For individuals wanting to start their own business, the Pickaway County Chamber of Commerce will be partnering with the Ohio Small Business Development Centers and The Savings Bank to offer a series of free workshops that will cover the basis of a successful enterprise.

Amy Elsea, president of the Pickaway Chamber of Commerce, said that the organization is seeing a lot of entrepreneurs take the first step in opening a business but starting a bit prematurely, and not seeing the immediate success they were hoping for.

“This is a brand new series for us. I’m not sure how well it will take off, but the chamber felt we needed to start somewhere in assisting individuals in starting and planning for a business before securing and opening a location,” Elsea said.

The first workshop, Basis of A Successful Enterprise (BASE), is scheduled for March 24 and topics will include research that must be done, legal business structures to consider, licensing and tax requirement, how to market your product or service, how to write a business plan and access to sources of financing.

“The workshops give an overview for those who want to start a business but don’t know where to start or how to make it grow,” she said.

Elsea mentioned that the chamber wants to be more proactive in helping business owners before they take the next step and that many times, business owners are not aware of the services the chamber offers until it is too late.

“Many times, if we could have gotten to them sooner, we could have helped foster them to a more successful future,” Elsea said.

Currently, Nancy Stoll, consultant with the Ohio Small Business Development Centers, spends the first and third Wednesday of the month at the Pickaway County Welcome Center helping existing business owners and budding entrepreneurs with any challenges they may be having.

Stoll said that the Pickaway County Chamber of Commerce, Pickaway Progress Partnership and the Pickaway County Welcome Center partnered to bring her services to the county where she considers herself a business advisor to those in the community.

The workshop will be lead by Stoll who said that the three main reasons a new business fails is from lack of planning, lack of business operation insight and lack of finances.

“One of the major reasons a start up business fails is because they don’t understand what goes into it,” Stoll said. “They are really good at coming up with the idea and then their entrepreneurial spirit takes over and they jump into the pool before they prove there is water in it.”

Stoll said the Ohio Small Business Development Centers provide services that help walk the entrepreneur through the process. Stoll said she will help direct entrepreneurs and provide them with the resources they need to be successful.

“We like to promote ourselves as your business partner, but better,” Stoll said, adding that, unlike a traditional business partner that wants financial gain, she just wants to see those business efforts succeed.

There are seven business officers on staff at the development center, and if additional resources are needed, they have a database of professionals who volunteer and offer free consulting services.

All the services provided by Stoll and the Ohio Small Business Development Centers are at no charge and Stoll said that entrepreneurs are welcome to utilize the services as long as they would like.

“The longer they stay with us, the better off they will be,” Stoll said. “The value of the workshop is becoming aware of everything that should be considered. It is a process and you can’t jump into it. If a budding entrepreneur is looking to find out the basics of a successful enterprise, they need to sign up.”

The BASE workshop will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Pickaway County Chamber of Commerce located at 114 E. Main St. in Circleville.

There is no cost to attend the workshops but space is limited. To register, call 477-4923.

Additional workshops will be held on June 23, Sept. 22 and Dec. 15.

Stoll said that each workshop is designed to be the same but open enough to address concerns of the individuals attending.

To schedule consulting services with Stoll, contact the Pickaway County Welcome Center at 474-3636.

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aplotts@circlevilleherald

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