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Mary Cervantes

Mary Cervantes is a columnist for the Napa Valley Register.

J.L. Sousa/Register

As a small business owner you’re so busy working in your business, you neglect to work on your business. Now is the time for you to make a change!

The Napa Valley College Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center offers NxLeveL, a comprehensive training program to help entrepreneurs succeed and strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit in the community.

NxLeveL for Entrepreneurs is a 12-session, 36-hour course that gives entrepreneurs the professional knowledge and management skills they need to grow their business.

Participants learn to identify feasible opportunities for profitable and sustainable growth, and bring them to fruition by preparing a comprehensive business plan based on market research, financial management and project management techniques.

NxLeveL Entrepreneurial training includes:

Experienced business educators, with local business leaders as guest speakers for each teaching module

Networking and learning opportunities with local business leaders and participants

A comprehensive textbook, workbook and resource guide

One-on-one business counseling and support

A learning environment that promotes critical thinking and innovative problem-solving

According to NxLeveL, 40 percent of participants began a business within one year of completing the course.

Another 20 percent continue to work on developing their business concept. When surveyed after three years, more than 93 percent of the businesses were still in operation, whereas the national average is a mere 16.5 percent for the same time period.

Also, the majority of NxLeveL participants used the business plan they created during the course to obtain business financing.

“After being in business for 4 years, NxLevel helped us to refocus our path and introduce us to connections that we needed to make our goals a reality,” said Veronica Samora and Kimberly McMaster, owners of Napa Massage and Skincare in Napa.

“Finances were simplified, marketing became malleable and our company visions became tangible. In the next few years we hope to purchase real estate and expand our flourishing small business, thanks to NxLevel. The business has increased nearly 40 percent this past year!”

Napa Massage & Skincare offers special pricing for locals and a monthly massage plan at discounted rates. They also carry eco-friendly skincare products. Services include massage, wraps, facials, waxing and special packages for couples.

On Thurs., Sept. 7 and Tues., Sept. 12, the Napa-Sonoma SBDC is holding free NxLeveL orientations from 6 to 8 p.m. at Napa Valley College in Building 3300.

This fall, NxLeveL Entrepreneurial classes start on Tues., Sept. 19, and every Tuesday evening from 6:15 to 9:15 p.m. The course ends on Tues., Dec. 5.

The cost for the program is $375, which includes books, materials and free confidential mentoring from Certified SBDC Business Advisors.

Sandy Stelter, a Napa-Sonoma SBDC Business Advisor and owner of Strategic Organizing Solutions, has facilitated NxLeveL training for more than 10 years.

Under Sandy’s leadership, the NxLeveL training program is an interactive and hands-on experience. All business owners and managers walk away with tools and skills they can apply directly to their business.

For more information and to sign up for the free NxLeveL orientation, call the SBDC office at 707-256-7250 or visit napasonomasbdc.org.

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

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