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Archive for January, 2012

Attend the 7th Annual Small Business Day at the State House

Monday, January 30th, 2012

[This is a terrific annual event attended by business leaders from across the state – if you’re a business owner in NH, not only will you get to network with terrific people, you’ll also learn a lot too. We’re proud to be a part of it, and hope you’ll be there, too!]

Small Business Day is an opportunity for small business owners and managers to meet New Hampshire’s top policy-makers, learn more about legislative issues that could affect your bottom line, and receive valuable information about tools to help your company grow and prosper. This event is presented in partnership with the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center and local and regional chambers of commerce and business associations and is sponsored by Public Service of New Hampshire, Bank of America and media sponsor NH Business Review.


7:30 a.m. – Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:00 a.m. – Welcoming Remarks

8:15 a.m. – Legislative Leadership Panel
What are the top small business issues facing the 2012 New Hampshire Legislature and how will our state’s top elected leaders resolve them?

9:05 a.m. – How do I do business with the state?
New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services Commissioner Linda Hodgdon will explain how to go about supplying the state with everything from pencils to pens, computers to calculators, & almost everything the state purchases.

9:55 a.m. – NH Employment Security Presentation
New Hampshire Department of Employment Security Commissioner Tara Reardon will provide an overview of what kinds of information is available in the Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau (ELMI), about its NH Working programs and how they can help businesses find the right applicant.

10:45 a.m. – Break

11:00 a.m. – Strategies for financing your business
Securing capital for your operation can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. However, it gets a lot easier if you know the resources that will be the best fit for you and your business. Come hear from commercial lenders, and representatives from alternative lending programs for finance options compatible with your growth.

11:50 a.m. – Closing Remarks


Cost is $15 per person and registration is required. To register, call 224-5388 x113 or visit www.nhbia.org and click on January 31 on the events calendar.

Ask CJ-How can businesses become energy efficient without overspending?

Monday, January 30th, 2012

“You have to spend money to save money” is an expression used by many women to justify their shopping habits.  When I say “many women” I really am speaking for myself but it feels better to try and create a community.  The saying is quite true on levels that go well beyond trips to Cole Haan’s outlet sale or an upright freezer filled with boxes of waffles and Texas Toast. 

If you spend money providing educational opportunities for your business’s staff you should expect to save money in the long run with better productivity.  If you invest in marketing, your business should reap the rewards with increased activity.  Another smart investment that companies are making, anticipating a future payoff, is in energy efficiency.  You may have to spend money to save money, but there are some fantastic energy efficiency programs available now that can reduce the initial investment required.

Bob Reals, bob.reals@dred.state.nh.us, manages two energy programs through our office; an energy audit program as well as a technical assistance program.  The energy audit grant program, funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), has been so successful that Bob expects all of the allotted funds will soon be expended.  Through the program, 80 New Hampshire businesses have received in-depth energy audits, as well as assistance in securing low-interest loans to implement those recommendations. 

While our grant funding may be winding down, our office continues to provide technical assistance which helps businesses navigate the numerous energy efficiency resources.  For a list of those resources, visit our website, http://www.nheconomy.com/business-services/energy-efficiency-programs.aspx.  After reading the list, I’m glad to know Bob is available to help you weed through it all and make the process easier. 

What impresses me is that you can utilize more than one program at a time.  For instance, The Retail Merchants Association of NH will pay for 60% of the cost of an energy audit for its members (non-members pay a $100 application fee).  The group then offers rebates for 20% of the implementation costs, up to $30,000.  A qualifying business can combine this program with our program, which would cover the other 40% of the energy audit.  Both organizations will work with the business to see that any and all other rebates and incentive programs have been uncovered for maximum savings. 

