I posted here last week about Myrtle Creek, Oregon, a town of 3,500 about 90 minutes south of Eugene and half an hour south of Roseburg, where the city government decided to help small business by investing in business planning.

Myrtle Creek

It ended up being a very interesting and productive evening, a roomful of interested people, a good discussion and, I hope, a new angle on practical development in the Main Street world the presidential candidates talked about a lot during the recent campaigns.

I arrive about nightfall to find city manager Aaron Cubic, a man in his mid-30s (I think), dressed in a suit, setting up chairs and tables in the unassuming community center just a few blocks from the main street, which is named Main Street. Cubic was easy to like, seemed to know everybody as people streamed in, and appeared happy with the whole affair.

The room filled with a wide range of people, some running existing businesses, some looking to start new businesses, all with real questions and concerns.

The city had copies of Business Plan Pro available for participants, who only had to fill out an application to get the software. And I had been asked down to talk about business planning for a couple of hours. Of course, it was my view of business planning, based on my Plan-As-You-Go book, starting with plans only as big as you need to run the business better.

I talked afterward to a man concerned with what inventory to carry in his fly-fishing store and a woman looking to start up a nonprofit. She’d been convinced when she arrived that doing a business plan would be too hard, but left intending to do one the next day.

I am very happy with the whole event. It feels like something real, tangible, that one town is doing to help its community. All the politicians talk about helping small business, but how many concrete things can they really do?

I hope Myrtle Creek becomes Oregon’s next boom town.

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.