Each month in the Longarm League membership, we discuss a topic relevant to longarm quilting and business. This month, we are bringing to the forefront various organizations and resources that exist to help small business owners. These are organizations that may offer business consulting, webinars and other online courses, and in some cases mentorship.
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provides free business consulting and at-cost or low-cost training to small businesses, entrepreneurs, and nonprofit organizations. The SBDC has been around since 1975, but its services have evolved over time as technology has changed the way people do business today. As a result of COVID, webinars, Zoom calls, and other online learning platforms have revolutionized the way we are able to learn regardless of our locale.
We chatted with Rebecca Mixson of the SBDC with the University of Georgia. Rebecca is a business consultant who works with business owners in all stages of business—or as she referred to them: infancy, adolescence and maturity. I felt the adolescent label belonged to my business immediately when she said it! ;)
Rebecca told us that she personally loves marketing and could talk about that all day, but all consultants are different, as are all SBDC offices. The best way to know if you could benefit from what they offer is to search your zip code here and make contact with a local office. Depending on your stage of business, your current challenges, or your future goals, an SBDC office may be able to help with developing a business plan, securing funding from a bank or working with investors, expansion, hiring employees, marketing strategy, and more!
Like the SBDC offices, SCORE is a nonprofit association also affiliated with the Small Business Administration dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. SCORE has more than 10,000 volunteer business counselors who provide free, confidential, one-on-one counseling to small business owners.
LinkedIn Learning is another resource that Rebecca mentioned in our call that has online courses applicable to business owners and anyone wanting to develop their business (and personal) skills. I just saw today that their Top 20 courses are available free for the rest of the month of August 2022. Check out their course list here.
Of course, if you have yet to start a business and you know that you want to start a longarm service business specifically, we'd love to give you the education and support you need to get going! We offer a class called Rookie Season and it opens a few times a year. Our next class starts on September 13, 2022, and you can register as soon as August 17.
While it's not free, it's powerful and ultra specific to our niche, and it will save you lots of time and energy as compared to figuring it out on your own. Here's a rundown of what the class covers. It's an investment worth making!
I really enjoyed our chat with Rebecca. We discussed how closely personal growth and development is tied to business growth. In addition, she shared a lot of great tidbits that were so refreshing to hear from someone who has helped a lot of businesses.
Since our conversation, one thing I've been thinking about a lot is that I don't have a real "end goal" with my business and I would like to put more thought into that. Knowing what our end goal is—Selling it? Involving our kids and passing it down to the next generation?—will help us reverse engineer success, however we define that. I spend so much time "in" the business making sure our members are getting the support they need and creating new lessons and designs, less time "on" the business and the strategic planning part, and virtually no time casting a vision of what the end might look like. Rebecca helped me realize that I'd benefit from dedicating more time to strategy.
If you're in the Longarm League membership, you can watch this call in our lesson archives.
We'd love to share a little bit about how we support longarm quilters through education and community. Updates typically go out on Wednesdays - we'd love to stay in touch with you!