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Launch and Grow Your Business

“Everyone comes to business ownership through their own path – people are either pushed or pulled into entrepreneurship,” says Susan Perreault, Training Manager & Instructor at Business Impact NW and the Washington Women’s Business Center (WWBC). When people are pulled, it’s due to a passion, an opportunity, or a desire for independence or financial security. When they’re pushed, says Perreault, it’s because of a situation like hitting a glass ceiling, forced downsizing, or needing to make one’s own job opportunity.

That’s where Business Impact NW’s “Launch & Grow Your Business” program hosted by WWBC comes in. It’s a 7-week comprehensive training series designed to prepare a budding business owner and diminish the common contributors to business failure. What are those contributors? “Owner lack of experience, lack of funding, poor planning or control of the business, and optimism bias” says Perreault.

“Jumping right in” can cost a lot of money, mistakes, and make you lose track of why you wanted to start a business in the first place. We can help. Through business plan creation, market research, financial planning and more, Launch & Grow connects you to resources, ensures you don’t go in underfunded or unable to meet financial needs, and provides you with tools for lasting success. Partnerships with Business Impact NW in-house lenders and Wells Fargo (financing a small business), local Libraries (market research), and other local experts ensure content is useful, relevant, and guided by experts.

Launch & Grow’s goals for program graduates include determination of whether a business idea is “right” for you, that it meets your needs, and that you are equipped with everything you need for continued support. It’s hard work — at the end you’ll have a complete draft of a business plan. But you get out of it what you put in. Some people come in with an idea, and find out that it won’t help them pay the bills. So, they come up with another idea, or change their plan — saving them from just “jumping in” and struggling while losing money and their business. Others already have a business that isn’t meeting their needs and they’re stepping back to fill in the gaps through a structured program. And others find that with a little bit of extra homework, they come out of the class ready to go. One such person was Emily Schikora, who took the time to get her business license during the class, started popup shops for her idea, and in less than a year, had a brick and mortar location open to the public: Editor Consignment.

Thanks to the WWBC the course is offered at only $399, and with a Wells Fargo scholarship fund for low-income earners, the course is available for only $199. And it has a unique financial incentive: if you attend all 7 classes and meet privately with a business coach, you get some of that money back. There’s never a better time to start the discipline needed to run a business, and get cash back for your efforts!

So how do you get started? If you’re just thinking about it, and wondering if business ownership is even an option for you, start with a Square One class. They’re free, occur weekly and available as a webinar online. If you’re ready to jump in, you can sign up for a class near you in Seattle, Lynnwood or Lakewood. Launch & Grow is even SEAP approved if you are working within a WorkSource program.

Still on the fence? Think about what is attractive to you about becoming an entrepreneur. “We talk about what success means to each person…finance, schedule, freedom, supporting a family, passion, independence…” shares Perreault. “It’s an honor to teach Launch & Grow. Entrepreneurship is very rewarding, very hard, and very personal — for someone to share their hopes and dreams and open up — I admire anyone who wants to do this.”

Susan Perreault is a past and current small business owner herself, and proud to also teach classes at local WorkSource and library locations such as “Reinvent Yourself – Small Business Ownership After 50+” and Square One.

Next Launch & Grow Classes at

  • Seattle has two series’ left in 2018: starting August 1st & October 15th


Launch & Grow is sponsored by a Wells Fargo Scholarship Fund, and presented by the Washington Women’s Business Center and Business Impact NW.

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