Need help getting your business off the ground? Baffled by the steps involved? Looking to break into new markets or take advantage of the latest in social, web and mobile marketing? Look no further than your local Small Business Development Center.
Small Business Development Centers (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. 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 – during their commute!
For small businesses that seek out the services of their local SBDC, the payoff is significant:
- SBDC clients generate $100,000 in sales every four minutes and create a new job every 7 minutes!
- Over 58 percent of pre-venture SBDC clients start new businesses (that’s a new business every 33 minutes)!
So if you thought you knew everything about what your local SBDC has to offer, think again! Here’s a glimpse of the valuable services they provide:
FREE face-to-face business consulting
Small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs can go to their local SBDCs for FREE face-to-face business consulting and at-cost training on topics including:
- Writing business plans
- Accessing capital
- Managing your taxes
- Regulatory compliance
- Federal contracting
- Technology development
- International trade
Start your dream business – mobile apps make learning a breeze
If you’re looking to start your own business but are tied down by your current job, SBDCs are making it easier to make the transition to entrepreneurship with a business-on-demand mobile app webinar series! Developed by Pennsylvania SBDC, but available to anyone, the First Step: Starting a Business webinar series walks aspiring entrepreneurs through the process of starting a new business venture and can be viewed on all mobile devices. 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.
Just imagine, one day you could literally go into work and tell your boss you quit, because you’ve got your business started while you’ve been commuting back and forth!
Get help with your next web or IT project
Starting any new IT or web project is a costly and complex endeavor. 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.
Optimize your web marketing
In addition to one-off training sessions, some SBDCs are recognizing the need for more in-depth programs that help small businesses harness the potential of technology to boost sales.
The Georgia SBDC, for example, 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.
Access PCs, software and more
Some SBDCs also provide access to business software and other resources. Loudoun SBDC in Virginia, for example, features an Entrepreneurial Resource Center featuring 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.
Find your local SBDC
Want to know more? Find out what your local Small Business Development Center can do for you. Here’s a complete list of SBDCs by state.
March 11, 2015
Contributor: Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed.