With much deliberation, we have decided to phase out our WordPress page. This is because we now host all of the blog information on our website. To our followers, here is where you can pick up:
- To hear the stories of the business people we work with, visit our Client Profiles
- To stay up-to-date with our media presence, visit In the News
- To learn about upcoming seminars, visit our Seminars page.
- To get advice from guest contributors and bloggers, visit the Smart Advice Blog.
- To see new videos, visit our Videos page.
- To learn about new business resources,visit New Resources for Business
Andy Simmons has written an excellent, insightful article on the main obstacles that ultimately sink restaurant owners. If you know the common mistakes, your chances are that much better.
Don’t let these 10 challenges stop you from creating and growing your dream business.
Owning a restaurant in a good economy is a challenge. Owning one in a down economy is even more difficult. Here are the top 10 reasons why restaurants fail. Avoid these mistakes.
1. Constrained by Your Vision. A savvy owner knows it’s all about the customer, not his or her personal tastes and opinions. Don’t be self-possessed. Be open to opinions other than your own.
2. No Identity. Lack of identity is the opposite of being constrained by your vision. A restaurant’s success depends on its ability to establish a brand and stick to it, so develop an identity and focus on perfecting it.
3. A Bad Opening. “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression” was never truer than in the restaurant business. There’s a reason actors rehearse before opening night—you should too.
4. Hiring & Training…
5. No Formal Recipes…
6. Poor Inventory Management…
8. Poor Ownership…
9. Insufficient Market Analysis…
10. Lack of a Business Plan…
Foodies rejoice. Tickets are now on sale for Willamette Week’s 2011 Eat Mobile Food Cart Festival to be held on April 23rd. A mere $15 gives you access to 40 food carts featuring diverse cuisines and styles. Now in it’s fourth year, Eat Mobile promises to be bigger and better than ever, and will showcase Portland’s enormous and diverse community of gourmands operating out of mobile carts.
Proceeds from the event will support Mercy Corps Northwest and our business development programs. Your admission will be an investment in what we do best: supporting local entrepreneurs. Just like the ones that will be serving up delicious treats for you at the festival. So mark your calendars and get ready for a righteous feast.
What Willamette Week has to say about Eat Mobile:
“With more than 400 food carts selling their tasty goods within our city limits, Portland has become a destination for mobile eats. In July, Portland was named the No. 1 street food city in the world by CNN Travel, and according to Gourmet.com, the Pacific Northwest is “doing for street food today what it did for coffee in the 1990s.”
With an annual attendance of over 2,000, Eat Mobile showcases the food, music and people that make Portland’s food scene so special. Part food festival, part cart competition, Eat Mobile allows attendees to sample from 40 of Willamette Week’s favorite food carts as vendors compete for the coveted Carty Award.”
- 808 Grinds
- Aybla Grill
- Brown Chicken Brown Cow
- The Baowry
- Bora Bora
- Crème de la Crème
- The Dump Truck
- Eat This!
- El Gallo Taqueria
- Emame’s Ethiopian Cuisine
- EuroTrash Food Cart
- Fifty Licks Ice Cream
- Garden State
- Happy Grillmore
- The Kettle Kitchen
- Kim Jong Grillin’
- KOi Fusion
- Leroy’s Familiar Vittles
- Nuevo Mexico
- Oregon Ice Works
- Over the Top Wild Game Burgers
- PDX 671
- Philippine Cuisine Food Cart
- Pizza Contadino
- Pyro Pizza
- Robb’s Really Good Food
- The Rolling Stoves Gimme Sandwich
- Sawasdee Thai
- Shut Up and Eat
- Slice Brick Oven Pizza
- SomTum Gai Yang
- Wet Hot Beef
- Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwiches Food Cart
On March 12th, Mercy Corps Northwest held it’s inaugural fundraiser to support business and life skills education for women in the Coffee Creek Correctional facility. The gala was a huge success, and apart from being a great time, raised $16,000 for the LIFE program. That’s enough to fund an entire 32-week class for 25 women, with more to spare towards another class.
In LIFE (Lifelong Information for Entrepreneurs) women inmates not only learn about business fundamentals, but other core concepts like financial literacy and goal setting. This training helps to build a base for a successful transition outside of prison. Once on the outside, Mercy Corps Northwest teams up with the ROAR Alliance (Reentry Organizations and Resources) to provide a continuum of support for ex-offenders ready to get on their feet again. With a full house, we were humbled by the strong vote of support from our community.
Even if you weren’t able to attend, take a look at the photos from this memorable night and watch the video by John Waskey, New Sky Productions.
This would not have been possible without the contributions and tireless effort of countless people. Special thanks to the LIFE participants who came, the auction item donors, the wineries and cooks, the performers, the volunteers, the guests, and so many others that touched our hearts with their generosity and spirit. Our most sincere acknowledgement goes to Rose Gerber, the volunteer superheroine who turned this dream into a reality.
