Last fall, VCC encouraged small business owners across Virginia to participate in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses education program, a national initiative offering qualified small business owners intensive training and advice from business experts and peers.
Six entrepreneurs from our state were selected to participate and have now completed the program, which included attending classes at Babson College.
One of the winners, Merissa Sachs, who owns Marketing on Main Street, LLC, in Christiansburg, shares some thoughts on her experience below:
1. What was your favorite part of the program and why?
The personal interaction with Goldman Sachs Professionals, Babson Professors, and my peers was a significant benefit. The ability to share knowledge between us is so valuable because we all share some of the same trials and tribulations of being an entrepreneur and we can learn from each other in an accelerated atmosphere.
2. What skills did you particularly want to hone when you signed up for the competition?
I wanted to learn how to analyze the business in more depth. This includes finding ways to improve upon the products and services we currently offer that are doing well and learn when to cut out products that aren't. I also learned ways to improve upon overall customer service within the company so our customers reap the benefit of top notch service for each and every interaction they have with Marketing on Main Street.
3. And did you feel like the training addressed those?
Certainly! We learned in-depth financial reporting analysis, what works and doesn't work as far as products, target market analysis, thinking outside of the box, customer service expectations, and so much more.
4. Have there been any unforeseen challenges with attending the classes?
Time management is always a challenge when owning your own company. This is a struggle for me as I do juggle being a single mom to a wonderful teenage daughter, I run two businesses Marketing on Main Street and Salvage Junkies and I devote a lot of time to charity. (Currently I am secretary on the Salvation Army Advisory Board in the New River Valley and am Treasurer for the Christiansburg High School Band Boosters.)
5. How do you think this training will impact your business?
I have already started improving my sales force, modified employees, enhanced advertising and marketing, and push myself to think outside the box when making all decisions. I feel my Babson training and support system acts as my personal CEO within the company. That may sound confusing . . . but if I think of Babson (as a whole) as a CEO on my advisory board; I can turn to them at anytime for advice and guidance via Skype, email or in person, and they're always there to help. That is such a boost to each of us in this program; it's invaluable.
Marketing on Main Street is a marketing and promotions company specializing in affordable personalization services including embroidery, screen printing, heat pressing, and vinyl lettering for all levels of our customers' needs, from personal items to business and corporate gifts. See more at www.marketingonmainst.com
Small business owners will have the same opportunity Merissa Sachs did with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program as applications for the Spring 2015 class are now open. Apply now through October 27, 2014. See more here.
The education portion of the 10,000 Small Businesses program is currently delivered in eleven cities across the country and continues to expand. With the launch of 10,000 Small Businesses at Babson College last fall, business owners from all 50 states have the opportunity to participate together in a national class.
Priority applications are due on May 23, 2014. Eligibility requirements and additional details can be found at www.10KSBapply.com or attend one of the information webinars scheduled for: April 23 and May 12.