June 2012

Our newest Business Ignitor Course begins July 11th. Chuck Petch interviewed former students and found, “A review of past attendees’ successes highlights the strength of the program. Participants overflow with enthusiasm for what they learned and how much it helped their business grow.”

By Chuck Petch, Freelance Writer

Rick Sanger, owner of ShiroBliss (shirobliss.com), used what he learned to expand his existing manufacturing business into a successful enterprise. About 5 years ago, in an effort to impress his future wife, who is an Ayurvedic practitioner, Rick created an innovative design for an automatic Shirodhara machine. The machine is used by Ayurvedic practitioners to administer therapeutic warm oil baths to clients’ foreheads in a continuous recirculating stream. His design works far better than anything previously existing, and the physical appearance created by local artisans looks very attractive, but he had almost given up on the business because of an ineffective business model that was not producing much income.

To fill in the gaps in his business knowledge and fire up his business, Rick took the Sierra Commons Business Ignitor classes after a friend recommended them. Rick thoroughly enjoyed the classes and found his enthusiasm growing as he participated. He said he was “struck by the availability of resources and people able to help me locally. It’s really wonderful!”

Because of what he learned at Sierra Commons, Rick streamlined his manufacturing process and adjusted his pricing to ensure the long-term success of the business. Until recently, there was a waiting list for his product, but he is now reducing back orders and delivering quickly. Among his recent successes is the sale of multiple machines to a 5-star resort in Arizona. Thanks to what he learned at Sierra Commons, Rick’s successful business is becoming his primary occupation, and his customers are better able to serve their clients because his machine makes providing therapy smoother and easier.

By Chuck Petch, Freelance Writer

Victoria La Font, owner of Nourish! Nutritional Therapy (nourishnutritionaltherapy.com) just celebrated a major milestone in her business–it has been open one full year. As her business name implies, Victoria is a hands-on nutritional therapist, providing functional testing along with nutritional counseling. She does an intake interview to discover the client’s current diet and health condition, and she also palpates the client’s body to discover tenderness and other indicators of health conditions. After a thorough examination, she recommends a diet appropriate to the person’s needs.

Nourish! Nutritional Therapy grew out of Victoria’s interest in the human body and healing herself from various ailments through dietary changes. She added to the degrees she had already completed by studying numerous courses in the immune system, thyroid function, women’s health, hormonal issues, and many other classes in physiology and diet.

After opening her business, Victoria soon realized that she needed to round out areas where her business knowledge was weak, such as marketing. The Sierra Commons Business Ignitor classes gave her many worthwhile network connections in the business community. “It’s been amazing!” she says. “All the ties I have in Nevada City and Grass Valley come out of Sierra Commons. I love it! The classes taught me how to market, organize and set up infrastructure, and bring in clients. My business is happening now!”


Freelance writer Chuck Petch has been interviewing Sierra Commons Ignitor Graduates for an upcoming news article.

Click HERE for more information on our next Business Ignitor Course, starting July 11th.


Contact: Robert Trent, info@sierracommons.org  (530) 265-8443

June 5, 2011

Nevada City, CA – This July, Sierra Commons, Nevada County's business ignitor, is presenting a six-week course to help entrepreneurs realize their dreams of launching and growing their business. More than a business plan workshop, the course brings together a group of motivated entrepreneurs, and guides them through all of the steps needed to create a thriving enterprise.

The approach is action-based and covers topics including business planning, market analysis, marketing strategies, finance, budgeting, web, business law and more.  Course faculty are seasoned professionals who teach weekly classes, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to each topic.  Students also meet with mentors for special one-to-one sessions and group discussions.

Building on the success of three previous Buinsess Ignitor Courses, the curriculum has been refined and Sierra Commons is providing an additional three months of free membership to top performing graduates.  Sierra Commons will continue mentoring and housing these graduates to further increase their business success rate.  Evening classes are also new to this upcoming sessions, allowing working entrepreneurs to participate while still holding onto their day jobs.

To date, Sierra Commons has thirty-nine graduates – many currently running some of Nevada County’s most exciting new product and service businesses.

I’ve wanted to start my own business for some time now and the classes provided me both the impetus I needed to move forward and a foundational knowledge of business structure, financials, and sales/marketing,” states Matt Vanderpol, owner of qatab.com and recent Ignitor graduate. “I heartily recommend the course to anyone who has an idea for a small business but needs more information or an extra push to get him or her started.

Space is limited to 15 participants.  To learn more about the course and complete an application go to www.sierracommons.org/ignitor.  Deadline for applications is July 2nd.

Sierra Commons is providing an opportunity to meet instructors and potential classmates on Tuesday, June 26th , from noon to 1:30pm at Sierra Commons.

About Sierra Commons: Sierra Commons is a non-profit organization focused on creating jobs within western Nevada County, California. We develop and implement education and training programs designed to meet the needs of new, emerging, and struggling business owners and nonprofit organizations. Through affordable memberships, Sierra Commons hosts a variety of small businesses at its downtown Nevada City office.


Want to take your business to a new level?

The NEC SBDC Greater Sacramento/Sierra, Hewlett Packard and US Bank have 
partnered  to offer a one-of-a-kind opportunity to existing and emerging  
businesses in our region. HP designed an innovative series of workshops 
- the HP Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs - using technology that 
anyone can use at little or no cost. Workshop participants will learn 
to use the many software tools, which increases and enhances day-to-day 
business skills. HP employees will conduct all classes in the 
newly-established, state-of-the-art HP LIFE Lab at the SBDC Sacramento 
location. US Bank offers scholarships to qualified participants. 
Visit www.sbdc.net for more information.  

Looking for financial assistance? Check out the HP LIFE Scholarship 
Program @ www.sbdc.net



START is the second level in the HP LIFE program and is designed for 
entrepreneurs in the start-up phase of business. Individuals new to 
the world of business ownership understand the learning curve for you 
is the highest in the first three to five years. This series of workshops 
will help you develop basic information and communications technology 
skills so you can run your company as effectively and efficiently as 
possible from the very beginning. The START level is equally applicable 
to more established micro-enterprise owners who have considerable business 
experience but who are not in the habit of using information and 
communication technologies to manage and run their company.

The five workshops offered in this series target the concepts of marketing, 
operations, communications, and finance. It is not mandatory to take 
workshops in the IMAGINE/PLAN series before taking classes in the START 
series; however, it is recommended.   

Print Marketing:  June 6, 2012        
Website Management:  June 13, 2012
Contacts, Scheduling, and Email:  June 20, 2012
Presentations:  June 27, 2012
Invoices and Expense Tracking:  July 11, 2012

 PRICE:   $40 per workshop or $175 per series ($25 discount)  


All workshops will be held at:
1410 Ethan Way, Sacramento, CA  95825  1pm-4pm

In sponosrship with: