MENU OF CLASSES

START UP:

Am I Entrepreneurial Material?

Gain insight into self-assessment tools, learn how to perform community analysis, and get valuable information on what it really takes to be an entrepreneur. Also learn about resources available that will be invaluable assets to you as you begin the journey to business ownership.

How to Start A Business

Thinking of starting a business? If so, you need to equip yourself with as much knowledge as possible. Starting a business can be a challenge but with the right guidance and knowing what resources are available, you will increase your chance of success.

Writing A Business Plan that Works

Learn to recognize the various sections of a business plan and what makes them work. Sample business plans will be available to study and further understand what makes a good plan. Participants will have an opportunity to use several business plan evaluation tools.

Choosing the Right Legal Structure

This seminar will give you the information you need to understand the differences between the different types of legal structures of a small business. It will cover the basic advantages and disadvantages of each of the following: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, S and C Corporation, and Limited Liability Company. In addition, you will learn the various reporting requirements and process involved for setting up each type.

FINANCIAL:

Bookkeeping Made Easy

Get answers to basic bookkeeping questions. New and prospective business owners will learn about accrual and cash basis accounting, what are expenses and revenues, manual and software bookkeeping options, outsourcing, and what your business actually needs when it comes to bookkeeping.

How to Do Business Financials

Business financials that introduces breakeven analysis as a tool to assist the entrepreneur in measuring financial feasibility. Exercises identify the kinds of data needed to project the revenue, start-up, and operating costs of a business. This seminar helps participants develop an understanding of cash flow and break even analysis and its relationship to business planning in addition to identifying financial concepts. How to calculate a simple break-even analysis for a sample business and construct a projected cash flow statement for a sample business.

Business Taxes 101

Learn what is required of the small business owner when filing taxes, what tax dates are important, and what records should be kept, and the actual process of filing. Learn what triggers tax audits and steps to take in order to prevent or survive an audit.

Budgeting and Cash Flow

Create a financial strategy by developing a budget, identifying financial goals, and getting control of debt. Participants will learn the steps to develop cash flow projections that are vital for start-up businesses and required to obtain any type of financing. In addition, learn how to estimate fixed and variable expenses and conduct a break-even analysis. This seminar will help you learn to stay on budget and be more prepared to manage the highs and lows of cash flow in a business.

Finding Balance in Your Budget

Create a financial strategy by developing a budget, identifying financial goals and getting control of debt.

How to Price Your Product or Service

Identify internal and external factors to consider in setting prices for products and services and learn to estimate potential market share. Business examples demonstrate how to evaluate pricing methods, develop sales, forecasts, and measure market potential. The seminar introduces breakeven analysis as a tool to assist the entrepreneur in measuring financial feasibility. Activities identify the kinds of data needed to project the revenue, start-up, and operating costs of a business.

How to Prepare for a Lender

Find out what information banks really need for a solid funding proposal and how it’s used. Discover what type of questions the lender will ask you and what questions to ask the lender. What are credit score and collateral expectations? Hear the “do’s and don’ts” that you can address now to improve your chances.

Building Good Personal Credit

Keeping and maintaining a good-to-excellent personal credit score is vital for every small business owner in these challenging economic times. Can you qualify for a commercial business loan? Did you know the lender decision is often based on the owner’s personal credit score? That is why a good credit score has become a cherished asset to maintain and protect. This course focuses on the many factors that make up credit scoring and how to overcome negative credit issues impacting your credit rating. Learn about the unseen costs that bad credit causes. Learn how to minimize the risk of identity theft, how to respond to negative credit reports, how to build better credit and how to engage creditors more successfully. If you have issues with your current or past credit relationships, or have no credit at all, learn how to start building good credit today.

Financing Your Small Business

How do you predict how much money you need for your business? Where do you find it? How do you get it? This class will examine how to access capital. We will also discuss the differences between traditional and non-traditional lenders, equity vs. debt financing, how forms of business ownership affect financing possibilities, and many other topics of interest.

