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As small businesses battle rising costs of fuel, goods, and labor, maintaining profitability can be an ongoing challenging. Inflation is at its highest in 40 years, with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) at 8.5% in July. Moreover, food prices have surged 13.1% over last year, leading consumers to cut back their spending on many non-essentials. For small business owners, the task of setting competitive prices while covering costs and maintaining cash flow can be tricky.

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Whether you’re looking into buying a business, considering selling your business or looking to describe the value of your business to venture capitalists, knowing how to accurately value your business is a crucial piece of running the company.

But untangling the various tangible and intangible pieces of your business and knowing how to accurately compute their value is complicated. Business valuation involves using a set of measuring tools to determine the worth of a business. Business valuation isn’t always calculated by returns.

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Credit: Tallahassee Democrat

Tarah Jean | Tallahassee Democrat

Florida A&M University graduate Elijah Rutland recently returned to where his journey toward becoming an acclaimed artist began – on campus.

His return was as a commissioned designer featured by Xfinity to produce almost a dozen of his handcrafted works of art on just as many college campuses.

Through Xfinity’s HBCU (Historically Black College and University) tour — a project that will visit 11 campuses to highlight Black artists, filmmakers, musicians and content creators — Rutland has created murals to be unveiled on each campus.

The tour began Friday with FAMU being the first stop.

“It was a full circle moment for me,” said 23-year-old Rutland, a Macon, Georgia native. “It was my first time back on campus after graduating, and it was like returning to where everything started in a way.”

Rutland graduated in the spring with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from FAMU’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication.

“I’m always proud when alumni like Elijah comes back to showcase what they do and show students what they can become,” said School of Journalism and Graphic Communication Dean Mira Lowe. “It’s very inspiring and motivational for our students, and it means a lot to me as a dean to see alums give back to a school they went to.”

Rutland’s mural was shown during the FAMU’s traditional weekly social event, Set Friday, which was held near the Will Packer Performing Arts Amphitheater.

The FAMU mural, which was only up for the duration of the tour stop, is a compilation of characteristics about the university. The black and white 8-foot by 20-foot art piece includes the eternal flame, the Rattler mascot, a Marching 100 band hat, a chicken drumstick to represent the traditional “Fried Chicken Wednesday” the Rattler statue, and the “FAMU Way” road sign.

“It was all based on different meanings that relate to FAMU, student life and my experiences as a student as well,” Rutland said. The mural took him about a week to complete, and the 11 pieces altogether took him about a month as he finished the last mural Tuesday.

Xfinity and marketing agency Riddle and Bloom, which focuses on connecting students and young adults with different types of brands, commissioned Rutland an amount of $24,000 for the tour.

The marketing company researched artists with links to the 11 universities and found Rutland to be “a perfect fit for the project,” said Riddle and Bloom Account Manager Megan Ellis.

“It’s been really great to get to work with such a talented artist that works with our mission and really understands the heart that’s behind HBCU pride,” said Ellis, who was on campus Friday. “We felt that he could really speak to the college experience that we’re trying to uplift and amplify.”

During the event, students and others passing by signed Rutland’s mural, where they either wrote their name, their social media handles or a comment about what attending an HBCU means to them.

Elijah Rutland, a ‘creative genius’

Rutland is the founder of the brand Fix My Sole, where he focuses on customizing sneakers and vintage clothing items such as T-shirts.

He returned to FAMU’s campus from a four-day visit to Washington D.C., where he was hosted by Howard University President Wayne Frederick and School of Fine Arts Dean and well-known actress Phylicia Allen-Rashad as they got to know more about him and his business.

“It was great,” Rutland said. “A similar feel to being at FAMU.”

From designing headphones for Beats by Dre to having art deals with the NBA and the NFL, Rutland said he uses his talent to “create a visual representation of his thoughts.”

But while at FAMU, his involvement went beyond using his gifted hands to create masterpieces. He was a member of the Beta Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and was also a trumpet player in the university’s Marching 100 band.

“Elijah has distinguished himself as a creative genius,” Lowe said. “He’s using his art to elevate and educate the masses, and he’s using his talent to amplify voices of his generation.”

Following his appearance at FAMU, Rutland’s next tour stop was at Bowie State University in Maryland Tuesday.

Once the HBCU tour comes to an end, Rutland plans to focus on his Fix My Sole business and art projects that include designing more vintage clothes. He will also be working with Pohanka Automotive Group through his recent role as its national brand ambassador, where he creates content on social media for the company’s brand.

Here are the remaining locations and dates of the tour:

  • Howard University – Sept. 1
  • Morgan State University – Sept. 2
  • Delaware State University – Sept. 7
  • Texas Southern University – Sept. 12
  • Atlanta University Center Consortium – Sept. 16
  • Edward Waters University – Sept. 20
  • Savannah State University – Sept. 21
  • Florida Memorial University – to be determined
  • Jackson State University – to be determined

States and municipalities often write their own laws that expand upon federal regulations or a lack thereof. Which ones affect your business?

  • States and municipalities often write laws that expand on federal regulations or a lack thereof. These laws may affect how your business operates.
  • In 2022, local business regulations related to vaccine mandates and employer tip credits are especially worth watching.
  • Other local legislative issues to watch include healthcare reform, pay equity and data security. Consult a small business expert or lawyer to determine how your business should respond to any applicable legislation.
  • This article is for small business owners looking to stay abreast of local legislation.

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Did you know that according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), 99.9% of all businesses in America are considered small businesses and employ 41.7% of the global workforce? That number is very high, which is safe to say that several people likely reading this currently own or want to start small businesses.

The impact of government regulations on small business owners is experienced daily, and these regulations are constantly changing, making it difficult for them to keep up. Let’s look at some of the most common government regulations and see how they can affect them.

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In a prior article, I wrote about the appeal of counting the Federal Government as a customer, because of the size of the government’s budget, as well as its creditworthiness. In that article, I discussed Federal Acquisition Regulations and contract types. Building upon that base, this article begins a discussion of accounting for government contracts for those new to these concepts.

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Cybersecurity threats are a ticking timebomb for many companies, and yet small businesses don’t see it as a main budget priority, an exclusive report has revealed.

With cyberattacks on the rise and the average cost of an attack in the millions, safeguarding against issues such as data breaches and ransomware should be a number one concern for businesses of all sizes.

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The Internet allows businesses of all sizes and from any location to reach new and larger markets and provides opportunities to work more efficiently by using computer-based tools. Whether a company is thinking of adopting cloud computing or just using email and maintaining a website, cybersecurity should be a part of the plan.

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Guava, a banking and networking platform targeting Black entrepreneurs, announced today the closing of a $2.4 million pre-seed round led by Heron Rock.

Founded last year by Kelly Ifill, the company aims to narrow the racial wealth gap by providing financial services to Black small businesses and creators. The digital banking platform — set to launch early next year officially — allows entrepreneurs to check expenses, budget, transfer money, track growth and connect with other entrepreneurs looking to scale their businesses.

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In today’s world, social media has become the new social proof. And social media marketing has become an indispensable tool for leveraging products and services. Besides running ad campaigns through social media more companies are looking to influencers to connect brands with customers. Customers today are ever more looking towards influencers to get insights into product reviews, seek knowledge on issues and connect with individuals with whom to share common issues. Essentially an influencer produces compelling content that influences potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media.

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