The new company (http://www.thesmallbusinessguild.com)
Dr. Mike Armour, the president of both companies, notes that businesses with only a few employees have the same training needs as their much larger counterparts, but without the in-house trainers and budgetary resources of larger companies.
“Our goal with The Small Business Guild,” he explains, “is to team up with small businesses in a given community to co-create training programs tailored to their collective needs.”
Through surveys and focus groups, the Guild identifies training needs that these companies share in common. The Guild then provides a single training event in which all of these companies participate and share the cost of the training. This allows small businesses to stretch their training dollars much further than if they were bearing the training expense entirely on their own.
The Guild’s parent company SLDI (http://www.LeaderPerfect.com) has provided leadership development services for corporations and institutions since 2001. Its clients range from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies.
“While we have specialized in helping very large organizations,”
“Many small business owners recognize that they need more training for themselves and for their workers. But they are hard-pressed to find the dollars to meet this need.. So we developed the idea of providing a structure under which multiple companies could pool their training requirements and share the cost.”
The principals in the Small Business Guild include Mildred Blowen, PenDell Pittman, Jo Umberger, Gary Clark, and Ron Rose. They are all veteran coaches and consultants in the business world and most have been senior executives in large corporations.
In addition to trainings in which several small businesses participate, the Guild will provide consulting support to specific small businesses, with a special emphasis on marketing and developing sound business plans. The Guild will also provide in-house trainings when companies prefer this approach.
The Small Business Guild is currently developing a prototype of its services in Tyler, Texas in cooperation with the Central East Texas Better Business Bureau. The Better Business Bureau and the Guild will offer their first workshop on June 20 at Tyler Junior College. Armour will teach the workshop on the theme of “Seven Reasons Small Businesses Fail And What You Can Do to Avoid Them.”
This will be the first of several workshops in Tyler and surrounding towns this year. In the third quarter the Guild plans its first workshops in Dallas. The Guild’s long-range goal is to be active across Texas and in neighboring states within two years, then create franchises nationwide shortly afterward.
To meet these goals, the Guild will rapidly expand its team of trainers and consultants over the next twelve months. Currently the Guild plans to focus primarily on North and East Texas until it has established its brand sufficiently to allow for easier entry into other markets.