Coast River Business Journal, July 2013
Kevin Leahy, Executive Director CEDR and CCC SBDC
There is a perception in some circles that the Clatsop Community College Small Business Development Center is only focused on start-up businesses, and the traditional “Mom and Pop” type of businesses. While those businesses are very important to the counseling services we provide, more and more of our counseling is for larger employers, those with 10-99 employees.
One of the most dynamic and rewarding programs offered for existing businesses is the Clatsop Community College SBDC Small Business Management Program, a program the college has offered for many years.
What is this program? It is a nine-month program for established business owners in which YOUR business is the textbook. SBM covers management topics through a customized curriculum, helping you identify and prioritize outcomes and devise a plan to achieve them.
The program is built to suit all learning styles. It is designed for business people--not academics.
There are three ways to help you learn:
Classroom sessions that are a combination of instructor-led learning along with discussion. These sessions are held one day a month for three hours.
Monthly one-on-one coaching sessions with a business counselor providing you with a personal and confidential business consultant whose only goal is to see your business succeed. The session is held one day a month at your business where you and the counselor roll up your sleeves and review critical issues pertaining to your business, and set a game plan in place.
Opportunity to network with other business owners and learn from your peers. As we have seen from our sessions, it is energizing to be sitting with other business owners who may have nothing to do with your business, but have the same issues every business has to deal with, from cash flow to payroll, employee discipline and turnover, marketing, and so on.
The actual sessions are broken down into three main “pillars”: Sales & Marketing, Finance & Accounting and Operational Management, and curriculum and instructional materials include “hands-on” exercises that are educational and fun at the same time.
We recently held our year-end “celebration” in Warrenton, and it was so gratifying to see business owners who came into the program last fall and winter not knowing what to expect and not knowing each other personally. They shared their experiences with each of us, and what the program has meant to them and for their business.
Note there is a cost to this class, which at $595.00 over the period of all the classroom session and counseling sessions at the business equates to an hourly rate of about $12.00 per hour. Some private consultants charge over $100.00 an hour.
Is this the program for you? Here are some things to think about:
Are you a “for-profit” business owner or manager?
Actively involved in the business?
Are willing to commit time each month, to attend classes and prepare for the one-on-one visits?
Want to develop yourself as a life-long learner?
Are you willing to accept and try new ideas?
Do you want to increase your business skills and grow your business?
Contact me and I will give you more details, and also connect you with businesses that are going through the program to get “real world” feedback from a business in the program.
This will be one of the most important things you can ever do for your business. Classes will start again in the fall, so don’t delay. The number of businesses accepted in the program is limited.