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Archive for February, 2012

NH Ranks in Top Ten for Overall Well-Being

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Hawaii already lays claim to natural beauty. Now it comes out on top in a new ranking of which state’s residents have the best sense of overall well-being, based on physical health, happiness, job satisfaction and other factors that affect quality of life. West Virginia is the state where people have the worst sense of well-being, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index for 2011, released today. The states that rank in the top 10 after Hawaii: North Dakota, Minnesota, Alaska, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Montana. The bottom of the list after West Virginia: Kentucky (No. 49), Mississippi, Delaware, Ohio, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Florida, and Tennessee and Nevada tied for No. 40.

Women Inspiring Women present: Inspired Time Management and Organization

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Centennial Hotel, 96 Pleasant Street, Concord, NH

For more info:  www.wiwnh.com


Sue West, Certified Organizer Coach 

Sue owns her own business as a Certified Professional Organizer and Certified Organizer Coach. Her clients have called her: insightful, wise, inspiring, filled with hope, gentle yet productive. Sue is the author of Organize For a Fresh Start: Embrace Your Next Chapter in Life. She is also president of the local chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers.

Ask CJ-How important is S.E.O. for my business?

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Back in the day in order to be competitive in business you needed to have a quality product or service and great customer service. You built a reputation on these two criteria and, combined with good leadership and a healthy economy, you might have yourself a successful business. Of course, there is more to it than that, but my point is: Things were simpler in the past.

Today we live in a highly competitive business culture where things change in an instant, and rival products and companies are created seemingly overnight. If we continue to solely rely on the quality and service that we offer, we may not remain a viable entity. In order to remain competitive we need to regularly assess our business model and all of the drivers that affect our success.

One of those drivers is the business’s website. A company’s website has become the public face of the business and is often the potential customer’s first introduction to it. Business owners often tell me that their website is either driving in new business or that they are losing business to Internet competition. Not only do you need a quality website, but you also need to know how to get people who are searching for your product or service to find you. That is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes into play.

We hear the term SEO more and more these days as businesses strive to make their website rank high on search engine sites. The goal of SEO is to improve the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines through organic (unpaid) search results.

Who wouldn’t like to see their business appear on the first page of Google search results—especially since searchers often don’t go to page two? The question for many of us is: How do they do it? What difference can it make? And, do I need to hire a professional?

I spoke with Jeff Whiteman, a SEO strategist, at Harbour Light Strategic Marketing in Portsmouth to get some clarity on a topic that can seem impenetrable to some of us. When designing or redesigning a website, what you say and where you say it matters. What keywords should you include so that search engines position your website higher in search results than that of your competitor? Jeff pointed out that it is an incremental process; a site’s SEO requires regular tweaking to keep up with the ever-changing algorithms created by search engines.  The company put forth many “on page” and “off page” efforts to help ensure a successful campaign.

I did some digging of my own and learned that in 2010, Google made over 500 algorithm changes. This certainly is a testament to the need to approach SEO as an ongoing process, not a one-time fix. Google and other search engines are focused on providing search results that are relevant based on the keywords the searcher uses, the searcher’s past search history, and the past history of what sites previous searchers using the same keyword phrase found relevant—and these are just a few of the variables that search engines use when creating their algorithms.

You can learn how to optimize your website yourself, or you can follow the path of least resistance—and the path of least aggravation, as well—and hire a professional. When it comes to finding a professional, Jeff recommends asking for references and to be skeptical of any “over the top” guarantees.

If you choose to do it yourself there are some basic tenets to keep in mind. First, content is important. Build a content-rich site that links both internally to other pages within your site and externally to other reputable websites. Make sure that your keywords are throughout the site but don’t “stuff” the site with those keywords or try other means of circumventing the search engine algorithms. Search engines will sniff out those deceptive practices and you could find yourself banned by a search engine.

Jeff said SEO isn’t rocket science, but it certainly does require a concerted and thoughtful effort. Like all successful business practices, it needs to be done correctly, then evaluated and tweaked on a regular basis. “Everything we do is tracked and measurable, this tracking is what allows us to make any necessary changes needed to increase conversion rate.  Showing up in a search result is one thing, but getting a visitor to “click through” is well . . . that’s for another article.”

For more on SEO, check out sites like searchenginewatch.com and searchengineland.com.

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. 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.




