Small businesses make up the heart of America, and more so in Newton than many other areas. The Newton Development Corporation and SCORE are hoping to help those who need help starting one.
Both organizations are sponsoring a free small business workshop from 5:45 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday at the DMACC Newton Campus in the Newton Development Conference Room.
“We are looking for people who want to start a business,” SCORE counselor Dean M. Ward said. “That’s the approach we take in our counseling seasons. Everything we do in this is confidential and free.”
Ward has been involved in the organization for many years and is a big advocate for the event.
“I’ve been in SCORE, this year is my 22nd year, and I’d retired from Maytag in 1990,” Ward said. “I was corporate director of purchasing projects. I’d been director or purchasing for the company for about 14 years.”
The workshop will have insurance, legal, accounting, marketing, banking, Internal Revenue Service and business plan advice.
The workshops will be presented by various experienced and respected representatives of their fields. One of the workshop instructors is a marking director from Des Moines who is a firm believer in small businesses.
“He talks about small businesses because his dad had a trucking business,” Ward said. “He is speaking about it more as, these are the things you need to do to keep track of income and expenses and so forth.”
For the legal part of the workshop, he said it will cover things such as expenses and sole proprietorship. One subject Ward talked about was corporations.
“With a regular corporation, you of course are incorporated under the State of Iowa, and there are requirements like annual meetings, who the offers are and so forth,” Ward said. “Or you can get an ‘S’ status. Now this is for taxes only, and you really need to have an accountant explain it. Your tax rate becomes the same, as I understand it, for soul proprietorship. But you still have to have an annual meeting.”
Another area the workshop focuses on is insurance, and Ward said he often gets asked why.
“Sometimes people don’t realize they need to protect themselves if they own the property,” Ward said.
He went on to say business interruption insurance is very important as it will cover owners if a disaster, such as a tornado or fire, occurs at their location.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the small business sector is growing rapidly and while corporate America has been “downsizing,” the rate of small business has grown, and the rate for small business failures has declined. It also said:
• The 23 million small businesses in America account for 54 percent of all U.S. sales.
• Small businesses provide 55 percent of all jobs and 66 percent of all net new jobs since the 1970s.
• The 600,000 plus franchised small businesses in the U.S. account for 40 percent of all retail sales and provide jobs for some 8 million people.
• The small business sector in America occupies 30 to 50 percent of all commercial space, an estimated 20 to 34 billion square feet.
• The number of small businesses in the United States has increased 49 percent since 1982.
• Since 1990, as big business eliminated 4 million jobs, small businesses added 8 million new jobs.”
Although there are small business success stories, one major flaw of small businesses is poor marketing skills. Ward recommended potential small business owners do market research before starting a business.
“In other words, ‘Is their product, service or whatever they are going to provide to the public needed?’ Ward said.
He also recalled a businesses that did well when Maytag was still in the city, but like many businesses, it closed, because their clientele was middle management.
The workshop is scheduled to be spread out over the span of two days, and cover many issues small businesses will face. Ward said the purpose is to help those in need by providing them with the best information to guide them in the right direction.
He also said he believes in old-fashioned ways.
“My concern is there seems to be more emphasis on the computer, that you can email each other, and I tell them, ‘There is nothing like sitting down and looking at the person across the table.’ I personally prefer one-on-one counseling when people come in to seek our service.”
If interested in attending the free business workshop, call (641) 787-8210 by 8 a.m. Monday to make a reservation.