Good things. Small packages.

Chat to boost sales. Give a gift of local promotion. Sell with minimal advertising. More.

Customers may happily pay more for less

Bigger isn’t always better. Some customers prefer buying smaller sizes, and they may be willing to pay more for less. Learn when it may pay to sell smaller units. #retail #restaurants

Chat to serve customers, convert leads

Many buyers prefer live chat to email or telephone customer service, especially when buying big-ticket goods or services. Pure Chat offers not only website based chat, but also native apps for iOS, Android and Kindle, which means a small business owner isn’t chained to the desk/counter. Pure Chat has a 15-chats-per-month free service and very reasonable prices for heavier use.  #apps

Simple, free, brilliant holiday marketing idea

You can  improve your local business climate by promoting another local small business. The promotion requires only a few minutes of your time and a photograph you take and posted to your website or preferred social media site.  The link above includes a list of other blog posts about promoting 2015 holiday shopping. #shoplocal

Marketing with content but without advertising

In 2008  family-owned Yale Appliance + Lighting was losing money. Today it is growing and profitable, with total sales of about $80 million expected for 2015. The turnaround is due to smart content marketing. Read the CEO’s five tips for anyone who wants to try content marketing without traditional advertising. #mktg

Aid sources for new and established farms

Established New York farmers seeking technical and financial help from state and federal resources should focus on their plan to create jobs. NY farmers in their first 10 years of having a farm operation of 150 or fewer acres can apply for a slice of the $1M earmarked to help new farmers in NY buy farm machinery, supplies and equipment, and construct or improve farm buildings.  #Ag4Dev  #NewFarmer

Nominate a teacher, grab some PR for your business

Know a teacher who brings farming into the classroom curriculum? Nominate that person to be New York Agriculture in the Classroom’s  2016 Teacher of the Year. Give your business name as well as your own name as the person making the nomination when you fill out your nomination form.  #AgEdu

Rural NY Small Business Owner  moves to Tuesday

Starting Nov. 3, Rural New York Small Business Owner is moving to Tuesday-only publication. The newsletter will continue to be available at this blog site through the end of 2015. In 2016, it will be available only by subscription. Please tell your local chamber of commerce to check into bulk buys for its microentrepreneurs. #smallbiz #UpstateNY


New twists

New business locations. New delivery methods. New tools. More.

Hard cider company moves upstate

Empire Cider Company is moving to Geneva from Beacon, NY, to take advantage of local apples and expertise, including Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva and the Finger Lakes Community College Viticulture and Wine Center.

USDA underwrites a new taste for hospital food

The US Department of Agriculture has awarded Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus a $25,000 grant to develop a farm-to-hospital food program.

Don’t make any of these four branding goofs

Four common branding mistakes any business starting out should avoid begin with not having a clear idea what the brand stands for. Learn more here.

Mobile marketing drives sales for these SBOs

Check this condensed version of profiles of three small businesses—an orchard, a craft supply shop, and a print provider—for tips on doing mobile marketing well.  (A link to the full version is in the article.)

Coming soon: A bookkeeper on freelancers’ phones

Track, a phone app, helps freelancers with their bookkeeping. Track figures out tax withholding so freelancers pay correct amounts on time and avoid penalties. Freelancers can join the beta waiting list now.

ZOHO launches inventory management program

Zoho, one of the best and least-known of the small business office suites, has added a new service called Inventory. Inventory can be used for online-only businesses as well as for those with a physical sales site. Inventory manages order processing, customer data, tracks offline sales, and local sales. Free 14-day trial for new users.

Stamford is food delivery innovation center

An Upstater has found a way to make money from organic gardening without lifting a hoe. Mike Geller and two full-time workers pick up produce at more than two dozen farms. Then they package and deliver orders to customers within a 50 mile radius of their warehouse in Stamford, Delaware County. Mike’s Organics Delivery makes over 400 deliveries per week, pulling in $1 million in annual sales.

Understand your web and/or mobile website visitors

A new, easy-to-understand tool called Hotjar will help analyze traffic to your web and mobile site  and spot your best opportunities for improvement. Hotjar offers free signup, no credit card required.

New problem: Sugar Maples’ growth slowing

The trees that produce maple syrup, sugar maples, are in decline in the Adirondacks—and researchers don’t know why. Ecosphere journal article is here.

