Most businesses do not use their resources effectively. That’s because they have very little idea what resources they have at their disposal. For example, every local Small Business Development Council, funded by the federal government, is practically overflowing with resources for small businesses that most never take advantage of. (SBDCs are located at the College of New Jersey, Rutgers, and New Jersey Institute of Technology.)
Using those resources effectively is just one way that businesses can accelerate their revenue growth, according to a course offered by the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative. The initiative is a $500 million campaign the Wall Street giant started in 2009 aimed at helping small businesses grow revenue and create jobs in the wake of the devastating financial crisis of 2008 that was caused — at least in part — by reckless Wall Street practices.
Whether the initiative is a genuine olive branch from Wall Street to Main Street, or an attempt at public relations, the classes offer free expert advice to local businesses. Goldman says of the entrepreneurs who took the course, more than 63 percent reported revenue gains in the next year, and more than 44 percent reported hiring at least one new employee.
The Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship Corporation and the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce are hosting a “test drive” of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Business Initiative series of classes being held this summer at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, New York. The free event will be held Thursday, July 10, from 8 to 10:30 a.m. at the Imperia Banquet and Conference Center at 1714 Easton Avenue in Somerset. The event is for companies that have at least four full-time employees. For more information, visit www.wcecnj.org, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 718-730-7402. The event is a preview of the full free 17-week course, which is held at LaGuardia.
The class is being given by Paisley Demby, business services director of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island. Demby is an experienced consultant who specializes in business development and strategy formation. Demby earned a BA in engineering and economics from Brown and an MBA in finance from the Wharton School before embarking on a career in which he worked for Accenture, JP Morgan, Synergie Capital Group, IBM, General Motors, the May Davis Group, and Westinghouse.
At the event, Demby will offer advice on growing revenue.
Make time. Many business owners are so wedded to their operations, they don’t see the light of day. By delegating tasks, entrepreneurs can make time for the activities that really matter: strategizing, growing their business, and leading.
Revive the dream. Many businesses start off their first year of existence with big plans and a gung-ho attitude Often those dreams are crushed by reality. A business owner who enters his first year hoping to make millions of dollars often scales back his ambitions to just keeping the lights on or staying afloat. Event organizers said the “test drive” and the 10,000 Small Businesses course is aimed at businesses that are stuck in the weeds, and those that are struggling to handle unexpected, rapid growth (a good problem to have.)
Don’t be vague. For businesses that are “in the weeds,” a visit to one of the aforementioned small business development councils can help. But those centers are not equipped with crystal balls. The staff can be of more help if you walk through the door with specific goals in mind — a specific revenue target or expansion goal, for example.
Read between the lines. One of the most neglected tools that business owners have at their disposal is their financial report. Many people focus on the top line and the bottom line. But the real action is in the middle, where entrepreneurs can find specific ways of driving down costs, measuring their effectiveness, and making better management decisions. Part of the class is learning how to read statements for those who have never taken an accounting class.
Although the full course is held somewhat out of the way on Long Island, event organizers said some participants fly six hours to take the course. In response to high demand, Goldman has opened locations all around the country, including one in Philadelphia.
For more information, visit goldmansachs.com/10ksmallbusinesses.