An Energy Engineer Overcomes Obstacles to Bring Business to Light

October 1, 2018

Success Story: Idaho –

Idaho SBDC success - RetroluxRetrolux was founded by Leif Elgethun, a self-described serial clean energy entrepreneur and advocate for a world as a carbon neutral society. After building software and honing workflows that greatly reduced the time and cost required to sell and install commercial building lighting retrofits for a former employer, Leif decided to found Retrolux.

This company seeks to accelerate the adoption of market-ready technologies that decrease fossil fuel usage and toxic materials in the lighting market by providing software that brings products to consumers faster and cheaper than ever before. With his background in energy engineering and project management, the first major obstacle was learning how to build a software company. The next obstacle was raising the capital required to build enterprise-grade software and bring it to market.

The SBA and SBDC were very influential in Leif & co-founder Brett Adler’s preparation for pitching to angel investors and making sure they had the supporting documentation they required. Retrolux was able to raise $600k in May, 2016, to help the company build the software and get it to market.  (more…)

Proceed with Caution: Important Considerations Before Terminating an Employee

September 24, 2018

By ComplyRight –

ComplyRight Tip SheetDetermining whether or not to fire an employee can be complicated. There are numerous personnel factors to consider, as well as critically important legal considerations. A single misstep can complicate the process and expose you to a potential lawsuit.

But it doesn’t have to be this way! With an eye toward proper progressive discipline in the workplace – and by following some important precautions — you can make the best choices for your business.

How to Document Performance Issues

Lack of solid documentation is the single most common mistake employers make when handling disciplinary situations or terminating an employee. Good records, on the other hand, can mean the difference between winning and losing a legal dispute.  (more…)

This New Service Can Help You Build Business Credit Faster

September 17, 2018

By Gerri Detweiler –

ArrowsMany entrepreneurs find the process of building business credit frustrating. It’s not terribly difficult, but it does involve a few steps, the most important of which is to obtain accounts that report to commercial credit agencies. By paying those bills on time (or early) and keeping your debt in check, you can help build strong business credit. But because many small business bills aren’t reported to commercial credit reporting agencies, business owners may find themselves with little credit data on their reports.

But there’s a new simple solution that can help business owners build credit using accounts they already pay, and it’s fast and easy. Here’s how it works.

You set up an account with eCredable, a service designed to help small business owners build credit using bills they already pay. You can link specific types of bills (see below) to eCredable, which then reports that information to commercial credit reporting agencies. Those accounts, when reported and paid on time, can help build business credit. Currently eCredable works with Experian and Ansonia and expects to report to another major business credit reporting agency in the coming months.  (more…)

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…)