About Business Buffet

Looking for information about Business Buffet and the people behind this popular small business training video series?

Barbara Frank, Founder of Business BuffetHi, I'm Barbara Frank, and Business Buffet is my brainchild.

Starting out as a teacher, I entered the business world through advertising. I worked with major corporations, like Xerox and Prudential on their communication needs – the tough ones, like explaining pension plans, employee benefits, technical skills. Soon it became evident that I had a unique ability to simplify information so it was quicker to learn and easier to understand and apply.

In researching today's information-heavy marketplace for new opportunities, I quickly recognized that although I was a professional in my field, I knew very little about running a business.

With so much to do and so much to know (finance, marketing, human resources and operations), I couldn't seem to get the right knowledge at the right time. Courses were too time-consuming, textbooks too theoretical, consultants too expensive. Besides, I wasn’t looking for an MBA—just enough info so I could make a better decisions, one by one. I needed a shortcut, a "Cole's Notes" – straightforward and simple.

About Business BuffetThen it hit me that if I am juggling and fumbling, surely others must be too. And I was never righter. With so much growth in the small business sector, operators were having to take on new skills of business management, financing, marketing, hiring, training, expanding...

To address this need, all I had to do was fall back on my previous work – shrinking a Xerox pension plan video into 11 minutes, or Sick Kids' Hospital's employee orientation meeting to 13 minutes – in a style that made it easy and pleasant to review and revisit for new insights.

That's because I realized a few critical items:

  1. Even though there's tons of information out there, business people, especially small business people, don't have the time to study what they need about managing a successful business.
  2. Mentors and authors talk a lot about case studies and results. Entrepreneurs want to do their own thing, not copy someone else's.
  3. Adults prefer to learn in short bursts of information that they can then repeat as reinforcement, and then apply very quickly.
  4. The average small business owner/operator needs just enough information to make the next good decision – a capsule mini-version of the big corporate stuff.
  5. Today's programs are becoming more and more detailed and broad, making the content bigger and more challenging. It takes longer to actually apply this learning because much is too abstract for a beginner.
  6. The best learning happens in a safe, easy environment, often with brainstorming as a major component. What people create they more likely accept.
  7. Generic images are timeless, trans-gender, race and religion, and are timeless. They can also speak every language. Most presenters and teachers get in the way of their messages by how they look, act, dress.
  8. The right picture can transcend all of these hurdles if it's chosen judiciously. So, well-conceived content can connect with the broadest possible audience with the greatest possible knowledge in the shortest possible time.
    I call it "compressed communication." It's based on the fact that a relevant picture is worth a thousand words – and speaks every language! (Think of the signs for public washrooms.)
  9. Entrepreneurs want to come up with their own ideas, their own answers. With just a little content to shape the discussion, ideas start to flow and everyone starts getting involved, thinking outside the box, getting going.

So Business Buffet was created as a brainstorming catalyst for grass roots level self-help circles. Business Buffet sets the scene to get those creative juices flowing.

Today millions of people with little or no business experience are finding themselves self-employed, juggling critical business decisions to the best of their ability, even though they lack business basics.

The dramatic global shift to self-employment and small business has created a gaping need for quick, clear business information bytes that can be accessed conveniently, and shared among business owners as a framework for discussion and brainstorming.

That's why my focus shifted from helping big business to helping small business help itself by making business learning painless. With simple generic visuals, limited text and a lighthearted style, even the driest of subjects, financial analysis, came alive – clear, simple. Easier to learn and easier to teach.

The project involved the two very common bugaboos, Marketing and Finance, a total of nine projects. The result was Business Buffet: simple, animated, interactive programs that gets right down to basics. Complete workshops compressed into short, energetic, edutaining graphic presentations, complete with workbooks and guidelines anyone can follow and apply.

They're as relevant today as they were when they were produced a few years ago. Not perfect, but relevant and practical and get the job done. Getting people to think and "what if" about their business ideas?

With fantastic feedback from educators, professionals, and small business people in the field, I look forward to titles growing in our library to help you grow your business.

To your small business success,
Barbara Frank Signature

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