Latest economic impact numbers reveal $129 of return for every $1 invested
From 2010 through 2012, the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers and Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers assisted clients in creating $2.5 billion in economic impact, including creating or retaining 32,961 jobs, increasing sales by $986 million, acquiring investments of $649.1 million, winning government contracts of $857.4 million and obtaining research awards of $20.1 million.
Winston Churchill said, "We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us."
And the shapes of Hufft Projects, LLC, have landed on the covers of top architectural and design magazines, museums and showrooms around the world.
Hufft Projects' clean, modern, neo-minimal private houses and commercial structures are redefining Midwestern architecture. Co-owner, CEO and architect Matthew Hufft and long-time designer friend Clayton Vogel also established Edwin Blue, a division of Hufft that designs and manufactures high-end contemporary furniture for residential and commercial use. Edwin Blue's modus operandi is handmade and modern — two words not often seen together. Edwin Blue is unique in the architectural world; very few design organizations also do component fabrication. Edwin Blue currently has representatives in Kansas City and New York.
According to their product catalog, Hufft and Vogel set out to design and build beautiful, functional and long-lasting furniture. "Inspired by the reputation the United States once held as a nation that made things, Vogel and Hufft aspire to win that reputation back in some small measure with their collection of thoughtfully-designed, handmade furniture," it reads.
Hufft and his wife, Jesse, plunged into the design world after attending New York's Columbia University graduate school and establishing a design firm in New York. They recognized a gap in contemporary area architecture design, and like good entrepreneurs, decided to fill that gap.
Mike and Susan Davis, co-owners of Daylight Donuts franchises in Moberly and Macon, were tired of working for other people.
Mike was a carpenter who was growing tired of working outside in subfreezing north Missouri temperatures. Susan had experience in the restaurant industry. Both had previous ownership experience with Daylight Donut stores, and Mike, a former Marine, was confident he could build a store in Moberly largely by himself.
That was in the waning days of 2007 and first few months of 2008.
For various reasons, not the least of which was the recession and consumers cutting back on delicacies such as doughnuts, the Davises had to postpone their dream of working for themselves.
"I remember them from the very beginning wanting to start a doughnut shop in Moberly," says Chris Shoemaker, business development specialist with the MU Extension Macon County SBTDC. Moberly is home to three colleges and their ever-hungry students. "I have to admit that I was very unsure of the project. I thought Mike and Susan would have to sell a lot of doughnuts to make this work."
Small businesses in Missouri are facing increasing challenges. And far too often, businesses wait until it's too late to change their strategy. To stay competitive, businesses need to take a holistic, or 360-degree view of the company.
Viewing a company from every angle is almost impossible, but the SBTDC can help with a SMART (Strategic Management Analysis Review Tool) assessment. The SMART process was developed by the SBTDC to help owners recognize strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement.
The SMART criteria represent an international set of management practices associated with quality performance and apply to all industry sectors. The criteria are built upon six core business concepts:
- Strategic planning for the company's future.
- Customer and market focus, including a complete understanding of the company's customers and competitors as well as how to measure customer satisfaction and better gather customer information.
- Process management, including operational activities as well as support and management functions, such as relationship to business suppliers and analysis of their performance.
- Human resources, realizing that great performance is based in employee satisfaction, education and training. Effective employee communication, identification and evaluation are essential.
- Information and analysis of more than just the bottom line.
- Leadership, including how leaders set goals and values and communicate them throughout the organization.
Typically, a team of SBTDC counselors will conduct an extensive interview with the business management and ownership then deliver a feedback report outlining strengths and opportunities for improvement. Counselors then work with the company to develop and implement a plan to achieve those improvements.
Paul Bateson, University of Missouri SBTDC business counselor and Business Growth Services (BGS) team leader, has been certified as an economic gardening team leader by the Edward Lowe Foundation's National Center for Economic Gardening.
