Longwood Small Business Development Center supporting new & existing businesses 2017-05-26T06:31:48Z http://sbdc-longwood.com/feed/atom/ WordPress Colin Werth <![CDATA[4 Ways For Busy Business Owners To Keep Up With Bookkeeping]]> http://sbdc-longwood.com/?p=5393 2017-05-26T01:59:46Z 2017-05-25T19:50:02Z kim ray“One thing an accountant hates to see coming is a client with a box,” Longwood Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Business Analyst Kim Ray says.

Ray operated her own accounting business for 12 years before coming to SBDC and experienced those clients first hand.…

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kim ray“One thing an accountant hates to see coming is a client with a box,” Longwood Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Business Analyst Kim Ray says.

Ray operated her own accounting business for 12 years before coming to SBDC and experienced those clients first hand. “When an accountant sees a box, the bill goes up,” she says with a smile.

Accountants are paid by the hour, she adds, and going through a year’s worth of receipts takes time.

Ray, who received her MBA from Virginia Tech in 2004, currently advises new and prospective business owners in Farmville’s SBDC office. One of the first things she tells her clients is to make time for record keeping.

“A lot of small business owners are so busy keeping up with the primary focus of their business that they don’t have time to do the administrative work,” Ray says.

The regimented nature of accounting, she adds, is also not appealing to everyone.

“There are a lot of rules and steps in accounting, and you can’t skip them,” she says. “You can’t be creative.”

While “creative accounting” is something you probably don’t want to do, there are creative ways to establish a recordkeeping system that works for you. Here are Ray’s tips:

Get organized!

Start by developing a system for organizing receipts, bank records and warranties for equipment. It can be a simple as dozen 8 by 10-inch envelopes, one for each month. Once you have source documents organized, you don’t have to keep them in reach. Just close them up, and you’re done.

Have a backup plan.

Before you throw those documents in a box or envelope, have some type of listing. Organize your documents and have a record-keeping system — it can be as simple as a ledger or a computer file. It’s also wise to back that data up in another location.

Seek assistance.

The worst scenario is not completing the first two tips. A business owner who doesn’t have time for bookkeeping should consider outsourcing. Hiring an accountant or other professional relieves stress and often saves money in the long run. The main thing is — bookkeeping needs to be done. Make a habit of record keeping.

Establish a CPA relationship.

It pays to have a CPA you can call for business advice. A CPA can look at a major purchase from a tax-wise perspective and provide legal representation on IRS issues. It never hurts to have a CPA look over what you’ve done. These professionals stay up to date on the latest laws — it’s always good to have expert advice.

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Colin Werth <![CDATA[Meet Ellen Templeton]]> http://sbdc-longwood.com/?p=4001 2017-02-27T22:14:27Z 2017-02-23T00:47:06Z templeton picEllen Templeton, new director of the Crater Small Business Development Center of Longwood University, believes her job is all about being positive.

“When you work with small businesses, you have to smile,” she said. “Their enthusiasm is contagious.”

Working as an economic developer for ten years in Hampton, Templeton often countered negative comments like, “There’s too much traffic here,” with her own take.…

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templeton picEllen Templeton, new director of the Crater Small Business Development Center of Longwood University, believes her job is all about being positive.

“When you work with small businesses, you have to smile,” she said. “Their enthusiasm is contagious.”

Working as an economic developer for ten years in Hampton, Templeton often countered negative comments like, “There’s too much traffic here,” with her own take. “That’s because a lot of people want to be here,” she said. “That’s an example of how to look for the positive in a community.”

Director of Crater SBDC since November, Templeton is well suited for the job. She started her career in commercial real estate before moving on to a Virginia Economic Development Partnership job in Richmond. She later started her own insurance company.

“Throughout my career, I found that I gravitated toward small businesses,” she said. “When you work with big businesses, you help to create jobs but never have a chance to interact on a day-to-day level. Working with small businesses is more personal — you really get to see and feel that impact.”

Another facet of Templeton’s positive approach is seeing each community’s uniqueness. Crater SBDC covers Colonial Heights, Emporia, Greenville, Hopewell, Petersburg, Prince George County, Surry and Sussex.

