When we think of New York and food, most likely our minds turn first to the fancy restaurants and funky joints that serve New York City’s diverse cuisines, but there’s another, equally vibrant culinary side to the Empire State. The state’s artisan food makers have reached some kind of critical mass in recent years, a trend that has spurred more entrepreneurs to jump in.

In 2011, the state launched Taste NY, a program aimed at marketing New York’s artisan food and agricultural businesses, and this month Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to substantially expand the program and help producers triple their sales.

“We like the trend we are seeing, we like the efforts launched by the Department of Agriculture and Markets. We haven’t seen that kind of effort before and it’s gaining a lot of momentum,” said Barkeater co-founder and Head Chocolatier Deb Morris.

Similar programs that have succeeded in other states have helped foodie communities gain momentum, Morris said.…

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When I started in the field of leadership development (when gas was 89 cents a gallon), the model we used looking like this:

  • When someone got promoted to team leader, supervisor, or manager, they were sent a memo (no e-mail yet) from HR informing them that they have been registered for a mandatory four-week supervisory training course.
  • When they showed up, some (or most) of them kicking and screaming, HR told them everything they had to learn, showed them step-by-step details, made them practice (role plays), and then sent them off to do good and no harm, never to be seen or heard from again.

Sadly, there are many organizations that are still using this outdated method of leadership development. While this model is inherently flawed in a number of ways, the biggest problem with it is that people won’t grow or change unless they want to. They need to be intrinsically motivated to change, and in order to be motivated, they need to have a sense of autonomy, or control.…

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Social media presents unique opportunities and challenges alike for small businesses. It provides an unprecedented way to amplify word-of-mouth marketing efforts, a bread-and-butter tactic for local businesses. But it can also feel daunting to compete with the social-marketing budgets of larger competitors.

A new mobile application called Perch is designed specifically for small businesses to better understand their social media presence. It lets them track customer reviews from across social networks, including Facebook, Yelp and Google, not just for their own businesses but for competitors as well. The app is from Closely, a company started by former MapQuest co-founder Perry Evans.

Perry EvansEvans has been helping small businesses use digital tools to improve their local marketing for years. We asked him for insight on how smaller shops can use social media to their advantage in today’s competitive market:

Is social media marketing the big equalizer between big brands and small businesses?

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More than 3 in 4 contracting firms are finding it difficult to fill skilled trade positions, and more than 3 in 5 are finding project supers, estimators and engineers hard to find, according to a survey by the Associated General Contractors of America conducted in August and September. The Southeast sees the largest challenge, where 86% of contractors face labor challenges; the Northeast is better off, but far from complacent as 67% of contractors there try to deal with the problem.

To deal with the issue, nearly 60% of the firms surveyed have tried raising wages to attract new workers in both the craft and professional positions. Almost half are resorting to an increased use of subcontractors while more than one-third are turning to staffing agencies.

Many of the respondents say that training and education programs in their areas are sub par and more than one-third don’t see much cause for celebration in their area’s workforce pipeline.…

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APPrise Mobile’s platform for investor-relations communications is designed to help companies, whether large or small, create native applications that supply the target audience with a wealth of crucial information, said Jeff Corbin, APPrise’s founder and CEO.

“Public companies needed a communications solution to inform or ‘apprise’ their investors on their mobile phones and tablets,” Corbin said in an e-mail interview. “TheIRapp was created to solve this problem. It was developed to be a cost-effective, easy-to-implement solution that would provide public companies with their own branded app available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.”

More than 125 companies are using the company’s investor-relations app solution, while the number of investors who have downloaded one or more of APPrise customers’ apps has surpassed 75,000, he said.…

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