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Marketing and Sales

Course Gives Small Business Big Boost

Entrepreneurship programs offer smart alternatives to the school of hard knocks.

Small Business Entrepreneurs typically don’t go to university to get a degree in small business, but given the high failure rate, whether your dream business is a spa or salon, a little education might not be a bad idea.
The school of hard knocks can be brutal. The Small Business Administration estimates that more than 50 per cent of small businesses fail within the first year, and 95 per cent fail within the first five years – sobering statistics for a small business owner to contend with.

B.C.’s failure rate is similar, said Canadian Federation of Independent Business B.C. and Yukon division vice-president Laura Jones, but training dramatically increases an entrepreneur’s odds of being among those who succeed.“Entrepreneurs frequently start enterprises without performing adequate market research, scrutinizing their business plan or understanding how to market their product”, said Jones. “A little training would help them recognize and respond to those requirements”.Many colleges offer small-business training to anyone who wants to learn.

Program Helps Girl Get Rolling

Rollergirl.ca owner Lisa Suggitt offers another example of the benefits of studying before launching a business. She said that if she hadn’t completed an entrepreneurship program, her business selling roller skates would either be deep in red ink or a part-time hobby.She ditched her idea to open a storefront retail operation selling an extensive range of roller skates after teachers encouraged her to consider where her customers were located, how difficult it would be for them to order her products and how much it would cost to lease real estate.

Suggitt opted to create an e-commerce Web site and as of November 2004, expected 2004 revenue to reach $100,000.“I couldn’t have made it without the program,” Suggitt said. “They taught me everything I know about business as well as being there to help me overcome challenges along the way. They teach the basics but more importantly they instill confidence. That’s what you need to get out and make it in the world. You need to believe in yourself.”


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