One of 20 tips for business growth: Plan to leave

Don Antonelli has been in business 20 years. He has 20 business-building tips, including this often-overlooked reminder:

At some point, plan for an exit strategy. While you may never execute that exact exit strategy, it’s important to have one in place. You never know what the future holds. Plan for a day when you may need to leave your business or hand it off to someone else. Design your business so that it can run in your absence; otherwise, it will hold little value to a potential buyer.


Business basics

Get new business. Save money. Make money. More.

Find customers right under your nose

Luring customers away from competitors is hard. It’s much easier to interest folks who don’t have an established relationship with someone in your business line. How could you attract new residents to buy from you?

How to get return traffic to your website

A few of your website visitors may buy on their first visit; most won’t. You can encourage them to come back to give you another chance to sell to them.

Share this newsletter with a business colleague

If you’re reading Rural New York Small Business Owner, you probably know someone else who should read it, too. Forward a copy of your email newsletter, or, if you’re reading online, send a link to this page.

Fresh fruits and veggies are good fast food fare

Changing tastes, particularly among millennials, mean adding fresh produce—especially if the fruits and vegetables are locally sourced—can produce a healthy profit for fast food restaurants.

Guidance for the one-person business operator

Some small businesses will always be one-person operations. If you’re that one person, you need to know these rules for solopreneur success.

Ways to save your small business money

Small businesses can save money in ways that are not always open to the big businesses, from DIY repairs to joint ordering with other businesses. Check out all five money saving tips.

Learn outlook for farms, food businesses

Registration is open for the Agricultural & Food Business Outlook Conference at Cornell University on Jan. 20, 2016. The annual conference gives information on prices, production and market trends, and government programs affecting the various sectors of New York State agriculture.

NYS liquor rule changes for craft beverages

The state Liquor Authority has approved a series of changes that improve the marketing arena for small wineries and breweries, including:

  • Salesmen can represent multiple craft beverage manufacturers.
  • Multiple manufacturers can have branch offices at a location.
  • Small breweries will be allowed to do contract brewing.
  • Many now-prohibited uses of small facilities  will be permitted.
  • Fees will be lowered for seasonal-use bars.

Chenango, Orange County farms in Morning Ag Clips

Agriculture in Chenango County was the lead story in the Oct. 19 New York edition of Morning Ag Clips. The county’s largest industry, agriculture is undergoing major changes and offers big opportunities. Two of the biggest cash crops in Orange County, onions and apples, were also highlighted in the same issue of the publication.

Rural NY Small Business Owner draws attention

Rural New York Small Business was recent click bait for the online publications #smallbiz chronicle, The Team Molino Geocaching Daily, #Dining Digest, Marcoux’s Veterinary Daily, and Small Business Marketing News.

What publicity has your business attracted lately?


Learn to get noticed

Three PR stories with tips. Two webinars. First page position in web search results. More.

Two webinars, two topics, Thursday at 2 p.m.

Prepping Your Social Channels for the Holidays: Tips, Tricks, Strategies. Webinar, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2 p.m. Register.

Potential Community Food Project grant applicants’ webinar. Thursday, Oct 22, 2 p.m.  Attend.

Open Book management boosts restaurant revenue

Boston restaurant owner and  Henry Patterson is teaching other restaurants how to raise employee wages and improve profits by opening their books to employees’ inspection.  Using Patterson’s ideas and with training in business basics,  Paris Creperie in Brookline, Mass, raised net operating margins from 5.5 percent last year to 18 or even 20 percent for some periods this year. The average for the restaurant industry is just 3.7 percent.

Search engine results position really matters

Your website has to be findable by people who don’t know it exists. Where your website appears in search engine results pages (SERPS) determines whether your website gets visitors. The number one spot on page one at Google sucks up 31 percent of click-throughs. Listings on pages two and three of Google together pick up just 5.59  percent.

Roundup of small and home office printers

In the market for a new printer?  This roundup article looks at 15 printers, both inkjets and lasers, lists their main features, and tells the typical retail price. Check the prices for replacement cartridges for printers you’re interested in. A cheap printer may have high operating costs.

Business-use apps for your Android phone

These Android texting apps  could become your default texting app. Many of them are free. All include a range of features for engaging customers,  and for communicating with employees and partners.

Finger Lakes Wineries oppose NYC trash plan

If New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio doesn’t withdraw his plan to ship the city’s waste to Seneca Meadows Landfill in Waterloo, the Finger Lakes Wine Business Coalition will launch a public campaign against it.

