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Wyoming Business Tips for June 5-June 11


May 27, 2011 — A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Jim Drever, WSBDC business adviser

"A new business incubator just opened in Rawlins and I've seen these around the state. What type of businesses use them?" Jackie, Rawlins

First, there are different kinds of business incubators often suited to the industry that you may be in.

For example, some focus on food, technology, manufacturing or retail operations and have equipment and space suited to those needs. Others offer office space and services more suited for professional service industry companies. Some often pool resources, such as administrative staff, utilities and equipment common to the incubator clients to provide better facilities for their needs and for lower cost than if they went elsewhere.

Beyond the facilities, more important, incubators offer assistance to help businesses. Start-up and emerging businesses are usually the most vulnerable and most likely to benefit from support and guidance incubators provide.

Common benefits for incubator clients include:

 -- One-on-one advising/business counseling. Having extra help to ensure that the fundamentals are in place for a business to be successful can help make sure a business will be viable and profitable. These fundamentals include assistance with marketing, financial planning or operations. With proper assistance, individual business weaknesses can be discovered and remedies can be applied that won't prohibit a business from being successful.

-- Being held accountable. Small early-stage businesses are held accountable only by themselves. Incubator clients are required to report regularly to an advisory board where goals, problems and progress are shared with others who can then provide corrective/suggestive action.

-- Business community resources. By working with the business incubator staff and alongside other incubator businesses, an owner is part of an important support business network in the community, ranging from financial resources to developing workforce or even successful advertising methods.

A number of business incubators have been developed in Wyoming and the best method to find a nearby facility is to contact a local economic development office, chamber of commerce or SBDC Wyoming Entrepreneur representative. Wyoming Entrepreneur is closely involved with incubators in several Wyoming communities.

If you are start a business or are a home-based business owner ready to take the next step and would like some help along the way, moving into a business incubator might be the right thing for the business' success.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail wsbdc@uwyo.edu or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922

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