In a recent IRS Tax Tip, the Internal Revenue Service explains some key facts about bartering and what’s taxable.  If your business barters, you may need to include it on your tax return – and of course, there’s a form for that!  Check out the full article, Four Things Your Should Know if You Barter as well as some other great resources for the entrepreneur at tax time. 

Have some questions?  Contact us.

The team at the Shenandoah Valley SBDC has called 1598 S. Main Street our home for many years… during that time we’ve met thousands of amazing business owners, managers, and entrepreneurs. We’ve imagined and planned and worked with you, laughed together and shared your dreams here.

But it is now time say goodbye to 1598 and move into a new home – the renovated Ice House at the intersection of Liberty & Bruce Streets in downtown Harrisonburg!

Some will remember the Cassco Ice Factory, built in 1934 and a landmark in the city for more than 75 years.  Renovations to our section of this multi-use complex included creating four floors of office, classroom, and conference space. This amazing transformation is taking place under the experienced and creative guidance of Matchbox.

icehouse-2952-low

Our Ice House one year ago!

We are happy that we will continue sharing space with our 1598 friends from the Institute of Certified Professional Managers and the Center for Economic Education, and now we have new neighbors from JMU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Office of Technology Transfer, plus our good colleagues from the Shenandoah Valley Partnership and Shenandoah Valley Technology Council along with other JMU departments.  This new arrangement will certainly make collaborating and planning easier when we can just go up or down the stairs instead of driving across town!

Logo w 25Moving day is Thursday Feb 6, so give us a day or two (or three or four!) to settle in, and
we’ll be back in full force.

New Location:  127 West Bruce Street  Harrisonburg, Virginia
All phone numbers, emails, and the mailing address will stay the same.

 

“A smart man makes a mistake, learns from it, and never makes that mistake again.  But a wise man finds a smart man and learns from him how to avoid the mistake altogether.”  -Roy H. Williams

There are tons of blogs and anecdotes online that highlight the tough lessons entrepreneurs have learned through their endeavors.  We’ve compiled a few here to start your journey of avoiding the mistakes that others have made.

20 Lessons You Don’t Want to Learn the Hard Way

Hubris: A Startup’s Worst Mistake

9 Lessons From A 10-Time Startup Failure

9 Biggest Mistakes New Entrepreneurs Make

Our business advisers also come with a wealth of information not only from their own experiences, but from their previous clients.  Contact us to start a conversation.

Social proof is a psychological principle that describes people’s tendency to follow a crowd.  If you see a bunch of people doing, or liking something – then it must be worth doing, or worthy of liking.  As social beings, we take our friends and colleagues actions as proof that an activity, or business is something that we should be doing too.

As a business owner or manager, you can use Social Proof to your advantage.  Essentially, you get more people to like you (and buy from you) because your potential customers think that everyone else is buying from you.

Read more from Dave Lavinsky, in his article, How Increased Teen Drug Use Can Help Your Business.

Have questions on this and other marketing strategies?  Contact us.

Your website is the first way that many new customers will find and see you – so it’s important to make a good impression.  It’s even more important to be easy to find.  Dave Lavinksy outlines the 5 Quick & Easy Ways to Improve Your Website.  The best part is that they are all fairly simple; they just take a little creativity.

It seems obvious, but it should also be said that connecting all of your online marketing platforms is essential.  You never know how your next customer is going to find you, and they need to be able to find what they’re looking for easily.  If they find your website first, make sure it’s obvious you have social media outlets (facebook, twitter, vine, etc).  If they find your facebook page, make sure that your About section is up to date.  Simple things like this can be easily overlooked and can cause frustration from a potential new customer.

Need some more guidance in how to maximize your marketing efforts? Contact us.

 

The SBA recently published The Truth Behind Government Grants for Small Businesses   an article that clarifies some misconceptions about federal loans.  Frankly put, there isn’t a money tree orchard for entrepreneurs.  In order to qualify for a federal or state grant, your business needs to fit a need that has been identified by the government.  This usually means some sort of scientific research or conservation.  Grant funds won’t cover start-up or operational costs, nor can they be used to pay off debt.  For the vast majority of entrepreneurs, funds will need to come from personal savings, friends and family, or bank loans. For others, maybe crowdfunding is the way to go.

If you think your business may qualify for a grant check out grants.gov which houses a database of grants available from the federal government.

Do you have questions about grants, loans and other sources of funding?  We can help you get your financials and business plans in order for applications as well as explore other options in the community.  Contact us to get started.

In the laymen world patents, copyrights and trademarks might be used interchangeably, but there are important distinctions small business owners need to know.  All three protect your work, but when and how would you pursue one over the other?

Simply put, patents are for inventions or discoveries; copyright pertains to authorship; and trademark protects your branded image, name and tagline.

The SBA has compiled additional information and resources on how to file with the U.S. Copyright Office or the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Also, join us for an upcoming workshop where Craig Morris of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will be presenting Trademark Basics  – in Harrisonburg on February 21, 2014.  Click here to register.

Still have questions on how to protect your intellectual property?  Contact us.

Your business’ website is often the first impression customers get – how can you make the best impression and reel them in?  Follow these tips can help your website reach its true potential.

Need more guidance in tailoring these tips to you?  Connect with us.

Customers are searching for brands they can trust: companies that deliver on promises and are transparent in their business practices.  Creating that emotional bond with your customer not only leads to sales, but referrals and positive reviews.  Learn more about how your business can become a trusted brand.

Also – check out some secrets behind 10 top-trusted brands.

We have other resources and experiences that can help build your brand: connect with us.

Are typical office spaces becoming passé? Close to 6 million Americans work from home, others video-conference, meet at coffee shops, or work on the road.  Find out what Entrepreneur is saying about the Workplace of the Future.

Need help figuring out the best type of “office” space to fit your needs?  We can help!