Client Highlight: Verona Wine and Design

Verona Wine and DesignWhen Colleen and Michael Gross of Verona Island originally came to see Business Advisor Betty Egner, they had owned their business, Verona Wine and Design, for two years.  Already successful in their current format, an online business selling items made from repurposed wine barrels, they wanted to expand on their love for wine and wine-inspired items – they wanted to open a retail wine shop and a wine and tapas bar on Main Street in Bucksport.

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Business Highlight: The Local Variety – Bucksport

The Local Variety
The Local VAriety is located in the heart of downtown Bucksport, a former mill town with new energy and life. When the current owners decided to put the business up for sale, Jessica Carter jumped at the opportunity to own this downtown café in the town that she loves. Although she had little experience in the restaurant industry, she had a vision for the store and sought out Maine SBDC Business Advisor Betty Egner for help turning that dream into reality.

“Betty helped me so much in areas where I really had no idea where to start,” Carter states. “She walked me through the bigger picture as well as many of the fine details, helped me with a business plan and assisted me in finding the financing to make this happen.”Read More

Business Highlight: Halcyon Yarn – Bath

Halcyon Yarn LogoHalcyon Yarn, a yarn and fiber art retail and catalogue store located in Bath, has been in business for over 45 years, serving the needs of weavers, knitters, spinners and other fiber artists. When the founder Halcyon Blake decided it was time to retire, her daughter Gretchen Jaeger sought to buy the business and keep it in the family.

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MaineBiz: Buyer of Portage Lakeside Cabins converting seasonal business into four-season resort

PORTAGE LAKE — An Aroostook County native and former marine said her purchase of Portage Lakeside Cabins, not far from her childhood stomping grounds, fulfills her longtime dream for a business while allowing her to raise her children in a region she loves.

In a transaction finalized Sept. 13, Shannon Currier purchased the business for $250,000. It’s located at 4 Almond Drive with easy access from Route 11 and includes a single-family cottage, four small cabins, bathhouse and garage sitting on 2.7 acres with 420 feet of lake frontage. The seller was Laura Bouchard, according to the Caribou-based Northern Maine Development Commission’s business finance division, which helped Currier finance the purchase.

Currier credited Joshua Nadeau, director of NMDC’s small business development center, and the center’s loan officer David Spooner with providing helpful business counseling as she considered the acquisition.

Read the full story here

What is a marketing plan and why do I need one?

By: Business Advisor Tom Leach

What is a marketing plan?  What should it contain?

Of course the starting point is to understand what marketing is in the first place. Marketing starts with who the customer is and their needs and wants. That will vary depending upon which customer segment the company is targeting. Understanding the customer segment’s attitudes and wishes is critical and deserves careful thought.  Products then need to be differentiated from competitive choices in order to best satisfy the segment’s desires.  Pricing represents the value of the product and must match the product’s attributes and benefits and of course must be competitive. Where the product is sold should represent how the customer wishes to shop for it and acquire it.  Finally, communicating the value of the product must take into account which media the customer follows and how the product is presented to them in terms of need satisfaction and how it is a better choice than competitive products. Product positioning is an important issue to consider.  Positioning is the customers’ perception of the brand’s value in relation to the competitive choices.  In other words, it is the mental definition of the brand in the mind of the customer.

A marketing plan is a document that outlines the situation or business environment that the business is currently operating within and then lays out the objectives, strategy and programs to accomplish the objectives going forward.

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LLC or S-Corp…why not both?

Written by: Business Advisor Peter Harriman

LLC or S-Corp? - Maine SBDC

Congrats! You are thinking of getting into business! Or you are in business already but wondering if your business is operating under the right type of business! You are looking online to try to figure out the ins and outs of which business entity formation is best for you, and you are coming to a road block. There are a lot of choices; sole proprietor, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), c- corp, etc. The complexity of the topic should prompt a call to some kind of legal professional to ensure you understand the decision and how it will affect you and your business. 

One business entity you might want to discuss during this conversation is the LLC that is taxed like an S-Corp. This article will discuss some general pros and cons of this election, but (again) it is meant as a discussion point with a legal professional. Your accountant will also want to weigh in on the topic too, more on that later. 
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How To: Create a good marketing plan

Working with clients over the years has made me appreciate marketing as a key to success. The ability to create a great product isn’t going to assure success. There are many great products and services that fail. You can’t take the “build it and they will come” approach. With a well thought out marketing plan, a good product can exceed the sales of an equal or even better product.

Part of any successful business is identifying their target market and developing plans on how they can reach the customers and demonstrate value. Have you ever tried to identify your customers?

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