UW Extension CD Course Helps Families Manage Rural Enterprises for Success

October 2, 2008

The two-part CD course Enterprising Rural Families can provide family businesses with the tools and skills they need to deal with challenges, both current and long term, and build business resilience.

The CD is offered through the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service (UW CES).

"Not everyone starting a family or home business has had formal (or informal) business training," said Randy Weigel, UW CES human development specialist. "These courses were designed to help families apply proven management principles to their enterprises."

The first course is titled "Strategic Management and Goal Setting," and the second is "Resource Inventory." They were developed by a team of professionals with the UW CES, Lifeline Australia and the British Columbia (Canada) Ministry of Agriculture and Lands.

In the first course, participants focus on the question or roles and responsibilities of family members in the family business and how these may change over time. Participants learn how family businesses are unique compared to other forms of business. A process for strategic management is presented, including writing a mission statement, setting strategic goals and other steps in the planning process. Families are encouraged to set realistic goals and objectives for themselves and their businesses.

The second course focuses on discovering what resources the family enterprise has to draw from including individual, family and business system resources. How detailed the inventory should be depends on the importance of each system in relation to the family enterprise. This course not only includes the background needed to develop an in-depth inventory for each system of a family business but also provides the tools and worksheets needed to get started.

The two-course set contains inventories, worksheets, readings and several interactive components and exercises to enhance participant learning throughout the two courses.

Families and anyone seeking to build a business are encouraged to visit Enterprising Rural Families online at www.erurualfamilies.org and view the resources available. A monthly electronic newsletter is also posted at the site. E-mail information@eruralfamiles.org for information on ordering material or to be added to the newsletter e-mail list.

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