Business training with 5 people at a table. Concept: SBDC or Small Business Development Center
Jordan Schneir
By: jordan_shneir
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How to Take Advantage of Your SBDC

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As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you should be sure to familiarize yourself with the services an SBDC can offer you.

SBDCs, or Small Business Development Centers, provide assistance to small business owners with the ultimate goal of fostering local and regional economic development. That means there’s a lot an SBDC can do for you. Learn here how they operate and the services and resources they can provide.

What is an SBDC?

The Small Business Development Center program is one of the nation’s largest small business assistance programs.

The centers across the nation often operate as a partnership between the Small Business Administration (SBA) and local universities. They are funded partly by the SBA and mostly by donations, state funding, corporate sponsorships, and grants.

What Does an SBDC Do?

The ultimate goal of SBDCs is to create jobs and stimulate local economies by providing small business owners and entrepreneurs with helpful resources and education.

This includes face-to-face business consulting and training related to topics like business planning, marketing, regulatory compliance, generating investments, international trade, and countless other topics.

Visit the SBDC official website to find out more about the wide range of resources that you can access.

How Do They Work?

SBDCs are partially supported by federal funding via the SBA; however, they rely mostly on funding from state governments, charitable donations, and sponsorships.

As Small Business Development Centers generally partner with colleges and universities, they are able to combine the educational resources of these institutions with private-sector resources and expertise.

This allows them to provide all the information necessary to help small business owners feel confident in their entrepreneurial endeavors.

Who Do They Assist?

Primarily, SBDCs focus on assisting startups and aspiring entrepreneurs. These individuals are often the ones in need of the most assistance as they have little experience in owning and operating a business.

Additionally, they also offer their services to established businesses to help them expand and create additional jobs.

SBDC resources are available to just about anyone, including women, minorities, veterans, persons with disabilities, and low or moderate-income individuals.

Where Can I Find an SBDC?

Finding an SBDC is as simple as searching the SBDC website by your state or zip code.

Visit this link to find your nearest Small Business Development Center.

What Services Does an SBDC Provide?

How can an SBDC help you?

Here’s a brief overview of the services they provide, how you can access them, and what they can do for your specific business.

Overview

Small business owners can access free long-term, one-on-one business advising, low-cost training, and more. SBDCs focus on three main areas of assistance. These are:

  • One-on-one, confidential, free, long-term technical assistance.
  • Group training focused on subjects of interest to small businesses and presented by SBDC staff and private sector professionals.
  • Market research tailored to the client’s needs.

Additionally, your local SBDC can connect you with professional business advisors.

Services You Can Find on Their Website

The SBDC makes it incredibly easy for small business owners to locate services through their website.

If interested, you can find services via two methods:

  1. First, if you already know what exactly you’re looking for, you can use this search tool provided by the Small Business Administration.
  2. Second, if you just want to browse the different services that are available visit the SBDC website. From the homepage, you’ll see a tab at the top labeled “Resource.” This tab is divided into two separate sections: “Supporter Offers & Resources” and “ELearning.” Feel free to browse both of these sections to see which services appeal to you.

Between these two options, you’ll surely be able to locate the resources and assistance that you need.

Specific Areas of Assistance

As you can see, there are many ways that a Small Business Development Center can help you.

From basic business planning to product development to applying for grants, SBDCs exist to help you navigate the complexities of owning and operating a business.

Business Planning

For example, a business plan is incredibly important for any new business. Not only does it help you plan for the future, but it will also likely be required by lenders when applying for any loan or grant. As a new business owner, you might not know what needs to be included in your business plan.

Any solid business plan should include the following:

  • Financial projections
  • Product development
  • Target audience
  • Marketing strategy
  • Company structure
  • And more

SBDCs will not only help you understand what sections should be included in your business plan, but they will also assist you when writing a business plan that can attract investors.

Disaster Recovery

Perhaps you run an established business; however, due to a natural disaster, your business was destroyed and you don’t know how to recover.

A Small Business Development Center can help you recover after a disaster, including helping you apply for a disaster recovery loan, purchasing new equipment and real estate, and regaining your audience.

Market Research

No matter what type of business you run, effective market research is a critical task.

Locating your target audience and marketing your products or services is crucial to your business’ success.

An SBDC will provide you with the training and resources you need to perform accurate market research so that you can market your business and increase brand awareness.

 

These are just a few of the ways a Small Business Development Center can help your business at any stage of development. Other areas of assistance include:

  • Manufacturing
  • Importing and Exporting
  • Product Development
  • Networking

No matter what you need help with, an SBDC will more than likely be able to assist you.

Final Thoughts

SBDCs are incredibly beneficial resources that any new business owner should utilize. No matter where you are or what type of business you run, a Small Business Development Center can help your business thrive.

Whether you need help with writing a business plan, developing a marketing strategy, or any number of other business-related tasks, you should be sure to seek out your local SBDC today to explore all of the services that they offer.

Running a small business can be hard. Camino Financial is dedicated to helping small business owners be successful by providing helpful information and resources. For more small business tips, be sure to subscribe to our Newsletter.

 

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