Business Tip Tuesday #StickyBunDay

By: Donna Simpson

According to our Every Day’s a Holiday calendar, the week of February 20th includes chocolate mint day, national cherry pie day, sticky bun day, tortilla chip day and chocolate covered peanuts day. It’s a gastric festival for food lovers.

Many of us dream of starting a business and what easier way than cooking or baking our favorite recipes. Easy right??? No, not even close. In Pennsylvania the Department of Agriculture regulates food with the primary purpose of keeping consumers safe from foodborne illness.

Before you pull out your first recipe, visit the PA Department of Agriculture at http://www.agriculture.pa.gov/Protect/FoodSafety/Pages/default.aspx. You’ll find contacts for licenses and registrations, food safety information and much more.

Then check out http://extension.psu.edu/food/entrepreneurs , Penn State Extension office information related to all things food. You’ll find their Fact Sheets informative and very useful.

Finally, The University of Scranton SBDC offers services specific to our food clients. We’ll help you with your business plan as well as figure out how you can open the doors of your food related business.

Check our website http://www.scrantonsbdc.com for upcoming training programs including our First Step to Starting a Business and ServeSafe.

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#opportunity #nepa #February21 #scranton #sbdc #smallbiz #stickybunday #entrepreneur #chocolatemintday #nationalcherrypieday #tortillachipday #chocolatecoveredpeanutsday #ServeSafe #food #PADepartmentofAgriculture

 

Artwork adapted by Freepick.com

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#BusinessTipTuesday – we’re talking GROUCHES

It’s #BusinessTipTuesday at The University of Scranton SBDC – and we’re talking GROUCHES. Do you know one? Work with one?…Work FOR one? This Thursday, February 16, is national Do A Grouch A Favor Day. We’ll charge you with an idea at the end of this post – find a grouch near you and lend a hand (or an ear)…

Often at the SBDC, we get to know our clients well-enough that sometimes we are graced with hearing some really personal opinions of people – either what the boss thinks of their employee, or what the manager thinks of their boss. From a management standpoint, we can listen to help them flush out whether it’s a core issue that will affect the business or just a personality conflict that needs repaired. But really, it may just come down to someone having a bad day. Or someone going through a rough personal issue.

My friend and SBDC client, Kate Sholonski, author, coach, and leadership trainer at Triumph Leadership Group @Kate4Joy #TiogaCountyPennsylvania always says we need to look at two things when we meet up with a grouch:

  1. What may be going on inside of them to cause them to act out; and,
  2. What they may be afraid of.

Kate says a grouch is almost always “out of alignment” and “out of sync” from being “their best self”. She notes: “Being patient with a grouch as well as compassionate will go much further in assisting them to slow down, assess what is truly happening so whatever issue that is being dealt with can be managed more easily without hurt feelings, resentments and anger that can prolong the discomfort”. Seems simple, right?

Let’s wrap up by remembering that doing a favor IS compassionate, and can, perhaps, change a grouch for the better. If you try, they may, too. It’s the glass is half full approach – worth trying…

Gretchen Kukuchka
Business Consultant, Bradford, Tioga, Lackawanna counties
Small Business Internship Initiative @SmallBizIntern
The University of Scranton SBDC

#opportunity #nepa #February16 #scranton #sbdc #smallbiz #DoAGrouchAFavorDay #entrepreneur 

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Artwork adapted by Freepick.com

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#BusinessTipTuesday – Plan ahead.

In our latest installment of #BusinessTipTuesday has us looking to #UmbrellaDay, February 10th, as a good reminder to our small business owners to be prepared for weather related or any other type of business disruptions.

The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center (SBDC) works with small businesses to create a business disruption plan that can assist the business owner in making sure they have planned ahead to offset disruptions of any sort.  Some of the more common business disruptions we see here at The University of Scranton SBDC that can have large impact on a small business are:

  • Computer Crashes
  • Loss of a key employee
  • Weather
  • Fire

Visit your local SBDC to help your business prepare for these or any other type of business disruption.

Keith D. Yurgosky
Business Consultant
The University of Scranton
Small Business Development Center

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#BusinessTipTuesday, #TuesdayTips, New Business, #SBDC, #BusinessTipTuesday, #SmallBiz #UniversityofScranton, #NEPA, #Scranton

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#BusinessTipTuesday – Take steps to improve your business every day!

