We are taking off later today, heading for the Paris Air Show, accompanying 12 aer0 and defense related companies from here in the Granite State, Vermont and Maine. With thousands of exhibitors all in one place, it is an opportunity to connect with decision makers from around the world, who can see and hear what our companies offer, which translates into more orders and more jobs.
In all, 34 states will be represented at the international trade show, which is held every other year. The Best of New England booth is made possible through the State Trade Export Promotion program, funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Follow along with us on our social media channels, particularly on Twitter, as well as Facebook and the No Bull Business Blog.
Ken Foote of Transupport in Merrimack and Don Tyler of Corfin Industries in Salem are Paris-bound, along with three other New Hampshire aerospace and defense related companies, as well as six Vermont companies and one from Maine. Together, they’ll be in the Best of New England booth at the US Pavilion.
The International Paris Air Show is held every other year; the Farnborough International Air Show is held in the other years.
It’s not often we can invoke Tom Cruise in the No Bull Business Blog, so when we can, we do.
It’s the same as if five New Hampshire companies were getting ready to attend the world’s oldest and largest aerospace and defense trade show … when we can, we do.
The Paris Air Show begins one week from today and five companies – Corfin Industries of Salem; New England Wire Technologies of Lisbon; RdF Corp. of Hudson; Tech Resources Inc. of Milford and Transupport of Merrimack – will be part of the Best of New England booth at the US Pavilion, joining seven companies from Maine and Vermont. Together, they will bring visibility to the region that has the capability and capacity to serve these fast growing sectors.
The Best of New England booth is made possible through the State Trade Export Promotion program, funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
We’d like to introduce you to them, beginning with Tech Resources Inc.
Tom Cruise has a cameo.
Watch throughout the week for the Paris Air Show Minute.
There will be miles of new opportunities for riding, as well as for the entrepreneur.
We have watched Berlin over the past few years transforming its economy, after its paper making industry became a part of its history. Today, Jericho Mountain, New Hampshire’s newest state park, is a spark plug in the economic engine that is firing up the rest of Coos County, too.
This summer, the 85+ mile trail system at Jericho will connect with a network of trails through the northernmost county. If you are an ATV enthusiast, you’ll want to map out an adventure on the Ride the Wilds.
If an emerging and evolving economy, like what’s happening in Berlin and the rest of Coos County, gets the entrepreneur in you inspired, this may well be the place to be.
The State Export Initiative grant program provides up to $500 per company in cash reimbursement to qualified businesses to offset a portion of the qualifying expenses associated with export promotion activities. This matching grant allows them to receive reimbursement of up to 50 percent of qualified costs.
These funds have encouraged businesses to explore exporting and have aided many in participating in export-related activities at half the price, like Heron Point Seafood of Newmarket. Because the grant extends to businesses that have agricultural-based ingredients, from beer to beauty products, they also qualify for the program.
“This grant helped fund our participation in a major food show in China last fall that allowed us to meet some 40 new potential customers, some of whom we have already made sales to,” said Dave Jermain, sales manager for Heron Point. “The reimbursement is also supporting a sales trip to Japan later this summer to help us strengthen our relationships with existing customers and meet with new potential customers, as well as translation of our product brochure.”
So, you’re probably thinking – what’s the catch? Is it really that easy?
The program is a three-step process. A two-page application outlines the export related activity and how participating will allow the business to grow. If approved, the reimbursement of 50 percent of the receipts is made, up to $500.
HomeFree of Windham, which makes allergy friendly products, was awarded reimbursement for participation in a costly trade show, which president Jill Robbins said would have been costly for her small business.
The CHFA West trade show, in Vancouver, Canada, is the largest trade show for the natural health and organics industry.
“I applied and submitted my receipts after attending and they qualified to receive the maximum reimbursement,” she said. “This enabled me to make other investments in the company.”
The ITRC is still accepting applications for this program. Whether your business is just getting started or is already exporting to several markets, we are eager to help you increase you export sales and continue to grow internationally.
For guidelines and application packet, contact the ITRC; email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the ITRC at (603)-271-8444.
The issue of export control is on the mind of many small and medium-sized business owners here in the Granite State. While they know of the world of opportunity in markets around the world, they also know that, depending on the kind of products they want to sell abroad, the jump overseas can be complicated.
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, hosted the Granite State Export Controls Forum, connecting Granite State small business owners with a senior State Department official to discuss new ways to help New Hampshire businesses grow overseas.
While the state’s exports are running about 14 percent ahead of last year, Shaheen noted that “there is a huge opportunity for small businesses to take advantage of exporting” and leverage an inter-connected world to create jobs in New Hampshire.