“Every one of these communities is fabulous,” Templeton said. She is currently meeting with Chamber of Commerce and economic development officials in each area. “I see them as our partners and allies — our goals are the same.”

Templeton has compiled some tips for new and existing clients; these are three she considers important:

#1 Learn before you leap

Have knowledge about what you want to do. If you want to be an artist and can’t draw stick people, that might be a problem. Templeton’s experience as a small business owner is a valuable tool in advising clients. “Talking about a business and doing it were two very different things,” she said. “A business plan serves as a guidebook, but there are things only experience will teach you.”

#2 Love what you do

Passion is important for any small business owner. “If you lack passion, you’re going to do just what you have to do,” she said. “Then it becomes work — it shouldn’t be that way!”

#3 Honesty’s the best policy

“If someone tells me they don’t want to invest the time to make a business plan, I ask them, ‘Then why do you want to invest this money?’ It’s not fair to mislead clients. I love their excitement, but we’re here to help them succeed.”

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Colin Werth <![CDATA[Business of the Year Builds on a Plan]]> http://sbdc-longwood.com/?p=3983 2017-02-09T20:19:43Z 2017-02-08T20:55:48Z Amie Boone with receptionistAmie Teague Boone was still in elementary school when she started making plans to start her own business. Recently the Piedmont Regional Feeding & Oral-Motor Clinic Boone established was named the 2016 SBDC Southern Region Small Business of the Year.

“At the age of 10, I started writing to universities asking how to become a speech pathologist,” she says.…

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Amie Boone with receptionistAmie Teague Boone was still in elementary school when she started making plans to start her own business. Recently the Piedmont Regional Feeding & Oral-Motor Clinic Boone established was named the 2016 SBDC Southern Region Small Business of the Year.

“At the age of 10, I started writing to universities asking how to become a speech pathologist,” she says. “After I went to 4-H Camp that summer and learned sign language, I decided I wanted to be a deaf interpreter. Gallaudet University sent a brochure that said deaf interpreters work closely with speech pathologists. That’s what I decided to be.”

After earning her Master of Arts in Communication Sciences & Disorders from UNC Greensboro, the Danville native worked for five years as a clinician. “I felt I needed that real world experience before starting a business,” she says.

In 2006 Boone decided to step out on her own in a specialized field. “It was just me when I started the business,” she says of the Piedmont Regional Feeding Clinic. “There are only a handful of feeding clinics in the nation not attached to a hospital or university. We work with different things—it might be a baby having trouble with swallowing, patients with autism who can’t stand textures in the mouth, or someone who’s had a stroke and can’t swallow.”

Amie boone with diplomaTo get the right start for her business, Boone contacted Longwood SBDC consultant Diane Arnold. “When I took her class on how to write a business plan, I was seven months pregnant and started having contractions in class,” Boone recalls. “Everyone asked if I wanted to leave, but I stayed. I wanted to write that plan!”

Boone credits SBDC with helping her business weather the recession in 2008. “During that time, funding cut off just like that,” she says. “I was able to persevere because SBDC gave me the resources and knowledge to keep going—and I will always be grateful.”

Another setback occurred three years ago when Boone’s husband of 14 years developed leukemia and passed away. “My team of employees kept the business going,” she says. “At that time I also realized our business was no longer following our original plan, so we started a vision implementation to get back on track.” A chart with the company’s vision is now displayed on the conference room wall. “Everyone can see why we’re making the decisions we make and what’s next. That keeps all our employees invested,” Boone says.

“PRFC started in 2006 with just one employee—me. Now we have 26 full-time and three part-time employees. I’m very proud that PRFC was named the 2016 SBDC Danville Region Small Business of the Year.”

—Amie Boone

Several years ago PRFC moved to a new location that allowed the business to expand. “We recruit from all over the country,” Boone says. “We bring master’s and doctoral level people to this area.” PRFC currently employs 26 full-time and three part-time employees.

“SBDC has been a big component in helping me get the resources and knowledge I need,” Boone concludes. I might not be here today without them!”

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Colin Werth <![CDATA[Corner Kitchen Realizes Small Town Dream]]> http://sbdc-longwood.com/?p=3947 2017-01-26T19:32:10Z 2017-01-24T20:40:23Z Sam and Laurie AllenLaurie Allen always said she’d marry a chef. Four years ago she did and in the process realized another dream when she and husband Sam opened their own restaurant in Blackstone.

