Business and Marketing Development
Person Reporting: Rob Hawk, Swain County Date: 2013-08-26
The “Foundations Small Business Planning Workshop” hosted by the Swain County Cooperative Extension in partnership with Mountain Bizworks was held June 13, 2013. Nine participants gained knowledge in developing a “Small Business Plan,” with the following as the focus of the training; operational plan; personal budgeting; business costs (variable and fixed); financial plan; break-even point; cash flow and marketing plan.
The businesses represented were a diverse mix, which included Americana restaurant; coffee shop; shooting range; goat dairy; and medicinal/herb plants production. The Business Instructor had this quote to participants through email.
Hi Gang – Congratulations and thanks for completing your Foundations Program….and you look great! We covered a lot of ground and I want to be available to you all if you want some clarification or ideas on next steps. Also your flash drive includes a business plan template that is a brief version of the plan in your book. This might serve some of you better. Good luck to you all…..we look forward to crossing paths again soon.
The participants now have a food foundation of how to build their small business with sound financial; operational and marketing practices. In fact the training was so successful Mountain Bizworks has planned another workshop for October 2013 again in Swain County. The participants thought the training was very good and beneficial to their business ventures.
Lessons Learned: I think having a community atmosphere where folks can share their ideas during this workshop gave others good feedback and confidence in their ideas.
Person Reporting: Spring Williams -Byrd Location: Burke Date: 2013-06-29
Burke County identified the need to promote small business and encourage entrepreneurship throughout the county. Cooperative Extension served on the Leadership Council with Burke County Chamber of Commerce, Western Piedmont Community College, and Burke County Public Schools to coordinate, implement, and evaluate seminars, network sessions, and opportunities for business owners and citizens.
A Young Entrepreneurship Day was held with more than 150 youth participating. A Burke Entrepreneurs and Business Owners (BeBo) Forum was held on Human Resources and Networking with 60+ business owners attending. These programs have increased awareness and have had a positive social impact for current business leaders. In addition, participants have reported enhanced and improved business practices leading to higher economic value. Youth participating also reported an increase in knowledge and skills to becoming entrepreneurs.
Update: Promotion of Entrepreneurship in adults and youth continues to be a focus for the county. The Burke Entrepreneurs and Business Owners continue to meet quarterly and hold training sessions. Most recently this group hosted Meridith Elliott Powell an international speaker, coach, strategist, and author for a program on “The Business of Networking.” In addition, youth not only participated in the Young Entrepreneurship Day , but many attended the week-long Entrepreneurship Day camp and visited local businesses.
Person Reporting: Cathy Graham Location: Robeson Date: 2013-01-04
Leadership and staff development were identified as high priority needs by the Robeson County Commissioners and manager to increase productivity among county employees. In order to encourage staff retention, satisfaction, and effectiveness, county administration requested Robeson County Cooperative Extension facilitate staff development/leadership training.
Based on this need, a 5-day Robeson Leadership Academy was conducted. Thirty-nine (39) county employees including department managers, supervisors, and aspiring supervisors attended from 21 different county departments. Educational topics included team building, effective communication, conflict resolution, and the Conscious Discipline Brain Model. Additionally, each participant completed Human Patterns, which is a self-administered inventory indicating personal preferences and interests to assist in problem-solving, understanding interpersonal relationships, and identifying leaderships styles.
A follow-up survey was completed by 26 of the 39 participants 7 months after the completion of the Academy. Results of the survey revealed: 96% of the participants are using effective communication techniques and Human Patterns information learned in the academy to respond effectively to other people. Also, 96% of the participants are limiting their involvement in the Drama Triangle and 100% are using active listening skills. One department manager stated “I have learned to be a better listener, more patient and understanding with my staff and no longer play the victim role.” Based on the success of the Academy additional trainings will be offered to county employees in the future.