About 75 people attended this morning’s event, including business owners and employees, attorneys and legislators and they are eager to learn more about President Obama’s Export Control Reform Initiative, a push to end what Shaheen described as “complex and antiquated” restrictions on exports and bring common-sense to the system of export controls.
She called for “the government to help, not hinder, New Hampshire companies reaching into foreign markets” and stressed the need for export controls that are relevant, timely and simple.
Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller also spoke of the need to reform the current system and make it easier for American companies, including those in New Hampshire’s defense industry, thrive in a global economy.
Why is this important? In 2012, the Granite State’s total exports reached $3.5 billion. In the first quarter of this year, they have surged 14 percent and there is increased interest in international markets, in large part because of programs like the State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) grants, which have helped scores of businesses explore or expand sales overseas.
Reform of export controls means more economic growth and progress for New Hampshire businesses trying to access foreign markets. For small and medium-sized businesses, the mission of creating a 21st century export control system that works for them is essential.
Shaheen and Gottemoeller vowed to continue advocating for these changes and stressed the need for the private sector to weigh-in as the reform continues.
ITAR and EAR reform implementation will be explored at a training seminar hosted by the International Trade Resource Center from 9 am to noon on June 6 at the Department of Resources and Economic Development.
Editor’s Note: Next year – 2014 — and full implementation of the Affordable Care Act will come sooner than many realize. Only recently have many small businesses begun to take stock of what impact the ACA will have on them and their employees. Tom Raffio, president and CEO of Northeast Delta Dental provides some relevant information to help New Hampshire small businesses in that analysis.
Beginning Jan. 1, the Affordable Care Act will require individuals to maintain health insurance, employers to make available ‘affordable’ health insurance to employees and states to establish health benefit exchanges, which are web-based marketplaces for medical and dental plans. Like individuals who will pay a penalty for failure to maintain health coverage, employers, too, can be subject to financial penalties for failing to meet their ACA obligations. One big exception: Employers with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees are exempt from at least that employer penalty.
The health benefit exchanges will serve two markets, although both will be accessed via one website; the individual exchange and the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchange. Since New Hampshire did not set up its own state-based exchange, individuals and small businesses in New Hampshire will access the federal individual and SHOP exchanges to shop for health and dental plans.
Carriers planning to offer medical and dental plans to New Hampshire residents on the exchanges are designing and filing plans with the New Hampshire Insurance Department that meet the ACA’s requirements. Carriers, too, have obligations under the ACA, some of which will significantly change what small businesses have seen in plans of prior years. For example, all plans in the individual and small group markets must cover the “essential health benefits” (prescription drug coverage, emergency services, maternity and newborn care are three of them). And, employers must offer plans that meet the “minimum essential coverage” standard, which is an actuarial value of at least 60 percent.
A recent study found that 44 percent of employers feel morally obligated to offer health coverage to their employees. It is not a surprise, then, that many businesses are truly struggling to do right by their employees, but they do not have the information needed to make the best healthcare coverage decisions for their long-term financial interests and their employees. You can read up on exchanges now at www.healthcare.gov, a website that will convert to the federal exchange portal this summer. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s website, www.sba.gov, is another good resource. And, before you calculate how much your business can contribute to your employees’ coverage, go to the IRS’s website, www.irs.gov, to determine if your business is eligible for the Small Business Health Tax Credit, which can equal up to 50 percent of your workers’ health care premiums.
I don’t advise you to rely on a blog for matters as critical as these, so it is best to consult your benefits team to answer questions, such as how to calculate FTE employees, whether your plans meet the ‘affordable’ standard, whether your business is eligible for the small business tax credit and others.
Last month, our company released a free special report, The State of NH on Facebook. The report was designed to help professionals get a better understanding of New Hampshire’s Facebook users: The sheer volume of them (two-thirds of eligible residents), the activities and interests that matter to them and their demographics. We also included practical tactics and ideas for how businesses can make use of this information to engage their audiences, boost their brand visibility, and yes, even increase leads and sales.
Since March 22, when the report launched, its findings have been featured on the front page of the Union Leader’s Business section, in New Hampshire Business Review’s News Browser and on itswebsite and on many Patch.com outlets catering to hyperlocal audiences. The report has also been shared dozens of times from our own company’s Facebook Page, and virally to thousands of others on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other people’s social channels.
There is an undeniable recognition by media and professionals alike of Facebook’s role in the now and future success of any business of any size. The challenge is, most people and companies still haven’t really tapped into the power and possibility of this behemoth social platform.
