Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Veronica Weaver - Encore Entrepreneur

MI-SBTDC Satellite Director Retiring

It is with both joy and regret that we are announcing that Veronica "Roni" Weaver has decided to retire from her role as the MI-SBTDC Jackson Satellite Director at the Enterprise Group of Jackson, Inc. Roni has been our Jackson Satellite Director for almost 15 years and will be sorely missed.

We are pleased to announce that Roni is taking what she's learned working with our clients and applying it to her own venture, becoming an 'encore entrepreneur'. Roni will be going into the catering business, with a special focus on healthy lunches for pre-school and elementary school students. You can check out her website at www.fresh-is-best.com.
Roni became a certified Small Business Counselor in 2003. Her dedication to her clients, combined with her thorough knowledge of the Jackson area and her expertise in Marketing and the Hospitality industries, made her an important resource for our region. While we are pleased and excited for Roni, her energy and dedication to the Jackson community will be missed.

The Enterprise Group as well as the Greater Washtenaw Region SBTDC look forward to providing on-going product development and business support services to the Jackson community!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Remember to "Shop Small" Saturday November 26th

The 2nd annual Small Business Saturday® is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year. On November 26, millions of Americans will shop small at their favorite local stores and help fuel the economy. When we all shop small, it will be huge!

Small Business Saturday (SBS) was created in 2010 by American Express in response to small business owners' most pressing need: creating more demand for their products and services. A total of 1.5 million Facebook users, 130 public and private organizations, and 41 elected officials declared their support for SBS last year. More than 100,000 small businesses downloaded SBS marketing materials, 10,000 businesses signed up for free Facebook advertising that ran on SBS, and 200,000 consumers registered their American Express cards to receive $25 statement credits when they shopped at a small business on SBS. Small retailers who accept the American Express Card saw a 28% increase in sales on SBS when compared to the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2009.

Small Business Saturday Help

First there was Black Friday, then Cyber Monday. Now there's Small Business Saturday on November 26, is your small business ready for the rush? Check out the free tools -from tailored facebook ads to in-store signage- available to help make this your biggest sales day of the year!
In-store Signage - Create a variety of signage to raise awareness and attract customers on the big day.

E-Marketing Materials - Logos, e-mail templates plus Twitter and Facebook posts.

$100 Worth of Facebook Ads - Run customized ads that geo-target Facebook users in your area to help generate new customers and "Likes" for your business. Quantities are limited, so get them while supplies last.

For more information please visit: http://smallbusinesssaturday.com/

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Top Five Tips for Customer Service

1. Be a good listener. Take the time to identify customer needs by asking questions and concentrating on what the customer is really saying.

2. Identify and anticipate needs. Customers don't buy products or services, they buy good feelings and solutions to problems.

3. Help customers understand your systems. Take time to explain how your systems work and how they simplify transactions.

4. Give more than expected. Since the future of all companies lies in keeping customers happy, think of ways to elevate yourself above the competition.

5. Get regular feedback. Encourage and welcome suggestions about how your business could improve.

Want to learn more? Register for Customer Service for the21st Century. This informative session is part of a four part series brought to you in partnership with the MI-SBTDC of Washtenaw Community College and the Washtenaw Council of Chambers.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Marketing Malpractice - October 11th

Frustrated with your current web marketing campaign? Are you paying too much for what you get, or too little to get what you need? Confused about who owns your e-mail list or website domain?

Using the Internet effectively is a critical piece of many small businesses' marketing strategies. Join us for Marketing Malpractice - Avoid Costly Web Marketing Mistakes, a panel of local experts, including web developers, graphic designers, and e-marketing professionals to discuss the do's and don'ts of website design and e-marketing tactics. Learn how to avoid costly mistakes and what a business owner can expect from their e-marketing.
This seminar will be held October 11th from 4:30-6:30pm at the Quarter Bistro in Ann Arbor. The $50.00 fee includes light refreshments and takeaway materials. For more information click here or contact your local Chamber of Commerce.

This informative session is part of a four part series brought to you in partnership with the MI-SBTDC of WCC and the Washtenaw Council of Chambers.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Metro Detroit pizzeria expansion creates 80 new jobs - Some positions will be filled on the spot at upcoming job fair

Dexter, MI—Aubree’s Pizzeria and Grill, a local Michigan favorite announced today that it will host a job fair to fill 80 open positions. Aubree’s is opening its first franchise location in Dexter, Michigan. The job fair will be held on July 6th and 7th, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at the new restaurant location at 8031 N. Main Street.

Aubree’s management is seeking friendly, experienced restaurant workers. Job seekers may attend the fair on either day. Interviews will be conducted on the spot and selected applicants will be hired immediately. Aubree’s is looking for servers, bartenders, line-cooks, hosts, delivery drivers, server assistants and dishwashers.