“Sam grew up in Blackstone, and I’m from Vermont,” she says.…

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Sam and Laurie AllenLaurie Allen always said she’d marry a chef. Four years ago she did and in the process realized another dream when she and husband Sam opened their own restaurant in Blackstone.

“Sam grew up in Blackstone, and I’m from Vermont,” she says. “We’ve been in the restaurant business for years, but Sam’s dream was to have his own restaurant.”

A chef trained in French cuisine, Sam acquired his culinary training at the New England Culinary Institute (NECI).

“We were co-owners of a restaurant in Chapel Hill with two other gentlemen when we heard about the Blackstone restaurant for sale,” Laurie says.

The Allens decided to buy the Blackstone restaurant for two reasons — to be near family and to own their own business.

“We‘d lived in cities for 15 years, so it’s really nice to be in a small town,” Laurie adds. “We love it!”

Laurie admits that making the change from an urban to small town business model did take some adjustments.

Sam and Laurie Allen“Blackstone and Chapel Hill are very different places,” she says.

The first step was to rename some of their menu choices.

“It was a challenge at first to try new things here,” she says with a smile. “A classic French name can be hard for the servers to pronounce, so a lot of times we just change the names on the menu. If it sounds too ‘hoity-toity,’ nobody wants it. We didn’t want that kind of feeling.”

To help the couple get off to a good start, Sam’s mother recommended a visit with the Longwood Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

“We ended up chatting with SBDC consultant Gary Shanaberger, and he gave us a lot of information on a number of things,” Laurie says. “The business part of a company is something a lot of people don’t know. SBDC’s program was a huge help to us.”

Shanaberger helped the new business owners develop their business plan.

“That’s the most difficult part of starting a business,” Laurie says

Although the Allens did not take out a loan since they felt they had saved enough to make their business work, the business plan SBDC helped them create proved helpful.

“The business part of a company is something a lot of people don’t know. SBDC’s program was a huge help to us.”

— Laurie Allen

“It showed us what we needed to look for as far as numbers go and what we were projecting,” she says.

The Corner Kitchen, which has eight to ten employees, has seen a significant increase in business since opening in June 2015, especially on Saturday nights.

“This year we had a steady stream of customers during the Christmas parade and a packed house after,” Laurie says. “Last year, not so much.”

The Allens credit their success to experience and the assistance provided by SBDC.

“Opening your own restaurant can be a scary prospect, so to have help from SBDC was amazing,” Laurie concludes. “We’ve been welcomed by the community — that’s very exciting for us.”

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Colin Werth <![CDATA[Tax Tips for Small Businesses]]> http://sbdc-longwood.com/?p=3929 2016-12-18T19:59:14Z 2016-12-18T19:59:14Z Anna FalkensteinFor many small business owners, tax season can be the stuff of nightmares. If April 15th makes you cringe, help is on the way. Anna Falkenstein, a senior stakeholder liaison for the Small Business/Self Employment Division of the IRS, shares her insider tips on handling your small-business taxes like a pro.…

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Anna FalkensteinFor many small business owners, tax season can be the stuff of nightmares. If April 15th makes you cringe, help is on the way. Anna Falkenstein, a senior stakeholder liaison for the Small Business/Self Employment Division of the IRS, shares her insider tips on handling your small-business taxes like a pro. Her division focuses on providing outreach and education to partners in the industry, such as chambers of commerce, and organizations like Longwood’s Small Business Development Center.

Falkenstein emphasizes that tax law is revised on almost a yearly basis. Staying informed of these changes is key to tax prep success. Falkenstein recommends familiarizing yourself with IRS website and regularly checking for tax law updates. One of the biggest overall changes that will affect all taxpayers are updates to the ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) program. ITINs are used for those who don’t have a social security number and aren’t eligible to apply for one. Changes to the law require that new applications for an ITIN numbers will need to be submitted to the IRS prior to filing time, as well as renewals of previous ITIN numbers. More information on if or how this will affect you or your business specifically can be found on the IRS website.

In addition to the changes in the ITIN program, according to Falkenstein there are a few noteworthy changes to watch for this year that will directly affect small businesses.

