Southern Ohio Agricultural & Community Development Foundation Offerings

(Shared by Melissa Carter, Business Specialist, Small Business Development Center)

The Southern Ohio Agricultural & Community Development Foundation (SOACDF) is again offering an opportunity for farmers in Southern Ohio.  The Young Farmer Agricultural Program is designed to facilitate growing an agricultural enterprise to the next level.  The intent of the program is to help promote and ensure a strong future in southern Ohio agriculture.  Eligible applicants must be ages 20 – 38 as of August 1, 2017 and must reside within the 22 counties the Foundation currently serves.

The Agricultural Development Program is open to any individual who resides within the 22 counties the Foundation currently serves that have either a Farm Service Agency (FSA) number on record. It is very similar to the Young Farmer, however there is no age requirement.

SOACDF will award up grants in both of programs of up to $25,000 each.  The grants will be 50% cost shares with the awardees.

Applications, including a business plan, will be accepted for the programs throughout August. Applications will be available starting July 1st at the SOACDF office in Hillsboro, the local Farm Service Agency or online at www.soacdf.net.

SOACDF will hold informational meetings for First Hand Information:

  • Tuesday, July 3, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. – Cherry Fork Community Center, SR 136, Cherry Fork

  • Thursday, July 5, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. – Southern Hills Career & Technical Center, Board of Education Building

 Hamer Rd, Georgetown

  • Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. – C.H. McKenzie Ag Center, Jackson Pike, Gallipolis

The Business Development Network is available to meet with applicants to review components of their applications and business plan.  For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Jennifer Dunn at 740-289-1605.  Please call to schedule an appointment before August 13th.

 

How to Prep Your Business Before Tax Season

(Shared by Jennifer Dunn, Program Assistant, Endeavor Center, OSU South Centers)

bplans.com by: Crystalynn Shelton

Doing business taxes can be difficult for new entrepreneurs. In this article, I’ll share smarter and faster ways to record your expenses and keep track of your receipts and other important documents for your taxes. Each of these tips is easy to implement and should help make tax time a breeze!

Tip #1: Use accounting software to keep track of business expenses

One of the things that many small business owners struggle with is staying on top of their bookkeeping throughout the year. If you don’t use an accounting software like QuickBooks or Xero, you are setting yourself up for failure come tax time.

I’m a CPA and believe it or not, I use QuickBooks to do my books and prep myself for tax season. This makes it so much easier and ensures that you keep accurate records of your income and expenses. If you find yourself always in “catch-up” mode when it comes to your books, then you must invest in accounting software.

Tip #2: Use expense categories in your accounting software

Expense categories are just a way to group purchases that you make for your business. For example, office supplies, restaurants, and gasoline are expense categories. They can help you better track vendor expenses rather than setting up each and every vendor for everyday purchases.

The reason is that it will allow you to enter expenses faster. This will save you time and it will allow you to only keep track of the most important info required for tax purposes.

Read more …

4 Steps To Creating A Vision For Your Business

(Shared by Ryan Mapes, Manager, Endeavor Center and Program Leader, Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

Posted by a Contributor on 3/21/17
at Youngupstarts.com
by Rich Allen, author of “The Ultimate Business Tune Up: A Simple Yet Powerful Business Model That Will Transform the Lives of Small Business Owners“

Running a business takes more than a day-by-day approach. You need a clear idea of where you want your business to be ten years from now — your own North Star that not only inspires you, it inspires your team as well. Essentially, if you want to get somewhere and you want people to follow you there, you have to visualize it first: you can’t be a leader without vision.

The problem is, most of us are too busy tackling the everyday challenges to sit back and look at what we’re doing and where we want to be. Buried under the daily pressures of running a business, most small business owners can barely think six months ahead, let alone ten years.

Here are four simple steps to picture your business in ten years, and chart the best course to get there and inspire your people to get behind you and come along for the ride:

1. Start with the mountaintop.

Imagine it’s ten years from now. Write down all the particulars you can of what your business looks like. There are no right or wrong answers here. The point is to focus on learning your vision of your business in the future: where you want to go, and what you want it to look like. Don’t worry about whether it will actually turn out this way.

Include:
•How many team members you’ll have
•What locations you’ll have
•What products and services you offer
•How your business is structured
•What your ideal customer or client looks like
•What kind of volume you’re doing
•What your own life is like, and how involved you are in the daily goings on of your business.
•And if you’re not involved any more, what are you doing instead?

2. Back up five years.

Once you have the ten-year vision down in writing, back up halfway. In five years, where do you need to be in order to be on track to hit that ten-year point? Cover the same details, and write them down. For instance:
•How many people are on your team?
•Do you have half the locations as in ten years?
•Are you offering the same products as services as now, or the same as in ten years?
•Have you found your ideal customers yet?
•Are you doing half the volume you’re doing in ten years?
•Are you still going into work every day? What’s your own life like in five years?

