Virginia Tech has released a new publication targeted to individuals interested in starting a forest products-related business or those without a forest products background who work in management positions in existing forest products companies.

People often enter the forest products industry based on their passion for working with wood; they may not have an understanding of sound business practices. “Business Management Practices for Small to Medium Sized Forest Products Firms” presents the nuts and bolts of business management as it relates to the forest products industry, offering business owners and managers a framework for success.

The authors, Robert (Bob) L. Smith, professor of forest products marketing and head of the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, and Omar Espinoza, assistant professor and chair of the Forest Products Management Development Institute at the University of Minnesota, drew upon their management experience in the forest products industry and as educators and researchers.

“In working with the forest products industry, owners and mangers have indicated that there is a need for management education for new employees,” said Smith, who also serves as associate dean for engagement and oversees the college’s Virginia Cooperative Extension programs. “It is our hope that this book will help companies with their training efforts as well as guide individuals who are establishing new businesses.”

The book’s chapters cover major topics in business management, such as strategic planning, human resources, finance, marketing, and operations management. The final chapter guides readers through writing a business plan. Appendixes include a sample business plan and contact information for dozens of agencies and organizations that can serve as resources.

“Since the backbone of any successful company is determined by the effective management of resources, this book was written to assist organizations with their planning efforts,” said Espinoza, who earned his master’s and doctorate in wood science and forest products from Virginia Tech.

The book, funded by the U.S. Forest Service Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry’s Wood Education Resource Center, is a follow-up to a 2008 joint publication on marketing of which Smith was a co-author.

To receive a free copy of “Business Management Practices for Small to Medium Sized Forest Products Firms,” email Bob Smith or Omar Espinoza. The online version may be downloaded for free.