Summer 1985 // Volume 23 // Number 2 // Ideas at Work // 2IAW2

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Marketing You and Your Business


Sally Weinschrott
County Extension Agent
Cooperative Extension
Family Living Department
Washington State University
Port Townsend, Washington

Because it's so hard to find a job in Jefferson County, Washington, many people resort to nontraditional kinds of work to make a living. Historically, the county has had jobs in the pulp mill, lumbering, and fishing. But during the past five years, these jobs have become scarce because plastics are replacing paper products, high interest rates have slowed home building, and recent laws place new limits on commercial fishing.

However, during this same period, something unusual has been happening: tourism has come to Jefferson County. Now residents enjoy possibilities for all types of new jobs-vacation housing, food service, entertainment, the arts, and services such as cleaning, window washing, and even taking care of greenery.

Unusual, too, is Jefferson County's beauty and isolation across the Sound from Seattle. For these reasons, many artists and artisans settle hereprofessional dressmakers, weavers, fiber artists, writers, women who do batik, men who make banners, gourmet cooks . . . the list is endless.

Some work in their own homes, selling their products directly, through local boutiques or giftshops, or through catalogs.

They share one thing in common-they make very little money.

So many craftsmen aren't equipped to do business. They don't understand cash flow, advertising, working with customers. And, few resources are available for them to learn about starting and maintaining a profitable business.

October, 1984, was an excellent time for Extension to team with the county's Economic Development Council to present a conference on "Marketing You and Your Business: Strategies for Small Business, Including Home-Based Businesses."

Topics of this one-day conference included how to market your business, marketing yourself to the money lenders, promoting your product, advertising your business, goal setting, strategies for small business growth, and tax laws affecting small businesses.

The afternoon program offered two tracks: one for participants without business experience; the other for veteran small businessowners.

Most presenters for the conference were local for a very good reason: they'll be nearby resources in the future. The conference offered free time for participants to network. What better way to learn about business in the community than to talk to people already doing business there? Finally, the program included displays of products that small businesses use and other goods produced by small/home-based businesses.

Cooperative Extension was certainly in a position to bring resource people together with the 44 participants who benefited from this marketing conference.