BLOG: Choosing your Entrepreneurial Path: Franchising

BLOG: Choosing your Entrepreneurial Path: Franchising

An important step in the small business startup process is deciding whether or not to go into business at all. Each year, thousands of potential entrepreneurs are faced with this difficult decision; because of the risk and work involved in starting a new business, many new entrepreneurs choose franchising as an alternative to starting a new, independent business from scratch. (more…)

BLOG: Choosing your Entrepreneurial Path: Government Contracting

In a previous blog post, we talkedabout some of the different entrepreneurial paths one could choose.  Today, we are going to give you a brief overview of Government Contracting and whether this path might suit you.  As we explore the different paths we will start with some of the reasons why a particular path might suit you in regards to your military experience and the advantages that come with being a veteran. (more…)

Ten Reasons to Promote Small Business Saturday



Promote Small Business Saturday

  1. Shoppers who knew about Small Business Saturday spent $5.5 billion on that day last year and 77% say they plan to shop local again this year. Promote this event on your website, social media pages and in your store.
  2. 67% of businesses that participated last year offered discounts on that day or coupons for discounts in the future.
  3. If your customer uses American Express, they get $25 back when they spend at least $25 at a local store. The store must enroll on the Small Business Saturday site and meet a few qualifications. The deadline is November 18th.
  4. For every $100 spent locally, $69 stays in the county and is used for supporting the infrastructure. Only 14% stays local when the money is spent at a chain store.
  5. Sustain local jobs. When a Walmart opens in a county, it actually reduces jobs by an average of 150 implying that each Walmart employee replaces 1.4 retail workers.
  6. Stress the ease in which shopping in a small locally owned store offers. The owner typically has hand selected products that they know their customers will like. Add some personalized customer service, like knowing the person’s name and family members, and you have a customized holiday shopping experience tailored specifically for the shopper. Create gift lists with “prices under” sections to demonstrate the breadth of your assortment
  7. Prewrap some of your hottest items so that the “convenience shopper” has the easiest shopping experience ever.
  8. Avoid the madness of Black Friday at big shopping centers and mega-stores. Door buster deals are usually in very limited quantities and long lines turn some people off. Offer a great, comfortable experience for the customer.
  9. The customer trusts you. A Gallop poll earlier this year found American people rank small businesses second only to the U.S. Military when it comes to institutions that they have confidence in.
  10. Make sure you can easily Get Found on a Google search and extend your hours for Small Business Saturday and the entire holiday season. Be Open when your customers can shop!
ICAP Participant – HIS Energy – Named “Nation’s Hottest Start-Up”
Accepting the $10,000 award are James Hubbard, III, (center) and his father Dr. Jim Hubbard, Jr., (left of center).  They are flanked by last year's winner and Tech Cocktail officials.

HIS Energy, founded by James Hubbard, Jr., PhD, and his son, James E. Hubbard, III, won Tech Cocktail's "Celebrate" competition and was named the "Nation's Hottest Start-up." The honor came with $10,000, the Tech Cocktail Chalice, American Airlines Business Extra points, $5,000 in Amazon Web Services credits, as well as national exposure for their game-changing technology, "Wireless Condition-Based Monitoring Powered by Energy Harvesting."  HIS Energy's Semper Cell, which powers sensors by harvesting energy from its environment, promises to become the device to power the Internet of Things.


"We are very proud to have had the Hubbards and their team participate in our Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program (ICAP), which assisted HIS Energy during the development of this breakthrough technology," declared Jody Keenan, State Director of the Virginia SBDC Network. "And kudos, too, to the team at SHINE Systems and Technologies, who delivered the ICAP services to HIS Energy through our program."

BLOG: Choosing your Entrepreneurial Path: Buying a Business

Many find the idea of running a small business appealing, but they lose their motivation after realizing, as they develop their business plans, talk with investors, and research the legal issues associated with start-ups, that it can be a big risk. For those disheartened by such risky undertakings, buying an existing business is often a simpler and safer alternative. (more…)

SBA Richmond District Office Now Accepting Nominations for Small Business Person of the Year

The U.S. Small Business Administration Richmond District Office’s online portal is open and ready to accept nominations for the 2015 Small Business Person of the Year.

“This year we have reduced the number of awards to only Small Business Person of the Year,” said SBA’s Richmond District Director Carl Knoblock. “This award has shown in the past the biggest return on investment to the business.”

Small Business Person of the Year is a highly competitive award that recognizes a successful small business. Criteria are based on staying power, growth, financial performance, innovativeness, response to adversity, and community involvement. Any individual or organization dedicated to the support of the small business community may nominate a business for this award. Submission guidelines and additional information and can be downloaded on the dedicated web portal at

In addition to the district award, business may be nominated including self-nominations to compete in National SBA Awards recognized during National Small Business Week. The categories of awards include the following:

  • Phoenix Awards (recognizing outstanding accomplishments during disaster recovery)
  • Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year
  • Small Business Subcontractor of the Year
  • The Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence (recognizes large prime contractors who have used small businesses as suppliers and contractors)
  • SBA 8(a) Graduate of the Year (for recent graduates of the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program)
  • Exporter of the Year
  • Small Business Development Center (SBDC)Excellence and Innovation Award (nominations of SBA-funded SBDC Service Centers)
  • Women’s Business Center (WBCs) of Excellence Award (nominations of SBA-funded WBCs)
  • Veterans Business Outreach Center Excellence in Service Award (nominations of SBA-funded Veterans Business Outreach Centers)
  • Small Business Investment Company of the Year

Nominations can be submitted online, postmarked or hand delivered to the SBA no later than 3 p.m. EST, Monday, Jan. 5, 2015. In addition to the portal, nominations can also be sent directly to SBA’s Richmond District Office located at 400 N. 8th Street, Suite 1150, Richmond, Va. 23219. For contact information and other District Office information visit online at or call Matthew Nowak at 804-253-9088.

Since 1963, National Small Business Week has recognized the outstanding achievements of America’s small businesses for their contributions to their local communities, and to our nation’s economy. For over 50 years, SBA will continue its tradition in honoring the nation’s 28 million small businesses.

BLOG: Becoming an Entrepreneur Part III: Five considerations to help you determine your entrepreneurial goals

This is the final part of our initial Becoming an Entrepreneur series.  As a quick recap, we have discussed the questions you should ask yourself before deciding to become an entrepreneur and the most common reasons why small businesses fail.  If you still believe you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur – Congratulations, it’s time to get to work!  So now the next question is what type of business do you start?    Here are five things you should consider when deciding on the type of path you want to choose. (more…)

BLOG: Becoming an Entrepreneur Part II: Why small businesses fail and the resources to help you with your new journey

In the first part of this series we discussed self-reflection and the questions you should ask yourself to decide whether the entrepreneurial path is right for you.Starting a small business is always risky, and the chance of success is slim, but recognizing the reasons businesses fail and avoiding common pitfalls can be some of the keys to success. (more…)

BLOG: Becoming an Entrepreneur Part I: Questions to ask before choosing to become an entrepreneur

While a lot of people would love to be their own boss, not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. If it was easy then everyone would do it, but according to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. So before you head down the entrepreneurial path, here are 10 questions you should ask yourself. (more…)

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Virginia SBDC