Contra Costa SBDCPleasant Hill, CA

“New Venture Training program is a wake-up call for anyone thinking about starting a business. The process is very thought provoking in terms of keeping family in mind and the importance of time management; for appropriate balance in your life. Too many people give up their soul to a business and then it consumes them. This class provided me with tools and ideas to avoid mistakes and get the job done effectively.”

Henry P. Giovannetti

Background: After successfully working in large banking and real estate corporations most of his life, Henry Giovannetti wanted a new challenge: owning his own business. Fortunately, while attending a downtown Concord business association meeting he heard about a 12-week training class focused on business plan development — the Contra Costa Small Business Development Center’s New Venture Training.

Challenges: Giovannetti planned to buy an existing real estate franchise and he wanted to quickly learn the “ins and outs” of business ownership to help ensure his long-term business success. He was also looking for a comprehensive business plan to help him guide his dream.

Actions Taken: Giovannetti found that the New Venture Training class offered ‘real world’ training that included presentations from professional trainers, videos, guest speakers, group discussions and classmate feedback. He also took advantage of one-to-one consulting with his instructor. After finishing the class, he utilized additional business management consulting available for no-charge from the Contra Costa Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) staff of professional consultants.

Results: After completing his business plan and receiving about 100 hours of basic business management training, Giovannetti opened his own business. The New Venture Training class included many topics. The three that Giovannetti found most helpful were: researching his competition, management and leadership segments, and individual financial consulting. The financial sessions and the one-on-one confidential meetings with his SBDC consultant allowed him to ensure he had enough capital to launch his business and to allocate commission funds properly. Since graduating from the program in May 2004, Giovannetti has opened two storefront offices, in Concord and Petaluma, and created two virtual offices. He hired 27 new agents in 2005 and 12 in 2006. His sales increased by 39 percent in 2005 and 18 percent in 2006. In addition, Pine Creek Realty is very proud to have assisted many first-time homebuyers acquire affordable housing.

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.