Current and future small business owners attended “Study in Success” as part of National Small Business Week (April 29-May 5) seminars presented by Craven Community College’s (Craven CC) Small Business Center (SBC).
While the SBC offers many entrepreneurial workshops throughout the year, “Study in Success” provided a real-life look into local successful businesses. Owners of Tidewater Appliance store, Jimmy John’s of New Bern sandwich shop and PB’s Italian Ices mobile food truck shared their first-hand experience of their business operations. These business owners have previously utilized the SBC.
Dana Stone, owner of Tidewater Appliance, was already in the industry but was going to lose her job when her employer was closing their store. She quickly jumped at the opportunity to open her own business. “My best advice is to plan and research, learn from experienced people, get used to the pressure, and be determined,” said Stone. She recently added mattresses and plans on future store expansion.
David Zink, co-owner of Zink, Inc., launched a Jimmy John’s franchise in 2014. He said his best advice for business owners is, “Use your resources, realize you can’t do everything, be prepared for when things go wrong, and take care of yourself.”
Minnie McPhatter was looking for something to do after retiring from the Craven County school system. In the summer of 2016, she launched what she calls, “The coolest business in town.” She started with a trailer selling Italian Ice. She recently joined the food truck trend. Her green food truck now also serves hot dogs and ice cream. McPhatter said her best advice, “Learn the business you will own, learn as much as you can before you buy anything, take classes and manage cash flow.”
SBC participant Jo Hanna Ferguson, benefits consultant, said that hearing first-hand information from business owners was valuable. “The transparency and information sharing is important in business,” said Ferguson.
The SBC at Craven CC is part of the SBC Network of centers at all North Carolina community colleges. The purpose of the centers are to increase the number and viability of start-up businesses, resulting in job creation and retention. Craven CC’s SBC holds around 70 workshops yearly, including two entrepreneur start-up series in fall and spring. The SBC also provides confidential counseling, resource referrals and networking assistance to hundreds of entrepreneurs.
National Small Business Week is presented annually by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA.gov). The SBA provides education, mentoring resources and financing to start-ups and small businesses.
By Deborah Kania / Director of the Small Business Center at Craven Community College
This article originally appeared in The New Bern Sun Journal.