Monday, March 30, 2009

MI-SBTDC 2008 Statewide Economic Impact

At the MI-SBTDC we like to focus our attention on the successes of our clients. In this post we are shifting our perspective and sharing with you our accomplishments in assisting small businesses for 2008.


5,503 businesses were counseled.
6,789 clients attended training
12,382 businesses/clients were reaches by SBTDC
21,901 employed by the businesses counseled

42% of businesses were Female owned
9% of businesses were Veteran owned
22% of businesses ere Minority owned (excluding females)

58% of businesses counseled were existing.
42% of businesses were startups.
360 businesses counseled were started
3,379 new jobs were created
$289,963,167 capital raised (traditional & technology companies)


Total number of high-tech clients served: 358
Total number of client hours of assistance: 6825

Total number of new technology jobs created: 282

Total capital raised (including SBIR): $54,433,706
SBIR Phase I and II capital raised: $9,974,352


The SBTDC and the Kaufmann Foundation have launched a statewide program to help dislocated workers start small businesses? The Fast Trac*New Venture* program aims to help dislocated workers evaluate business opportunities and develop and action plan for owning their own small business.

The SBTDC, as a managing partner of Michigan Celebrates Small Business event, has vetted its 50 Companies to Watch and 11 SBA Recognitions. The event is aligned to be another success. Twenty-seven of the 50 companies to watch are SBTDC clients, an outstanding fact in year 5 of this event.

The goal of the MI-SBTDC is to continue to make a difference by strengthening companies, creating new jobs, and assisting companies like yours in defining their path to success.

Friday, March 20, 2009 Launches First Government-Sponsored Online Community for Small Businesses

WASHINGTON – SBA’s Business Gateway Program announced today the launch of a new Web initiative – – the first government-sponsored online community built specifically for small businesses.The objective of the Community supports the White House’s mission to create a transparent and connected democracy, and aims to provide small business owners, bloggers, and the government with a place to discuss and share information about starting and running a successful business.

An extension of, the Community combines discussion forums, blogs, an idea exchange, and more, and offers advanced tools for navigating the labyrinth of government resources, policies, laws, and opportunities that impact the small business owner.

In addition to providing a “home” where users can share expertise and unique experiences, the site also provides a pioneering opportunity for small businesses to provide direct input into and voice the ways government and the online community can better serve them.

“Over the past year, we have significantly expanded our efforts to engage with small business owners, by giving them easy access to the information they need to run their business,” said Nancy Sternberg, program manager of Business Gateway. “The launch of the Community represents a new milestone. Through the application of Web 2.0 technologies, we hope to unite small business owners, industry experts and government, and take the program to a new level of collaborative knowledge-sharing and insight.”

Over the next few months, the Community will expand to include additional features and resources that address specific user interests and provide access to the wider pool of government and partner resources available to the small business owner.

About is managed by the U.S. Small Business Administration in partnership with 21 other federal agencies. This partnership, known as Business Gateway, provides innovative information services to the small business community that save time and money, engage citizens to participate, and enable collaboration across all key levels of government. Launched in 2004, provides a single access point to government services and information to help the nation’s businesses with their operations

Friday, March 13, 2009

SBA Revises Goodwill Lending Provisions in SOP; Will Consider Higher Limits Case-by-Case

WASHINGTON -The U. S. Small Business Administration announced that it is accommodating concerns raised regarding the recently announced policy guidance on the financing of goodwill. SBA will consider loans for larger goodwill amounts on a case-by-case basis through August 31, 2009. The announced policy guidance originally allows SBA loans to be used to finance goodwill, but limits that financing to no more than half the loan amount, up to $250,000.

"We are aware of the concerns surrounding SBA limits to goodwill lending and are taking measured steps to address those concerns in a responsible manner," said SBA Acting Administrator Darryl K. Hairston. "SBA is committed to helping our lending partners finance small business, but access to capital must be balanced by our need to manage the risks in
our portfolio and the implications those risks have for potential costs to the taxpayers."

"Goodwill" is the difference between what a buyer pays for an existing business and the book or fair market value of the assets of the business. Goodwill is one of the riskiest assets that can be financed, because it typically has no liquidation value in the event a loan defaults.

