Seminars aim to help small businesses survive economic downturn

Workshops focus on boosting sales without hurting budgets, new money-saving opportunities

University Park, Pa. — Small business owners already run lean in most cases. So many of the things that a larger company can do to pare back in a poor economy already are part of the small business owner’s repertoire. What can small business owners do to weather the storm? Two new series of workshops, offered by Penn State Outreach’s Small Business Development Center in the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, starting Jan. 23 at the University Park campus, will focus on different topics related to helping small business owners during hard times and provide a forum for these business owners to brainstorm with each other.

“Breakfast Business Bites,” starting Jan. 23, is a series of three economy-driven workshops, each $15 including continental breakfast, with the first one focusing on energy efficiency opportunities for small businesses. “Simple steps such as reviewing energy use can often save cash that is needlessly going out the door,” said Linda Feltman, senior business analyst at the Penn State Small Business Development Center. On Feb. 12 it will focus on alternative borrowing options, and on March 31 it will explore the issues, challenges and opportunities of leading a business today. The January and February seminars will take place 7:30 to 9 a.m. in 119 Outreach Building and the March seminar will take place 7:30 to 9 a.m. at Celebration Hall, 2280 Commercial Blvd., State College.

“Gaining Ground in an Economic Slowdown,” a free monthly series starting Feb. 17, is part of joint effort of the 18 Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers to reach out to small businesses statewide. The content will address everything from how companies can identify warning signs, to finding alternative financing ideas, to how to improve credit ratings. “Small business owners can become so overwhelmed watching inventory increase while sales decrease, they neglect to take a step back and do an analysis of what’s going on,” said Feltman. “These seminars can help them look for ways to gain some ground in this economy.” This series will take place 9 to 11 a.m. in 221 Technology Center on Feb. 17, March 17, April 21 and May 19. Later dates to be determined.

Pre-registration is required for all seminars. To register, call (814) 863-4293 or go to http://www.sbdc.psu.edu/calendar.htm online. Veterans can attend free with appropriate ID.

Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is part of a nationwide network of more than 1,000 centers. The Penn State SBDC provides free business assistance to small firms and business start-ups in Centre and Mifflin counties, enabling them to compete and grow in today’s highly competitive global economy. For more information, visit http://www.sbdc.psu.edu online. Penn State SBDC is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 80 countries worldwide.

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Last Updated March 19, 2009