The first official day of summer is less than three weeks away, and Cleveland Community College is offering a series of courses to help business owners thrive post COVID.
Knowing the summertime is crucial for building revenue, the school is committed to assisting those in the community who need to hit the reset button.
Steve Padgett, director of small business and entrepreneur development at CCC, believes the sessions are vital, such as Positioning Your Business for Post-Pandemic Success on June 10. He added the importance of attending, saying he strives to assist cash-strapped individuals.
“We are trying to promote that we are here to help small businesses recover,” said Padgett. “The biggest thing we have to offer is the state has all kind of resources available and if I know this particular business needs them, I have resources I can contact.”
Padget touched on three key topics during a recent conversation with The Star.
1. The importance of marketing
Padgett said when it comes to looking for marketing tactics, there will be some grunt work involved but the benefits of going the extra mile will pay off in the end.
“Do anything in marketing that will help – the word has to get out,” said Padgett. “I have a hard time getting people to understand how important it is to use social media for their marketing. Some potential business owners say, ‘I am going to start a bakery because everyone likes my cakes.’ Then I ask them if they have done any market research. They then have to give a little thought on how to get the word out? The market research is a critical part to the success of a business and unfortunately, that is new territory for a lot of people.”
Although marketing comes with a big price tag, it could be the lifeline for a business. Padgett said it is imperative not to skimp out on advertising, saying don’t be afraid to take the risk.
“The biggest thing is they are going to cut back on their marketing and advertising which is critical because people need to know you are open and operating,” said Padgett. “That is going to be the biggest challenge for them is spending that money because it is coming out of a limited budget. But you must keep your business in front of people.”
2. Securing funding
Padgett said he receives a lot of inquiries about how to secure funding. His biggest tip is future business owners will need to rely on those around them to help offset upfront costs because banks are hesitant to loan money to startups.
“You need to have family and friends that know people,” said Padgett. “A bank unfortunately will not talk to a startup. A bank looks for two years of history, and I have talked to several banks and told them startups do not have two years of history. But they want to see you have been successful, so it is difficult to get a loan unless you have been in business for a while. You need to be able to show the bank you have a little bit of skin in the game.”
3. Keep an open mind
Current entrepreneurs must alter their behavior and be willing to take a different route regarding how they do business. Padgett said it is important to be open to new ideas.
“Nobody was prepared for COVID,” said Padgett. “It was not something we ever experienced in the country. It’s all about plotting new courses. For example, some restaurants switched immediately from dine-in to carry out. That worked very well, and I think some places are going to continue on with that. I think that is the type of solution that we have to come up with for the unknown we got hit with from COVID.”
To register for a small business seminar, go to clevelandcc.edu.