Artists in Business

September 10, 2018

Success Story: Vermont –

Vermont Success - DaValliaTwo amazingly talented artists (Jessie makes exquisite jewelry and Michael makes eclectic furniture), plus a passion for their fellow Vermont artists’ works, plus an incredible shared eye for all things beautiful: for Jessie and Michael Alon that means not just one gallery, but two. One can’t contain their creativity and dedication.

Nestled in the quintessential village of Chester, Vermont, the downtown gallery, DaVallia Art Boutique, features Jessie’s work combined with arts and crafts from fifty artists. And on the way out of town, Davallia 39 North Gallery focuses on fine art, furniture and accessories for your home.

“Our business is special because we truly love what we do. We elevate all aspects of our business to the level of art. We display differently, we think differently and we care. By being both artists and business owners, we have the ability to apply our creative skills into our business plan. If you leave our gallery with nothing but inspiration, we did our jobs.”

Jessie and Michael say working with VtSBDC has allowed them to: 1. create consistency and fluidity in their message to their customers; 2. know more about employee hiring and training; 3. stay focused on the important things; 4. craft a better elevator speech; and 5. perfect a budget.  (more…)

6 Confusing Small Business Loan Terms Defined

September 4, 2018

By Megan Tyler –

LoanGetting a business loan can be tough. You know the ins and outs of your own business, but you might not know how to get the funding you need. To make matters worse, small business lending is full of confusing financial lingo that you may not understand. If you need a crash course in business lending lingo, here’s a quick rundown of five confusing small business loan terms.

APR

You see APR everywhere when applying for financing, but you might not remember everything that goes into calculating the APR for different types of financing.

APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate, and it estimates the overall annual cost of a loan including fees and compounding interest. This means that when looking for business financing and credit cards, an APR is often a better point of comparison than the interest rate alone. If your loan doesn’t give you an estimated APR, you can always use an APR calculator to get an idea of how much your loan will cost.  (more…)

4 Lessons Your Small Business Can Learn From the Big Mac

August 27, 2018

By Linsey Knerl –

Small business ownerThe Big Mac – the special burger from McDonald’s that features “two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and a sesame seed bun” – is almost as much of an icon as the fast-food chain itself. While the world is pretty much split on the one-of-a-kind sandwich (the sauce has a way of being fairly polarizing), no one can deny that it’s an unchanging staple that’s been branded into our culture.

The sandwich is 50 years old this year, proving that some things are still a good idea half a century later. Here are some other hard truths about its success for small businesses that cannot be ignored.

Have a Signature Item

Fast food has gotten weird over the years. I remember when McDonald’s introduced what they called a more “grown-up” menu, switching their classic grilled chicken offering over to something with honey mustard, a fancy bun, and more lettuce than I would ever put into a small side salad. This was on the tail of the failed McSpaghetti, and it predated some of the chain’s experiments into the McGriddle – which has gone on to become a current classic.  (more…)

From Hobby to Growing BBQ Business

August 20, 2018

Success Story: Idaho

Pitmaster BBQRob Harding spent 25 years in healthcare administration. He turned his love of good BBQ into a hobby, then into a thriving business.

At a wedding reception catered by Rob, his BBQ ribs received rave reviews — from guests who happened to be judges from the Memphis of May International BBQ contest. He began entering BBQ competitions in 2008.

After winning many awards, he opened an Idaho Falls restaurant in 2012, where they make everything in-house every day and serve high-grade meats cooked low and slow over real wood. This commitment to quality has made Pitmaster BarBQue Company the most awarded BBQ restaurant in Idaho.

Rob came to the SBDC because he needed someone to discuss his current and future business growth in a confidential environment. “The consultants played a key role in helping me think through growth strategies,” said Rob.  (more…)

What Small Businesses Should Know About Tariffs

August 13, 2018

(Updated September 19, 2018)

By Peter J. Cazamias, SBA –

Recently, the United States Government announced several new tariff increases. The U.S. Department of Commerce implemented tariffs on steel and aluminum imports for national security reasons. Separately, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced tariffs to combat unfair trade practices on certain Chinese goods. Additional tariffs on a larger list of goods from China are expected in the future.

Small businesses should become familiar with what imported products are impacted, to make informed business decisions as tariffs could increase the total cost of certain imported goods.

What are tariffs?

Tariffs are a taxes, levies, or duties on a particular category of imports. These fees are charged as a percentage of the price of an imported good paid for by a U.S. buyer. These charges are collected by U.S. Custom and Border Protection agents at all U.S. ports of entry.  (more…)