MCED Blog

MCED helps innovators fill in the gaps between their deep industry expertise and the strategic business skills critical to launching a scalable, sustainable venture. Maine's unique economic and geographic challenges demand more that a traditional business incubator. They demand a catalyst.

Special Valentine Gift Guide for Maine Lovers

No matter who you love we have a unique gift for them here - from decadent chocolate and wine, to your very own windmill for that romantic windswept look! (We even have gifts for beloved's with four paws!)  

Adventurous Joe Coffee - Get your sweetie buzzed  with worthy coffee and coffee gear.
Armaid - They will love you for solving their tendonitis pain. 
Artascope - Craft a valentine!
Atayne - Love the environmental enthusiast in your life with friendly athletic wear.
Bella Luna Toys  - Waldorf, wooden and natural toys to nourish a loving imagination.
Bitzy Baby - Safe baby bumpers (in case things get really serious).
Bixby Bar - Organic, Healthy Chocolate bars for health conscious lovers.
Black Dinah Chocolates - Artisan chocolates - OMIGOD!  
Black Lobster Academy - Online art workshops - draw your heart out.
Buoy Local - One Card access to the heart of Portland, Maine.
Chimani - Apps for the outdoors (surely you can figure out something to do out there...).
Darn Good Yarn - Not your Grandma's Yarn! (Sweater material for when you can't be home at night.)
Downeast Dayboat - Fresh Maine scallops delivered within 24 hours (Roadmaps to the heart always include a detour through the stomach.)
Dulse & Rugosa - Nourishing bath & body products inspired by the Maine Islands. (Think warm baths and bubbles).
Earth Angel Arts - Paintings by Amanda Clark - For the angel in your life.
Eepybird - Grab one of their great books - love and laughter go naturally together!
Flowfold - Conscientious outdoor gear for your special hiking companion.  
Garbage to Garden - Show you care about the world they live in with a curbside recycling subscription! 
Gold Star Honeybees - Natural top bar hive beekeeping equipment/classes (Hint, bees make honey, Honey!) 
Loohoo Wool Dryer Balls - The natural way to keep your sweetie warm & dry. 
Lulu's Garden - Natural body care products to soften the skin and scent the heart.
Maine Foodie Tours - Gift Certificates. Once again, you cannot go wrong with food and love.  
Maine Gold - Premium Maine Maple Products and Gift Baskets romance the sweet tooth.
Maine Mead Works - For connoisseurs of the oldest fermented beverage. Light a candle, pour two glasses, put on some renaissance music and stare romantically into each other's eyes.
Maine Medicinals - All natural homeopathic medicines keep your love healthy all year round.
Finest Kind Tea - Mixers and modifiers. Tea for two...  
Mutt Nose Best - Natural Pet products - just in case your one and only has four paws.
Neu Naturals - Yummy snacks to feed thier inner awesome!
Northern Girl - Bounty from the county for your Maine sweetheart.
Oats Any Time - Fruit filled crumb tarts- Maybe even better than chocolate! 
Positive Raw Power - Raw food classes nourish the inner fires.
Pika Energy - Residential wind turbines - For that romantic windswept look!
Rheal Day Spa - Give your honey a spa day - You CANNOT GO WRONG with this.
LulaWed - Take advantage of the day to plan a wedding in 2016!
Seawicks Candle Company - Research shows that 100% Soy candles and poetry melt hearts. 
The Sunrise Guide - Local coupon book for environmentally conscientious lovers on a budget. 
Turtle Love Co.- Artisan jewelery (we suggest diamonds...)
Twenty 2 Vodka -Chill some of this handcrafted, small batch vodka, add red cranberry juice and enjoy! 
Urban Farm Fermentory - Honestly, what could be sexier than Kombucha??

 

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5 Minutes with Greg DuFour of Camden National Bank
It takes a steady hand and vision to accomplish all that Greg DuFour and Camden National Bank brought about in 2015. The bank completed a merger with The Bank of Maine, (which was acquired by Camden’s parent company, Camden National Corporation) in October, and unrolled a new look and new logo. Based on its commitment to community and volume of loans, the bank was named (for the sixth year in a row!) “Financial Institution of the Year” by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) and donated  a total of $20,000 to more than 30 homeless shelters across the state to help raise awareness around the issue of homelessness in Maine.
 
