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March/April 2015 Newsletter

BORROWER SPOTLIGHT

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FrontDeskScaled Josiah_Lewis_images_NEDCO_DSC5317_edited Josiah_Lewis_images_NEDCO_DSC5359_editedMotel 6 Wilkes-Barre

Northeastern Economic Development Company (NEDCO) was pleased to announce the completion of a 2013 Small Business Administration (SBA) funding for a new hotel in Wilkes-Barre, PA.  NEDCO joined First National Community Bank in securing funds to enable Hotel Squared, LLC to construct a 78-room Motel 6. With this great location on Schechter Drive in Wilkes-Barre, right off Interstate 81 and the Exit 168 interchange, Motel 6 is in the perfect location to surrounding shopping plazas, chain restaurants, and the Mohegan Sun Arena. This Motel 6 features interior corridors, bus parking, coin laundry machines, elevator, free Wi-Fi, and allowance of pets. “With the help of First National Community Bank and Northeastern Economic Development Company, we were able to make this vision a reality and work with people who have always put our best interest first” is what Rakesh Patel, Managing Member of Motel 6, had to say about his 504 experience.

NEDCO is a Certified Development Company (CDC) that specializes in economic development projects in Northeast Pennsylvania.  The SBA 504 loan program is a long-term financing tool, designed to encourage economic development within a community. The 504 Program provides small businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing to acquire major fixed assets for expansion, modernization, and job creation.  Call NEDCO today (570-457-6726) to receive more information about how we can assist in matching you with an SBA program to service your small business needs.


SBA NEWS

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On February, 11, 2015, at the National Press Club, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet announced a new initiative that will enable small businesses to be matched up with nonprofit lenders, as well as possibly a loan officer. SBA’s new program is called Leveraging Information and Networks to access Capital (LINC). LINC ultimately will help small businesses and entrepreneurs who need help getting their business off the ground or entering into the expansion phase find financing.

According to Contreras-Sweet, “Eighty percent of small business loan applications are rejected, according to some industry estimates, and more applications than we can count are never filed because of the difficulty of getting an appointment with a loan officer”. They created a simple process by enabling a potential borrower to answer 20 questions. Once they complete that form, it is then sent out to local participating SBA lenders and statewide or national financial institutions. If an immediate match is not produced from that search in LINC within 48 hours, the applicant will be asked to contact their local SBA consultant for additional assistance with their loan application.

This new initiative will be phased into place. Currently, for the first phase, SBA is connecting small business owners with nonprofit lenders that specialize in micro lending and offer free financial advice. This is in place on their website. In the second phase, which will occur later in the year, SBA plans to add traditional banks who will offer a wider selection of financial products.

Mr. Stephen Ursich, Executive Director of NEDCO, was eager to try out this new SBA initiative. Mr. Ursich registered NEDCO for LINC via the SBA website. Over the period of that weekend, he had received multiple e-mail inquiries/matches from different people and businesses throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


GUEST ARTICLE

University of Scranton Small Business Development Center

Social Media is a great tool when it comes to helping small business owners spread the word about their business.  From finding the right product to sell to advertising all of it can be done using social media.  However, nobody ever joined Facebook or Twitter to look at an advertisement so how you engage your customers is crucial to your business being successful on social media sites. Below I will show you the steps to being successful in building your Social Media presence.

1. Social Media is all about engaging the customer and building relationships – it is not just sell sell sell.  If you plan on just bombarding your social media sites with ads about your product or service, you probably are in the wrong place.  It’s called Social for a reason, as people are on these sites to have a good time.  Remember that, and work to engage customers on a personal level. Work to gain their trust before you go for the sale.  Cultivate the relationship and think of it as a back and forth relationship.  People are more likely to buy as the result of a recommendation then from an advertisement.

2. Make time to fit social media into your business – It’s common for people to say, I don’t have time to “play” on Social Media sites.  The truth is, you need to find the time.  While you are spending all your time and money trying to find new customers… guess where they are??

