Siouxland Magazine

January 28, 2020

Success Story: Iowa –

Siouxland Magazine

At the end of 2018, Becca Feauto and Stacie Anderson purchased Siouxland Magazine. They saw this as an opportunity to reach out to the community and start real, meaningful conversations. This makes them unique from other businesses in the area. They get together with a diverse group of community members bimonthly to discuss issues that are going on. This allows for there to be a difference of opinions and beliefs. “We are bringing people together, replacing judgement with understanding. Perspective is powerful.”

Becca and Stacie believe that in order to start your own business you need to be very passionate about what you are doing. They were surprised at what it takes to run and start a business —  the amazing journey it is. With the whole purpose of the magazine being to connect people through meaningful conversations, they decided to appropriately name their publishing company Empowering Conversations, LLC.

The most challenging part of their business is the financial factor. They want to stay ahead of the game and rack up as little debt as possible. This is leading them to invest more into their business in order to get the best out of the magazine. (more…)

Groennfell Meadery Owners “Jump the Curve”

January 21, 2020

Vermont Success Story, by Amanda Kuhnert –

Groennfell MeaderyIn December of 2018, after five years in business, Kelly and Ricky Klein of Groennfell Meadery announced they would be closing their popular tasting room and restaurant in Colchester. “There is no question that this was the hardest decision we had to make about growing,” they wrote in a blog post on the company’s website. They had developed a loyal clientele and would miss the regulars who came in for weekly events and conversation.

But closing their Colchester location was a critical step in the company’s growth process. In July, 2019, Groenfell Meadery moved into a new facility in St. Albans. The larger space has enabled the Kleins to triple their brewing capacity. Their mead is now available in cans and on draft throughout New England.

Jumping the Curve

The Kleins first reached out to the Vermont Small Business Development (VtSBDC) in January, 2013, on a referral from VPTAC. They were seeking resources and advising on growing their business in the areas of marketing, pricing, and access to additional capital in the future. Over the years, the Kleins have taken advantage of the business resources and mentoring services available through VtSBDC. (more…)

Profit Margin Formula

January 14, 2020

What is it, How to Calculate it, How to Improve Profit Margin

By Anna Baluch –

When you sell a product or service, it’s important to understand your profit margin or how much money you make by selling your product. Essentially, a profit margin shows your return on investment (ROI) for all of your expenses. A low margin indicates you’re not getting the ideal ROI for your expenses while a high one proves you’re doing well.

Ideally, you’d have a high profit margin that steers your organization toward long term growth and success. By taking the time to figure out your profit margin, you can set attainable goals and make informed decisions for your unique business. (more…)

AC Electric Motor Service

January 7, 2020

AC Electric Motor ServiceSuccess Story, Idaho –

A decision to pursue a new adventure turned in to a family business

In 2014, Beto Arteaga gave up his job at an electric motor shop, where he had worked as a teenager. The idea was to start his own business; so he approached his Father. His Father, Norberto, was not excited about the idea, due to his growing real estate business, but Beto was persistent.

Together they started to research the possibility with help from the SBDC. They found an electric motor repair shop that was for sale, and they bought all the equipment and tools necessary to start the business. They then found a building to rent, and AC Electric Motor Service was established.

Norberto came to the SBDC because his family knew SBDC Regional Director Bryan Matsuoka. Matsuoka helped the Arteagas with their business plan and educated them about financing. After following their consultant’s advice, they purchased the building they were renting, and they accomplished their two-year goal in six months. (more…)

These 5 Myths Cause Small Businesses to Fail

January 1, 2020

By Charles “Tee” Rowe –

Every year, Americans start businesses with the hope of achieving financial success, independence, and personal fulfillment. Unfortunately, many times those dreams are never realized. Too often the enthusiasm and energy that small business owners put into their business isn’t matched by the planning and skills needed to survive.

At America’s SBDCs — 62 small business development center networks nationwide and their nearly 1,000 centers — we find that a solid business plan and a brilliant business concept need to be married to a serious understanding of the financial and management needs of running a business.