Amidst all of that the bank stepped up to a lead position as the Portland Regional Sponsor of the Top Gun program, donating $30,000 to support the program over the next three years starting in 2016. (Yay Camden!)
 
Given all of this, we naturally wanted to sit down and have a chat with Camden’s CEO and President, Greg DuFour about how enterpreneurs will benefit from the changes and and what a founder needs to think about when looking for financing.
 
Q. Camden expanded a great deal in 2015 with its acquisition of The Bank of Maine bringing it into more communities across the state. In what ways have you seen that benefit Maine Entrepreneurs? 

A. I’m excited about how our acquisition of The Bank of Maine will help Maine entrepreneurs and innovators turn inspiration into thriving businesses. Part of our strategic focus is to deepen our already strong commitment to Maine’s businesses. The acquisition allows us to leverage our combined resources to serve more businesses through expanded locations and greater resources. More importantly, we recognize we need to continuously develop new products and services for businesses, especially entrepreneurs who provide the spark to Maine’s economy. This will result in developing systems, processes and training our staff to help make access to capital easier and more convenient to entrepreneurs, helping with cash management related services and, equally as important, to have knowledgeable bankers in our local markets who can serve as financial partners. In many ways, financial institutions need to grow in order to keep pace with the demands of entrepreneurs but also keep in mind the best products and services have to be delivered locally through experienced people.


Q. What does a Maine business that you want to work with look like?

A. We seek to work with all types of businesses in all industries in Maine. I believe one of our economic strengths in Maine is that we have a very broad and diverse business base so at Camden National we take a very inclusive view of who we like working with. We work with some very successful, large organizations that have national and international reputations while, at the same time, we work with others that may be focused on serving people right in their community. Some have been owned by the same family for multiple generations while others are start-ups. In all cases, we look for commitment, passion and a positive attitude in the people we do business with.

Q. What is the most important thing about Camden National Bank that most people do not know that they should?

A. Camden National Bank is firmly rooted here in Maine, with a 140-year history of local decision-making and personal one-on-one service. We pride ourselves on knowing our customers – but also knowing the latest trends and opportunities in banking and business. We’re local and we have a lot more in common with small businesses than we do with big business.  While we do have over 65 locations now in three States and $3.7 billion of assets, in the financial world we are still considered a small company. Like a lot of small businesses, we can still trace our roots back to our founding by six people in the backroom of the Five and Dime in Camden, and we’re proud of those humble beginnings. Because of this we share many of the same challenges and worries as some of our smallest business customers. I feel this helps us understand our customers when they come in for help or to share their own successes.

Q. What are some of the best ways for entrepreneurs to approach a bank?

A. Two things an entrepreneur should remember about a bank is we’re dealing with other people’s money and we’re risk managers. Our source for lending money are deposits from our customers, debt that we’ll also take on as well as our own capital. We look at things in terms of risk and reward, and because we have a fiduciary and regulatory duty to protect depositors, we need to understand what risks we’re taking and balance those against the rewards. What this means for an entrepreneur is the better we understand your business and strategies, the easier it is for us to make decisions and design a lending program that is right for your business.  

A well thought out and detailed business plan allows us to understand not only your business but also the associated risks. It also lets us start to think in terms of how we can help --- become a partner --- versus just a transaction. Part of that plan, especially for entrepreneurs is to understand what you want. Just the question of understanding do you want to maintain total ownership and control of your business versus seeking partners will help determine various funding and capital options for you. 

Additionally, we understand there are a variety of loan programs available to entrepreneurs. We help them navigate through guarantee programs from organizations such as the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Finance Authority of Maine (FAME). As a lending partner, these type of programs helps us mitigate risk and be able to say yes more often which helps more borrowers get the financing they need.

Remember the typical banker has helped many businesses and they too are great resources to help you develop a strong business plan.

Q. What surprises you most about your job?    

A. I’m constantly surprised by how my position with Camden National Bank lets me help people. Within a course of a week, I may discuss financing with a customer to help their business grow, meet with one of our wealth managers and a customer as they decide how to invest proceeds of a sale of a family business, discuss career development options with an employee and then attend a board meeting of a community organization. I’m allowed this diverse opportunity because we have the financial strength and banking acumen to take our customers, employees, commercial clients and communities anywhere they need to go. 