“We pride ourselves on being over the top friendly. Angry or unhappy people need not apply,” said general manager, Lisa Morden. “We're about four simple things: food, service, atmosphere and being a good neighbor.”

The Franchisees renovated the former North Point Seafood & Steakhouse, previously housed in its current space. Customers can expect:

• A family friendly sports bar with more than 20 televisions, including several in booth seats where customers control the remote.
• Fourteen beers on draft, a variety of wine, nightly drink features and more than 15 Michigan brewed beers;
• For busy workers, Aubree’s offers an express lunch with all you can eat salad and pizza buffet and a daily happy hour.
• In addition to pizza, Aubree’s offers full line of appetizers, fresh baked breads, pub sandwiches, salads, specialty burgers and entrees.

Aubree's has been a privately owned Michigan based company for over 35 years with locations in Ypsilanti Depot Town, Ypsilanti Township, Northville and Marquette. For more information on Aubree’s, log on to http://www.aubrees.com/.

Monday, June 6, 2011

MI-SBTDC Business Consultant Named VP of Marketing for Ann Arbor SPARK

It is with both joy and regret that we are announcing that Donna Doleman has accepted the position of Vice President, Marketing, Communications, and Talent at Ann Arbor SPARK.

Donna first came to the MI-SBTDC as a client deciding to launch her own business after declining a transfer from Pfizer, where she had been Director of Marketing for the Michigan region. In 2007 she launched her own marketing consulting firm DLA Group, LLC.

When the opportunity arose to join the MI-SBTDC as a business counselor, Donna accepted the challenge. Since then, she has become a highly valued member of the Greater Washtenaw team, making major contributions to the growth and health of our local economy.

Donna has an MBA from SUNY Buffalo and a BS from Florida A & M, she is also a proud graduate of the SBTDC Academy of Small Business Consultants. While Donna will be sorely missed, we are glad that she is going to one of our strongest local partners. We look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with her in this new position.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

WXW Forum 2011

On May 20th, 2011 the Women's Exchange of Washtenaw will be hosting its dynamic, informative, all-day forum for women business leaders. At this conference you'll learn from established members of the business community, talk to business assistance providers, and network with hundreds of businesswomen. The mission of WXW is to engage the business community and work through the common issues women business leaders face in their efforts to grow and improve their companies. This day-long forum provides an interactive and lively experience with regional speakers, workshops, and breakout sessions.

2011 is the fourth year WXW is offering this annual women business leaders conference. The morning session will offer intensive and interactive workshops facilitated by well known local business leaders, who are prepared for your business questions. Key Note speaker Debra Fine, author of The Fine Art of the Big Talk How to Win Clients, Deliver Great Presentations, and Solve Conflicts at Work, will share her insight on how networking and communication builds business. After lunch attendees will have the opportunity to choose from one of six different mini-panel sessions that cover topics such as sales, business growth, life balance, board membership, and more. Then end of the day wraps up with a happy hour that includes wine, food, music, and one of the best networking opportunities in the state.

Over 300 attendees from Southeast Michigan and Northeast Ohio are expected to attend this empowering event. The MI-SBTDC is a proud sponsor of this one of a kind event which encourages women to continue building their success as a business leader.

To register please visit: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/1429753431
For more information on WXW: http://wxwbusiness.com/

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Progress And Success Through Regional Collaboration

The South Central Michigan Regional Entrepreneur Collaborative (SCM-REC) web site has compiled the multitude of entrepreneurial resources within Hillsdale, Jackson and Lenawee Counties. Wherever you are with your business, pre-startup, new business launch, growth or expansion, or business succession, our goal is to provide you with the resources you need to make educated and informed decisions about your business.

We invite you to utilize this site as a source for your business development. Here you will find training sessions, local resources, networking events, and more. Visit: http://www.espotmi.org/

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Legal Issues Seminar Feb 16th 3:00-5:00pm

New or established small business owners will gain essential information regarding their legal obligations, when to seek legal counsel, and potential pitfalls. Join local attorney Mary Comazzi of Manchester & Associates as she provides ways to successfully avoid legal issues common to small businesses. Topics include tax and liability issues, along with basic elements of a contract, collections, licenses, registrations, employment and property issues, leasing and insurance. This seminar is designed to guide prospective and current business owners in setting up the organizational structure that will help protect them from unnecessary legal challenges.

Speaker(s): Mary E. Comazzi, Esq. Manchester & Associates

Fee: $40.00

Please register online or by calling the office directly, 734-547-9170.