Ken Young of Young’s Restaurant in Durham took advantage of the RMANH program and he expects to save nearly 50% on his energy costs.  “I knew that there had to be opportunities for me to reduce my energy costs, but did not realize the significant savings that could be realized through efficiency.  The entire audit process was a great education for me.  In just the first couple months after the project, I am seeing cost savings that I would have never guessed could have been achieved while greatly improving the comfort within the restaurant”.  While our office is funded through ARRA funds, the program at RMANH is funded through a grant from the Public Utilities Commission’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (RGGI).

You don’t need to own your building to make improvements.  Tenants can work with their landlords to create a more efficient and valuable facility.

Last week I met with an Exeter business who has been working with Unitil to take advantage of the rebates and incentives that they offer their utility customers.  The company has already used Unitil’s incentive program to replace all of their lighting and they are now in the process and looking into replacing their entire HVAC system with more energy efficient units.  Through the RGGI program Unitil is able to offer a 0% On Bill Financing in which a company can borrow up to $50,000 to implement energy efficiency improvements.  In addition to the program offered by Unitil the company is working with our office to seek out additional assistance with their project to complement Unitil’s program.

You still need to spend money to save money but it may be a heck of a lot less than you envisioned and the long-term savings and environmental impact may be a deal you just can’t turn down.

Christine J. Davis works for the N.H. Division of Economic Development as a resource specialist serving businesses in Rockingham and Strafford counties. Her role is to connect businesses with the available resources so that they may remain viable and growing entities in the community. She can be reached at Christine.Davis@dred.state.nh.us.

Ms. Davis lives in Exeter with her two daughters.  When not performing her work or parenting duties she can be found volunteering with her girls for the Chamber Children’s Fund, “hitting the gym,” or spending time with friends and family.

General Services Administrator, Martha Johnson, meets with NH Businesses

Monday, January 30th, 2012

On Wednesday and Thursday, (1/25 & 1/26), New Hampshire Businesses had the opportunity to meet and speak with Martha Johnson, Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA).

Johnson heads this 12,000-employee federal agency, charged with providing administrative support to the entire federal government. Some examples of their responsibilities:

  • Manage 370 million square feet of workspace, providing working environments for 1.1 million federal workers
  • Provide credit card services for purchase, travel and fleet services
    • ~3,000,000 cards
    • ~ 100,000,000 transactions per year
    • $30 billion in expenditures
  • Operate a fleet of 214,000 vehicles
  • Federal Acquisition Service – purchasing goods & services for federal agencies
    • > $38 billion in FY ‘11

 On Wednesday, Johnson met with about a half-dozen veteran-owned businesses in Keene. The Thursday event, held at St. Anselm’s NH Institute of Politics in Manchester, drew ~30 businesses. Over an hour of the 90-minute session was devoted to Q&A, with most companies seeking insight into how to capture more business with the government.

In addition to Administrator Johnson, GSA was represented by Regional Administrator Robert Zarnetske and Regional Small Business Utilization Director Jerry Smith. Also attending were Amy Bassett from the US Small Business Administration, Scott Merrick representing Senator Shaheen’s office and Dave Pease of the NH Procurement Technical Assistance Program.

Free Energy Efficiency Webinar

Monday, January 30th, 2012

  The Retail Merchant’s Association of NH (RMANH) own Joe Lajewski, and Tom Rooney of TRC Engineering Solutions will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday, Feb 8th at 12 noon on how to increase your business’s energy efficiency, and improve your bottom line. This event is being sponsored by NH Business for Social Responsibility and Fairpoint Communications and is free to particpants.  Joe will be focusing on RMANH’s Energy Efficiency Program, and Tom will be talking about the Pay for Performance Program. Both grant funded programs can help your business implement energy efficiency measures! Register today.

Reserve your Webinar seat now at:


 Learn about two energy programs focused on improving the energy efficiency of New Hampshire businesses.  This webinar will share how these programs can help you lower energy expenses and earn incentives for doing it.

