Basics of Bookkeeping: Loving Your Balance Sheet | GROW Nebraska’s® FREE Online Training

Basics of Bookkeeping: Loving Your Balance Sheet | GROW Nebraska’s® FREE Online Training

GROW Nebraska’s® FREE Online Training

Basics of Book Keeping: Loving Your Balance Sheet

Steps to starting a small business
The presentation is about the balance sheet, why it matters, and how to use it.
  • The balance sheet is your scorecard
  • The balance sheet is an early warning system
  • Check your balance sheet regularly

DATE: March 18th

TIME: Noon – 1:00 p.m. CST

LOCATION: Live Stream

COST: Free, must register to receive call-in details and recording

Cory Morris has loved budgeting for as long as he can remember, and even convinced several budget-haters to love it too! That passion has grown into loving the numbers of business, and how those numbers tell us the health of the business. From 400 unit apartment complexes to start up vehicle sanitation companies, the books can be a source of fear and frustration, or a source of peace and direction.

Hughes Strives to Make Road to Success Easier For Entrepreneurs

Hughes Strives to Make Road to Success Easier For Entrepreneurs

Hughes Strives to Make Road to Success Easier For Entrepreneurs

When Cheryl Hughes began HR Poppin’ Snacks more than 20 years ago, she encountered a steep learning curve. Not only was she learning how to make the best quality popcorn, but she also had to learn all aspects of snack food manufacturing and wholesale.

At about the same time, GROW Nebraska also started with the intent to help educate and promote businesses just like hers. Cheryl joined as one of GROW’s first members.

“There was always a learning experience, good exposure and good advertising,” Cheryl said of GROW. “They have done a great job for me.”

HR Poppin’ Snacks grew into a successful business that now pops more than 20,000 pounds of popcorn seeds annually from its store in Gibbon and sells popcorn in more than 135 flavors in stores around the county.

Cheryl has maintained her GROW membership the entire time, and she continues to give back to GROW through mentoring and giving advice to other members. And her giving doesn’t just stop with members.

Entrepreneurs have traveled to Gibbon from as far away as Brazil, Paris and Nigeria to visit HR Poppin’ Snacks to learn how to produce quality popcorn for their business ventures. Cheryl gladly shares her knowledge with anyone who asks without charging consulting fees.

“If I can help somebody with a leg up, then I do,” she said. “I learned the hard way because I didn’t have someone in the know to mentor me. Now, I have the benefit of the knowledge so I want to share with others to make their road to success a little easier.”

Cheryl and her husband, Gary, are adamant about using their business to help others. That philosophy started with the naming of their business nearly 20 years ago. The HR in the name stands for ‘Heavenly Reason.’

At least 10 percent of their earnings go to charity or someone in need, whether it’s donating popcorn gift baskets to local fundraisers or giving popcorn away to those serving in the military.

“This has happened by the grace of God, and we need to give back,” Cheryl said.

GROW Nebraska CEO Janell Anderson-Ehrke said Cheryl donates all of her mentoring services to pay it forward, which makes a huge difference for many business owners.

“She’s easily touched more than 100 businesses we’ve worked with,” Janell said.

In the early days of GROW, Chery helped set up a retail store in Grand Island and later launched the UPC program to help GROW members sell their products on sites like Amazon. Members who sell just one or two products can save money by buying into GROW’s UPC numbers instead of spending hundreds of dollars to purchase their own UPC number.

When GROW members ask about product labeling, Cheryl is their source for answers.

New GROW Nebraska member Karen Ogelsby, owner of MoKa’s Kitchen, recently relied on help from Cheryl with labeling her popcorn for sale during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Karen thought her business would be “dead in the water” when COVID-19 hit. Her business previously provided artisan and gourmet popcorn for special events. When the special events stopped, so did her business. Chery helped Karen find a distributor to make her popcorn products available in stores, where shoppers were still flocking to buy snacks during the pandemic. MoKa’s Kitchen popcorn is now in 50 locations across the state.

Janell said she is grateful for members like Cheryl who give back and wants to celebrate her and others.

