FastTrac program seeking growth-oriented businesses

BOULDER — The 1998 FastTrac entrepreneurial training program run the Boulder Chamber of Commerce again is seeking businesses that are focused on growing their market niches.

Combining one-on-one coaching, peer learning, guest speakers and comprehensive workbooks, participants meet with experienced entrepreneurs and experts that provide practical solutions to the difficult problems most start-ups encounter.

After the 12-week program, businesses leave with a viable business plan and a vision of what they need to do to survive in a competitive market. This includes:

* Constructing a competitive analysis;

* Building a management team;

* How to work with attorneys, accountants and other service providers;

* Developing a customer base;

* Marketing techniques, including building a sales force, advertising and direct-response marketing;

* Understanding financial operations, including break-even analysis, developing budgets, planning cash flow and preparing financial statements.

One year after graduating from the FastTrac program, 10 to 25 percent of graduates more than doubled their sales; After two years, 40 to 50 percent of graduates reported they were able to double their sales.

Donna Plute, owner of Access Cellular in Boulder, was one of the Chamber’s recent FastTrac graduates.

“I have a new top-of-mind awareness of each component of my business as well as a firm direction,” she wrote back to the Chamber. “I’m making decisions with more confidence.”

The Boulder Chamber is offering two FastTrac sessions. A spring session will begin Feb. 3 and run on Tuesday nights from 6 to 9 p.m. A fall class is scheduled to begin Aug. 27 and will meet on Thursday nights from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Chamber members can sign up at a reduced rate for $275, which includes course books.

Applications are available from Cathy Porter at the Boulder Chamber. Phone 442-1044 or e-mail to cathy@chamber.boulder.co.us.