“The Work Opportunity Tax Credit was extended through 2019. Section 179 business expenses were permanently extended as well as the exclusion of capital gains for small business stocks held for more than 5 years. I recommend you check the IRS website to see if your small business is eligible to take advantage of this provision,” says Falkenstein. “Due dates for business returns were updated for 2016 also. It is best to refer to the return instructions for 2016 to determine what the newest due dates are. Corporations and partnerships were both affected by this change.”

She also encourages small business owners not to hesitate in asking for help.  “There are many organizations available to assist new small business owners,” she says.

Staying organized is critical. Falkenstein advises small business owners to “keep accurate and organized records. Label your receipts and organize them so you can easily determine if a receipt is an office expense or an operating expense, even if it came from the same supplier,” she adds.

She also advises filing your return on time, even if you aren’t able to pay the whole amount. “By filing in a timely fashion,” Falkenstein says, “you will avoid the Failure to File penalty which can be up to 25% of the tax due.”

Lastly Falkenstein says to stay alert for scammers. Small businesses are common targets. Some prevalent tactics are requesting fake tax payments over the phone, “verifying” tax return information over the phone and targeting payroll and human resources personnel posing as a boss or exec to obtain W-2 information on employees. She advises using the IRS website to stay up to date on the latest scams making the rounds.

These simple tips should help de-stress tax time for your small business. For more in-depth information on a wide variety of tax related topics, check out the IRS Video Portal at www.irsvideos.gov. It provides specific topics for small business owners on collections, audits, tax liens, the Affordable Care Act and more.

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Colin Werth <![CDATA[The Jury’s Inn and the Verdict is Good]]> http://sbdc-longwood.com/?p=3851 2016-11-15T20:21:36Z 2016-11-15T20:19:55Z Victoria Revilla
Victoria Revilla wanted to live downtown, so she started a hotel business.

“I bought this building in 2008,” the retired Army colonel said. “I was stationed at Ft. Lee three times and liked the Petersburg area. So I asked myself — ‘what should I do now?’”

The answer made sense — why not a downtown hotel?…

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Victoria Revilla
Victoria Revilla wanted to live downtown, so she started a hotel business.

“I bought this building in 2008,” the retired Army colonel said. “I was stationed at Ft. Lee three times and liked the Petersburg area. So I asked myself — ‘what should I do now?’”

The answer made sense — why not a downtown hotel?

“Everybody was building apartments,” Revilla said. “And I wanted to live downtown where the action is.”

Revilla’s plan was to open a six-bedroom boutique hotel like the ones popular in Europe, particularly Spain and France. To enhance her space she also purchased the lot next door. Since the 1850s-era building was in Petersburg’s historic district, the first step was restoration. That, Revilla soon learned, could be costly.

“When looking for funding, I went to the Richmond Economic Development Corporation to apply for a small business loan,” she said. “They referred me to the Longwood Small Business Development Center (SBDC).”

Revilla had a business plan but found that it needed to be presented it in a certain format. She enrolled in SBDC’s free classes and “started learning about all the things I needed to do.”

Revilla acquired a business loan from Virginia Community Capital, a revitalization group that was expanding into Petersburg, and quit her job as a contract employee for the Army to take over the building renovation.

“My architect has been with me since 2011,” she said. “I’m the designer, and after he does the drawings, we sit down and talk about it.”

Revilla admits there were difficulties along the way.

“You run into some bad people,” she said. “They underestimate to get the job and then did poor work. But I never gave up on it.”

Instead Revilla asked herself — what do I need to do to get over the next hill?

The answer was SBDC. Now that her business is established, Revilla plans to keep that connection.

“As I move on to my next phase and repackage my financial situation, I’ll go back to SBDC,” she said.

Revilla’s two-year goal is 70 percent occupancy for her hotel business and event space. Equipped with a full commercial kitchen, The Jury’s Inn also includes an event room that will seat 30 with room for 40 in the courtyard.

“I’m an event planner by trade,” Revilla said.

Revilla, who also works with the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), networks with young officers who are leaving the military.

“They’re looking for ideas — if I see something of interest I send it out to them,” she said.

Revilla advises prospective business owners to attend SBDC classes.

“You have to have a plan,” Revilla said. “I know I’ve learned a lot.”

