Montana State University Extension’s Joel Schumacher, Janelle Booth and Paul Lachapelle, in partnership with Triangle Communications, help small businesses and not-for-profits evaluate their current business plans to see if e-commerce could play a role in strengthening the overall business viability. The program consists of a one day workshop primarily based on the following National E-Commerce Extension Initiative modules:
- Security Squad: Keeping your Equipment and Information Safe
- Electronic Retailing: Selling on the Internet
- e-Commerce as a Strategy for Improving Business Vitality
- Strengthening Competitive Advantage of Rural Business
Through the use of hands-on interactive activities participants are able to gain the information and resources they need in order to implement social media at their own pace. “Our program is focused on helping current small business owners evaluate the role of e-commerce in their business plan.” said Joel Schumacher, Extension Economics Associate Specialist. Learning about the social media available is the first step for some of the participants.
Mr. Schumacher states, “We market the program in each community through the local chamber of commerce and county extension office, emphasizing the importance of creating partnerships and networking in order to share the knowledge of e-commerce within the community. After the workshop, participants receive follow-up support via an email list serve and conference calls where participants can interact with each other and workshop leaders.
Several participants stated that after completing the workshop they feel they are now able to implement changes to their e-commerce activities through the use of better blogging practices, starting up a website, using Facebook to promote their products, and making current websites more user friendly and up to date.
For more information about Montana State University Extension’s “Ecommerce & Your Business Plan” please contact Joel Schumacher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 406-994-6637. Or visit their webpage, www.msuextension.org.