Small business owners can learn to grow at annual workshop

Small business owners can learn to grow at annual workshop
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Small businesses can mean big business for Detroit.

The city has increasingly proven fertile ground for entrepreneurs to pursue their visions in everything from restaurant and boutique ownership to opening bookstores and repair shops.

Presented by Fifth Third Bank, the Small Business Workshop will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 3 at TechTown, 440 Burroughs in Detroit. The fourth annual event hosted by the LEE Group, a marketing consulting firm that aims to educate participants about strategies for starting and sustaining enterprises.

“Learning to identify who their customers are and giving quality customer service are some of the biggest obstacles that keep small businesses from sustaining themselves,” says Mark Lee.

“We get a wide variety of business owners who usually attend,” says Mark S. Lee, LEE Group president and CEO.

The majority of participants tend to be Detroit residents and women, reflecting a nationwide gender trend of new entrepreneurial ventures, he says.

Millennials, like many of those Lee instructs as a faculty member at Eastern Michigan University, have also shown an increasing presence on the small business landscape, both locally and nationally.

The greatest challenge for most new entrepreneurs, regardless of age or gender, isn’t enthusiasm or talent, but lack of insight and preparation, Lee says. One result of the lack of familiarity with customer service, marketing and other key areas is an ongoing failure of many new businesses to survive past a year or 18 months, according to research.

“Learning to identify who their customers are and giving quality customer service are some of the biggest obstacles that keep small businesses from sustaining themselves,” he says.

To help equip participants with tools that will boost their companies’ chances for longevity, the May event will focus on attracting and retaining customers. Along with guest speakers and panel discussions, breakout sessions at the workshop will address:

  • Identifying potential customers for branding and business building
  • Understanding customer dynamics
  • Reaching customers through effective and targeted communication approaches
  • Understanding the customer’s lifetime value and its impact on business

Along with Fifth Third Bank, sponsors of the Small Business Workshop include:

  • Detroit Development Fund
  • Comcast Business
  • UHY Certified Public Accountants
  • Tanner Friedman
  • Sage Solutions Group
  • Michigan Women’s Foundation
  • Inforum Michigan
  • State Farm
  • Cindy Fletcher Insurance Agency
  • National Entrepreneurs Association
  • SBDC Michigan

Fifth Third’s Community and Economic Development Manager Tawnya Rose calls small business “vital to our economy.”

“Fifth Third Bank understands the value this workshop provides to the community, for small business employees and owners who are looking for resources and knowledge to help their companies grow and succeed,” she says.

Rose says the bank takes special pride in its support of entrepreneurs.

“Fifth Third is committed to businesses of all sizes, but we understand the importance of small business to our economy and the communities,” Rose says. “We are actively increasing access to financial services, increasing small business lending, and helping consumers and business owners enhance their financial capabilities. Programs like the Small Business Workshop are an important tool to provide ideas and solutions for small business owners.”

For more information or to register to attend the workshop please click here.

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