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KSBDC brings expertise to businesses

Professionals will come to Marion County to help small businesses

Staff writer

It’s a service that’s been available to Marion County businesses for more than 20 years but one that has not been utilized to its fullest potential.

Officials at Kansas Small Business Development Center of Emporia has decided to bring their services and expertise to Marion County once a month to assist area businesses.

“We can come to Marion County more often if there is a need,” said Lisa Brumbaugh, regional director of KSBDC.

The development center that serves Marion County is located at Emporia State University.

So, what does KSBDC do?

“Growing Kansas Entrepreneurs” is the goal of KSBDC.

Any existing small business or individual interested in starting a business may receive assistance. There are no charges associated with one-on-one counseling. Fees may be charged for costs associated with training courses.

“A small business owner may want to add a product. We can provide marketing research and other information to assist him or her,” Brumbaugh said.

She said KSBDC also can assist with information pertaining to the complex issue of human resources.

Business plans are a common way the development center assists businesses — particularly new ones. However, there is a common misconception about business plans.

Business plans are not a “one size fits all” exercise.

“When a business does a business plan, it needs to come from that business owner. I tell the business owner to work on what they know,” Brumbaugh said, “and don’t get bogged down with the information they don’t know. That’s where we come in to help.”

There are self-help books and programs to assist businesses to write a plan but there is no template where the information can be interchanged with other businesses.

“Sometimes business owners want to see examples of business plans. I’m hesitant in showing them because I want their plan to be specifically for their business,” Brumbaugh said.

Why is that so important? Because sometimes the process of writing or creating a business plan is more valuable than the end result. A business plan that is properly developed could prove a business idea may not be feasible. Business plans should not be used primarily to obtain business loans and then set on a shelf. Plans should be tools used by business owners to give them direction and a basis to plan for the future.

“The plan has to come from the business owner, not us,” Brumbaugh said.

Existing businesses also benefit from a current business plan to give direction and set future goals.

In addition to marketing and business planning, KSBDC has skilled, professional consultants with expertise in many areas including marketing and sales, accounting, financial analysis and cost control, personnel, inventory control, business start-up or acquisition, business liquidation or sale, and strategic planning.

KSBDC is in partnership with U.S. Small Business Administration, Kansas Department of Commerce, and local economic development and educational institutions.

The center at Emporia State University serves the counties of Marion, Chase, Coffey, Greenwood, Lyon, Morris, Osage, and Woodson.

For more information about the business center, go to www.ksbdc.biz.

Any business owner interested in meeting with a representative should contact Marion County Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman at (620) 382-8830.

Last modified Oct. 15, 2008

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