 Title: New Hampshire Energy Programs – Increase Your Energy Efficiency and Your Bottom Line

 Date:Wednesday, February 8, 2012

 Time:12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST

Ask CJ: Exploring the brave new world of home-based business

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

If you think back not even 20 years about home-based businesses, you might envision a low-tech service business such as a daycare or landscaping company. To run a professional business, you needed to be located in commercial office space. Not only did commercial space provide the technical services you needed, but it also provided a professional atmosphere appropriate for meeting with clients.

Today, that is no longer the case. Many small, predominately service-related businesses are home-based and are able to perform the same functions that once were restricted to commercial space. There are some obvious advantages and some resources available that make the home-based business a good choice for the right person.

Before you decide to open up shop from your home, a serious self-examination should take place, and there are several questions you need to ask yourself. “Do I have the discipline to maintain a focus on my business if it is run out of my house? Is there an adequate space in my home that can be used as an office? Are there distractions that will pull me away from my business focus? Will family and friends respect my work time?”

These might seem like obvious questions, but if you can’t separate home from business while working out of the house, you won’t be successful.

With the incredible advances in technology over the past two decades, you can run a small business from your home with the same access to high-speed Internet that you get at many offices. What you may not have is a professional space for client meetings, which raises several considerations: How many of your interactions will be face-to-face? Is it expected that you will go to their place of business or do they need to come to you? What image do you want to portray?

For example, if you are bringing major clients to your home to showcase your engineering capabilities, will they hesitate or question your business acumen if the meeting takes place in your garage? This hurdle can be overcome by using fee-based conference space, such as that offered by I.O.S. in Portsmouth. Conference rooms can be rented for an hour or the day. This is a great resource for someone who can do most of their work from home but who occasionally needs a professional setting for meetings and presentations.

A home-based business can provide a great cost-savings, as you not only save by not paying commercial rent, but the space devoted to business purposes can be used as a tax deduction. A portion of the utilities can also be factored in as tax deductions, but they have to be in proportion to the size of your office space. You may want to have an accountant assist with this because it can become an issue with the IRS if done improperly.

Dianne Durkin, president of Loyalty Factor in Portsmouth, started her company 16 years ago with the express intent of keeping it based out of her home. She likes the home-based environment because, “I can be creative and innovative at any time with all the resources available to me whenever I need them.” For instance, she may wake up in the middle of the night inspired by an idea and being home-based means she doesn’t have to wait until typical business hours to flesh it out. Dianne often puts in some office hours over the weekend, but she says that when she is done for the day, she closes the doors to her office to help create the separation between home and workplace.

Loyalty Factor has four employees, including Dianne. One staff person splits hours between home and Dianne’s place, another works full time at Dianne’s home, and the third employee works part time at the business. Dianne and her employees dress professionally at the office, as they would in any other business setting. Asked about misconceptions of having a home-based business, Dianne said, “You won’t find home-based professionals working in their pajamas all day from a dining room table. It just isn’t conducive to productivity.”

There goes my dream.

Whether you have been in business for 20 years or are just getting started, we have the resources and the expertise to answer your questions. You can e-mail me at Christine.Davis@dred.state.nh.us. I look forward to hearing from you.

Christine J. Davis works for the N.H. Division of Economic Development as a resource specialist serving businesses in Rockingham and Strafford counties. Her role is to provide the support needed for businesses so that they may remain viable and growing entities in the community. Davis lives in Exeter with her two daughters.

VetBizGO Virtual Business Accelerator Serving Entrepreneurial Veterans

Friday, January 13th, 2012

VetBizGO Veterans Business Resource NetworkAs Veterans return to civilian life in New Hampshire and across the country, many are considering owning their own business as a viable means for providing for themselves and their families. Stepping up to support this trend are the Knowledge Institute, specialists in entrepreneurial education and virtual resource communities, and the Foundation for Entrepreneurial Research and Development (FERAD), a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship. As a public/private collaboration, both organizations have joined forces to create VetBizGO, a new entrepreneurial education and resource community.

