Mary Cervantes is the business services director for Napa Valley College Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center. Reach her at 256-7253 or mcervantes@napavalley.edu.

Every year since 1963, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners from across the nation through National Small Business Week. This year National Small Business Week is April 30 – May 6.

Each new year brings a batch of new laws for residents and businesses. In California, Governor Brown signed close to 900 new laws in 2016 with many becoming effective this month.

Black Friday sales now start on Thanksgiving at most big-box stores, but shoppers may find today, Small Business Saturday, to be more their speed.

On Friday, Sept. 16, the 8th annual North Bay Innovation Summit was held in Rohnert Park, where start-up and early stage businesses competed for recognition and cash prizes.

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Every year since 1963, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) highlights the impact of small businesses in cities across the nation through the designation of National Small Business Week.



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Branding is one of the most important elements of a marketing strategy for any size business. Your name should connect with your target audience and communicate what they can expect from your product or service. Your brand is your edge in an increasingly competitive marketplace!

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The Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center is launching a series of trainings designed to help guide people through the process of opening a restaurant in Napa County.

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In 2015, the Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center (SBDC) advised 581 business start-ups and existing businesses – up from 568 counseled in 2014.

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In business, to have a successful year depends on having a successful framework. An effective and successful framework depends on regularly reviewing and documenting internal processes.

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With the holiday season upon us, it’s important for small business owners to pause and reflect on the importance of showing their gratitude and appreciation to their customers.

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The Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center joined the Small Business Administration (SBA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Napa-Lake County Workforce Investment Board for an informational session on Wednesday on how businesses damaged by the Valley Fire can register…

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The 8th annual Youth Entrepreneurship Business Plan (YEP) competition at Napa Valley College is fast approaching. Parents, families and the public are invited to be inspired and attend the Competition to be held on Saturday, Dec. 12.

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Market research is key in a business plan. If you’re starting a business, develop a marketing strategy that shows you researched the industry, analyzed the competition and described your target audience.

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People young and old, from all backgrounds, are realizing the American dream of starting, owning and operating a small business. Entrepreneurship offers an equalizing force that offers social mobility, economic opportunity and personal freedom.

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The food sector of our economy is changing. People care about what they eat and where it comes from. Farmers are becoming entrepreneurs. Young agriculture entrepreneurs are breaking away from the traditional farmer image and going into alternative ventures such as the production of organic c…

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Employers take notice. On July1, new labor laws take effect, namely, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014. This legislation is California’s new mandatory paid sick leave law requiring all employers to provide workers a minimum of three days of paid sick leave per year. Employ…

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Traditional marketing can be a drain on your funds. Social media marketing, on the other hand, is pretty low-cost and gives you a direct line to current and prospective customers. As a startup and small business owner, you have much to accomplish with very limited resources. So you have to b…

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It’s time to celebrate America’s entrepreneurs! The week of May 4-8 marks the 52nd annual National Small Business Week. Since President Kennedy signed the first Presidential Proclamation for National Small Business Week in 1963, cities large and small have taken the time to highlight local s…

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People are the key to success in any organization. An organization may have the most advanced processes or innovative technology, but success will not happen without the right people to make it all work. Developing loyal and skilled employees does not happen on its own, and requires a collab…

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Looking for a date with a lender? Earlier this month, the Small Business Administration (SBA) launched the first tool of its kind to allow entrepreneurs looking for a small business loan to be matched online with an SBA lender.

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Editor’s note: This column was written by Carolynne Gamble. Calling all hospitality professionals! In one power-packed day, you can hear the latest trends and innovation in the industry. Attend the 10th Annual Napa Valley College Wine Country Hospitality Symposium, held Tuesday, March 31 fro…

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The first step in achieving success is often deciding what it means to you. We all define success differently. It seems more and more, the secret to success is finding purpose and working with meaning. Here are five tips to help you measure success.

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Do you make resolutions at the beginning of every year? In business, resolutions can be powerful tools. In fact, they can help you set goals to take your business to the next level. The catch is, once you turn a resolution into a goal, you have to work to achieve it.

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Attention retailers: Be prepared to go the extra mile to make sure your customers have a pleasant experience upon returning gifts. Returns are an integral part of retailers’ operations. The week after Christmas can account for as much as 15 percent of the sales for retailers during the holid…

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If your business suffered physical damage or economic loss from the August earthquake, grants are available to help in your recovery. The Napa Valley Community Foundation and the Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provide the assistance businesses need to access these disas…

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Napa Valley College responds to the demand of educating the next generation of entrepreneurs. The college and businesses and educators come together to support Napa County youth and celebrate entrepreneurship.

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Plan the health of your business to ensure longevity. Like your own annual physical, a business checkup can identify potential problem areas. It helps to avoid a health threat to your business. The best way for a healthy check-up is to contact the Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Cente…

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Does your business need financial assistance due to damages suffered by the earthquake? If your answer is “yes,” the Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center can help you prepare and access a funding program right for you and your business.