#BusinessTipTuesday – National Student Employment Week

This week, April 9-13, is National Student Employment Week, which is something that the Small Business Development Center fully supports. This semester alone, the SBDC is hosting eleven interns, all of which are students at the University of Scranton. This annual event is dedicated to recognizing the significant impact that student employees make on campus and in the surrounding community.

The SBDC offers a service called the Small Business Internship Initiative (SBII), which is a program that connects small businesses to prospective interns. SBII provides no cost, confidential guidance in determining whether hosting an intern is the right option to help grow your business, assistance in preparing internship descriptions, guidance with conducting interviews, and access to students at 11 local colleges and universities.

Why should you consider an intern?

Grow Your Business. Hosting an intern can help you expand the capabilities of your business and reach your goals!

Internships Help Identify Future Employees. Welcoming students into your business is a great strategy. If all goes well, you might want to bring them on as a paid employee when they complete their internship.

Interns Offer Fresh Perspectives. Adding an intern’s perspective to your team will keep you a step ahead of the competition. Their unbiased viewpoints can help you discover a more effective or efficient way of doing things.

Hiring an Intern is Affordable. Surveys show that 73% of student interns consider career advancement opportunities highly important, but only 41% said getting paid is. Offering your intern a reasonable wage as well as perks – like an invitation to networking events – could be more effective than offering solely a high wage.

Hosting an intern could be a great addition to your business. If you are interested in offering an internship, visit our website for more information: http://scrantonsbdc.com/internships/small-businesses/

Amy Simpson, Senior
WEC Intern
The University of Scranton
Small Business Development Center

#internship #studentemployment #smallbiz #nepa #sbdc #scranton #interns #business #opportunity #internship

Artwork adapted from vecteezy.com

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#BusinessTipTuesday – Mom and Pop Business Owner Day!

This Thursday, March 29th, we are celebrating Mom and Pop Business Owner Day! Imagine your neighborhood without any of its small, local businesses… Corner stores, hair and nail salons, consignment shops, restaurants, gas stations, and more – gone. All that would be left would be big box stores, leaving the streets empty and boring. Communities thrive on Mom and Pop stores and here are some reasons why.

Small businesses give back to the community.
When you support a local business, you are also supporting your neighborhood. Businesses pay sales taxes to the city and county the business is in, and that tax money is used to support public schools, parks, and roads as well as public service workers, like firefighters. 

Small businesses provide better customer service.
One of the biggest advantages small business owners have over large retailers is the ability to provide more personal customer service. Business owners rely on customer service to build a loyal customer base, so it is comforting to know you will be shopping in a store that is genuinely happy to assist you.

Small businesses promote product diversity.
By shopping at a small business you will be able to find locally made gifts that are perfect for anyone. Not only that, but small businesses have just as much access to vendors that big box businesses do. If a small business does not have the products you are looking for, ask – they are usually more than willing to order them for you. 

Local owners support other local services.
Small business owners go into their local community to buy the supporting services they need; for example, services include designers, sign makers, contractors, and accountants just to name a few. On top of that, by shopping at a business in the neighborhood, you are more likely to stop by other shops in the area.

So how can you get more involved in supporting Mom and Pop stores? Shop small, of course! Go to a locally owned corner store for that gallon of milk rather than heading to a chain grocery store, and while you are there, say “hi” and get to know the owner. Promote the businesses on your social media accounts by sharing their promotional posts and writing reviews.

If you are looking to start your own small business, The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center is here to help! Visit our website, www.scrantonsbdc.com, for more information.

Amy Simpson, Senior
WEC Intern
The University of Scranton
Small Business Development Center

#March29 #smallbiz #nepa #sbdc #scranton #momandpopbusiness #business #smallbusiness #smallbizowners

Artwork adapted from vecteezy.com

 

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#BusinessTipTuesday – Celebrating National #SBDCDay!

This week on March 21st, we are celebrating National #SBDCDay! On this day the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) from all over the country join together to highlight the clients that the centers have served and their successes. Be it prosperous business startups, growing existing businesses, or simply impacting the small business community all the stories deserve to be recognized; and so do the entrepreneurs for their dedication and ideas and the SBDCs that help make their dreams happen!

