It all started when the Business Improvement Committee (BIC) of the Iowa Falls Chamber /Main Street had the idea and desire to bring more business-related topics/programs to Hardin County. The group reached out to Iowa Valley Continuing Education as a training partner and, in response, the "Business To You" Series was created and successfully launched.
The new business training series recently developed by the two organizations, "Growing Your Business Skills in Iowa Falls and Hardin County," was made possible through Iowa Falls Hotel/Motel tax funding. The series was "built" in direct response to answering the need for small business trainings requested by area businesses.
Target audiences for the Business To You classes are new business start-ups, existing small to mid-sized businesses needing skills/knowledge/technology upgrades to remain competitive while retaining or expanding their customer base and bringing new ideas to their business for business expansion, and entrepreneurs. What these target groups have in common are the ability to bring potential business expansion to Hardin County/Iowa Falls through new business start-ups or by "growing" local business. The series is meant to encourage all types of business growth and creative business ideas.
Topics of interest offered this spring have included: Facebook for You and Your Business; Marketing Your Business Online; Customer Service that Keeps and Creates Customers, and Growing Your Business from the Idea Up. By participating in the breakfast series for just a few hours in the morning, participants networked with other businesses, asked a number of questions to the business expert presenter, and accessed valuable resources.
The series hosted more than 80 participants. Both partners knew that a businessperson's time is a precious commodity. It was the goal of IVCE to work cooperatively with area organizations that know their "needs" best, and to purposely bring timely and requested business topics to the area, at a convenient location, at an affordable rate, while accessing experts in the field, "close to home."
What's nice about this series is that it was created to be "portable" and tailored, so it can be developed for other areas, and other specific business needs. Thanks to a grant from the Hardin County Community Endowment Foundation, the Business to You series will continue this fall in Hardin County, with planning already underway for all new topics and programming.
Lori Wildman is Workforce Education Coordinator for Iowa Valley Continuing Education