Friday, September 28, 2012
Posted by Cathy Belk
The inaugural class of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Cleveland program is in session! The students in this business management education program are developing the practical skills they need to grow their companies—thanks to a series of one-on-one business advising sessions from dedicated professionals, a focused curriculum, peer learning and greater access to business support services.
What can you gain from applying for Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program? As graduates will tell you, quite a bit: In fact, the diverse business owners profiled below are alums of the program, and by taking that leap, their businesses—and lives—were transformed.
To find out exactly what Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses taught these participants, read on.
Many entrepreneurs praise the financial know-how they learned from the program. Dr. Dennis Deer—a Chicago psychologist who owns Deer Rehabilitation Services, a company which provides programs and classes geared to prevent things such as substance abuse and domestic violence—is enthusiastic. “I know how to read my financials now—I can ask my accountants questions,” he told MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
For Joanna Sobran, president of MXOTech, which provides technology solutions to businesses, this knowledge equals power. “Understanding the financials better has been instrumental to ask the right questions of myself and my team,” she says on the Women’s Business Development Center website. “This has already changed many aspects of our business and given us focus on services that are more profitable.”
Ace Negotiation Skills
Jessica Johnson took over Johnson Security Bureau, which provides professional security guard/patrol services, after her father passed away. A 2010 graduate of the New York City program, she told MSNBC’s Morning Joe that the curriculum’s positive results had an enduring impact on the business—especially where it came to negotiation tactics. “As a woman, we may not always know our value—and that was my case stepping in to run the business,” she says. “But after the negotiations module [of the program’s curriculum], I was able to go toe-to-toe with clients and to talk about the work of myself and my business to those clients—and as a result got new jobs, got more money and put people to work.”
Houston graduate Abe Gonzalez, who co-owns the computer recycling company RPC Global, told the Houston Chronicle he’s “become a new person” from the Goldman experience. "Co-workers, friends and family have commented that I am more confident and focused,” he says. “More than being a boss, owner, or manager, it was my responsibility to lead the company and grow it to the next level. As small businesses owners, we wear many hats and many times we get caught up in the day-to-day operations, failing to see opportunities in front of us. Being a leader is having the confidence to get out there and go after these opportunities."
A Compelling Story
No matter how good your product is, you have to get it in front of the right people in order to run a successful business. Often that means making sure your product resonates with customers. Just ask Rosalie Safer, who owns National Van Equipment, which produces blankets for movers. According to a January 2011 Fortune profile, Safer’s time in Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses “taught her to think strategically about product marketing and the importance of diversifying her business; it also helped her create an appealing narrative about her company.”
Increased Revenue, More Jobs
Above all, the business owners have quantitative improvements to report. A June 2012 Inc. story notes the Chicago security firm AGB Investigative Services Incorporated “expects to increase gross revenue by 35% in 2012. The company has already hired 17 new employees so far this year.” Jessica Johnson echoes this improvement: “The results speak for themselves: We went from 17 employees to nearly 60. We nearly tripled our revenues, and we went from 5 contracts to 15.” And Dr. Deer has similar good news. ““Since being in the program, I’ve created four new jobs,” he says. “My revenues are up 7% in the first quarter of 2012, from 2011.”
As the National Urban League’s Marc Morial told MSNBC, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is “a substantive program. It looks for entrepreneurs like Dennis, who are on the way up, who are well-established already but who, with some help, with some intervention, can grow.” Are you ready to take charge and grow your business? There’s only one way to find out: Apply today.
Cathy Belk is the Chief Relationship Officer of JumpStart. She specializes in branding, marketing communications, and business and relationship management. She brings 16+ years of experience in a variety of marketing and business roles, but gets her energy from working daily with entrepreneurs and their growing companies.