Established Bakery Rises to New Heights

April 16, 2018

Success Story Idaho –

Zeppole Bakery, IdahoSince Charles and Alison Alpers purchased Zeppole Bakery in 2006, retail and wholesale business has increased while fostering community involvement and garnering numerous awards, including being honored in 2010 by the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce as Boise’s Small Business of the Year.

The company’s continued growth was limited, though, because of inadequate production space and aging equipment – an inefficient set-up that only got worse as sales grew. That’s when the Idaho SBDC’s assistance proved invaluable in securing a loan to move the bakery to a larger facility and update equipment. The SBDC worked closely with Charles and Alison on their business plan, budget, financial projections and loan application.

“They provided invaluable expertise that helped us modernize our equipment, relocate to a larger, more effcient facility and, therefore, continue to grow our business,” says Charles. “I doubt we would have achieved the success we now enjoy without [the SBDC].”  (more…)

6 Business Credit Card Fees You Can Avoid

April 2, 2018

By Jason Steele –

Credit CardIt seems like America has gone crazy with fees. It’s now standard practice in most industries to quote prices that fail to include several mandatory extra charges, often intermingled with government imposed taxes. But in the credit card industry, fees are actually under strict government control. All fees must be clearly disclosed in advance, and card issuers aren’t even allowed to use the fine print.

This makes it easy to avoid most fees when it comes to choosing a business credit card. Here are six business credit card fees you should always avoid:

1. Foreign Transaction Fees

Sometimes, it’s necessary to pay a business credit card fee in order to receive a valuable service. However, many credit cards impose a 3% foreign transaction fee on all charges processed outside of the United States. This means that you could face this charge when making purchases from a foreign supplier, even if the transaction is in U.S. Dollars. Thankfully, there are many small business cards with no foreign transaction fees. For example, all Capital One cards, including the Spark small business cards, have no foreign transaction fees.  (more…)

Common Myths About Labor Law Posting Regulations

March 26, 2018

By ComplyRight –

Posting compliance is a lot more complicated than most people think. In fact, there are common misconceptions about this mandatory government requirement – even though it applies to every U.S. employer. Let’s look at the top three.

Posting Law Myth #1: Ignoring Posting Laws Carries No Risk

ComplyRight eGuide - Posting Regs“Government fines are so small, it’s no big deal if we don’t post.”

“There are no poster police out there … so how would I even get caught?”

It’s not unusual for business owners to underestimate the importance of posting compliance or to think the risk is so minimal it doesn’t really matter. But this could get you in trouble.

First, when it comes to the fines, the amounts are steep — and they can add up significantly if you have violations at multiple locations. On just the federal level, fines can be more than $33,000 per location for posting violations.

On a state and local level, the government posting fines are typically between $100 and $1,000 per violation. (Each posting carries its own fines, because every agency and posting law is different.)  (more…)

Bringing Wet Shaving to the 21st Century

March 19, 2018

Success Story: Idaho

The Grooming NetworkImagine bringing the best of Victorian-era masculinity to the 21st century while also creating local jobs and protecting the environment. Luke Webster’s The Grooming Network (TGN) has accomplished all of these since starting up in 2011.

Along with his wife and two business partners, Webster has cornered the market in old-fashioned wet shaving. Webster started with a single product, a website and a small marketing budget. Within a short time, they had over $40,000 in orders and Webster knew they had connected with real need.

Webster and his team at TGN resurrected the lost art form of creating quality, American-made straight razors by patenting a unique process for manufacturing the blades in North Idaho. These reusable razors help reduce landfill shave waste by 96% while saving customers money.

Webster credits his business clarity to working with the North Idaho SBDC. Together, they identified a path forward to create a three-fold increase in his business in the next five years. Webster is on a mission to change the way the world shaves.  (more…)

The Right Way to Close a Credit Card

March 12, 2018

By Jason Steele –

Credit CardDid you know that there’s a right way and a wrong way to close your small business credit card? If you do it the wrong way, you could miss out on rewards and benefits, and possibly even incur late fees and interest payments. Use these steps to make sure that you close your credit card account the right way.

Consider Alternatives to Closing Your Account

There are some good reasons why you may wish to close your small business credit card account, but many of them can be addressed by your card issuer. The market for small business credit cards is extremely competitive, and card issuers are willing to go to great lengths to retain existing their customers. For example, if you are closing your account because the annual fee is too high, and you let your card issuer know, then it may waive your annual fee to keep your business. Likewise, if the standard interest rate is not competitive, then your card issuer might be able to offer you a lower rate.

And even if you aren’t satisfied with your card’s rewards and benefits, you can actually have your existing account converted to a different card offered by the same issuer, without having to close your account or apply for a new card. This is called a product change, and your existing account information and balance will be retained, while having the rewards, features and benefits of a different card.  (more…)