3. Listen – before jumping into Social Media, listen, by logging on to the different Social Media sites and see how people interact.  Once you understand and join in on the conversation, then you will be able to gain their trust. You don’t have to have a presence on every social network, choose only those networks where potential customers are.

4. Share  tell your story, or stories. Let people know the person behind the product. This means opening up and sharing personal stories, part of your life. Most people have no problem sharing their robotic marketing messages repeatedly, but in social media people want to see the human side. Customers want to deal with people they can trust.

5. Don’t be afraid to fail – The internet is loaded today with reviews. You have to work overtime to please every customer, and it seems none of them ever leave a positive review. Yet have one bad encounter with a customer and you can be sure that person will leave a review about your business.  It is for this very reason alone you need to learn Social Media.  Even if you don’t plan on using to Social Media to grow your business, you need to learn how to use it to save your business.

The main thing to remember with Social Media, and any other Internet Marketing is that it should only be a part of your overall marketing efforts. Also remember that marketing is an on going effort, and not a one-time event. Keep at it, eventually you will reap the fruit of your labor, and in the process, you might even get a couple of new customers.

Keith D. Yurgosky

Business Consultant

The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center

@ScrantonSBDC


IRS – BILL OF RIGHTS

With tax season ending, and possible audits coming up, every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights when they converse with the Internal Revenue Service. Known as the “Taxpayer Bill of Rights”, the IRS took many of the already existing rights found in the IRS tax code and broadened them to fit into 10 categories in an effort to make them easier to understand. To summarize, as a taxpayer:

  1. You have the right to be informed. Every taxpayer has the right to know what needs to be done of them in order to comply with the tax laws. This allows you to receive clear explanations of the laws and IRS procedures in all forms, instructions, correspondence, etc. As a tax payer, you also have the right to be informed of IRS decisions about your tax accounts and are to receive clear explanations of the outcomes.
  2. You have the right to quality service. In your communications with the IRS, every taxpayer has the right to receive fast, friendly, and professional assistance. You also have the right to speak to a supervisor about any inadequate service you may have received.
  3. You have the right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax. As a taxpayer, you should pay only the sum legally due, which includes interest and penalties, and have the payments applied accurately.
  4. You have the right to challenge the IRS’s position and be heard. If you don’t agree with the IRS’s actions or proposed actions, as a taxpayer, you have the right to respond by raising objections and providing supplemental documentation. You can also expect that your objections and supplemental documentation will be dealt with promptly and fairly and to receive a response regarding that.
  5. You have the right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum. As a taxpayer, you are entitled to a fair and impartial administrative appeal for most decisions. In most cases, you have the right to take your case to court.
  6. You have the right to finality. All taxpayers have the right to be informed of the maximum amount of time they have to challenge the IRS’s position, as well as the amount of time the IRS has to audit a specific tax year and when that audit is complete.
  7. You have the right to privacy. You have the right to expect that compliance with the law will be enforced and will be no more intrusive than necessary, and will respect all due process rights.
  8. You have the right to confidentiality. Any information taxpayers provide to the IRS will not be disclosed without proper taxpayer authorization.
  9. You have the right to retain representation. As a taxpayer, you are able to retain an authorized representative in your dealings with the IRS. If you cannot afford representation, it is your right to seek help from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.
  10. You have the right to a fair and just tax system. Taxpayers have the right to expect the tax system to consider circumstances essential liabilities, the ability to pay, or the ability to provide information in a timely manner. You may receive assistance from a Taxpayer Advocate Service if you’re experiencing financial difficulty or with any unresolved IRS tax issues.

By providing this broad Bill of Rights, it is the IRS’s mission to “provide America’s taxpayers top-quality service by helping them to understand and meet their tax responsibilities and enforce the law with integrity and fairness to all.” This is also known as Publication 1, and in order to reach more Americans, it is now available in English, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. More information regarding these rights, examinations, appeals, collections, and refunds can be found here.

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