Published Jul. 6, 2012
Steve Strauss, founder of www.theselfemployed.com, explains what makes a business contract valid and gives tips for entering into one correctly.
Q: I have been doing business with a guy for a few years. Last month, I found someone who offers what he has been selling me for a lot less and so I severed our relationship. He now informs me that we have a “contract” and that I am obligated to give him 60 days' notice. That cannot be right, can it?
Agri Marketing, Inc. dba USA Gypsum was formed in 1998 to meet the need for gypsum drywall recycling and agricultural gypsum products. The company receives gypsum scraps commonly called drywall, sheetrock, wallboard, plasterboard or gypsum board from the construction industry and using proprietary methods, the drywall scrap is transformed into natural gypsum products that are used for lawns or agricultural purposes. The gypsum provides a low cost remedy for acid, sodic, and erosion prone soils. The benefits are obvious - discarded drywall is recycled into useful products instead of going to a landfill, and the output results in reduced costs to farmers and building contractors.
President and General Manager, Terry L. Weaver has over 25 years of experience in construction and agri business, specializing in agricultural gypsum. Together with Richard G. Sauder, Recycling Project Manager & Corporate Treasurer, they have dedicated the company’s focus to opportunities that respect three bottom lines: social prosperity, environmental stewardship, and profitability. With these goals in mind, the company makes generous monthly donations to the Water Street Mission and World Vision Micro.
In collaboration with SCORE mentor Lou Davenport, the management team of USA Gypsum has significantly increased the company’s profitability as well as decreasing its reliance on debt. As mentor Lou Davenport says, USA Gypsum “is a great example of how a good business idea, combined with a fine work ethic and continuous business process improvement can all combine into a successful business that serves both market and community needs.”
How SCORE Helped
Lou Davenport assisted the USA Gypsum team in conducting R&D to develop new products for recycled gypsum board that could generate a Gross Profit Margin % of Sales necessary to build a sustainable business model. Together they analyzed every aspect of the company's financial structure and secured new loans that would help put the company on stable footing well into the future. Five years later, the team continues to meet with Lou to constantly re-evaluate and perfect their business model.
For 40 years, Cloud 9 Ranch Club, Inc. has been celebrating the beauty, excitement and fun of the Ozark mountains of Southern Missouri. The ranch covers over 6,300 acres of natural resources and feels like a cross between a small town and a resort community. It is a not-for-profit family camping resort once owned by a group of investors which transitioned to a member-owned corporation during a re-organization in 1998. For the next ten years the ranch waivered between great successes and heartbreaking lows. In 2009, during a period of turnover in management, poor employee morale, and owner discontent, Gene Muenks was elected President of the corporation’s governing Board of Directors. Gene recognized the need for outside assistance to bring the ranch back to what it had once been and through a member forum learned about SCORE. Together a team of 3 SCORE mentors and several members of the management and Boards of Directors of Cloud 9 worked tirelessly to bring a glorious place to explore, seek adventure and relax back to the beautiful Ozarks. www.cloud9ranch.com
This family camping resort includes a restaurant, convenience store, laundry services, gas station, stables, horseback riding, cattle, ATV trails, rentals for its owners and guests, and 6 full service hook-up RV campgrounds.
Through renewed marketing efforts the ranch has helped to ride the wave of seasonality by promoting activities like deer hunting and special events, to increase revenues during typically off-season months.
In 2011, the ranch increased yearly revenue by select cutting trees in a logging program. The process of select cutting allowed them to preserve the natural beauty of the park and still take advantage of thinning the trees that were already dead or dying. With proper forestry instruction, the trees were harvested before they lost complete value.
Although Cloud 9 Ranch’s progress is ongoing and they still sometimes meet with occasional cash flow issues, under the skilled leadership of general manager Coy Jackson and with continued guidance from SCORE, the ranch has changed the way business is being handled in the day-to-day operations – for the better.
What's Great About My Mentor?