Danny Lobina, director of the Moberly Area Community College SBTDC; Collin Bunch, business development specialist with the University of Central Missouri SBTDC, Warrensburg; and Steve Holt, director, Northwest Missouri State University SBTDC, Chillicothe, have also been certified as economic gardening specialists by the foundation.
To be certified, individuals must participate in a rigorous yearlong program that includes six weeks of online learning, testing and training. Bateson was also required to conduct 25 interviews with companies participating in the BGS program before full certification.
BGS offers Missouri businesses positioned to grow the information they need to expand markets, increase revenue and grow strategically by providing sophisticated research most companies would never be able to conduct by themselves due to the prohibitive cost of databases and other research resources.
The BGS team provides individualized research in three areas:
- Geographic information systems
- Social media marketing and website optimization
- In-depth, Fortune 500-level market research.
MO SBTDC's BGS program has simultaneously been certified as a Level III program by the foundation. To be certified as a Level III organization, an organization must demonstrate an unswerving focus in growing established companies; have at least three staffers certified in economic gardening by the foundation, with qualified support staff; have demonstrated mastery of established companies' core business issues; have proficiency in GIS, SEO and other business tools; have adequate technology infrastructure to support these activities; have strong relationships with local economic development organizations, financial institutions and such local entrepreneurial supporters as accountants, attorneys and Web designers; and have strong engagement with established companies in forums, summits and CEO roundtables.
For more information about MO SBTDC's BGS program, read the Aug. 2012 TRANSFORMATION.
To learn how Bateson and the BGS team can help your company grow, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-882-1353.
The MO SBTDC, Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (MO PTAC) and the Mid-America Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (TAAC) will honor outstanding Missouri businesses with an awards celebration Jan. 30 and 31 in Jefferson City.
Each Excellence in Business Award winner will also receive legislative resolutions from their respective state senators and representatives honoring the impact of their enterprises on the economic development of the state.
"Missouri's small businesses are the engine of economic growth in the state," says Max Summers, interim director of University of Missouri Extension's Business Development Program, which hosts the SBTDC, PTAC and TAAC programs. "These business owners work hard every day, and the awards recognize their success."
Among the Missouri businesses to be honored are:
- C&M Contractors, Inc., Doniphan, general contracting
- Eco-Recovery LLC, West Plains, secure shredding services
- Fumatore di Sigaro, Cape Girardeau, premier cigar emporium
- Furniture Rescue, Joplin, furniture repair, restoration, custom furniture replacement parts
- Giant Model Products, Lathrop, a radio controlled airplane distributor
- Green Field Energy Group, Inc., Lone Jack, construction management, facility services and maintenance
- Habitata Building Products, LLC, D/B/A Halcyon Shades, St. Louis, energy efficient window shades and exterior building supplies
- Henson Enterprises, Inc., West Plains, heavy equipment services, machining and tool and die services
- Hufft Projects, LLC, Kansas City, cutting-edge architectural design and furniture
- Joplin 3D4D Imaging, Inc., Joplin, innovative ultrasound and sonogram services
- Kemper Military School Redevelopment Project, Boonville, a repurposing of a historic campus for higher education
- Lawrence Fabric Structures, Inc., St. Louis, manufacturer of awnings, canopies, tension structures, exhibit components and banners
- Logboat Brewing Company LLC, Columbia, microbrewery
- Magic Touch Cleaning, Lee's Summit, green-cleaning trailblazers
- Mark Hall Cabinetry, Columbia, custom cabinets
- Mark Twain Cave, Inc., Hannibal, a historic cave and entertainment complex
- Milbank Manufacturing Co., Kansas City, electrical equipment
- Prier Products, Inc., Grandview, brass plumbing valves
- Rockridge Group, Springfield, e-catalog merchandise
- Silverlight Marketing Group, Moberly, marketing firm
- Vazquez Commercial Contracting, LLC, Kansas City, general contractors
- The Wilson Group, Greenwood, general contractors
No, we didn't go over the fiscal cliff with its promise of increased taxes and spending cuts, as Congress hammered out a last-minute agreement.