According to America’s SBDC, Small Business Development Centers around the nation have provided business consulting to 192,205 entrepreneurs, have helped to create 96,905 new jobs, and have helped to start 17,174 new businesses! As well, on average SBDC client annual sales growth increases by 13.6% which is four times greater than the national average! Visit https://americassbdc.org/sbdcday/ for more information on what #SBDCDay is, more statistics, events to celebrate the day, and more!

Remember, the Small Business Development Centers offer consulting to people looking to start or grow businesses at no cost! Whether it is a business plan, market research, or anything else you need assistance with the SBDC is here to help. Specifically at the University of Scranton Small Business Development Center, we additionally offer the Small Business Internship Initiative. This program allows our center to connect local businesses with college students; and gives the business the chance to attract up-and-coming talent and the students to have hands on experience by working in a small business. Furthermore, our center partnered with the University of Scranton Kania School of Management hosts the Women’s Entrepreneurship Center. This program offers women interested in starting a business with consulting through different events and series.

No matter what your business needs may be, the Small Business Development Centers across the nation are here to help! Check out our website, www.scrantonsbdc.com, for more information and reach out to us if you have any questions. Help us celebrate #SBDCDay by following this hashtag on social media!

Danielle Guari
Business Consultant
The University of Scranton
Small Business Development Center

#sbdc #nepa #scranton #women #march21 #SBDCDay #business #shopsmall #smallbiz
#AmericasSBDC

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#BusinessTipTuesday – National Write Your Story Day

Tomorrow, Wednesday March 14th is National Write Your Story Day. Take a few minutes to reflect on your business journey up until this point and see how far you’ve come. Everyone is at a different place so don’t feel like you need to compare yourself to someone else. Take this opportunity to not only look back to see your accomplishments, but also to look to the future and plan what else needs to be done.

The Small Business Development Center is here to help every step of the way while you’re starting your business. From turning an idea into a business, to helping grow an existing business, we are here to help make the critical decisions that can make or break a business that is just starting out. For more information about our services, visit http://scrantonsbdc.com/.

Amy Simpson, Senior
WEC Intern
The University of Scranton
Small Business Development Center

#NationalWriteYourStoryDay #March14 #smallbiz #nepa #sbdc #scranton #accomplishments #business #opportunity #writeyourstory

Artwork adapted from vecteezy.com

 

 

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#BusinessTipTuesday – Recognizing International Women’s Day

March 8th, 2018 is International Women’s Day and this week’s #BusinessTipTuesday we will be focusing on this particular topic that is celebrated all over the world! According to IWD, International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s theme is #PressforProgress and concentrates on driving towards gender parity. The importance of women banding together across the world to make sure their voices are heard will be carried out throughout all of 2018 with this theme. How will you celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th and throughout the year? Specifically, at The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center one of the things we are always celebrating is women entrepreneurs of all kind!

According to the National Women’s Business Council’s analysis of the 2012 Survey of Business owners, there are 304, 803 women owned businesses in Pennsylvania. Furthermore, the Small Business Association’s 2012 Survey of Business Owners shows that women were majority owners of 9.9 million businesses which generated $1.4 trillion in sales and employed over 8.4 million individuals. As well the Survey quotes that, almost all (99.9%) of women-owned businesses are small businesses. Way to go ladies! With small businesses near and dear to our hearts, we like to do everything we can to help anyone interested in starting a small business.

With this being said it is a great time to highlight our Women’s Entrepreneurship Center being that we are celebrating women entrepreneurs! The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center and the Kania School of Management joined together to create the Women’s Entrepreneurship Center (WEC). Business start-up information, guidance, and encouragement are among the things offered through WEC to women interested in starting their own business. The SBDC staff and WEC student interns offer a 6-week Startup program, where each woman is taken through the process of starting a business, as well as given some additional consulting. Also through WEC, there are Coffee & Confidence sessions offered throughout the year that host inspirational guest speakers on various different topics.

Since WEC’s inception in 2009, there have been 180 successful participants of the program. Women have gone on to create business plans, apply for loans, start their own businesses, and spread their entrepreneurial spirit upon their WEC graduation. Additionally, since 2010 there have been 35 students who have completed internships with the Women’s Entrepreneurship Center. The program also offers guest speakers from across the local area that share their expertise or story. WEC truly highlights women entrepreneurs be it new business owners, student interns, guest speakers, or existing business owners.

