June 2007

Writing Effective & Useful Business Plans – SCORE Workshop

“In this workshop, you will get a start on writing your business plan, and how it can be fun and exciting rather than tedious. A straightforward process of “telling your business story” will serve as your writing guide. You will learn about the main components of a good business plan: Position your product or service within your industry; reaching your target customers through methods of guerrilla marketing; and how operations, marketing, and sales work together.Then, you’ll hear about the choices you have to legally “form” your business: sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, S or C corporation. Considerable time will be spent on another crucial topic: how to convince an underwriter at a bank to fund your business. We will talk about the entire process from application to managing the loans prudently.”

July 14, 2007 8:30am – Noon
SRJC, Emeritus Hall on Elliott Avenue, Room 1597

More information and register online.

Women in Business: Leaders, Innovators & Visionaries

The June 25th issue of North Bay Business Journal includes a supplement with fascinating articles about this year’s nine winners. Meet Laura Alber, President of Williams-Sonoma and Keynote Speaker; Linda Pinkard, President & CEO of First Community Bank; Liz Ellis, Founder & President of Green Valley Consulting Engineers; Patty Garbarino, President of Marin Sanitary Services; and the other women who inspire all of us.

Then read Ann M. Holmes new book, There’s a Business in Every Woman: A 7-step Guide to Discovering, Starting, And Building the Business of Your Dreams, Ballantine Books, 2007, “is for women who never dreamed of becoming CEOs of their own companies. Holmes, a successful entrepreneur, offers seven necessary steps to achieving a stable, enduring businesses, which she developed through interviews of 80 women entrepreneurs to learn of their experiences as they began, developed, and profitably exited their own businesses.”

We have more material in the SCL Biz Guide to Women in Business.

The Press Democrat publishes ‘Sonoma County 350′

“The Press Democrat’s annual survey of the largest companies in Sonoma County features 350 companies in 19 categories, selected to represent the major industries in the county as well as other sectors with special importance to the region.” Published in the June 17 expanded business & personal finance section, ‘Outlook.’ There is also a list of the 100 largest companies in Sonoma County. This is an excellent source of information about our local businesses.

The Press Democrat business section online.

Online Business Research Database Free for Library Patrons

Anyone with a Sonoma County Library card (available free at any of our branches) and Internet access can use the Gale Business & Company Resource Center from home or work. The database makes it easy to get company information, industry snapshots, rankings, market share, officers, company histories, and more. Great resource for your business and marketing plans.

You can find out:

  • Who the parent company is for Taco Bell – or any business.
  • Create a list of wineries in California with gross sales over $1,000,000 a year.
  • Find a list of tire companies in New York state.
  • Do market research on any type of business.
  • Find and read business magazine articles on any person, company, or industry.

See the SCL Biz Guide to Online Databases for all of our electronic business resources.

Congratulations to all of the NorthBay biz Award Winners

Check out all of the winners of the NorthBay biz magazine’s Readers Poll Best Awards 2007 to find the best in everything: office equipment sales, business dinners, zinfindel, hotel for business guests, business bank, and many more.

Women in Business – New RP Chamber Program

“This is the newest program of the Rohnert Park Chamber of Commerce. It is held the 2nd Tuesday of the month. Its goal is to promote women as effective community leaders.”

The next program is “Negotiating Leadership,” with speaker Christina Kook. Learn techniques for: Energizing the assistance of others in the pursuit of common objectives, while improving the morale and loyalty of those around you. Sponsored by Northbay Industries.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 11:45 – 1:10pm
DoubleTree Hotel, Rohnert Park

More information and reservations. Visit the SCL Guide to Women in Business for more help.

Violence in the Workplace

It is hard to accept, but violence in the workplace has become a reality. Understanding Workplace Violence: A Guide for Managers And Employees, by Michele A. Paludi, Praeger, 2006, “is a thoughtful and measured practicum from which to observe and handle workplace events, which, unfortunately, are escalating. The statistics stupefy; according to a recent Society for Human Resource Management survey, 58 percent of those surveyed report managerial threats by disgruntled employees, 17 percent report intentional and malicious computer virus downloading by associates, and 10 percent are victims of product tampering. Her plea for corporate policies, training, and heightened awareness and actions is communicated through actual case histories, occasional interviews with experts and field HR professionals, plus ready-to-use statements, procedures, and other tools.” Booklist, Jan 2007.

