Thursday, June 26, 2008

Women and their wine

Yesterday, June 25 2008, the Rockland Business Association Women's Forum welcomed Deborah Brenner, entrepreneur and author of "Women of the Vine". Attendance was high.... and not surprisingly. In a male dominated industry, Deborah shared with us some statistics that show women are responsible for 71% of wine purchases and 67% of the consumption. Still, marketing is geared towards men.

In her book, Women of the Vine, Deborah interviewed 20 women whose passion is making wine and whose names are behind some of the highest quality wines being made today. Interestingly, they tend to not use their own name on the wine label, and most people do not realize that a woman is behind the label. I haven't read the book yet, but after hearing her speak, I am looking forward to the read. She has some wonderful stories to tell!

Deborah spoke of challenges women entrepreneurs face in today's business climate, which is still dominated by men. She expressed that some of the challenges she faces is due to her upbringing and that women in general are too modest and need to learn how to toot their own horn. Deborah has now formed Women of the Vine Cellars, which has united award winning women winemakers under one label. Check out Deborah's web site at .... she even has an interesting story on how she obtained that web address!

As a woman entrepreneur myself, I share many of the struggles that Deborah spoke of. The RBA Women's Forum is a great resource for women, as it gives women a chance to network with other women in business and offers an educational value as well. Held the last Wednesday of each month, the Women's Forum is a worthwhile monthly event that women in business should attend. If you're not already a member of the Rockland Business Association, this group is reason enough to join!
Check out the RBA's web site at or call 845.735.2100 and ask to speak to Joan.

RBA members also receive a considerable discount on their listing, with $40 off a Basic Package OR $110 Off Enhanced or Premium Packages. Visit for more information on the available packages.

If you're interested in trying one of the wine trails in the beautiful Hudson Valley, check out my blog on the 10 Tips for a Successful Wine Trail Adventure.

June Bisel, Partner
BBG&G Advertising /

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Can Getting Organized Benefit your Health and Well-being?

Well, it would seem so. It certainly reduces stress for me.

Last night about 20 people met at the Goshen Gourmet Cafe to hear Lisa Montanaro from LM Organizing Solutions share her ideas about the benefits of organizing. Lisa's workshop was sponsored by Linda's Office Supplies in Goshen and was filled with helpful tips on getting organized.
Lisa used the acronym SPACE as a guideline for effective organizing. It goes something like this:
S - sort into categories.
P - purge. Lisa suggests getting rid of anything you don't love, use often, or need
A - assign a home.
C - containerize. This simply means to find a place for everything. It doesn't necessarily need to be a container.
E - equalize / or maintain the system (this is, by far, the hardest part for me)

I just love being organized. It makes me feel in control of things. When my whole life seems out of control at times, I can reclaim that junk drawer or that corner of the basement, and feel like I am so on top of things!

But being organized is a constant battle, because of the whole maintenance part of it. Having two boys, age 18 and 20, living at home sure doesn't make it any easier. And the amount of mail we receive every day can turn an organized desk into a mess in less than a week. It's not even the junk mail that bothers me that much. I have no problem just recycling it. It's the mail that I may need to keep, or the mail I need to follow up on that's really annoying to me.

Lisa suggests keeping a horizontal paper tray, stacked 2 high on your desk, with the top box being an "Inbox" and the bottom box being the "Action Box". She also suggests a portable file for "Reading Material", which is such a great idea! For bills, Lisa suggests keeping them visual in a vertical file holder, in chronological order, with the most current due bills up front. I have to say I was very proud that I am currently keeping a vertical holder with my bills on my desk. I hadn't, however, thought to put them in chronological order. Such a simple solution, but I'd just never thought of it.

My favorite suggestion, and one I can't wait to act on, is a Memory Box. Something you can quickly grab, in case of fire, that contains all the treasures you wouldn't want to lose. Burlington Coat Factory in Middletown carries some beautiful little boxes that would be perfect for a Memory Box. Mine will contain my kid's baby books, their drawings from elementary school, some pictures, and other memories from their childhood. My kids just love looking through this stuff, and it would be great to have them all in one place. Right now they're scattered around the house... in an organized fashion, of course. :) Just not together.

While you're looking to declutter, Lisa has some suggestions for places to donate items. She mentioned a couple at the workshop, like, Safe Homes in Newburgh, the Red Door Thrift Shop in Goshen. But, for more info, check out Lisa's web site at or visit Lisa's BusinessCardContacts listing under Organizing Solutions.

For great food, visit the Goshen Gourmet Cafe
For great gifts and plenty of organizational tools, visit Linda's Office Supply in Goshen.

And have fun getting organized!

June Bisel, Partner
BBGG Advertising and Public Relations

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Leadership Orange Class of 2008 Graduation

Friday night, June 20th, was the graduation of the Leadership Orange Class of 2008 -- The Class of Change. The event, attended by over 150 leaders in business, was held at the Ontaroga Estate in Goshen, and celebrated 15 Years of Leadership.