And there’s a bigger picture, too. Businesses in the Granite State don’t just promote their products and services for New Hampshire customers and clients. They’re marketing to regional, national and international audiences and Facebook is a crucial piece of the marketing matrix.
Here are three other pieces of that matrix, and how Facebook plays a role in each of them:
1. International focus. This applies to exporters in any industry, businesses with offices abroad, and for travel and tourism businesses here in New Hampshire, to give just three examples. Of Facebook’s 1 billion-plus users, about 85 percent of them are outside the United States. A December 2012 survey of world social networks shows that Facebook is the dominant network in 127 out of 137 countries surveyed!
Whether you’re promoting a product, a service or an experience, you can reach your audience in more cost-effective ways than you ever could before, wherever they are in the world, thanks to Facebook. And international users are also heavy mobile users, which leads neatly into the next point.
2. Mobile users. More than half of its users access Facebook from a mobile device, and 15 percent of its users access Facebook ONLY from a mobile device. This has huge implications for every business, in New Hampshire and beyond – it’s time to get serious about a mobile strategy, including how your website and email newsletters appear on mobile devices.
Here’s one more remarkable statistic to consider for brick and mortar businesses. The majority of searches made on mobile devices for local products and services are acted upon within one hour of the search. That means mobile users are looking to spend money right now. Are you ready to be found by them on mobile devices?
3. Integration strategy. There’s so much talk about social media marketing, sometimes it’s easy to forget that Facebook is not the be-all, end-all. It’s impressive, yes, for its reach and influence, as well as for being the world’s largest marketing database. But in Marketing 101 terms, it’s just a channel.
Don’t lose sight of the many channels you manage (i.e., email, PR, website, etc.), by treating Facebook as an island unto itself. Your best bet is to make sure your promotional campaigns actively involve multiple marketing channels, and maintain brand and messaging consistency across them.
There is a world of value to be had by creating a powerful, engaging Facebook presence. There’s also a world of value outside Facebook’s borders. It’s never been more important for you to take the reigns, broaden your horizons, and find the right fit for Facebook in your overall business success strategy.
It’s our passion and purpose to help forward-thinking professionals take advantage of the opportunities presented by Facebook, to connect more meaningfully, effectively, and efficiently with the people who matter. Don’t let fear or overwhelm get in your way. Facebook represents a bigger shift in the business landscape that may ultimately determine if you’re in business five years from now or not.
Whether you use the information in The State of NH on Facebook report; register for our upcoming Facebook Business Accelerator training program; or find your own ways to harness the power of the world’s biggest social network, now is the time to take action.
The future of your own ventures, and New Hampshire’s overall economy, depends on you!
About Epiphanies, Inc.
Hailed as ”visionary” and “two of the most creative thinkers in the industry” by the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, and the Division’s social media consulting agency since 2009, Lani and Allen Voivod share powerful social marketing strategies through speaking, events, workshops and their online channels. Their company, Epiphanies, Inc., engages leaders, inspires entrepreneurs and helps redefine what’s possible for bold brands, innovative businesses and mission-driven organizations. Join their Facebook community at http://facebook.com/AhaYourself, and learn more about their Facebook Business Accelerator at http://AhaFB.com.
The tourism industry is the second largest here in the Granite State, employing about 60,000 people who tend to the needs of nearly 35 million visitors who come here each year and spend $4 billion.
“As our second largest industry, our travel and tourism industry is integral to the New Hampshire economy and will continue to play an important role as we work to build a more innovative economic future,” said Gov. Maggie Hassan.
Lori Harnois, director of the NH Division of Travel and Tourism Development, left, and Gov. Maggie Hassan
In this day and age of instant communication and everyone being on-the-go, it’s a challenge to reach them, but our tourism folks continue to find ways to do just that. In the past year, they introduced a fall foliage app for mobile phones, taken a bigger aim at the group tour market and are tapping into new market – Japan.
And tying it all together is that evocative Live Free and … that invitation to pause and make a wish or dream about possibilities that can happen here in New Hampshire – hiking, skiing, relaxing, fishing, zip-lining and even starting a business.
The travel and tourism division will launch its summer marketing campaign on May 8, with print, online and television advertising in Boston and New York.
It’s a sunny Monday afternoon … a good time to Live Free and … (fill in the blank).
What country has a hot aerospace sector and is eager to do business with America?
That would be Singapore and earlier this week, representatives of nine New Hampshire companies lined up to talk with Haw Cheng Ng, a trade specialist with the US Department of Commerce, about the opportunities available in that country halfway around the world.
“The Singapore aerospace industry is project to grow by 10 percent per year,” he said.