Being a small business shouldn’t be an excuse

“Take advantage of being small. Call customers by name, carry the products they buy or ask for, and help them find what they want.” Read more.

3 tips—and a great story—about getting free PR

The key to good public relations is to not be boring. Follow the three lessons drawn from the soccer game that never was to publicize your story.

PR opportunity for veterinary practices lets owners who wish to surrender a dog advertise it free. Shoppers take personality test to see if they and the dog are likely to be compatible. Your practice can score PR points simply by passing along the link to the PawsLikeMe website. Up to half the re-homing fee goes to a non-profit pet organization. The company will add re-homing for cats soon.

Moving company gives help, gets PR

A California moving company moves victims of domestic abuse free. Now Meathead Movers has launched a campaign called #MoveToEndDV to get other businesses to find creative ways of helping abused individuals and domestic violence shelters.


It’s fall; holidays are ahead

Online ad placement tips in time for holidays. Tips for efficiency and cyber-security.  More.

Tip for lawyers about buying software

Lawyers at smaller law firms are not working efficiently and they generally lack skills to use technology to improve their efficiency. A former Microsoft lawyer learned the hard way to buy software that fits how lawyers work.

Why are so many getting social media wrong?

A cartoon shows what businesses do wrong in social media. FYI, marketer and cartoonist Tom Fishurne offers a marketing cartoon by email each week. It’s easy, fun way to build your marketing chops.

Is your business cyber-secure? Find out.

Cyberattacks have victimized 44 percent of small businesses at an average cost of about $9,000 per attack.  The Small Business Administration has tips, tools, resources, and webinars to help you deal with the threats. Some tips are simple, such as using strong passwords and changing them frequently.

Nominate exceptional entrepreneurs for SBA honors

The SBA is seeking nominations from the public for exceptional entrepreneurs in 13 different categories.  More information is at this link, including 36 pages of guidelines (SBA is a government program, folks.).

Target ads, reduce ad cost, with Bing Ads

Targeted ads are within the reach of rural small businesses with Bing Ads. Bing lets businesses narrow their target audience by paying a bonus above the basic bid for clicks that meet criteria the business specifies, such as  age group, location, device, etc. So instead of paying for clicks on “pizza,” you could pay only for clicks on pizza by folks using tablets or smartphones as they travel the Interstate near your exit.

Google changes to employ for holiday retailing

Google’s Shopping Campaigns and Product Listing Ads (PLA)  have changed. Three significant changes for holiday selling:

  • The Shopping Assortment report shows popular products retailers may be missing from their feed or product line.
  • Product feeds need SEO; the promotional lines of text below Product Listing Ads are now pulled automatically from retailers’ feeds.
  • Google is also giving priority to local (“near me“) inventory ads which can promote online or store-only products.

Pride of New York branding materials available

Banners, stickers and other branding materials to display alongside local New York State products are now available for growers and producers at the  Pride of New York fulfillment house (under “About the Program”).

Vehicle use tracking via data from wireless app

Vehicles can be a big business expense. Automatic, a free phone app that works with a $100 wireless adapter may be a good investment for businesses that depend on their vehicles. As more apps that work with Automatic are developed, savings in bookkeeping may make it a good deal.

Flood insurance requirements changing soon

Federally regulated or insured lenders now must require flood insurance on properties in areas at high risk of flooding. FEMA wants the new rules in effect Dec. 16 of  this year. Learn the insurance requirements for your flood risk area.  If you’re not sure if your property is in a high risk area, take your Risk Profile to learn more.  See if your business is in a community that participates in the National Flood Program. To see if your area’s flood map is due for an update enter your zip code here.

Growing businesses

Tips for growing your business. Notes on business growth potential. More.

How to spot and avoid picky, unreasonable clients

The customer is always right. But some customers are right for some other business owner. Learn how to avoid customers you’ll regret later.

What’s next after turning first profit?

Once your business turns a profit, you have to grow it so it makes more money and becomes a saleable product in its own right.  Here are six tips for starting that growth process.

Use your head to get a grip on your business

You’ve got 24 hours in a day, seven days in a week. Here are some tips for rethinking how you can use that time to better advantage by setting priorities about how you approach your business.