SBDC Offers-Preparing Your Business for Financing

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Preparing Your Business for Financing


March 7, 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Are you an aspiring entrepreneur or small business owner looking to access financing?

Join Elizabeth Garlow, business development officer at ACCION USA (the nation’s leading micro-lender) and Gary Oden, regional manager for the NH SBDC in this informative overview of how best to pursue a micro-loan for your small business.

This webinar will provide you with:

1. A better understanding of core entrepreneurial finance considerations
2. Tips and strategies for making your business loan-ready
3. A chance for live Q & A with two experts

 Register at http://bit.ly/AccionSBDCwebinar

NH Actively Recruits New Business

Friday, February 24th, 2012

New Hampshire courts Albany company

Telecommunications firm is offered incentives to move to Granite State

Times Union
Published 07:49 p.m., Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Could Tech Valley Communications be moving out of Tech Valley?

That’s a possibility after economic development officials in New Hampshire offered the telecommunications firm an incentive package to move there.

The Times Union has obtained a letter written in June to Tech Valley Chief Executive Officer Kevin O’Connor by the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development thanking O’Connor for “considering our state for your business expansion opportunities” and offering “business relocation” assistance. Tech Valley is based on State Street in downtown Albany.

The letter was written by Cynthia Harrington, New Hampshire’s state business recruiter who reportedly helped convince Albany International Corp. of Menands in 2010 to move its headquarters to Rochester, N.H.

O’Connor confirmed Tuesday that New Hampshire is indeed trying to entice the company to move to New Hampshire, where it recently acquired another telecommunications firm called segTEL.

“They put some things on the table that I’d rather not disclose,” O’Connor said. “Telecommunications is a target industry for the state of New Hampshire.”

But O’Connor says even though his board has a fiduciary obligation to consider the offer from the Granite State, he is more inclined to remain in New York, where he is encouraged by the business-friendly agenda of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. O’Connor says he has been in discussions with New York officials about how to keep the business here.

“Our new governor is pretty sophisticated in his approach to economic development,” O’Connor said. “I’d prefer to keep the company in New York, but that decision has not been made.”

Tech Valley has been building a fiber optic communications network across the Capital Region that serves businesses and institutions such as hospitals and colleges. It has also built a wireless Internet system for the city of Albany. The company has 75 local employees and expects to have 100 by the end of the year as it spends between $10 million and $20 million on infrastructure for its customers. The company’s major financial backer is Riverside Partners, a Boston private equity firm.

Christopher Way, the interim director of New Hampshire’s Division of Economic Development, said he cannot discuss Harrington’s interactions with Tech Valley and that all talks with prospects are kept confidential.

“New Hampshire is an attractive place for business expansion opportunities,” Way said. “Cynthia, our business recruiter, does a terrific job assisting companies with their decision-making process.”

 Michael Yevoli, commissioner of development and planning for the city of Albany, said he is working with Tech Valley to keep it downtown. He said in addition to moving out of New York, the company could also move to the suburbs.

“I’m sure that they’re checking their options out,” Yevoli said. “But we want to keep them.”


SBA Young Entrepreneur Series (YES) Coming to UNH on March 12th

Friday, February 24th, 2012

A great free event’s coming up, put on by our friends at the SBA in collaboration with the NH Small Business Development Center, the NH High Tech Council, and Stay Work Play New Hampshire. Check out the invite below, and register at this link. Registration is required, it’s free, and you’ve gotta do it by Monday, March 12.

From their release: “Please join U.S. SBA Acting Regional Administrator Bob Nelson and NH District Director Greta Johansson in a dialogue with young entrepreneurs and local experts. A distinguished panel of young business leaders will share their personal stories, business tips and lessons learned during an interactive session.”

Got questions? Please contact Scott Wynne with the SBA at (603) 225-1404, or email scott.wynne@sba.gov.

SBA Young Entrepreneur Series (YES)

International Business Development Forum: Montreal, March 14-16

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Join B2B MONTREAL 2012 for an:

 International Business Development Forum

Business Speed Dating – 14 (30 Minute) Preselected F2F Meetings with-Cross Border and International Firms  

 March 14-16, 2012

Montreal, Quebec  

Seize this opportunity and grow your business at B2B Montreal 2012

Ten Slots Available for Firms Who Register Early 

Join more than 800 business leaders and entrepreneurs from around the world to discuss and develop business through strategic, commercial, financial or technological partnerships.  Conceived for small and medium size businesses, use this opportunity to identify new business prospects, create new partnerships and develop new export markets.  

