Don Yates is bringing his high-tech business experience to the Eastside’s small business community through one-on-one consulting meetings as a Washington Small Business Development Center adviser. He will hold office hours free of charge at City of Bellevue offices and OneRedmond.
As Yates ended his 40-year run in the tech industry, he made the decision to become an adviser with SBDC instead of becoming a professor.
“I am interested in working with individuals that have more depth in knowledge often attributed to those that are in business, own or operate a business, or are seasoned entrepreneurs,” he wrote in an email. “At this level, we delve into strategies that are applicable to domestic or international markets, plans that evolve organizational structures or its development to accommodate a change to the business focus, or any other aspect that we build from extensive working knowledge.”
Yates said that business fundamentals will be discussed in his one-on-one coaching sessions. The process will add credibility and clarity to strategies that are already defined and being implemented.
“The City of Bellevue is committed to cultivating an attractive economic environment for businesses, large and small,” said James Henderson, the city’s economic development director. “Don, with his extensive experience in the tech industry, is a perfect fit for the Eastside and an excellent resource for Bellevue entrepreneurs.”
Even though Yates’ experience is in technology, his expertise is applicable to all small business owners, regardless of industry.
“While there are variations in the product because of the industry, it is still crucial to understand how it is developed, why it is developed, and who will buy the product,” Yates wrote. “We focus on removing as many unknowns as possible that are important to product development, its cost, price, and the go-to-market strategy. The process is extensive regardless of the industry or vertical targeted.”
“Don is our silver bullet for helping our small businesses grow and thrive,” said Bart Phillips, CEO of OneRedmond, a partnership of private sector companies and the City of Redmond that promotes economic growth in the region. “When people ask me what OneRedmond is doing for small business, I tell them we brought in the SBDC.”
The Washington SBDC network has more than two dozen advisers working in communities across the state to assist small business owners. The network is supported by various higher education institutions and business organizations, including the United States Small Business Administration and Washington State University.