Arlene Soto

Effective July 30, 2007, Arlene M. Soto became the Southwestern Oregon Community College Small Business Development Center Director. She is responsible for outreach to Coos, Curry and Western Douglas Counties in Oregon to provide small business development services through free, confidential business advising and low-cost training programs.

Arlene has been working with businesses in the accounting field since 1976 and in management since 1988. She is a Certified Management Accountant and a NASBITE Certified Global Business Professional with a Master’s degree in Management from Marylhurst University and a Bachelor’s degree in accounting from Portland State University.

Recent Articles Published by Arlene Soto

planning

Finding an Industry Association for Your Small Business

Industry associations, also known as trade groups or business associations, are organizations founded and usually funded by businesses in that specific business or industry. Thousands of industry trade groups are in existence worldwide, and every industry has at least one trade group. Industry associations often provide access to certification, education, information, trends, political lobbying, group... Read more »

managing

The Art of Good Inventory Management

Inventory is generally defined as the raw materials a business has available to manufacture finished goods or merchandise available to sell to customers.  Too much inventory uses cash ineffectively, while too little inventory holds up production in a manufacturing environment or gives customers a reason to shop with the competition. Additionally, having the wrong inventory... Read more »

planning

What is the Biggest Cause of Business Failure?

There are many reasons businesses fail: lack of money, changes in the economy, ineffective management, employee turnover, theft, illness, or death of the owner are just a few. According to SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), the main reason businesses fail is ineffective management, whether it be poor planning or not understanding all that is required... Read more »

managing

How to Hire the Best Attorney for Your Small Business

Hiring professionals for a small business is an important process. The best attorney for your business will depend on what the legal needs are for your company. In fact, there is a good chance there is no one attorney who can handle everything, so the best attorney may actually turn out to be a law firm... Read more »

starting

Is Your New Business Idea Worth Pursuing?

I have so many new ideas for my business. How do I determine which ones are the best to pursue? Most business owners want their business to grow, and often growth includes consideration of new products or services. Sometimes, though, brainstorming new possibilities interferes with maintaining the core business by distracting the owner from focusing... Read more »

planning

The Importance of Setting Goals in Business

Why is it important to set business goals? Goals are powerful—they can focus attention on achieving desirable outcomes. In business, one desirable outcome would be profitability. Profitability does not happen without making sales, plus correctly managing expenses. Employees prefer to know what management expects them to accomplish, and goals provide that direction. The human brain... Read more »

planning

How to Delegate Effectively and Find More Time For Yourself

How can I feel more comfortable delegating important tasks to my employees? Delegating tasks to others allows time for you to manage your business, and relieves the pressure of having to do everything. Effective delegation increases the productive output of the company, and allows the organization to prosper. It also helps motivate and develop leadership... Read more »

planning

What is a Product Life Cycle?

The life cycle of a product is associated with marketing and management decisions within businesses, and all products go through five primary stages: development, introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. Each stage has its costs, opportunities, and risks, and individual products differ in how long they remain at any of the life cycle stages. 1. Development... Read more »

planning

How to Calculate ROI For a Small Business

Return on investment (ROI) is a financial concept that measures the profitability of an investment.  There are several methods to determine ROI, but the most common is to divide net profit by total assets.  For instance, if your net profit is $50,000, and your total assets are $200,000, your ROI would be 25 percent. A... Read more »

managing

What Do Customers Want?

The best way to know what customers want is to ask them.  Some of the things you hear might surprise you. The main question will be, are you willing to implement the ideas your best customers provide? Let’s explore some of the feedback you may hear: 1. Provide better product selection You’ll need to ask... Read more »

managing

How to Balance Cash Flow in a Seasonal Business

My business is busy in the spring, summer and fall but slows in the winter. How do I ensure I have sufficient cash flow throughout the year? Read more »

managing

What to Look For When Hiring a Sales Person

Top sales people are the ones who listen to customers and partner with them in finding the right solution. In the interview process it’s important to ask questions that address these desirable characteristics. Read more »

managing

How Do I Make Sure My Holiday Sales Season is Profitable?

At this time of year, retail problems abound: unsold inventory, too few customers, unprofitable pricing, shoplifting, employee theft, bad checks, and on and on. Read more »

funding

What Are Investors Looking For?

If you're hoping to secure a financial partner to help you grow your business, you'd better know what potential investors are looking for your presentation (and your business). Read more »