Lessons Learned From Shark Tank

November 20, 2019

By Michael Patten –

Lessons Learned From Shark TankWe’ve all watched entrepreneurs go onto Shark Tank and pitch their product to the Sharks. Some participants are so impressive in the way they deliver a clever pitch that instantly grabs everyone’s attention, while other participants fail miserably and make you cringe inside.

While my son and I have watched many episodes together, one business in particular stuck out to me. Two cousins from Maine pitched the idea of a food truck selling lobster. After seeing an update on the business this year, I decided to learn a bit more and picked up their book, Cousins Maine Lobster: How One Food Truck Became a Multi-million-Dollar Business. The book provided a detailed account of how they started their business, how they landed on Shark Tank, and how their deal with Barbara turned their food truck into a multi-million dollar business.

The book was a fun read and provided some great insights into starting a business and all of the work that is involved. However, one of my favorite chapters was titled “Oh, Right, Money Matters,” because it highlights the value and critical importance of understanding the key metrics of any business. (more…)

5 Steps to Stop Small Business Cyber Crime

November 18, 2019

By John Sileo –

Cyber CrimeOn August 12, 2003, as I was just sitting down to a tea party with my daughters and their stuffed animals, the doorbell rang. Standing there when I opened the door was a big, burly special agent from the economic crimes unit at the district attorney’s office—ready to issue a subpoena for my arrest. In a calm but ominous voice, he told me I was going to be charged for electronically embezzling (hacking) $298,000 from customers of my small software company, and that the DA’s office had enough digital DNA to put me in jail for a decade.

I was the victim of cyber crime, and I should have known better. You see, earlier that year my identity was stolen and sold to a woman in Florida. This woman purchased a home, committed a number of crimes, drained my bank accounts and filed for bankruptcy—all in my name. I learned all of this one day at the bank, right before I was escorted out by security guards.

The experience of losing my money, time and dignity motivated me to protect my personal information assets with a vengeance. Unfortunately, I didn’t apply my newfound cyber vigilance to my professional life, which is how I ended up standing on my front step holding a tiny teacup and shaking like a leaf. (more…)

The 5 Silent Killers of Cash Flow

November 14, 2019

By Cheryl Abrahamson –

Silent Killers of Cashflow

In an economy where the stakes are increasingly high and cash progressively scarce, business owners must proactively manage the balance sheet and income statement or risk falling victim to the five silent killers of cash flow.

Did you know that a majority of businesses that file bankruptcy reported a net profit, yet had negative cash flow? Often the warning signs that a company is in trouble go unnoticed until it is too late. A business can improve its liquidity and create long-term viability by looking closely at the following potential trouble spots.

1. Mis-Financing

Mis-financing is defined as borrowing short-term debt to pay for long-term assets. These assets could include purchasing equipment, leasehold improvements and other fixed items, paid for with a short-term line of credit. This process drains the cash out of a business and condenses the time-frame the asset has to pay for itself. (more…)

Vegun Nutrition

November 11, 2019

Vegun Nutrition - Maryland SuccessVeterans Success Story: Maryland –

Derrell Lee and John Pace are U.S. Military Veterans who graduated from Harford Community College (HCC) with Associate degrees in Business Administration. Derrell and John had wanted to start their own business for a while, and it was finally time for them to unleash their entrepreneurial spirit.

With a passion for healthy living and fitness, the duo came up with a revolutionary idea with confidence for future success. Before pursuing this venture head-first, they sought advice on how to properly format their business and construct a business plan to enable them to receive the financing needed.

They came to Maryland’s Northern Region Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and spoke with Ryan Del Gallo for consultation on how to move their business in a positive direction. Ryan answered all of their questions while providing one-on-one counseling, and he also went a step further to assist with developing a marketing strategy, accurate financial projections, a proper loan package, and a well-developed pitch for the business. (more…)