Small business center’s experts aid local business
Published 9:02 pm Monday, April 6, 2015
A 50-year veteran of the restaurant business recently aided a local restaurant owner through Beaufort County Community College.
Bob Doe knows what it takes to run a successful restaurant. That is why he has been a regular contact over the past two years for Lentz Stowe, director for BCCC’s Small Business Center, when a client has a question about restaurant operations, Stowe said. Doe, one of several subject matter experts on call through the center, helps local businesses with everything from inventory control to reaching customers via the Internet.
Recently, Angel Borg, owner of Apollo’s restaurant in downtown Washington, is one client who has benefitted from experts like Doe, she said.
“It was invaluable,” Borg said. “I was able to learn a lot from his experience. My staff gets something out of it, too. It opens their eyes to the big picture and they’re much clearer about my expectations.”
Doe, however, has never considered himself a consultant, he said. Statistics pertaining to restaurant failure vary widely with some estimates indicating that 60 to 90 percent fail in the first year of business, and after three years, half of restaurants are no longer open. But Dope hopes to improve those odds locally, he said.
“The restaurant business is a tough business,” Doe said. “You have to stay highly disciplined at it. If I can help somebody improve their business, I’ll do it.”
Borg said she sought out the counseling from the center after meeting Stowe shortly after she opened Apollo’s in 2013. For his part, Stowe met Doe that same year, after Doe moved to Beaufort County from Massachusetts, he said.
Doe holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Babson College and has experienced financial analysis in addition to his experience in the restaurant industry, he said.
With Doe’s background, Stowe thought him a good fit for the center’s clients. Stowe estimates that if an individual restaurant owner sought consulting similar to that offered through the Center, he or she would pay $100 to $150 per hour — a fee most local restaurant owners could not afford to pay. But that expertise is available to Small Business Center clients at no charge.
“After meeting Bob, I thought, ‘I can utilize Bob to possibly give our restaurant and tourism sector an economic boost.’” Stowe said. “To have a resource like Bob, I can’t put a value on that.”
Apollo’s is just one of the area restaurants to benefit from Doe’s expertise, according to Stowe. He has consulted with restaurant owners in Belhaven, Creswell and Washington.
Borg has not only taken advantage of Doe’s consultations, but she’s also a regular attendee at the center’s social media workshops led by Martin Brossman, another subject matter expert available to local business owners, she said. She has become a regular contributor to Facebook after attending Brossman’s workshop on using social media marketing.
“It was an eye-opening experience,” Borg said. “I try to use all the things he has taught me pretty regularly.”
Borg also appreciates all the help the center has given her over the years, which has attributed to her success.
“First and foremost, I don’t feel like I’m alone,” Borg said. “I can reach out and find resources I need to succeed. I have the best network ever possible.”
For more information about services offered by BCCC’s Business and Industry Services’ Small Business Center, including targeted seminars for business owners, visit BCCC’s website at www.beaufortccc.edu/coned/SmallBusiness/workshops.htm or contact Stowe at 252-940-6306 or by email at email@example.com.