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In July of 2007 Johanny Cepeda of Reading, PA made the business decision to purchase a struggling restaurant. Her creativity and natural entrepreneurial spirit quickly turned her “Mi Casa Su Casa Café,” and its revamped menu reflecting her specialty of fresh food with a Caribbean twist, into a successful business.


SBA Philadelphia District Director David Dickson, Maria Frizelle Roberts and her sister Sandra with NBC10's Tracy Davidson at SBA Awards Ceremony.

Eastern Pa. 2014 Small Business Person Of Year expands with help from SBA’s Philadelphia District Office

Chris Licata, President & CEO of Concord-based Blake’s All Natural Foods was named the New Hampshire Small Business Person of the Year for 2014. This notable award, given by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) annually, recognizes top small business leaders in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

Paul Reesnes and Michael Gueringer, co-owners of Custom Aircraft Cabinets, are the 2014 Arkansas Small Business Persons of the Year.  Itzel Meador, Vice President of Arkansas Capital Corporation, submitted the nomination.

Ralph Vines is a heavy construction contractor, working with all types of heavy equipment. Kesser International has the capability to do many types of construction work, from commercial buildings and houses to repairing the levees on Arkansas and Mississippi rivers.

For five years, the meatpacking plant in this part of ranch country in northwest Nebraska stood vacant and silent. Now, thanks in part to new owners and SBA financing, the plant has re-opened as a supplier for organic, natural grass-fed, premium and halal beef for domestic and overseas markets, and given a small town a big economic jolt.

Office? Barns, with a laptop on her bed. Workday? 14 hours, every day. Challenges? Constant. But entrepreneur Erika Eckstrom wouldn’t have it any other way. At the age of 5, Eckstrom knew she wanted to spend her life working with horses and wrote her plan to own a stable by 25 in crayon. Today, Painted Bar Stables is the passionate, profitable business that has made her childhood dream a reality.

True Story: Why You Don’t Want a Business Plan Writer

By Tim Berry, Guest Blogger
Published: June 25, 2014

It’s been years since I was making a real living off of business plan consulting (I migrated to business plan software instead), but I had an exchange last week that reminded me of one of the biggest problems – and most common misunderstandings – related to business plans.

Not that you, in your situation, should never hire a business plan writer, consultant or coach. In some cases that’s a good idea. But let me explain that after I tell this story.

One of my first engagements in business planning was as business plan consultant to a startup with three experienced founders. I met with them several times, listened always, and did their business plan. I built the financial model, wrote the text, and produced the document as a business plan document. But I wasn’t part of the team. I wasn’t able to promise to go full time. I was just the business plan writer.

It was a good startup. It had a good idea and, much more important, a market window, differentiation and experience to make it happen. The three founders had about 40 years of computer company experience between them. And it was a good plan too.

But there was a problem with the plan: The founders didn’t know it. They thought it was enough to have a plan, but it wasn’t. In every meeting I attended along with the founders, when there were critical questions, I had to answer them. I knew the plan. They didn’t. It was my plan.

And, in fact, the plan failed. My clients didn’t get financed, and the venture never launched. Of course I was disappointed because I spent a long time developing and revising that plan. I repeatedly changed financial assumptions and revised text.

So here is my advice about hiring a business plan writer, consultant or coach:

The best business plan is one you do yourself. Hiring out is threatened by the fact that good business plans in real business use last a few weeks at best. Business planning is about regular review and revision.

Consider hiring somebody from the outside only if you have the budget for it. It is conceivable that you don’t want to do it yourself and your time is better applied to other business functions. Cheap business plan writing strikes me as about as good an idea as cheap surgery, cheap dentistry, or discount sushi.

If you do hire somebody, look for a relationship more like coaching than consulting. Hire somebody who shares expertise and experience, makes suggestions, but doesn’t do the task so you don’t have to.

Don’t believe ever that having a business plan written is any good for more than a few short weeks. Business plans get old and useless very quickly. If you don’t have one you can keep alive, then you don’t have one at all.

About the Author:

Tim Berry
Tim Berry

Guest Blogger

Founder and Chairman of Palo Alto Software and, on twitter as Timberry, blogging at His collected posts are at Stanford MBA. Married 46 years, father of 5. Author of business plan software Business Plan Pro and and books including his latest, 'Lean Business Planning,' 2015, Motivational Press. Contents of that book are available for web browsing free at .

Paul Saunders, owner of, chose the e-commerce business model to sell luxury bed and bath linens. By using the internet, he takes the product to the buyer rather than trying to bring the buyer to the product.

Small Business, Big Impact: Celebrating Our Country and Small Businesses

By kmurray, Contributor and Moderator
Published: June 25, 2014 Updated: June 25, 2014

Independence Day is right around the corner, and across the U.S. we’re preparing for our favorite 4th of July festivities – a day off filed with backyard barbecues, pool parties, fireworks and fun.

While we celebrate our country and the challenges we’ve overcome to achieve what we stand for today, there’s no doubt that this profile of greatness includes our small business owners and entrepreneurs. Facing difficulties from every angle with passion and perseverance, these businesses may be small, but they have a big influence on our country.

By the numbers

According to SBA’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses make up a whopping 99.7 percent of U.S. employer firms, and have accounted for 63 percent of the net new jobs created between 1993 and mid-2013! Since the end of the recession (from mid-2009 to mid-2013), small firms accounted for 60 percent of the net new jobs.

In fact, over half of America’s workers either own or work for small businesses, which create two out of every three new jobs across the country. This strengthens not only local communities and economies, but bolsters the foundation of the economy nationwide.

A sense of trust

In this article from Small Business Trends, Scott Shane cites findings from a 2010 Pew Foundation survey that demonstrates how highly we regard our small business owners. Seventy-one percent of Americans see small business “as a positive influence on the way things are going in this country.” In the United States, small businesses are viewed more favorably than most institutions.”

Additionally, 86 percent of American respondents indicate that they trust small businesses “a great deal” – nearly thirty percent more than they indicated trusting big businesses. Clearly, small businesses and their owners are held in high esteem.


From the quantitative to the qualitative, it’s easy to see the positive impact of small businesses. And at SBA, we support and celebrate those entrepreneurs. For instance, our annual National Small Business Week events recognize the contributions of small businesses. And all year round, our staff, partners and resources are available to make sure you have what you need to succeed in your business ventures.

So this Independence Day, we’ll be counting your entrepreneurial spirit and hard work as we celebrate what makes this country great.

About the Author:

Katie Murray

Contributor and Moderator

I am an author and moderator for the the Community. I'll share useful information for your entrepreneurial endeavors and help point you in the right direction to find other resources for your small business needs. Thanks for joining our online community here at!


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