Participants in training programs walk away with a lot more than a business plan, Weinberg notes. For the price of enrollment, new entrepreneurs obtain credibility when they approach bankers, valuable contacts in the business community, and the chance to network with others trying to strike out on their own.
"It's not who you know, but who knows you and what you do," says Lucy Rosen, president of The Business Development Group in Oceanside, New York, which has offered entrepreneurship seminars for 15 years. Priced at about $25, the seminars--held nationwide--give start-up owners a chance to interact with those who have overcome the main issues facing entrepreneurs, from lack of capital to bad service.
With a keen eye on the bottom line and the time constraints participants face, entrepreneurial training programs are becoming more innovative in their approaches to their customers. "Business owners don't have time to go to college," contends Dawn AnJolais, founder and president of Business Owners University, a Portland, Oregon, company that provides entrepreneurship training via telephone and the Internet.
Business Owners University's telephone classes, led by successful entrepreneurs, cost from $450 to $1,100 and range from a four-week course, which explains the steps to opening a business, to an eight-week course, which offers an in-depth approach to starting and expanding a business. For several hours each week, entrepreneurs take part in discussions designed to help them assist each other.