Items tagged with SBDC Rural
As a small business owner, have you been asked lately, “What do YOU need?” If not, then let me say that there is a Texas group who wants to know. The Texas Small Business Needs Assessment Poll is a partnership between the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ Community Development Department and the Texas Small Business Development Center Network. They are looking for your input!
In reviewing the 2013 results of the Poll, 66% of business owners expected overall business conditions to improve. The percentage of business expecting sales and revenue to increase was 71%. Most of the businesses responding were small businesses with one to five employees.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the annual America’s SBDC conference in Grapevine, Texas. There were three full days of intense learning about different industries and how advisors can use best practices to serve such industries. One of the workshops I attended was given by Rhonda Abrams, a successful entrepreneur that presented the topic “The Leap: The Next Level for Business.” Rhonda Abrams has conducted in-depth research with entrepreneurs in many industries throughout the country to identify the key factors contributing to their ability to turn small businesses into mid-sized companies. During the presentation Abrams talked about the importance of having a strategy in place to grow your business and leaving aside the fear of having to personally control everything to get this accomplished. In summary, these are the main points discussed during her presentation:
Yes, it is true; your small business can sell to the government. The only thing standing in your way is learning how to “talk the talk.” The Angelo State University Small Business Development Center can help you understand the needs of federal, state and local purchasers.
Learn all about it Tuesday by attending “How to do Business with the Government.” The training session is from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Business Resource Center, 69 N. Chadbourne St. Check-in will be at 9 a.m., and the fee is $15. Selling to the government is open to all businesses!
Small business owners will learn about requests for proposals, how to search for contracts specific to their products and services, and the value of forming team relationships.
Are you significant?
Recently I heard the word, significant, used in conjunction with employees. The motivational speaker asked, “Do your employees feel significant?” The combination of the words “employees and significant” combined into one thought was an unusual combination and it took me a minute to wrap my thoughts around it.
Employees are commonly referred to as being valued, irreplaceable, important, empowered, happy, productive and a variety of other adjectives, but the single word, significant, carries its own unique connotation.
While one of our interns was doing some file compilation, he brought to my attention that I had a high influx of clients in May compared with other months.
He asked me, “What is the reason?” After trying to think of different reasons, my conclusion was that around midyear people have thought about starting a business long enough and maybe have received some extra money from their tax return to start the new journey.
But the million-dollar question becomes, “How much money do I need to start my business?”
As an owner of a small business sometimes little time is given to the “formalities” of managing a business and certain areas tend to be overlooked.
Performance reviews are a good example. Often, business owners work under the everyday evaluation policy without ever having a formal evaluation period; therefore, important information is missed causing potential larger problems in the business.
It is well-known that employers who hold some sort of evaluation to review employees performance yearly gain tremendous benefits. Unfortunately, the word “evaluation” usually has a bad connotation because most people will think of an evaluation as the time to bring up failures or shortcomings.
I watched as the manager leaned in to speak with his employee who was answering the telephone. As the employee began to respond to the caller, the manager spoke softly, “Manage expectations.”
As the phone call progressed, it was evident the manager was coaching the employee how to be successful in providing all the information the caller would need prior to their arrival — managing expectations.
Managing expectations helps to maintain smooth transactions. As a former furniture store owner, we held true to the statement, “Under-promise and over-deliver.”
The dream of every business owner is for business to be able to expand, but when your business grows from day to night it can be scary.
Like children, when they grow and suddenly no clothes fit them, you feel overwhelmed by the idea of what you could do to fulfill all the needs of your growing child/business.
The current market environment San Angelo and nearby towns are experiencing is challenging, fast growth in a short time. Currently small businesses feel pressure to grow too fast to meet clients’ demands and be able to compete in the market. This accelerated growth has created stress in business owners and has driven them to make expansion decisions often without the necessary planning. And, unfortunately, this accelerated growth can jeopardize the business’ future.
“The goal to be reached is the mind’s insight into what knowing is. Impatience asks for the impossible, wants to reach the goal without the means of getting there.” Hegel 1770-1831.
This poster, neatly framed, hangs in my office to help remind me my job is to help my clients reach their goal by helping them prepare.
Preparation is the “means of getting there” and the Angelo State University Small Business Development Center offers the training to prepare you so you can reach your goal. Without a basic foundation in the tools and vocabulary of business, it will be you who “asks for the impossible.”
We often find ourselves looking for feedback, such as reviews on places or things of interest to make sure we are making the right decision or that we will make our time and money worth the while.
Therefore, as business owners you are aware of the importance of customer reviews on your websites, social media and even word-of-mouth comments.
Sometimes being able to handle all the feedback you received from clients can be challenging, but I guarantee it will be worth your time.
As it is said, “I know I’m preaching to the choir,” when I say that customers will help you build and grow your small business. Business owners constantly work to get referrals from their customers but sometimes it is good hear about and explore different techniques which may sharpen your skills.
When hiring employees sometimes we find ourselves in a bind on what to put more emphasis on, soft or hard skills?
The perfect combination is ideal but often difficult. For many job positions hard skills will be the area to focus on, but for many other businesses related to customer services or sales, soft skills might be paramount to make a decision when hiring.
Hard and soft skills are often discussed when hiring. For most jobs, while the hard skills are essential to getting the interview, it’s the soft skills that will land the job because as an employer you want someone who won’t just perform their job function, but will be a good personality fit for the company and make a good impression on clients.