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Michael Royer on The Best Advice He Ever Received

If you want to succeed in business, you have to learn from those who came before you. For the past 30 years, I have owned and operated my own professional services firm. I started in a one-room office with just myself. Now I own a 20-person company, which has been selected twice as one of the 25 Best Places to Work in Maine, and is recognized as one of the leading accounting firms in Maine. Over the years, I have talked with and listened to many people – clients, entrepreneurs, attorneys, bankers, consultants, you name it. The following are the four most useful pieces of advice that I learned from some of the best in business.

4 Tips to Succeed as a Business Leader:

1) When I was a young man still finding my professional foothold, I was given important advice. It was this: My very best thinking had gotten me to where I was. However, if I wanted to be successful, I could not rely only on my own thinking. I had to ask questions and be able to take—and actually listen to—advice from others. This included looking beyond my own assumptions to “get it right” as opposed to “being right.” ?

Bottom line: Ask questions and learn from others’ experience. You can’t do it on your own.

2) Leadership depends on three characteristics: Appreciation, respect, and trust. Sure, you can be the head of an organization based solely on ownership or position. But if you want people to follow you, work hard for you, and care about your business, you need to put them first.
Appreciation: Employees want to feel the work they put in day in and day out is valued. If you do not or cannot appreciate what they are doing for you, find someone or something that you can appreciate. Ensure your employees know you appreciate them by telling them every chance you get.
Respect: It takes respect to get respect. Treat every employee with the same level of respect. Respect their ideas, opinions, and contribution to the company. Demonstrate respect for your clients and business associates as well. Mutually respectful relationships with your business associates and peers builds a stronger respect from your employees.
Trust: Trust is a two-way street and, simply put, if you cannot trust your employees, then why do you keep them? And if your employees do not trust you, then they will not follow you, or stay long term.

Bottom-line: Appreciation, respect, and trust will take you far as a business leader. Don’t forget them!

3) Don’t jump to conclusions or make assumptions about how others will react to certain situations. I have spent countless hours debating the best solution for many different situations, decisions, and actions, only to find myself held back by my assumptions of how the opposite party will react. Instead of acting on some of my ideas, I hesitated in fear of the unknown, only to find out that I was completely wrong. Do not be afraid of what you do not want to hear. The risk of not acting because of an incorrect assumption is much greater, and potentially more costly, than the repercussions of an adverse reaction.

Bottom-line: Don’t assume what other people think, talk to them and ask them what they think.

4) Find people who will “stick.” Investing in your team can deliver the best ROI for your business, but only if they stick. You need to find people who can commit to you and your company. Hire people who are loyal, reliable, and a good cultural fit for your business. Take the time to carefully vet candidates to make the best decision possible. Losing someone after you have invested in them, and they are fully functioning and trained, can be one the most disruptive and costly things that can happen to your business.

Bottom-line: Choose your investments wisely—especially your investments in people.


At the end of the day, business is still about relationships. The four pieces of advice above have helped me to not only attract, but also retain great employees and great clients. One last suggestion for improving your leadership skills and succeeding in business: Be friendly, smile, control your anger and frustration, and actively manage your stress. Owning a business is very rewarding, but also at times very difficult, stressful, and frustrating. Your energy and attitude will become your company’s energy and attitude. Make sure it’s a winning combination.

- Michael Royer, President, Barry Talbot Royer, Certified Public Accountants and Business Advisors

Mike 

 

 

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MCED Featured Mentor - Terry Johnson

Terry Johnson

Always ready to help when and where he can, Terry Johnson has quickly become a part of the MCED community. Johnson came to us with a broad background in project management and work-flow improvement activities. He specializes in project management, and is ready to mentor MCED clients in collaboration and process improvement across the organization to help them ensure new and enhanced business opportunities and value-added improvements for new levels of profitability.

Johnson is a Product and Technology Development professional with experience in all aspects of the development process who uses knowledge of processes and systems to drive improved product selection, execution, and introduction - leading to increased business opportunities and customer satisfaction.

 

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Libra Future Fund offering free office co-working space

Libra Future Fund is now offering free office/co-working space to Maine startups for terms of up to one year. Located at the Pineland Farms campus in New Gloucester, Maine, the Pineland Venture Hub combines the natural surroundings of working farms and forests with a modern campus. FMI click here

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