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Repostioning your small business for success

Penny Pagliaro (COURTESY PHOTO)
Penny Pagliaro (COURTESY PHOTO)
Hazel Beck (COURTESY PHOTO)
Hazel Beck (COURTESY PHOTO)

Penny Pagliaro and Hazel Beck are both optimistic for the Hawaii Island 2014 economy. To help North Hawaii small businesses “start the year off with a bang” and to assist them in taking full advantage of the upswing, the two experts are pooling their talents for an “Out of the Red and Back in the Black” workshop, 2-3 p.m., 2-4 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 29, at Anna Ranch Heritage Hall. The cost is $20.

“We have all been in defense mode against the bad economy,” Pagliaro said. “Most of us have had to feed our company to keep it going. Now we are looking at a recovering economy, so we’ll explore questions (in the seminar) like how do you adjust your priorities to best take advantage of what’s coming?”

Pagliaro, who is president of Panale’a Corporation, a marketing and advertising company, will discuss identifying and claiming target markets, creating a realistic marketing plan and measuring its success, and she will explore other useful small business strategies.

“I think that any business person would find it useful,” Pagliaro said of the seminar. “You need to find someone not involved with the day-to-day operations to ask you questions.”

Pagliaro said that for small businesses, an outside person with experience can help provide a different perspective and focus.

“Things are changing fast – we just can’t do it all ourselves,” she said.

Beck, director of the Hawaii Small Business Development Center, will discuss developing a business plan, maximizing capital, staffing, inventory, marketplace analysis, cash flow projections and other reality checks. Pagliaro calls Beck a “nuts and bolts person” who is very organized and precise.

“I’ll be offering low cost or no cost ideas that can be implemented relatively easily,” Beck said. “We are trying to get people’s businesses into solid recovery to get them in a better place for profitability by helping them with a strategy for the next two years.”

The Hawaii Small Business Development Center, which is a program of the University of Hawaii at Hilo, provides free and confidential business consulting, partly through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“Two years later, it is important to dust off your strategic plan and see if it is still relevant in the marketplace,” Beck said. “None of us are where we were before the downturn of the economy.”

She calls today the “age of the enlightened customer,” so it is important to connect with and to cultivate customers.

One idea Beck suggests is for owners to take over the finances of their businesses for 60 days to get a good sense of where money is going. She also suggests that businesses liquidate any extra inventory through tent sales, which will help to reposition a business for success.

“I have all kinds of ideas like this built into the presentation,” Beck said.

For more information on the Hawaii Small Business Development Center, visit their website at http://hisbdc.org. To register for the “Out of the Red, Back in the Black” seminar, visit http://backintheblack.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact Jackie at 327-3680.