Clifton Vaughn

Community banks benefit from willingness to approve PPP loans for small business owners

In South Florida as well as around the nation, small business owners applying for the Paycheck Protection Program often struck out with big lenders — even when they had been loyal customers. They had better luck with smaller, community banks that were less deluged with applications and nimbler.

According to the Small Business Administration, about 52% of the loans and 44% of the PPP program dollars were approved by local community banks and specialty lenders... Read more...

Katherine Culhane, Associate Director for the Florida SBDC

SBA approves record number of loans designed to help business owners

At a time when small businesses across the country are struggling to stay afloat, some business owners are investing in business growth by expanding their facilities or buying equipment. In fact, a record number may be, according to some very recent loan data.

With Small Business Administration 504 loans, businesses are able to purchase land, buildings, or other major assets such as large equipment. Besides low interest rates and long payback periods, what makes them attractive to small business owners is... Read more...

Treasure Coast business owners receive credentialed consulting from local SBDC

Since the end of last year, Florida and the rest of the world have been caught up in the throes of the coronavirus scare. While health is obviously the primary concern, COVID-19 presents just one more challenge for small businesses in the state.

According to the State of Small Business report 2020 from the Florida Small Business Development Center, there are 2.5 million small businesses in the Sunshine State. Eighty-eight percent of them have fewer than 20 employees. In total, Florida small businesses employ 3.4 million – or 41.6% of all private sector employees. Read more...

Vigilance urged when dealing with COVID-19 economic relief programs

With nearly $400 billion on the line between the Economic Injury Disaster Loans and the Paycheck Protection Program, I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that there would be fraudsters targeting small business owners during these challenging times. Avoiding small business lending scams and fraud related to COVID-19 requires you to be diligent and on the lookout for grant fraud, loan fraud and phishing scams.

The Small Business Administration offers some guidance on how scams and fraud schemes work and what activities should throw up a red flag, warning you about possible fraud. Read more...

Katherine Culhane, Associate Director for the Florida SBDC

Pandemic and pending recession is a good time for small businesses to refocus marketing strategy

Amid unprecedented fear, anxiety and uncertainty, small businesses might think it’s time to pause their marketing.

Not so fast.

Marketing and branding experts say this is the time to strategically continue investing in marketing, yet the messaging needs to shift for the coronavirus recession we are entering. Read more...

Michael Bernard

Options available for small business owners if coronavirus affects ability to pay bills

Coronavirus is having a significant impact on many small businesses and no one knows how long or how hard the economy will be affected. If you are having trouble paying your bills due to a reduction or a complete stop in revenues or higher than usual expenses related to COVID-19, here are eight options to consider if your business can’t pay its bills.

Keep in mind there isn’t a playbook for this situation. No one knows how long this crisis will last and options are changing rapidly. Stay in touch with your local economic development agency or the Florida Small Business Development Center at Indian River State College to remain updated. Read more...

Gerri Detweiler

It’s a good idea if business owners apply for SBA stimulus loans right away

If you’re a Florida business owner struggling financially right now, the way so many are thanks to COVID-19, you know the future is uncertain for us all. If you’ve even toyed with the idea of applying for one of the Small Business Administration stimulus loans, I encourage you to go ahead and do so now.

While, yes, there is $367 billion green lit to aid small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the fact is: We don’t know how long it will last. An unprecedented number of businesses have shut down or have seen a slowdown in sales. And those business owners are lining up to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). Read more...

Katherine Culhane, Associate Director for the Florida SBDC

SBA loan can help finance real estate purchase

Are you looking to finance a commercial real estate or industrial equipment purchase for your growing small business?

If so, a specific type of SBA loan may be right for you.

Katherine Culhane, associate director of the Florida SBDC at Indian River State College, says many small businesses don’t know about — or don’t understand the SBA 504 loan program. This particular loan program provides small business owners the advantage of a lower equity injection, allowing them to preserve more of their existing working capital. Read more...

Michael Bernard

10 resolutions for success in 2020

It’s been a good year for most small businesses. The economy remains strong, and you all are a relatively optimistic bunch.

Still, every business should take the time to look at what went right — and not so well — in the past year and then create a road map for the New Year. It’s about setting your business up for success in 2020.

Treasure Coast Business Magazine has consulted the experts and compiled some tips for making your business stronger in 2020, some big moves and some small. This is a holiday buffet so consider the tips most appropriate for your business — or write your own. You can call them New Year’s Resolutions if you wish, as long as you stick with them better than you will stick to your diet or your vow to hit the gym every day. Read more...

Finding workers, recession are top worries for small businesses

Small business owners, what keeps you up at night? If it is finding workers or managing your debt, you’re not alone.

Finding qualified workers to fill open positions continues to be the top worry of Florida’s small businesses, according to a Florida Chamber of Commerce 2019 Third Quarter Small Business Index survey. Read more...