For many of us, the winter weather can bring our energy levels down. February is a good time to shake out of it and look toward the coming of Spring. If you’re looking to get your mojo back, we recommend you re-watch the classic 1993 movie, Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray. Phil Connors (Murray) is a weatherman who gets stuck reliving the same day over, and over, and over again. Learn from the hard lessons he had to endure and do not let your business fall into a rut.

Here are some steps Quickbooks recommends you take to keep your business from falling into a Groundhog Day dynamic:

  1. Get everything in writing. This is especially important when it comes to collecting payments from clients. Invoices are a great way to ensure you get paid for your services.
  2. Don’t give your time away for less than you are worth. The idea is to work smarter and not harder.
  3. Don’t work with abusive, time-draining clients. This type of clients can become demotivating and take your time away from other clients that could be more beneficial to you.
  4. Don’t ignore your client base. You do not constantly have to sell them your services, focus on developing relationships. Your client base is not only the source of your repeat business but also the best source for referrals. Test out new ways to appreciate your customers.
  5. Don’t forget to pay your quarterly taxes. They add up quickly so make sure to stay on top of your taxes.
  6. Don’t sweat the small stuff. You will be more productive if you focus on one project at a time than if you let all the small things overwhelm you.

Remember that every day is a new opportunity to do things differently. Creativity can go a long way in business!

Celebrate the chance to change later this week on Thursday, Groundhog Day February 2!

groundhog-tip-tuesday

Andrea Saenz G’17
Intern
University of Scranton Small Business Development Center

Francene Pisano Dudziec
Special Projects
University of Scranton Small Business Development Center


Artwork adapted by Freepick.com

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#BusinessTipTuesday Have a good laugh!

Happy Belly Laugh Day!!!  This annual celebration on the fourth Tuesday of January reminds us to celebrate the benefits of laughter.

Owning a business can be stressful on the best of days. Why not indulge in a good hardy laugh and watch your stress melt away.

While researching the benefits of laughter, WebMD and Mayo Clinic offered the following:
Laughter relaxes the whole body.

A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.

Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.

Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Laughter burns calories. OK, so it’s no replacement for going to the gym, but one study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn about 40 calories—which could be enough to lose three or four pounds over the course of a year.

Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.

Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier.

Boosts T-Cells. T-cells are specialized immune system cells just waiting in your body for activation. When you laugh, you activate T-cells that immediately begin to help you fight off sickness. Next time you feel a cold coming on, add chuckling to your illness prevention plan.

Blood flow. Researchers at the University of Maryland studied the effects on blood vessels when people were shown either comedies or dramas. After the screening, the blood vessels of the group who watched the comedy behaved normally — expanding and contracting easily. But the blood vessels in people who watched the drama tended to tense up, restricting blood flow.

Blood sugar levels. One study of 19 people with diabetes looked at the effects of laughter on blood sugar levels. After eating, the group attended a tedious lecture. On the next day, the group ate the same meal and then watched a comedy. After the comedy, the group had lower blood sugar levels than they did after the lecture.

Go ahead, have a good laugh!

Donna J. Simpson
Consultant Manager
University of Scranton Small Business Development Center

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#BusinessTipTuesday

Hello, #BusinessTipTuesday! A little late is better than never, right? So today’s tip is about testing new markets with new products in your business, and to celebrate #NationalPopcornDay this week, January 19.
According to popcorn.org, “”Popability” is popcorn lingo that refers to the percentage of kernels that pop.” In your business, what is your “Popability” when it comes to percentage of a customer base which buys from you? How do you grow your “Popability” in the market? Think of “Popability” as a success level.
Mr. John Seeley, of Mill Street Treats, Sylvania, Bradford County, notes that when they first tried to market their popcorn flavors through a school fundraiser model, it flopped. He noted, “We were so disappointed [that] months went by… then we had a fundraiser from another school and BAM! …the kids found it easy to sell because the people liked it. …As word is getting around we are getting more fundraising projects.”
As a business consultant, I think John and I would agree on something – “Popability” isn’t something that is immediately gained at a successful level. If you have a new product or service, we would suggest you test the same market, at least a few times!

