September 23, 2023

Planning a new business can be the scariest part of starting a business, so the Madisonville-Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation will help by offering a free two-part class.

The first class will be from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, Jan. 21 at the Kentucky Innovation Station, 38 West Arch Street.

Ruthann Padgett, the vice president of operations for economic development, said the class will walk new businesses through the process of setting up a business plan.

“We have had multiple small businesses contact us, and they wanted information on how to start, so we just decided that we would put this class together,” she said.

The first class will explain the need for a business plan and all the tools needed to put one together. She said it will help owners work on financial projects, who their customer base will be, marketing information, picking a name for the business, and the type of legal structure the business will have.

“A lot of people don’t understand the reason for a business plan and why it is so important,” said Padgett. “It really helps layout the whole foundation, and it is essential to anybody starting a business.”

She said if one of the businesses decides they need to borrow money, they can take the business plan to any bank and it helps the bank know the owner has laid their plan out.

“It just puts some groundwork into what you are trying to do,” said Padgett.

The second part of the class will be from 10 a.m. to noon on Feb. 11 and will focus on financial projections.

Padgett said the second part will be where owners look for potential weaknesses in the business and estimate how much of a product, they will need to sell to pay utilities, insurance, and rent.

“You will try to estimate for three years, and some people think that is really hard to do, but once you start doing it and putting it on paper it is a lot easier going through that process than people think,” she said.

There is so much time between the first part and the second part to give people time to find any information they may need for the financial part.

“It is going to be hard for someone to sit down right then and come up with all their financial things,” said Padgett.

The classes will be taught by Professor Chris Wooldridge, director of the Center of Economic and Entrepreneurial Development program at Murray State University.

“I am honored to be partnering with Madisonville-Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation for this seminar,” he said.

A business plan is more than a one-and-done document. He said it is part of successful planning that helps eliminate surprises, flesh out ideas and put numbers to assumptions.

“It can become the business owner’s operational manual,” said Wooldridge.

Right now economic development plans to offer these classes once a year to help new businesses form a plan. She said if it looks like the classes are needed more than once a year, then they will be glad to offer it more.

Padgett said they do ask people to register in advance, so they can know how many to expect.

To register for the free class, visit