Biz Beat


Sowing the seeds of Maine’s economy

By John F. Mahon on July 01, 2011, at 5:45 p.m.
It is summer in Maine, and driving around the state we can see farmers working in their fields, planting their crops. American author George Woodbury once observed: “No farmer ever plowed a field by turning it over in his mind.” In one short sentence Woodbury drew the precise, clear line …
Steven Gagnon

Energy efficiency for your business: it’s the lease you can do

By Steven Gagnon on June 24, 2011, at 5:30 p.m.
With rising heating and energy prices combined with a growing appreciation for the environment and the need to conserve, many business and building owners are looking for ways to increase energy efficiency without going broke in the process. While outright purchasing and installing energy-saving equipment such as HVAC, heat-pumps, or solar …
Brent R. Slater

One approach to estate planning

By Brent R. Slater on June 20, 2011, at 6:50 p.m.
In my experience, most people want the disposition of their property at their death to be quite simple. They may have a favorite charity or two, or a special nephew, niece or grandchild to provide for, but by and large they want to leave their estate to their surviving spouse, …

Government, private enterprise, nonprofit — what’s the difference?

By James Shaffer on June 10, 2011, at 3:19 p.m.
In an effort to find solutions for the painful, ongoing recession, Maine’s governor and some national politicians are seeking to run government by the methods of for-profit businesses. This raises an interesting issue, because the values and purposes inherent in government and the private sector are different, yet both entities contribute …

Higher-education institutions can play key role in economic growth

By Michael W. Aube on June 02, 2011, at 7:21 p.m.
Addressing an enthusiastic crowd at the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce, Carbonite CEO David Friend announced that the company is investing in the Lewiston-Auburn area with an immediate objective of hiring up to 50 people by summer’s end. The company plans to add an additional 250 “help desk” positions by …

Making over Maine’s marketing

By Ronald A. Nykiel on May 27, 2011, at 3:54 p.m.
Image and perception are among the top attributes for any destination. Maine has a wonderful image and fulfills the perception of a picturesque state. During my career in business I had the opportunity to visit every state, and Maine is second to none when it comes to image, perception and …
Sen. Olympia Snowe

May is season of champions for small businesses

By Eloise Vitelli on May 26, 2011, at 6:51 p.m.
Small businesses in Maine enjoy many champions – people and organizations willing to advocate for their chance to succeed – and May was the month to celebrate these champions. National Small Business week, May 15 – 21, saw ceremonies in Washington, D.C., to honor nine such champions. Maine’s senior Sen. …

Weighing the pros and cons of incorporation

By Brent R. Slater on May 23, 2011, at 10:18 p.m.
Sometime in the life of nearly every small business, the question arises, “Should this be a corporation?” The answer is, “Yes, no, and maybe.” There are advantages to being incorporated, but those advantages come with some cost. There’s legal expense, accounting expense, and changes to the names on accounts and …

Health insurance reform needed, outcome still uncertain

By James Shaffer on May 20, 2011, at 6:15 p.m.
The health insurance reform bill, LD 1333, is now signed into law, but uncertainty remains. It’s clearly a partisan issue, with media reporting party line votes and using phrases such as “Republicans insist” and “Democrats object.” Insurance is inherently complicated, and the partisanship has made it difficult to develop an …

Maine’s small businesses: A pathway to economic growth

By Michael W. Aube on May 19, 2011, at 2:42 p.m.
According to a variety of sources, Maine has approximately 141,000 small businesses. More than 100,000 of those are self–employers. This means about 41,000 businesses employ the majority of Maine’s work force. In Maine, our economic engine is small business. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy in multiple ways. …

Online marketing success unlocked with the right keys

By Ronald A. Nykiel on May 13, 2011, at 5:52 p.m.
Today, many businesses are often totally Web-based or are receiving a majority of their revenue through Web marketing. Every hour, day, week, month and year more and more of consumer purchases and decisions to purchase are the result of Web-based marketing.   Internet-based marketing can include blogs, Twitter, Facebook, numerous …

Serving their country —now as entrepreneurs

By Wendy Rose on May 12, 2011, at 5:37 p.m.
What do the following women entrepreneurs have in common? A real estate agent in rural Maine who has just made her first sale. A top-quality residential cleaner with a growing customer base in central Maine. A basket maker in southern Maine who sells her hand-crafted items at fairs and online …

Youth financial literacy

By Russ Van Arsdale on May 08, 2011, at 6:04 p.m.
A recent study found that four-year college graduates from Maine have school loan debts averaging $29,000. Talk with a young person who’s fresh out of school and just starting an entry-level job, and you might hear a comment like this: “Some days I feel like I’m never going to be …
Joshua Hayward

Balancing taxing and spending to save the U.S. economy

By Joshua Hayward on May 04, 2011, at 9:59 a.m.
My fellow Mainers, there was a time where our national debt was 120 percent of our GDP (total economic output), just after WWII and, yes, that is a higher percentage than we face today at just over 100 percent of GDP. We could then assume that this situation we are …

Bill would cut legal ads from newspapers

By Matt Wickenheiser on May 03, 2011, at 6:17 p.m.
AUGUSTA | A legislative committee will hear proposals to change how state and municipal public notices are advertised to Maine residents during a hearing Wednesday. Supporters of the bills say they would save towns and the state considerable amounts of money, while taking advantage of advanced technology to disseminate …

Recalls announced for some Toro lawn mowers, snowblowers

By Russ Van Arsdale, executive director, Northeast CONTACT on May 01, 2011, at 3:49 p.m.
        The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada this week announced a recall involving some Toro lawn mowers and snowblowers.         The 20-inch Recycler mower and Power Clear snowblower both have carburetors that can leak, possibly causing fires or burns. They were sold at Toro dealers in the U.S. and Canada …

Sport in Maine can be a big business opportunity

By James Shaffer on April 29, 2011, at 3:27 p.m.
Many Mainers would be surprised to learn of the size of Maine’s sport industry. It’s big, huge even, if you define “sport” broadly to include such activities as fitness, venue management, marketing and event tourism. Plunkett Research Ltd. has measured and categorized the sport industry in the United States.  Conservatively …
Eloise Vitelli

The family farm: Women help revive an old tradition

By Eloise Vitelli on April 28, 2011, at 3:57 p.m.
Women’s connection to agriculture dates back to the days of hunter-gatherer societies when men hunted woolly mammoths and women gathered nuts and berries to help sustain prehistoric families. This close association with plants may well have led women to invent agriculture, a theory gaining ground among archaeologists. The recent influx …

Manufactured demand

By Russ Van Arsdale, executive director, Northeast CONTACT on April 24, 2011, at 7:45 p.m.
Many people complain about the number of catalogs they receive in the mail. Not me; why, there’s stuff I didn’t even know I needed until I saw it for sale in one of those slick publications. We probably owe a huge debt of gratitude to Sears, Roebuck and Co. Sears …

How to deal with the only constant in business: change

By Ronald A. Nykiel, Deans of Business on April 22, 2011, at 3:07 p.m.
We are in a transitory and ever-changing period for both business firms and marketing. This applies to all businesses, be it a new e-commerce venture, retail or service industry enterprise, a small firm or mega corporation. What worked in the past has no guarantee of working in the future as …