As with many small businesses stuck in a rut, the marketing efforts of Cloud 9 had hit a slump. SCORE mentors sought to correct this and grow revenues by adding a position of “Events Coordinator and Marketing Director” to the staff. A creative marketing plan was devised to promote the ranch with minimal costs through a full event program. The program proved to be extremely successful and resulted in nearly 400 new memberships in 2011, compared to just 4 new memberships the prior year.
In 2010, the SCORE team also aided extensively with the search for a new General Manager for the ranch. This new appointment was critical in overseeing many of the other positive changes SCORE assisted with within the organization including implementing a better cost accounting system, re-evaluating the ranch’s fee structure and developing an employee flow chart. Through a rigorous search process, Cloud 9 hired Coy Jackson as General Manager and it has turned out to be a perfect fit. For the last 3 years, Coy has enacted continuous improvements to the ranch's operations.
How SCORE Helped
SCORE has an ongoing relationship with the Cloud 9 Ranch leadership and continues to offer advice in corporate financial issues and ways to improve its infrastructure and employee–managerial relations.
General Manager Coy Jackson, reflected on SCORE’s impact on the organization saying, “I would recommend any size business and anyone planning a business to have SCORE as a part of the operation and use them on a regular basis.”
As an Accion Austin Partner, Austin SCORE is pleased to make known a
Free Yelp and Accion's Small Business Connections workshop
covering Online Marketing and Microfinance
Are you a small business owner looking for online marketing, social media, or financing advice? The Small Business Connections workshop will help entrepreneurs better understand:
Published May. 3, 2012
Sometimes it’s hard to play by the rules, but what if you’re the one writing them?
Every small business does need some basic rules in place. Along with articles of incorporation, corporate bylaws provide a major--if not the major--foundation for your small business.
Not only do they help keep everything legally in sync with state requirements, they also map out how your company is run and operated.
Sometimes it’s hard to play by the rules, but what if you’re the one writing them? Every small business does need some basic rules in place. Along with articles of incorporation, corporate bylaws provide a major--if not the major--foundation for your small business. Not only do they help keep everything legally in sync with state requirements, they also map out how your company is run and operated.
Published Apr. 19, 2012
After incorporating or forming an LLC, there are ongoing compliance requirements for your company.
These compliance requirements vary by state and fall into two categories: internal and external. Internal requirements need to be fulfilled by the directors and shareholders or members and managers and must be documented as part of company records. External compliance requirements are imposed by the state in which your business is incorporated and any state where it is registered to transact business, or Foreign Qualified.
Published Apr. 19, 2012
S corporation, C corporation, Limited Partnership, or LLC--choosing a business entity structure can be daunting and a bit overwhelming.
The Incorporation Wizard is an online tool that helps you evaluate business forms based on your specific business needs.
As you answer business-related questions across six categories, the Wizard ranks each entity type based on how well each may align your requirements.
Want to find out which business type might be right for you? Visit the: Incorporation Wizard.
Published Apr. 12, 2012
Special tax law provisions may help taxpayers and businesses recover financially from the impact of a disaster, especially when the federal government declares their location to be a major disaster area. Depending on the circumstances, the IRS may grant additional time to file returns and pay taxes. Both individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area can get a faster refund by claiming losses related to the disaster on the tax return for the previous year, usually by filing an amended return.
The IRS also offers audio presentations on Planning for Disaster. These presentations discuss business continuity planning, insurance coverage, recording keeping and other tips to stay in business after a major disaster.
Published Apr. 12, 2012
The IRS maintains a valuable collection of resources for small businesses called the Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center. Visit their site for forms, articles, videos, webinars and audio presentations for small businesses.
Published Mar. 19, 2012
Business information, Business Statistics, Demographic information, Business Educational Resources.
Useful links for Gainesville and surrounding counties as well as State and National links for Business Information.
Links and Local Alliances
Gainesville has relationships with many local agencies, businesses and organizations. The following alliances help strengthen our services to small business clients in the community
www.sbdc.unf.edu SMALL BUSINES DEVELOPMENT CENTER Our local SBA loan experts