How Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) Can Help Your Business

Starting a new small business? Need professional consulting for your business plan or growth strategies? Your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) can help.

What is a Small Business Development Center (SBDC)?

SBDCs assist entrepreneurs in starting and growing their small businesses through advising, classes, and workshops.

They help with business plans, funding, market research, and efficient scaling. SBDCs are available in every state and offer over a million hours of consulting each year.

What’s it like to visit my local SBDC?

Don’t be intimidated by the fact that SBDCs are often located on college campuses. The advisors are experienced entrepreneurs who genuinely want to help.

Many advisors have used SBDCs to start their own businesses.

Do I have to visit my local SBDC or do they have online resources?

SBDCs offer both web-based and in-person resources. Offices in densely populated areas provide more face-to-face time and training. In less populated states, more online counseling and training are offered for accessibility.

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What kind of resources are available at my SBDC?

Confidential business advising, workshops, and classes. Each SBDC provides free and confidential advising, management classes, and entrepreneurial workshops. Topics covered include QuickBooks training and the need for LLC.

Business planning. SBDCs offer assistance beyond business plans. They provide access to business planning software like LivePlan with budgeting, forecasting, and benchmarking functions.

Help growing and marketing your business. SBDCs offer a range of services from capital access to export regulation guidance, cybersecurity, and tourism marketing.

Each SBDC has different resources available. Check your local SBDC’s website for the full list of offerings.

Is it just for new businesses, or can they help my existing company?

SBDCs can help both new and existing businesses. Around 60 percent of their audience consists of existing companies, while 40 percent are new small businesses (figures vary by state).

How SBDCs help brand new small businesses

SBDCs assist startups by helping them develop a clear concept of what they’re doing, why, and how. They also help with target market identification, business scaling, and initial hiring decisions.

How SBDCs help existing businesses

Existing businesses seek SBDC help to improve efficiency as they grow. Advisors can assist with strategy brainstorming and problem-solving, such as streamlining manufacturing processes.

What about creating a business plan for a loan or investment?

SBDCs aid in accessing loans, investments, and funding for both new and existing businesses. They help clients refine their business plans, sales forecasts, cash flow analysis, and financial presentations for banks or investors.

What’s the measurable effect SBDCs have on small businesses?

SBDC clients experience about 15% job growth (compared to the national average of 2%) and create approximately 100,000 jobs annually. They also achieve better sales growth and longer-lasting success compared to average startups.

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This information is gathered through annual impact surveys conducted by SBDCs. The results are processed by Mississippi State University and are available on the ASBDC website, along with industry-specific reports.

What’s the relationship between and SBDCs?

Palo Alto Software, the creator of and LivePlan, has a longstanding collaboration with SBDCs. Both organizations share a mission to support business success.

Palo Alto Software sponsors the annual ASBDC conference and SBDCs use LivePlan to assist clients with business planning and financials.

Visit your local SBDC today

Reach out to your local SBDC to learn more about their services and how they can help your business.

Click here to find your local SBDC office.

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