Business hopefuls take notes |

Business hopefuls take notes

Luke Graham

It takes more to open a small business than having a good idea.

Chuck Lackner, Small Business Development Center consultant, said the key elements to having a successful small business are networking and customer satisfaction, though marketing and advertising are also critical components.

Lackner spoke Wednesday to a group of residents interested in learning what it takes to have a successful business.

Lackner said he did the presentation hoping that several people will eventually open businesses in Craig and surrounding areas.

The presentation covered all aspects of business but especially focused on networking and customer satisfaction — two elements Lackner said are key to any successful business.

“This is the one thing (potential business owners) have to really understand,” he said. “Networking and customer satisfaction are invaluable.”

Darlene Shepherd, a bookkeeper for Shepherd & Sons Inc., agreed.

She said Shepherd & Sons have been able to stay in business for 81 years because they take care of their customers.

“We’ve treated (customers) right and they keep coming back,” she said.

Shepherd added that for any business to be successful, it has to not only treat its customers well, but also be fair.

“That’s our success,” she said. “We treat our customers fair and right.”

Shepherd said most of their business is from word of mouth. She said business owners would not keep a consistent clientele base unless they do good work and respect the customer.

Tanya Ferguson, who attended because she wants to run her own business with her husband in the future, said the conference taught her how to start a business the correct way.

“I just learned how to get everything organized the right way instead of just jumping in,” she said.

Sheli Steele, whose business, See Shells Children’s Clothing, is closing, said when she first started her business two years ago, she had no idea of the time commitment running a business takes.

“This business requires a huge commitment,” she said. “It’s amazing the amount of time required.”

Although Steele is leaving her business to spend time with her children, she recommended that prospective business owners have a budget in place and realize the importance of advertising.

“(New business owners) need to understand their advertising budget,” she said. “(Advertising) has got to be the biggest thing you spend money on.”

One attendee was happy with the amount of information presented on advertising and marketing.

Although the people who attended are moving in the right direction, Lackner said they still have a long way to go.

“This is only the start of it,” he said. “(This presentation) only started teaching them they have to network and take care of the customer.”

Anyone who is interested in individual or class help about any part of business is encouraged to call Lackner at 824-7078.

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