3. Back up two more years.

Now that you have your five-year vision, take it back to the three-year version of your business. Ask the same questions, and think about whether or not your three-year vision backs up your five-year vision: are you on the right course? Where do you have to be in here years in order to achieve your five-year goals?

4. Back up to next year.

Finally, flip the script entirely: You need to take a sharp look at the next year — and now you have a ten-year perspective to do it in. So ask yourself: where do I need to be next year to be on track to reach my three-year vision? Use the same criteria, and make sure it’s as specific as possible.

By starting at the top and working your way back, you’ve already set up your goalposts. And with a very specific outline of your one-year, three-year, five-year, and ten-year vision, you can start to create a plan and structure for your business that will get you to each benchmark. You can share this vision, and its structure, with your people, inspiring them to follow your lead. You can also check in periodically, and see if you are on pace to make what you need to make happen. If not, you have a good idea of what needs to be modified or adjusted — without losing focus.

The truth is, if you just go on about your daily activities and hope you’ll one day end up where you want to be, changes are, it won’t happen. Eighty percent of new businesses will not survive the first five years — and much of them fall prey to their own functional nearsightedness. Instead, plan out where you want to be and use a vision to guide you. Time flies when you’ve set a course.

Original Article

How to Write a Business Plan

(Shared by Jennifer Dunn, Program Assistant, Endeavor Center, OSU South Centers)

BPlans at http://articles.bplans.com
by: Noah Parsons

This article is part of both our Business Startup Guide and our Business Planning Guide—curated lists of our articles that will get you up and running in no time!

If you’ve reviewed what a business plan is, and why you need one to start and grow your business, then it’s time to dig into the process of actually writing a business plan.

In this step-by-step guide, I’ll take you through every stage of writing a business plan that will actually help you achieve your goals. And, if you’re just looking for a downloadable template to get you started, you can skip ahead and download it now.

Whether you’re trying to raise money for your business or are developing a plan for strategic growth, a solid business plan is a key component to every successful business.



1. Keep it short.

Business plans should be short and concise.

The reasoning for that is twofold:
1.First, you want your business plan to be read (and no one is going to read a 100-page or even 40-page business plan).
2.Second, your business plan should be a tool you use to run and grow your business, something you continue to use and refine over time. An excessively long business plan is a huge hassle to deal with and guarantees that your plan will be relegated to a desk drawer, never to be seen again.

2. Know your audience.

Write your plan using language that your audience will understand.

For example, if your company is developing a complex scientific process, but your prospective investors aren’t scientists (and don’t understand all the detailed scientific terminology you want to use), you need to adapt.

Instead of this:

“Our patent-pending technology is a one-connection add-on to existing bCPAP setups. When attached to a bCPAP setup, our product provides non-invasive dual pressure ventilation.”

Write this:

“Our patent-pending product is a no power, easy-to-use device that replaces traditional ventilator machines used in hospitals at 1/100th the cost.”

Accommodate your investors, and keep explanations of your product simple and direct, using terms that everyone can understand. You can always use the appendix of your plan to provide more specific details.

3. Don’t be intimidated.

The vast majority of business owners and entrepreneurs aren’t business experts. Just like you, they’re learning as they go and don’t have degrees in business.

Writing a business plan may seem like a difficult hurdle, but it doesn’t have to be. If you know your business and are passionate about it, writing a business plan and then leveraging your plan for growth will be not nearly as challenging as you think.

And, you don’t have to start with a full, detailed business plan that I’m going to describe here. In fact, it can be much easier to start with a simple, one-page business plan—what we call a Lean Plan—and then come back and build a detailed business plan later.

Read more…

5 Ways to Boost Your Entrepreneurial Confidence

(Shared by Jennifer Dunn, Program Assistant, Endeavor Center, OSU South Centers)

BPlans at http://articles.bplans.com
by: Abdo Riani

“You have two minutes to convince me why I should invest in your company,” my professor said.

About seven years ago I delivered my first pitch. I was a sophomore in college back then. Never had I ever imagined I would spend three consecutive weeks practicing for a two-minute presentation. I was scared to death.

My brain was so exclusively focused on this presentation that I didn’t even ask or think why I was experiencing that much worry for a class assignment that meant to simulate a Shark Tank-like pitch. I did well, but most importantly, from all my research and mentor meetings, I learned a very important lesson: Nobody is born confident.

Even the most successful speakers and leaders lack confidence at certain times, but anyone who is willing to work on it can master it. Today, I speak about entrepreneurial confidence; about what it takes to have faith in your own decisions and actions to execute on your ideas. These strategies will help get you there.

