Archive for July, 2010
We are proud to announce the launch of a new website for Jessica Holden of Prescott, AZ for her new studio Bodies by Pilates. The website can be seen at http://www.pilatesprinciples.com.
Massachusetts Ranked #5 in CNBC’s Top States for Business 2010!
Can you imagine? Massachusetts was ranked #5 in CNBC’s recent survey of the top states for business in 2010. While it should come as no surprise that the top four are:
- Texas (1508 points)
- Virginia (1477)
- Colorado (1456)
- North Carolina (1381)
I have to admit that as a small business owner who consults with a lot of other small businesses I am stunned about Massachusetts earning a #5 ranking, up from #8 in 2009 and #12 in 2007. To hear most people talk, Massachusetts is one tough place to do business. How did it happen?
Let’s dig into the numbers a bit. According to CNBC.com, the states are ranked on 40 different metrics in 10 key categories. The maximum score possible is 2,500. #1 Texas scored 1,508 while Massachusetts scored 1,375. Although Massachusetts ranked relatively low in such areas as Cost of Doing Business (#39 out of 50), Transportation & Infrastructure (#39), and Cost of Living (#40), we ranked very well in such areas as Education (#1), Access to Capital (#2), Technology & Innovation (#3), and Quality of Life (#6).
Berkshire County’s neighboring states certainly do not fair was well. New York is ranked #24, Connecticut is #35, and Vermont is #37. However, New York was second only to Pennsylvania in terms of year over year improvement in overall rank. Pennsylvania moved up from #33 in 2009 to #20 in 2010, while New York improved 12 spots from #36 to #24. PA’s Economy improving from #37 to #15 fueled their big move. Likewise New York’s economy improving from #20 to #2 drove their big gain in overall rank. At the other end of the spectrum, Vermont was the biggest decliner in 2010 versus 2009, falling seven spots from #30 to #37.
Looking at the specifics of how NY, CT, and VT faired … New York is ranked #50 in Cost of Doing Business, #49 in Workforce, #45 in Business Friendliness, and #43 in Cost of Living. Those 4 low scores really hamper New York’s ability to compete. Connecticut is #47 in Cost of Doing Business and #45 in Cost Living. Vermont went from #35 in 2009 to #42 in 2010 for the Cost of Doing Business factor and from #36 to #40 on Access to Capital which contributed to the decline in their overall ranking.
The rest of the Northeast/New England struggles, too. New Hampshire is overall #19, Maine is #39, and Rhode Island is #49 (ouch!), making Massachusetts truly the jewel of the Northeast. So, while it is expensive to do business here, you get what you pay for:
- an educated workforce who enjoy the quality of life they get here
- a tradition of incubating innovative, high-tech companies in and around our world-leading education institutions
- banks willing to finance the innovation.
Let’s hear it for Massachusetts!
Originally published on iBerkshires
Williamstown Chamber Launches New Website to Support Local Businesses
Berkshire Direct is proud to announce that a brand new website (landing page) – www.VisitWilliamstownMA.com – was launched on Friday, July 23. The Williamstown Chamber of Commerce commissioned the site as a benefit for their membership.
The site is search engine optimized to show up when potential visitors search online for information about Williamstown, visiting Williamstown, or businesses and institutions located in Williamstown. Ad placement is free for Williamstown Chamber members and ads will run in rotation on the main page. Let us know what you think and be sure to support our local chamber members.
Check out our first collaborative blog on iBerkshires.com. We are excited to be working with Lucy from Custom Business Solutions on this joint effort – we hope to deliver useful information and a fresh perspective on business issues facing local businesses. If you have a topic you want covered please submit your suggestions to us using the form at iBerkshires blog topic suggestions.
Here is a snippet from the first posting…
Every now and then, I will say something completely inappropriate out loud — and on purpose — and then follow it up with, “Did I just say that out loud? That was just supposed to be my inside-my-head voice.” It gets some laughs. Maybe not. I like to think it does.
