May 2016: Small Business Success

Are you ready to open for business?

Sarah O'Connell

Sarah O’Connell

It’s very challenging to operate a seasonal business that’s open only part of the year, but it’s a financial necessity when your business depends on the weather and tourism. At the Small Business Development Center, our new clients often state that they are going to operate their weather- or visitor-dependent business year-round, but after the first year they often realize that it’s not financially viable to maintain payroll, utility and other expenses when the sales are just not there. [Read more…]

April 2016: Small Business Success

Resources for small business funding

Jennifer McCluskey

Jennifer McCluskey

In our local area, there are several different avenues a business owner can use to fund a start-up or growing small business. I touched on a few resources in a previous column, but there are several others you might want to be aware of. Depending on the needs of the business, the type of business and the size of the project, one funding resource might be better than another. At the Small Business Development Center, we can help direct business owners to the best fit for a project. [Read more…]

March 2016: Small Business Success

Maine-ly business with some extra salt

Sarah O'Connell

Sarah O’Connell

This is part two of my 1,500-mile solo road trip through New England to visit a small entrepreneurial venture way up in Down East Maine. The story begins when it seemed that everyone I knew started touting “Pink Himalayan Sea Salt.” I don’t exactly possess the palate of a gourmet, so I’m thinking, “Isn’t salt just salt?” Because basically, all salt was originally sea salt, whether it’s mined from deep beneath the earth or extracted from the ocean. But connoisseurs of salt believe that there are big differences in taste, mineral content and processing, and they are willing to pay the big bucks to have their condiment transported 7000-plus miles. [Read more…]

February 2016: Small Business Success

Maximize your SEO and boost business

Jennifer McCluskey

Jennifer McCluskey

Getting your website onto the first page of a customer’s online search results through Google, Bing, or another search engine is an important part of any online marketing campaign. This is called “Search Engine Optimization”, and is the best way to reach customers who are searching for your product or service online. You can pay for ad space, above and to the right of the main (organic) search page, but there are also things that you or your Web developer can do to make your website rank well in the middle of the page. Whether you do your website yourself or you have someone do it for you, it can be helpful to know about these concepts to make sure your website is performing optimally. [Read more…]

January 2016: Small Business Success

It’s Maine-ly business in New England

OConnellWebLast October, I took a 1,500-mile solo road trip through New England to visit a small entrepreneurial venture way up in Down East Maine, and I’ll be sharing his story in my March column.

For now, I want to share a little bit of my adventure through the beautiful state of Maine. What I discovered was, you can take the small business advisor out of the office, but you can’t take the small business perspective out of her. [Read more…]

December 2015: Small Business Success

Start-Up NY partners with colleges

Jennifer McCluskey

Jennifer McCluskey

Many business clients I see have questions about Start-Up NY, what it is, who is eligible and how it works. Much of the information below, along with further details, can be found at the Start-Up NY website: startup.ny.gov. [Read more…]

November 2015: Small Business Success

Ensure your product’s price is right

OConnellWebOne of the decisions a business owner has to make is how to establish the price for their product or service. Especially for a new business, this can be a daunting process. But taking it step by step, it’s just a matter of looking at a number of factors about the product. [Read more…]

October 2015: Small Business Success

Grant-funding your small business

Jennifer McCluskey

Jennifer McCluskey

Business owners who we work with at the SBDC are often looking for funding and ask us if there are grants available to start or grow a business. Unfortunately for a for-profit retail or service business, grant funding is unlikely. [Read more…]

September 2015: Small Business Success

Pick the right kind of wave to ride

Columnist Sarah O'Connell

Columnist Sarah O’Connell

I had a chance to visit Melbourne Beach, Fla., a few years ago and learned that it was one of the top surfing spots in the eastern United States. It was fascinating to watch the line of surfers floating on their boards, letting wave after wave pass by until all at once they’d start paddling furiously toward shore, standing, and then riding the curl until they either fell or it ran out. I wondered how surfers knew that a certain wave was going to be “the one.” [Read more…]

August 2015: Small Business Success

Branch out beyond social media

Columnist Jennifer McCluskey

Columnist Jennifer McCluskey

In the past couple of years, I have noticed a great increase of network marketing companies in our area. For items from personal care to kitchen equipment, and even to electricity sales, it seems like network marketers are everywhere. So what exactly is network marketing, and how can the Small Business Development Center assist network marketers to be successful in their businesses? [Read more…]