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Invitation to Accelerator Awards Gala


9 Tips for growing a successful business

9 Tips For Growing A Successful Business


To succeed in business you need to be flexible and have good planning and organizational skills. People start a business thinking that they'll start making money right away - only to find that making money in a business is much more difficult than they thought. Take your time and plan out all the necessary steps you need to reach to achieve success:

1. Get Organized
Organization will help you complete tasks and stay on top of things to be done. A good way to do this is to create a to-do list each day - as you complete each item, check it off your list. This will ensure that you're not forgetting anything and you're completing all the tasks that are essential to the survival of your business.

2. Keep Detailed Records
All successful businesses keep detailed records. By keeping detailed records, you'll know where the business stands financially and what potential challenges you could be facing. Just knowing this gives you time to create strategies to overcome the obstacles that can prevent you from being successful and growing your business. IRS also requires that you keep detailed records of every expenditure and income.

3. Analyze Your Competition
To be successful, you can't be afraid to study and learn from your competitors. After all, they may be doing something right that you can implement in your business to make more money.

4. Understand the Risks and Rewards
The key to being successful is taking calculated risks to help your business grow. A good question to ask is "What's the downside?" If you can answer this question, then you know what the worst-case scenario is. This knowledge will allow you to take the kinds of calculated risks that can generate tremendous rewards for your business.

5. Be Creative
Always be looking for ways to improve your business and to make it stand out from the competition. Recognize that you don't know everything and be open to new ideas and new approaches to your business.

6. Stay Focused
The old saying that "Rome was not built in a day"... Just because you open a business doesn't mean that you're going to immediately start making money. It takes time to let people know who you are, so stay focused on achieving your short-term goals and give the rest time to come together on its own.

7. Prepare to Make Sacrifices
The lead-up to starting a business is hard work, but after you open your doors, your work has just begun. In many cases, you have to put in more time than you would if you were working for someone else. In turn, you have to make sacrifices, such as spending less time with family and friends in order to be successful. Never coast…as the owner you always have to stay on top of everything even after delegating.

8. Provide Great Service
There are many successful businesses that forget that providing great customer service is important. If you provide better service for your customers, they'll be more inclined to come to you the next time they need something instead of going to your competition. Provide more value than what you get paid for and have an honest and respectful relationship with your clients.

9. Be Consistent
Consistency is key component to making money in business. You have to consistently keep doing the things necessary to be successful day in and day out. This will create long-term positive habits that will help you make money over the long term. Consistency takes patience and dedication

Starting and running a successful business can be rewarding and challenging. Success requires focus, discipline and lots of perseverance. However, success will not come over night - it requires a long-term focus and that you remain consistent in challenging environments. You have to be flexible to bend with the needs of the business and the storms that come and go.



Be part of the Merrimack Valley Sandbox's Winter Accelerator Program



Be Part of the 2014 Sandbox

Winter Accelerator!

  MV Sanbox  



In the last year, the Sandbox has

helped launch over 25 start-ups!


Now they want to help YOU!


Between December - February, we invite you to 

take part in the 2014 Sandbox Winter Accelerator Program.

  • Work with personal Mentors
  • Access 24/7 Working Space
  • Learn from Experts in areas such as business design, marketing, and fundraising
  • Compete for $30K in Cash Prizes

 *Free to apply/participate*


Deadline to Apply: Oct. 31st @ Midnight


Apply Here!  












Merrimack Valley Small Business Center seeks qualified person to conduct a marketing seminar

The Merrimack Valley Small Business Center seeks a qualified marketing professional to donate their time to conduct a marketing seminar for their program participants. Ideally this person will be able to teach the seminar in Lowell on a Monday night. If you are interested please call the Center at 978-322-8402  and ask to speak with Terry.


Find Out What's New at the MVSBC

Keeping you updated and informed. 

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Would a small loan to purchase a new piece of equipment or working capital help your business grow? Did you know that the Merrimack Valley Microloan Fund stands ready to assist local businesses by providing a microloan up to $5,000 with a fixed low interest rate to meet your lending needs and help build up your credit at the same time?

Don’t delay! Find out more

Right Start Graduates Get Together
Pictured from left to right, Terry Williams, Shelagh Casey of Refind, Kim Scalia of Relovable Dog, Olga Saratova of Olga Saratova Photography, Kristin Wallace, Evangeline Bates of Evangeline Interiors, and Paul Hutchinson.
Thanks to important feedback from our Right Start Graduates and other clients, we’ve been busy making changes to our entrepreneurial trainings and can’t wait to launch two new series this fall!
Our Entrepreneurial Boot Campfor Pre-Concept & Start-Up Businesseswill lead entrepreneurs through defining their personal vision & goals and to determining whether their business concept is a feasible business opportunity. At the end of this very hands-on course, participants will have examined their business ideas from every angle and written a business plan, which will help them decide if the business idea is a “go” or a “no go” before making plans to launch the venture. This training will also include support around the technical steps involved in start-up.
Our Financial Tune Up Boot Camp for Start-Up & Existing Businesses will lead entrepreneurs through the basics of financial literacy and will include the important features of a well run business. Entrepreneurs will learn about financial basics, bookkeeping, inventory management & control, taxes, financing, marketing.

