Red Wing Port Authority and the Small Business Development Center Bring Free Business Workshops to Small Business Owners

Sunday, December 29, 2019

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The Red Wing Port Authority and the Small Business Development Center of Minnesota joined forces to put together five free workshops for anyone interested in starting a business. The idea for the endeavor began when Shari Chorney, Port Authority Manager, heard from many clients that the area needed more educational resources for basic business 101. 

Local Business Owners and the Small Business Development Center Partner with Red Wing Port Authority to Lead Discussions

Chorney has been working with the Red Wing Port Authority for 20 years. She has an undergraduate degree in Business Management and a Masters in Organizational Leadership from St. Catherine University. As the Port Authority Manager, she oversees a variety of commercial leases and administers a three million dollar loan portfolio that provides loans to all sizes of businesses in the community. 

Mark Thein, Business Consultant with the Small Business Development Center of Minnesota, collaborated with Chorney to work with small business owners in the community. He provided his business expertise during these workshops. Thein has worked one on one with small businesses for the past 17 years. He advises on loan packaging, financing analysis, marketing, and business plan development, among many other concentrations.  

Other workshop speakers included local experts like Paul Zeig, a real estate attorney; Pat Fitschen, an accountant; and Roger Sievers of Sievers Creative, a Red Wing-based marketing, and digital design company. The variety of business management expertise provided a wide range of new information to attendees. 

Workshops Cover Different Keys to Starting and Running a Successful Business 

SBDC Minnesota logo The free business workshops were developed and scheduled to take place in the Community Development Building, located at 419 Bush Street. Each of the five workshops took place on the second Thursday of the month, July through November. Each workshop focused on a different aspect of starting and running a business. Topics included: Entrepreneurial Essentials, Financing Your Business, Marketing Your Business, Business Plan Development and Business Legal Structure (Legal Corps).

The Entrepreneurial Essentials workshop opened with an overview of the steps that should be taken to start and maintain a successful business. The decision to open a business should begin with knowing whether or not you are a capable entrepreneur. Once a potential business owner has established competency, the feasibility of the prospective business should be examined. 

Following these steps, a business plan and business financing should be organized and arranged. Knowing basic legal requirements for start-ups is also vital. These topics and steps that should be taken to accomplish them were all discussed in detail during the first business workshop.   

During the Business Legal Structure workshop, Zeig spoke on the five types of business entities and how business owners develop each one: Sole Proprietorship, Partnerships, Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, and Co-Ops. Fitschen aided in the workshop by outlining the pros and cons of each business entity option, discussing the potential fringe benefits for employees and explaining which type of business each entity is a good fit for. This information helps business owners choose the right type of entity to protect the company they build to ensure it becomes a long-term success.     

Sievers shared his knowledge on the best marketing strategies and do's and don'ts of modern digital marketing during the Marketing Your Business workshop. In the digital age, marketing has become much more complex. Sievers explained how while there were once only four basic outlets to market, through the television, newspapers, the Yellow Pages and the radio, there are now innumerable ways to market, through the internet and personal devices. He elaborated on three categories of advertising: earned media (organic mentions, reviews, and shares), paid media (display advertising, social advertising and retargeting) and owned properties (assets like websites, social media, email, and content updates). 

Sievers also shared with business owners how to determine the best times to post on social media for the most responsive audience and how to keep track of website clicks and social media traffic. 

Viewers may access the recordings of these workshops online at the City of Red Wing youtube page. Shari Chorney plans to bring more free training workshops to the small business owners of Red Wing in the near future. The Red Wing Port Authority strives to continue to build a thriving and economically prosperous community by supporting the dreams of entrepreneurs and small business owners. 

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