What resources are available for entrepreneurs and startups, and to attract/retain employees?

Before you turn that 'Open' sign on, the NIACC Pappajohn Center and the North Iowa Area SBDC have resources like free counseling and Start Smart workshops that can entrepreneurs and business owners can utilize

Posted: May 20, 2021 12:08 AM
Updated: May 20, 2021 12:23 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - As we gradually come out of this pandemic, the spirit of American entrepreneurship is awakening. And for entrepreneurs seeking to start a business, there are resources available.

Brook Boehmler with the North Iowa Area Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has noted of a labor problem in the region for some time.

"We need more people to come to our communities who want to work. The people that are here are great workers, but we're trying to make them even better. Now is the opportunity, we're reopening our small businesses. This is our chance to shine in North Iowa."

A common issue that's been brought to his attention by business owners is employee attraction and retention, especially long term. He says the more employers know about key things like gross profit margins, variable fixed costs and payroll taxes, the better the situation.

"How can we help our employees be part of our family, how to be part of this family of business? One thing we've learned from our entrepreneur classes is the more they understand about business, the better employees they are."

Before turning on the 'open' sign, he says that developing a strong business plan is necessary, and free business counseling through the NIACC Pappajohn Center and the SBDC is a great resource.

"We'd prefer you do this before you rent some space or go buy a bunch of inventory. Slow down, because there's a lot of benefits in slowing down. Negotiating capabilities aren't really there if you already start your business and renegotiate your lease."

For those who are interested in starting their own business, the Pappajohn Center is hosting virtual Start Smart workshops coming up May 26, and June 16 and 30. To register, click here. In addition, the Pappajohn Center is offering a hybrid version of its summer Youth Entrepreneurial Academy for high school students during the week of June 14, with participants able to receive a $500 NIACC scholarship and the chance to compete for seed money to launch their business. To sign up, contact Kelley O'Rourke at 641-422-4111.

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