“I don’t want to forget where we came from,” Janell said. “It’s been GROW and a whole bunch of people and members who just kept giving back.”

Cheryl said she’s always lived with the philosophy that there’s always enough business to go around. She’s not worried about helping her potential competitors.

“If I continue to make a quality product and do my business well, I shouldn’t have any problems,” she said.

Cheryl encourages anyone who is considering starting a business or developing a product to contact GROW Nebraska.

“There are lots of ways that GROW Nebraska can help,” she said.

One of the biggest benefits, Cheryl said, is the annual MarkeTech conference, which she has attended every year it has been offered.

“It’s a great benefit, and any member that I work with I encourage them to attend MarkeTech,” she said. “It’s well-organized, provides good networking opportunities and education. I encourage anyone in the state, even if you aren’t a member of GROW Nebraska, to participate in MarkeTech.”

The 2021 MarkeTech conference is scheduled for Thursday, July 15, in Kearney. For more information, visit marketechconference.com. To sign up for the GROW newsletter to stay informed on upcoming trainings, visit here.

With holiday popcorn sales just wrapping up, Cheryl said she is preparing to launch new popcorn flavors soon.

Story by Kristine Jacobson, GROW Nebraska member and owner of KRJ Public Relations, a business that specializes in helping non-profits and other businesses tell their stories and gain momentum through blogs, newsletters, annual reports, social media and other publications.

Managing your business online during times of uncertainty – Google Livestream

Managing your business online during times of uncertainty – Google Livestream

Discover tools, tips and resources to help you manage your business remotely during the COVID-19 crisis. Learn how to update critical business information online to keep customers informed, and how to host virtual meetings and events. We’ll also share the latest resources from Google and other partners to help support small businesses.

After just three years, Duck Fat spray is sold in 48 states

After just three years, Duck Fat spray is sold in 48 states

After just three years, Duck Fat spray is sold in 48 states

Five years ago, Dennis Schuett discovered the benefits of cooking with duck fat.

It’s lower in saturated fat than some other cooking oils and fats, has good health properties and gives amazing flavor to anything from vegetables and eggs to brisket and pork loin.

“It imparts a very savory flavor,” he said. “I like to say it makes good food better.”

That discovery launched Dennis down a path that led to the creation of the world’s only Gourmet Duck Fat Cooking Oil Spray.

“Come to find out, all the gourmets have been using duck fat for years,” Dennis said. They used the duck fat in its original fat form to fry French fries, rub on meats before smoking and to cook pastries.

“I thought since it was such a great product, wouldn’t it be great to put it into a spray,” Dennis said.

Dennis and his business partner, Roger Brodersen, conducted extensive research, purchased equipment and found a USDA-inspected co-packer to start producing the first duck fat spray.  The duck fat is contained within a bag inside the spray can, and it’s forced out with clean compressed air instead of propellants.

Dennis, a Grand Island native who owns cafes in Omaha and has extensive experience in the grocery industry, used his business background to promote the new product to retailers around the state and Midwest.

He also joined GROW Nebraska to help market his product.

“GROW Nebraska was wonderful,” Dennis said. “They really helped me get a foot hold in Nebraska and beyond that because of their online visibility and the different platforms they brought my product to. They were a bit like my daycare in the beginning, helping me really get established and get some credibility and some real-time consumer feedback.”

Now, after just three years, Duck Fat spray is sold in 48 states and is popular for people on Keto or Paleo diets and among those competing in BBQ and steak competitions.

“It’s been really wonderful,” Dennis said. “We pick up new accounts every week. We are in all 48 states. Our store counts, which was in the hundreds a year ago, is now well into the thousands.”

Duck Fat spray is the first product for Dennis and Roger’s business, officially called Cornhusker Kitchen. They also sell tubs of duck fat. They hope to develop new products in the future and continue to grow the visibility and popularity of Duck Fat spray.

