Tips & Tricks to Repair Your Credit

Hand holding a cell phone with credit report scale on phone and behind the hand.As a business owner, your personal credit score will impact your ability to get a business loan, secure credit lines, and even lease office space. While credit score requirements vary by institution or credit card provider, if your credit score is less than perfect, there are steps you can take to repair it! Read More

Fantastic Beasts – Sebago

Dr. Sarah Spindell of Fantastic Beasts Veterinary Care holding a black and white cat.As many small business owners know, being “customer-focused” is key to business success.  This means always thinking about ways to improve your customer’s experience and solve their problems. But when your customers are beloved dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, goats, and “other small furries” you want them to have the best experience possible.  That’s why Dr. Sarah Spindell decided to launch her small business, Fantastic Beasts Veterinary Care, as a mobile practice. Read More

How Has the Value of a Small Business Changed Through COVID?

Quote reading ""The more things change, the more they remain the same; banks & buyers want to know if the business can pay for itself, or if there’s a clear path to positive cash flow." over blue toned money.While there are a few approaches to determining the value of an existing business, they all hinge on the ability of a buyer to accurately predict the future cash flow created by the assets. In other words, nobody wants to work for free! Is a buyer going to be confident the business can pay them to do the work of ownership? Usually, this is demonstrated by stable & consistent historic performance.

However, the last few years have been everything but stable & consistent. So how has COVID, shifting industries, changing banking practices, and an alphabet soup of grants & loans (EIDL, PPP, CDBG…) changed the landscape of determining a reasonable market value for your business? Read More

Should You Raise Your Prices?

As a small business owner, one of the biggest challenges you may face is determining when it’s time to raise your prices. Maintaining loyal customers and earning a profit can be a delicate balance. However, there are times when raising your prices is necessary to keep your business viable.  A winning price strategy includes knowing your cost, knowing your market, and communicating your value. 

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Preparation For Fairs, Festivals And Farmers Markets

A collage of photos of people and tents. Blue background with white type reading Fairs, Festivals & Farmers Markets: Preparing & Running a Booth, with a white version of the America's Maine SBDC logo. 
Maine offers businesses year-round opportunities to display their products to potential customers. The state has 24 agriculture fairs, 70 festivals, 115 summer farmers markets, and 35 fall/winter markets. Participating in fairs, festivals, and farmers’ markets can be an excellent way for businesses to promote their products and increase sales. However, it’s essential to prepare your booth in a way that stands out and is relevant to the event. Read More

Janie Bell Mosaics – York

 Jeanette Bell, of Janie Bell Mosaics, is a retired teacher and a self-taught art and crafts enthusiast. Her passion for mosaic craft started when she was living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She loved the colors of the high desert and the access to beautiful tiles from Mexico. In 2018, Jeanette relocated to New England and settled in York, where she started creating mosaic pieces as a hobby. Her creations were so unique and beautiful that they caught the attention of her friends, who encouraged her to start a small business. Read More

Nature-Based Tourism In Maine

Maine’s outdoor industry is a vital and thriving state economy component. With its rugged coastlines, dense forests, and stunning mountain ranges, Maine is one of the top five states in the country for the outdoor recreation industry. In 2022 alone, Maine attracted over 15 million visitors, adding around eight billion dollars in revenue to the state’s tourism industry on accommodations, groceries, restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. 

The outdoor industry in Maine has undergone significant changes since the pandemic. However, this industry is core to our quality of life in Maine, and the setbacks gave way to a renewed focus on local tourism, with many Mainers rediscovering the beauty and adventure that their home state has to offer.

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Depot Square Hardware & Variety – Mechanic Falls

Chad Boulet (right) and Scott Hunter(left) proudly stand in front of their store front, below a sign that reads Depot Square Hardware & Variety. After a career managing grocery stores, Chad Boulet and his husband Scott Hunter, decided to embark on a new career and purchased their local hardware store! Depot Square Hardware & Variety is located in downtown Mechanic Falls, and throughout the pandemic their business actually grew as people relied on them for goods and services rather than larger area chain stores. Chad was referred to the Maine SBDC by his lender during the purchasing process to help put together some of the required paperwork. 

Connecting with Maine SBDC at AVCOG Center Director and Business Advisor Lori Allen helped him understand each step along the way. Lori reviewed his business plan, providing market research and general feedback. Then together they created realistic financial projections based on that market research as well as the previous owners’ P&L statements. Read More

Sacred Paws – Porter

Stephanie Smith of Sacred Paws smiles while squatting on a sunny sandy beach with two dogs. Stephanie R. Smith, M. Ed., CHES, CCDT has felt connected to animals since she was very young. Though she wasn’t totally sure how this would play out over the course of her life, she had a gut feeling that she was headed in the right direction! Opening Sacred Paws, a heart-centered holistic positive reinforcement canine behavioral support, training, and nutrition business in Porter, connected her head and her heart in a way that felt affirming. Yet she knew she needed to continue to grow and become more effective at business planning in order to thrive. Read More