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Consultant helps save money

Staff writer

Dean Claycamp is constantly thinking of ways to save money.

He looks at a business plan or financial projections and his mind whirs to life picking out costs to cut and envisioning marketing plans to bring in more clients to a business and increase profitability.

Claycamp has been a small business consultant for five years, one year with the Kansas Small Business Development Center in Emporia. He has spent 35 years in the business world, much of that time as a chief financial officer. He has worked for PepsiCo, Cesna, and Corporate Lodging consultants.

With this experience, he is wired to balance a profitable budget and he is bringing this skill, at least once a month, to Marion County. With KSDBC, Claycamp will be available April 25 at the Marion campus of Butler Community College, although he will be helping clients in Marion next week.

Claycamp assists small business owners by analyzing costs to solve a problem — lack of cash flow or not being able to pay back a loan are two examples. The solution to that problem may involve scheduling. In one instance where Claycamp consulted previously, he suggested a company combine employee business trips to slash transportation expenses.

A business may be open during the wrong hours, with employees waiting to serve and no customers walking through the doors.

A solution may be as simple as eliminating a secondary cell phone plan paid for on the company dime.

Lately, Claycamp has been working with retail business and people looking to start their own business. With startups, Claycamp advises clients to create a detailed business plan. He knows from owning a consulting business and four tanning salons simultaneously that unexpected variables to the business equation can affect a bottom line.

Claycamp’s tanning salons were located in Wichita. One unforeseen effect on the business were the constant media reports about the dangers of tanning.

“We had people believing if you sunburn once, you’re going to die,” he said.

The other factor that hurt business was road construction. Claycamp checked with the city, inquiring about future road plans, before he opened the salons. Yet each location had road construction blocking it at one point or another.

For small towns, location is not as much of a problem. The struggle is more about bringing in customers from the outside.

“People know they can park down the street,” he said.

Claycamp strives to use resources available to a business to bring people in from the outside, using highways to direct people to town or suggesting partnerships with other business — connecting a retail business and a restaurant — to increase customer traffic to both.

“Small towns have to have a very strong diverse retail trade,” Claycamp said.

Claycamp will be available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 25 at Butler and by appointment at any time.

Last modified April 12, 2012

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