web analytics

Archive | Business

Set realistic goals for your web site

 

SCORE, Counselors to America’s Small Business

 

The advantages of having a business website have been well documented. For some customers, your site is the first place they will gain awareness of your company. From there, the opportunities appear endless.

An effective website is one that is meeting both your business’s needs and the informational needs of visitors to the site. Assuming that you already have established a Web site, how do you think it’s doing on both fronts? Clearly, an unproductive Web site will be a waste of your money and your visitors’ time.

Here are some factors for objectively evaluating your site-to see it not only through the lens of your business goals but also through the eyes of a prospective customer. It should:

• be current. Making regular changes to the home page is vital to sustain the interest of regular visitors.

• be located easily using the major search engines. ·

• have working hyperlinks to other relevant sites, such as a trade or professional association whose members are potential purchasers.

• be easy to navigate. The files and graphics should be small enough that most visitors can download them quickly. Links within the site should make it easy for a visitor to get back to your home page.

• offer customers and prospects relevant information-that is, material that will help them understand  your products and services and their potential value to them.

• be a secure site, if you are conducting e-commerce on it.

• personalize or customize information for different segments of your market.

• use cookies or other features to capture information about your site visitors and their buying habits without costing them significant time.

• offer customers an easy way to contact you with questions or feedback without their having to leave the site. (And you should be able to respond promptly.)

To sum up, you want your Web site to work for your visitors if your larger goal is to maximize your business potential. So every now and then, step back and become the person you’d like to visit your site.

To learn more about the many dimensions of marketing on the World Wide Web, contact SCORE. SCORE counselors  donate their time to consult with and mentor entrepreneurs  providing free and confidential business counseling to America’s small business owners. Call the Grand Rapids SCORE chapter at1-616/771-0305, or find an online counselor at www.scoregrandrapids.org.

Posted in Ask ScoreComments (0)

Culver’s to open in July

Construction on the new Culver’s on White Creek Avenue is moving right along.

By Judy Reed

Come mid-July, residents in Cedar Springs (and those traveling US-131) will have another restaurant to choose from. Culver’s, a restaurant chain famous for their butter burgers and frozen custard, is building a new restaurant near the southeast corner of 17 Mile and White Creek, behind the gas station, and across the street from Big Boy.

According to owner Tom Goldsmith, they plan to have a crew of 60 team members. “We will have a diverse team of full and part time, friendly and energetic people ready to help deliver the Culver’s mission statement of ‘Every guest who chooses Culver’s leaves happy,’” he said. (Watch for their help wanted ad in next week’s issue).

The Post asked Goldsmith what drew him to Cedar Springs. “Cedar Springs is a community that has a culture that believes in the same values Culver’s does.  Service, family and a commitment to doing things the right way. Culver›s and agriculture go hand in hand and strong groups like the FFA make us very excited to join the Cedar Springs community,” he explained.

Goldsmith said they are shooting for a mid-July opening.

For more business news, click here.

  

Posted in Business, Featured, NewsComments (0)

The Cedar Springs Lions Club

Last month Russell Scott (L) and Dr. Andy Setaputri (second from left) were welcomed into the Cedar Springs Lions Club. Jerry VanderWal (in the vest) was their sponsor, Art Probst the initiation officer. 

The Cedar Springs Lions Club meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at the North Kent Senior Center, 44 N. Park St., Cedar Springs. For more info email cedarspringslions@gmail.com. You can also follow their Facebook page. Just search for Cedar Springs Lions Club.

Posted in Business, FeaturedComments (0)

Spectrum Health United Hospital earns award

Receives Outstanding Patient Experience award for second year

Spectrum Health United Hospital announced this week that it has achieved the Healthgrades 2018 Outstanding Patient Experience Award™. This distinction recognizes United Hospital among the top 15 percent of hospitals nationwide for the second year in a row (2017-2018), according to Healthgrades, the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals.

Healthgrades evaluated 3,478 hospitals that submitted at least 100 patient experience surveys to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), covering admissions from April 2016 to March 2017 to identify hospital performance in this area. 

In order to be recognized by Healthgrades, hospitals must meet eligibility requirements for consideration, which includes clinical performance thresholds in addition to a minimum of 100 survey responses. Nationally, almost 3,000 hospitals met those requirements with 439 hospitals outperforming their peers—based on their patients’ responses—to achieve this distinction. Spectrum Health United Hospital’s performance places it among the top 15 percent in the nation.

