News Column

Learning Sessions Target Business Growth

Jan. 8, 2013

Larry Avila

small business owner

Deciding whether to start a business shouldn't be overwhelming, some experts say.

Knowing what's involved from developing a business plan to projecting sales to ensure profitability can be an important step to understanding what needs to happen before taking the leap.

The Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Score Fox Cities are offering sessions this month targeting entrepreneurs as well as existing businesses seeking a competitive advantage.

The chamber on Thursday debuts its Cultivate: Business Growth Series, a half-day long seminar, which will offer a educational sessions on workforce, strategic planning, finance and technology, sales and marketing and performance management. The series replaces the chamber's former morning business advice programs, said Jessica Dennis, director of member relations and communications.

"It's designed to be progressive in format to bring a national-level conference locally," she said.

The cultivate program leads with a keynote address by Seth Mattison with BridgeWorks, who will discuss fostering an environment where different generations of employees can work together better.

Dennis said other breakout sessions are planned with 18 different business topics.

The Small Business Administration estimates about 550,000 small businesses, those with 500 or fewer employees, are started annually. About seven out of 10 of those companies survive about two years.

The SBA said about three start-up companies out of 10 last 15 years or longer. Business failure mostly is due to lack of growth strategy, poor financial planning and money management skills.

The SBA credited small businesses for creating 65 percent or about 9.8 million of the 15 million new jobs in the country between 1993 and 2009.

Randall Melzer, a representative for Score Fox Cities, said his group's program on steps to starting a business is a five-part series, which begins Jan. 17. The Score program will cover a range of topics from start-up basics, business concepts, marketing plans and financial projections.

"Our program primarily is for people to help them decide whether they want to start a business or not," he said.

Source: (c)2013 The Post-Crescent (Appleton, Wis.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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