The next StartUp series offered by WEC begins on Thursday March 8th, International Women’s Day… What better way to celebrate! If you are interested in signing up for the series or are looking for more information, please visit www.scrantonsbdc.com. Also, feel free to check out www.internationalwomensday.com for all the International Women’s Day news.

Danielle Guari
Business Consultant
The University of Scranton
Small Business Development Center

#IWD2018 #internationalwomensday #sbdc #nepa #scranton #women #march8 #march #business #shopsmall #smallbiz

Artwork adapted from vecteezy.com

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#BusinessTipTuesday – National Pancake Day

It’s National Pancake Day, and there are plenty of ways to celebrate! You can start your day with a homemade stack, you can make the trip to your nearest IHOP for a free short stack, or if you’re in the restaurant business you can spend the morning cooking them up for your customers. If you do happen to be in the food business, make sure you have your food safety certification before you start serving anyone.

Need food safety certification?

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture regulations state that each food retail facility must have one certified food employee who is accredited by a nationally recognized program. The Small Business Development Center offers a One-Day ServSafe Certification Class that meets this requirement!

Taught by ​a Certified ​ServSafe ​Instructor/Registered ​ServSafe ​Proctor, ​the ​training ​covers ​topics ​involving ​food-borne ​illnesses ​and ​health ​risks ​that ​commercial ​food ​service ​establishments ​must ​learn ​in ​order ​to ​provide ​safe ​food ​for ​customers. ​

The ​class ​also ​presents ​helpful ​small ​business ​information, ​not ​found ​in ​other ​ServSafe ​classes. ​In ​addition, ​a ​representative ​from ​the ​Pennsylvania ​Department ​of ​Agriculture ​visits ​the ​class ​to ​discuss ​regulations.

Upcoming class dates are Monday, March 26th and Monday, April 23rd, both from 8 a.m. until approximately 5 p.m. The class costs $179 per person which covers the cost of the book, classroom instruction, lunch, and all exam-related fees.

For more information, or to register, contact The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center at 570-941-4087 or email sbdc@scranton.edu, or register online at www.regonline.com/servsafe2018.

Amy Simpson, Senior
WEC Intern
The University of Scranton
Small Business Development Center

#nationalpancakeday #pancakes #diner #breakfast #sbdc #nepa #​ServSafe #ihop #restaurant

Artwork adapted from vecteezy.com

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#BusinessTipTuesday – Be Humble Day

This week’s #BusinessTipTuesday we are talking about “Be Humble Day”, which is celebrated on Thursday February 22nd. Often times as business owners we must promote ourselves as the best at what we do or what we sell. While showcasing our strengths and promoting our best business practices is not a bad thing, it is important to take the time to “be humble”.

Humility is an important quality trait in being a good entrepreneur. Being humble does not mean that you are weak, unassertive, or underprivileged; it means knowing that there are people out there that are more knowledgeable in certain areas, being able to ask for help when you know you need it, and also being able to receive constructive criticism. Being aware that there is always more to learn is one of the most important things for a business owner; it will only benefit you to spread your network, learn from others, and reach out for assistance in areas that you are not as strong in. The business owner that has an answer for everything and expects that their business practices are the only way to do things will only hinder the progress to be made by the business. Less mistakes come from humble behavior, as well. You are consistently aware of what you are doing, how you are doing it, and the outcome; thus resulting in a better quality atmosphere for your business and experience for your customers. Think of it this way, as soon as the basketball player gets a little too confident with his shots, he starts to miss and provide opportunities for his opponents to get ahead on him. We do not want this to happen in your business! Additionally as the owner and boss of your business, humility allows you to connect better with your employees. Most likely your employees will be comfortable enough to ask questions, approach you with ideas, or tell you if there is a problem if you come off as mild and understanding. The relationship will offer a successful and happy work environment.

Being humble is something you can control, as opposed to things that are out of your control as a business owner. So take a minute each week to check yourself and make sure that you are doing so. If we remember to continually learn, refer to others for information, and communicate with employees along with other things then we will continue to possess some necessary requirements of being a great entrepreneur, which in turn will make your business great!

