St. Johnsbury, Vermont Child-Care Center Expands

April 10, 2019

By Amanda Kuhnert –

ABC & LOL Child Care CenterHeather Hudson had been running a successful child-care business in St. Johnsbury, Vermont for five years when she saw an opportunity to expand. A competing child-care center became available for purchase, and she wanted to buy it.

But was it a good idea? Hudson needed to determine whether the purchase was a sound financial move.

For help assessing the viability of the venture, Heather’s bank referred her to business advisor Ross Hart at the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC). Hart specializes in finance and business planning.

“Heather had a high degree of expertise in her industry and had been successful with her existing business,” Ross explained. “But she understood that there was a degree of complexity with purchasing another business that she didn’t fully understand. So she connected with me to help her review and assess the financials of the business she was interested in and develop some financial projections to complete her loan application package.” (more…)

From $7.25 to More than $15: Understand the Changing Dynamics of Minimum Wage Legislation

April 2, 2019

By ComplyRight –

Minimum Wage Monitor mapMinimum wage workers doing the same job are paid drastically different wages and it all depends on where they work.

States, cities, counties – and even corporations – are setting their own minimum wages for workers. This year alone, rates will go up in 20 states as well as numerous cities and counties. These are just the latest round of increases due to inaction at the federal level.

The national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour hasn’t changed in a decade – despite many lawmakers pressing for an increase. However, it just might happen. A bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour has recently been introduced. And the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the issue in the coming weeks.

Local Lawmakers Step Up

In the meantime, state and local governments continue to take matters into their own hands. Minimum wage workers in these states will receive a raise in 2019. Here are the new rates: (more…)

Making a Business Vision Clear

March 25, 2019

Success Story: Idaho –

Little Wood Vision Clinic, IdahoMatt Kent became interested in optometry as a 19-year-old, while serving as a volunteer at eye camps for under-served populations in India.

In 2015, he and his wife Becky started working with the Twin Falls CSI Small Business Development Center on a business plan for his own practice, closer to home. Since many grants and loan forgiveness programs available for rural areas are not offered to optometrists, support from the Idaho SBDC was important to Dr. Kent’s efforts to provide local eye care and employment in his small community.

In Shoshone, Dr. Kent offers comprehensive vision exams, disease management, urgent eye exams, contact lens services, and glasses. Additionally, he offers specialty contact lens options — a niche treatment option for patients with keratoconus. Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) imaging — a specialty imaging service — provides enhanced ability to care for patients with conditions such as diabetes, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and other retinal issues. (more…)

America’s SBDCs Host 3rd Annual SBDC Day

March 20, 2019

SBDC Day logoThe nation’s largest, proven, cost effective small business assistance program invites you to the celebration!

For almost 40 years the America’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network has helped aspiring and emerging small business owners achieve the American dream of entrepreneurship. Today, March 20, SBDCs from around the country are coming together for one special day to celebrate their work, their impact, and most importantly, their clients — America’s small businesses.

With nearly 1,000 locations across the country, SBDCs provide local businesses and entrepreneurs with the resources to succeed. In 2017, America’s SBDC clients experienced annual sales growth of 18.1%, almost 4.5 times greater than the national average. SBDC assistance resulted in 93,471 jobs created; $7 billion in sales growth; $5.9 billion in capital investments; and 14,716 new businesses started.

To celebrate the impact and success that SBDCs have across the nation and in local communities, America’s SBDCs are hosting the third annual SBDC Day today. SBDC Day is a national movement to share the small business success SBDCs have fostered in communities nationwide.

America’s SBDCs would like to thank the following 2019 SBDC Day Ambassadors for promoting and supporting this year’s SBDC Day: the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA); Intuit; Google; LivePlan; BizBuySell; Nav; ComplyRight; United Midwest Savings Bank; GrowthWheel; Better Business Bureau; Finagraph; First Bank; FranNet; Hiscox; Koble; Profits Plus Solutions; The Profit Beacon; Launchpad; and Back2Basics LLC, and Small Business Majority. (more…)

The Julian Family Farm

March 18, 2019

Success Story: Wisconsin –

Jason and Katrina JulianKatrina and Jason Julian want to feed your family affordable, delicious, healthy dairy and beef products. Three generations, from Jason’s mom to the Julians’ three sons, work in the family business. The Julians raise certified organic, grass-fed and grass-finished Fleckvieh cattle, a breed remarkable for its suitability for both meat and milk production. The Julians’ horses are just as remarkable: their team of American Brabants (a relative of the Belgian draft horse) takes the place of tractors for much of the farmwork.

Katrina and Jason, who both grew up on farms and met in the agricultural program at UW-River Falls, began farming conventionally when they bought a dairy farm in 1996. But a desire for a lifestyle more in line with their family values led to a switch in 2007. The Julians moved to a new farm outside Medford, Wisconsin, and began the transition to organic. In 2015, they received certification. Today, their cattle graze on clover and grasses. Katrina said, “I hear from customers our meat isn’t greasy, it smells great, it has a great texture. I tell them that’s because it’s real.” No hormones or antibiotics come near the herd — “just pure goodness.” (more…)