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Speech Therapist Branches Out To Better Serve Kids

Success Story: Idaho

Michelle Lance, Bloom TherapyWhen speech therapist Michelle Lance starting working with the Idaho SBDC in Pocatello, she was working full-time as a speech therapist for a clinic. As she watched management struggle with employee relationships and effective service delivery, she saw ways to better run a clinic.

She had a hunch the market could support a new speech therapy clinic, and her specialties were in demand. Over the next year, Lance worked with the Idaho SBDC to develop a business plan and secure an SBA loan. She also worked with a group of Idaho State University students on market research.

In the fall of 2016, Lance opened the Bloom Center for Pediatric Therapy, hired an additional therapist, and now sees kids 0-18 years old on a full schedule. She continues to work on expanding and renovating the spacious facility she purchased and plans to add more services as she grows.

“I was new to planning for and owning a business,” says Lance, “and I couldn’t have opened without my SBDC consultant’s help with the business plan.”

For more about the Bloom Center for Pediatric Therapy, visit www.bloomidaho.com. For more about the Idaho SBDC, visit idahosbdc.org.

How to Find VCs and Angel Investors

How to Find VCs and Angel Investors

By Lydia Roth

When you’ve mapped out the coming months for your business and expect to need a good amount of capital to grow, you may need to find outside funds. If you have a wealthy family member who believes in your venture, you’re in a good position. Otherwise, you can seek funds in the form of debt or equity financing.

Debt financing is when you take on someone else’s money in exchange for interest paid throughout the duration of the loan. Equity financing is when you take on someone else’s money in exchange for some ownership of your company.

Two popular forms of equity financing are VCs, or venture capitalists, and angel investors. If you’re thinking “I’ve heard of those and want in,” ask yourself these questions first:

• Are you ready to share control of your company? VC firms and angel investors can provide capital, guidance, and a big network of important people, but you may have to give up partial control of your company.  (more…)

Working Mom To Business Owner

Success Story: New Jersey

NJ SBDC Success - Marcy Ragan

The state of my business before I worked with the SBDC was just an idea. I was at a point in my life that I had to start working for myself out of necessity. The restaurant I had been working in wanted to change my hours (and I would never see my kids for dinner) and cut my pay. I needed to come up with a viable, marketable concept that would harness my talents, sustain growth, make a profit and make sure I was having dinner with my most important clients – my family.

My name is Marcy Ragan and I am the chef and owner of Relish Chef Services. Relish is a personal chef service, caterer and private cooking instructor. Relish cooks delicious, custom, hand-made meals for busy clients. In our modern lives people need help with their hectic lifestyles. Most often feeding ourselves with fresh, delicious and nutritious food can fall by the wayside. We all know that eating well with whole, nutritious food will benefit us immediately by powering our hard working bodies and minds but also in the long run as we age. We can live healthy, long lives if we eat whole, nutritious and delicious food. Being invested in tasty nutritious food now can only benefit our health as we age.

My clients have the benefit of having the meal planning, grocery shopping, prep work, cooking and clean-up handled by an expert. All meals are cooked and ready to go. Everyone is unique, Relish makes sure that you are fed well to your exact specifications. In my business I really get to know my clients and I am able to take care of their needs. My clients and I are able to develop a real sense of trust where I am able to anticipate their needs and work into their lives seamlessly.  (more…)

A Small Business Owner’s Guide to Kaizen

Small Business Owner's Guide To Kaizen

By Eric Rosenberg

Kaizen is defined as “a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices” and personal efficiency. The word literally means “improvement,” but has taken on a more important meaning in the world of business.

Large Japanese companies like Toyota have long touted the benefits of Kaizen, and it has slowly moved into the corporate culture at companies around the world. Now even small businesses take notice and try to apply the philosophy of continuous improvement to their business. No matter what size organization you are a part of, your team can almost certainly benefit from Kaizen. Here’s how:

Identify Major Business Processes

Start your quest for Kaizen by identifying major processes in your business. While Kaizen concepts are traditionally applied to manufacturing, every business has room for improvement. By identifying processes your business uses on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, you can get started thinking about how to improve.

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VT Brewing Boom Continues With Hyde Park Tasting Room

Success Story: Vermont

VT SBDC Success - Ten Bends BeerVtSBDC Specialty Services 
Key To Ten Bends Launch

Vermont is quickly becoming known as a destination for high quality brewing as breweries of various sizes continue to spring up across the landscape. One of the latest is Ten Bends Beer in Hyde Park.

Owned and operated by Michael Scarlata and Jason Powell, the 590 East Main Street brewhouse and tasting room recently started serving its craft brewed creations from its 3bbl system, but not before seeking assistance from Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtBSDC) Area Advisor and craft brewing specialist Charley Ininger.

In addition to being one of VtSBDC’s area advisors, Ininger is also part of the specialty services VtSBDC has to offer. With many years in the food and beverage business and a keen understanding of what it takes to make a brewery a success from concept to creation, Ininger has worked with many Vermont beer makers as the brewing boom continues to expand. In addition to individual advice and advising, Charley offers a class in the business of brewing, a workshop he has delivered across the country.  (more…)