Opening a business raises questions. To provide answers, Yavapai College offers Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) at both its Prescott as well as its Verde Valley campus.
"A business plan could cost you $1,500, $1,800. It's no cost to you at SBDC. We do three or four a week," said Kurt Haskell, director of the Yavapai College SBDC.
"We can help you file an LLC or corporation papers or a tradename. We help with copyrights, trademarks, patents," Haskell said.
SBCD consultants have had real-world business success that they share at no cost to their clients. Haskell himself owns a number of patents.
Clients are able to learn about international trade, procuring government contracts and franchising agreements.
While his office does partner at times with S.C.O.R.E. (Service Corps of Retired Executives), Haskell says that SBDC staff are year-round employees who attend regular in-service training on the latest laws and trends.
For those wanting specialized assistance, a variety of seminars and workshops are offered at an average cost of $25.
New world, new ways to fund
As the world changes, so does the way in which businesses sustain themselves. Some of the classes offered by SBDC include:
Crowdfunding involves raising small amounts of money from large numbers of people, typically through the internet. What started out as fledgling artists asking for a few bucks to launch their pet projects has now become main-stream. According to SBCD, crowdfunding has funded more than 200,000 projects with close to $5 billion. Lately, conventional businesses have turned to crowdfunding as more banks "won't even look at loaning money to a new business," said Haskell.
Now that entrepreneurs are finding ways to cash-in on Facebook, SBCD teaches classes in Search Engine Optimization (to harvest increased "hits") as well as creative content (to turn "Friends" into "Friends with benefits" - meaning customers).
A revolution in commerce took place once businesses added a checkout cart to their websites. Those wishing to cash-in can begin with "Get Your Website Up and Running in Three Classes" and finish with "Website Design III." It's in the final class that SBCD gets into social media integration, Google analytics and blog content marketing.
Converting art into cash
What could be better than working at what you love plus getting paid to do it? The Verde Valley is internationally known for harboring artists, writers and winemakers. To give them an edge at making a living, the SBDC offers such classes as "Accounting Fundamentals for Artisans" and "Making and Licensing your Art." For example, artist Barry Kieselstein copyrighted his original belt buckle design and then licensed its use to a manufacturer to receive compensation from each sale.
You can learn more about SBCD by contacting Haskell at 928-776-2008 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting Yavapai College SBCD.