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Colin Werth <![CDATA[Reflections by Marinda – Client Celebration]]> http://sbdc-longwood.com/?p=3845 2017-01-11T20:48:37Z 2016-10-28T19:57:33Z CONSULTANT Longwood SBDC
CLIENT SINCE 2014
INDUSTRY beauty salon

Marinda AyresThe Reflections by Marinda salon has been at a new location in the Sunchase shops for two years now. Owner Marinda Ayres already likes what she sees.

“Since I’ve been here I haven’t had to do any advertising,” she says.…

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CONSULTANT Longwood SBDC
CLIENT SINCE 2014
INDUSTRY beauty salon

Marinda AyresThe Reflections by Marinda salon has been at a new location in the Sunchase shops for two years now. Owner Marinda Ayres already likes what she sees.

“Since I’ve been here I haven’t had to do any advertising,” she says.

Ayres started her own business 14 years ago.

“It was always a dream,” she says. “I had some money saved and bought equipment piece by piece. I stepped out on faith.”

Ayres did turn to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for help with taxes, marketing, social media and record keeping. She also attended the Peer-to-Peer group.

“I was inspired by the information they gave me,” she says.

Ayres encourages others to follow her example.

“A lot of people don’t know about SBDC,” she says. “It’s been a blessing.”

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Colin Werth <![CDATA[Donkey D Cool Wear – Client Celebration]]> http://sbdc-longwood.com/?p=3841 2016-10-28T19:47:01Z 2016-10-28T19:46:32Z CONSULTANT Kim Ray
CLIENT SINCE 2013
INDUSTRY clothing store

donkey-d-iKatie Dunkum took an idea from her husband and made it into a business. Donkey D Cool Wear offers outdoor-themed t-shirts, sweatshirts, cups and cozies.

Dunkum, who still holds a full time job, is excited about her business.…

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CONSULTANT Kim Ray
CLIENT SINCE 2013
INDUSTRY clothing store

donkey-d-iKatie Dunkum took an idea from her husband and made it into a business. Donkey D Cool Wear offers outdoor-themed t-shirts, sweatshirts, cups and cozies.

Dunkum, who still holds a full time job, is excited about her business.

“Like all the other small business owners, I’m passionate about our products,” she says.

Three years ago Dunkum went to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) where she attended seminars and met with SBDC Business Analyst Kim Ray.

“SBDC also helped me find local screen printers,” she says.

Dunkum likes the continuing support SBDC provides.

“If I hit a roadblock, I can always go back to SBDC,” she says. “Everything about the program is good.”

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Colin Werth <![CDATA[Best Stop Spearheads Neighborhood Renewal]]> http://sbdc-longwood.com/?p=3831 2016-11-08T22:17:17Z 2016-10-21T17:43:27Z preston with best stop signWhen customers walk through the door of Best Stop Carry Out Fish they generally say two things.

“First they tell me your building is beautiful,” attorney and former delegate to Virginia’s 63rd District Joe Preston said.
“Then they thank me for being here.”

Best Stop is located in a century-old building, previously a pawnshop in an area with, as Preston put it, “a little crime problem.” Now it’s the center of an up-and-coming neighborhood.…

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preston with best stop signWhen customers walk through the door of Best Stop Carry Out Fish they generally say two things.

“First they tell me your building is beautiful,” attorney and former delegate to Virginia’s 63rd District Joe Preston said.
“Then they thank me for being here.”

Best Stop is located in a century-old building, previously a pawnshop in an area with, as Preston put it, “a little crime problem.” Now it’s the center of an up-and-coming neighborhood.

“I wanted to do something for the community, and this is a great way to give back,”

he said. “Other than Andrew’s Grill and a Church’s Chicken, there was no food service down here at all.”

Preston’s first step in opening his business was to make plans for an extensive renovation.

“This building was built in 1909, and it was literally falling down,” he said.

Preston started his project at a bad time — 2008. He had just contacted an architect and spent $30,000 on a design for the building when the stock market crashed and the banking industry followed suit. A short time later Preston’s contractor filed for bankruptcy.

“It was a financial nightmare,” he said. “I basically carried an uncompleted building for four years.”

