Our Perspective
Spotlight: Guest Columnist - Richard (Dick) Halterman II

As 2018 begins, we look to the business community for an economic development forecast. Richard (Dick) Halterman, owner of Murphy Business Brokers & Appraisal and member of the Augusta County Economic Development Authority, has consulted and valued companies since 1996. Below, he shares a few thoughts as we head into the new year.
Perception is everything, and we tend to view the economy based on what we are told on the news. I venture to say most of us think the tremendous rise of the Dow over the past few years can only mean that life is good and that we have nothing to worry about from an economic perspective. According to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, 99.7% of U.S. employers have 500 or fewer employees and 89.4% have less than 20... shocking, eh?
Welcome to my world. For the past 20-plus years, I have assisted clients seeking to sell their companies or, at a minimum, get value estimates for planning purposes. I have valued many different types of businesses including manufacturing, assisted living, medical offices, convenience stores, law practices, accounting firms, as well as retail and distribution. What I have seen since 2008 is "average" performance in terms of profitability. They work their folks harder, try to be lean and mean with expenses and keep capital expenditures to an absolute minimum. Nobody out there is just killing it, but things are improving. I would hasten to add that each year continues to be better than the last, and I see no reason 2018 will not follow suit.
From a regional point of view, Augusta County and the Shenandoah Valley are blessed with such a diverse economy that when one sector is down, quite likely another is up. Why else do you think business, industry and people in general seek refuge here? We have 500-plus employee companies and a lot of those under-500 employee companies along with the strength of our agriculture sector to help us. It's the best of all worlds.

Blessings to all for 2018,

Richard K. Halterman, II, CPA
Murphy Business Brokers & Appraisal

Virginia is for Entrepreneurs (VA4E)
Statewide initiative to link entrepreneurs with funding

In an effort to better match entrepreneurs with potential investors across regions, backgrounds and industries, the Virginia is for Entrepreneurs initiative launched in December. A standardized online application  is now available and can link entrepreneurs with more than 50 investment firms and potential funders to help launch or grow their Virginia-based businesses. 
Partners include Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia's College at Wise; angel investment groups such as 757 Angels and Shenandoah Valley Angel Investors; venture funds including Revolution and Village Capital; and statewide organizations including the Center for Innovative Technology.

For more information, contact:
Ross Baird, ross@vilcap.com
Paul Hirschbiel, phirschbiel@edencapital.net
Augusta Small Business Loan Fund

Don't forget! Augusta County offers a Small Business Loan Fund offering loans up to $10,000 for terms of 1-5 years. Requirements include: enthusiasm, a completed business plan, and a future or current business located in Augusta County.
Applications can be found online at www.AugustaVABusiness.com , and interested applicants can contact Augusta County Economic Development with any questions.

Augusta County Economic Development & Tourism
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