Until the new Standard Operating Procedures, or SOP, were issued for SBA loan programs last year, the previous guidance for goodwill was that sellers should finance it when a business was sold. However, as lenders increasingly used SBA-guaranteed loans to finance business sales, the agency issued more specific guidance, which was due to take effect on March 1, 2009.

The new guidance, issued February 6, 2009, allowed use of SBA-backed loans to finance goodwill up to a maximum of 50 percent of the loan amount, up to a maximum of $250,000.

The agency received comments from lenders and business brokers expressing concern that such limit would effectively stop business acquisitions at a time when many newly unemployed individuals are considering the purchase of a business.

After thorough consideration of the comments, SBA decided to review loan applications that do not meet the guidance in the SOP on a case-by-case basis. SBA will use the next six months to study the types of transactions involving substantial goodwill and consider a revision of the current policy when the semi-annual update of SOP 50 10 is published in September of 2009.

Friday, March 6, 2009

One-Stop-Shop for Michigan Business

LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today unveiled Michigan Business One Stop, a one-of-its-kind program that reforms the way companies will now do business with the state of Michigan. As the governor called for in her 2008 State of the State address, the program provides more than 650,000 businesses across Michigan with a single source for government information and services they need.

"Our one-stop-shop for business represents a significant reform in how we are serving the business community," Granholm said. "We've streamlined our operations and created a single point of entry to state government for businesses that call Michigan home or those looking to establish a presence in our state."

Michigan Business One Stop is an online service that guides users who want to start, operate or expand a business in Michigan. Business owners can apply for or renew permits and licenses, file annual reports and pay unemployment taxes, or any other fees they are subject to under state law. Information is shared across state departments with one, easy e-payment system, and the site provides businesses information about transaction status in a new, paperless environment. In addition to the new web site, the program offers:

- a staffed consolidated call center housed in the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) with expanded weekday hours designed to answer questions and help businesses obtain information and services they need;

- a Michigan business ombudsman who will lead a team at the MEDC to assess business issues and mediate solutions to help both businesses and state agencies move forward in a coordinated fashion. Gregory A. Sando, a former senior employee relations representative with Blue Care Network of Michigan and a long-time manager of workforce relations with Consumers Energy, was recently hired to serve as the ombudsman.

Michigan Business One Stop has been under development for more than a year with the help of Michigan's business community. More than 100 business owners and representatives from business associations assisted in identifying needs and ensuring that the final program addressed those needs.

Among the business people who participated in the focus groups is Debra (Levantrosser) Setman, executive director for business improvement with Johnson and Johnson who spoke on behalf of the program.

"I believe the Michigan Business One Stop may be one of the factors when people are deciding where to start or move a business," Setman said. "The one-stop-shop is a win-win for taxpayers and businesses alike."

Chuck Hadden, president and CEO of the Michigan Manufacturers Association, said his members will benefit from the new program, which is superior to any other state-run business web site in the country.

"We like the idea of having one place businesses can go to get the answers they need," said Hadden. "Secondly, this business portal will give Michigan businesses the ability to easily track their permits and hopefully reduce the length of time it takes for those permits to be issued."

Michigan Business One Stop can be found at

Thursday, March 5, 2009

SCHEDULE CHANGE : Web Marketing with Ingenex to take place March 17th

Using the Internet effectively is a critical piece of many small businesses' marketing strategies. Learn about pay-per-click campaigns, search engine optimization, social media, blogs, podcasts and more in this information-packed session presented by Ingenex Digital Marketing. Cut through the hype and learn which of these tools can help you grow your business.

The date for this workshop has been changed from March 24th to March 17th. The time is still 11:30am to 1:00pm. The cost is $10 payable by cash or check at the door. Seats are limited so please call 734.547.9170 to register for the session.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Adrian Chamber CerifiChecks Announcement


CertifiChecks, Inc. of Dayton, Ohio
has ceased doing business as of February 26, 2009.

This is an unexpected and unfortunate circumstance and
one that should not have happened.

No stores, restaurants, etc. can accept Certifichecks. The certificates may not be cashed, deposited or redeemed.

