A love for land racing at the Bonneville Salt Flats became a business opportunity for Colton McAllister, a team member at family-owned company Blackline Racing and a former Weber State University student.

McAllister, who recently started Blackline Racing with his family, attended a Start Smart seminar to learn the steps of building a newly formed business. The Start Smart seminar, which is free of charge, gives business owners like McAllister access to basic information regarding business plans, licensing and finances.

The Start Smart seminar is one of three seminars offered by the WSU Small Business Development Center, an outreach center that helps small businesses grow. The “Smart Series,” which also includes “Market Smart — Introduction to Marketing” and “Money Smart — Introduction to Finance and Accounting” have been offered by the SBDC for 12 years. The seminars have allowed more business owners to utilize the services of the SBDC.

“Start Smart helps us fulfill the capacity of demand,” said Beverly King, director of the WSU SBDC. “It allows us to get the content into the hands of business owners.”

McAllister has attended two of the seminars, and said he found the information to be useful.

“It has helped us to look at business plans differently,” he said. “It helps us build our business in ways we didn’t know how to before.”

Attendees of the seminar are invited to arrange one-on-one consultations at the SBDC to go over things like business plans and financial analysis.

The program is designed to meet the needs of prospective business owners in various stages. Some, like McAllister, have a business plan set up. Blackline Racing has established the products and services that encompass the business. Some might have a business idea and hope to turn that idea into a business plan. Others might be attending to gather more information about starting a business, seeking information on the pros and cons of opening a business. The seminar stresses the realities of business ownership, allowing the attendees to make an informed decision regarding business start-up.

“My advice to future business owners is to attend Start Smart,” King said. “It will really help you think about if it’s really something you want to move forward with.”

Aspiring business owners might not be aware of the realities of the field, and might enter their businesses with unrealistic expectations. Owners must initially invest money into the business, and they might not see a profit immediately.

“New business owners over-anticipate market demands,” King said. “They believe they will have more sales than in reality.”

McAllister agreed that those interested in starting a business need to know what they are getting into before they start.

“Do your homework,” McAllister advises new business owners. “Take the time to know what you’re doing and be patient with how long it takes.”

The hard work put into a business can pay off. The seminar explained that many business owners enjoy profit, independence and a satisfying way of life.


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