Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Economic Gardening: Expanding Your Business

 The City of Tacoma has a wonderful resource called the Economic Gardening Program.

From their brochure:  Our program seeks to grow our local economy by providing businesses with the tools and training that they need to be successful in today's marketplace.

They provide one on one consultation along with free quarterly classes that teach you how to run a more successful business.  I have been to about 5 of these workshops.  They are hit and miss of course because they bring in different people to talk about different topics and not all of the people are the best speakers or the best organized.   For the most part I can walk away with at least a few ideas I need to make my business better.  And all sorts of people come to these classes: artists like myself, massage therapists, restaurant owners, professional organizers, retail shop owners, etc. so it is a great way to network.
Today's session was "Four Ways to Grow Your Business" presented by Audrey Godwin.  It was a little too business-y for my taste.  I know, I know, it is a business workshop, but when people start talking about "synergy" and developing "unique core differentiators" I start to zone out.  Why, oh why, can't people talk in normal speak?  A lot of people in the class were pretty shy at first because she just jumped into business-speak and then kept asking, "What, aren't you people awake yet?"  

Let me give everyone out there some advice about public speaking:  NEVER ask your audience if they are awake.  It makes them uncomfortable and afraid you are going to call on them when they don't know the answer.  So everyone looks down at their notes.  We think we are going to the class for her to tell us info;  we didn't know we were expected to bark out answers to things we might never even heard of before we walked in the door.  It was also tough because she was acting like we are all making $100,000 a year and knew how to map out sales forecasts and track conversion rates at the drop of a hat.  

I am making this sound like the worst workshop in the world.  She did eventually cool it on the "Are you all asleep?" question and the class got better after she gave us some worksheets to fill out.  I took away a lot of ideas for putting together a marketing plan and catering my different products to their target markets.  I am excited to implement some of my new ideas.  I also might have found a shop to sell some of my products in. 

Whether you live in Tacoma or not, if you own a small business, you should definitely look and see what free resources your city offers.  I am very surprised more people don't turn out for these classes! 

3 comments:

  1. I'm a bit embarrassed I don't take advantage of this wonderful resource. I need to register on their email list.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Here is the link!
    http://www.cityoftacoma.org/Page.aspx?cid=7849

    Get on their list!

    ReplyDelete
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