Last month I authored an article on the topic of training retail employees.
The highlights of the article revolved around training for specific tasks and duties necessary to provide improved efficiency and customer service with the desired results being longer term employee retention and higher customer satisfaction. Though employee training is vitally important to the success of your business, investing in continuous business owner training is equally as important.
New business owners often begin their careers as employees working for someone else. This qualifies them for training their peers and gives them excellent insight into “how to do it better,” but this skill set isn’t all that is needed to operate a successful small business. The successful small business owner has to be a generalist. In addition to technical skills, the small business owner needs to have skills in marketing, human resources, financial analysis, property management, time management, strategic planning and product pricing and costing to list just a few. These skills are required, to some degree, to operate in the highly competitive global market that all businesses are subject to.
Day-to-day activities of a small business owner usually gravitate to their comfort zone, or what they know and like to do. They usually feel more comfortable working face-to-face and satisfying their customer’s most immediate needs than they do planning for the next season, or doing any kind of product or service cost analysis. The balance of providing that excellent”local” customer service has to be tempered with longer term overall business management disciplines. The most important of which is to ensure the small business has the necessary cash flow and contribution margin to survive and be able to provide those exceptional, personal, local touch services long-term.
Umpqua Community College’s Small Business Development Center offers the Small Business Management Program to aid in continuous business owner training. That program is uniquely different from traditional educational curriculum in that the small business operator’s own business becomes his/her textbook and laboratory. The program offers a series of relative workshops with a variety of professional presenters in a classroom setting, one-to-one coaching from a professional business adviser and networking with other business owners with one goal: to make your business more successful.
This very popular limited enrollment program begins in October with once monthly evening workshops. Conveniently scheduled monthly business advising appointments, either at your place of business or at the Umpqua Business Center, is also part of the program.
Bob Hillis is the Small Business Management Program coordinator and is one of six business advisers for the Small Business Development Center located at the Umpqua Business Center, 522 S.E. Washington Ave., Roseburg. Enrolling in the Small Business Management Program and free advice on business planning, financial analysis, management strategies, record keeping, customer service and marketing is available by calling 541- 440-7824.