Too many businesses believe marketing is their key to success, but hemorrhaging cash is the secret, silent killer. So for aspiring entrepreneurs, here are five myths small business owners believe in that lead to failure:

1. Don’t ask for help

“You’re smart, you’ve got this.” Nobody has got it. There are so many free resources out there, and the biggest mistake many small business owners make is not using those resources. There are nearly 1,000 small business development centers nationwide — why would you ignore free help? (more…)

How to Set Goals With Your Employees for 2020

December 30, 2019

By Linsey Knerl –

It’s the start of a new year, and now that everyone’s social media feeds have finished filling with “My 2019 updates,” we can look forward to an overwhelm of “My 2020 goals” lists. Goals in themselves are effective tools for real change, provided they are used correctly. Unfortunately, the numbers show that we aren’t very good at following through on what we set out to accomplish. Depending on who you ask, the failure rate for resolutions of all kinds can top 80 percent or higher.

As a business owner, you probably have goals such as getting a handle on your business checking account or improving your business credit scores, but you should also focus on helping your employees reach their personal goals. When integrated into an existing employee performance or wellness program, personal goals can easily mesh with career ambitions. That’s a win-win for everyone at work.

Here are some of the ways managers and leaders are using the spirit of the New Year to jump-start those workplace resolutions. (more…)

7 Steps for Buying a Commercial Real Estate Property

December 23, 2019

By Michelle Black –


Buying commercial real estate has the potential to be an excellent investment, often more so than residential properties. Yet even if you’re an experienced real estate investor, it’s crucial to understand that buying a commercial property isn’t the same as buying a house.

Before you purchase a commercial property, it helps to know the pros and cons of this type of investment. It’s also important to understand that with the chance for more reward often comes a higher purchase price and more risk.

How to Buy a Commercial Property: An In-Depth Review

1. Understand your motivations for investing in commercial real estate.

Why do you want to invest in commercial real estate? It’s an important question to ask yourself before you start hunting for properties. (more…)

Hawk Knob Owner Turns Lifelong Passion Into Successful Agribusiness

December 17, 2019

Hawk KnobWest Virginia Success Story –

Morgantown was Josh Bennett’s home while he attended West Virginia University in 2006, but the distance between the college town and the farm he grew up on in Highland County, Virginia stretched further than the 150 miles of country roads separating the two locations. As far as Bennett was concerned, city living and farm life were a world apart.

Bennett had a genuine passion for agriculture and couldn’t wait to get back to his roots once he finished studying horticulture at WVU.

“All I knew was that when I got out of college, I wanted work with agricultural products,” he said. “I wanted the agrarian lifestyle.”

Bennett only needed to find a way to make it all work.

From passion to business (more…)

Family-Owned Auto Shop Still Growing After 40 Years

December 10, 2019

Vermont Success - Don's Auto ServiceVermont Success Story, by Amanda Kuhnert –

“They are honest, capable, and efficient, and it’s good to know there’s a local auto shop with friendly people I can trust to do a good job with my car.” This is just one of nearly 700 five-star customer reviews that say, in one way or another, the same thing. Don’s Auto Service is known for its friendly service, honest work, and fair rates.

The auto shop has been a staple in Derby, Vermont since 1979. Unlike many second-generation businesses, its reputation hasn’t suffered with the passing of the baton. After his father, Don, passed away in 2001, Scott Keenan became part-owner of Don’s Auto Service with his mother, Cheryl. Scott’s wife, Deanna, and daughter, Ashley, also work at the shop.

After becoming a partner in the business, Scott realized that they had outgrown their existing space. He identified a larger building for sale that would fit their needs. But to secure financing for the purchase, he needed to prepare a business plan and financial projections. That’s when he reached out to the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC). (more…)

How to Read a Business Appraisal Report

December 3, 2019

By Shawn Hyde, International Society of Business Appraisers (ISBA) –

If you have ever seen a business appraisal report, you by no means have seen them all. There are almost as many different styles and types of reports as there are business appraisers. Fortunately, each report should have a few things in common that a reader can lock onto and use to decipher what the rest of the report means. I want to share a few of these and some tips I have come up with over the years for reading valuation reports.

Things to look for –

1. Not all business appraisers follow, or are required to follow, the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), but most of them will still put a page somewhere in the report where they state their concluded value. Usually, they will also state what exactly it was that was appraised. Do not assume that the appraiser appraised what you thought was appraised. Many times, I have been asked to appraise a business, and when I asked for more information on what exactly the client was looking for, I had to educate the client on the possibilities.

I can appraise an ownership interest in the entity that owns the business assets, or I can appraise only the assets that would normally transfer in a sale.

In the first option, I can appraise a 100% ownership interest in the equity or in the invested capital. Equity means just what it means elsewhere — assets minus liabilities equals equity. Invested capital means I am providing the value regardless of how the operations were financed. Each option will come up with a different number and both will be correct. (more…)