QuickBooks Basics

Take the fear out of financial accounting! This course gives you the tools to understand the financial health of your small business. Start with the basics of bookkeeping and then launch into QuickBooks in order to learn more advanced financial management systems.

*this session is a minimum of 9 hours* >

Advanced QuickBooks for Small Business

Part two of this seminar will be dealing with the advanced functions of QuickBooks. This seminar covers bookkeeping basics, customer issues (invoicing and receivables), vendor issues (payables), and how to produce and understand financial statements.

*this session is a minimum of 6 hours*

MARKETING:

Creating the Image & Crafting the Message

Learn how the big guys create powerful images and messages so that they “beat out” their competition and reach their intended targets. You will learn what is meant by branding and begin to create a unique image for your company.

Marketing for Success

Learn the value of a marketing plan including the importance of market analysis in projecting sales. Market research for a sample business will demonstrate the connection between a marketing plan and a cash flow statement. Identify market tools and prepare a marketing plan for a sample business.

Everybody Communicates, Few Connect

Gain strategies on how to better connect with those you communicate with on a daily basis. Learn how to read people to increase sales. Explore how to set and adjust the sales environment for your customer or prospect and how to follow verbal and non-verbal cues, creating a more comfortable and confident sales process.

Gaining and Retaining Customers for Your Business

Developing and maintaining good customer service skills is critical in every job. Business depends on good customer service. In this seminar, attendees work together through activities to identify great customer service skills. This seminar will show you how to define customer service (for both internal and external customers), learn tips for social media etiquette and interoffice etiquette, discuss ways to deal with unhappy customers and review rules for great customer service.

Build Your Business through Business Networking

Business networking is an effective low-cost marketing method for developing sales opportunities and contacts. Business networking is a way for you to make the maxim, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know…” work for you. Learn etiquette and best practices for networking events, including the pre-planning, the event itself, and the follow-up. Start thinking of networking as not only an opportunity to meet potential customers, but also to really build relationships and interact with people who can assist your business on many different levels.

Marketing Your Small Business with Pinterest

Pinterest is a proven results-driven tool. Learn how to use Pinterest, one of the newer social media services, to drive traffic to your business website, establish credibility, convey expertise and a sense of who you are as a business person, and develop a relationship with clients and partners. Pinterest marketing is most obviously useful for anyone who uses pictures of their work as a sales tool. However, people in many other fields are learning how they can use Pinterest to send traffic to their business as well. Also, learn how small and big businesses alike are successfully using Pinterest!

Pinterest, Blogging & Mobile Marketing

Step further into social media marketing, and learn how new sites and technologies are helping small businesses build relationships with their customers. Sites such as Pinterest provide another avenue for businesses to share information and communicate with their customers. Blogging sites such as WordPress are also inexpensive marketing options for businesses. Small businesses must also understand the power of mobile marketing and the opportunities that it presents. This seminar for small business owners covers each of these topics and helps them move ahead with connecting to customers.

Marketing Boot Camp

Session #1- Find Your Niche

Learn how to be relevant in your market by researching your competitors and community, and strategically deciding how you will fit in and compete. What will it take to earn your competitor’s business and why will a customer choose you over other options that exist? In addition, discover what some gaps are in the market and how to fulfill them through your products, services and advertising methods. 

Session #2- Hit the Bull’s-eye

Learn how to market yourself in a way that your customers will pay attention to. Zero in on who your customers really are and why they choose to do business with you. Who are they, where can you find them? Learn how to use online resources to get demographic and census data about your target market.

Session #3- Spread the Word 

Learn how branding, advertising and promotion are different, yet all critical components of your marketing plan. Gain insight into how important it is to effectively advertise and brand your business. Develop promotional strategies that your customers can relate to. Spend some time discussing and thinking about the image and identity you want for your business, and what type of reputation and branding your customers expect from someone they will buy from.