“Veterans are ideally suited to succeeding in business,” said, Dr. Deborah Osgood, President of the Knowledge Institute. “Whether inherent or nurtured, Veterans possess a willingness and ability to take calculated risks, as well as be resourceful, resilient and decisive under pressure – all key characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.”

VetBizGO is a Virtual Business Accelerator that facilitates connections between Veterans and thousands of government and nonprofit public business assistance programs and educational resources tailored to supporting venture start-up, growth and success. Content is accessible at no cost and is cross-indexed by type of service, type of agency, geographical location, key word and alphabetical title making it easy for Veterans to learn about and connect with a real person in their local area that can help. Most all programs are free and focus on assisting individuals with core business issues such as legal formation, financing, planning, marketing, import/export and government contracting.

“This virtual community provides an important platform for assisting Veterans with attaining financial independence,” said Dr. William Osgood, Chairman of the Board of Directors for FERAD and also a Veteran. “VetBizGO offers the men and women of our military service a way to leverage their skills and abilities far more importantly than just getting a job – it provides an opportunity for them to build their future through self-employment and small business ownership.”

In addition to improving awareness and access to targeted entrepreneurial development programs, VetBizGO also helps to facilitate connections with established Veterans advocacy and networking venues. VET-Force, for example, is a nonprofit organization launched in 1999 that is dedicated to helping Veterans create and grow small businesses. As a coalition of over 200 veteran support organizations representing thousands of veterans nationally, VET-Force presents a strong unified Veteran’s voice advocating opportunities for veterans, particularly disabled veterans, seeking to succeed in small business and self-employment.

“We see VetBizGO as a critical resource for helping Veterans to develop, launch, grow and succeed in their own small businesses,” said Rick Weidman, Chairman of VET-Force,. “Helping Veterans in this way helps them to build their own employment security, add value to local economies, and contribute to the economic growth across America.”

To learn more about VetBizGO, visit www.vetbizgo.org.

Doing Business in Russia Focus of Seminar

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

The New Hampshire International Trade Resource Center has announced that it is hosting a seminar, “Doing Business in Russia” to be held from 9 am to noon, Tuesday, January 24th at ITRC’s headquarters at 172 Pembroke Drive in Concord. Registration will begin at 8:30am.

With Russia about to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), now is an opportune time to learn how to do business with Russia successfully. Russia is the world’s 11th largest economy and has the highest per capita GDP ($15,900) of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries. As the largest country in the world, it spans across nine time zones and has an increasingly growing economy. Exports from the U.S. to Russia and from NH to Russia are continuously growing. In 2010, US exports to Russia were nearly $6 billion, a 12% increase over 2009; while from January through October 2011, New Hampshire exports to Russia increased by nearly 200%.

The speaker for the half-day seminar will be Aleksei Svetozarev, a business development manager for MIG Express, a global logistics company offering customized supply chain management solutions to clients around the world. With network of global alliance partners, MIG offers increased value to its clients by providing them with unmatched expertise in all aspects of supply chain management. Although MIG’s services offer worldwide coverage, it has exceptional networks and expertise in Russia.

Participants will learn the ins and outs of Russian business practices. They will be provided with an overview of Russia, its business culture, why NH companies should do business with Russia and the available resources to assist them. Other topics to be covered include common difficulties and how to avoid them, Russian customs procedures and how to expedite product delivery.

Cost for the seminar is $40. To register and pay online, go to http://www.exportnh.org/calendar/registration.aspx. To register and pay by check (payable to SNHU/IIB), mail your check to: ITRC Seminar, PO Box 1856, Concord, NH 03301-1856. For questions, call Ellie White at 603-271-8444 or email ellie.white@dred.state.nh.us.

A bureau of the NH Division of Economic Development, the International Trade Resource Center single offers New Hampshire businesses interested in entering or expanding their reach in the global markets a full spectrum of information, programs and customized services. ITRC is located at 172 Pembroke Road, Concord, NH 03301. For more about these services, call (603) 271-8444 or visit exportnh.org.

