Peer-to-Peer Represents the Power of Business

We have all heard about the power of business in terms of what they mean to our national, state and local economies.

We also know of the power of business in the mutual support they offer to each other. Certainly business owners depend on each other for providing the goods and services they need in their business.

Business owners also offer their lived experiences as a means of learning and helping other owners. In many communities, business owners form a hub of peers to help others find answers to questions or to act as a sounding board as owners work to keep their business focused and moving forward. These knowledge that these peers bring comes from their own experience or the “been there, done that” world.

Tracy FrankIt’s our goal here at Power of Business to capture some of this real-world expertise. One way we do this in our Friday 15 chats with business owners. On March 6th we will talk with Tracy Frank as she discusses how she bootstrapped her business into being.

We save those talks so you can get to the information when you need it (see below for the video to last month’s chat on Twitter Parties with Alyssa Dye). And we supplement it with

other resources, some focused on the topic of the month and some touching other aspects of managing a business. We use various formats trying to support you with the information you need when you need it.

Peer-to-peer leaning has great potential. Build a network of people who can help you move your business forward.

We would love to hear from you about what you need, what you like, and what we need to change. And most importantly, we would love for you to share your lessons learned as we work to build the rural, small business community.

A Business Closes Each Minute

startup business Scrabble tiles

Photo (CC) by Dennis Skley, on Flickr

Does that headline surprise you?  Actually it may be higher than that depending on the statistics you use.

But about that same number of businesses also open each minute (right now those opening might be slightly higher).

So with those kind of numbers is starting a business something you want to do? The reality is that those are just averages. They don’t represent you and your business.  And understand that some of these businesses shut down because the owner sees a better opportunity elsewhere. We don’t use the term failure, instead we just use the term closure.

Other reasons that a business may close include financing, lack of planning, inadequate marketing, an owner retires, or the owner just is tired of the strain of running a small business and being responsible for most or all of the duties.

So why bring up all of this?  It is not meant to scare you from opening. The idea is to let you know what you are facing. You need to have a passion to keep going and have done everything you can to plan for different scenarios. Talk with current or past business owners and they will often say they enjoyed their time in business.

So consider the opportunities of owning a small business? Then do your homework. It can be a rewarding decision.

Get more information on small businesses at:

Power of Business


State of Small Business

Forbes Small Business Statistics

Throw a Twitter Party, Have Fun and Grow Your Business!

Yes, it is possible to grow your business while having fun.  One way to do it? Throw a Twitter Party!

A Twitter Party creates an experience to engage your clients and prospective customers. Twitter Parties can build your online presence, market your enterprise and expand your brand.

Use Twitter Parties to connect with your audience, discuss timely topics and present information about your products and services

Join Alyssa Dye, Nebraska Extension Intern and entrepreneur, as she discusses setting up a Twitter Party while providing strategies designed to make your Twitter Party a success!

To learn more about Alyssa, go to

Register for the Twitter Party event at:

Missed previous events?
Check out the Power of Business YouTube channel
or the “Friday 15 tab at Power of Business.

While you are on the site, sign up to receive reminders for monthly chats and a newsletter designed to grow your business!

“See you” on later today at 11:15 AM CT!


Food as a Business Idea

Food truck competition

Competition (CC) Bob B. Brown (bit.ly1o2905w), on Flickr

If asked, many business advisors would say starting a business around food is probably the most common request they get.

Why is it so popular? One reason is that friends and relatives often comment on how much they enjoy a certain item and encourage that person to start a business. It may come from a long-standing family recipe or something the person spent hours working on. Food reminds us of our heritage and our years growing up. It also can take us to new places. We can be easily engaged as a consumer in our food and beverage experiences, yet we can also look at it as something we can grab quickly that will keep us going until we can take a longer break. Today we hear about local food, slow food, and all sorts of suggestions on how to change our diets for more energy and better health.

Yet making it in the food business is difficult. In grocery stores along some 20,000 new items hit the shelves every year. That number does not take into account the new restaurants opening each year, the recent trend of food trucks, and more and more farmers markets and consumer trade shows where food booths are plentiful in numbers.

So can you make it as a food entrepreneur? Yes.  Will it be easy? No. One of the first things such small business owners need to realize is that making a batch of something at home is nothing like doing it on a commercial basis. For one thing, doing as a business means needing a commercial kitchen or having a co-packer produce it for you.

You can find resources to help you get started. The Cooperative Extension Service in many states has materials on starting a business. If you have been a regular attendee of our Power of Business First Friday chats, you will have heard from several food based businesses. (past chats are archived here.)  At North Dakota State University Extension Service, we have:  Food Entrepreneur: Your Resource Guide to the Food Industry. Oklahoma State University, through its Food and Agricultural Products Center, and Penn State offer regular trainings for startup companies.

Selling online is one approach that many food entrepreneurs consider. If that interests you, check out these two resources from University of Nebraska Extension and NDSU Extension:

You also can find bloggers and other online sources of information. One blogger I follow is Jennifer Lewis, Small Food Business. Two recent articles that I enjoyed looked at convenience store food sales and where people go to buy specialty foods.

The challenges are great. Remember though there are resources available.

It won’t be easy. On many days you will want to give up. Planning, passion and persistence plus knowing your market and getting your product in front of that targeted group of people are keys to making your food idea a business success.