Updated: Aug 29, 2022
Entrepreneurs aren't born knowing how to start their own business... they research, learn, and adapt as they g[r]o[w]. The Bluefield WV Economic Development Authority (BEDA) launched an Entrepreneur's Bootcamp in June of 2020 with the goal of providing a free, fast-tracked, and self-paced "boot camp" for aspiring entrepreneurs to get started.
Since BEDA's announcement in June 2020, we have welcomed 101 enrollees and have had 18 members graduate from the program.
The Entrepreneur's Bootcamp is broken down into two courses: "Starting a Business" and "Business Expansion". Each course has multiple classes which take about 30 minutes or less each to read. Users are able to read these at their own pace and take a quiz when they are ready. After all of the quizzes are complete, users can take the final exam. A score of 80% or above is considered passing and the user will be awarded a certificate from Santa Clara University's My Own Business Institute.
In the "Starting a Business" course, users will walk through whether they should be a sole proprietor, have a partnership, form a Limited Liability Company, or form a corporation. Then users move through what it takes to finance the business, types of licenses and/or permits needed, business insurance, accounting, controlling costs, e-commerce, communication tools, selling, and marketing. This course also boasts special feature classes such as choosing a business location, managing employees, expanding & handling problems, making ethical decisions, business storytelling, adapting in the midst of change, and the newest special feature: microfinance for entrepreneurs.
The "Business Expansion" course is perfect for the seasoned entrepreneur or an aspiring entrepreneur who has already completed the "Starting a Business" course. This course will cover:
Getting financial controls in place
Growing your business will require establishing a solid foundation of internal controls including accounting, auditing, purchasing and damage control planning.
Getting your team in place
This session will help you get your team ready for growth. Your growth plan should incorporate ongoing reviews of the business plan, appropriate delegation of authority, initiating appropriate employee incentives, creation of training tools and manuals, deployment of efficient communications tools and ongoing input from an external advisory board.
Handling customer feedback
Your ongoing pursuit of feedback from customers, employees and vendors will be a valuable tool to monitor tastes, problems, trends and potential threats.
Achieving lowest expenses
Your business growth will come about by not only making money but by carefully investing the cash produced by frugal spending.
Alternatives for capital allocation
The degree of your success through growth will depend on how good you are in distributing and investing your company's financial resources from your retained earnings. This session will teach you how to financially analyze various acquisition opportunities....which to pursue and which to shun.
Digital marketing & the marketing funnel
This session will cover digital marketing and how to create a conversion funnel to help your strategic marketing and advertising efforts drive engagement and sales. Digital marketing refers to marketing and advertising delivered through digital channels such as search engines, social media, websites, email, and mobile apps.
Growth by duplication
What do you need to know before you decide to expand your business by duplicating it elsewhere?
Get into creating and distributing your product/service without the need for external manufacturers or transportation logistics. What do you have to contract out that you can eventually maintain in-house?
Franchising your business
The best franchises started somewhere: a well-executed franchise program can expand a sound business concept into a worldwide organization.
Create a practical and successful plan for getting new customers for your business.
International trade is increasingly important to many growing businesses. It is equally attractive to both B2B and B2C firms.
Buying an existing business can offer advantages over organic expansion.
Going public is not a realistic choice for most businesses. But for a business with a growing and sustainable product or service, public ownership could become an ultimate goal.
Selling your Business
Time to retire? Need to get out? Selling your business is not a process you can turn over to your broker, lawyer, or CPA, although you will need all their services.
Considerations for Family Succession
Family succession planning is too often neglected because business owners underestimate its importance to the family and the business. For example, if a partnership is formed and one partner dies, that partner's next-of-kin may come into play for your business. Having this thought out can help in the long run.
Are you ready to take the leap? Sign up at www.mybluefield.org/mobi!
BEDA encourages entrepreneurs and business owners far and wide to share their stories on social media using the official hashtag #NatlEshipWeek. Check out everything going on in #MyBluefield for National Entrepreneurship Week on our Facebook and Instagram.