Duck Fat cooking oil spray is available on all three of GROW Nebraska’s buying platforms: Buy Nebraska, Ebay and Amazon. For more information or to purchase Duck Fat cooking oil spray, visit https://members.grownebraska.org/list/member/cornhusker-kitchen-llc-9441

GROW Nebraska® Foundation is a statewide non-profit training and marketing organization. Serving over 400 Nebraska small businesses, the organization provides marketing opportunities, education, and training to launch and connect Nebraska businesses to the global marketplace. GROW Nebraska’s educational programs receive federal and state funding, along with generous support from foundations and individual donors.

GROW Members Learn Social Media Tips At FREE Training

GROW Members Learn Social Media Tips At FREE Training

GROW Members Learn Social Media Tips At FREE Training

Many GROW Nebraska members improved their social media marketing skills and received free Facebook ads through a recent free GROW training.

Digital Promise selected GROW Nebraska as one of 36 organizations across the country to receive a training grant to improve digital literacy among job seekers, professionals, small business owners and entrepreneurs. Digital Promise is a nonprofit organization selected by Facebook to help close the digital skills gap.

GROW Nebraska’s goal was to educate 100 people with the $10,000 grant. GROW offered the training in the spring of 2019 at an in-person session at GROW’s new Innovation Center in Kearney. Later, a self-paced online training option was offered. The trainings focused on social media marketing using Facebook and Instagram. Attendees earned Facebook ad credits and could also earn Facebook certifications by completing the program.

The training program fit perfectly with GROW Nebraska’s mission to help entrepreneurs obtain the resources they need to live anywhere in Nebraska and make a sustainable living and to be the premier educational non-profit that empowers entrepreneurs through business training, technical assistance, promotion and market opportunities.

Cammie Kroll, IT and Development Director at GROW Nebraska, said the training was a great opportunity for GROW and its members.

“We were really excited to be chosen to lead this training,” Cammie said. “We saw it as a great opportunity for our members and to teach business owners how to best market to increase interaction and engagement with customers.”

The response to the training was positive as more than 100 participants, including both GROW members and non-members, participated.

Noah Young, sales and marketing representative of Green Cover Seed in Bladen, enrolled in the course to become a better marketer for the cover-crop seed company.

“We supply cover crop seed all over the United States, and much of our sales come from an online tool we developed,” Noah said. “We are only 11 years old as a business, so a large portion of our marketing strategy is to raise brand awareness and recognition.”

Noah said his company already had an existing Facebook page prior to the training, but he learned new “tricks and tools” to optimize the company’s page.

“I have integrated several of the things I have learned, such as ad insights, creating target markets for Facebook ads, and even a few things I updated on our website,” Noah said.

Participants received a $25 Facebook ad credit, which Noah used to create a video ad to increase engagement on the company’s page.

“With this ad, we were able to find out where the video was being played and who was watching it,” he said. “The results were surprising and not expected so we ran another ad that was targeted toward a clone audience more defined than the first and received an even better response from that. We would not have known any of these valuable insights had I not completed the course to learn how to best set up Facebook ads. “

Craig Hamre, marketing manager for Kracklin’ Kirk’s Fireworks, said the training was “very beneficial” for him.

Kracklin’ Kirk’s is a fireworks retailer, wholesaler and importer headquartered in Nebraska. The company operates seasonal retail locations in Waterloo, Springfield, Denton, Hickman, Doniphan and Dakota City.

“The most beneficial aspect of the training was in seeing what other businesses were doing to grow the effectiveness of their social media marketing efforts,” Craig said.

After the training, Craig said they started using Facebook stories and linked their other location pages. They also started successfully asking customers to write five-star reviews of their business on their Facebook page.

The training was instructed by GROW Nebraska staff and training partner Heather Nelson, who created the training materials from the Digital Promise curriculum.

Cammie said that even the GROW staff benefited from the training.

“It was really fun to see the creativity and to help our members generate ideas of what they can do in the future,” Cammie said.

GROW Nebraska offers monthly trainings on a variety of subjects. It is possible the Digital Promise Facebook training could be offered again the in future. To learn more about GROW Nebraska trainings, visit https://grownebraska.org/upcoming-trainings/