Clinic Owners Use Covid-19 Crisis as Opportunity for Introspection

July 14, 2020

Keene PerspectivesSuccess Story: Vermont. By Amanda Kuhnert –

“We’ve tried to make the best of this extremely stressful time by focusing on the things we can control and imagining how to improve our business when we eventually reopen,” said Cortney Keene, co-owner of Keene Perspectives in White River Junction, a behavioral health center for children with autism and other developmental disorders.

At the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, Cortney and her husband Chris implemented procedures at the clinic to help limit the spread of the virus, from restricting the number of visitors to increasing cleaning. But when schools were ordered to close, they decided to temporarily pause operations. They contacted Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) advisor Ross Hart for advice, and began researching federal and state assistance programs. (more…)

The Ins and Outs of Customer Acquisition for Small Businesses

July 7, 2020

By Jessica Bennett, Salesforce –

Salesforce logoWhy are small businesses so good at what they do? It’s because they are amazing at customer retention. Small businesses know their customers by name. They greet them and are able to personalize their orders. However, small businesses cannot be dependent simply on returning customers. They need to grow their customer base continuously — yet they might not completely understand how to do that, or they may not have the resources to do it.

That’s why small businesses need to understand how to acquire customers in an efficient, effective manner. And the very first step is to begin measuring acquisition. Unfortunately, only about five in ten companies track their customer acquisition, and fewer than that monitor lifetime value. To achieve growth and transition from a startup to a sustainable small business takes an understanding of customer relationship management, sales, marketing, and customer service.

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KREWE Restaurant Opens in St. Joseph with Minnesota SBDC Assistance

June 30, 2020

Success Story: Minnesota

KREWE Opening
L-R: Brianna Knowles and Devin Larson (Minnwest Bank), Mateo Mackbee and Erin Lucas (KREWE owners and chefs), and Berny Berger (Minnesota SBDC)

Experienced restaurant owners and chefs Mateo Mackbee and Erin Lucas will be opening their much anticipated New Orleans cuisine restaurant, “KREWE,” at 24 North College Avenue in St. Joseph on July 1st. Mateo and Erin will specialize in their Creole and Cajun dishes from Mackbee’s food heritage, which is rooted in his mother’s hometown of New Orleans.

The menu will feature a variety of dishes that hearken back to The Big Easy, like muffuletta, jambalaya, and gumbo from family recipes, and shrimp raised locally in Minnesota. Erin operates their partner business – Flour and Flower, a European style bakery, which opened May 21st, located next to KREWE at 26 College Avenue North. (more…)

Email security tips for small businesses

June 23, 2020

By: Hiscox –

Google has reported that 18 million phishing emails related to COVID-19 were identified daily during just one week in April. Many of these emails look like they come from government agencies, such as the World Health Organization, and play on the fear many people are feeling during the pandemic. Although Google says that they have AI protections in place that block roughly 99.9% of these malicious emails, they have also partnered with WHO to implement a Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) system to make it even harder for these types of messages to get through to Google’s users.

So what does this mean for small business owners? Now is the time to take steps to ensure your internal communications are protected. That starts with email. Use these 5 tips to make sure that your company’s email communications are protected. Click To Tweet (more…)

Integrity Martial Arts: Staying in Business and Fulfilling Service to Customers

June 16, 2020

Success Story: Connecticut

Integrity Martial Arts is a martial arts studio in Enfield, Connecticut that’s having a big impact on its students. Respect, self-control, and discipline — these are the founding principles owner Jonathan Metcalf teaches the young people who are enrolled in his classes.

Jonathan began working with CTSBDC advisor Denise Whitford in 2016, and since then he has been able to successfully grow his business through her advice, support, and guidance. Anticipating the state-mandated closure of non-essential businesses due to COVID-19, Integrity Martial Arts immediately shifted to serving its customers online. Click To Tweet In fact, since the beginning of the pandemic, the business has been able to maintain its customer base and find new opportunities to keep growing. (more…)