Session #4- Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Learn the art of selling your product, your service and yourself! Contrary to popular opinion, selling isn’t as much about gimmicks, presentations and sales speeches as it is about listening and getting to know what your customer really wants. Participants will learn valuable skills on how to listen to the customer and communicate clearly the benefits of what they have to offer. Also learn buying patterns and habits of consumers and how to capitalize on them.

HUMAN RESOURCES:

Supervision in the Workplace

Most small business owners have not had formal training as supervisors. This seminar will show you effective management techniques to supervise your employees. Learn time and task-management skills, how to effectively delegate, and ways to both praise employees for good performance and correct poor performance. The class is designed for business owners and senior managers.

How Should I Hire?

Knowing when and how to hire employees is a huge dilemma every small business owner struggles with. Learn how to figure out precisely what you are looking for and how to determine who has it. There is definitely a method to hiring good employees and it should not be approached without careful thought and precision. After all, the employees you hire not only have access to valuable assets of your company, they also represent you to your customers and out in the community. In addition, you will learn the formal issues that must be considered when taking on employees such as liability and tax concerns.

How to Effectively Communicate

Gain tools needed to better communicate with employees, customers and all those you work with on a daily basis. Become a better communicator so that people will be motivated and inspired by you and want to be a part of your business. 

Being a Leader vs. Manager for Your Small Business

This seminar is designed to enhance the understanding of leadership vs. management; individuals will gain an understanding of leadership and the skills that work to lead a successful team or business. In addition, individuals will become aware of leadership styles, skills and traits that are effective in motivating others with the business to work toward the common goal and achieve results.

STRATEGY & OPERATIONS:

Giving Good Customer Service

Great customer service will give you an advantage you need to survive in today’s tough business climate. Now more than ever before, businesses must be customer-oriented and have employees with strong “people skills” in order to succeed. This customer service session will give you the skills needed to communicate professionalism, strengthen customer relationships and secure a competitive advantage through customer service excellence.

Buying or Selling a Business? What you Should Know!

What are the most important factors to consider when looking at purchasing an existing business? Likewise, if you want to sell your business, do you know the right price, the right prospect, or even how to go about finding a buyer? This seminar looks at this transaction from both sides, giving the buyer and seller the most important things to consider when interested in buying or selling a business.

Roadmap to Success

This session deals with all that has to be in place once the phone starts ringing, the emails are rolling in, and the sales start happening:  facility, equipment, inventory, people, policies, credit lines, and operating capital.  It also covers risk management, what it takes to be official and legal and simple steps to stress-free business planning.

MISC:

Time Management and Organization Tools for Business Owners

How much time do you spend in your business doing things that don’t contribute to your success? Effectively managing your time can produce results you never thought were possible before. This seminar will give you tools to prioritize, set goals, manage interruptions and use time blocking and to-do lists to avoid procrastination and get the most out of your day.

Organization Tips for Your Office, Your Business and Your Life

Feeling a little overwhelmed at the lack of organization in your business and your life in general? You’re not alone. Small business owners always manage to find something more important to do than getting organized. This session will help you take the fear out of organization by giving you the tools you need to move forward. Prioritizing, scheduling, categorizing and neat storage solutions are just a few tricks you will learn. In addition, learn to get comfortable with saying “no” and being able to purge. Your business can get much more simplified with some simple organization in your life!

Using Excel for Your Business

Excel is a great technology tool for every entrepreneur. Learn how to use Excel to work on budgets, manage cash flow, track inventory, keep up with payables and receivables, and many more useful tasks. This session will be held in a computer lab so that participants can work with the program in a hands-on environment.  

Apps for Small Business

As apps become more prevalent and more powerful, business owners are relying on these savvy tools to help their businesses grow and run more smoothly. Find out more on mobile and web apps that can get you organized, manage your finances, stay connected and visible, and many others that will help contribute to your success.