Targeted Industries:  Transportation-Manufacturing-Information Technology-Public Works-Natural Resources

 Participate in B2B Montreal 2012 and benefit your business. 

  • Reinforce your position in the international marketplace
  • Create new partnerships within different sectors and countries
  •  Examine commercial, financial, strategic or technical partnerships
  • Develop new export markets
  • Identify new business prospects
  • Research and gather information on international opportunities. 

For more information on how you can participate in this forum, please contact Good Leads as the selected Delegation Leader for New England, NY and NJ:

 Jim Muller  

New England Delegation Leader

Good Leads

603.894.5323 ext.251


Highlights from the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show

Friday, February 17th, 2012

CES 2012 – Can you feel the beat?

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012 kicked off the year with over 140,000 visitors, 3,300 exhibitors, covering 1.8 million net square feet in Las Vegas. With new product announcements in the tablet, phone, laptop, HDTV, camera, and gadget categories the overarching message was importance of a very high speed, ubiquitous cloud and the importance of technology and lifestyle integration.

 According to David Lahme, President of TradePort USA, a consumer electronics reverse logistics company based in Somersworth, “CES 2012 continues to draw major industry players competing for the spotlight. Attendance is climbing back up to where it was in a boom economy. The energy was contagious.” He remarked that overall, many of the business partners he met with were bullish on the U.S. economy, and that “high morale was great to see and that transcends to positive business for all of us.”

What’s our future look like? Within the decade you can expect 3-D printers, hologram tablets, and office glass windows to transform into networked media screens and digitized touch sensitive white boards. What’ the impact on our current network? There are 400 million devices connected today, namely computers and mobile devices. By 2020, the estimate is 50 billion devices. What is being added to the mix are cars, appliances, radios, phones, etc. talking to each other.  Expect to speak to most devices and have them to listen, interpret, and perform. “Play CNN news highlights. Drive to the office via the gym. Connect me with my conference call. Record session, transcribe, and save in the database.”

Moore’s Law is the heartbeat behind several new announcements. Semiconductor companies are striving to provide Watson-like supercomputing power into your mobile device, at the tune of triple digit terabytes and multi-gigahertz processors. Image the size of the network. At CES 2012, we had a glimpse of those devices getting ready for another technology explosion in the next decade.

 What’s News 

Streamlined OLED TVs (Organic Light Emitting Diode)

TVs are taken to a new level with super slim, 4mm thin, 3D “ultra-definition” picture quality unrivaled by anything today and bezels that look like infinity pools, just glass. LG takes the cake with their 8 million pixels, or 400% better resolution of existing HD TVs (3840×2160). SONY’s branded version is Crystal LED.

“Haptics” Touch enabled Ultrabooks and Phones

Haptics have been enhanced with electroactive polymer film that expands when hit with voltage and saves 70% more battery power. This enables smartphones, game controllers, and other hand held devices swipe and scroll better. Look for 4th generation iPods Touch with this enhancement.  

Doodling Smart Pens

Scribing has taken on new meaning with smart pens popping out of smart phones and tablets to annotate a photograph, ZigZag or collaborative whiteboarding, and sign just about anything. Your autographed picture, please. Samsung’s SPen and 4G LTE Note will start doodling away on Android’s 2.3 OS. Did I mention the 5.3” AMOLED screen, 16 Gig storage, and 8 megapixel camera? Check the Apple and Andorid app stores soon.

Voice Enablement

Voice-based controls are becoming more standard for everything from cars to mobile devices, and eventually appliances. For example, Microsoft’s Kinect sensor for the Xbox 360 and iPhone 4G Siri, powered by Nuance. Dragon will help us talk to our TV’s in the future. Find me a great comedy show for tonight at 8:00 PM. Ok!

 The Rumor Mill

Analysts were hot to spot an iPad 3 to be the first to give us the dirt. Although noone can confirm an official sighting, the rumor mill has that we can expect a 1mm increase in depth that you won’t even notice. Also, the camera is rumored to mimic the  iPhone 4S’s much-improved rear camera system, minus the LED flash.  My guess is that it will encorporate broad bush technology enhancements like haptics, voice-based controls, smart pens, and perhaps be able to talk to my TV. 

