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Business leaders meet with MAHS students

MEYERSDALE - Students in Mrs. Amanda Shaffer’s Oral Communication class welcomed two special guests as part of their latest project. These ninth grade students are creating fictitious businesses and have been conducting extensive research to identify start-up and operational costs, establish a business plan,  design business cards, forms of advertisements and a resume. The final aspect of this project will be to present a slide show presentation to present to the class as part of the oral communications speech requirements.

To help meet these requirements, Joshua Miller, Assistant Vice President & Business Development Officer at Somerset Trust Company; and Jeffrey Boldizar, Director of the Small Business Development Center at St. Francis University, addressed the class on the “real-life” responsibilities and skills needed to start a business. 

“We are here to provide examples of how the Business Center and bank work together to help people start a business,” Miller explained. 

Miller said that from a financial institution, the most important aspect he considers when asked for a loan is the business plan.

“We are looking for a descriptive and complete narrative that tells the story of your proposed business. We need to know that you know your market and customers. Often, the biggest mistake made by the applicant is not knowing how to run a business. That requires research and planning,” Miller explained. “ We need to see that you have a financial plan and knowledge of what it will take to get started. You need to know what your strengths and weaknesses are and like anything else that requires planning. Preparation is key.”

Boldizar also shared that for any future business owner, planning and research are the difference between success and failure. 

“There are many reasons businesses fail, the most common is lack of planning. Know your market, know what it takes to run a business,” Boldizar explained. “You need a good business plan and have a good credit score. Those are critical to getting funding. The Small Business Development Center is here to help you create a good business plan.”

Boldizar provided each student with a guide created by his department entitled “Effective Business Planning Procedures.” Each guide offers specific instructions to begin the process of creating a business plan as well as real examples of successful plans created by local businesses. 

“I know these are fictitious businesses, but one or many of you might just have something that can be your future business and career.”

Both men emphasized that having a sound credit score is imperative.

 “I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a good credit score. We check three things when considering a loan - your tax history, your credit and the business plan. It is so critical to have a good score. Know what is on your credit score and fix any problems as soon as possible.”

 At the conclusion of the presentations, students shared their business ideas. Ideas included automotive garages, psychologist, private investigator, food truck, welding shop, contractor, nail salon.

Boldizar praised their  ideas and encouraged them to consider these options as more than just a class project.

“You all have some great ideas and ideas I have seen work. There is a real need for trades,” he explained.
“Know that you can make your dreams come true.”

Shaffer said the information provided by Boldizar and Miller is information these students can use now for their projects and throughout their lives. 

“I wanted these men to speak with the students to convey what all was involved in starting a small business and what investors are looking for in a good business plan,” explained Shaffer.