“We are proud to be recognized for outstanding patient experience. This recognition emphasizes our continuing commitment to provide our community with the best possible care,” said Andrea Leslie, Spectrum Health United Hospital President. “I want to thank our colleagues and physicians, who deliver excellent care to our patients every day.”

Posted in BusinessComments (0)

New cider taproom coming to town

 

According to an article published this week at MiBiz.com, Ada-based Sietsema Cider LLC,  will be opening a second tasting room at 70 N. Main Street, in the old Car Quest building, across the street from Cedar Springs Brewing Company.

They have reportedly leased 1,350 square feet of space in the building, and will apply for a microbrewery and distillery license so they can offer an array of alcoholic beverages. The tasting room will offer 12 taps to start, and seating for 25-35 people. They will also have a small kitchen for appetizers.

They hope to open before the start of summer after securing all permits. 

The article reported that David Ringler, owner of Cedar Springs Brewing Company, has encouraged owner Andy Sietsema to open the new business here.

The company started five years ago as a production-only alcoholic cider producer with the tasting room during the harvest season. No changes are planned for the current tasting room in Ada.

To read the entire article, go to https://mibiz.com/item/25819-sietsema-cider-to-open-satellite-tasting-room-in-cedar-springs.

Posted in Business BitsComments (0)

Manage your home office the right way

 

SCORE, Counselors to America’s Small Business – Free Business Counseling

 

Sooner or later, in a moment of frustration, any home-based entrepreneur will ask, How in the world did I get myself into this business? You did your research, found your niche, worked out the start-up money and household logistics. Self-employment was a dream that one day became a reality. Some days, though, it seems impossible to manage. You’re not alone. ·

Perhaps your number-one goal has been to survive your first year of entrepreneurship. Consider these tips for sustaining a mind-set of success:

  Don’t go it alone. A sense of isolation is a common hazard of being in a home-based environment. You may have fond memories of comparing notes with coworkers at your last job when a problem needed solving and miss that camaraderie.  Consider creating an advisory board of knowledgeable allies: trusted colleagues with some business acumen of their own who want to help you succeed.

• Reward yourself. You’re the boss. Now and then, give yourself the rest of the day off, or at least take extra time away from your office for a family project or an overdue lunch with a good friend. Let them know what you have to celebrate and a little about how you have succeeded so they can share your sense of accomplishment. Small victories add up.

• Stay focused on your primary goals for your business. Your long-term goals can affect the decisions you make in your first year. The reverse is also true. If necessary, revisit your business plan. This is the best way to make the tough decisions about how to spend your valuable time and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Not every task demands perfection.

• Lastly, keep your perspective. Every entrepreneur has bad days, difficult customers and unfortunate setbacks. Don’t let them snowball, sapping your energy and productivity and leaving you totally discouraged. Remembering why you’re in business for yourself will do wonders to restore your faith in tomorrow.

Contact SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business” for guidance on how to make the most of your home-based business. SCORE is a nonprofit organization of volunteer business counselors who provide free and confidential business mentoring to small business owners. Call 1-800/634-0245  for the SCORE chapter nearest you, or find a counselor online at www.score.org. You may also call the Grand Rapids Chapter of SCORE at 1-616-771-0305 or find a counselor online at www.scoregrandrapids.org.

Posted in Ask ScoreComments (0)

Cookies Collectibles and Sundries

Are you looking for a quality used item at a price you can afford? If so, you might want to check out the newest resale shop in Cedar Springs—Cookies Collectibles and Sundries at 34 N. Main Street. According to owner Dave Cook, they sell quality used furniture, household goods, clothing, tools, and many other items at affordable prices. 

“We carry a wide variety of items, from a china hutch, to a screwdriver, or sauté pan,” said Cook. “Our stock is constantly evolving, so you will always have an opportunity to find something you are looking for.”

He said that their edge over competing stores is that if they don’t have what you are looking for, they will use their network of contacts to try and find it for you. “We will take the time to listen and try provide you the best items at the lowest prices,” he explained.

They also have a daily phone special. If you call the shop at 616-439-3158 and listen to the message, you will find the daily deal, and any updates to hours or upcoming events.