 Our hope is that more New Hampshire companies plan on attending CES 2013 so we can keep our technology edge.

 Catherine Blake, President

Sales Protocol International



“Ask CJ” Growing Your Business-Exporting

Monday, February 13th, 2012

If you are want to safeguard your investments, you are probably going to diversify your portfolio.  Having a variety of investments will not only help protect you when certain markets are down, but should also help you grow your investments.  The same can be said about your business.  There are a number of ways a business can diversify its portfolio: by size and number of clients; variety of revenue streams; and exporting your products, the subject of today’s column.

 Exporting can be a great way to avoid having all of your eggs in one basket. When you diversify your markets, the result can be a more even business cycle.  I can’t think of a business that wouldn’t mind avoiding the rollercoaster of activity that can come with a narrow business model.  If you are new to exporting, there are some free and cost- effective resources to help you make the transition to international markets.

 The Office of International Commerce (OIC) here at the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development has staff who work one-on-one with New Hampshire businesses interested in exporting their products. OIC regularly offers low-cost workshops on topics such as   export documentation, environmental compliance, doing business in Russia and international traffic in arms regulation. OIC also offers free technical assistance in our office or at your place of business. More information on OIC’s programs and services can be found at www.exportnh.org.  The staff will help research potential markets and guide you to other resources such as the U.S. Department of Commerce for more in-depth assistance.

I spoke with Justin Oslowski, the Director for the New Hampshire branch of the U.S. Commercial Service, a division of the Department of Commerce.  Much like the OIC, the U.S. Commercial Service, www.export.gov/newhampshire, helps reduce the sometimes complicated and confusing processes that can come with exporting.  Most of Justin’s clients export business-to-business and have some previous experience with exporting.  His office also offers free general market research for businesses looking to export.  A company must be selling a product that contains at least 51% American content to participate in their programs. 

One of the great selling points for the U.S. Commercial Service is that their network is deep and wide with in-country representation in 80 countries around the world.  Their staff can pick up the phone and obtain country-specific information and contacts.  They offer a “Gold Key” service that for $700 connects a business with in-country representation, arranges 4-6 business matchmaking appointments, provides an in-country briefing and cam even assist with the travel arrangements. Justin said they don’t want to waste anyone’s time or money, so if a market doesn’t look feasible during the initial meeting, they don’t go forward. If the market does look like a good fit, the company can expect to have appointments set up in about 8-10 weeks from their start in the program.

 Even with the free and low-cost export assistance available, a successful launch into exporting requires an investment of both time and money.  Thanks to a U.S. SBA grant, New Hampshire was awarded nearly $300,000 in 2011 to assist with exporting.  The State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) grant will be used over a three-year period to enhance OIC’s efforts to help small businesses in New Hampshire prepare for new markets, comply with regulations, access financing, and attend trade missions.  Specialized programs will focus on foreign markets that have the highest growth potential and industries that have the greatest ability to compete successfully.

 While we see a need to grow our presence internationally New Hampshire isn’t unknown outside of our borders. Our state exports in 2010 were 44% higher than those in 2009.  We were the highest ranking state in New England and we were ranked in the top five for the country. While the number decreased in 2011, New Hampshire businesses continue to see the international market as a place to grow and diversify.  Our products in a vast array of industries are sold to more than 160 different countries. 

 While some may think that it is tough to compete globally, American products are well received overseas as we have a reputation for high quality, innovative products. It may surprise some people to learn that our state’s number one country of export is Mexico, while China is ranked fifth. How about them apples? 

Christine J. Davis works for the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development as a resource specialist serving businesses in Rockingham and Strafford counties. She connects 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.

February 15th National Webcast on Top 10 Tips to Protect Your Organization from Cyber Attacks

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

The Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Cyber Security Division invite you to join us for the next session in the National Webcast Initiative Series:

Top 10 Tips to Protect Your Organization from Cyber Attacks
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
2:00pm — 3:00pm (Eastern)

~ Presenter ~

Marcus H. Sachs, P.E.
Vice President, National Security Policy
Verizon Communications 

REGISTER NOW for this FREE Webcast!
Space is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

To register visit: http://www.msisac.org/webcast/
(Please note: For security purposes, please copy and paste or type this address into your Internet browser.)