You’ve made the decision to start your own business. After all, you’re good at what you do, you enjoy doing it, and you’re tired of doing it for someone else. But where do you start? Your local Small Business Development Center, or SBDC. SBDCs have been around for 35 years. With nearly 1,000 locations across the country, each provides small businesses and entrepreneurs with access to the essential resources to start and grow their new enterprises. They offer a variety of services, from in-person consulting and training to a mobile app webinar series that can help budding entrepreneurs plan their escape from the nine-to-five.
WHAT THEY DO
For small businesses that seek out the services of their local SBDC, the payoff can be significant. Here are a couple of statistics:
SBDC clients generate $100,000 in sales every four minutes and create a new job every seven minutes.
Over 58 percent of pre-venture SBDC clients start new businesses. That is a new business launched every 33 minutes!
Some of the valuable services your SBDC can provide include:
Small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs can go to their local SBDCs for free face-to-face business consulting. SBDCs also offer at-cost training on topics including:
- Writing business plans
- Accessing capital
- Managing your taxes
- Regulatory compliance
- Federal contracting
- Technology development
- International trade
IS A WEBINAR RIGHT FOR YOU?
If you’re looking to start your own business but are tied down by a current job, SBDCs offer a business-on-demand mobile app webinar series. Developed by Pennsylvania SBDC, the First Step: Starting a Business webinar series walks aspiring entrepreneurs through the process of starting a new business venture.
Each webinar lasts about 15 minutes and covers topics such as how to legally structure your business, writing a business plan, funding options and selling advice. Other SBDCs around the country are also offering similar type mobile-app-ready entrepreneur training, many of which can be viewed on any mobile device.
SBDCS CAN ASSIST WITH WEB OR IT PROJECTS
To help small businesses get the best return on their investment, Delaware SBDC has established Web-IT-Match-Coach program called Digital Compass. The program provides comprehensive guidance to small business clients on their next web or IT project. Advisors work with the business to identify and diagnose the business problems, and then help identify and interview solution providers to get the best match. They also coach both the business and the Web/IT provider during the course of the project to achieve the best solution to grow the business.
SBDCs can help optimize your web marketing by providing one-off training sessions and more in-depth programs that help small businesses harness the potential of technology to boost sales.
For example, the Georgia SBDC runs a Digital Marketing Boot Camp designed for small business owners who
want to learn how to integrate technology and marketing with tactics like search engine optimization, social media, mobile marketing, paid online advertising and content marketing.
Some SBDCs also provide access to business software and other resources. The SBDC in Loudoun, Virginia features an Entrepreneurial Resource Center that offers computer and printer access so that clients can conduct market research, create business plans, manage their finances and more. Business guides, videos, books and publications are also freely available and counselors are available to assist.
Here is a link to a complete list of SBDCs by state or U.S. territory, https://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/sbdc.
If you’d like to know more about what your local Small Business Development Center can do for you, contact the Economic Development Collaborative-Ventura County. Conveniently located in Camarillo, California, we’re here to help.