Eaton to emcee entrepreneurial seminar | ParkRecord.com

Eaton to emcee entrepreneurial seminar

Dan Bischoff, Of the Record staff

Life wasn’t exactly easy for Mark Eaton as he left the National Basketball Association. In the business world, Eaton took on challenges equal to defending Laker great Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s hook shot.

"The assumption is you will walk from being great in one thing to being great in another."

In spite of his celebrity status, the Park City resident found out he was just like anyone else in the fierce business universe, and the assumption wasn’t accurate.

"You learn about business and you grow as everybody else does," Eaton said. He learned "more people have experience than you do."

Eaton brought the same work ethic he used on the basketball floor to his next step in life and became a successful entrepreneur. He owns two restaurants in Salt Lake City.

"I’ve run non-profit organizations and done a variety of entrepreneurial type of things since I retired from basketball," Eaton said.

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Eaton will be the master of ceremonies for a business-building event in Sandy on Thursday, Jan. 18 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the Larry Miller Campus of Salt Lake Community College.

"Mark (Eaton) is an interesting story and he has done an excellent job. He will be using his experiences as a metaphor," said Jim Ackerman, the organizer of the event.

Six speakers, including Ackerman, will cover topics running the gamut of law, marketing, business secrets and computer issues. Each speaker is affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Ackerman said to become a member, "you can’t be a slouch."

"These speakers are entertaining," Ackerman said. "It’s not dry, boring or pure lecture. It’s interactive. Even for the topics that are just about numbers."

Even Eaton is impressed with the lineup.

"I’m as interested to go hear the speakers as I am to emcee the event. I’m bringing my notebook," Eaton said.

Eaton believes if he had attended a similar seminar when he began his businesses, he wouldn’t have made as many mistakes.

"There will be a lot of things to think about, and it’s great to go to a seminar and learn better ways to do things, to avoid some of the pitfalls.

Eaton struggled at various times as well, specifically the post Sept. 11th era that was extremely difficult for his business.

"A lot of things come up in business and you have to wear different hats," Eaton said. "You have to learn where to find the tools to deal with the events, whether it’s legal advice, computer help or dissecting your balance sheet. Going through that experience and the general day-to-day things, an entrepreneur has to do it all."

Eaton said this is a perfect opportunity for small business owners to learn from those who have gone through it before.

"I think that many business people think they have to recreate the wheel and come up with the answers yourselves," Eaton said. "When you have an opportunity to panel experts, the learning curve is shortened. It reduces a lot of the trial and error and bumps in the road and can help smooth things out."

The money and time spent on the day-long seminar will pay off for those who attend, Eaton says. Eaton especially is looking forward to the marketing segment.

"Marketing, that’s one question that I’ve dealt with for dozens of years," Eaton said. "A lot of advertising doesn’t work and you are bombarded constantly with people saying ‘I’ve got the greatest idea for you.’ Here’s an expert that can take that learning curve and save me thousands of dollars that I may have spent in the wrong place."

Ackerman, who will present the marketing instruction, will give attendees ideas they can use immediately.

"People are going to walk away with useful stuff," Ackerman said. "They will be able to go back that afternoon and put into place what I’ve talked about that fast. I’m going to share with them how to raise their average transaction up to 20 percent."

Ackerman said many aspects of business can be intimidating, especially marketing.

"With marketing particular," Ackerman said, "the risk is not just financial. What happens to people, if you’ve take a time and effort to write an add, and you fall flat on your face, you feel like ‘I’m stupid’ and ‘What made me think I could be in business?’ As a consequence, people are very afraid."

The fear of failure is one of the pitfalls of many business owners, Ackerman said.

"I always use the sports metaphor," Ackerman said. "If you are a .300 hitter, you are an all-star, but you’re failing. That’s similar to marketing. Most people acquire at a loss. It’s usually the second, third, fourth or tenth time that a customer buys from you and you break even.

"Most people come to business and they have no real experience marketing and that’s the life blood," Ackerman added. "I’ve been able to turn businesses around in a short time. It’s a lot easier than most people think."

Ackerman is confident that people will benefit from the seminar enough that it comes with a money-back guarantee. Anyone who does not feel they received their full tuition’s worth by the end of the second session will receive an immediate refund and keep the bonus materials valued at $1,400. Plus, Ackerman said, the "unhappy attendee will be paid an extra $20 to compensate them for their time."

"They will get important information, not only in dollars, but in time spent. People’s time is so darn valuable and to get at least a flavor of what we have is valuable. It’s a walking, talking one-day catalog."

"It’s just a great opportunity to listen to the best and learn from them," Eaton said. "People pay thousands of dollars for this."

The program will be held in the auditorium of the Larry Miller Campus of Salt Lake Community College at 9750 South and 300 West. Attendees should be in their seats by 7:51 a.m. to qualify for door prizes such as special reports, CD sets, ad makeovers and consultations. Admittance is $147 at the door but early registrants can save $20 by calling (800) 584-7585.

The seminar lineup consists of:

* Create Smart, Money-Making Systems and Put Your Business on Auto-Pilot for Success, presented by Kathy Loveless, MS, CSP.

*More Customers, More Money, More Often, presented by Jim Ackerman, the marketing guru of the group.

* 7 "Gotta Know" Financial Secrets for Every Business, presented by Julie Morrison of American First Credit Union.

*A Team of One The Collaboration Approach to Getting It Done, presented by Robin Thompson from West Virginia.

*Will Your Business Implode If Your Computer Explodes, presented by Marc Wolfsfeld.

*Shark Dodging: A Legal Brief for the Small Business Entrepreneur, presented by Jeff Fleming from Illinois.