 

Danielle Guari
Business Consultant
The University of Scranton
Small Business Development Center

#shopsmall #smallbiz #behumble #sbdc #nepa #scranton #customers #kindness #february #business

Artwork adapted from vecteezy.com

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#BusinessTipTuesday – Random Act of Kindness

Did you pay for a friend or stranger’s coffee this week? Have you held the door open for a group of people? Did you call someone just to tell them how much they mean to you? Or how about smiling at a stranger and telling them to have a nice day? Well if you have not done so yet, you should because this week is Random Acts of Kindness Week! Every February, and this year from February 11th to February 17th, Random Acts of Kindness Foundation celebrates everyone joining together through kindness. It only takes one person to start the chain reaction that encourages others to act kind. With kindness on our minds here at the SBDC, we wanted to showcase one of the lovely businesses we work with. Lavish Body and Home in Scranton, displays a great example of a small business being involved in our community.

In addition to Lavish Body and Home’s unique and luxury items offered, owners, Micah and Lauren Woodard, are heavily involved with the local Coaches vs. Cancer chapter. This organization holds a spot near to the Woodard’s heart as their son is a cancer survivor, which is how they became involved years ago. After holding leadership level roles the past few years, this year the Lavish owners will be co-chairing the annual Coaches vs. Cancer Gala. When speaking with Micah he explained to me one of the most enjoyable parts of owning a small business; to him, it is having a platform that allows him an influence in the community. The ability to shine a light on these topics and speak at different events through their business have enabled the Woodard’s to be directly involved in the community. Lavish’s connections with the American Cancer Society’s Look Good, Feel Better Program have provided community members with an experience that normally would not be enjoyable. The Salon at Lavish has met with women and fitted them for wigs, turning the event into something more than just a negative effect of their treatments. The team at Lavish’s hope is for their salon and store to be a safe haven for those who need it. Micah also spoke a lot about the upcoming Gala that will take place this year on May 12th at the Mohegan Sun Pocono. With the local chapter being the largest market that does not have a Division I team attached to it, donations thus far have reached up to $1.6 million and the goal of this year’s donations is set at $2 million. This year’s donations will benefit Hope Lodge, facilities that offer patients and their families a free place to stay when traveling to other cities for treatments. The expectations this year are to cover the cost for over 50% of families from NEPA. Additionally, Micah also noted that Lavish is involved with two other local charities; Marley’s Mission, providing free equine therapy for children who have experienced trauma, and Jog for Jude, a race that raises awareness and funds for S.I.D.S. research. An important take away from the conversation with Lavish owner would be that as long as people are giving back and actively involved with the community then we are continually making strides going forward.

While being kind to others and giving back to the community is wonderful in itself, it is also beneficial to your small business. It allows your business to be well recognized in the community and to have a reputable association. By supporting the community in which your business is located, you are in turn bettering the location and community itself and making it a better place to live and do business. People enjoy frequenting businesses that have a stake in the community because they know their business will benefit all aspects of the public. Another benefit is the networking opportunities that philanthropic organizations offer. Connections all over the community, state, and nation are beneficial to small businesses, so the more your name is out there, the better. What better way to benefit your business than doing something that also benefits the community and others! For all you small businesses out there that feel it is important to give back to your community and are not exactly sure how to or do not have the largest donation fund, here is a link, 10 Ways Your Small Business Can Give Back, for some ideas on how to give back! We challenge everyone out there to complete a Random Acts of Kindness this week and for small businesses to do the same! Share with us what your Random Act of Kindness was and spread the word to others. Don’t forget to visit www.scrantonsbdc.com for all your small business needs.

Danielle Guari
Business Consultant
The University of Scranton
Small Business Development Center

#shopsmall #smallbiz #customerservice #sbdc #nepa #scranton #customers #kindness #february #business

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#BusinessTipTuesday – Budget Friendly Advertising Tips

Of the twenty most watched television broadcasts of all time, the Super Bowl holds nineteen spots, making it not only the biggest night in football, but also the biggest night in television. Because of the Super Bowl’s popularity, it is also the biggest night for advertisement. Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch took to twitter in January to report that “An NBC Sports ad exec said today that the network will average more than $5 million for a 30-second spot for the Super Bowl.” If you are like most small businesses, you don’t have that kind of money to spend on advertising. Most small businesses have a limited budget when it comes to marketing their business, so they need to get the most bang for their buck. Here are some budget friendly advertising ideas:

Utilize Social Media- Create business accounts and participate in popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. A huge chunk of the population is active on these sites, so it is free and easy to reach potential customers, and for them to find you. In addition to being active on social media, come up with online contests. Something as easy as “share this post for a chance to win” on Facebook gets the word out about your business.

