Tag Archives: Jimmie Wilkins

Surviving a Small Business Cash Crisis

By Chemeketa SBDC

Jimmie Wilkins, SBDC instructor
If you suddenly find that making payroll is beyond your bank account’s capacity – you are obviously in a cash crisis.  In the long run, it may be that eroding profits have caused this crisis and will need to be examined closely for longer-term remedies.  In the meantime, you have bills to pay and weathering this storm is your priority.  The first thing you need to do is create a cash cushion.  Here are five ways to create that cushion:

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Balancing priorities for the entrepreneur

By Chemeketa SBDC

Jimmie Wilkins

One of the unique aspects of owning your own business is that after a full day of work, once the doors are closed and the customers go home, you must then put on your administrator hat and run the business end of the operations. There is no magic solution to the double duty and no more hours in the day. The way you manage your time may provide some relief. Consider these time traps and time tips.

Trap: Spreading yourself too thin.

Tip: You cannot do everything at once. Set priorities each day. I keep a set of (maximum five) bright folders on my desk and put the “urgent, must complete today” items there. I don’t go home until they are empty. The rest go into an in-box that stays on my desk but I get to them as I have time. I set these priorities each morning. Some things may go to the top while others may actually fall off the radar as not important.

Trap: Tied to the telephone.

Tip: If possible, have someone screen your calls or use voicemail. Assure your customer that their call is important but manage the time you actually spend on the telephone. Set a specific time each day to return calls (actually book the time in your schedule). Just before lunch or just before closing time is a good time, people usually won’t want to do a great deal of socializing. (more…)


E-mail Thoughts

By Chemeketa SBDC

Jimmie  Wilkins

Electronic mail occupies (some may even say “invades”) conversations in most everyone’s lives today. Given the invasive species – you really want to be thoughtful how you play in the game.

Relationship: With each message, look for a reason to enhance your relationship with the person to whom you are “talking”. Punctuation is important – do you care enough to be professional? Greetings and closing are important – would you walk up without saying, “hello”; would you walk away with saying, “goodbye”? Do you show that you respect their time?  Do you convey appreciation for asking for their time?

Be Brief: Messages should be concise and to the point Honor their time by being brief and clear. The danger in brevity is being too brusque (remember the relationship).  Get to the point and don’t make them read volumes to understand what you are asking/ telling/ communicating. Think of it as a telephone conversation.
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Jimmie Wilkins retiring, Marcia Bagnall named as Interim Director

By Chemeketa SBDC

The Chemeketa Center for Business & Industry has named, Marcia Bagnall as Interim Director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) effective June 30. Bagnall will replace Jimmie Wilkins who has served as SBDC Director since 1998.

Bagnall has worked at the SBDC and the Center for Business and Industry (CCBI) for the last decade, most recently serving as Program Coordinator for Entrepreneurship and as an instructor/ advisor  for the Small Business Management (SBM) Program.  She has also served as Director of the MERIT program, a non-profit program that provides training, advising, and mentoring to residents of Marion, Polk, and Yamhill counties, and as training coordinator for CCBI. Her background in business and adult education, including holding an MBA and MA in Education will be an asset to her role as Interim director. Bagnall is also a business owner herself; she is owner/founder of Bryce Vineyard located in Yamhill County.

Bagnall’s diverse experience and knowledge of the Chemeketa community promise to uphold SBDC’s services and assistance to businesses in the area. “I’m looking forward to ensuring the continuity of the excellent services we provide business owners in Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties,” Bagnall said.

“This is great news for the Center, for the College and for the business community.  Marcia’s business education, business ownership and Peace Corps experience (where you learn to do anything with nothing) is an indisputable leadership combination.” said Jimmie Wilkins, current SBDC Director.

Wilkins came to Chemeketa from the University of Arkansas, where she served as teaching faculty and SBDC Director, and has shepherded the Chemeketa SBDC for the past 11 years.  With 10 years service in the Peace Corps and 12 years experience as a business owner, Wilkins established the SBDC’s current level of services with a passion for business owners’ success.  She is retiring to Pendleton to “camp and fish” and spend time with her family.

You’re welcome to leave a comment below to congratulate Jimmie on entering this new phase of her life. She has served many during her tenure and will be missed!


Successful Customer Service

By Chemeketa SBDC

Jimmie Wilkins

In today’s economic environment, customer service is critical. Customer service is always critical but today – people are truly spending less and being very selective with whom they spend their precious dollar (and time). One of your greatest strengths will be your return (established) customer. Are they staying loyal? Are you doing everything you can to be sure they want to continue to do business with you?

It is my opinion that there is no level of customer expectation that is “too high”. If you discover or hear of an expectation that you consider outrageous or over-the-top of reality, examine it carefully. If it is a level that you simply cannot or will not meet, acknowledge that and see if there is an alternative to the expected or anticipated service. You cannot always provide the same level of attention to every customer – that is reality but you can strive to set the bar very high. (more…)


Getting a Return on Investment for Your Advertising Dollars

By Chemeketa SBDC

Jimmie Wilkins

It’s a question as old as business itself: How can a company be sure it’s spending the right amount of money on the right kind of marketing so that it can sell more products or services to increase profitability and, ultimately, enhance shareholder value?

Advertising dollars without an evaluation plan are dollars wasted. You must know BEFORE you spend one dime what you expect to get as a return on your investment (ROI) and you must have a plan for knowing whether or not the expenditure was worthwhile. (more…)


Are Marketing Brochures Still Useful Today?

By Chemeketa SBDC

Jimmie Wilkins

Developing a company brochure can be a time-consuming, laborious and often frustrating event. After the first brochure is developed, the memory of the pain and anguish causes many to keep on using that first effort, despite the fact that it may be out-of-date, incomplete, unfocused or simply – just flat out bad. And then they are handed out like monopoly money – willy nilly and sometimes without thought to the return-on-investment that is expected.

A brochure is a great way to offer more information on your company. They work well when they are an addition to an introduction to your business. (more…)


Death By Chocolate Press Releases

By Chemeketa SBDC

Jimmie Wilkins

Often the local media (newspapers, radio, magazines) will do feature stories on local businesses. The question I am often asked is, “How do I get them to feature my business?” So, I ask the question, “What is unique about your business?” What is the “Ah ha!”? If the response is, “Well, nothing”, therein lies a good reason for the media NOT featuring your business.

Can you answer this question: What is the unique, special, competitive advantage of your business?” If you cannot answer in ten seconds and with a response less than two (short) sentences, you are missing a tremendous opportunity. (more…)


Business Plan Development and SBA Loan Guarantees

By Chemeketa SBDC

Jimmie Wilkins

The Small Business Administration does not make direct loans. It does, however, provide loan guarantees to banks who lend to small-business owners.

The process is straightforward, although not without a serious amount of research on your part.

You should take your Business Plan to a commercial bank for initial review. (Hint: Start with the bank you already have a relationship with through your business account.) If the loan officer/lender approves the loan subject to an SBA guaranty, the application and the bank’s credit analysis are forwarded by the lender to the SBA office. If the SBA approves, the lending institution closes the loan and disburses the funds. You make your monthly loan payment directly to the lender.

The Business Plan is your opportunity to demonstrate the uniqueness and viability of your business. Your plan should include: (more…)