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Class Is in Session

Even the most seasoned executives can benefit from business classes.

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This story appears in the June 2006 issue of Start Up.

When W. David Hellyer, 50, took the plunge into self-employment in 2004, he had a bachelor's degree in business administration and psychology as well as 26 years of experience in corporate America, including many years as the general manager of a manufacturing company. Yet one of his first moves after co-founding Kadat Partners LLC in Pinegrove Mills, Pennsylvania, was to contact the Penn State Small Business Development Center office and sign up for its basic business classes.

Why in the world would such a clearly talented, experienced and successful businessman spend time studying business basics at that point in his career? "I ran a corporate business, but a lot of things were done automatically for me," says Hellyer, whose company operates three Comfort Keepers franchises, providing non-medical in-home care for older adults. The company had nearly $1 million in revenue for 2005. "For instance, I didn't truly understand P&L statements vs. cash flow statements, because I had financial people who worried about those things for me. All I had to worry about was the manufacturing end. The SBDC classes were very useful, because they empower you and put you in control of your own destiny."

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