They are open on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.; and on Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and most Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Stop in and check them out today!

 

Posted in BusinessComments (0)

Offering a helping hand across the bridge

Flanked by fellow VFW Post members Larry Herrington, Robert Maier, Gary Opalewski and Richard Ringersma, VFW Post 3946 Quartermaster Fred Chambers presents Jane McGookey, Network Director of Feeding America West Michigan, with a check for $1,800. The money will be used by FAWM to provide 20,000 pounds of food for distribution to food insecure residents living in Marquette County in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Members of C E Schumacher Rockford Memorial VFW Post 3946 recently joined hands with Feeding America West Michigan (FAWM) to help provide food for food insecure residents of Marquette County in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  

Post 3946 donated $1,800 to FAWM which will use the funds to stock and deliver a mobile food pantry loaded with 20,000 pounds of food to Upper Peninsula residents. The food will be distributed in Marquette County later this spring by members of VFW Post 4573 from their post in Ishpeming.

“This is Post 3946’s first partnership with FAWM and Post members are excited about providing food to veterans and local residents in the cash strapped Upper Peninsula,” according to current Rockford Post Commander Vern Sall.

And according to Kenneth Estelle, President and CEO of FAWM, the organization couldn’t be more pleased with the donation.

“Food insecurity among both veterans and non-veterans is a huge problem in the Upper Peninsula,” said Estelle.  Finding sufficient funding to provide adequate food resources to residents of the Upper Peninsula is huge challenge for FAWM.” 

“That this downstate VFW Post is donating to support fellow veterans and residents in the Upper Peninsula is a testament to their generosity and commitment to providing food to those in need,” said Estelle.  “We are delighted to be partnering with them.”

Providing food to hungry people is nothing new for members of VFW Post 3946 which draws its membership from the greater north Kent County area as well as Rockford and Cedar Springs.

For over 17 years, members prepared and served monthly roast beef dinners at their Post on 13 Mile Road between Rockford and Cedar Springs. 

However, faced with ever increasing overhead costs on an aging building, members of the Post decided two years ago to sell their building and join with several other veterans groups sharing overhead and operating expenses at the Boat and Canoe Club in North Park.

“It was not an easy decision to shut down our building, but it was a good one,” according to Richard Ringersma, Post 3946 Service Officer.   “The move allowed us to spend less on maintaining bricks and mortar and more on community service and outreach.” 

Fred Chambers, past Post 3946 Commander, Kent County Veterans’ Services Officer, and lead chef for the roast beef dinners concurs.  According to Chambers, “Not only did the move free up more funds for charitable purposes and community outreach due to decreased overhead, the numbers at our monthly dinners have steadily increased since we moved to the Boat and Canoe Club. That means we have more money available for community service.”

Post 3946 uses proceeds from its monthly dinners to support a wide range of charitable activities, some specifically aiding veterans and their families, and others, such as their donation to FAWM, directed at helping the community at large. 

The Post’s charitable activities cover a broad spectrum from providing scholarships for disadvantage youth to Camp Trotter to financial support of the VFW National Home for Children in Eaton Rapids which offers a wide range of support services to veterans of foreign wars and their families. 

The Post serves roast beef dinners between 12 and 2 the third Sunday of each month at the Boat and Canoe Club in North Park.  The $10 all-you-can-eat dinners are open to the public and are available to eat in or carry-out.

“VFW Post 3946 is always open to new members,” according to Chambers.  The Post holds their monthly meetings at 7:00 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month at the Boat and Canoe Club. “Just come on in and join us.”

Membership in the VFW is open to any active or honorably discharged officer or enlisted person who has served in the armed forces “in any foreign war, insurrection or expedition, which service shall be recognized by the authorization or the issuance of a U.S. military campaign medal.” 

If you are interested in joining or would like more information, call Fred Chambers at 616-443-7630.

Posted in Business, FeaturedComments (0)

Common Errors to Avoid when Filing a Tax Return

 

To ensure they meet their tax obligations, taxpayers should file accurate tax returns. If a taxpayer makes an error on their tax return, it will likely take longer to process and could delay a refund. Taxpayers can avoid many common errors by filing electronically, the most accurate way to file a tax return. All taxpayers can use IRS Free File.