Work on Your Website- No matter your business, you need a website. When potential customers are looking for businesses in their area, the first place they will look is the Internet. Build a website that is easy to navigate and will not leave customers scratching their heads- a poorly configured website is not a good way to advertise your business.

Create Flyers- Creating flyers is simple and relatively inexpensive. A great way to make flyers more effective is to offer an incentive to people who bring it in, i.e. “Bring in this flyer for a free appetizer”. This also helps keep track of customers who came in because of the flyer.

Take Advantage of Word-of-Mouth- Offer a customer referral incentive, a free reward for referring new customers. Word-of-Mouth is powerful, and customers telling their friends about your business is extremely valuable.

Advertising as a small business doesn’t mean you need to have a Super Bowl level budget. When it comes to marketing your business, spend wisely and make the most out of the money you do have.

Amy Simpson, Senior
WEC Intern
The University of Scranton
Small Business Development Center

 

#SuperBowl #BudgetFriendly #Advertising #SuperBowlCommercials #Marketing #SBDC #Eagles

 

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#BusinessTipTuesday – National Puzzle Day

Yesterday, January 29th, was National Puzzle Day and this week’s #BusinessTipTuesday will be all about it! In a jigsaw puzzle the pieces must fit perfectly together in order to form a clear picture, in a crossword puzzle each letter must line up to make a word from all angles, and in a Sudoku puzzle the numbers must contain all digits from one to nine. Regardless of the type of puzzle each piece, letter, or number must fit perfectly in order for the puzzle to be completed and successful. Puzzles are just like any business, with different pieces that fit together in order to form solid and complete entity. Before you complete a puzzle you have a clear intention of what it needs to look like at the end which is the same for a business and directly relates to the importance of that business’s vision, mission, and goals. Ensuring that all of this information is clear to your employees is vital to the success of your business!

Sometimes the difference between each of these is unclear, so to guarantee a complete understanding of each, let’s break down each statement. The vision makes up a clear picture of what the organization should look like in the future, and the statement should challenge yet inspire employees. Essentially, this vision statement displays what the company would look like in 5 years if it has achieved its goals. The mission simply is the reason for the company’s existence.  The mission statement should answer the questions of what it is the business does, for whom business is intended, and how business is conducted. Goals are expected and desired outcomes. They are usually general statements that can be measured and accomplished. It is clear that each of these statements have a distinct difference, yet each work together to create a unified and solid piece of a business.

For every business having clear vision, mission, and goal statements will help to determine the company’s direction and set a pure intention for the company’s future. Everyone understands where the company is heading and what is expected. Additionally, while working employees can refer to these statements whenever they need to make decisions or come to conclusions. The statements serve as guidelines to regularly keep employees on the right track. As well, it helps to outline the strategy of a company; as the strategies implemented and executed by the business must be directly related to the vision, mission, and goals. Finally, the statements can facilitate healthy discussion and change; as when the topics come up, the business has the ability to go back and make sure that anything that is new matches the business’s clear statements.

If the vision, mission, and goals are all clearly stated, recognized, and performed the business will be setup for success. Very similar to a puzzle all these pieces must be there for it to be complete. You cannot finish the puzzle if the center piece is missing, so how could you expect the business to be productive if you are missing the mission statement! If creating or revising vision, mission, or goal statements are something that your business needs help with, reach out to us at The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center. We are happy to help with all your business needs. Check us out at, www.scrantonsbdc.com.

Danielle Guari
Business Consultant
The University of Scranton
Small Business Development Center

Artwork adapted from vecteezy.com

#shopsmall #smallbiz #customerservice #sbdc #nepa #scranton #customers #puzzleday #January #puzzles #business

 

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