Kent Hot 100 designed to help local businesses grow Chamber, college partner in program

For a new business, surviving the first five years is the hardest part.

For a new business, surviving the first five years is the hardest part.

After that, the hardest part is growing your business to survive the next five years.

That’s where the Kent Hot 100 program comes in.

Launched earlier this year as a partnership between the Kent Chamber of Commerce and Green River Community College, the Hot 100 teaches small-business owners the 300 best practices of high-performing businesses and help design an action plan to as to which of the practices can best be implemented help their business.

“Businesses tend to struggle because they don’t implement,” said Kirk Davis, a business advisor at GRCC and the Chamber of Commerce. “The businesses that implemented faster grew a little bit faster.”

Davis said the Hot 100 program is one of four in the country right now and is based on the book “The Best Practices of High Performance Entrepreneurs” by Russell S. Allred and Roger Allred. The program is intended to help small businesses increase their sales through simple things, such as eliminating redundancies, backing up computers and making sure ownership agreements are in place.

“It’s turning over 300 small rocks in a business and saying ‘Could I be doing this better?’” Davis said. “It’s having a very powerful impact.”

So far, 10 businesses have signed up for the program, but Davis said the goal is to get 100 local businesses to sign up and each have revenue growth of more than $1 million. And even in this difficult economy, Davis said the Hot 100 businesses are thriving.

“The results have been amazing,” he said, adding that two things seem to happen for the entrepreneurs who join the Hot 100: an improvement in productivity and the discovery of new opportunities for growth.

According to Davis, one local business instituted all 300 of the best practices found in the book and saw immediate success.

“By month two, their business had grown by $1 million per year in revenue,” he said.

Davis said many entrepreneurs have great ideas for starting an enterprise of their own, but do not always understand the theory and principles behind the business world.

“This is business side of business,” he said of the program. “Ninety percent of business owners don’t understand business.”

Davis said for many owners, it is difficult to get away from the day-to-day slog of operations and see the larger picture, something with which the Hot 100 program can help.

Davis said supporting small-business owners and entrepreneurs also helps the overall economy of a region.

“Entrepreneurship is really the driver of economic success of a community,” he said. “The idea is that it drives taxes (and) increases employment and other financial activity.”

The program is open to all businesses in Kent, but is recommended for businesses that are already successful and looking to take the next step, not start-ups. The cost is $5,000 for non Chamber-members, with a reduced rate of $3,000 for those already signed up with the Chamber of Commerce.

According to Davis, the cost is minimal compared to the difference it can make for a small business’s bottom line.

“Most businesses lose that much money in mistakes each month,” he said.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Andrea Keikkala said the Hot 100 was a perfect partnership for the Chamber because their mission is help all businesses in Kent be successful.

The Kent Hot 100 will meet Aug. 26 to discuss the book “Made to Stick,” about creating a message that sticks in the heads of clients and customers.

Learn more

For more information about the Hot 100 program, visit Kenthot100.com or call Davis at 253-856-9595, ext. 5041 or visit the Chamber of Commerce Web site at www.kentchamber.com.

Contact Brian Beckley at 253-872-6600 ext. 5054 or bbeckley@kentreporter.com

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