Charlene Wesler, a Mercy Corps Northwest client and owner of the liege-style waffle food cart Gaufre Gourmet (parked at the north east corner of Burnside and SW 3rd) spent her holidays handing out free waffles, coffee, and tea to all who stopped by. Channel 12 news even stopped by and did a feature on their efforts. You can watch the video here.
Hats off to Charlene, Michael, their children, and their extended family for their graciousness and embodiment of the true spirit of the holidays.
The success of Mercy Corps Northwest’s programs and services would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of volunteers like Tom Howe, a business seminar presenter. Howe is a local practicing business attorney as well as the owner of a web services company, Control Center. He has written four books and speaks at legal conferences throughout North America and technology conferences around the world. Currently, he delivers his seminars at Mercy Corps Northwest and at SCORE. His commitment to helping small businesses succeed has made him a valuable asset to our team and highly sought after teacher amongst our clients.
Call to Action
Tom Howe is a lifelong volunteer, and has given time to such organizations as Big Brothers, Big Sisters and The Yellow Brick Road. He just wrapped up 20 years of volunteering with SnowCap Community Charities. He states that service is a family value, and that his family strives to include volunteering into their vacations….
by Jinell Smithmeyer
Business mentoring isn’t a new concept for many professionals — but the way these connections are happening is changing faster than ever. Breaking out of the mentoring program mold is the Mercy Corps program MicroMentor, best described as a Match.com for business mentoring. With online profiles and connection tools for participants, MicroMentor is catching on amongst entrepreneurs and business professionals around the world as a simple, convenient way to get connected.
Essentially MicroMentor is a platform for providing business mentoring and expertise to small and growing businesses: growth-oriented startup and micro-businesses, as well as cooperative and small and growing enterprises that help fight poverty and create lasting jobs in nations around the world. But in addition to being an online service that connects small business owners with business mentors, MicroMentor provides training, tools and continuous support to help enterprise development organizations deliver high-quality business mentoring and advising cost-effectively and at scale.
Small business ownership presents its own special set of challenges – by providing access to business expertise, knowledge, and connections through mentoring, MicroMentor is assisting entrepreneurs as they build robust enterprises that will thrive in 2011 and beyond.
In the U.S. alone, MicroMentor has engaged more than 7,000 people and facilitated over 2,400 mentoring relationships, with participating businesses reporting significant revenue and employment gains. Building on its success in the U.S., MicroMentor expanded to Nicaragua in late 2010, with plans to launch in Haiti in early 2011.
To find a mentor, go to the website and create a profile and mentoring request. Volunteer mentors will be able to view your request and offer to help (you can also request help from specific mentors). Business professionals can go to the website and sign up as volunteer mentors through a similar process.
Find a mentor. Be a mentor. Build a business. Visit MicroMentor today to get started.
Before joining Mercy Corps Northwest, Felton was originally a CCC client. He gained employment via the CCC Employment Access Center and lived in CCC housing, eventually completing the Recovery Mentor Program. Today, Felton has been reunited with his family, lives independently, and makes incredible contributions as a member of our team.
Watch his journey in the video below.
This winter, Mercy Corps Northwest will be offering a two-part seminar series on the small business tax return. The first session (In November) covers everything you need to gather to be ready for the tax season and the second session (in January) actually walks you through the steps of filing a Schedule C tax return. Come learn how to do business taxes right, learn about new deductions, and ensure a maximum return.
Seminars can be taken separately or as a set. Both are held at the Mercy Corps Northwest Office: 43 SW Naito Parkway, Portland, OR 97204 (river side of building)
Tax Planning for the Small Business Owner
Thursday, November 18th, 2010 5:30-7pm
Good tax planning is one of the keys to being profitable as a business owner. Learn how your business income and expenses impact your tax return. In this class, you will learn what you need to know about home office, depreciation, auto expenses, etc, as well as the information you need to keep track of.
Filing the Small Business Tax Return
Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 5:30-7pm
In this class, we will walk through the process of filing a small business tax return. Have you ever asked yourself, “Where do all these numbers go?” Also, learn about self employment tax requirements.
About the Presenter
Gilbert Gleason is currently a tax preparer with H&R Block. He has 25 years of management experience in the non-profit arena. His areas of expertise are Investments/Stock Options (income, sales, losses), Home ownership, purchase, or sale, Home foreclosure, Real estate rentals or vacation homes, Healthcare expenses (e.g., medical, dental), Charitable giving, Income earned outside the U.S., Retirement income, Income from multiple States, Clergy, Small Business, Sole Proprietor, or Self-employed, Trusts & Estates, Partnerships, Corporations, Not-for-Profit organizations, Help with IRS or State notices / audits, and Tax Planning.