FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The first step to establishing the dream of owning a business can be daunting, but Army Community Service's upcoming small business counseling session can provide the tools necessary to make the dream a reality.

"Everyone going into business for themselves believes that their ideas -- as creative and niche-oriented as they may be -- will make money for them 'hand over fist.'" Mike Kozlowski, ACS employment readiness manager, said. But very few individuals actually plan for their ideas' success in terms of total business planning -- short, medium and long-term.

"Receiving the counsel offered by Judy Callin from Troy University's Small Business Development Program covers the ground that most fear to tread when evaluating the viability of their business ideas," he added. "She highlights the total business planning process, from idea conception to business organization to marketing to some essential tax and legal considerations -- all within an hour or so. She is also willing to meet with individuals at other times and locations of their choosing."

Four sessions will take place by appointment Sept. 8 beginning at 9 a.m. in Bldg. 5700, Rm. 350. Interested individuals will be allowed at least an hour, depending upon the complexity of their proposal.

"Small business ideas -- by their very nature and practice -- vary greatly from person to person, with each having challenges which are peculiar to a specific sector of the market as a whole," Kozlowski said.

Individuals should be receptive to any and all advice offered during the sessions, according to Kozlowski.

"We don't know everything we should -- or ought -- to know about business startups," he said. "In the face of market changes, small business owners need to change their approaches on how best to position their products and services in an ever-increasing competitive market environment. Don't approach the counseling session thinking you have all the answers in that regard.

"Be open to Mrs. Callin's advice, which is based on the latest small business research," he added. "Interested individuals should also bring any documents which pertain to their business ideas and current practices, such as business plans, tax filings and the like. This will afford Mrs. Callin the opportunity to peer into the level of detail you've already given your startup idea and ask relevant questions -- the answers of which may position your ideas for increased market share."

Although the sessions benefit those seeking to start a business, Kozlowski said existing business owners could also benefit from the counsel.

"You've established your business idea, you've marketed it and perhaps your big dream has taken off in a big way," he said. "If there's one thing all business owners recognize is this: the only constant in the world is change. Mrs. Callin can call attention to new social media marketing techniques, as well as being that sounding board a business owner needs to know what directions to take in the face of increased market competition. Checking in with her on a regular basis also affords the business owner with an extra sense of accountability to an objective individual who can advise them to positively re-frame and re-focus their efforts."

Although the session is by appointment only and could fill up quickly, additional sessions are scheduled for the future. The deadline for scheduling a session is two days prior to the date of the session. Pre-registration is mandatory.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 255-2594.