Congress took no action on sequestration, however, so Continuing Resolution funding levels remain in place. Essentially, Congress has postponed making any decisions for about a month.
The next decision point for Congress will occur between Feb. 15 and March 1 when members will debate raising the debt ceiling.
It is unclear if current sequestration cuts are a baseline or whether Congress will forego cuts this year and focus on 2014.
Read a primer explaining tax law changes stemming from fiscal cliff negotiations. It also contains information about other tax items that may affect your business.
The Missouri Technology Corporation recently announced the opening of funding rounds for the Seed Capital Co-Investment, Venture Capital Co-Investment and High-Tech Industrial Expansion programs. Application deadline is February 5.
- The Seed Capital Co-Investment Fund is designed to accelerate private investment in Missouri-based start-up companies and to increase the overall investment impact. Award amounts vary but will not exceed $500,000.
- The Venture Capital Co-Investment Fund is also designed to accelerate private investment in Missouri start-ups and increase overall impact; individual awards will not exceed $2,500,000.
- The High-Tech Industrial Expansion Fund supports industrial expansion efforts in Missouri that result in significant capital investment and high-paying jobs in the biotech and high-tech clusters. An emphasis is placed on those firms that can leverage Missouri's rich agricultural history. Individual awards will not exceed $3,000,000.
For more information, go to missouritechnology.com.
The IRS announced that the standard rate for business miles will be changed from 55.5 to 56.5 cents per mile and for medical-related and moving expenses from 23.5 to 24 cents per mile effective Jan. 1, 2013.
The rate for miles driven in service of charitable organizations went up to 14 cents per mile.
These rates are used by the federal government and many businesses to reimburse employees for mileage. Business owners may also calculate the actual costs of using a vehicle rather than standard mileage rates.
The IRS mileage rates have steadily climbed the last few years in recognition of the significant rises in gasoline and diesel prices.
Owners always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates, however.
Many small businesses take advantage of IRS Code Section 179 to gain tax relief.
Section 179 allows businesses to accelerate depreciation on purchases of both qualified used and new equipment. Most equipment purchases qualify in the year in which they are purchased, including certain vehicles and software.
Historically, the depreciation expense would be allocated to the equipment each year based on the life of the equipment. The IRS added Section 179 to stimulate the economy and encourage businesses to accelerate the purchase of equipment to take advantage of this tax deduction.
The Section 179 deduction limit is $139,000 for 2012. Without Congressional intervention, it's expected to be reduced to $25,000 in 2013, so it makes good business sense to take advantage of Section 179 if you are depreciating equipment expenses.
There are a couple of other key things to remember about Section 179.
There are limits on the deduction, which include a cap on total equipment purchases made that tax year. The limit for 2012 is $560,000 and it is set to be reduced to $200,000 for 2013. An example would be if a company purchased $600,000 in equipment in 2012, the Section 179 deduction limit would be $99,000 ($139,000 limit - $40,000 amount exceeding the limit = $99,000).
Another important factor to keep in mind is bonus depreciation. This is only applicable to new qualified equipment purchases, however. Keep in mind that bonus depreciation is set to vanish in 2013 along with the previously mentioned reduction of Section 179 if Congress does not intervene.
- Talk to your CPA right away to see if Section 179 or bonus depreciation makes sense for your business. This is the time of the year when you should have a reasonable picture on where you will end up in profits.
- If your CPA indicates you should take advantage of Section 179 or bonus depreciation, do an overall analysis of your business' equipment needs first. Analyze what equipment needs to be replaced or can be added to improve efficiencies and allow for profitable growth.
- Finally, meet with your banker once you determine what equipment you are looking to buy. He or she can look at multiple financing options. Your banker might even be able to pre-approve your purchases to eliminate uncertainty before approaching the vendor.
