When David Lucier got the idea for opening a new store in Claremont, NH, he sought advice from NH SBDC advisors, who helped him conceptualize the idea and gave him confidence that it would work. His vision was a store selling high quality, locally grown spices in an attractive retail setting.
With NH SBDC advisors, Dave worked out a promotional plan, including the use of social media and the Internet. All that was back in 2011. Claremont Spice and Dry Goods opened for business in December of that year.
Now in 2014, he’s thinking of expanding the line of spices and blends that has some of the state’s best restaurants and steady customers coming in his door. One of them is Revolution Cantina, a Mexican restaurant in Claremont. David and his store provide several customized spice blends for this award-winning restaurant’s best dishes.
Claremont Spice & Dry Goods is now offering more than 190 different spices and blends, with more added every day. David runs the shop with his wife, Ingrid, and says sales have increased steadily over the past two years. He’s been working with NH SBDC business advisor Rich Grogan, of the Keene office, on expansion ideas and says those plans are currently being solidified.
The RAS-Tech company employees 10 people at its Brentwood, New Hampshire factory, where its founder, Tom Zickell, chose to locate what was a one-of-kind business at the time in 2007. The company takes used asphalt and keeps it out of landfills by turning it into materials to be used in manufacturing and other products. Some 10 million tons of non-biodegradable asphalt roofing ends up in landfills, something Zickell recognized as a serious environmental issue. Through his company's five main product lines now, RAS-Tech keeps at least some of that asphalt out of landfills. For example, former asphalt roofing shingles are turned into pavement in our state’s roads.
In 2012, Zickell worked with NH SBDC business advisor Hollis McGuire who helped him submit an application to the Green Launching Pad, a University of New Hampshire initiative to get “green” product ideas to the marketplace. The company received funding from this program, one of only three companies in the state to do so that year. “[Hollis] was of great help to us and we wouldn't have received the grant without her support,” Zickell says.
Zickell also received help in getting connected to the federal government’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The SBIR program is a competitive awards program that enables companies to fund the research and development phase of high tech products and, ultimately, turns an idea like reclaimed asphalt into a commercialized product. Click through to learn more about RAS-Tech: http://www.ras-tech.com/
When the family owners of Studley Flower Gardens of Rochester, New Hampshire started to feel the impact of the arrival of some area “big box” retailers in 2010, the company sought help from the business advisors of the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center. Together, the Meulenbroeks of Studley Flower Gardens and NH SBDC Seacoast Regional Manager Warren Daniel worked on budgeting processes, setting goals for cost sales, developing a capital improvement budget, and creating a bonus incentive plan for key employees. The year 2011 turned out to be a growth year for the company and its future now looks solid. Studley has been in business since 1973, specializing in floral, nursery and landscaping services.
At this moment, the business is in the midst of a major construction project that began in August and will be finished in November. Several grand re-opening events are planned for November and December, with a special celebration the first week in December. Business Manager Molly Muelenbroek explains that some parts of the previous operation had stood since 1928, and with various add-ons of greenhouses and other buildings over the years, the entryway had become obscured. When all is complete in November, the upgraded retail area will serve customers better, and the business will be enjoying new equipment, new display areas and a very welcoming new entryway. Find the company website here: Studley Flower Gardens
In the photo, David Meulenbroek, vice president; Jeffrey Muelenbroek, president; Molly Meulenbroek, business manager.
The number of women-owned businesses in the United States continues to increase at rates that exceed the national average growth rate among all businesses, according to this latest report from American Express OPEN. However, those women-owned businesses remain smaller than the average in terms of number of employees. Of the 9.1 million women-owned firms operating in the U.S. today, 7.9 million people are employed. This is always confusing, because they don’t include owners as employees. Maybe switch the sentence & start w/ the 7.9 million employed in 9.1 million firms. These firms generate $1.4 trillion in revenues.
Growth in the number of women-owned firms from 1997 to 2014 has been 1 ½ times the rate of the U.S. average. One interesting note, during that period leading up to the major recession of 2008, 591 new women-owned firms were created each day and that average peaked at 714 between the year 2002 and 2007. After that recession, the average became 506 per day, and today’s average annual rate shows a major rebound, with 1,288 women-owned businesses being formed each day of the last year. Is this really true?? Double the # are being formed?
During that same time period, 1997 to 2014, New Hampshire’s women-owned businesses grew by 41 percent. The state is ranked #30 when comparing growth rates across the country during that time period. The number of employees working for women-owned firms in New Hampshire grew by 12.9 percent during that time period.
Across the U.S., women owned the majority of firms in the health care and social assistance industry, at 53 percent. On average women-owned firms are about 30 percent of all other industry sectors. However, they are least represented among construction, transportation and warehousing, wholesale trade and finance and insurance. Women-owned firms are just 7 percent of those in the construction industry, for example.
If you’re the bill collector and the tax preparer, as well as being the CEO of your own company, you might be doing something wrong. Accounting practices such as these must be central to your small business, no matter what its size. Here’s a handy list of potential problems in your accounting, problems that could lead to the crash of your business, from Inc.com.
1) Lagging expenses: You’ve got to manage your income and expenses to maintain a healthy cashflow, and a healthy cashflow is critical to remaining in business. Part of ensuring healthy practices would be to make sure your expenses are coming in at a steady pace, including those expenses your employees may submit for reimbursement. Have a policy about timeliness and budget for these expenses.
2) A billing system is required. Establish your billing policies and communicate them to your clients and vendors early and often. Decide what your policy is on late payments, and then follow through. Too many small businesses have informal practices and, while doing business with your friends is nice, such informality could harm your bottom line.
3) It may be easy to do your own taxes these days, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. Do you really know all the tax laws? Do you really know all the deductibles deductions to which you might be entitled? Best to hire a professional.
4) You may have a small staff that you know well. Still, you should conduct background checks on every employee, and get references and referrals. An employee stealing from your company can ruin you.