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UNR Extension offers help online for small businesses

The University of Nevada, Reno Extension is offering “Coping With COVID-19 Town Halls” each Wednesday to help small businesses “pivot and adapt” during this challenging time.

The town halls will be virtual question-and-answer sessions, while webinars on specific topics for small businesses will be done every Friday.

“What we are finding is that Nevada’s small businesses are so focused on the funding aspects of their business, and they should be, that they may be overlooking other aspects and opportunities to improve their overall business, during and after COVID-19,” said Buddy Borden, economic development specialist with Extension’s Business Development Program. “Our goal is to provide resources and educational platforms to help our small businesses, statewide, cope and retool during this unprecedented pandemic. Ultimately, our goal is that when things begin to return to normal, our state’s small businesses will be even stronger.”

Borden said that during the Wednesday town halls, there is usually a short presentation on a given topic or a preview of the Friday class during the first 10 minutes. Then, the participants network with one another and drive the discussion, with a panel of professionals and educators helping them troubleshoot challenges they are encountering.

The Friday webinars provide information on specific topics to help businesses plan strategically, adapt and succeed. The first town hall and webinar were held last week, and Borden said there was a lot of participation from urban areas in the state but not much from the rural communities.

“While we were really happy to connect with so many businesses in our urban areas, we really want to let our small businesses in the rural areas know that we are here to assist them as well,” Borden said. “In fact, they may need our help even more, so we want them to get online and connect with us. We’re here to help. It’s a great time to go in and re-assess and readjust.”

This week’s webinar, “The Canvas Model: How to Deliver Value to your Customers,” is at 9 a.m. for English speakers and at 2 p.m. for Spanish speakers on Friday, April 24. Reyna Mendez and Juan Salas, business development instructors with the UNR Extension, will discuss the Canvas Model, a method which allows businesses to create, deliver and capture value by articulating different components of the business.

The webinar also will include the essential building blocks for a successful business strategy, pivoting and adapting businesses for crisis, identifying customer segments, creating and developing an efficient value proposition for customers and attracting and maintaining customer relationships.

Both the town halls and the webinars usually run about an hour. To register or for more information, go to the Extension Business Development Program website at extension.unr.edu/busdev. There are also other resources at the website to assist businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. For more information, email Borden at bordenb@unr.edu.

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