Another step toward industrial hemp farming

Hemp, once widely grown in the US for rope, may be making a comeback soon as farm crop. Proponents hope new revisions to state regulations will allow a hemp growing pilot program to start in 2016.

Please share RuralNYSBO with your Chamber

If you get something useful from RuralNYSBO, tell your local Chamber of Commerce to check into a bulk buy for small businesses. The simplest way to do that is to forward this newsletter to them with your recommendation.

Money for Upstate to protect Chesapeake Bay

New York is getting $1 million in federal money to plant trees and shrubs  along streams and rivers such as the Chemung, Chenango and Susquehanna, that feed into the Chesapeake Bay.  Applications for the grant money can be made through local Farm Service Agency offices.

Print digital photos on a T-shirt for marketing

If your business sponsors events like foot races, art shows, or even sports teams, Lumi Inkodye kits have marketing potential for you.  Lumi Inkodyne kits print digital photos on textiles using the sun’s UV rays to power the process. Participants could get T-shirts featuring them doing their thing.

Link contrast essential on digital devices

Contrast between text links and other page elements is essential regardless of the device a viewer uses. Contrast gets clicks. As more and more digital communication occurs on mobile devices, it is essential that text links be readily identifiable on mobile devices. Those articles prompted RuralNYSBO to switch its text links to boldface, contrasting color, underscored links.

Grange urges feds to release under-utilized spectrum

Rural communities are increasingly dependent on wireless broadband for everything from summoning EMS help to checking the temperature. The New York State Grange president is urging Congress to free up unused spectrum assigned to federal agencies  for non-governmental purposes.

Ag industry turns mechanical-technical

Four agricultural technology business ideas are among the top 10 finalists and semi-finalists in the 2016 Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. The entries reflect how farm work has become mechanical and technical work rather than heavy lifting. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli saw the changes while on a tour of NY’s agriculture industry. [expired link removed 2016-03-08]

Branding ideas from a beef farmer

Trowbridge Angus Farms in Ghent, Columbia County, received the inaugural Certified Angus Beef ® (CAB®) Ambassador Award for a continual willingness to go above and beyond when hosting groups and representing the brand. Read the story. Ask yourself which of Trowbridge’s practices you could adopt to make your business brand stand out.

Mainly about marketing

Responsive, mobile-friendly websites. Facebook ad campaigns. Twitter interactions.  More.

Cooperate and innovate to boost your business

In small towns, the viability of one business depends on the health of the others. Check out these six different business models that improve the business landscape by (1) collaborating or (2) by re-imagining urban, big-business techniques for rural, small business settings.

Is your website fit to be seen on mobile?

Although 31% of internet page views  occur on mobile devices, 88.2% of websites are poorly designed for mobile experiences. As a result, they are penalized by search engines.  Learn how responsive design uses HTML and CSS (a great metaphor makes understanding the two easy) and how to test your site to see if it is responsive.

Marketing on Facebook without spending a fortune

Here’s a way to score on Facebook while spending only $5 a week on boosted posts. The article contains tips for creating good photos and video that you can use many places other than Facebook.  And here are tips for running a Facebook ad campaign, which requires more time and money.

Engage on Twitter before you promote

Twitter can be a great way to reach customers and influencers like bloggers, reporters, and big names in your field.. Here’s a good, quick tip sheet on how to use Twitter to build relationships and earn sales.

Potential buyers visit Hudson Valley suppliers

On Tuesday state  restaurateurs, chefs, and news media joined Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball on a tour of Hudson Valley farms and processors that  supply local food. The Taste NY Culinary Tour stopped in Ulster County at Hepworth Farms and Bad Seed Cider and in Dutchess County at Hudson Valley Fresh.

New push to promote New York’s forest products

New marketing and educational initiatives to support and grow the state’s forest products industry were announced Monday. Wood products were added to The Pride of New York branding program. The state will also increase recruitment and training of loggers.

Farms, rural small businesses offered grants

The USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) offers farms and rural small businesses both grants and guaranteed loans for renewable energy production and energy efficiency improvements in fiscal year 2016. Hurry. REAP application cut-off dates are as early as Nov. 2, 2015  for FY ’16.

What did you find here worth sharing?

In a couple of clicks, please let me know what you saw in this issue that made you forward the newsletter to someone else or mention the information to someone in conversation. (If you’re finding things to share, that’s a sign the newsletter is doing its job.) Here’s the poll form: