Growing a Business
One of the region’s best-known hubs for business startup assistance, the Central Valley Business Incubator has recently assumed a new title with a revamped mission focused on helping entrepreneurs in the water and energy sector.
Since its establishment in 1996, the Fresno-based organization has been providing startup and expanding companies with business consultation, education, access to capital and even office space to help them make their ventures profitable.
The entrepreneur incubator, once the place in laboratory outposts of universities to grow startups, are now at the center of libraries throughout Arizona where there are fresh, expert resources available. Best of all—the library resources are free.
The library’s co-working space, repurposed into collaborative workspaces, serve as the new hub for entrepreneurs or small business getting started and in need of people to help in the process.
Mickey Miller doesn’t hesitate to admit that she hates to cook.
“I’m not a complicated recipe person,” she said. “But I have always loved baking. When I am in the kitchen I like to figure out how to make a recipe right and maintain the quality.”
Those are wise words coming from a woman who has spent the last couple of years honing her skills as a chocolatier.
Miller owns Mount Vernon Confections, a chocolate shop that prides itself on high quality, simple chocolate made from top of the line ingredients.
Published Feb. 13, 2014
Published Feb. 11, 2014
The SCORE Small Business Success Podcast features interviews with the best and brightest in the world of small business, covering topics such as business plans, financing, marketing, human resources, SEO, social media and more. Listen to this podcast to hear SCORE mentor Hal Shelton share his insights on developing strategies for your small business.
If you are planning to start a business, grow an existing business, or start a nonprofit, this podcast is for you. Wherever you are in your journey, you have a need to develop the knowledge and plans to guide you to a successful business operation. While this learning and planning process takes many forms, shapes, and levels of intensity, it is all considered part of the business planning process. Learn how a well thought out business plan can dramatically turn the odds in your favor.
Published Feb. 10, 2014
Customers – and, yes, that means YOUR customers, too – are spending more time on social media and mobile devices than ever before.
As a result, small business owners are increasingly using social media as a way to not just communicate with customers, but to provide various forms of customer service as well.
Using social media for customer service offers great advantages. It’s fast, for one thing, and lets you easily provide personalized responses that can also be seen (and appreciated) by others.
By monitoring social channels you might also discover customers with issues you weren’t aware of and might otherwise not have realized were a problem. Not everyone will pick up the phone or send an email to alert you, but they might comment on the issue in social media.
Published Feb. 6, 2014
The role that pricing plays in the financial structure and competitive profile of a small business is often misunderstood. Many business owners and entrepreneurs automatically assume that price increases put them at a disadvantage. But that’s not necessary so if you have a clear strategy for setting prices at your business. Some pricing experts, for example, argue that small, strategically targeted price increases can actually give a company a competitive edge.
The key is to bridge the disconnect that exists between pricing strategy and profits for so many businesses, both large and small. Proper pricing is more complex that most of us realize. Business owners usually see pricing as a mix of markups, margins and matching the competition – plus a modicum of “gut feeling.”
Surviving a Continued Slow Recovery—Three Business Strategies
By Bruce Barrett – Certified SCORE Mentor
Published Feb. 4, 2014
I’ve been an independent media and public relation consultant for almost a year. As a first-time self-employed tax filer, what business deductions am I entitled to?
Published Feb. 4, 2014
Branching out and making your business into a franchise is a great way to grow your brand and your revenue, but it isn’t without a lot of work. You’re dealing with several different managers and staff, different locations, but one overall budget. While you might have a solid plan in place about how you’re going to evaluate these managers, how you’re going to hire, etc., SEO and online concerns seem to fall into a weird place. Should you manage all SEO at the national branch level, or is this best put into the hands of franchisees?