Ask CJ: Good Communication Key to Good Partnership

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

“Two heads are better than one.” That’s a phrase we have all heard when it comes to finding the solution to a problem. What about when it comes to owning and running a business? Are two heads better than one?

NH Division of Economic Development Seacoast Business Services Specialist Christine Davis

When it comes to starting or running a business, there are so many factors to consider that it can make your head spin. A successful business isn’t just about having a needed product or service. It isn’t just about having the ability to market and sell your product or service. Nor is it just about having the drive and temperament to be an entrepreneur. It’s all those things and it might not just be you making those decisions. Many businesses are owned and managed by two or more individuals. This can be advantageous and successful if done right.

Not everyone has the ability or desire to own and operate a business without partners. Financial constraints alone can prevent someone from maintaining sole ownership of a company. Having one or more partners not only eases that burden, but it also opens up the business to having leadership that possesses a variety of talents and strengths. Matt Benson, a corporate attorney with Cook, Little, Rosenblatt & Manson of Manchester, cited these reasons as some of the major advantages of taking on partners in a business venture.

Benson shared a laundry list of considerations for those contemplating starting a business with one or more partners; however, what he kept coming back to was communication. “Free and open communication” is at the top of his list for a successful partnership. If you have good communication, you can avoid a lot of potential conflict. Benson also stressed the importance of having your basic business goals in alignment. Are you looking to create a lifestyle business or are you looking to grow with an eye toward selling the business? Do your goals, philosophies and business ethics match up? Are your individual strengths complementary, and is there respect for the value that each person brings to the table?

Not surprisingly, the comparison to a marriage was brought up and it makes sense. You will be spending a lot of time together and making decisions together that affect your personal and financial well-being. Open communication as you go through the good and the tough times together is critical. If you can’t do that while maintaining mutual respect, you may be headed for divorce. Even a fantastic partnership eventually will come to an end (retirement, death, disability, etc.) and being prepared for an exit is essential. Having buyout documents with transfer restrictions decided upon before they are needed can avoid conflict not only between leadership but for their families as well.

I spoke with David Lahme and Sam Biddle, partners at Tradeport USA in Somersworth, to get their perspective. Lahme and Biddle went into business together almost 10 years ago and cited numerous reasons why a partnership has worked well for them. Combining funds and their complementary strengths were seen as highly instrumental in their success. Lahme said they have the same goals for the business, which is one of Benson’s basic foundation pieces for a good partnership. Lahme also feels comfortable that he can be away from the business and know it will continue to run smoothly with Biddle at the helm.

Biddle shared his thoughts and added that trust is a key component to a successful partnership. Each partner has individual responsibilities, with Biddle handling operations while Lahme focuses on sales and financials. Biddle said he values having someone to bounce ideas off and admitted, “If I had to do everything, I wouldn’t have a life.”

Having a well thought out business plan and laying out the ground rules at the outset are also a part of Tradeport USA’s continued success. Over the years, they have amended their LLC and are now adding a buy/sell agreement.

Not to be dismissed is having the support of a business partner. According to Lahme, “It is easier to jump off a crevasse with someone else.” That certainly gives new meaning to the phrase, “till death do us part.”

Christine J. Davis works for the N.H. Division of Economic Development as a resource specialist serving businesses in Rockingham and Strafford counties. Her role is to provide support for businesses so they can remain viable and growing entities in the community. She can be reached by e-mail at Christine.Davis@dred.state.nh.us. Davis lives in Exeter with her two daughters. When not performing her work or parenting duties, she can be found volunteering with her girls for the Chamber Children’s Fund, hitting the gym, or spending time with friends and family.

