Do you want to take your business to the next level? Then reserve a seat in one or more of the scheduled workshops. These workshops combine business with technology and allow you to experience hands-on activities. You will leave the workshop with knowledge you can start using immediately when you return to your business. There is a $20 Registration/Material fee per workshop. For additional information or to register for any of the workshops please contact our office at (804)333-0286 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cash Flow March 3rd -In this workshop, participants learn how to leverage spreadsheet software programs to create cash flow statements they can use to assess their profitability and liquidity. Participants learn how to create links between the cash flow statement spreadsheet and spreadsheets containing other financial data to populate the statement automatically. You will leave this class with an understanding of the steps you would need to undertake in order to manage your own cash flow statements in a professional and effective way. Registration deadline February 28th.
3/11/2014 Marketing Plan – 1:00-3:00pm
This topic builds on the marketing concepts taught in the Basics of Marketing and helps students gain a deeper understanding of those concepts. Students are introduced to the Marketing Mix and learn about its four components: Product, Place, Price, and Promotion. They are introduced to the notion of a Positioning Statement and have the opportunity to systematically think through such a statement for Song’s business. Students write up the Marketing Plan in LibreOffice Writer, consolidating their basic word-processing skills and practicing the more advanced features this program offers for putting together a properly formatted text document.
3/18/2014 Print Marketing – 1:00-3:00pm
This topic deals with the creation of print marketing materials for a small business. In the practical part of the topic, students learn how to create a professional-looking double-sided folding leaflet from scratch. They practice inserting and formatting various types of content such as pictures and text. They work on the graphics, adding color palettes and a logo. They see how to prepare the leaflet for printing and how to reuse it as a template for future campaigns. In addition, during the exercise, students have the chance to practice editing a logo in a different application. Having learnt the technical side of building a leaflet, students discuss the pros and cons of developing print marketing materials in-house or outsourcing them. They consider what can be done ahead of time, at low cost. Students leave the class having taken note of all the steps they need to take in order to develop print materials for their own business: from defining their company identity and preparing and building all the necessary files, to getting them ready for printing and distribution.
3/25/2014 Social Media Marketing – 1:00-3:00pm
This topic introduces students to Facebook and other social media tools used for online marketing. They are encouraged to think about the advantages that social media tools can bring to small businesses, particularly in the context of low-cost marketing. In the practical part of the topic, students learn how to create a Facebook account and a Facebook Page for a small business. They practice customizing the page and adding different types of content to it, including posts, pictures, videos, and links. Students gain an understanding of how to measure the effectiveness and popularity of their Facebook Page through Facebook Insights and also go through the process of creating a Facebook Ad. Students leave class with an understanding of the etiquette related to using social media tools for business purposes.
4/8/2014 Invoices – 1:00-3:00pm
This topic focuses on the use of electronic spreadsheet tools for the creation and management of invoices so that business owners can minimize errors and avoid unnecessary repetition. Students become familiar with both licensed and open source electronic spreadsheet software. They learn how to format an invoice template in order to customize it for a particular business. They understand how to change different items on an invoice, and are introduced to a series of different automatic calculations in the spreadsheet. Moreover, students are encouraged to think beyond individual invoices. They learn how to manage invoices through lists and discuss the meaning of efficient financial document management in general. They leave the class understanding all the steps necessary for creating and managing invoices efficiently and effectively and in compliance with the law.
4/22/2014 Financial Graphs – 1:00-3:00pm
In this topic, students discuss and become familiar with the business and communication benefits of translating numerical, and especially financial, data into graphical format. They understand the purposes of financial graphs and learn about different types of graphs and the situations in which they might be used. They learn how to build different types of charts based on pre-existing financial data, and how to format them to enhance clarity and readability. Students are introduced to multidimensional charts called PivotCharts and, in the more advanced part of the exercise, they learn how to use charts to depict financial trends and make financial forecasts. Throughout the topic, the notion of graphs as analytical and communication tools is underlined. Students leave the class with a full understanding of the precise steps they need to take in order to build different types of charts to achieve the greatest effectiveness for their business.
