Tuesday, March 3, 2009 • Boot camp equips businesses with tools to succeed

Publisher’s note: This story is reprinted from the Tuesday, March 3, 2009, edition of the Lassen County Times.

People who own businesses or who are looking to start businesses walked away with tools for success after attending a Business Boot Camp.

Business Boot Camp, held in partnership with Sierra Economic Development Corporation and the Alliance for Workforce Development, Inc., was held from Tuesday, Feb. 24 through Thursday, Feb. 26 at the Lassen Career Network located at 1616 Chestnut St. Twenty-one people were in attendance.

Those who attended the class also heard from 14 instructors and consultants who are or were business owners and were given the information to develop a good business plan.

According to SEDCorp CEO Brent Smith, 80 percent of start-up businesses fail in the first five years.

The goal of the boot camp was to help the entrepreneurs be part of the 20 percent who succeed, he said.

Smith said businesses who have a business plan double their success rate.

After the boot camp was over, Smith said people were provided with questions they need to ask and the answers they need to develop a business plan.

Not only do those in attendance develop a plan to help manage their business, but are given the means to borrow money because Smith said one of the requirements of any lender is for a business to have a business plan.

According to Smith, the boot camp was a fabulous experience. Among the 21 retailers there was great diversity in the class. Business representatives included retailers, agriculture businesses and people in computer services.

Smith said participants fully invested themselves in the program — they participated in dialogues and were energetic.

He said it was a very positive atmosphere.

Tammy Swayze, who owns Customer Talk with her husband, said they have attended other trainings and the boot camp was the best workshop they have attended.

Swayze said they were given the tools to go home and better manage their business.

She said there was a lot of information given during the three-day event, but it wasn’t overwhelming.

Not only did the people walk away with the tools to better manage their business, but they now know about an important resource in the community.

AFWD helps provide business and human resource services.

According to AFWD Director of Business Services Holly Schirmer, the goal is to follow the businesses and help them on an on-going basis, making sure the AFWD does everything to help the people succeed. She said AFWD can refer job seekers to those businesses and help them hire people.

AFWD is a nonprofit organization offering one-stop employment centers in Lassen, Modoc, Plumas and Sierra counties. The Lassen Career Network operates under the organization.