The Maine Small Business Development Centers (Maine SBDC), a state-wide program that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, has selected Christine Long as the 2016 State Star. The award, given annually, recognizes a member of the Maine SBDC staff that has shown exemplary performance and a strong commitment to small business success.
View our August 2016 Newsletter (PDF download)
In this update: Award Winner Announced * Online Business Resources Available * Meet an Advisor * Meet a Partner
View our June 2016 Newsletter (PDF download)
The Maine Small Business Development Centers (Maine SBDC), a state-wide program that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, recognized four business advisors – Larry Giroux, Peter Harriman, Roy Hebert and Josh Nadeau – who received their Core Competencies Professional Certification from the New England Professional Development (NEPD) group on Wednesday, May 11, 2016.
You’re Invited! Bucksport Bay Area Business Breakfast & Small Business Resource Fair
Small business owners and entrepreneurs!
Join us for a fun and informative morning with a FREE buffet breakfast featuring Maine’s own Bob Crowley, small business owner and winner of Survivor: Gabon. Bob will entertain you with stories of his time on Survivor, his experiences as a small business owner and much more.
When cash flow is an issue and convenient online loan applications just a few clicks away, business owners have access to hundreds of alternative financing options, both legitimate and deceptive. You need money, they say they have it. They offer fast cash and guaranteed, instant pre-approval. Bad credit? No business plan? No problem. Just send in $1,000 to cover “insurance,” “processing” or “transfer fees” along with all your personal and financial information and they’ll get you the money wired into your checking account in 72 hours’ time. Or will they?
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. In today’s internet-focused business environment, scammers are increasingly looking for unique ways to take advantage of people – particularly to get access to your money or your personal information. Using sophisticated and ‘real looking’ loan applications, these ‘lenders’ prey on people who are already in financial trouble.
Don’t be their next victim. It’s important for business owners to do their due diligence. Be wary of unsolicited phone calls, emails, advertisements or letters. Be aware of red flags and be skeptical of anyone who asks for personal or financial information. Investing some time researching a lender could save you a ton of money in the long run.
LOOK FOR THESE RED FLAGS –
Upfront fees – You should never pay an advanced fee or upfront cost to secure a loan. Legitimate lenders do not guarantee a loan in exchange for a fee at the time of application. Most real lenders will take fees from the amount you are borrowing, but not before you receive you your loan or before you even apply.
Not requiring credit check or business plan – The reality is that many entrepreneurs have less than perfect credit and because of this are drawn to offers that don’t require credit checks. While there are legitimate programs that have offerings for those with poor credit, business owners should be skeptical of the ‘no strings attached’ sales pitch that many of these scams advertise. Scammers often don’t seem to care about repayment and ignore poor credit or the lack of business plan that can outline a company’s ability to repay and the risk for the lender.
Not listing an address or phone on their website – Domestic addresses do not guarantee that the lender is legitimate. Scammers set up local PO boxes in the US that are forwarded elsewhere. They often don’t list contact information so you have no way of following up when things go awry.
PROTECT YOURSELF –
Research the Lender – Always check a prospective lender with the Better Business Bureau or Maine attorney general’s office. Check their ratings, complaint history and customer reviews. Talk to other small business owners who may have worked with this lender. While you definitely should not believe everything you see, a simple online search can help uncover a lot about the company. Visit their website, social media pages, and find their contact information but don’t be lured by a good-looking website. If still unsure, check with a Maine SBDC advisor who would be more than happy to help.
Keep personal and business information secure – Never give out financial or personal information over the phone or internet to anyone unless you are familiar with the company and you understand how the information will be used.
Read the fine print – Make sure you read all the terms and conditions of a loan before you hit the submit button. Pay close attention to fees, interest rate and the total repayment amount. By clicking submit, you may be agreeing to thousands in fees and a very high interest rate.
Monitor your banking accounts closely – Once they have your information, many online scammers will attempt to make unauthorized withdrawals from your account. Be sure to keep a close eye on your statements and check your account regularly.
Veteran Exhibitor Award:
First Place: Becky Wright Pottery of South Portland, Maine. This booth featured an open design with great colors and effective lighting that highlighted the contrasting levels and shapes. First place received $375 credit toward the 2016/2017 NEM show.
New Exhibitor Awards:
Bruce Baker Award:
Winner: Janell’s Bags of Newport, Maine. Using the look of white brick and iron pipe created an industrial look that provided sharp contrast to the products. New this year, the Bruce Baker award is given to a Bruce Baker session attendee who really understood and applied the concepts conveyed in the training session.
Over a year and a half Roderick assisted the couple in making their dream of owning a farm a reality.
Ryan Hawkes had 13 years of experience on every level as a telecommunications contractor before deciding to strike out on his own doing fiber-optic cable splicing and installations in business and campus environments.