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Small Business Essentials

Professional Development

Offered through Continuing Education

@ Forest Park | Meramec | Online

Whether you’re starting a new business or expanding a current venture, Small Business Essentials will provide the right tools to get your business going in the right direction. Learn how to start your business, and how to market, promote and finance it.

Program Contact

Continuing Education

Phone

314-984-7777

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Class schedules subject to change.

Click the orange registration button to view the most up-to-date class details, including dates, classrooms, etc.

Classes offered in-person may be rescheduled, canceled or transitioned to an online format based on COVID-19 guidelines. Students are required to follow COVID-19 guidelines for classroom participation, which may include, but is not limited to, use of masks and social distancing requirements. For the latest requirements, review STLCC’s COVID-19 Information page.

Unless otherwise specified in the course description, registration for online classes closes three business days prior to the class start date.

Start-Up Skills

Starting and Managing a Small Business

Are you thinking about starting and managing a small business in Missouri? Designed for individuals who are considering starting a business, have made the decision to start, or have been in business for less than two years, this program will discuss the basics of business ownership, planning for success, organizational forms of business, legal and regulatory environment, recordkeeping and information management, marketing, financing and resources. This program is offered in partnership with the Small Business and Technology Development Center.
BUSS-701 | 2 sessions | $69 AGE 60+ | $69 REG
S02 Sa 9 a.m.-noon | Lynette Watson
June 5-June 12 | Online
S01 Sa 9 a.m.-noon | Lynette Watson
July 24-31 | Online

Business Skills for Artisans and Crafters

Are you ready to take your craft or art business to the next level? Is this the year you plan to make a profit with your artisan or craft side business? Are you looking to turn your side-hustle into a money-making business? Learn tips from an award-winning, 40-year veteran in the arts and former Best of Missouri Hands Executive Director as she discusses effective marketing techniques, outlets to sell online and in-person, methods to balance creativity with administrative tasks and more. Bring a notebook and pen to class.
BUSS-701 | 2 sessions | $26.50 AGE 60+ | $39 REG
S03 Th 7-9 p.m. | Mike Ochonicky
June 10-17 | Online

Business Plan Development

This intensive, individually customized, four-session course is designed to provide new and aspiring entrepreneurs with tools and resources to create a solid business plan. Experienced business facilitators/coaches will guide group sessions and share practical experiences to help enhance your business. Learn with and from peers, and create a powerful network that continues well after the program is complete. Gain enrichment from guest speakers of various disciplines, including the legal profession, marketing, human resources and financing. You’ll start the course by taking the Growth Wheel® assessment and receive customized tools based on your individual outcomes to assist as you build your plan. Weekly homework assignments are given and participation is required to be successful in the class. Program is offered in partnership with the Small Business and Technology Development Center.
BUSS-702 | 4 sessions | $109 AGE 60+ | $109 REG
S01 Tu 6:15-9:15 p.m. | Lynette Watson
July 6-27 | Online

The Business of Small Business: Understanding Financials

Discover ways to turn financial statements into useful management tools. Understand where cash comes from and where it’s used in day-to-day business. During this course designed for business owners, managers, accountants, bankers and consultants, you’ll learn to identify and correct cash flow problems and prepare future performance of a business using a cash budget. Gain comfort about decisions to prepare for growth, a better understanding of loans and financing, a deeper knowledge of how and when to make affordable purchases and a comprehension of how much cash can safely be taken out of the business.
BUSS-741 | 3 sessions | $99 AGE 60+ | $99 REG
S02 Th 6:15-9:15 p.m. | Lynette Watson
June 3-17 | Online

Understanding Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights

Intellectual property (IP) is often the most valuable asset a business will ever own. Unfortunately, many businesses and entrepreneurs are unfamiliar with IP and ill-equipped to successfully secure, exploit and enforce their IP rights. Learn the differences between patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, and discover why they are essential to the health and success of businesses of all types and sizes—all taught by an experienced IP attorney.
BUSS-734 | 1 session | $41 AGE 60+ | $59 REG
S01 Sa 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. | Morris Turek
June 26 | MC-BA 122

