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Orfalea to Headline Secrets of Survival Forum

Panel discussion's aim is to help small business owners SCORE in a challenging economy.

Kinko’s founder, entrepreneur and philanthropist Paul Orfalea will be the keynote speaker at a free forum designed to assist small business owners in a down economy.

Paul Orfalea
Paul Orfalea (Alice Williams photo)
Secrets of Survival, sponsored by SCORE-Service Corps of Retired Executives, will be held Jan. 22 at the Santa Barbara Public Library’s Faulkner Gallery. A panel of SCORE experts will share their expertise with small business owners grappling with today’s fragile economy.

Orfalea will speak and introduce the panel, which includes moderator Jim Wolfe, former president and CEO of Balance Bar Co.; consultant and Noozhawk columnist Paul Burri speaking on business management; author and marketing consultant Erin Graffy speaking on sales and marketing; Gary Kravetz, former CEO of National Careers Corp., speaking on employee issues; general contractor Ralph Luikart speaking about negotiation; and Gene Sinser, treasurer of the Montecito Association, speaking about finance.

Among the subjects to be covered are accelerating accounts receivable, bartering, cash discounts, customer acquisition and retention, cutting hours, employee layoffs, extending accounts payable, extending product lines, guerrilla marketing, independent contractors, negotiating leases and other agreements, outsourcing services, renegotiating existing contracts, sales staff training and short-term loans.

Orfalea founded Kinko’s in 1970 to provide UCSB students with competitive copying services. The idea quickly caught on and the Kinko’s chain eventually grew to more than 1,200 stores worldwide. Orfalea retired as chairman in 2000 and FedEx Corp. acquired the company in 2004. He remains involved in a number of business ventures, including West Coast Asset Management Inc.

Orfalea and his wife, Natalie, started the Orfalea Family Foundation, which supports various philanthropic areas, and the Orfalea Fund, collectively known as the Orfalea Foundations. Grants have been concentrated in areas of child development and education, and the Orfaleas also support organizations addressing “learning differences.”

During his school years, Orfalea struggled with dyslexia and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, which he credits as the blessings that allowed him to see the world differently from his peers.

“Because I couldn’t read, I learned from direct experience,” Orfalea has said. “Experience is a harsh teacher, because the test comes first, followed by the lesson. But lacking the ability to learn by reading, I embraced every chance to participate in life. I started businesses, like my vegetable stand. I skipped school to watch my father’s stockbroker at work.

“I learned early that I would only get through school with a lot of help from a lot of people. This dependence taught me how to ask for help, and how to provide what help I could.”

Secrets of Survival is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 22 at the library’s Faulkner Gallery, 40 E. Anapamu St. Admission is free but reservations are strongly recommended. Click here for more information or call 805.563.0084.

Write to [email protected]

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