Small business workshop scheduled for Monday

Published: 9/29/2017 11:19:38 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Those interested in starting their own businesses might consider attending a free workshop at Greenfield Savings Bank in Northampton on Monday.

The workshop, “Basics of Starting a Business,” is put on every month by the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network Western Regional Office at different locations. Teaching the workshop will be Allen Kronick, who serves as senior business advisor at the MSBDC.

“I call it the whole nine yards of starting a business,” Kronick said.

The workshop is structured around writing a business plan, and Kronick said that participants should be able to do so once they complete it.

“Starting a business is not an easy undertaking,” said Samalid Hogan, regional director for the MSBDC’s Western Regional Office. “You need all the support that you can get.”

The workshop will take place from 1-3 p.m. Participants are asked to arrive 15 minutes early.

Kronick is in his second career, having previously worked in accounting and finance in positions that included chief financial officer and finance director. He also teaches at The University of Massachusetts Amherst in the Isenberg School of Management.

Kronick said that those who are interested in starting their own business should at least have enough money to live on for six months without a salary.

As for what other capital costs are required, Kronick said that such an estimation can be worked out as part of the MSBDC’s one-on-one consulting services, which are provided free to any who wish to utilize them.

“We take them through that process,” said Kronick, speaking of the one-on-one services.

Indeed, Hogan said that these one-on-one services are the chief offering of the MSBDC.

Something that Kronick touches on in the workshop is the process of getting a loan from a bank. He said that banks are looking for a good business plan, as well as collateral. He also said that banks expect entrepreneurs to put down money themselves, typically a minimum of 10 to 20 percent of a loan.

“It’s called skin in the game,” he said.

He also said that while the Small Business Administration only gives out direct loans in cases of national disaster, it does work with banks to guarantee a percentage of loans to some small businesses, often in the 80 to 85 percent range. However, the decision on whether to give the loan is still up to the bank.

Kronick said that the biggest thing the SBA looks at when deciding on whether to give a loan is cash flow, while the most important thing to banks is collateral.

Some of the other things that Kronick goes over in the workshop are insurance, legal entities, marketing and marketing research, and he said that the marketing section is the most important part of any business plan. He also said that business owners should have access to a good lawyer, insurance agent and accountant.

The workshop presents information about a number of different resources, as well as coupons for products like QuickBooks, and Kronick describes it as “very participatory.”

It will also feature a presentation from Oreste Varela, Springfield branch manager for the SBA, entitled “The SBA Advantage,” which will overview the SBA’s programs and services.

The workshop will also be offered in Greenfield from 9-1:30 a.m. at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to the “Basics of Starting a Business” workshop, another workshop will be held at the West Springfield Public Library entitled “Re$taurant Profitable.” This workshop, which will take place from 4-8 p.m., will feature Eric Nusbaum, owner of Wheelwright Consultants and a consultant in the restaurant and hospitality industry since 1971, who will use the case of an actual restaurant he consulted for that was losing money, despite grossing in the millions, because it wasn’t able to keep its costs under control.

“It’s all about learning to control your costs,” Hogan said.

This workshop costs $100 per attendee for the first two attendees of a company, and $25 for every additional company attendee, although Hogan said that the workshop was being offered at a discounted fee. She also said that this workshop, which is not a recurring one, is an example of the industry-specific workshops that the MSBDC also offers.

More information about the MSBDC and its programs can be found at

Bera Dunau can be reached at

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