What’s stopping you from getting your own business started?

East Tennessee State University and the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, located at 2109 W. Market St., are offering three enticing workshops for budding and/or established business owners throughout the month of January. The workshops will take place Jan. 24 from 10-11 a.m. and Jan. 25, from noon to 1 p.m.

Two out of three workshops are designed to assist motivated entrepreneurs in improving their business strategies through use of social media marketing. On the 18th, Valentina Escobar-Gonzalez, founder of Beyond Engagement – Social Media Solutions, led the workshop and focusing on the upcoming changes and alluring marketing opportunities involved with the social media platform, Twitter.

The focus on Twitter involved gearing up, as businesses grow more and more interested and immersed in utilizing audience engagement, for new changes to the site as well as some innovative, useful functions. If Twitter isn’t your platform, or maybe you just need additional access to powerful audience optimization tools, you may wish to attend the session on Jan. 25, titled “Advanced Facebook Techniques.”

The workshop on Jan. 24, from 10-11 a.m., will be dedicated to the ins and outs of the overall hiring process for business owners. This session will be instructed by HR guru Ashley Cox of a local consultation company called sproutHR. So, no matter which workshop(s) attended, there’s guaranteed to be some fresh knowledge acquired by business owners of all different stages and sizes.

According to Mark Bays, Assistant Director of TSBDC, “The workshops are all developed to assist small business owners and to try to address what their current needs are…Social media and human resources have been our biggest areas for the start of this year.”

Bays started his own business working in computer repair, electronics recycling and IT while pursuing a Management and Marketing degree at ETSU. He has also acquired a Master’s of Business Administration.

So what exactly does the TSBDC do, in a broader scope? According to the Center’s mission statement, “…Our goal is to enhance equity, profit, and growth potential, as well as to assist in job creation and retention, and capital formation for the center’s clients.”

The workshops cost $25 a piece, but the services that TSBDC generally offers are state-funded, and most importantly– free of cost.

“We see businesses anywhere from the idea stage to the 30th year of operation…we’re kind of like business doctors. Businesses come in telling us what their problem is or what’s failing them and we try to provide an action plan,” said Bays.

If you wish to attend any workshops, contact the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at 423-439-8505 or by email at shipleyth@mail.etsu.edu to register. If class space allows, walk-ins may be available.

Also, consider this: even if you’re just a prospective business owner, you can schedule an appointment with the TSBDC and discuss your ideas to work out a business plan. It’s free, and definitely worth a try.