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05/31/2007 - BIZStreet Expands Business Help Cornucopia

Small Business, they say, is the backbone of America. Jobs creation is cited as a leading economic indicator. However, those who are contemplating starting a new business are invariably told by well-meaning friends some version of the statistics on how many new businesses fail. Although success can’t be guaranteed, chances of failure can be greatly reduced by good pre-business planning, and there is a lot of help available for the new entrepreneur.

One downtown provider of business planning help is the BIZStreet Resource Center at 801 West Riverside, Suite 240. BIZStreet is open to the public and welcomes people with nothing more than an idea, a new business owner, anyone contemplating purchasing an existing business, or an existing business owner who needs help with growth and management. Dustin Woodhead, BIZStreet Resource Center Coordinator, is there to help.

The BIZStreet Resource Center began in 1996 as a business information center (BIC) sponsored by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The Spokane BIC was nationally known as one of the best of the genre. During federal budget cuts, the SBA chose not to continue funding BIC’s, and Greater Spokane Incorporated stepped in to insure the continuation and future availability of this excellent resource.

BIZStreet has many facets. The Spokane SBA, SCORE, counselors to America’s small business, and the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) share resources with BIZStreet. There is an extensive business library. Within the library are books on specific businesses with specific information on many different industries – large or small. General books on management, marketing, personnel, or franchising are available. Over 1700 books, tapes and videos covering how to run specific businesses are available for check out. Those writing business plans will find help including outlines and guidelines, downloadable sample business plans, and start-up tool kits. Sample plans and templates may be burned to a CD and are free to those who ask.

For more in-depth information, the SBA presents a free loan briefing twice per month, BIZStreet and SCORE both present workshops and trainings, and SCORE counselors are available, by appointment, for free face-to-face business counseling. SCORE counselors all have extensive business experience and represent many business specialties. Appointments are made through Woodhead.

PTAC gives help to those who seek contracts with the government. Louise Fendrich, PTAC coordinator, offers free monthly workshops on subcontracting strategies for small business and on "Government Contracting 101" to inform and help anyone get started in the local, state, and federal government contracting arenas. The next subcontracting workshop will be on June 21, and "Government Contracting 101" will be on June 28. Both are at the BIZStreet Resource Center from 7:30 am – 9:00 am.

BIZStreet also offers networking workshops. One is especially for home-based business owners. This free workshop is a monthly meeting to provide education and mutual support. Participants decide on the next month’s program at each meeting. The June 5 meeting will feature “Gobstoppers and other things that choke your marketing message." June 5 from 7:30 to 9:00 am. Another workshop available through BIZStreet include a networking techniques workshop, free, on June 29.

SCORE workshops are on Wednesdays from 8:30 until 12:00 and carry a fee. Subjects include How to Really Start a New Business, Business Plan Basics, How to Prepare a Marketing Plan, Recordkeeping Basics, and Understanding Business Financials. These workshops carry a small fee. For more information: visit www.scorespokane.org.

To learn more about the BIZStreet Resource Center, visit www.bizstreetspokane.com. Or call Dustin Woodhead at (509) 459-4118 or e-mail dwoodhead@greaterspokane.org.

Billie Moreland
 
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