SAN ANGELO, Texas — Got a great idea for a business? Got a great name for that great idea for a business? Does anyone else own that great name for that great idea that you have for a business? Better check on that.
I am of the opinion that selecting the correct name for any endeavor has never been as important as it is today. Your business name will be bounced between all different venues of social media, TV and radio as well as print media. The name you select might even become a sought-after window decal.
During my research for assistance to a client, I came across two different avenues for selecting a business name. First is advice from a professional naming company and the second is a “crowd-source” business naming opportunity.
SAN ANGELO, Texas — Working in different environments surrounded by different people can be challenging, but also an educational experience.
The world is composed of diverse people, and I am not referring to personalities. In this case, I focus on the different generations, the famous age gaps.
Working at the Angelo State University Small Business Development Center, we work with clients from all generations. Interacting with all in a pleasant manner can be overwhelming at times. It is like flipping on and off different switches. But, the ability to do so will provide multiple benefits. Generational flexibility with clients and employees can become the key to a successful business.
SAN ANGELO, Texas — The caller simply asked, “Can you help me with an idea I have for an invention?” My answer was, “Let’s meet and I can teach you how to perform a basic Web search on the United States Patent and Trademark Office.”
The appointment was set and I did a mental review of the information I would be sharing at our first one-on-one counseling session.
At the first meeting, I visited with the client about the Small Business Development Center and the wide variety of services we offer. I mentioned the center is funded through state and federal tax dollars and that every center, more than 900 across the nation, respects that responsibility. All centers are associated with colleges and universities and Angelo State University is our host institution.
Mason Greenstar manufactures building components out of paper waste and a patented blend of binding solutions. Recent developments have led to their engaging in conversations with some very LARGE producers of cellulose. These cellulose producers see using Mason Greenstar processes to turn their refuse into environmentally friendly building materials.
Entrepreneurs are dreamers. This statement was never truer than with Amanda Lyles. A native of San Angelo, MBA graduate of Texas Tech University and employee of the State of Texas, Amanda had a dream. She wanted to own and operate a Day Spa and had focused her energies on that goal.
SAN ANGELO, Texas — There it was, finally the sofa had arrived in our store.
It was beautiful in my eyes and I had lobbied hard to get it. It’s sleek, long slung seating had a contemporary modern look. The velvety or white which added to its uniqueness. Yes, it was orange, but in the late ’70s orange was still a popular color for living room furniture. It became a real conversation piece among our customers. Problem was, that’s all they did was talk about it.
I received an interesting article a couple weeks ago. The article talked about the family affair of owning a business; learning who the boss is, and how the next ones in line can or cannot be successful.
The question my client asked seemed simple at first: “How is a credit score determined?”
I wanted to simply say it is determined by your consistent attention to paying your bills on time. Luckily though, I decided to research the answer and learned it’s far more than just paying bills on time.
Before I started working at the Small Business Development Center, I had the same concept as many of you might have about SBDCs. The services offered by these centers are only for startups or “small” businesses. But, have you ever wondered what encompasses the term small business?
“America’s Funniest Home Video” has provided an opportunity for the general public to laugh at the antics of small children, goofy grandparents and funny animals.
With the Internet, this type of video is available instantly through myriad online portals. Your business, regardless if you are on the Internet or not, can be directly affected. What are you doing to manage the reputation of your business?
When you make a decision to start a business, sometimes one of the first things you might do is go to the bank to open a new business account.
Many times, the bank’s new accounts assistant will request you secure a DBA before opening the checking account.
The DBA as it is called is an acronym for “Doing Business As.”
This name is also referred to as a trade name or an assumed name. If you choose a name for your business as anything other than your own personal name, then you need to register it…
When it comes to signage, there is a lot to know. And by not knowing, you might miss your sign from being seen when you want it to be seen. In a fast paced world, a fancy design or font might do more harm than good when you consider how long you have to get your sign read. Peggy Rosser, ASU-SBDC Rural Business Manager, decided she wanted to know more about the regulations and research regarding signage and found there is much more than what meets the eye…
April 1Entrepreneurial success begins in childhood.All it takes is an astute parent to mentor and guide the child to discover they can make money using their talents. Since my last Business Tips article, based on the book “Young Bucks, How to Raise a Future Millionaire” by Troy Dunn, I’ve been searching my memory bank for examples. I’ll share those examples as well as explore some Dunn has identified.
April 1“I bet this one will match!” – Finally, Joanne Heady with Serenity Quilts of Many Colors, has enough room in her new building. She built a new building which fronts TX Hwy 87 and expanded her business! The new, big, red building located on the SW corner is hard to miss!
It started simple. I had cut some mistletoe out of the tree and hung it above my front door. The grandchildren liked knowing it was there and wanted some to take home. I assured them that they probably already had some growing in one of their trees, but nonetheless they set a plan in motion…
November 6With a little guidance from SBDC Advisor, Peggy Hodges, White Wings leather goods is ready for flight!
October 23When was the last time you felt like you had THE next great patentable idea? Many people feel this “spark of genius” at different times, but the idea is already taken, or they fail to keep proper documentation… don’t let that happen to you!
September 18Employees who feel disgruntled? Tasks that they could handle being passed up to the manager? This could be a case of lack of employee empowerment. Find out from Peggy Rosser how empowering your employees can lead to greater customer satisfaction…