4/29/2014 Accounting – 1:00-3:00pm
This topic introduces students to centralized accounting management for small companies. Students discuss how growth in small businesses affects financial record keeping and brings inefficiencies as data entry is unnecessarily repeated and different types of related financial records remain scattered. They consider the concept of integrated accounting and see how software tools that provide this type of integration are organized. In the practical part of the topic, students use an online integrated accounting package to see how it might be used to manage finances. Simulating a multi-user environment, they understand how such a tool allows different parties to all do their part of the job in complex processes. In particular, students complete a full sales order process playing the roles of all the different people involved, and a full purchase order process. They also see how they can easily generate different types of financial statement for the company. Students leave class with an understanding of the benefits brought about by such an integrated accounting tool but also consider the implications it might have for the company in terms of change management and business process reengineering. Further integrated solutions for ERP and beyond are also discussed.
5/13/2014 Communication Plan – 1:00-3:00pm
This topic introduces students to the steps necessary for writing up the Communications section of a Business Plan. Students learn about different aspects of communication planning, both for strategic and for tactical purposes. They are introduced to the different sections any Communications Plan should contain and work on developing each one. They are guided step-by-step in this process, they also have a somewhat larger degree of freedom to come up with an original Communications Plan for the Virtual Entrepreneur than they do in other topics. They learn how to build a complete Communications Plan in LibreOffice Impress they calculate a budget for it in LibreOffice Calc, they are introduced to some techniques for conducting effective Internet searches, and they practice using a series of online t tools for developing branding and communication materials.
5/20/2014 – Blogging – 1:00-3:00pm
This topic focuses on the business benefits of maintaining a blog to enhance communication with customers and prospects and become part of a larger community interested in a particular issue. Students discuss different types and means of communication. They are introduced to the concept and characteristics of Web 2.0, and specifically blogs, and the advantages they might bring to small businesses as a low-cost means of multidirectional communication. They learn how to create a blog for a small business using a web-based blogging tool available free of charge. They learn how to add different types of content and media to the blog (text, images, videos, links, gadgets), practice tailoring the graphics to match the company image, and gain an understanding of what is meant by blogging management and maintenance. Students leave the class knowing not only how to start a blog but also how to promote it and keep it alive to maximize the benefits for their business.
5/27/2014 – Website Management – 1:00-3:00pm
This topic seeks to introduce students to the basics of website management, so that they can maintain and update their business websites on their own, without having to rely on outside help, and understand all the steps involved in planning, designing, building, positioning, promoting, and maintaining a website. The topic helps students understand the benefits a website can bring to even the smallest business and gives them the opportunity to practice editing a real business website. Students learn how to add and remove different types of content, how to organize content, and how to change graphics and navigational elements. In the most advanced part of the exercise, students learn how to manage CSS styles. More importantly, the topic does not cover coding or go into unnecessary technical detail.
6/10/2014 Basics of Finance – 1:00-3:00pm
This topic introduces students to basic finance concepts and gives them the opportunity to apply these concepts to a real business case. Students do so by conducting a Break-Even Analysis in LibreOffice Calc (www.libreoffice.org) which allows them to learn about finance and to understand the fundamental features of electronic spreadsheets.
6/17/2014 Financial Plan -1:00-3:00pm
This topic introduces students to the initial steps necessary for writing up the Financial section of a Business Plan. Students are introduced to the importance of financial planning by understanding the difference between liquidity and profitability. They are then exposed to different financial documents that they can use to assess both the liquidity and the profitability of their business. Among these, students have the opportunity to look at the Income statement in more depth. They learn about the calculations implied in the different sections of an Income statement, and then practice building one on the basis of an existing template. In particular, students learn how to use LibreOffice Calc (www.libreoffice.org) to insert numerical data and make different types of simple calculations, all of which can be used for building other types of financial documents too.
6/24/2014 Expense Tracking – 1:00-3:00pm
This topic focuses on the importance of expense tracking for managing finances and keeping an eye on the financial health of a business. Students are introduced to both licensed and open source electronic spreadsheet software in which they learn how to create an expense table for a real business. Students learn how to use a series of automatic formulas of varying complexity, including Autosum, Autofill, SUMIF and COUNTIF, and are introduced to the notion of relative and absolute references. They have the opportunity to learn how to apply formatting to the table, including conditional formatting. In the more advanced part of the exercise, students are introduced to the concept of Pivot Tables for summarizing annual business expenses. Students understand the importance of expense tracking for reining in spending and having an overview of the business’s cash flow. They also discuss the series of steps they need to take in order to manage their expenses efficiently.