And if you’d like to ‘test’ Mill Street Treats, visit them in the beautiful #NorthernTier, or at http://www.millstreettreats.com!
Gretchen Kukuchka, Business Consultant

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Introducing #BusinessTipTuesday

The University of Scranton SBDC is providing you with a new feature called #BusinessTipTuesday . Today we focus on #DressUpYourPetDay which falls on Saturday January 14th. Over the years our SBDC has worked with several entrepreneurs who have developed products focused on the pet industry. The American Pet Products Association estimated that the 2016 pet market was $62.75 billion. Being a new dog owner I was shocked at the amount of products that can be found for pets at your local pet supply store, grocery, and/or drug stores.   My family immediately purchased a sweater and a coat to dress our dog up to battle winter weather. All one has to do is look to Etsy.com to see the large number of entrepreneurs who are selling items of pet clothing as they attempt to capture some of that huge pet industry market share.

However, as Lisa Lavery owner of Crazy Dog Lady Professional Grooming Services by Lisa in Old Forge, PA reminds us:

“Since Dress Up Your Pet Day is really about raising awareness of the joys of pet ownership and need for pet adoption, make sure that you post and share your pet pictures on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, while making sure to use the hashtag #DressUpYourPetDay. Also, include a link to an area animal shelter like Griffin Pond Animal Shelter that will make it easy for someone to move from inclination to action!  Copy and paste the link into all into your social media posts!”

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Milo sporting his new sweater for #DressUpYourPetDay 

Keith D. Yurgosky
Business Consultant
The University of Scranton
Small Business Development Center

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Top 5 Reasons to #ShopSmall

We are getting excited for Small Business Saturday, November 26, 2016! With 5 days to go, we’ve come up with your Top 5 Reasons to #ShopSmall this holiday season:

shop-small-logo

Reason #5: Support your community

Small businesses are the backbone of our community. They support local charities and schools, donate to fundraisers and events, and take care of our local people. So don’t drive on by to go to the big box store this holiday season – support the people who support your community!

Reason #4: Find treasures and items you can’t find anywhere else

There are so many unique, often handmade products and items to choose from when you shop local. And remember, small business owners take a lot of time to consider the needs and wants of their local customers – that’s you!

Reason #3: Run into neighbors and friends

Who doesn’t want to be part of an old-fashioned movie, where everyone is full of holiday cheer and greetings as they go about their errands? Sure beats having strangers ramming into you with their shopping carts or cutting you off in the parking lot!

Reason #2: Small business owners are great people…and you get to help them pursue their dreams while meeting your needs

Small business owners are passionate about what they do and can be an incredible source of help, beyond just offering products & services. And this is your chance to make a difference by helping people fulfill their dreams of owning a business…which is not easy, by the way!

Reason #1: Keep your money in the local economy

Pennsylvania is home to nearly 1 million small businesses, and employs 2.4 million individuals or about half (46.9 percent) of the state’s private workforce. Small businesses play a vital role in Pennsylvania’s economy — accounting for 98.2 percent of businesses in the state — and their impact is evident across a variety of business sectors, ranging from professional services to retail, construction, and health care to manufacturing, education, and more.

Make an impact on your local economy by choosing to buy from independent locally-owned and operated businesses this holiday season!

Help us support the awesome small businesses in our area and #ShopSmall this Saturday, November 26!

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Pearls of Wisdom for the Passionate Woman Entrepreneur

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Anyone familiar with how a pearl is created, knows each pearl is unique and rare, created individually over time. An oyster builds, layer by layer, around a simple piece of “grit,” a beautiful and valued gem.

Each of us as women entrepreneurs, have our own “grit.” Our grit fuels our passion and drive around which we add layers of our own experience and love, to become a unique and beautiful pearl of a business.

With over 25 years as a business owner, my business as a portrait photographer has evolved constantly. Today layers of passion for encouraging and empowering other women to find their inner grit, in business and in life, has brought my business to what it is today. It’s from my experiences-turned-lessons that I’ve created Pearls of Wisdom for Women Entrepreneurs. I’m thrilled to share a few with you here

        Competition IS good.

I know the simple thought can put a knot in your stomach. But competition keeps us from becoming complacent and bored.  While you should not compare yourself to the competition, it is important to know what your clients and target audience are seeing and responding to.

