termination fees. Details of the newest price plan are here. The Verizon move is part of a trend among mobile carriers to stop charging for voice minutes and charge for data use instead.

Text message acronyms for business

These explanations of the acronyms most commonly used in business communication by text and email—we don’t mean LOL—will help you respond quickly without needing to look up what terms mean.

Cooperative extension eyes changes

Cornell University is one of 13 land-grant institutions nationwide thinking about the work of  cooperative extension programs in the next 100 years. Among other things, participants are looking at ways to bring the arts, humanities, and design into cooperative extension.

This is a good time for SBOs and rural arts organizations to look at Cornell’s multimedia site to see how they could prepare to benefit from future changes in CCE programming.

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Delaware County has good news

Infrastructure funding in Delaware and Orange counties is good news for SBOs. And a national honor is good news for a Delaware County egg producer.

Broadband coming to Delaware County outskirts

Delaware County SBOs are going to get high-speed internet access. Three local utility companies are partnering to bring fiber-optic broadband internet access to outlying areas of Delaware County and adjacent parts of Sullivan, Ulster and Schoharie counties.  The partners in the effort are the  Delaware County Electric Cooperative, the Delhi Telephone Company, and the Margaretville Telephone Company.

Town of Wallkill gets water system aid

The Orange County Town of Wallkill  won a $2.93 million package of a $716,000 grant and a $2.2 million, no-interest loan to upgrade its water supply system. The upgrade is necessary to attract businesses, town officials said.

Delaware County bed tax gets Cuomo OK

The Delaware County bed tax, capped at 2 percent, approved by the legislature in June got Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature last Friday. The tax revenue will be dedicated to promoting and developing tourism. The county must pass a local law before the occupancy tax takes effect.

Egg business gains national recognition

Handsome Brook Farm in Delaware County is one of America’s 500 Fastest Growing Businesses according to Inc. magazine.  A national supplier of pasture-raised eggs, the Franklin, NY, farm operation ranks 391 on the 2015 list.

Eco-tourism businesses eyed for Mamakating

The Sullivan County Town of Mamakating wants to build an eco-tourism based economy. It passed legislation recently to protect Basha Kill Wildlife Management Area, but a local group fears that’s not enough to prevent damage to the nature preserve, which is in Sullivan and Orange counties.

Webinars for military community SBOs,  others

The Small Business Administration  and the Veterans Business Resource Center are offering a free webinars small business topics  most Wednesdays from 3-4 p.m. (EST). The next webinar in the series is “How to Promote Your Business with Little or No Money.” View the whole list of topics and register at for those you want to attend.

Sticky notes get attention and action

Need someone to complete respond to printed information? Attaching a sticky note to the page increases the likelihood that the recipient will comply even if you don’t write anything on the note.  Write something on the stick and compliance goes way up.  Stickies also affect how quickly folks respond. The research is in Harvard Business Review.