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…)

An End-of-Year Checklist for Small Businesses

November 25, 2019

By Andriana Moskovska –

Keeping your business afloat in a highly competitive market is not exactly a walk in the park. Approximately 20% of new ventures don’t even make it past their first year, so it’s important to do all that you can to rise above the competition.

With that being said, finishing up another year without your business closing down is already a major milestone. But don’t start celebrating too soon. Now is the time to reflect on the past few months, and set goals for the upcoming year. Preparing for the year to come will ensure steady growth for your business.

Poor business planning and market research are two of the main culprits of business failure. Simply put, there’s no room for incompetence in the world of business.

It’s important to avoid procrastination. Take care of smaller tasks as they come, so you can focus on the bigger things ahead.

Here are a few things to add to your end-of-year checklist so you can start the new year with a clean slate: (more…)

FLSA’s New Overtime Rule: How It Impacts Employers and More than 1 Million Employees

November 22, 2019

By ComplyRight –

Warehouse employeesOn September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a final rule that will make 1.3 million workers newly eligible for overtime pay.

Under the new guidelines, the minimum salary threshold increases to $684/week ($35,568 annually), effective January 1, 2020. With very few exceptions, employers must pay time-and-a-half to workers making less than this amount for any hours over 40 per week.

The white-collar duties tests for executive, administrative and professional employees remain the same. This means employees will only be exempt from overtime if they earn more than $35,568 annually and pass one of the existing DOL job duties tests.

Identify Affected Employees

Your first step to prepare for the new rule is to pinpoint employees who may be impacted by the change. (Consider reviewing all employees making less than $40,000 a year since the salary threshold could increase in the future.) If employees making less than $35,568 are already non-exempt or “hourly,” no change is needed. However, if you have employees under the threshold who are exempt or “salaried,” you’ll need to take action. (more…)