Archive for October, 2009

Get it in Writing!

October 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Eric Helmy - Small Business Legal issuesThat was one of the take-home messages from Eric Helmy’s presentation this last Tuesday. Eric, the founding partner at Northwest Business Law Clinic, tackled a huge and varied subject with humor and clarity.

He started off with an overview of what he was going to touch on during the hour and a half presentation: legal entities, licenses and permits, intellectual property, employees vs. independent contractors, contracts, and, whew! where to go and what to look for when you need to find legal help. Sounds like a lot to cover in an hour and a half? Well, it was, and we ended up running almost half an hour over, but only because there were so many more questions and so much more left to say. Eric encouraged everyone to stay after or contact him later with questions, and also promised to update his website with some more information about the topics he’d discussed. His main hope was to get people to be aware of potential legal issues before they actually became legal problems, with all the accompanying hassle and costs.

We had a smaller class than usual with 12 participants, but it let us sit around a table conference-style, and Eric encouraged the audience to chime in with questions and comments. There was a lot of positive feedback:


“Mr. Helmy did a great job presenting so much useful information”

Looks like we’ve got another seminar well worth repeating in the future.

Categories: classes Tags: ,

Seminars to Come…

October 23, 2009 Leave a comment

We’re still going ahead with next week’s legal issues seminar presented by Eric Helmy of the Northwest Business Law Clinic. So far we’ve got 10 people signed up. We get so many questions about legal matters that we can only tell clients that as non-lawyers, we’re truly not qualified to answer. But now’s their chance to hear from the guy with the real expertise, happening Tuesday, October 27th from 6-7:30pm.

Coming up the week after, in November (it’s already almost November?!) we have Benjamin Tomkins talking about social network marketing. Benjamin is a journalist and media consultant with 15 years of experience engaging audiences in print and online, and he’ll be covering different social media tools and applications, and how to measure and use online marketing campaigns. He’ll be with us on Monday November 2nd from 6-8pm.

Finally we’ve got a special seminar specifically for our clients working on business plan follow-up with Yolanda Karp, a business consultant. She’ll be working with a small group of our Foundations class participants on Thursday November 19th to fine-tune and solidify the business plans they’ve been developing during their 6-week long Foundations program.

Insurance Seminar Canceled :(

October 20, 2009 Leave a comment

We didn’t have quite the numbers to make it worth it for our speaker to do the insurance seminar tonight.


Insurance is definitely not the most exciting topic, but we know there’s a lot of confusion around it. It’s often those mundane issues that are the most important to get right. We may try to combine it with the presentation on legal matters so people can get all of those fine print topics out of the way all at once.

Categories: classes Tags:

How to Give a Great Presentation?

October 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Keep your cool through blackouts, blaring alarms and frigid temperatures!

Gigi Rosenberg ( and our intrepid participants did all that Wednesday night. It was a really good, interactive session, with plenty of excitement to keep everyone involved and awake.

Gigi working the room

Gigi working the room

We tried out a new space in the building – the Mercy Corps Aceh community room, which is a big open room with plenty of space. It was also conveniently set up for the microfinance conference happening this week, and other than the rather chilly AC, it was the perfect layout.

Gigi warmed up the room right away with great funny stories and really personable presentation. She went over some basic tips about grounding yourself and making yourself comfortable in front of an audience, and then she told everyone that the second half of the seminar was going to be theirs: to present a product, introduce themselves, or practice anything they wanted to in front of a group. They got some time to work on their presentations (which they stoically did with an alarm blaring) and then a few brave volunteers offered to talk in front of the group of 22 (our biggest turnout yet).

We got to find out all about Moon Pads, a new idea for teenager-friendly reflective bike gear and how to be sustainable for the earth and your wallet. Gigi followed up with tips and ideas, and the whole room got to participate.

Gigi even did a business card raffle, and chose two lucky participants to sit down with her for a free 45-minute consultation. The rest of us will just have to wait for her next seminar!

Seminars Galore in October

October 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Coming up tomorrow (Wed Oct 14th) from 6-8pm, we have Gigi’s seminar on “How to Give a Great Presentation”. And, of course, we’re all looking forward not only to a very great presentation, but a spectacular, compelling, and no doubt fantastic one at that.

Next week, we’ve got two seminars focused on two very practical topics for small businesses: insurance and legal matters.

On Tuesday October 20th from 6:00-7:00pm , Michael Henry from Country Financial Insurance will help address insurance issues for small business owners. He’ll be looking at the types of insurance your business might need, when it would need it, explanation of the terms, whether it’s viable for you to provide benefits to your employees, and pitfalls to avoid.

The following Tuesday, on the 27th from 6-7:30pm, Eric Helmy from Northwest Business Law Clinic will discuss how the law impacts all areas of your business. You will learn about the most common legal business problems, and how to avoid them, and he’ll also tell you where to find legal assistance.

Blogging 101

October 12, 2009 Leave a comment
Peter and his rapt audience

Peter and his rapt audience

Our Blogging 101 class took place last Monday, the 5th, with 16 participants and our speaker, Peter Korchnak of Semiosis Communications. Peter went through the details of blogging, from an overview of what a blog is, to some resources and sites to set one up, and finally, the specifics of how to go about using it for your business.

Participants said that one of the most useful things they learned was to look at time, rather than money, as the investment they’re making with a blog. Peter emphasized that consistency is key, and he shook his finger at those who pick a catchy blog name and write a post or two and then abandon it (there was some guilty shuffling here, this humble would-be blogger included).

So, from their evaluations, it sounds like they left more aware of the regular and consistent maintenance necessary for a successful blog. But, as one participant noted, they also left with an understanding of “how fun blogs can be!” And that’s such an important thing to remember too… why would you put so much of your time and yourself into something if it wasn’t fun?

It’s clear Peter has a lot of fun with his blog – he talks about shows he watches, lines from movies, and asks his readers for their thoughts. Plus he has a really cool revolving tag cloud, and you can’t get much more fun than that. You can visit Peter’s blog at to see for yourself.