Stacie Hargis

CLICK HERE to be taken to our events calendar.

Please RSVP for all workshops and trainings. Fees may apply and will be due at time of class. A fee waiver may be requested, please inquire when signing up.The Center reserves the right to cancel or reschedule a workshop or class due to insufficient enrollment or weather.
FDIC’s Money Smart Series
Joinus as we give the Money Smart financial education

2013 marks our
15th year of providing support to Merrimack Valley entrepreneurs so they can…

We empower entrepreneurs to make the right choices and increase chances for success. As we go into our anniversary year, we have lots of great news to share!  Please stay tuned for more information about our 15th year celebration in September.

MVSBC graduates in May

We recently piloted a Peer-Group Mentoring program to bring a group of microenterprise owners together to discuss issues they face day-to-day. Because of their smaller-size businesses, many owners find themselves working in a silo. When it comes to facing challenges, this group provides a space for thinking creatively with others. If you think you would be interested in this program, please contact Stacie Hargis at 978-322-8401 or [email protected].   

We are launching a Bookkeeping Business! This newly created social enterprise will offer QuickBooks set-up and training for small business clients, and provide ongoing bookkeeping services. We seek to provide a full suite of bookkeeping services to allow business owners to free up their time. If you think your business would like to know more, please contact Charles Nagbe at 978-606-8171 or [email protected]. This is all thanks to a generous capacity building grant provided by the Greater Lowell Community Foundation. 

The MVSBC Microloan Fund serves an important role in the Merrimack Valley community. We know that access to capital is important! 72% of people cannot finance a business themselves. In FY 2013, we helped close over $42K in capital to businesses! For more information our Microloan Program, please contact Kristin Wallace at 978-322-8403 or [email protected].

Summer is in full swing and we are looking ahead, preparing for a fall full of great trainings and workshops.

  • Every Wednesday night, we offer our Financial Tune Up Boot Camp, Developing Your Business Plan or Loan Prep Course to help entrepreneurs learn the basics of financial management or to apply for financing.
  • Every 1st and 3rd Tuesday, come in for our FREE Are You READY…to Start a Business? workshop.  If you want to start a business, this is your first step. This class will guide you through a self-assessment of your business idea and introduce you to the business development services we offer.
  • Starting September 9th, the Entrepreneurial Boot Camp will help you determine whether your business idea is a feasible business opportunity. At the end of this hands-on training, you will have examined your idea from every angle, to decide if it’s a “go” or a “no go”.
  • We also offer affordable online, internet-marketing courses that you can take from the comfort of your own home at your own speed.  This is available through a special partnership with
  • If you are interested in any of these programs and have any questions, please contact Terry Williams at 978-322-8402 or [email protected].


Stacie Hargis
Community Teamwork, Inc.’s
Merrimack Valley Small Business Center


Tomo360, Greater Lowell
Susu Wong is owner of Tomo360, started in November 2012, and an immigrant from Hong Kong. Tomo360 provides small to medium-sized businesses with customized marketing strategies, social media and email marketing campaigns to creatively connect with their customers. Susu signed up for Financial Tune Up Boot Camp in order to better understand how to manage cash flow, sales projections and expenses. Susu has taken advantage of one-on-one counseling and participated in our peer-group mentoring pilot program. Since receiving our services, Susu has seen an increase in her revenue and has even been able to hire an employee.

Learn more about Tomo360

Lowell Naturalization and Citizenship Services, Lowell
After running her business for nearly a year, Marcia Strauss, owner of Lowell Naturalization and Citizenship Services, wanted to learn more skills to manage her business. An immigrant herself from Brazil, Marcia has a great understanding of the needs of her clients. As part of the Financial Tune Up Boot Camp, Marcia learned about the three main financial statements, which she now uses regularly as tools to manage her business and customer credit arrangements. She is also using this new knowledge to help her figure out when she can move her business to a storefront location in the near future. Marcia is currently enrolled in the Merrimack Valley Sandbox’s Accelerator Program and looks forward to merging the knowledge learned from both programs and will continue to participate in our peer-group mentoring program.

Learn more about Lowell Naturalization and Citizenship Services

Congratulations to the following business starts in the last quarter:

Electronic Horizons held a ribbon cutting in July. 


Be sure to check out our events calendar to see all the awesome events coming up! 

This Week: Apply for High Growth/Tech Pitch Contest & Attend the Catalyst Showcase!



2013 Catalyst Showcase

Attend this Wednesday Evening!


Don't miss the chance to see over 100 student and youth entrepreneurs showcase their food, fashion, education, and tech ideas at the 2013 Catalyst Showcase!


All year long, these students have worked on developing their entrepreneurial ideas and would gain significantly from your feedback and advice. 


We hope to see you Wednesday evening in Lawrence!


Click here to RSVP!