Grant Writing 101

As funding becomes more difficult to secure, non-profit organizations face significant challenges to fulfill their missions. This seminar reviews the questions non-profits need to answer prior to searching and applying for grant funds, outlines the seven basic elements of most proposals and shows participants how to match their needs to funder priorities. Participants focus on the major questions that need to be answered prior to a grant application and incorporating these answers into research and ultimately a competitive proposal.

Entrepreneurship Academy:

Students learn how to determine the feasibility of a business idea, market, operate and manage it’s finances. They also learn how to develop a full business plan that brings all the elements together, as well as how to make a presentation of their business idea. Trainings and activities are selected and modified based on the target audience and desired outcomes of the classes. Series typically between 24 and 30 hours.

Youth Entrepreneurship Academy:

Developed to expose youth to entrepreneurship and teach them more about identifying and evaluating opportunities. Students will learn about budgeting, marketing, leadership, problem solving and other valuable life skills AND develop a business model/plan throughout the series. Designed for middle school and high school students.

These sessions can be offered as independent, stand-alone classes or as a comprehensive series
  • NC REAL Session #1 “Am I Entrepreneurial Material?”
  • NC REAL Session #2 “Business Plan Development and Zero in on Your Market”
  • NC REAL Session #3 “Business Simulation”
  • NC REAL Session #4 “Marketing Mix”
  • NC REAL Session #5 “Business Analysis and Operations”
  • NC REAL Session #6 “Financials for Small Business”
  • NC REAL Session #7 “Taxes & Bookkeeping Basics in Small Business”
  • NC REAL Session #8 “Business Plan Presentations”

Industry Specific Seminars:

Not every business fits the traditional business model. Below are examples of trainings that were customized to meet the needs of specific industries. These trainings are now a part of our training menu and provide a great example of how we can customize our services to meet your specific needs.

Professional Craft Artists

Business Networking for Artists and Crafters

Participants will learn best practices and share secrets of success for effectively operating their arts and crafts business. Topics for each session are carefully selected to enable participants to gain knowledge and experience. The unique monthly topic

Promotion and Professionalism for Craft Artists

“Take your business to the next level” by learning how to identify and clearly communicate essential information about you, your craft and your business. Work on crafting an effective “sales pitch”. Identify successful procedures in acquiring and maintaining a professional image.

Craft Artists – Who are My Customers and How Do I Reach Them?

Customers have endless options on how to spend their money, so it’s important to spend some extra time deciding how to market your craft business. Learn how to identify who your customers are, where to find them and how to speak to them in a way that peaks their interest.

Managing Your Money for Craft and Art Businesses – Budgeting, Pricing and Cash Management

Creative craft and art businesses face many challenges when it comes to managing the financial aspects of business. Seasonality, cost of materials and production, and various other factors make it difficult to manage money in this type of business without proper planning and information.

Agriculture Businesses

Market Feasibility for Farmers – Agri-Business

Look at the market feasibility of your agriculture business by examining the market of your business, the customers you will sell to, your competition and the amount of sales you expect. In addition, learn how to perform a breakeven analysis by looking at how indirect and direct costs affect the breakeven point and how you can modify that number based on what you feel is realistic in your market area. This analysis will help you make a better determination if the market is large enough to support the business idea.

The Triple Bottom Line of Farming and Agriculture

Farmers are always challenged with being able to meet the needs of their present business without compromising the ability of future generations. Discover opportunities to improve the triple bottom line of business (equity, environment and economy) and learn basic concepts and metrics that determine the sustainability of the business. Discuss why “sustainability” is such a hot topic and why agriculture businesses in particular should be so interested in it.

The Triple Bottom Line of Farming and Agriculture

Farmers are always challenged with being able to meet the needs of their present business without compromising the ability of future generations. Discover opportunities to improve the triple bottom line of business (equity, environment and economy) and learn basic concepts and metrics that determine the sustainability of the business. Discuss why “sustainability” is such a hot topic and why agriculture businesses in particular should be so interested in it.