NEW! Public Relations I

Familiarize yourself with basic principles of public relations, stakeholders, and code of ethics in today’s global economy. Gain knowledge of the process that is research, planning, action, communication, monitoring and evaluation (M&E). The following textbooks are not mandatory but are essential for reference and more comprehension and understanding: “Introduction to Public Relations: Strategic, Digital, and socially Responsible Communication 2nd Edition” ISBN 9781544392004 and “Discovering Public Relations: An Introduction to Creative and Strategic practices: Karen Freberg: 1st Edition” ISBN 1544355378.
BUSS-702 | 6 sessions | $49 AGE 60+ | $79 REG
S02 Th 4-6 p.m. | Joyce Nganga
June 3-July 8 | Online

NEW! Public Relations II

Continue to expand your knowledge of basic principles of public relations, stakeholders, and code of ethics in today’s global economy. Dive deeper into the process that is research, planning, action, communication, monitoring and evaluation (M&E). Prerequisite: Public Relations I. The following textbooks are not mandatory but are essential for reference and more comprehension and understanding: “Introduction to Public Relations: Strategic, Digital, and socially Responsible Communication 2nd Edition” ISBN 9781544392004 and “Discovering Public Relations: An Introduction to Creative and Strategic practices: Karen Freberg: 1st Edition” ISBN 1544355378.
BUSS-702 | 6 sessions | $49 AGE 60+ | $79 REG
S03 Th 4-6 p.m. | Joyce Nganga
July 15-Aug. 19 | Online

Risk Assessment

NEW! Investigation Basics During COVID-19

Do you need to know information about a person for personal or professional purposes? From hiring managers to property owners to homeowners, learn the techniques and discover free online resources to get the information you need to make an educated decision. Gain insights that will assist you, your family, or the organization you represent.
BUSS-765 | 1 session | $21 AGE 60+ | $29 REG
S14 Sa 10 a.m.-noon | Cheryl Ring
Aug. 7 | Online

NEW! Business Continuity Planning for Small to Mid-sized Organizations

Explore an introduction to business continuity and prepare your company for planned and unplanned interruptions due to natural, manmade, and technology disruptions. Learn operational tools for maintaining a small business. Conduct a risk assessment while developing plans for maintaining your business’ essential functions during an event that threatens its survival.
BUSS-765 | 4 sessions | $79 AGE 60+ | $79 REG
S15 W 7-8 p.m. | Dirk Stringer
June 2-23 | Online
S16 W 7-8 p.m. | Dirk Stringer
July 21-Aug. 11 | Online

Accounting

Understanding Accounting: Introduction

Designed for individuals with non-financial backgrounds who work with budgets or those wanting to enter an office manager position, this introductory course provides an overview of accounting terminology and processes, analyzing financial activities and statements and applying the fundamentals of accounting. Learn about debits, credits, general ledgers, assets, liabilities, balance sheets, profit and loss statements and more.
BUSS-741 | 1 session | $26.50 AGE 60+ | $39 REG
S01 Sa 9 a.m.-1 p.m. | Bill Dorr
June 12 | Online

Accounting Boot Camp: Beginning I

Designed for individuals and entrepreneurs who desire to learn and master basic accounting, this rigorous, fast-paced boot camp provides your introduction to accounting business terminology, accounting principles, the accounting cycle and the preparation of financial statements. You’ll explore a variety of hands-on case studies for practical application and learn from a tenured accounting professor. Bring pencils, calculator and notebook paper. All other class materials provided. Bring a sack lunch.
BUSS-741 | 2 sessions | $45 AGE 60+ | $69 REG
S03 Sa 9 a.m.-1 p.m. | Stacy Moore
May 29-June 5 | FP-D 215

Accounting Boot Camp: Beginning II

This boot camp builds Accounting Boot Camp: Beginning I business terminology and accounting principles with discussion of the accounting cycle and preparation of financial statements. This rigorous, fast-paced boot camp is designed for individuals and entrepreneurs who desire to learn and master basic accounting. Course will include numerous hands-on case studies for practical application, shared by a tenured accounting professor. Prerequisite: Accounting Boot Camp: Beginning I. Bring pencils, calculator and notebook paper. All other class materials provided. Bring a sack lunch.
BUSS-741 | 2 sessions | $45 AGE 60+ | $69 REG
S04 Sa 9 a.m.-1 p.m. | Stacy Moore
June 19-26 | FP-D 215