High Growth/Tech Pitch Contest

Apply by Thursday @ Midnight!


Do you have a business or non-profit idea that has the potential to get BIG on a national or international level?


Maybe the next BIG social media platform or a new technology that can impact millions.


Apply to our High Growth/Tech Pitch Contest for thousands of dollars in cash prizes & feedback from industry pros!



Click here to apply!



Apply for the Sandbox Summer Accelerator




Calling all entrepreneurs! This summer, the Sandbox will be launching our new Accelerator Program for early-stage entrepreneurs. Don't miss out on this opportunity to:

  • Network with investors/industry experts/successful entrepreneurs
  • Work with personal Mentors 
  • Have 24/7 access to shared working Space
  • Participate in Workshops  
  • Compete for $30K in Cash Prizes 

Application Deadline: May 16th @ Midnight


Click here for more info/apply



Sandbox Summit 2013:

Re-Imagining Cities Through Entrepreneurship


Keynote Speaker: 

Robin Chase, 

Founder & Former CEO - Zipcar

Mark your calendars for the biggest conference of the year! The Sandbox Summit will feature:

  • Panel Discussions
  • Entrepreneur Showcase
  • Winners Showdown Pitch Contest

More details coming soon!



Partner Events



Groundwork Lawrence

"Earth Day 2013"

Saturday, April 27

Click here for more info!



Mass Innovation Nights

"MIN500 Special Event

Tuesday, May 7

Click here for more info!



Advanced Technology & Manufacturing Center

"Networking to Grow"

Wednesday, May 8

Click here for more info!





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Innovator Mixer: Education & Youth Development


mvs logo small

Innovator Mixer:

Education & Youth Development





-Hear from special guest innovators!

-Meet people who share your passion!

-Share your ideas on education & youth development


Click here to RSVP!


Special Guest Innovators:


Dr. Kyle McInnis, Ms. Breanne Dowdie

Active Science & Merrimack College

"Partnership to engage youth in learning science 

and math skills while boosting their fitness and health "



Louis M. Bernieri, Patrick Guerrero

Andover Bread Loaf & El Taller Present!

"Collaboration offering cultural & literacy programming 

including open mic's and poetry slams for all ages"


Dr. Karen L. Mahon

Balefire Labs


"Service that helps parents and teachers find educational apps that have great instructional and usability design"



 Lynn Debilzen, Steven Duarte, Vanessa Laureano,

Shannon Moran, Leslie Randall 

Jumpstart at UMass Lowell

"A new way to engage families in developing

 their own children's literacy at home"


 Caroline Pierce, Olivia Lahann

Phoenix Academy Lawrence

"A new charter school in Lawrence that re-engages 

older, disconnected students with a program of high standards for behavior and academics, ensuring 

they have the support to complete high school"



When: April 17th from 5:30pm-7:30pm

Where: El Taller--Lawrence, MA



Click here to RSVP!


Full list of Innovator Mixers




Sandbox News Feed:


Sandbox Entrepreneur   

Keo Rattanna making 

vegan ice-cream

  • The Sandbox was featured in the Boston Globe. 

Read the article!

  • Sandbox entrepreneur launches Indiegogo campaign. Take a look! 



Partner Events:


TiE Boston

"Apply for the TiE Challenge"

Deadline to apply: Sunday, April 7

Click here for more info!



Merrimack Valley Small Business Center

"Social Media Marketing Seminar"

Monday, April 8

Click here for more info!


Mass Innovation Nights

"Mass Innovation Nights #49"

Wednesday, April 10

Click here for more info!


Groundwork Lawrence

"Earth Day 2013"

Saturday, April 27

Click here for more info!


Advanced Technology & Manufacturing Center

"Networking to Grow"

Wednesday, May 8

Click here for more info!



Like us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter    View our profile on LinkedIn    View our videos on YouTube





Big things happening at the Merrimack Valley Sandbox

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mvs logo small

Big Things are Happening at

the Sandbox!





On March 5th, we gave out a $25K Prize Pool

to select Sandbox Accelerator Finalists. 


Click here for the full recap!



Creative Economy Pitch Contest Deadline Next Week 


Have you dreamed of starting your own 

arts/craft, design, food, or fashion business? 


Apply to our March 28th Pitch Contest!


Deadline: Thursday, March 14th @ Midnight!


Click here to apply!



Partner Events


TiE Boston

"The Nuts and Bolts of Starting a Life Sciences Company"

Monday, March 11

Click here for more info!


Friends of Kevin

"Networking Event in Lowell"

Tuesday, March 12

Click here for more info!


Merrimack Valley Venture Forum

"Where's the Money? Obtaining Funding"

Tuesday, March 19

Click here for more info!



Haverhill Hardware Horizons Challenge

"Trailblazing the Merrimack Valley Open 

Innovation Cluster Conference 2013"

Wednesday, March 20

Click here for more info!

Click here to RSVP!



"Apply for the MassChallenge 2013 Accelerator Program"

Deadline: April 3

Click here for more info!




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