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Seminar to Offer Hints on Strategic Planning

October 13, 1998

Joseph Huggins, manager of the Gold Coast Small Business Development Center in Ventura, calls strategic planning one of the key elements to business success. Unfortunately, he says, it is also one of the elements lacking in the operation of most small businesses.

Huggins will conduct a strategic planning seminar Nov. 6 to help local entrepreneurs chart a long-term course of operation.

The program, to be held at the center's Ralston Street office in Ventura, is part of a series of breakfast workshops aimed at assisting owners of small businesses. The series also is intended to bring attention to the business support services offered by Southern California branches of the Small Business Development Center.

The programs, being held in the Ventura, Van Nuys, Santa Clarita and Palmdale offices, began in late September and will run through Nov. 12. Topics include public relations, debt management, employment laws and access to capital.

International business consultant Richard Gillis will precede Huggins on the Ventura schedule with a workshop Oct. 22 covering effective hiring techniques and employment laws.

"We're trying different things to get visibility for the center," Huggins said.

The Small Business Development Centers provide low-cost or free business services including one-on-one and group consultation, skills training, seminars and support groups. This is the nonprofit organization's first attempt at a morning seminar series.

In his presentation, Huggins will provide owners of small businesses with guidelines for developing long-term plans.

"Small-business owners really respond from their hip--day to day," said Huggins, former senior manager at Price Waterhouse and Deloitte & Touche. "One of the things they need to do is scenario building. They need to look at potential things that can happen in the future, have a contingency plan."

Huggins said he will emphasize the need for business owners to develop a list of the top priorities for their businesses.

"Once you know what you have to do, you work on strategies to do it," he said. "Where a lot of businesses fall down is they don't have a vision. We emphasize the process of thinking through issues. It could be quality control, customer service, profitability. Once they identify that, they come up with strategies to address it."

Admission to Gillis' seminar, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Oct. 22, is $10; Huggins' course, from 8:30 a.m. to noon Nov. 6, is $40. For more information, call (818) 907-9922.

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