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Irvine Builds Businesses

The Irvine Chamber is proud to offer business owners and managers FREE, interactive online webinars accessible by PC, laptop, tablet or mobile device. The weekly webinars cover a range of topics relevant to businesses including financing, entrepreneur and start-up tools and case studies, HR, public and private sector connections and resources, sales and marketing, social media engagement and operational issues designed to save money and make money.

You can join the webinar from your PC, Laptop, Tablet or Smart Phone

or call Toll Free (201) 479-4595 and enter 22392403#


Thursday April 17, 2014 at 12:05pm


You can join the webinar from your PC, Laptop, Tablet or Smart Phone

or call Toll Free (201) 479-4595 and enter 22392403#


Click here for recorded webinar archive

Extended Program Information:


April 17

Export Opportunities to China
Most small business owners don’t even consider the notion of exporting their products to China.  They consider this something for bigger companies to do, not small or micro-sized companies.  However, experts agree that the opportunities are greater today to export to China than they ever have been in the past.  The growing middle class in China is more receptive to buy foreign made products, of certain specific commodities, than competitive Chinese brands.  Doing business in China has its share of difficulties, but the huge growing demand of its middle class is worth at least investigating the potential of exporting to China.  There are now a number of US Agencies recently formed to help you establish distribution channels to China. 

Gene Slusiewicz, who lived in Asia for the last 20 years, will explain why many imported products are no longer cost-effective when compared to products made in the USA. He will share with you his experiences and suggestions on the topic of importing and exporting products to/from China.  He will provide contact info to agencies both in China and in the USA that can help you explore the potential of doing business with Chinese companies. 

Topics to be covered:
• Definition of Middle Class in China
• Cost drivers in China actually making US products cost competitive
• Lessons learned about doing business in China
• What still makes sense to import from China and creative import alternatives
• Market opportunities and future trends in China to take advantage of
• Contacts for agencies and organization to help you export/import products to/from China

Gene Slusiewicz is a consultant and referral sources for companies desiring to do business in Asia. He is the Principal of Operational Synthesis Consulting.

April 24th
When and How to Conduct Successful Focus Groups
Do you ever wish you knew more about what your customers think regarding your products or those of others? Have you ever had to guess about whether a new product or service would succeed in the marketplace? If so, were you right?

Guesswork can be acceptable in some circumstances but often backfires when planning your sales and marketing activities. That’s why virtually every large organization conducts marketing research to reduce the chances for making big mistakes with regards to their customers or the public. As a small business owner, there are now useful tools you can use to help gather customer information on a budget. You can take advantage of online survey resources, conduct your own small focus groups, and take public polls, all on a manageable budget.

Amy Siadak, President of House of Marketing Research in Pasadena, is the expert you want to learn from regarding public opinion surveys and marketing research. She has conducted countless focus groups, surveys, and other forms of research for major firms such as Disney, Sempra Energy/The Gas Co., and Nestle. Amy will help you discover:
• What information you can expect to gather from focus groups
• How to motivate people to participate in your study
• Affordable resources for conducting focus groups
• Managing the information you gather from focus groups
• Differences between online and traditional in-person focus groups

May 1
Antivirus, Antispyware, Firewalls and Browser Protection: Sorting Through the Noise
If you are like most small business owners, you have some protections in place to prevent malicious viruses, attacks, and spyware from damaging your computing devices. But, how well do these actually work? Did you know that some viruses disable your protection and then mimic them to look like you are still protected? What about adware and other attacks launched through your browser?

Don’t worry, we have an expert to help you evaluate the products and services needed to keep your computer and data safe. Jim Longo of IT services firm Expetec will show you:
• How to evaluate the current crop of security tools
• Ways to protect your browser
• How much protection do you really need?
• How to stay out of “bad neighborhoods” on the Internet
• How to keep from creating new problems by having too much security software installed

May 8
Social and Cause-Based Entrepreneurship: Building a Business from the Heart
Most businesses “follow the money” and provide fulfillment to the founders through the application of their talents for monetary gains. But, not all entrepreneurs start businesses on that basis. Some companies exist for personal fulfillment, to be of service to others, or to advance causes in which the founders strongly believe. Instead of relying on donations or community good will as many non-profit entities must, cause-based companies for profit can roll up their sleeves and compete with everybody else in the open marketplace. Such companies can thrive in the for-profit world if the founders understand how to balance purposes with profits. And in fact, for-profit enterprises can be ideal vehicles for cause-based organizations that want to create significant impacts as quickly as possible.

Join Irvine Builds Businesses Host Robert Coleman as he guides you through the opportunities, realities, and potential pitfalls that exist for the for-profit cause-based organization. Robert will discuss:
• The crucial differences between regular enterprises and the cause-based entity
• How to choose products and services that will provide leverage in a competitive marketplace
• Creating effective messaging and marketing for the cause-based company
• How to build momentum and support for your company and its cause

Robert Coleman has been a business consultant for over 25 years specializing in entrepreneurs, startups, and growth companies. He is the Founder and President of the Pacific Venture Club.

May 15
Funding Circle: Filling the Gap between Micro-loans and the SBA
Funding Circle, based in San Francisco and New York, was founded by two small business owners - Sam Hodges and Alex Tonelli - who, while launching a chain of fitness centers, could not find funding after being turned down by 90 different lenders. Funding Circle offers loans up to $500,000, that carry rates as low as 9.99%, with terms of 3 to 5 years. The loans have monthly principal and interest payments, no hidden fees, and no prepayment penalties.
In this webinar, the Funding Circle team will provide a general introduction to their product, process, and vision. You will learn not only about Funding Circle, but also how their system fits with other forms of financing such as bank loans, private “angel” investments, venture capital, micro-loans and financing provided by the SBA. Join us for this webinar and increase your range of possibilities for financing your business.

May 22nd
Irvine LIVE! Online Business Opportunity Forum
In this live meeting, join other small business leaders in Irvine to discuss the unique opportunities available in Irvine and how business owners can work as a team to benefit one another. You are invited to physically participate at the Irvine Chamber or join online, and this is your chance to explore ideas and opportunities with others in a shared context. Host Robert Coleman will be at the Irvine Chamber and will help participants explore:
• What unique opportunities exist for Irvine businesses
• What resources are available for business development in Irvine
• How can Irvine businesses better support one-another
• Social media tools and techniques to create community

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