Accounting Boot Camp: Beginning III

This rigorous, fast-paced, hands-on extension of Accounting Boot Camp: Beginning II is designed for individuals and entrepreneurs who desire to advance their accounting knowledge. Course introduces subsidiary ledgers, special journals and internal controls. Prerequisite: Accounting Boot Camp: Beginning II. Bring pencils, calculator, and notebook paper. All other class materials provided. Bring a sack lunch.
BUSS-741 | 2 sessions | $45 AGE 60+ | $69 REG
S05 Sa 9 a.m.-1 p.m. | Stacy Moore
July 10-17 | FP-D 215

Inventors’ Start-Up Series: Learn, Develop and Launch!

Gain valuable information from The Invent-ED Network Connection (The I.N.C.) about the inventing process and starting a business. The series will provide immediately actionable tips to help launch your product idea and new business and enter into the world of inventorship and entrepreneurship fast. Register for each class.

Saturday, May 29 | Online
BUSS-765 | each session | $25 AGE 60+ | $25 REG
S01 9-10 a.m. | Inventing 101
S02 10:15-11:15 a.m. | Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
S03 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. | Research, Read and Understand Patents
S04 1-2 p.m. | How to Manufacture Your First Product in the U.S. and Abroad

Saturday, June 12 | Online
BUSS-765 | each session | $25 AGE 60+ | $25 REG
S05 9-10 a.m. | Business Start-Up 101: Become an Entrepreneur
S06 10:15-11:15 a.m. | Show Me the Money! Explore Start-Up Funding
S07 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. | Crowdfunding: Kickstarter®, Indiegogo® and GoFundMe®
S08 1-2 p.m. | Launch Your Product(s) or Home-based Business Immediately
S09 2:15-3:15 p.m. | Manufacture Your Clothing Products and Fashion Designs

Saturday, June 26 | Online
BUSS-765 | each session | $25 AGE 60+ | $25 REG
S10 9-10 a.m. | How to License Your Product or Idea Yourself
S11 10:15-11:15 a.m. | Launching a Crowdfunding Campaign? It’s Not as Easy as You Think
S12 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. | Quickly Find Valuable Inventor Help and Resources

Inventing 101

Have a great idea for a product, app or other invention? Not sure where to start? Explore a broad overview of the inventing process and methods to bring your idea to market. Examine factors to consider when sharing your idea and ways to navigate relationships with patent attorneys, product developers, industry professionals, and others. Learn about non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), prior art, public disclosure risks, ways to protect your idea (prior to patent) and more. Gain cost-saving tips to address common challenges during the phases of product development. These short-cuts can save you time and set you on an accelerated path to inventing.

Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights

Explore the different types of Intellectual Property (IP) (e.g., patents, trademarks, copyrights, etc.) that provide protection for inventions, writings, art, and other original and creative work. Learn about the length and type of protections granted under each filing and gain tips on how to avoid infringing on existing IPs, losing patent protection, and more. Discover how to submit some filings yourself for under $100 via the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) website through their “pro-bono” and “self-help” services and how to easily become “Patent Pending!”.

Research, Read and Understand Patents

The jargon and legalese of patents can be daunting. But, as an inventor, being able to conduct basic patent research to determine if your idea already exists (e.g., under another name or category) and patentable is critical. Discover how to better read and understand the contents and key parts of a patent. Gain knowledge about the requirements for and meaning of terms such as “claims,” “prior art,” “infringement” and more. Uncover how to improve your research inquiries on free website and how to use what you learn from other patents to aid in the development of your own.

How to Manufacture Your First Product in the U.S. and Abroad

Learn the “do’s and don’ts” of manufacturing and how to select the best manufacturer based upon your product type. Examine the manufacturing process in the U.S. and internationally. Learn how to obtain a product sample and make initial orders. Discover ways to address the inherent risks, inconveniences, and timelines associated with average production runs, and expenses involved in manufacturing in the USA versus abroad. Uncover tips about how to avoid costly manufacturing mistakes during production and survey local and international companies that provide clients with product sourcing, translation services and facilitation of offshore manufacturing.