1. Embrace worst case scenarios

How bad could it be? Lack of confidence is often a fear of failure. Overcoming it starts with figuring out what the problem is.

Identifying the possible negative consequences of our decisions and entrepreneurial initiatives and then naming their potential solutions reduces uncertainty and increases confidence.

When I was in college, everyone I knew—family, friends, professors and academic advisors—asked me to wait until I earned a degree and gained experience working for an established business before starting my own.

When I asked why, they talked about security and return on investment from my college years. They talked about the importance of having a plan B and how I still had the time to pursue my passion in the future.

Read more …

Is your farm MarketReady™?

(Submitted by Ivory Harlow, Ohio Cooperative Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Farm and Dairy at farmanddairy.com
By Ivory Harlow
Published October 6, 2017

MarketReady™ Producer Training will be held October 20, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Is your farm or food business market ready for 2018, or do you need help getting locally produced food products to market?

If you could use some assistance to expand your marketing channels, the MarketReady™ Producer Training is for you. MarketReady™ is an education program for farmers and individuals interested in starting or expanding a food business. Increasing demand for locally produced food provides an opportunity for local producers to sell their farm fresh products direct to restaurants, grocers, wholesalers and institutions. The program began as a University of Kentucky initiative, led by Dr. Tim Woods.

“[There is] tons and tons of opportunity in terms of a demand for local foods, but the challenge is just getting our producers up to speed to be able to bring the quality, consistency, and volume of product that these buyers are looking for,” Woods said in an interview with WalletHub.

MarketReady™ teaches farmers professional marketing skills. The curriculum covers market evaluation, packaging, pricing, relationship building, logistics, quality assurance and other key business functions.
Packaging

MarketReady™ teaches farmers how to label and package products in a way that appeals to customers.

“I’m a farmer, not a marketer,” a local producer confessed. He underestimated the importance of product packaging when he started selling to grocers.

“Large corporations have entire teams dedicated to branding; my product packaging has to compete.”
Pricing

Pricing products appropriately for various market channels is a challenge. On one hand, farmers need to price products at a rate that buyers are willing to pay; On the other hand, farmers must price products to support their business’s viability over the long-term. MarketReady™ helps producers develop a pricing strategy that meets buyers needs as well as their own.

Read more…

Should I Open a Franchise or Start a Business?

(Shared by Jennifer Dunn, Program Assistant, Endeavor Center, OSU South Centers)

Bplans
by: Kenneth Burke

The feelings of ownership and fulfillment that come with entrepreneurship are only beaten by the rewards that pay out if your venture succeeds! But there are drawbacks, too—namely a lot of work and risk.

It’s because of these pros and cons that so many ask the question: Should I open a franchise or start my own business? There’s no blanket answer because you need to consider several things before taking the next step.

After starting Kenneth Burke Media and getting into the tech startup scene with Text Request, I have a good idea of what it takes to start your own business. Thankfully, I also work closely with Julie Batycki, VP of Operations and Development for Educational Outfitters. They’re the nation’s number one school uniforms franchise and two-time winner of Franchise Business Review’s Best Franchises to Own award.

She knows a thing or two about opening franchises, and together, we came up with a set of questions to help you see if starting a business or opening a franchise is better for you.

What are you hoping to get out of business ownership?

There are several reasons you might want to own a business.

Maybe you’re looking to:
•Find the next challenge of your career
•Prove to yourself you can do it
•Monetize a hobby or interest
•Gain the freedoms that come with ownership
•Or any number of other reasons

So first, figure out: Why do you want to do this? Read more…

Self Employment Checklist

(Shared by Jennifer Dunn, Program Assistant, Endeavor Center, OSU South Centers)

Imagine waking up every day and working on projects that challenge, inspire, and fulfill you.

It’s something you’ve envisioned for a long time—the dream of creating a life you love based on doing work that you can truly take ownership of.

You know that to get there, you need to be self employed. The prospect of this is both thrilling and terrifying—so much so that taking those first steps feels like an insurmountable challenge.

However, you’ve decided that you’re ready to rise to that challenge; you just need a road map. We’ve created a free checklist to help you navigate through the process of self employment.

Read More…

Self Employment Checklist

(Shared by Jennifer Dunn, Program Assistant, Endeavor Center, OSU South Centers)

Imagine waking up every day and working on projects that challenge, inspire, and fulfill you.

It’s something you’ve envisioned for a long time—the dream of creating a life you love based on doing work that you can truly take ownership of.

You know that to get there, you need to be self employed. The prospect of this is both thrilling and terrifying—so much so that taking those first steps feels like an insurmountable challenge.

However, you’ve decided that you’re ready to rise to that challenge; you just need a road map. We’ve created a free checklist to help you navigate through the process of self employment.

Read more