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Small and Home-Based Business Focus Group & Workshop listing

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Through a partnership between UMaine Cooperative Extension and the Ellsworth Noontime Rotary aspiring or existing business owners in Hancock County can participate in a facilitated brainstorming session with a team of experienced and knowledgeable local business leaders. The focus group will provide valuable feedback on an issue of importance to the business and help the business owner gain helpful insights and ideas for improving the business.

Examples of questions that could be addressed in the focus group include the following:

  • I am a sugar maple producer and have been selling my products wholesale. I want to expand my market to include specialty food retailers. How can I get a retailer to carry my products?
  • What things do I need to think about before hiring my first employee?
  • What factors should I consider before wholesaling my products?
  • What are the best options for financing business growth and expansion?
  • How do I expand my customer base to include younger consumers?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities for the success of my new business idea? How should I proceed?
  • I want to produce a food product and want to determine what the market will pay for it. What would you pay for my product and why?
  • Does my new brochure and logo convey the message I want to send?
  • My non-profit is developing a new program. What are the potential challenges and opportunities?

All types of business, including profit and not-or-profit, are encouraged to consider participating in a focus group.

For more information about the program contact the Hancock County Extension office at 667.8212 or 1.800.287.1479 (in Maine)


Staying Safe:  Protecting Your Small Business from Cyber Threats – Postponed to later date

November 29, 2017
9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
On an almost daily basis, new cyber threats and scams continue to dominate the news.  Participants will receive a vital overview of the types of real-life risks and emerging threats to small businesses.  Learn how to protect your business and customers with easy-to-implement security recommendations


Pricing Your Products and Services

Monday, November 20, 2017
9:00 AM – 12 PM
Pricing is the systematic determination of the “right” price for a product or service.  Setting any price is easy, but determining the price at which you can remain competitive and still make a profit is considerably more difficult.  Participants will learn about the kind of information needed to make good pricing decisions and how to apply pricing principles to their own circumstance.


Business Consultations for Workshop Participants

Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Individuals participating in the workshop series are encouraged to schedule 1 hour and 15 minute appointments with Louis and Jim for help and advice on business plans or questions about next steps.


Starting Your Business:  Planning for Success  –  Postponed until later date

The following workshops are FREE.  To enroll, please call our office at 667.8212 or 1.800.287.1479

Date TBD
9:00 AM – 12 PM
Business planning is key to owning a successful business.  Participants will learn the key questions that need to be addressed about yourself, the business, the customers and the competition before you move ahead.  These and other planning issues will be discussed in the context of the business plan.

Knowing Your Market –  Postponed until later date

Date TBD
9:00 AM – 12 PM
How big is your market?  Are there enough potential customers to provide you with the income that you will need to make a profit? The purpose of this program is to help business operators better understand market research information to evaluate a business idea, an emerging market or to target customers more effectively.

Resource Panel – Postponed until later date

Date TBD
9:00 AM – 12 PM
This informative workshop will feature a banker, business assist professional and entrepreneur discussion the resources that are available to assist the prospective or existing small business owner and some of the challenges associated with starting or operating a business in Hancock County.