BIZTIPS - November 12, 2006

Biz Tips: Small Business Management Program Returns
Sunday, Nov. 12, 2006
By Art Hill

We appreciate your positive comments on our last column "Focus on Quality is Worldwide." It included the company quality policy of PAB in Buzet, Croatia, a leading manufacturer of protective helmets for firefighters. That policy simply states how Ivan Akrapovic, the 83 year old owner, views his company, customers, products, and employees.

Like Ivan, most of us have to develop our business values and practices over years of hard knocks. Experience is essential, but there is a way to learn more and faster with a little help.

Beginning this Monday evening a very special form of help will once again be available for business owners in eastern Oregon. BMCC's Small Business Management (SBM) program is re-opening under the leadership of Doug Lamberson. Doug's Masters degree in Economics, his years of business ownership, and his engaging "hands on" style of coaching will make a critical difference for hundreds of area businesses.

For eighteen years, SBM graduates have included owners whose businesses have become "household names" in our communities. Over 120 current business owners turned out last June to wish the original program instructor, John Armstrong, all the best in his retirement.

In the past few weeks, Doug has visited many of those businesses. When he asks about the benefits of the SBM program, the most frequent responses are business skills, shared experience, and confidence. One was able to organize and automate their accounting system. Another formed customer and supplier relationships in the group. Another learned that other owners in the program had solved the same challenges she had been facing alone.

The program is not a "drive-by" quick fix. It covers marketing, finance, product development, HR policy, and a dozen other topics in a two-year cycle. This year, participants will have access to experts from the statewide Small Business Development Center Network. Their experience includes angel and venture capital funding, patent and intellectual property law, project management, and new product development.

Business owners are welcome to call Doug Lamberson or Jill Pursel at (541) 278-5833 or toll-free at 1-888-441-7232 for information about signing up for the program. It's your choice - decades of slow, hard lessons on your own, or a couple of years of accelerated learning with experts and your fellow business owners. I know which one I'd pick.

Content © 2006 East Oregonian