Summit County entrepreneurs offer business advice | SummitDaily.com

Summit County entrepreneurs offer business advice

Elise Reuter
ereuter@summitdaily.com

A roomful of Summit County residents gathered Tuesday to talk business. The free seminar, hosted by Summit County's Employment First office, provided both entrepreneurs and executives with a wealth of resources.

One of the highlights of the afternoon featured a panel of seasoned business owners providing words of wisdom to the audience, with advice on marketing strategies, employment and finance. The following include some of the most critical questions:

What is your marketing strategy?

Larry Stone, Certified Tax Coach with Stone CPA: "You want to have a huge marketing funnel that brings in enough people and prospects that you don't have to worry about where next person is going to come from. … What I've learned is many people don't measure their advertising and take time to count how many hits you get. As a business owner, you should test everything you do to see if it's effective."

Judi LaPoint, president of North Star Consulting Group: "When I started my business in the recession, I cold called every single business. I hated it. I would say, 50 today, that's all you have to do. You have to talk to people … It's all about being able to develop that relationship. You have to get out there and get to know people.

How do you retain employees?

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Anne Clark, life coach at New Perspective Coaching: "Identify your perfect employee. Really stay focused on the qualities of what you want those employees to be and make sure you are that, too. Go through and see where your hot buttons are."

Seth Lyons, owner of Which Wich Superior Sandwiches: "In our industry, we have 100-percent turnover every year. Our job is not tough to learn. Kelsey and I perform two interviews a week; we typically hire two people a month. … We feed our employees and their families. One woman was living paycheck to paycheck, was worried about feeding her kids, and I said bring them in every day."

How do you come up with a plan?

Jack Taylor, business services representative with the Frisco Workforce Center: "Business planning is one of the most important thing you can do. I can guarantee you that most successful businesses have one. It's a matter of sitting down and really visualizing what it is you want to do with that business. Ask, who are the customers? If the answer is anyone with a pulse, you need to do a little more work."

Clark: "It's a tricky thing, it's a process and you have to stay tuned in and flexible. Pay attention to what isn't working and come back. It's really easy to get sidetracked and sucked into the hole of problems instead of solutions."

What's your support system?

Lyons: It hasn't been all rose bushes. We've seen failures too. … I had a friend in college (who) said, 'Hang out with people who are better than you.' Stick with those people. If you have an attorney friend, then ask them questions. Hang out with people (who) have knowledge. Don't just hang out with your friends."