Business Basics

UCEDC’s training staff offers a variety of free business/financial literacy workshops at our headquarters in Cranford and throughout New Jersey in partnership with other agencies and organizations that share our commitment to small business growth.

Look for the following programs and other UCEDC workshops on our training calendar or use the Search function  at the top of the page.

 Basics of Financing Your Business

Access to capital is critical to many small businesses, yet most owners don’t understand how to determine what they qualify for, what money is available to them and the roadblocks they may face obtaining financing.  This workshop was created to address these issues as well as inform business owners of what’s expected of them in obtaining capital.  During the workshop, we’ll focus on the following areas:

  • Financing options available to small businesses
  • What lenders look for
  • Matching the right financing program to your needs
  • How to prepare for a meeting with a lender
  • Identify issues that will “kill” your deal

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Basics of Intellectual Property for Small Businesses and Start-Ups

You may not realize it, but if you own a business (or are thinking of starting one), you have (or will have) intellectual property assets that need legal protection!  Do you have a business name or brand?  How about trade secrets such as price lists, customer lists, supplier lists, recipes, etc.?  Too often, business owners do nothing to protect these assets and then suffer the consequences when they are lost or stolen.   Equally damaging can be your ignorance of someone else’s intellectual property rights, resulting in the dreaded cease and desist letter (or worse!).  During this workshop, we’ll focus on the following areas:

  • What is intellectual property? (i.e., trade secrets, trademarks, patents and copyrights)
  • How to protect your intellectual property at the state and federal level
  • The steps you need to take to register copyrights and trademarks
  • How not to infringe upon the property rights of other businesses

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Introduction to Franchise Ownership

Are you considering entrepreneurship as a career option, but want a proven business model to get your goals more quickly and safer?  Would you like to run a business of your own that will provide greater autonomy and independence, but are not sure how to find, or choose, the right business for you?  This workshop will provide you with a comprehensive view of the franchising process, allowing you to determine if franchising will help you achieve your personal, professional and financial goals.  We’ll cover

  • Common myths and truths about franchising – it’s not just food and retail
  • Government regulations for franchises
  • The importance of knowing your personal goals and objectives before taking the plunge
  • How to finance your business
  • Links to resources available before, during and after your selection process

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Marketing Made Real:  the Essential Steps for Small Business Success

Marketing is an integral key to the success of small businesses, yet many small businesses don’t understand how to effectively market their business, or even what marketing really means. You’ll learn how to:

  • Identify your target customers and what drives them to buy
  • Understand your competition
  • Create your marketing message
  • Choose the best vehicles to reach your customers
  • Focus your time and energy on your ‘most likely to purchase’ customers

We’ll take a case study from inception to the sale, answering real-life questions about how to find your customers, outsmart your competition, and get the most bang out of your marketing budget, no matter the size.

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Quickbooks 101

One of the most important, yet frequently overlooked components for most business owners is recordkeeping.  Quickbooks 101 is an interactive workshop created with the needs of businesses who manage their own financial records.  This informative workshop walks participants through the ground level stages of “bookkeeping”.  Although this workshop is interactive, it was designed for registrants to follow along on their laptop or with pen and pad!  During the workshop, we’ll focus on the following areas:

  • The effective use of an accounting system
  • How to set up your company in Quickbooks
  • Adding customers, vendors and employees to your records
  • How to produce accurate and timely reports to analyze your company’s performance

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Quickbooks 201:  beyond the basics

QuickBooks is a popular way for small and midsized businesses to keep track of their accounting, but many users aren’t aware of the software’s powerful advanced features beyond the basics. In this workshop, we’ll cover:

  • Getting the most out of this feature-packed program
  • How to multiple company files and how to export and import list data from one file to the next
  • Entering price levels and tracking discounts and credits.
  • Creating customer statements and assessing finance charges on overdue balances
  • Writing off past-due balances when it appears that the customer is not going to pay.

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Starting a Business in New Jersey

The decision to start a business is an exciting time for any entrepreneur.  However, there are many steps you’ll need to take to protect yourself from potential liability, legal and tax issues.  This workshop is designed to guide you through the mechanics of starting your business and make sure you get off on the right foot. In this workshop, we’ll cover:

  • The pros and cons of different legal business structures
  • How to name and register your business
  • What taxes apply to your business and how to make sure you’re set up to file them
  • What’s required of your business if you have employees
  • The insurance you’re required to have to operate in New Jersey

Give your business the best chance to succeed by getting started the right way.

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The Price is Right:  the How-to’s of Pricing your Products and Services for Marketing Success

One of the most difficult decisions business owners face is how much to charge for their product or service. Understanding which price points motivate or dissuade consumers from purchasing is key to setting the right price.  During this workshop, we will focus on the following:

  • Types of pricing strategies
  • Finding your break-even price
  • Determining cost structure
  • Effect of pricing on your marketing efforts

The workshop includes an interactive activity that helps participants to determine their business’s cost structure and how it relates to their current pricing.

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Understanding Your Financial Statements

Understanding your small business’s financial performance is fundamental to knowing if the business is meeting your financial goals or if changes are needed in the way you do business. We’ll use realistic sample financial statements to illustrate the concepts we are discussing. Participants are also encouraged to bring their existing financial information to discuss or evaluate in class.  During the workshop, we’ll focus on the following:

  • Accounting systems – we’ll help you identify the benefits of timely and accurate financial information and how a system can be put in place.
  • Basic financial statements – we’ll identify the basic financial statements that are common to all businesses and what they mean.
  • Interpreting financial information – we’ll guide you through the process, including setting benchmarks for business performance.
  • Making key business decision – you’ll learn how to use financial information to make key business decisions such as when to hire additional employees, when to adjust pricing, or how to reduce excess costs.

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Your Credit and You

Personal credit plays an important role in your business. Small or start-up businesses have not had the chance to establish business credit, so their access to capital is tied directly to the credit of the owners. In this workshop, we’ll cover:

  • What are credit scores
  • Credit myths
  • How are credit scores calculated
  • Changing your credit score
  • What types of financing are available
  • What lenders look for

In addition to these items, we’ll distribute a sample credit report to the participants and go through the details to give them a hands-on experience of interpreting a credit report.

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SBA
These programs are funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the US Small Business Administration.