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Mary Cervantes

Mary Cervantes is a columnist for the Napa Valley Register.

Is your business stuck in a rut?

These days, doing what you have always done will not lead to success! When you started your business, you had a vision.

Next comes strategic planning and efficient management.

A no-cost NxLevel orientation is offered Thur., Sept. 6 and Tues., Sept. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m.

The orientation will explain the 11-week NxLevel business training, designed for start-up and small business owners to effectively manage their business.

The NxLevel business training begins Sept. 18, presented by the Napa Valley College, Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

“NxLevel opened my mind to possibilities beyond my normal scope of thinking,” said David Horobin, owner of H-Forms.

“As a result, my company is growing like crazy. We’ve being attracting investors and are a part of the new PBS show, Things Green—Net Zero Energy House, syndicated throughout the US.”

“I don’t believe this just landed in our laps,” explained David.

“It happened because we were encouraged to have open minds, think outside the box, create extraordinary relationships and partnerships that previously seemed beyond our reach.”

NxLevel is an intensive 11-week small business training program specifically designed for business owners who are positioning their business for expansion and future success. Start-up businesses choose NxLevel to build the foundation.

Over the past decade, Napa-Sonoma SBDC has provided this program to over 500 local small business owners in Napa and Sonoma counties.

NxLevel graduates complete the program with a business plan, a new vision, and the resources to expand their business.

“We joined NxLevel as a start-up and quickly found we didn’t know what we didn’t know,” said Erin Selby, NxLevel graduate.

“NxLevel gave us the knowledge and the resources we needed...a real confidence builder. It’s the perfect combo of group classes and one-on-one coaching that kept us focused. Now we have our road-map for success. This program should be required for anyone thinking of becoming an entrepreneur!”

The next NxLevel Program begins Tues., Sept. 18 at Napa Valley College. It is held every Tuesday from 6:15 to 9:15 p.m. for 11 weeks. The cost is $375, which includes books, materials and confidential mentoring from a Certified SBDC Business Advisor.

Sandy Stelter, a Napa-Sonoma SBDC Business Advisor and owner of Strategic Organizing Solutions, has facilitated NxLevel for the past 12 years at Napa Valley College.

Under Sandy’s leadership, NxLevel has grown to become the go-to training program for small business owners and start-ups to focus on their business in an interactive and hands-on approach.

Thanks to Mechanics Bank, scholarships covering 50 percent of the fee are now available for business owners with one to nine employees.

This discounted fee is available through an Employment and Training Panel grant awarded to Napa Valley College Department of Career Technical Education and Workforce Development.

For more information and to sign up for the free NxLevel Orientation, business owners are encouraged to register at or call the Napa-Sonoma SBDC at 707-256-7250.

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Mary Cervantes is the business services director for Napa Valley College Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center. Reach her at 256-7253 or