Workshops to feature tips for doing business online

Thursday, January 9, 2003

The Internet enables people to live in one location and do business all over the world, but how does a person go about making a profit doing business online?

The Saline County University Outreach and Extension Center will be addressing the issues involved in doing business online during workshops from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 14 and 16 at the office on South Odell in Marshall. Four instructors will be teaching about the pros and cons of buying and selling products online and some steps to being successful in those ventures.

Cynthia Crawford, consumer and economics specialist, will address the issues of financial management and what it takes to conduct business online in an ethical manner.

"We'll teach them how to use technology to their advantage," she said. "It's for people who are already buying or selling online or those who are interested in it and helping people refine the skills that they do have. It's for a wide range of people."

Keith Ward, client service coordinator for the Missouri Valley Human Resource Community Action Agency, plans on attending the workshops so he can teach others about online job opportunities.

Many of the MVHR customers Ward has dealt with have expressed an interest in e-commerce and he thought establishing an online business might be a great opportunity for some of them.

"Many times one of the main barriers people have is a lack of transportation and people are searching for jobs," he said. "This might be something that could enable them to do a great percentage of the work at home without having to worry about broken-down vehicles or other problems."

The workshops will include online demonstrations, lecture and discussion and an opportunity to receive a follow-up consultation with any of the instructors.

Parman Green, an agriculture business specialist will cover the bases of dealing with taxes, record keeping and accounting. Virgil Woolridge, a business and industry specialist, will talk about some of the basics of online business, such as what items might be in demand, how to package and ship items for sale and what to do when using an online auction service. Darin Starr, an information technology/natural resource engineering specialist will also share information about what software or hardware online businesses might require and how to set up a Web site.

"These six hours of instruction won't get them all the way through with a Web site or into an online business, but by the end they will know questions to ask," Crawford said. "They will have a big head start and know the steps it would take to be successful."

The class is open to businesses or individuals and will provide time for people to discuss their own ventures one-on-one with an instructor.

In addition to the local workshops, sessions will also be offered from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 14 and 16 in Carrollton, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 28 and 30 in Fayette and 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Jan. 28 and 30 in Boonville. After paying the $35 registration fee, participants can attend the sessions as their schedules allow. For more information or to register, contact Crawford at 886-6908.

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