Seating is limited for this informative seminar. Please register online or by calling the office directly, 734-547-9170.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Jobs Act Supported More Than $12 Billion in SBA Lending to Small Businesses in Just Three Months

WASHINGTON – Today, SBA Administrator Karen Mills announced that as of Dec. 31 the agency had approved more than $10.3 billion in loan guarantees which supported more than $12 billion in lending to small businesses since President Obama signed the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 on Sept. 27. The Jobs Act included an extension of reduced fees and higher guarantee loan enhancements in the agency’s two largest loan programs.

In a statement, Mills noted that SBA moved quickly to get these critical loan dollars in the hands of small businesses and just three months later all of the $505 million in subsidy provided in the Jobs Act to support the loan enhancements has been utilized by the agency’s national network of lending partners. In light of that, the SBA has activated the SBA loan queue to ensure that any remaining funds that result from loan cancellations in the coming weeks are redirected to new Jobs Act loans.

Following is the full statement from Mills:
“In just three months since the Small Business Jobs Act was signed into law, SBA supported more than $12 billion in lending to small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country. SBA is on the front lines with small business owners and our lending partners every single day. I’m very proud that as a result of those close relationships and partnerships we were able to quickly put this significant amount of capital into the hands of our nation’s largest job creation engine.

“The loan enhancements of higher guarantees and reduced fees first implemented as part of the Recovery Act have been a vital resource for tens of thousands of small businesses at a critical time when lending markets had dried up. Beginning in February 2009, these loan enhancements engineered a significant turnaround in SBA lending, including driving record-high levels of SBA lending in recent weeks. The end result is that the agency helped put more than $42 billion in the hands of small businesses through the Recovery Act and Jobs Act combined.

“These enhancements have been a key piece of the Obama Administration’s efforts to help small businesses drive our nation’s economic recovery. As we transition back to our standard guarantees and fee rates, SBA loan programs will continue to play an important role, as they have for decades, in helping entrepreneurs and small business owners start or grow their businesses and create jobs.

“The Small Business Jobs Act is the most consequential piece of legislation affecting small businesses enacted in more than a decade. While we are proud of how quickly SBA could provide $12 billion in capital to small businesses, we remain focused on implementing other key provisions of this law that will continue to expand access to capital, help small businesses compete for federal contracting dollars, strengthen small business exports and provide other critical support.”

During the quarter, SBA approved nearly 22,000 small business loans for $10.47 billion, supporting a total of $12.16 billion in lending. The amounts are greater than the volume for Jobs Act loans over the same period because they exclude some loans that were not eligible for one or more Jobs Act enhancements.

Background on SBA Loan Enhancements:
SBA expands access to capital for small businesses by providing government-guarantees on loans made by commercial lenders. The Small Business Jobs Act extended higher guarantees and reduced fees on its two most popular loan programs, enhancements first enacted in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

From Feb. 17, 2009, when the Recovery Act was signed, through Sept. 30, 2010, the SBA approved more than $22.5 billion in loan guarantees, which supported more than $30 billion in lending small businesses, due to the loan enhancements put in place by the Act. The enhancements were funded with approximately $680 million in subsidy funds provided during the period.

Following the extension of the enhancements in the Jobs Act, the agency approved an additional $10.3 billion in loan guarantees, supporting more than $12 billion in lending to small businesses from Sept. 27 through Dec. 31, funded by just $505 million in subsidy funds. The three-month extension of the loan enhancements under the Jobs Act financed the highest volume in a fiscal year’s first quarter than at any time in the agency’s history. During the week of Dec. 18-24, SBA supported a record-high $1.95 billion in small business loans, the highest dollar volume since the agency began tracking its weekly loan volumes.

SBA Loan Queue:
Authority to continue the loan enhancements was extended through March 4 by Congress last month. While there is no additional appropriation of subsidy funds to support the loan enhancements, the extended authority does allow the agency to redirect, through the SBA Loan Queue, any dollars that come available from loan cancellations in the coming weeks to new loans with the enhancements.

It is typical that some previously approved loans are later cancelled by the borrower or lender and never disbursed for a variety of reasons. The queue takes this into account and will allow eligible small businesses, in consultation with their lenders, to choose to be placed in the queue for possible approval for a Jobs Act loan if funding becomes available. Small business owners and lenders will have transparent access to the queue via www.sba.gov and will be able to remove themselves from the queue at any time to be considered for a non-Jobs Act SBA-backed loan with all applicable fees and, for 7(a) loans, standard guarantee levels.

Small Business Jobs Act of 2010:
The Small Business Jobs Act included an array of provisions aimed at helping small businesses gain access to capital, compete for federal contracting opportunities, expand exporting opportunities and obtain other assistance to help them grow and create jobs. More information on the Jobs Act can be found at www.sba.gov/jobsact