As a member of the Class of 2008, I can't help but feel our class was incredible. And as all Leadership Orange alumni are aware, every class boasts their superiority over past classes. Our class did more than boast.

Put to a challenge presented by Leadership Dutchess, we participated in our own version of "The Apprentice". And after raising $27,000 by proceeds from a journal, the Leadership Orange Class of 2008 were the first recipients of the Leadership Challenge trophy. In addition, each member of our class received personally signed congratulatory letters from Donald Trump.

Also big winners were the 15 non-profits our class chose to be recipients of the proceeds of our fund-raising, as well as the 15 non-profits we chose to donate our time.

The theme of the journal was based on the 15 year anniversary of Leadership Orange. Our class chose 15 community leaders who have inspired us and asked them questions like "Who inspired you?" and " What is your advice to future leaders?". The results were enlightening.

So many people contributed to the success of the evening. Erin Pascual from Club Ontaroga worked with the BOCES culinary students who helped in preparing the delicious food and worked as wait staff. Rose Shevchuk from Goshen Gourmet Cafe supplied the incredible desserts. Our entire class donated their time and efforts to decorating, event planning, and the development of the journal. Our agency, BBG&G Advertising donated the design and production of the journal and coordinated with the graphic design class at BOCES. Vanessa Foerster, a BOCES graduate and Goshen resident who is now attending the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, designed the artwork that was chosen for the journal cover.

The Leadership Orange program was a wonderful experience. If you live or work in Orange County, New York, I encourage you to visit their web site at

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Marketing your B2B Business

This morning, the Business Marketing Association of the Hudson Valley presented SUNY New Paltz President Steven Poskanzer with their annual Business Leadership Award in recognition of his contribution to economic growth within the Hudson Valley.

The event was held at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel & Conference Center, which is a great place to hold this type of event. Both the food and service was great.

Jonathan Drapkin, President and CEO of Pattern for Progress introduced Poskanzer as a man with a vision for SUNY New Paltz and the entire Hudson Valley. I had never met Ms. Poskanzer before, and had never heard him speak, but after his short presentation this morning, I'd have to say Mr. Drapkin seems to be right on the mark.

Mr. Poskanzer highlighted the importance of marketing and brand stewardship in his role at SUNY New Paltz. He presented the results from the 2007 SUNY New Paltz Economic Impact Study, showing that through direct and indirect means, the college brings $274 million annually to the Hudson Valley. And when he also mentioned that the college was voted one of the 25 "hottest" colleges in America by Newsweek, I realized how things really have changed for the better in recent years. SUNY New Paltz has become something that we, in the Hudson Valley, can all be proud of. Hats off to Mr. Poskanzer and everyone who has worked so hard to make such a big difference!

I have been on the board of the BMA-HV since it first started in 2002, and it is a great way for those involved in business-to-business marketing to learn about the latest marketing techniques, as well as to do some great networking with businesses in the Hudson Valley.

This morning's breakfast was very well attended and the purpose of the event was to honor Mr. Poskanzer, but most BMA meetings are educational in nature. With a summertime break in July and August, the BMA-HV will start their monthly meetings again in September. As of tomorrow, I am officially retired from the board, but I'm looking forward to seeing what is in store for the upcoming '08-'09 year.

If your product or service is geared to other businesses, you could benefit from attending these Business Marketing Association monthly meetings. Check out their website at now and again in September, when I'm sure their schedule for the '08-'09 season will be posted.

And if you or your child is thinking about attending college, check out SUNY New Paltz at

Monday, June 16, 2008

Does Your Business Cater to a niche market?

After attending the recent Governor's Tourism Conference up on Lake George, my mind is just spinning with ideas of how businesses can cater to the tourism industry. The whole premise is to first recognize this potential market, and then to be creative in targeting this market.
But there are plenty of niche markets out there that are also untapped. And as I was at a horse show at Thomas Bull Memorial Park in Montgomery this past Sunday, I couldn't help but think of how many trucks pulling horse trailers regularly drive throughout the Hudson Valley for purposes such as pleasure riding at state parks, horse racing, breeding, and to attend horse shows. The horse industry is thriving in the Hudson Valley! And who is catering to this market?
Being a horse person myself, I know how difficult it can be at times to simply stop for a cup of coffee, a tank of gasoline, or to even get a quick meal because of parking space or just space to maneuver the truck and trailer in general.
Doesn't it make sense for businesses that are located near horse-related destinations such as parks with riding rings, state parks that offer trail riding, farms that hold horse shows, and racing venues, to cater to these large vehicles?
The horse community is very tight knit. I can just imagine how fast the word would get around if a cafe or deli supplied a special spot for horse trailer parking, or had a special menu item of the day for the horse & rider on weekends.
The possibilities are endless. All it takes is some creativity in thinking.
Not into horses? I'm sure there's another niche market that is underserved that is of interest to you. Think about what your business has to offer that might be attractive to that industry and try filling a need that isn't being met. Your business is sure to benefit.
Are you already filling a niche with a creative idea you've had? We'd love to hear about it.