PDC workshop aims to provide entrepreneurs with the tools to reach their goals
For many, a vocation means employment with a company or organization. For others, a vocation involves creating their own company, and their own work-world situation.
An upcoming PDC workshop is aimed at this second group.
On Tuesday, July 24, Paul Jermain will help participants learn how to create effective business plans and launch new companies. His workshop will take place at the Resident Inn, Watertown, at 570 Arsenal Street.
Mr. Jermain has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs start successful businesses. This workshop is aimed at enabling individuals who are considering starting new businesses to develop effective plans and increase their chances of success.
Workshop topics include: market analysis and sizing; competition; products/services; marketing; management, and location. Also covered will be: creating financial statements, such as balance sheets, sales forecasts, and cash-flow and income statements.
PDC Post recently interviewed Jermain online to gain further insights about what participants will learn at his workshop.
Please tell me how you first started helping create business plans. Did you primarily work for small businesses?
In 1986 I started helping create both marketing and business plans as a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) volunteer while working in marketing management for Nortel Networks, a global telecommunications company headquartered in Dallas. In addition to the SBDC work, I did pro-bono work for SCORE and the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce, and paid work for some local venture capitalists. SCORE is an organization that provides free advice to small-business owners throughout the US. This early work led to establishment of my consulting practice in creating business plans.
In 1988, I transferred to Nashville with Nortel, and continued my volunteer work with SBDC and SCORE. I also helped out at the Nashville Chamber and continued to work for private clients. Then, in 2001, I started leading the Massachusetts-based Entrepreneurial Training Program designed to help displaced individuals start new businesses. Over 12 years I taught and consulted with over 275 start-up entrepreneurs as they created effective business plans and launched new businesses.
Is this course aimed primarily at small businesses? Could someone who, say, works in a department in a pre-existing larger business gain from it?
This workshop is primarily aimed at prospective and established small-business owners, although professionals charged with business-plan development in departments of larger organizations could benefit from attendance as well.
Please give me an example of a business plan you created that enabled a small business to be born — or an existing company to grow/be more successful?
I worked with a Nashville-based company that made wrought-iron security windows and doors for houses in high-crime neighborhoods. The company was deeply concerned about the market entry of a large competitor. By walking through the business-plan process we were able to identify the competitor’s weaknesses and capitalize on the primary one, namely, the inability to successfully manufacture windows and doors for older homes. We created an effective advertising campaign which highlighted this weakness and significantly reduced the impact of a new competitor.
This must be a field that interests you. Please tell me what excites you about business planning, perhaps in terms of how good planning skills can enable a small business to be created and/or enable someone to succeed in their business goals.
So it’s exciting to significantly ratchet up the chances a new business will succeed by collaboratively going through the planning process with a prospective or established business owner.
Please tell me what you want attendees to take away from your course.
I want them to take away an understanding of:
1. The benefits of a business plan.
2. How the different pieces fit together into a complete picture.
3. The best approach to think through each of the primary elements from market sizing to cash-flow statements.
4. An understanding of how to complete a plan and the feeling of mastery over the process of how to complete a plan.
What advantages does someone with good planning skills have versus someone who just does their best to take the necessary steps to start a business?
A business plan does not guarantee success. It simply increases the chances of success in similar fashion to how a GPS-based map helps improve the chances of getting to an unfamiliar destination.
What are the pitfalls to not knowing how to do an effective business plan?
Typically, an effective business plan enables people to think through critical issues before they happen. It’s certainly possible to deal with disasters as they arise, but most people have better success when they are prepared.
Is it possible for someone with good planning skills to come in and transform a business?
I believe it’s possible for someone with good planning skills to positively transform a business. But the key is thinking through the situation at hand and then scratching out a plan that will most effectively leverage it.
Paul Jermain is an experienced professional with a diverse background. For over 20 years he served in senior industrial sales and telecommunications marketing roles in companies ranging from venture-capital-supported start-ups to global corporations. As a small-business consultant and business plan program instructor, he has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs think through plans and launch successful new businesses.