November 24th, 2014

Small Business Saturday

2014_SBSI am very excited to introduce our first guest blogger, Patti Paulus.  My position as the small business librarian started almost six years ago, and I have had the pleasure of knowing Patti as a client and friend for the past five years.  I am so proud that the idea of an artist co-op from five years ago launched into such a successful business, The Palette & The Page.  She has positively contributed so much to the downtown revitalization of Main Street in Elkton and the store makes shopping local a no-brainer!

By now you have probably heard about “Small Business Saturday” which is the Saturday after Black Friday, this year it’s November 29th.  For Small Businesses, it is a pretty big deal.  As one of the owners of a small business in downtown Elkton, it feels like a special celebration and recognition of us and all small businesses.  The point of the event is to purposefully go out and shop at small businesses on that day in particular.  Of course, all small business owners want you to remember them whenever you shop, eat, need a repair or some construction, need your hair done – I think you get the picture…

Many studies have been done about the impact small businesses have on a community.  According to the SBE Council, small businesses are incubators for innovation and employment growth and have accounted for 60% of the net new jobs created since the end of the recession, which began in about mid-2009.  According to the American Independent Business Alliance, “Multiple studies show locally-owned independent restaurants return twice as much per dollar of revenue to our local economy than chain restaurants. And independent retailers return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales than chain competitors.”  Additionally, according to AMIBA, “Buying remotely on the web creates almost no local benefit-just a few minutes’ work for a delivery person.”

My small business, The Palette & The Page, a gallery owned by women in downtown Elkton, has been in existence for 5 years.  With much help from Cecil County Public Library’s Small Business Information Center (SBIC), we have grown to represent 30 local artists, 12 local authors and provide our community with a place to find truly unique items for themselves, their homes and their family and friends.

We’ve also been very instrumental in creating an active First Friday Art Loop in Downtown Elkton, providing opportunities to see new artwork, meet artists and authors, hear live music AND support small businesses- all throughout the Elkton Arts & Entertainment District.  Just this year we were chosen to receive the 2014 Small Business of the Year Award from the Elkton Chamber & Alliance.

On November 29th, for Small Business Saturday, we are joining forces with Small Busi-nesses everywhere, but especially those in our community.  We encourage you to “Shop Small” – support the places in your community that add value by helping to make the community strong, where people remember you, where you can be a part of giving back by spending your dollars  in a place where it will impact your community twice as much.  Additionally, your support will keep on giving as those businesses return their dollars to their community by investing in the community.  We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, November 29th!

If you are interested in starting your own small business, contact the Small Business Information Center at 410-996-5600 ext 128.  Click here for more information.


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January 25th, 2011

QuickBooks for Small Business Owners

The importance of math has been preached to us our whole life.  But like many of you, I remember sitting in my 12th grade trigonometry class thinking, when am I ever going to use this?  Although I can honestly say knowledge of the unit circle has escaped me, the importance of math is something my teachers were right about, and I see it clearly every day in my job.

As the Small Business Librarian at the Cecil County Public Library, I guide patrons through the process of starting a business.  Part of that process includes writing a business plan.  A business plan is a road map; it ensures that all the necessary research has been done and that a business can be successful.  Part of the business plan includes a section of financial outlooks, and – you guessed it – these financial outlooks require math skills!  Although I try to make it as easy as possible to understand a 12-month profit and loss projection, or how to calculate a break-even analysis, many people cringe at the idea of a calculation or formula.  As Daniel Sitarz clearly states in Small Business Accounting Simplified, “Maintaining a set of clear and understandable financial records is perhaps the single most important factor that separates successful businesses from those that fail.”  So what is a business owner to do?  There is an easy solution for the non-accountant, and that solution is the financial software for small business, QuickBooks.  This software allows you to invoice customers, pay your bills, generate sophisticated financial reports and graphs (like a break-even analysis), and more.

If getting your business finances in order is a top priority, then you should consider attending the library’s free program, QuickBooks Methods and Practices: Invoicing Your Customers, Monday, January 31 at 6:30pm.  This program is geared toward small business owners who want to learn how QuickBooks can help invoice customers and keep track of cash flow.  The program is presented by Certified Public Accountant and Certified QuickBooks Pro Advisor Dawn Rowles.  Call 410-996-5600 ext. 481 to reserve your spot.

If you need a book to guide you through QuickBooks, the library is here to help!

- QuickBooks 2010 QuickSteps: Finance Software for Small Business by Thomas E. Barich

- QuickBooks 2010: The Official Guide by Leslie Capachietti

- Running QuickBooks in Nonprofits by Kathy Ivens

- Small Business Accounting Simplified by Daniel Sitarz


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