Newsletter for October 16th

Craig Weber

Craig Weber from Cox, Phillips, Weber, Tedford, Heap, & Ayres, P.C. visited with Jasper CEO on Tuesday in regards to business structures. As with most of our business visits and guest speakers we started with the personal background of Craig who is an attorney for Cox, Phillips, Weber, Tedford, Heap, & Ayres which has existed 1939. Currently they have offices in Robinson, Newton and Oblong. We covered the topics of sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations. Inside of this conversations were discussions about how their income taxes are filed or if they flow through, how the business structures provide a framework, bylaws and articles of incorporation, personal liability exposure, sub-s elections and LLC’s. Our last topic of conversation was a more in-depth look at 501c3’s and how they function within our community. It was a great visit with Mr. Weber with some great questions and discussion from our students and our guests.

Barney Brumfiel with SBDC

Barney Brumfiel with SBDC based in Olney, IL was our guest speaker Wednesday. Barney is a guest that we have several times throughout the year as he serves as a great resource for students while in the business plan portion of our class. He explained to the class that his role with SBDC is to help businesses (set-ups and established) set goals and assess financial risk. Barney stressed the importance of surrounding yourself with great resources (i.e. banker, accountant, legal counsel, etc.) and the importance of the 5 c’s of credit - character, collateral, capital, capacity, and conditions. We discussed feasibility, profit margins, equity injection, knowing your market, the success of small business start ups and what percentage of interested people that seek the advice of SBDC actually follow through and start the business. His parting advice as we begin drafting our first business plan together is to Google search “SBA starting a business” and take pieces of the multitude of plans available to construct the one that is just right for us, and write your executive summary last, even though it is in the front of the document.

Bigards Orchard

From berries to peaches to apples the Bigard and Barthelme families stay very busy year round. We started this brisk Friday morning at the family owned, family operated orchard located northeast of Newton. We were greeted with great hospitality by a cozy camp fire, piping hot apple cider and delicious apple muffins! Many factors of running an orchard were discussed including climate and environment factors, employees, and how they market their products. This past season, Bigard produce could be found at local farmer’s markets on Saturday mornings in Newton, Effingham, and Charleston. They are also currently able to market produce to our local school district, Rural King stores and Newton IGA.

In the off season the family logs their woods to bring in firewood to the orchard strategically placing it to be used when the temperatures drop dangerously low not only in the spring when blooms are on the trees but also to avoid dangerously cold sub-zero temperatures in the winter months which can kill entire trees. As spring draws near trees are pruned and new strawberry plants are established and maintained during the first year in hopes for production in year two. So much was learned not only about business but also about food production. It was a fantastic morning!

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