Business Essentials Training (BET)

Next available sessions:

Click on each event title to register

Thursdays, 3:00 – 5:00 PM

Hybrid events: in person in Stanardsville, VA or online via zoom

Wednesdays, 4:00 – 6:00 PM

Hybrid events: in person in Charlottesville, VA or online via zoom

Prerequisite for new founders (recommended for all):

Starting Your Business

  • Thinking about starting a business?
  • Have you started…but maybe missed some critical information?
  • Exploring how to strengthen your existing business?
  • Need to understand the basics of business formation and organization?

In this workshop, we explore components of entrepreneurship, review the steps for a successful start, conducting your own due diligence for investing your time and money, and the components of sound business planning. This workshop is offered live periodically and is available as an on-demand virtual course.

Session 1:

Planning and Operating for Success

  • Do you have a “living” business plan that supports your vision, operations, works well for you, and that you can share with others?
  • Have you explored your business model for blind spots?
  • Have you tapped into tools and resources to maximize your profits

In this webinar you will learn several business planning models & operational resources so you can choose the right tool(s) for you. The goal of this first BET session is to choose your business model planning method so you can 1) share your vision with others and 2) build or evaluate your business plan for your company’s health and security. 

Session 2:

Understanding Your Customers and Market

Is your business concept the right idea, at the right time for your industry? Are the features attractive to customers so hundreds (or thousands) will care enough to change current habits?

  • Is your addressable market big enough to generate adequate revenue for a successful business. 
  • Do you know what your customer cares about and how the customer views your offering?

In this workshop “customer discovery” theory and processes will be covered to help you get feedback on your offering with the goals of 1) finding your product market fit, 2) knowing what your customer cares about, and 3) understanding where your business stacks up in the market. We will talk about industry knowledge, identifying target customers and the lean business model process.

Session 3:

Pricing, Costs and Launch Preparation

Are you clear on you up front business costs and product / service costs? ,Have you considered the planning steps to launching a new product or service?  

  • Are your costs and profit margins designed to reach industry norms?
  • Is your pricing strategy appropriate to engage and retain customers?
  • Will this business make enough to support you and your family?
  • Have you thought through the pre-launch preparation for your new product or service?

In this workshop we explore the most common pricing models, discuss effective cost of goods sold management and review tools to prepare to launch a new product or service. 

Session 4:

Marketing, Sales, and Your Brand

Curious about navigating online sales and marketing vs. traditional methods?

  • Do you want to explore how to best launch a new product or service?
  • Could you use help building the value of your brand and how to communicate how your business is better or different?

In this workshop, we talk about your target customers, tools to connect with them and achieve sales, and how your brand identifies with them and your employees. We also discuss tools and strategies to identify market fit, marketing and sales development, as well as planning and execution

Session 5:

Money and Recordkeeping

In this interactive webinar we will share sources of capital, establishing credit, and tips for success in record keeping and cash flow management. We help you with tips and tricks in recordkeeping, as well as accounting language, giving you tools to help you sleep at night knowing you are:

  1. making money
  2. can pay your bills and
  3. will be able to access additional capital when you need it.
Optional Session

Hiring Employees

  • Are you unsure if you should hire employees or contractors?
  • Do you need help understanding the logistics of hiring and how to protect your business from common human resource mistakes?

In this interactive webinar you will learn how to avoid common human resource mistakes, gain access to tools for employee recruitment, retention and satisfaction, and checklists to become familiar with our regional and state resources to help you succeed in hiring. 

Optional Session:

Pitch Preparation

Business owners and managers pitch their business almost daily. For customers, lenders, investors, employees. How do you get your message across effectively?

  • Do you need a pitch deck for an investor or pitch competition?
  • Would you like to have a succinct way to communicate your business plan to interested parties?

In this interactive webinar you will learn tips from the pros and be given access to several resources that can help you prepare your pitch in all forms with confidence. If you are preparing for venture capital investors, please connect with an advisor to learn about ‘Pitch Preview’ and other specialized programs to help you prepare.  

FEE:  There is a $15 administrative fee for the core sessions ($75 total.) 
Scholarships are available – contact

All programs of the Virginia SBDC are open to the public on a non-discriminatory basis. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance.

Prepare for launch with confidence OR conduct a “Business Health Check” as a foundation for expansion or growth. 

Ways to engage:

– Attend in order and complete assignments to earn the Business Essentials Certificate
– Drop in to experience the topics of your choice

Sessions average 90-120 minutes. Email for details or check our CALENDAR.

Business Essentials Training Certificate

You can earn the Business Essentials Certificate by completing the homework and meeting with a SBDC Advisor. The goal is to have a business model developed, or be in a position to secure capital to start or expand your business. 

Quick Lessons in Financials

Some templates and online lessons for your convenience.

Cash Flow

Cost Benefit Analysis

Intro to Pricing Course (30 min)

Pricing Models Explored (30min)

Profit and Loss Statement

Sales Readiness (30 min)