Small Business Accelerator gets help to owners

EVERETT — This month, experienced small-business owners will have another chance to take the Small Business Accelerator program offered by the Corporate & Continuing Education Center of Everett Community

College.

The program is designed to meet the specific needs of experienced business owners who want to make their companies grow and accelerate profitability.

Free information sessions are planned for 7 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 8, and 5 to 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 13. The 10-month program begins Sept. 22.

According to instructor Travis Snider, who is also president of BETS Consulting, last year’s Small Business Accelerator program was so popular that they created an advanced course for those who wanted more.

“We take these folks on a journey with their own company,” Snider said. “It’s a program that uses experts and consultants who are living in the real world and can bring that real-world experience here.”

The information is designed for immediate implementation. Participants then use provided proprietary tools to measure how much progress their business has made toward their goals during the program.

John Bonner, executive director of the Corporate & Continuing Education Center, said the biggest challenge has been getting business owners to see that a community college is providing a program designed for them.

“They typically think it’s for 20-year-old students,” Bonner said.

Snider was extremely enthusiastic about the program from the start. As a former certified public accountant, he was aware of how many of his former clients could have benefited from such a program. There are no other programs of this caliber in the region, he said.

The Small Business Accelerator program is aimed at business owners with more than five years’ experience and about $500,000 to $15 million in sales. They should have a minimum of about 10 employees and upwards of 70 employees. They also need to be motivated to expand their business.

“If they’re a little bit smaller than that, then there is another program for them,” Bonner said. “They can contact the college to find out more about it.”

The accelerator program uses three key elements to help business owners: workshops, networking and personal coaching.

The workshop curriculum contains monthly topics that are specifically geared for experienced business owners. Participants learn the latest strategies to grow and improve businesses of their size. They study successful techniques used by larger corporations. They also learn things that they may have forgotten, such as taking care of themselves.

Networking is another important aspect of the program. Business owners will meet other experienced owners with similar-sized companies to share ideas.

“Many of these folks have started to do business with each other and consult with each other,” Snider said.

The third aspect of the program is the monthly two-hour, one-on-one coaching sessions from a small-business expert to implement the strategies that they’ve learned in the workshops.

Response from the 2010 accelerator program has been overwhelmingly positive. Eldon Bartelheimer, chief executive officer of Hill Street Cleaners, said he could really see the difference the course was making in his business.

Kay Hill, CEO of PlasmaLab International, also highly recommended the program. “The one-on-one coaching has really helped set the course of where we want to go and how we get there,” she said.

The Corporate & Continuing Education Center is a division of Everett Community College that works specifically with business and industry. It does not receive any operational money from the state.

“The college created this program because we want to help drive economic development for our communities,” Bonner said. “The impact in job creation and tax revenue development for our local communities can be profound.”

Learn more

Find out about the Small Business Accelerator and information sessions at www.everettcc.edu/Accelerator or call 425-267-0150.

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