Small Business Pros, Entrepreneurs Invited To Free Workshop Series Kickoff

The Newtown Economic Development Commission, the Newtown Chamber of Commerce and the local chapter of SCORE is kicking off its series of Small Business Seminars on March 13.

The series of free workshops for local business owners and entrepreneurs is sponsored by Newtown Savings Bank, with all activities taking place at C.H. Booth Library.

According to Newtown Economic Development Assistant Betsy Paynter, these seminars are designed to help local businesses stay competitive and successful by providing content and tools to help them grow and prosper in Newtown.

In 2013, the EDC sponsored seven business seminars, covering a range of support content and business tools such as, disaster preparedness, online marketing, small business financing opportunities, e-mail marketing, and job-generating state programs.

All the 2014 workshops run from 8 to 9:30 am. The schedule of seminars is as follows:

March 13: Internet Marketing: What Every Business Needs To Know

Is your company website maximizing business awareness? This seminar will focus on the three main components to successfully market a business on the Internet:

*Having a well-designed website

*Optimizing your site for search engines, Internet advertising & promotion

*Performing regular website analysis

According to the presenter, a well designed website is easy to look at, easy to use, and easy to find. And an easy to find website is one that has been:

*Optimized for the search engines

*Uses appropriate Internet advertising such as pay-per-click ads, paid directory listings, etc.

*Promoted to the right audience (local and specialty directories, social media, online pr)

The speaker for this seminar is Newtown resident Joanne Marcinek of Ask Joanne, LLC, who specializes in all things Google — SEO for Google, Google+ Local, AdWords and Analytics — tools to help businesses get better visibility on the Internet.

March 25: SBA —Small Business Financing

Finding capital for a small business is not impossible. Get pointers from the SBA and Newtown Savings Bank that will help get business moving toward financial stability. Topics discussed will be traditional (SBA’s guaranteed loan program) and nontraditional (SBA’s micro-loan program) ways of financing.

What does SBA offer to small business owners? The programs are many and varied, and the qualifications for each are specific. SBA can help facilitate a loan for you with a third-party lender, guarantee a bond, or help you find venture capital. SBA provides a number of financial assistance programs for small businesses that have been specifically designed to meet key financing needs, including debt financing, surety bonds, and equity financing.

Speakers for this seminar include Lisa A. Powell, economic development specialist from US Small Business Administration, and Paula Woodhouse, assistant vice president of small business lending from Newtown Savings Bank.

April 10: Entrepreneurship — Starting Your Own Business & Writing A Business Plan

Starting one’s own business can be an exciting and rewarding experience offering numerous advantages such as being your own boss, setting your own schedule and making a living doing something you enjoy. But, becoming a successful entrepreneur requires thorough planning, creativity and hard work.

This workshop will introduce the business plan. Then, using the business plan as an outline, presenters will lead a discussion of all the elements of a marketing plan to show why managing cash flow is such a critical requirement.

The speaker for this seminar is Bob Pietrzkiewicz, SCORE member, a business consultant. A marketing specialist with IBM for 27 years, he is accomplished in facilitating improvements in business workflows uncovering process issues.

April 15: State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development

Connecticut’s Departments of Economic and Community Development and Department of Labor have helped hundreds of small business people achieve their goals. This outreach seminar will provide Newtown and surrounding towns’ business owners a breakdown of the various programs Connecticut has to offer in efforts to help small businesses succeed and grow. Attendees will learn first-hand how their company can benefit from DECD’s popular Small Business Express, Job Expansion Tax Credit, and Subsidized Training and Employment programs — just to name three — and you’ll have an opportunity to meet one-on-one with members of DECE staff, who can answer any questions you may have.

Speakers for this seminar include Sheila Hummel and Amy Lopez, Department of Economic and Community Development Office of Business Development, State of Connecticut.        

April 29: Making the Case for Mobile Marketing

In a recent survey from Pew Internet & American Life Project, 50 percent of participants said they were already using mobile devices to access nonprofit websites and e-mails. As of March 2013, 43 percent of all e-mail was opened on a mobile device.

This presentation will cover mobile-friendly e-mail marketing and strategy:

*Learn why e-mail is the cost-effective, targeted, and efficient way to build a business.

*Why business owners cannot ignore mobile even if they think customers are not using it.

*How mobile is the new reality for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

*What businesses can do today to optimize e-mail to be mobile friendly.

At the end of this presentation participants will have a better idea about how becoming mobile-friendly can better position their companies in a world in which mobile has become a part of us.

Speakers for this seminar include Cathy Ann Drury, Constant Contact authorized local expert.

 To stay up-to-date on seminar news, interested professionals are invited to sign up for the EDC’s Enews electronic newsletter at newtown.org, or email Ms Paynter at: betsypaynter@newtown.org.

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