Getting Started With Mobile Pay-Per-Click

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Do you use Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, or Bing’s Pay Per Click program? We do a ton of “organic search engine marketing” work in my company and a little bit of Pay Per Click (PPC)for our clients and ourselves.  I have driven traffic to websites with Google Adwords. I’ve increased “Page Likes” using Facebook Ads. No matter how you stack it, Pay Per Click or Pay Per Impressions is a must if you’re going to exploit every angle in your internet marketing efforts.

Cyberspace to Your Place's Mike Dolpies

So it only makes sense that Mobile Pay Per Click (MPPC) is on the rise.  MPPC is simply targeting only mobile devices for your key words and terms. If you log in to your Google Adwords account, you can see the option to target smartphones and devices. You’ll also note, in Google’s instructional video about MPPC, that they want you to send the searcher to your mobile website. Duh!

There are three ways to do MPPC. You can buy clicks on the Mobile Web when people search your terms. You can also choose the option of Google’s Display network. The Display Network is made up of content providers and publishers who partner with Google and sell ads on their mobile sites. The Display network will match your ads keywords to the proper audience. You can also buy clicks inside Mobile Apps.

Think of advertising in apps like this:Which apps do your prospects have? There are demographic and psycho-graphic profiles to app users. People have preferences. If your product/service matches the wants, desires, and needs of a particular app user, that’s where you’d start.

You can extend your Mobile Ads with location information and a “click to call option.” Just be aware the click to call function will add a few dollars to your investment.

The key take away here is to get started. It’s amazing how the CPC (cost per click) is so much less for mobile only campaigns. One of my campaigns is getting clicks for as little as nine cents. That’s insane!

Log in to your account or create a Google Adwords  account. Start a new campaign and choose “Mobile Devices.” Then, be sure you have a “Mobile Landing Page” ready to scoop up the traffic.

Michael Dolpies (AKA- Mike D.) is an author, speaker and owner of: http://www.cyberspacetoyourplace.com/  the co-creator of “Mobile Marketing CMS,” http://www.mobilemarketingcms.com/ an easy to use Mobile Website Builder. Watch his Internet TV Show & Get a Free Report: 5 Ways to Grow Your Business with Mobile Marketing at http://www.mobilemarketingtips.tv/

Enterasys Move to New Hampshire Will Bring 540 Jobs to Salem

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Enterasys, a Siemens Enterprise Communications Company and a global provider of hardware, software and communication services, is relocating from Andover, Massachusetts to 9 Northeastern Industrial Drive in Salem, New Hampshire bringing 540 jobs to the Granite State.  While the L2/L3 Ethernet switching market has been growing around 3%, Enterasys grew in double digits through the first three quarters of 2011 according to recently published Dell’Oro market reports.

Less than an hour from Boston, Enterasys will occupy approximately 190,000 square feet in Salem with construction on the space beginning in April, 2012 and occupancy by January 2013.  The company also has plans to hire about 80 new employees once they are in New Hampshire.

“We have been aggressively growing our business over the past eight quarters,” said Chris Crowell, president and CEO of Enterasys.  “The move to New Hampshire will reduce our costs and allow us to increase our investment in strategic initiatives in R&D and in customer-facing areas.”

“This is the right building and location for our growing company,” Crowell added, “and New Hampshire’s low tax, business friendly attitude is a great match for our company’s long term growth”.

“Enterasys will be able to continue its growth trajectory in this move from Andover to Salem and the company will save on real estate costs and taxes by moving to New Hampshire,” said Michael Bergeron, Business Development Manager for the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development who worked with Enterasys.  “We are very excited about this big move.”

While other networking vendors have struggled over the recent quarters, Enterasys has outpaced its competition with consistent growth and record sales numbers. They have over 18,500 customers in 80-plus countries, over 1,000 new customers in the past year and new product developments.  For further information on the company, please visit www.enterasys.com or for information on the benefits of New Hampshire, call Michael Bergeron, New Hampshire Division of Economic Development at 603-271-2591.