Business workshop planned

Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2008

Careful planning is fundamental to success in business, but being able to prognosticate pitfalls isn't always easy, particularly for the small business owner that is just starting out.

"It can be daunting to start a small business, but on the Kenai Peninsula and in Alaska in general, there is a lot of help out there," said Ray Zagorski, associate professor of business at Kenai Peninsula College.

To inform current and prospective business owners about some of this help, Zagorski and Mark Gregory, director of UAA's Kenai Peninsula Small Business Development Center, will be hosting a small business workshop and question and answer session this week. It will take place on Tuesday from 5:30 to 8:15 p.m. in Room 201 at KPC's Kenai River Campus.

"It's not just for people that have a small business now, it's for people that have small business or are thinking of doing it in the future. People can show up and bring their questions and concerns, or just sit back and listen," Zagorski said.

The workshop will cover a lot of the initial steps to starting a business.

"Well go over basic start-up things, such as licensing, sales tax and sources of funds to get the capital to start a business," Zagorski said.

The workshop will also review troubleshooting, since not everyone may be aware of all the problems that can occur once they switch from employee to employer.

"We'll go over common problems businesses in the start-up phase face. We'll go over cash flow problems, such as not having enough cash on hand at different times to cover all the expenses, which causes some people to start selling off office supplies or vehicles. We'll discuss ways to avoid dipping into the working capital to pay operating costs," he said.

Zagorski said the discussion will also emphasize keeping morale high for business owners, and their employees and customers.

"Morale is often neglected by small business owners. They may not pay attention to following-up on customer complaints, or the nuances of customer needs," he said, and added this can come back to bite a small business owner down the road.

Zagorksi said the workshop will also focus on paying attention to the costs versus the benefits of decision making, such as in regard to advertising. He said a lot of small business may think more advertising is the answer to their problems when things start to go awry, but this isn't always the case.

"Advertising more may not be effective if its not reaching the target audience," he said.

Zagorski said Gregory will also review some basic principles such as the differences between employees, investors, speculators, business owners and business managers, "and he'll go over the keys to success via those various paths."

Preregistration for the workshop is not required, and it is free and open to the public. For more information, call Ray Zagorksi at 907-262-0348.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at

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