Mobile technology has irreversibly changed our lives on nearly every level — so much so that chances are pretty good you are reading this on a smart phone or tablet. This mobile trend is unlikely to show down in 2013. What does this mean for your small business? Here are five trends to watch in the new year.
- App growth won't slow down. Mobile technology is moving away from static Web and PC applications toward an app Internet where small, powerful devices such as the iPad are running programs that transparently link to resources in the cloud. This app Internet market was recently estimated to be worth $2.2 billion. And Forrester Research has predicted this market will expand by 85 percent in 2013.
- Integrated experience. More than ever, users expect a seamless, integrated experience moving from apps or from the Web to a mobile device and back. An excellent recent example is Kindle's Whispersync, which allows readers to pick up wherever they left off whether reading online, on a Kindle device or in a Kindle app on an iPad. And speaking of the iPad, recent changes allow users to have multiple iPad apps open simultaneously on-screen as resizable windows — just like a regular PC.
The MO SBTDC and MO PTAC offer a variety of outstanding educational opportunities throughout the year. Here are highlights of upcoming events.
The Missouri City/County Management Association presents a winter professional development seminar at the University of Missouri-Columbia Reynolds Alumni Center Jan. 16-17. Macro-economic forces have been able to sustain, even grow some local economies while others have experienced significant job losses; this seminar will feature moderators or panelists from all over the state to share their experiences. The event includes a reception the evening of Jan. 16 and lunch Jan. 17. For more information or to register, go to mocities.com/events/event_details.asp?id=271386
Crowd sourcing combines outsourcing with the power of the Internet, and companies are increasingly using it to raise funds for start-ups, conceive or launch new products and solve other problems seemingly too big for a smaller business to tackle. This workshop will explore crowd funding and capital raising, crowd creativity, idea and content generation, crowd wisdom, problem-solving, decision-making, crowd work and in general making your business ready for crowd sourcing. The workshop will be taught by Doug Allen, president of Allen's Consulting; lunch will be provided. Location: 4747 Troost Ave., Kansas City. Workshop begins at 11:00 a.m. and ends at 1:30 p.m. To register or for more information, contact Carmen DeHart at email@example.com or 816-235-6428.
The Missouri Economic Development Council (MEDC) will hold its 2013 winter conference from Feb. 4-5 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel, Jefferson City. The conference, which opens at 1 p.m. on Feb 4., includes a reception with state legislators and sessions on how to effectively interact with your legislator, state taxes, a budget update, transportation funding and how to better support entrepreneurs. Gov. Jay Nixon is scheduled to be guest speaker at lunch on Feb. 5. Cost is $150 for MEDC, Missouri Economic Development Financing Association or Missouri Association for Customized Training members and $175 for non-members. For more information or to register, go to showme.org.
The SBTDC, 500 E. Walnut Street, Suite 103, Columbia, presents a series of three-session business essential seminars starting Feb. 6. This trilogy will explore how to better understand value and cost and how they affect your image, customer loyalty and bottom line.
- Precision Target Marketing: Feb. 6, March 12, April 24.
This seminar will show how to improve your brand identity, identify your target market, realize your unique selling proposition and improve your brand message.
- Pricing Your Products and Services Right: Feb. 12, March 27, May 7.
Learn how to use a pricing calculator that takes into consideration all costs of doing business to price products and services profitably and sensibly.
- Understanding Financial Statements for Informed Executive Business Decisions: Feb. 27, April 3, May 15.
Knowing what to look for and how to find it in your financials is the first step to real business growth. This session will use case studies and well-tested tools to convert raw data into strategic decision-making information.
Each session begins at 1:30 p.m. and concludes at 4:30 p.m. Cost is $99 for all three or $49 individually. For more information or to register, contact Sampath Devaram at DevaramS@umsystem.edu or 573-884-7667.
Accredited Member of the ASBDC
Association of Small Business Development Centers.
Representing America's SBDC Network
Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.
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