The Adrian Area Chamber of Commerce working with other affected Chambers as well as our State professional association to facilitate resolution for any individuals and businesses who are holding unredeemed Certifichecks. Please contact our office if you have checks and let us know the amounts. Call 265-2320.

ACTION BEING TAKEN: The Chamber, in partnership with United Bank and Trust is in the process of establishing the Adrian Area Chamber Gift Check program. It will function the same as CertifiChecks with the exception that all monies will be in a dedicated checking account at United Bank and Trust. We will keep you apprised of progress.

In the meantime, please return all unredeemed CertifiChecks to the Adrian Area Chamber of Commerce – 128 East Maumee Street. Please include your name, phone number and total of the CertifiChecks being returned. We will keep you apprised of efforts to secure refunds for purchasers.

Monday, March 2, 2009

How to Become a Fearless Small Business Owner In Uncertain Times

By Robin Fisher-Roffer,
Author of The Fearless Fish Out of Water: How to Succeed When You're the Only One Like You

In a crowded marketplace burdened by a sluggish economy, ONLY THE FEARLESS SURVIVE!

STEP 1: Go Fishing for the Real You.
It’s time to focus on what you do better than anyone else and put that out there to your customers and prospects. You have to peel away all the layers that have made you a jack of all trades and hone your skills to become an expert at something that’s valuable right now. Perhaps you own a boutique ad agency and you can design anything, but what you do best work is build b-to-b websites. That’s your vein of gold, and where you can drive revenue to your customer’s bottom line.

STEP 2: Use Your Differences as a Lure.
In extraordinary economic times like these, the natural tendency is to just hunker down, do the work, cut back on expenses and try not to lose the business you have. News flash: That’s exactly the strategy that will probably hang you. Because if you’re not standing up, standing out, and standing for something important, your days may be numbered. Use the strengths of what makes you different to make a difference with your customers.

STEP 3: Find a Few Fish like You.
Step 3 on the path to fearlessness is to build relationships so that you can anchor yourself in these rough seas. Now is the time to reward your customers for their loyalty, get on an airplane and see them, take them out to lunch (nothing fancy or you’ll look out of touch), and stay connected through social networking sites. This is the moment to deepen customer relationships to ensure your security and your company’s future.

STEP 4: Swim in Their Ocean Your Way.
Every time you pitch a prospect you are a fish out of water. When you finally get inside, it’s important to learn how to be part of the culture without getting lost in it. As a small business owner, it can be deadly to get so entrenched with someone else’s culture or demands that you can’t find the real you. Instead look for what resonates with you and don’t buy into what doesn’t feel right. Stay true to your core values. If you don’t, at the end of this recession, you may not recognize yourself or your own company.

STEP 5: Put Yourself Out on the Line.
Businesses who shine a light on what’s different about them are perfectly positioned to make a difference. It’s not the wallflower who’s going to help their customers go green, or the conformist who will invent the new business model. Getting behind a cause is good for business and makes you look like a hero. Volunteer, join a board, make a major donation. You may be paralyzed by fear and feel like every minute you need to push that rock up the hill. Shake it off. Give to others instead and watch what you receive in return.

STEP 6: Evolve by Casting a Wide Net.
Conformity is not distinguishing. The way to live deeply is to keep reinventing yourself, changing with the times and with the your customers. Holding onto the essential you while updating your style, your website, your advertising and your thinking is the fastest way to the top. Step 6 of being a Fearless Fish asks that you use your place outside the circle to always be relevant to your customers and industry. It’s about staying true to the essence of who you are, and then recasting your image to feel brand new.

STEP 7: Reel in Your Unique Power.
Uncertainty makes everyone question their personal value and the value of their business. The fearless among us overcome these doubts by practicing their ABCs—action, belief, and courage. It’s time to stop wringing your hands and start raising your hand to make a difference. Believes in ourselves can either propel us, or hinder us. The story that you tell about your company is what others will believe. Use your unique power to make them believe that you are indispensable and that is exactly what you will be!

Copyright © 2009 Robin Fisher-Roffer author of The Fearless Fish Out of Water: How To Succeed When You're The Only One Like You