Monthly Business Breakfast Forums
Made possible through donations from:
TD Banknorth, Berkshire Bank, Greylock Federal Credit Union,
Legacy Banks, and The Pittsfield Cooperative Bank.

VIEW TRAINING PROGRAMS

Below is a listing of some of the past Berkshire Enterprises breakfast topics. If you are interested
in attending, or have a suggestion for a future breakfast topic,
please contact us today and let us know.

Listening To The Customer - The Key To Making Successful Sales - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - This forum will be a discussion of how to really listen to customers and discover what they need before you determine what you will try to sell them. It is designed to help owners and managers of small businesses learn from each other as they share their own experiences putting their businesses together and keeping them focused. The goal is to improve how business owners manage their businesses. We will talk about observing customers and learning their individual needs over time. The participants will include Steven Valenti, owner of Steven Valenti Clothing for Men, and Mark Kasuba, owner of M. Edwards Jewelers.

Women In Business - A Discussion - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
This Forum will be led by Judy Gallup, owner of Pasko Frame and Gift Center in Pittsfield, Carolyn Valenti, owner of Queen Anne’s Lace floral arrangements, and Rosemary Callahan, owner of Global Travel Services in Pittsfield.

The Forum will focus on the challenges and opportunities that women face in starting and growing a business. The discussion will include how the forum leaders and participants have responded to the challenges, what works and what doesn’t. The forum is designed to help owners and managers of small businesses learn from each other as they share their own experiences.

A Dollar Here, A Dollar There... How Tax Changes Impact Small Business - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
This forum will be led by Marty Huban and Kit Curnow. Both are CPAs. Marty is a partner at Brazee and Huban, a Pittsfield based accounting firm. Kit is a staff accountant at Brazee and Huban. The forum will focus on changes affecting 2005 taxes as well as changes that will go into effect for 2006. Participants will discuss how the changes will affect their businesses.

The forum is designed to help owners and managers of small businesses learn from each other as they share their own experiences in planning. They will talk about what has worked and what they tried that did not work and why.

What You Can Do To Help Your Banker Say Yes To Your Business Loan - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
This forum is designed to help business owners understand the importance of preparing NOW for loans they may need in the future. By preparing in advance, owners can improve their personal financials as well as their business financials and prepare current and projected financial statements.
Guest Speakers: Hank Ervin, Pittsfield Cooperative Bank, and Gwen Davis of Banknorth.

Sometimes You Get a Whole Lot More Than You Pay For: Informal Board of Advisors, a Tool to Manage and Grow Your Business - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - This forum will help business owners understand the strategic advantages gained from recruiting, educating, and convening a board of advisors to help owners review what they are doing and what they plan to do to improve their business prospects. Guest Speaker: Matt Harris, CEO and founder of Village Ventures and founding manager of The Berkshire Capital Investors.

An Ounce of Prevention is Wortha Pound of Cure: Small Things Your Lawyer Can Do For Your Business Today To Save Big Problems of the Future - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
This forum will help business owners understand the importance of seeking legal advice now so that they will save money and time in the future. Preparing in advance allows owners the opportunity to improve the agreements they negotiate and potentially develop solutions that protect and benefit all involved.

The Beginning of a Beautiful Relationship: What Are Landlords Looking For When They Rent Commercial Space - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
This forum will help business owners understand what landlords are looking for in negotiation. Ultimately, potential tenants can improve the deals they negotiate and evaluate who they want for a landlord. Guest Speaker: George Whaling, owner of Whaling Properties.

Making Cents - A Discussion on Managing Expenses - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Managing expenses is a key management tool. Spending in the right places can increase sales and customer satisfaction. Spending too much or spending in the wrong places reduces profits and leads to losses. This forum provides business owners the opportunity to share their expense management experiences and concerns. Guest Speaker: Bart Raser, Co-owner of Carr Hardware.

How To Hire The Right Employee and What To Do When You Don't - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Hiring the right employee can lead to increased sales, performance and profits for the entire organization. The trick is figuring out what the business needs and finding a way to hire the right person. This forum assists business owners in making appropriate personnel decisons. Guest Speakers: Sandra Zink, Director of Human Resources at Interprint; and Barbara Chaput, Manager of Training and Development at Crane and Company.

Massachusetts Department of Revenue Small BUsiness Tax Workshop - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
This forum, co-hosted by the Small Business Administration and the MA Department of Revenue, is designed to help business people understand the state tax regulations involving small businesses. Topics of discusson cover such areas as withholding taxes, sales taxes and filing requirements. Guest Speaker: John Keenan, Massachusetts Department of Revenue.

Valuing a Business To Buy or To Sell - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Whether in the market to buy or sell a business, the crucial issue is how to determine a fair price. This forum is designed to assist owners in understanding how to value a business to empower the seller to take steps to increase the value of the business before it is offered for sale. Guest Speaker: David Roche, Lead Instructor for Berkshire Enterprises and owner of Aspinwall Stables/Berkshire Horseback Adventures.

Managing for Performance - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
In most businesses people are the number one asset. Managing employees to improve performance is crucial to success. This forum is designed to help small business owners better understand how they impact the performance of their employees. Guest Speaker: Lynn Ashburn Helde, Ashburne Training and Consulting.

Getting To The Heart of Outstanding Customer Service - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
This forum introduces what good customer service means to the customer, the employee, and the business. Topics of discussion include identifying what the customer really wants, empoering employees to meet customer needs, and developing systems that encourage and reward outstanding customer service. Guest Speakers: Steven Valenti of Steven Valenti Clothing for Men, Inc. and Steve Fogel, Director of Berkshire Enterprises.

Strategic Planning Workshop - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
This forum is designd to help small business owners complete a strategic business plan through the exploration of the vision and mission statement of the company, evaluation of the company's strengths and weaknesses, a review at competitive and customer analysis, sales and marketing, and the ultimate impact to the company budget. Guest Speaker: Bernard Carmell, President of the Resource Development Group and Berkshire Management Institute.

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