Program readies new business owners for pitfalls

Though no magic pill exists that will determine how a small business will succeed, there is still the time-tested method of utilizing common sense when venturing into the unknowns of the business world.

Local Business Consultant Allan Parker has been providing advice for would-be business owners in the Pahrump Valley for more than 10 years, and will moderate a 15-week NxLeveL training program in Nye County for what’s known as “Micro-Entrepreneurs” beginning February 26.

NxLeveL is touted as the world’s largest and most effective entrepreneurial training network, where the organization has trained upwards of 300,000 students nationally and more than 3,000 students in Nevada.

Micro-Entrepreneurs are small business owners with fewer employees and smaller startup costs than a larger retail type businesses.

Local examples are owners of repair shops, painting and contracting businesses as well as family-owned shops and small restaurants.

Parker said the program, which is backed by an experienced business training team, will present options and strategies for achieving self-sufficiency through self-employment.

“It will have an emphasis on learning and meeting professional standards for financial management, marketing and customer service. Whether participants wish to explore self-employment options, turn a hobby into a reliable source of income, or professionalize an existing micro-business,” he said.

Parker, a certified NxLeveL instructor, said the course is being offered as the result of a collaboration between the Rural Nevada Development Center (RNDC), the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) and the Nevada Small Business Development Center (NSBDC).

The course will be presented at the UNCE facility at 1651 E. Calvada Blvd., here and video conferenced at the UNCE office at #1 Frankie St., in Tonopah.

Parker noted he actually waived his instructor fee in an effort to get more potential students enrolled in the program.

“It runs one night a week for three hours and it’s equivalent to a college course. The program itself would normally run about $395. The cost of this particular program is just $95 and that is strictly for materials. As the instructor for that course, I usually get paid $3,500 to teach it, but I waived that. Enrollment will be limited to 25 participants on a first come, first served basis,” he said.

Joy Belonga, an educator for the Cooperative Extension said the program will serve as a great way for would-be business owners to learn essential information before starting out.

“After looking at community needs both in Pahrump and Tonopah, we really wanted to bring a program like this to these communities. We are very grateful for the partnership with RNDC and the Nevada SBDC to be able to offer this course to businesses and entrepreneurs in Nye County,” Belonga said.

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), upwards of 50 percent of small businesses go under within the first few years of operations.

Parker noted that many business owners are prone to mistakes when they first open their doors.

“Some people are overly optimistic about how quickly they will have sales. They just think they are going to open up the doors and the throngs will just come in. In many cases, they are somewhat conservative as to what their expenses will be to open the business. In reality, history has taught us it is just the opposite. Your sales come in slower than you think they are going to, and your expenses at startup are usually more than you think. If you reach the worst of both possible cases, you get a cash flow problem and you can’t remain in business,” Parker said.

He also said owners should not touch funds until well after the business is up and running.

“I tell a lot of people, you should plan on not taking one dime out of it for personal expenses for the first year. You may get to the point to where you can do that, but you may not because a lot of businesses don’t even reach ‘breaking even’ until the end of a year. They need to know these things upfront,” he cautioned.

The course will focus on more than a dozen session topics including assessing a business idea, marketing, management and financial tips and tools just to name a few.

For information on registering for the course those interested may contact Michelle Banuelos at the Rural Nevada Development Corporation at 751-1947 or go to nsbdc.org/education-training/nxlevel-entrepreneur-training/

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