Scotty Wilson, a consultant with Procurement Technical Assistance Center

FEDERAL CONTRACTING: GETTING YOUR FOOT IN THE DOOR

If you are a small business that has met with a Procurement Technical Assistance Center consultant to determine whether federal contracting may be right for the business and you have identified some potential contracts to pursue, it is time to put your best foot forward to get in the door.

By now we hope you have read our two previous stories “Is Your Business Ready for Government Contracting” (Summer 2019) and “Researching Federal Government Contracting Opportunities” (Fall 2019). Read more...

Spike Schultheis

Proper strategic planning can lead to profits

Goals, goals, goals — we all have them, but did your company hit them last year? How about for the Q3 and Q4 of 2019? What are your growth goals for 2020 for all of your functional areas and does everyone in your company know what they are?

If your company is like a lot of small businesses, there’s room for improvement. In a recent holiday period discussion, one owner of a local restaurant chain described his planning effort as “just winging it.” Read more...

Scotty Wilson, a consultant with Procurement Technical Assistance Center

RESEARCHING FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING OPPORTUNITES

While small businesses may have been discouraged by the recent government shutdown, you should know that the federal government is the largest buyer in the U.S., spending billions of dollars annually on products and services in construction, R&D, manufacturing, logistics, IT and other industries. Federal agencies also have prime contracting goals for small businesses and set-asides in a variety of categories, such as for women-owned, minority-owned or veteran-owned small businesses. Read more...

Emily McHugh’

EXPORTING? CONSIDER AN EXPORT MARKETING PLAN

In Florida, 60,000 Florida companies are exporting $55 billion in goods and services overseas. Small businesses account for 66 percent of all those exports. The exporting process may seem daunting but if you have a product or service with a proven track record in the domestic market, you may be already planning on international expansion.

Once you have determined exporting is right for you, you can tap a number of resources to help you research markets and defray your costs of doing business overseas. Read more...

George “Duke” Evans

THE DEMAND IS OUT THERE – BUT WHERE? SMART MARKET RESEARCH CAN HELP

Researching your market thoroughly is time well spent, and databases can open up a world of information.

The Florida Small Business Development Center at Indian River State College can provide a business owner and operator access to market research and demographic databases that can help the business grow, expand and potentially increase sales and revenues. These database and research tools will help the business mine trade data, industry financial data, government contract information and regional demographic data, allowing the business owner to make more informed decisions regarding growth strategy. Read more...

Spike Schultheis

FINANCIAL LITERACY — BUILDING A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF YOUR FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

The financial statements of the organization are the written record of its operations and its history. The statements can be used as a basis for the planning of its future. Your organization’s financial literacy can be thought of as its ability to “read and understand” the critical financial statements of the organization. Read more...

Michael Bernard

WHEN THE BANK SAYS NO, WHERE DO YOU GO?

It’s a growing problem: Small businesses are getting in over their heads with debt, often brought on by the use of online lenders that typically charge higher rates and can require shorter payback periods than banks and other alternatives.

Because traditional bank loans are difficult for many small businesses to qualify for, more Florida business owners are turning to these non-bank online lenders, such as OnDeck, Lending Club, PayPal Working Capital and Kabbage, to name a few. And a recently released national survey of small businesses showed Florida was not alone. Read more...

Katherine Culhane, Associate Director for the Florida SBDC

GROWING? HIRING? AVOID THESE 4 COMMON SMALL BUSINESS MISTAKES

Think your business is too small for “HR” processes? Think again.

It’s understandable that your growing small business is sharply focused on accelerating sales, managing cash flow and, of course, serving your customers. But with growth comes the need to hire, and with that comes the burden of complying with complex federal, state and local employment laws. Read more...

Tom Kindred, right, regional director for Florida SBDC at IRSC, interviews Melissa Roberts, managing director of operations, Jim Moran Institute, and Michael Myhre

STAY TUNED FOR ALL THINGS BUSINESS

Want to be in the know about Treasure Coast business? Then tune in to WPSL and WSTU for Startup Talk, a weekly business talk show entering its fifth year of broadcasting.

Startup Talk has broadcast more than 175 live episodes of the program. The show was designed and created to promote and create awareness regarding the business assistance and resource programs available at Indian River State College under the Dan K. Richardson Entrepreneurship Development Institute. Read more...

Pamela Starr, Google trainer, spoke to attendees

BUSINESSES, COMMUNITY LEADERS IGNITE STRATEGIC GROWTH AT SMALL BUSINESS LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE

More than 300 small business owners, professionals, and community leaders gathered for the ninth annual Small Business Leadership Conference June 26-28. Held in Orlando, the conference featured more than 40 speakers who discussed strategies and best practices for igniting strategic growth. Read more...

Scotty Wilson, a consultant with Procurement Technical Assistance Center

IS YOUR BUSINESS READY FOR GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING?

Winning a government contract can be very rewarding, but getting there is an extremely complex process, especially if you’re not prepared beforehand.

Scotty Wilson, a Procurement Technical Assistance Center consultant who specializes in government contracting, helps businesses assess whether they are ready for government contracting by looking at five key areas of a business. They are...