During that time Longwood Small Business Development Center (SBDC) became Preston’s lifeline.

“I worked with SBDC for eight years — I never lost contact with them,” he said. “The bank turned me down twice, but Pat Hood at SBDC told me to ‘hang in there.’”

Although the project was on hold, the Petersburg SBDC consultant continued to call Preston and offer encouragement.

“Pat gave me the right information and always returned my calls — little stuff that you appreciate,” Preston said. “As soon as I got the money to do the renovation, I went right back to SBDC. I’d never done a business plan before. Pat got me with an accountant and showed me some things I’d never thought about.”

Best Stop Carry Out Fish opened in March 2016.

“We had a great first week — in one day we filled 98 orders,” Preston said. “Now I have a carryout breakfast you can’t get at most sit-down restaurants. I’m doing fried foods but as healthy as I possibly can. My menu is health conscious and community oriented.”

Best Stop currently has five employees, including a former cook for Ft. Lee Officer’s Club.

“He’s the one who convinced me that breakfast would work on this corner,” Preston said. “You have to build a business — it doesn’t just happen overnight.”

Preston is pleased to see that more renovations are underway in the neighborhood.

“This area’s being gentrified,” he said. “A lot of people are coming back down here — they’re not afraid anymore.”

Thanks to Preston, they also have a favorite place to eat.

“I’m excited that this business has created jobs and provided a service to the neighborhood,” Preston said. “ You can’t make a contribution to your community greater than that.”

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Colin Werth <![CDATA[Developing Human Resources — Easy as Pie]]> http://sbdc-longwood.com/?p=3827 2017-02-21T20:23:32Z 2016-10-21T17:31:28Z nodtvedt picCreating a successful business is like making a pumpkin pie. At least that’s what Small Business Development Center (SBDC) consultant Donald Nodtvedt believes. It’s as simple as finding the right recipe and following it.

Nodtvedt knows a thing or two about pumpkin pies.…

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nodtvedt picCreating a successful business is like making a pumpkin pie. At least that’s what Small Business Development Center (SBDC) consultant Donald Nodtvedt believes. It’s as simple as finding the right recipe and following it.

Nodtvedt knows a thing or two about pumpkin pies. Retired from Nestle Food Company after more than 32 years, Nodtvedt was factory manager for 17 years, five of which were in Nestle’s Pumpkin Operation.

A consultant for SBDC since September 2016, Nodtvedt enjoys sharing his extensive management background with new and existing small businesses. Human resources, he notes, is an often neglected but vital part of every business plan.

“Many businesses jump into work mode and skip the setup and planning,” he says.
SBDC guides new and existing businesses through these planning stages free of charge.

Read on for some of Nodtvedt’s tips on human resource development.

#1 Create a vision and mission

“You have to have a picture of where you’re going followed by tiered and aligned goals and objectives,” Nodtvedt says. “An HR department can’t function without it.”

He suggests a short four-to-five-word statement like Nestle’s “Good Food, Good Life.”

“It becomes the company standard,” he adds. “Then if something doesn’t support that vision and mission, don’t do it.”

#2 Develop an employee handbook

Every business, large or small, needs an employee handbook that includes procedures and policies created with a broad perspective.

“For a small business, you don’t need much,” Nodtvedt advises. “Human resources is the head to facilitate these policies — that’s the real key.”

#3 Hold performance reviews

Performance reviews should be held at least annually, Nodtvedt advises.

“Reviews need to focus on both strengths and weaknesses,” he says. “Resulting performance plans should accentuate the positive as well as address the negatives.”

Sometimes the solution is as simple as reassigning an employee to another area that motivates and matches skills and interest.

#4 Create a legacy

“A good organization believes in its sustainability,” Nodtvedt says. “It’s not just about one person. Human resources must train employees to help create that legacy.”

A “familial” relationship, Nodtvedt believes, is the key.

“Every manager should know their employees and what’s important to them,” he says. “Organizations that have that kind of relationship clearly have the best safety and quality records, the highest productivity, and frankly the best return on investment.”

“I would add one more important HR function,” Nodtvedt concludes. “Hire great people!”

To make an appointment or for more information on the services SBDC provides, contact the Longwood Small Business Development center at (434) 395-2086 or visit www.sbdc-longwood.com.

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