See the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) website on Workplace Violence for help with hazard awareness and possible solutions; the Library also has more on violence in the workplace.

Women’s Initiative For Self-Employment

“Since 1988, Women’s Initiative has been assisting high-potential low-income women who dream of business ownership. Through an intensive 20 session program — in English or Spanish — women are enabled to start, or expand their business.” With classes, counseling, loan programs, and many other services, this is a real opportunity to own your own business.

Women’s Initiative
1398 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
phone: (415) 641-3460 fax: (415) 826-1885

For more help, see the SCL Biz Guide to Women in Business.

Supervisor’s Toolkit 2-Day Workshop – July 11

“This workshop teaches new supervisors or managers how to leverage their communication style to maximize employee performance, while dealing with performance issues constructively and candidly. ”

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Doubletree Hotel, Rohnert Park

For more information.

Local Company in Forbes Magazine

SCL Biz is always happy to see local Sonoma County businesses appear in the national press – kudos to Zap! for an article in Forbes, June 18th issue: “Shock Jocks: A small electric vehicle company stays alive by promising wonderful things–just around the corner,” by Jonathan Fahey.

Ultimate Start-Up Directory

Owning our own business is a dream for many of us and James Stephenson and Rich Mintzer have written the Ultimate Start-Up Directory, Entrepreneur Press, 2007, to help you find the business that will make your dream come true. With over 1,500 great business ideas, in everything from Advertising to Writing, including many online businesses, everyone will find ideas to get them started. Includes information on how much will it cost to start each business, how much money you can make, and the special skills or legal requirements needed to operate each business.

For more help see the SCL Biz Guide to Starting a Business.

Success Through Invention – RESBDC Workshop

“Learn to develop your invention, product, idea or service and get it to market. Research and protection of intellectual property, including patents, trademarks and copyrights.”

July 11, 2007 9:00am – Noon
August 8, 2007 9:00am – Noon
Redwood Empire Small Business Development Center
606 Healdsburg Avenue, Santa Rosa

For more information and reservations or call 1-888-346-SBDC

Don’t Get Scammed on Regulatory Posters

The June 9th Press Democrat business section reported “Fake ‘mandatory’ hand-washing posters sold in scam” – businesses across the country received what looked like an official warning to trick them into thinking they had to buy the posters.

The U.S. Department of Labor has a great website, Poster Page: Workplace Poster Requirements for Small Businesses and Other Employers, where you can see which posters businesses of your type are required to display, then print them for free – many are available in English & Spanish.

Hiring? Interview Questions You Should Ask

The Library has many books to help job applicants write resumes and cover letters and to prepare for interviews, but here are two for the other side of the desk:

  • The Manager’s Book of Questions: 1,001 great interview questions for hiring the best person, by John Kador, McGraw-Hill, 2006, will help an employer prepare interview questions. Entry level positions, IT, general or sales management positions, and more – Kador covers them all for you.
  • The Interviewer’s Handbook: successful interviewing techniques for the workplace, by Sandra Bunting, published by Kogan Page, 2007, “… explains the subtleties of interviewing including what types of questions to ask, how to take accurate notes without interfering in the interview, effective listening, and how to read body language. She gives interview approaches, a ten-point interview checklist and insight into the interview process, leading to specifics on a range of interviews, including job analysis, design of work, exit, selection, recruitment (including over the Internet), performance appraisal (including pay issues), attendance and absence management, discipline and grievance management, and accident investigation.”

For more on hiring the best employees, and legally firing when you have to.

Congratulations to The Press Democrat

for taking home so many of the Peninsula Press Club Awards for excellence in journalism in the Greater Bay Area, including the Business article, “”Jess Jackson: Taken for a ride,” by Kevin McCallum.

The complete list of awards and winners.

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