Enhance your success potential through education

February 18, 2014

chamber logo“The Business Plan” is a partnership between the Ludington & Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce and Mason County Press.

By Matt Larson. Business Development Consultant. Ludington & Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Ongoing education is one of the keys to maximizing small businesses start-up potential, profitability, and productivity.  You can only learn so much from books, the internet, school, your parents and other business owners.

Whether you’re a novice or veteran entrepreneur, every day offers the opportunity to learn something that can be applied to a start-up or improving the quality of your existing business. It’s simply a matter of being aware of what’s going on outside the walls of your home, store or factory.  The old saying that it’s all about who you know doesn’t just apply to getting a job, it applies to starting a business or growing an existing one.  The local community has lots going on for opportunities to network and learn.  A great place to see what is happening is through the local Chamber’s website at www.ludington.org.

Search engine technology has made staying aware of business-related news easy thanks to systems such as Google Alerts. Simply enter some basic search terms for topics of interest—your industry, locations where you do or want to do business, competitors’ names, technologies, etc.—and you’ll be notified when relevant content appears on the web. Alerts can be set to be issued as they happen, or on a daily or weekly basis.

In addition, RSS feeds and customizable news aggregation websites such as alltop.com bring news headlines, blogs, and podcasts together in a single location.

But don’t omit print and online media news sources such as trade journals, national news publications, or your local paper, newsletters or social media. While it’s great to get web news tailored to your needs, you may spot something in a story on a seemingly unrelated topic that could benefit your business or, perhaps more importantly, influence your business idea, potential customers and their needs.

And just because you’ve finished school doesn’t mean your career as a student is over. There are always new skills to learn, new technologies to master, and new ways to do things. West Shore Community College regularly offers classes and workshops on numerous business topics, both for start-ups and established businesses. Local chapters of professional associations, like the Chamber of Commerce, offer meetings with speakers and presentations, giving you a chance to double your time investment by both learning and networking.  A networking breakfast will be held on Wednesday February 19th from 7:30-9:00am at the Book Mark in Downtown Ludington.  There will be a teaser presentation on how to understand and motivate Gen Y.

Over the next few months there are several workshops available to those looking to start or learn more about business and its processes.


  • The Road to Independence – Exploring Entrepreneurship – 2/27/14 – 6-8pm

  • Fundamentals of Writing a Business Plan – The Basics (Part 1 of 2) – 3/20/14 – 6-8pm

  • Fundamentals of Writing a Business Plan – Marketing and Finance (Part 2 of 2) – 4/10/14 – 6-8pm

  • Fundamentals of Marketing Your Business – 4/24/14 – 6-8pm

To learn more about the new Business and Community Education (formally The Leisure & Enrichment Program) offerings  or to sign-up for the workshops above please call West Shore Community Colleges Student Services at 231-843-5510 or visit www.westshore.edu/.

You may also want to consider attending multi-day conferences sponsored by an industry group—either yours or those representing your customers. Though registration fees, travel and lodging may be involved, the long-term payoff in visibility, education, and networking will likely more than justify the expense.

For more information about taking advantage of free and confidential SCORE business mentoring services or to attend the monthly inventors/entrepreneurs network, contact Matt Larson at the Ludington & Scottville Area Chamber at mattl@ludington.org, 231-845-0324, or visit www.ludington.score.org.

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