Read the full posting at: iBerkshires.com
Allen Jezouit acquired Berkshire Direct from the Storey family (John, Martha and Matt Storey) in the Spring of 2010. Mr. Jezouit originally joined Berkshire Direct as the Vice President of Business Development for Berkshire Direct in September 2009. Prior to joining Berkshire Direct, Allen was the Director of Marketing at Redstone Properties for 4+ years following an 18+ year career in operations, sales, e-business, and marketing with Praxair, Inc.. He has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an MBA from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Allen is a past president and board member of Williamstown Cal Ripken Baseball and is the president of the board of directors of the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce. He is a past board member of Williamstown Youth Basketball Association and North Adams Babe Ruth Baseball. He coaches baseball, soccer, and basketball and is a member of Taconic Golf Club. He lives in Williamstown with his wife and two sons.
Elinor comes to us from Storey Publishing, a leader in non-fiction how-to books for country living. Elinor’s background in design and marketing began working in higher education, where she was responsible for conceiving, organizing, promoting and hosting college-wide events. Elinor currently serves on the board of directors of The Williamstown Youth Center, and has chaired the annual Snowfest fundraising event for the past five years. She is also a member of the Williams College Sideline Quarterback Club board of directors, and a member of the Williams College Hoop Group. She is the past president of the board of directors of the Berkshire Dance Theatre. She and her husband Mike live in Williamstown with their two daughters.
One of our clients, Jane Watson of Green Peas TV has orchestrated what has proven to be a video hit and the full version has not yet been released. It turns out that, the blend of a blues guitarist, the views from the Mid-Hudson bridge, locally brewed beer produced by Keegan’s Brewery and the perfect burger cooked up by Chef Noah Sheetz, proved to be a perfect combination on a “warm” Summer day in Hudson Valley. View the trailer here below. Alternatively, you can read the coverage of the video shoot by the Albany Times Union and Poughkeepsie Journal below.
Poughkeepsie Journal Coverage:
From the press release:
The Mid-Hudson Bridge offers some of the most jaw-dropping views along the Hudson River. And it’s about to become a breathtaking outdoor kitchen for three of the Hudson Valley’s top chefs; Noah Sheetz, Peter Kelly and Jordan Schor. Green Peas TV, the Hudson Valley’s Internet-based cooking show at www.greenpeastv.com is proud to present breakfast, lunch and dinner from high atop the scenic Hudson. Jane Watson, the producer of Green Peas TV, says, “The shows are not intended to be a typical foodie show for the PBS crowd. We’re not trying to preach to the choir. Our target audience is the average family who eats fast food, and buys their groceries at super box stores. We are trying to reach out to them in the popular reality TV language. We think it is the perfect format to carry our message of why we should all start supporting our local food producers and why we need to pay attention to where our food is coming from.”
There are plans for further follow up shows in Berkshire County – media contacts and potential chefs or guests can contact me directly at: email@example.com.
Enjoy the trailer video…
By David Zahn
Gather small business owners together at a party or other social function and stand a comfortable distance away or risk getting splashed with their crocodile tears as they complain about the state of business. It seems the default response to the question, “how is business?” is almost invariably a wailing and gnashing of teeth as the complaints start to pile up fast and furious:
- Customers don’t know how good I am/They can’t find me
- The bigger competitors always are asked to bid on projects/Are thought of first
- As a small player in the market, we can’t keep up with the technological changes and requirements demanded by clients
- Buyers are shopping on price alone
- There is never enough time to do what I need to do
- The market is so crowded
- The economy/politics/world are out of whack
Customers Don’t Know How Good I Am/They Can’t Find Me
This complaint is a pure copout. It assumes that the client/customer is responsible for keeping track of competitors in the marketplace and should make it their business to know what each company’s unique strengths are and which is the best fit for the customer’s needs. The real truth behind this statement is that the business can’t recognize prospects, convert prospects to customers, and close sales on its own. So, it blames the customer for not being smart enough to do the work for the business … [read more]
BICG is a Williamstown company which provides investor communication services to the finance industry. We recently built their website and have worked with them on many cooperative projects to produce marketing materials for national and international banking clients.