Always look to improve and evolve. Explore and test new ideas and new interests. Question your best clients and discover what can you do differently, better and uniquely “you.” This keeps your passion fresh and makes you an innovator, it keep the competition wondering what you will do next, and your clients intrigued.

        Make choices, not excuses.

It isn’t about the challenges and decisions we face daily as business owners, it’s how we respond.

My high school biology teacher referred to exams as “opportunities” to pass or fail. As a business owner, we can choose to be empowered and passionately rise up above difficult times and challenging situations, taking ownership of our own change. Or we can do nothing, play the victim, make excuses and allow things to happen to us.

No matter the situation make choices, not excuses.

        Implement a 24 hr rule for every decision.

Even the strongest business woman may find she tends to rely on “gut” feelings when it comes business decisions. We say yes then later wonder “what was I thinking?” This is something that took me a long time to learn.

The lure of promises of success and fortune that went with the purchase of software, that piece of equipment, a subscription to a learning program, or an advertising plan, were hard to resist. Only to later find out that no, it only assured the success (and fortune) of the person who collected your money. (If only someone had told me this years ago!). If someone is pressuring me and say they can’t wait that long, I tell them it will be an automatic “no.”

So for any decision, of any size or purpose, wait 24 hours. This will give time for the “shiny object” or “this seems like a great idea” feeling to settle down, assuring that it is a best “yes” for your business. Only YOU can look out for the best interest of your business.

Never stop learning and searching for ideas.

Don’t get stuck in an “I always did it that way” rut. Trends, your industry and your clients’ lifestyle & needs are always changing. So always be on the lookout for new ideas. Many will come from outside your industry and by meeting new people.

  • Join business groups and network with other businesses.
  • Join your industry’s professional organizations to network and stay on top of industry trends.
  • Look around on the internet.
  • Read everything.
  • Start an idea journal – electronic or a little notebook in your purse.

Even a vague idea that catches your attention today may be the catalyst for a unique idea later. This is what sets you apart

Most of allBe Passionate. Be relentless. Be bold. Push your boundaries and never, ever give up.

“Pearls of Wisdom for Passionate Woman Entrepreneur” is an e-guide, set to be published January 2017. To receive your free copy, email Cheryl@CherylKaiser.com and put “E-guide” in the subject line, it will be sent to you upon release.

Cheryl Kaiser helps women “Discover their beauty, boldness, and purpose through coaching, mentoring, photography and speaking programs.” More information about Cheryl can be found at http://www.CherylKaiser.com .

If you are interested in working with Cheryl one-on-one; during an upcoming Tenacity retreat; or as part of a coaching group (forming soon), contact Cheryl for a chat.

 570-282-4090
Cheryl@CherylKaiser.com
WWW.CherylKaiser.com

Posted in Business, business planning, business start up, courage in business, Goals, maximize business success, self-awareness, Start up, University of Scranton SBDC, woman owned business | Tagged , , , , , , ,

New Business Alert – Nai’s Tea, Coffee & Collectibles Opens in the Poconos

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The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center is proud to announce the successful entrepreneurial endeavor of Naira Kasparian, who has now opened her second small business with SBDC assistance. Next door to her original establishment, Merlot N’ Picasso, now stands Nai’s Tea, Coffee, & Collectibles. The introduction of her new store was fueled by Naira’s love of gourmet tea and coffee as well as her love of antiques.

Naira is a highly determined small business owner; when asked why she chose to embark in this new trade, she responded, “I wanted to have a coffee shop, so when the property next to my existing business Merlot N’ Picasso became available, I jumped at the chance.”

The SBDC assisted in the business start up phase regarding business registrations & licensing, provided market research on the tea & coffee industry, assisted the client in planning a grand opening, and continues to provide marketing advice.

After several months of SBDC consulting services, the grand opening and ribbon cutting was held on October 20, 2016. Among those in attendance were State Representative Jack Rader, Jr.; representatives from State Senator Mario Scavello; State Representative David Parker; the Greater Pocono Mountain Chamber of Commerce; as well as friends and family of Naira Kasparian.

You can visit Nai’s Tea, Coffee & Collectibles at 246 Stadden Road, Tannersville, PA,  or they can be contacted at by phone at (570) 534-4446.

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