Jul 31

Looking at buying a business or franchise? Here are some handy tips from the SBA!

The SBA has some great tips if you are looking at buying a business…

  1. Research Your Options – look at profit loss, cancelled checks and tax returns
  2. Ready to Purchase? – do you want everything or just select assets
  3. Buying into a Community – know the rules for franchising

Jul 30

Minnesota Angel Tax Credit are still available, for now…

According to Finance & Commerce, there are tax credits waiting to be had in Minnesota…

Halfway through the year, the Angel Tax Credit program has more than one-third of its $16 million pot available. Last year, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development dispersed its entire $12 million pool by early March before businesses drained an extra $3 million in a single day.

The shift follows state legislative tweaks that keep insiders from accessing the credits, which allow early-stage investors to recoup a portion of their buy-in to a given company. Also this year, lawmakers set aside $7.5 million for businesses owned by women or minorities, or based in greater Minnesota.

As of last week, most of the $6.1 million in remaining credits – $4.4 million – were in the first-of-its-kind pool for underserved groups, historically shut out from the program. Qualifying businesses have until Sept. 30 to capture that value before it funnels back into the main allocation.

An outreach campaign that stretched from the end of last year into the spring, including advertisements in publications geared toward targeted groups, hasn’t paid off. Over the past three months or so, DEED has only distributed about $500,000 from the specialized pool, according to agency figures.

As of last week, the general allocation contained just $1.7 million of the $8.5 million it had to start – a figure that’s dropping by about $100,000 a week as applications roll in and get approved, said Jeff Nelson, who manages the program for DEED.

Jul 29

What’s trending for Minnesota businesses in the midyear? And how can you ride the trend?

Minnesota Business Magazine recently posted a relfective article on what’s going on with local businesses. How many of these things are you noticing in your business? How can you take advantage of the trends? Take a minute to recognize any trends in your industry. How can you use them to your advantage or minimize the disadvantage?

  • Growth in China is slowing
  • Manufacturing is rallying
  • Pressure on middle class, income is turning
  • Millennials are hot again
  • Business intelligence is critical

Jul 28

How will your business communicate during an emergency?

Yesterday we talked about disaster recovery – today it’s how to communicate during an emergency. We like to think of ourselves as Polly Prepared – not Debby Downer. Because being prepared makes a difference in how you weather a storm!

The SBA recently posted a great list of tips to help you prepare to stay on your feel in high water…

Here is a simple list of tips to get your company’s crisis communication plan started:

  • Develop (and keep updated) an emergency contact list that includes home phone numbers, alternate mobile numbers, personal email addresses, family contact information, and a phone tree assignment system.

  • Establish an evacuation plan and review it with employees on a regular basis.

  • Look into email and/or text alert systems that can facilitate multiple means of communications to both employees and customers – and be sure to test the system on a regular basis.

  • Develop an SOP for your online social networks for Web-based crisis communications on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

  • Develop a plan to work with local media when you can.  With proper planning, the media can serve in a support role as your business works to rebuild after a disaster.  This means you’ll also need to designate a spokesperson/group of spokespersons and provide some sort of basic media training.  All employees should know which members of the staff are media trained, and create key messaging points for these individuals to ensure consistent voice and message during a disaster.

  • Similarly, as best you can, monitor what is said and written about your company during and after a disaster – it may provide more insight on the strengths and weaknesses of your business strategy than you realize.

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