Business Start-Up 101: Become an Entrepreneur

Want to start a business but don’t know how? Do you know what type of entrepreneur you are and the type you’d like to be? Are you an inventor who plans to become an entrepreneur by launching or selling your own product? This class is for you! There are many different types of entrepreneurship. For instance, you can become a traditional entrepreneur (selling a product, service or idea), a “ecopreneur” (technology inventor + entrepreneur), a “socialpreneur” (socially conscious + entrepreneur) or an “edupreneur” (educator + entrepreneur), and more. Learn about the different types and start your journey to entrepreneurship with knowledge and resources to help you launch your enterprise.

Show Me the Money! Explore Start-Up Funding

St. Louis ranks third in the U.S. in terms of best entrepreneurial communities and offers access to a wealth of funding and start-up resources. Our city boasts several new inventor and business programs, services and incubators designed to help you get started. However, many of these resources remain untapped because entrepreneurs don’t know about them. Get on the fast track to funding for your new idea, invention or business during this course and gain access to inventor and business start-up funding and valuable resources? Learn how to take advantage of free training programs, networks, mentoring and other opportunities (many now available online) to help get your product or idea off the ground.

Crowdfunding: Kickstarter®, Indiegogo® and GoFundMe®

Crowdfunding campaigns can help you raise funds for your new product or idea, launch or grow a business, assist a non-profit organization or support a personal project or community cause. Not sure which crowdfunding platform to use? Learn about three of the most popular: Kickstarter, Indiegogo and GoFundMe. Explore the differences, requirements, advantages, disadvantages and risks associated with each. See samples of the most successful and failed campaigns launched here in St. Louis. Examine the many factors to consider before launching a campaign.

Launch Your Product(s) or Home-based Business Immediately

Have a finished product, artwork, literature, craft or design you’re ready to launch or sell? Not sure how or where to do it without a storefront? This class is for you! Gain valuable information about where you can immediately create your own storefront and begin selling your merchandise for free or at a very low cost online and/or at local retail outlets. Save time, money and many overhead expenses associated with running a retail business. Learn the ease of becoming a new entrepreneur or business owner. Discover how to bring your product or idea to market in 24-hours.

Manufacture Your Clothing Products and Fashion Designs

Need help developing, constructing or launching a product or clothing collection? Learn how cut-and-sew factories can help you through the entire process — from idea to design to product to sales to distribution. Gain an understanding about how these factories can convert your ideas and sketches into finished products through design development, pattern creation, pattern digitization, assembly, packaging and manufacturing. Discover how cut-and-sew factories can prototype and aid in launching your products within a shorter time than most manufacturers.

How to License Your Product or Idea Yourself

Learn the pros and cons of licensing versus the self-production of a new product. Examine how to secure a licensing deal yourself and tips to approach potential retailers, major brands, big box stores and other third parties. Discover how to structure and submit a video or one-page sales pitch online directly to targeted licensees to gain their interest and secure a licensing deal.

Launching a Crowdfunding Campaign? It’s Not as Easy as You Think

Before you launch your first crowdfunding page on Kickstarter®, Indiegogo®, GoFundMe®, there are many factors you need to know. Without this knowledge, you could put your invention at risk in more ways than one! Explore several crowdfunding websites, review past and present pages launched by inventors, and discuss factors to consider prior to launch. Find the best crowdfunding fit for your new idea. Learn about the risks with crowdfunding pages (with or without a patent) and the many components involved in setting up and managing a new or launched page. Examine what happens if your campaign succeeds or fails.

Quickly Find Valuable Inventor Help and Resources

Researching and collecting general data about your invention is daunting enough. You need to know more [e.g., how and when to protect your idea with some form intellectual property rights (IP)]. Learn how to quickly gather inventor information, forms and videos from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website. Discover how to extract the valuable content, information, videos, and/or forms that you need to gain a better understanding of the different forms of IP. Explore the various forms of IP (e.g., patent, trademark, trade secret and copyright), as well as the costs and filing processes (with or without an attorney).


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