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In the News
SCORE Naples Mentor Assists with Hurricane Relief

AJ Velazquez, a SCORE Naples Mentor, is on a meaningful mission providing hurricane Maria disaster assistance on his homeland island of Puerto Rico.  AJ moved away from Puerto Rico 32 years ago.  He says it has been a profoundly thoughtful experience seeing the island through new eyes, providing an empathetic ear, and supporting relief efforts there.

In the News
Need Advice? Ask your Employees!


By: Gray Poehler, Business Counselor


Q: I am working harder than ever but can’t seem to increase my sales. Other than cutting prices what can you suggest?

 A: I can’t give you specifics as you have not indicated if you sell a tangible product or deliver a service to your customers. As a general rule, if price is not a major consideration, falling sales numbers can be attributed to an inferior product or poor customer service.

In the News
Steps to Starting a Business in Collier County

Q: I am thinking about starting a business but don’t know what steps I should take. Can you give me some direction in this regard?

A: Whether your business is located in Collier County or elsewhere, the first thing you should do is construct a written business plan. I see too many entrepreneurs that invest a lot of money with start-up expenses, before doing the necessary due diligence.

A well-constructed business plan will address all of the necessary steps you must take in the formation of a new business including:

In the News
A Big Under-The-Radar Cost for Your Business

Some have labeled it "the worst problem in the retail industry". It may be a bit of hyperbole, but the costs of employee turnover are not to be discounted. One national study estimated the cost to find, hire, and train a single “minimum wage” employee to be approximately $3300, or 15% of annual salary. This does not even include the costs for onboarding, training, errors and lower productivity until the employee gets up to speed. Also the effect on other employees' productivity. When these are added in, some estimates range from $5-10,000.

In the News
Nothing Happens Until A Sale Is Made

Q:  I have developed a unique software package that will be a hit if I can just find a way to locate and convince the client of its value to their operation. However sales and marketing are not my strong suits. What can you suggest?

A: It was Thomas Watson, Sr. that first coined the phrase “Nothing happens until a sale is made.” He was president of International Business Machines (IBM) from 1914 to 1956.

In the News
Reflections on Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Q: Given the disastrous effects of the two most recent hurricanes on both individuals and businesses, what can one do mitigate the financial impact of a natural disaster?

 A:  In addition to hurricanes, there are also tornados, floods, earthquakes, mudslides, and forest fires. Also man-made disasters like, riot, civil commotion and terrorists attacks.

 The most obvious way to mitigate the financial effects is to purchase insurance. However, most homeowner and business owner policies do not automatically cover all of these happenings.

In the News
Show me MORE than the Money

Q: I am experiencing a high volume of employee turnover. Our starting salary is at the upper end of our industry’s pay scale. What more should I offer to attract and retain good people?

A: “Show me the money”, the famous line from the movie “Jerry Maguire” rarely rings true today. Based on years of consulting, Semler Brossy, an independent executive compensation consulting firm, has concluded that a company's ability to get and keep top talent takes far more than money.

In the News
Retirement Plans for Small Businesses

Q: I am self-employed and need to set up some kind of retirement plan. What options should I consider?

A: You are wise to begin now to prepare for your eventual retirement years. Statistics show that many Americans are woefully unprepared and depend almost entirely on Social Security benefits.

In researching your question I came across an article offered by Fidelity Investments dated January 1, 2017. The following are excerpts from that article

In the News
Many Hats to Wear When Owning A Business

QUESTION: I am considering investing in a franchise, but am somewhat in awe of the many details I must deal with on a day to day basis. My strengths are in sales and marketing, but I have little experience in bookkeeping, record keeping, taxes, insurance, etc. What are my options?

ANSWER: Many entrepreneurs face these problems. We all have strengths and weaknesses and a wise man knows what he doesn’t know. You can, of course, learn the hard way through trial and error or you can reach out to others who have the necessary expertise.

In the News
How to Collect The Money You Are Owed

Q: Your recent article about managing one’s cash flow emphasized the importance of converting accounts receivables (uncollected money owed to you) into cash in the bank. Can you offer more suggestions how to speed up the collection process without aggravating and risking the loss of the customer?

A: The process of collecting money, while a delicate subject, can be handled in a variety of ways. You must first come to grips with the fact that you are entitled to be paid for your services.

In the News
Alternate Source of Funding for Startups and Early-Stage Companies

Alternate Source of Funding for Startups and Early-Stage Companies

Most startups and very early-stage companies with very little financial history generally find most traditional funding sources – banks, closed to them. Many banks consider a startup anything less than two years old, so if a small business owner needs financing it usually needs some type of non-traditional funding. One source of funding that is being seen more often are royalties, or revenue-based financing.

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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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