Here are common errors to avoid when preparing a tax return:

  • Missing or inaccurate Social Security Numbers. Be sure to enter each SSN on a tax return exactly as printed on the Social Security card.
  • Misspelled names. Spell all names listed on a tax return exactly as listed on the taxpayers’ Social Security cards.
  • Filing status.  Some taxpayers claim the wrong filing status, such as Head of Household instead of Single. The Interactive Tax Assistant on IRS.gov can help taxpayers choose the correct status. E-file software also helps prevent mistakes.
  • Math mistakes.  Math errors are common, ranging from simple addition and subtraction to more complex items. Figuring the taxable portion of a pension, IRA distribution or Social Security benefits is more difficult and results in more errors. Taxpayers should always double check their math. Better yet, tax preparation software does it automatically.
  • Figuring credits or deductions. Taxpayers can make mistakes figuring their Earned Income Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit, the standard deduction and other items. Follow the instructions carefully. For example, a taxpayer who’s 65 or older, or blind, should claim the correct, higher standard deduction, if not itemizing. The IRS Interactive Tax Assistant can help determine if a taxpayer is eligible for tax credits or deductions.
  • Incorrect bank account numbers. Taxpayers who are due a refund should choose direct deposit for ease and convenience, but the IRS cautions taxpayers to use the right routing and account numbers on the tax return.
  • Unsigned forms. An unsigned tax return isn’t valid. Both spouses must sign a joint return. Taxpayers can avoid this error by filing their return electronically and digitally signing it before sending it to the IRS. Taxpayers who are using a tax software product for the first time will need their adjusted gross income from their 2016 tax return to file electronically. Taxpayers who are using the same tax software they used last year usually will not need to enter prior-year information to electronically sign their 2017 tax return. 
  • Filing with an expired ITIN. The IRS will process and treat as timely a return filed with an expired Individual Tax Identification Number, but won’t allow any exemptions or credits. Taxpayers will receive a notice explaining that an ITIN must be current before the IRS will pay a refund. Once the taxpayer renews the ITIN, the IRS will process exemptions and credits and pay an allowed refund. ITIN expiration and renewal information is available on IRS.gov.

Posted in Tax TimeComments (0)

Tips for Getting Unclaimed 2014 Tax Refunds 

 

The IRS reminds taxpayers they may have money waiting for them. About 1 million taxpayers who did not file a 2014 federal income tax return have unclaimed tax refunds totaling about $1.1 billion. Here are some things taxpayers should know about these unclaimed refunds:

To collect the money, taxpayers must file their 2014 tax return with the IRS no later than this year’s tax deadline, Tuesday, April 17.

  • The IRS estimates that half of the refunds are more than $847.
  • When a taxpayer who is getting a refund does not file a return, the law gives them three years to claim that tax refund. If the taxpayer does not file a tax return within three years, the money goes back to the U.S. Treasury. For 2014 tax returns, the three-year window closes April 17, 2018.
  • The law requires taxpayers to properly address and mail the tax return to the IRS. It must be postmarked by the April deadline.
  • The IRS may hold the 2014 refunds of taxpayers who have not filed tax returns for 2015 and 2016.
  • The unclaimed money will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS or a state tax agency. The money may also be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts, such as student loans.
  • By failing to file a tax return, people stand to lose more than just their tax refund. Many low- and moderate-income workers may be eligible for the earned income tax credit. For 2014, the credit was worth as much as $6,143.
  • Current and prior year tax forms are available on the IRS.gov Forms, Instructions and Publications page or by calling toll-free 800-TAX-FORM. This includes forms 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ for 2014.
  • Taxpayers who are missing forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for the years 2014, 2015 or 2016 should request copies from their employer, bank or other payer. Taxpayers who are unable to get missing forms can order a free wage and income transcript at IRS.gov using the Get Transcript Online tool. Taxpayers can use the information on the transcript to file their tax return.

Share this tip on social media — #IRSTaxTip: Tips for Getting Unclaimed 2014 Tax Refunds https://go.usa.gov/xQgrg

Posted in Tax TimeComments (0)

advert
Advertising Rates Brochure
Kent Theatre
Ensley Team Five Star Realty

Get the Cedar Springs Post in your mailbox for only $35.00 a year!