Operations for the Copperas Cove Entrepreneur Center are on schedule to open in July, providing more resources for business owners in the area.

At the helm of the Copperas Cove Economic Development project is Diane Drussell, the corporation’s business retention specialist.

Drussell recently explained to Killeen Daily Herald Business Editor Mason W. Canales how the new facility can help startup businesses.

Before joining the Cove EDC team, Drussell worked six years with the Central Texas Business Resource Center as a business counselor.

There, she assisted businesses in creating advertising tools and educating entrepreneurs about operating and starting companies.

In Copperas Cove, she organizes various business workshops, works with the Small Business Development Center of Waco and helps educate people about starting and running a business.

How many businesses fail within the first year and why?

A high percentage of startups will fail their first year. Mainly, it is for financial reasons. They don’t prepare for them.

That is one of the reasons I am a big proponent for a business plan. If you do a full-blown plan, you find out your cost and profits before opening.

We recommended to have a six-month cushion in your account, and if you can, a year, because people are not just going to start pouring into your business when it opens. You have to go in prepared for running a business, and most business owners don’t. They don’t go in well educated either. A lot of people don’t realize how much it takes to start a business. When you first start a business, it is a 24/7 dedication.

How can business owners better prepare for surviving and growing in the future?

Be ready for change. Be ready to keep up with technology. And be ready to keep up with competition.

People don’t want to go into a business that sells only hotdogs with ketchup on it everyday. At some point, customers are going to get bored with hotdogs and ketchup.

Always be willing to learn, and always look for something new to learn.

What are some great tools and resources business owners can use to develop a strong business plan?

There is always the Internet. Libraries have a lot of research information that a normal person doesn’t have access to.

People should also look at trade organizations, because there is a trade organization for every industry out there. You should build relationships within those trade organizations.

Some local resources are Central Texas College, which offers ... different classes you can take at a low cost. The Central Texas Business Resource Center, the Small Business Development Center and your local chambers of commerce are also great resources.

Look at every opportunity as a networking opportunity.

How does a business incubator help a business succeed and grow?

The business incubator will have all the tools needed for a business. We have your office space. We will have the overhead. We will have a shared receptionist. It will be a nice setup for one low fee.

More importantly, we have a business address for them. They don’t have to work out of your basement or garage.

We will have a list of resources who are experts in those fields businesses need to operate.

The same group of experts will be teaching workshops but also be available for one-on-one business development.

They will also have access to different training from consumer service to writing formerly as a business.

How do those services contribute to the success of being a startup?

It gives them education and training while providing real-life exposure, because once they are in there, they are a real-life business.

Contact the Cove EDC at 254-501-7874 or diane.drussell@copperascove-edc.com for more information about the Cove Entrepreneur Center.

Contact Mason W. Canales at ​mcanales@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7474

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