Free series provides advice for small businesses

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

SHALLOTTE—A free monthly business advice session over breakfast is proving popular with local business owners.

That’s not surprising, since according to the Employment Security Commission, 80 percent of Brunswick County’s businesses have less than 30 employees, and 90 percent have less than 20.

With the number of small businesses in the area, business owners are always looking for ways to increase productivity, and the Business Advisors Series, monthly at the Purple Onion in Shallotte, is a way for them to improve their skills without taking lengthy classes, according to Bob Stinson, owner of Patriot Management Systems, a local consulting firm.

Stinson and his wife, Linda, created the free series last year, and this year, Security Savings Bank sponsors the sessions. Stinson said more than 30 people usually attend the 7:30 a.m. events.

“We created it as a means of, within a short period of time, getting information to small business owners,” he explained. “We cover subjects like hiring people. We just had one today on banking, and we have one coming up on business insurance.”

Stinson said the idea is to provide “short presentations” on subjects business owners might not be familiar with or need a refresher course about.

“We believe it was needed because there was no one else doing it,” he said. “A lot of folks get into business, and they’re well-educated in the area they’re doing business, but they need to understand some of the basics of business.

“We recently had one on sales and the process you have to go through,” he recalled. “Some people there were involved in sales but didn’t realize there was a process.”

The Stinsons choose the topics and the speakers based on their expertise.

“It has to be a non-commercial presentation,” Bob Stinson said. “We have to get people who are good speakers. We don’t want them to fall asleep on us.”

Most of the time, the sessions are interactive conversations that allow the business people to participate.

Bob and Linda Stinson started their business consulting business five years ago and started the Business Advisors Series last year as a public service.

The next session in the Business Advisors Series is set for 7:30 a.m. April 22. Pam Yount of Associated Insurers Inc. will present “What You Need to Know about Business Insurance.”

The following month’s event is set for March 13 and will cover “Tax Strategies for Business Owners.”