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VOL. 126 | NO. 188 | Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Small-Biz Coach Begins Final Leg Of Statewide Tour

By Aisling Maki

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Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and the Tennessee Small Business Development Centers are co-hosting the final leg of a statewide “Grow Your Business Tour.”

The tour is a partnership between TSBDC – a network of professional business consultants with 14 centers and seven affiliate offices throughout the state – and small-business coach Robert Staub, who founded the Small Business Chamber of Commerce in Memphis and served on Luttrell’s transition team and the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Board in Washington.

Staub kicked off the month-long, statewide tour last month in Murfreesboro to bring his growth strategies to small-business owners in 13 Tennessee communities.

He said the tour “has really been very well received across the state. The crowds varied from a half-a-dozen folks to 50 people, and we expect a full house in Memphis, which is kind of the grand finale, obviously.”

Stopping at each TSBDC affiliate office, Staub delivered a free, fast-paced, 90-minute workshop focusing on four main aspects of small-business growth: benchmarks, direction, identity and marketing strategies.

Staub said micro-businesses with 10 employees or fewer are creating jobs, and therefore should be given the same attention as large companies.

“The clients that the TSBDC works with and who I work with are more than zero to 10 employees and zero to $1 million in revenue, which are really the foundation of business,” he said. “There are more of those than anything else, and they tend to be great financial planners or printers or website developers or whatever the case may be, but when it comes to actually running a business, they never really got any training. So that’s what the TSBDC does and that’s what our ‘Grow Your Business’ workshop really does – it zeroes in on business development.”

The tour has targeted rural areas that lack the resources available to business owners in larger cities.

“These folks are having a really tough time, and we’re trying to give them that guidance and direction and show them that we can help them with the tools and knowledge they need to grow their business,” Staub told The Daily News last month. “There’s a lot of talk about economic development and new jobs, and it seems to be happening from the top down and not necessarily from the bottom up.”

Staub plans to arrive in Memphis just before noon Wednesday, wrapping up the five-day cycling portion of the tour, which began in Knoxville Sept. 23. The final two-hour seminar will be held Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the Shelby Farms Conservancy Office in East Memphis from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“You can come into this workshop and walk away with action items you can put to work in your business the day you attend the workshop,” he said. “Anybody can carve out a couple of hours in a day to learn some valuable strategy to build their business.”

Visit www.tsbdc.org to register for the free conference.

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