If you have a business and are not familiar with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) you are missing out on an important resource. Their offices are typically located at a local college or university and they are an extension of the Small Business Administration (SBA). You can head over to the SBDC site to find an office local to you.

The SBDC has free resources that can help you with everything from planning, launching, managing and growing your small business.

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For planning your business they offer resources to help you with:

  • Market research
  • Writing a business plan
  • Calculating startup costs
  • Fudning your business
  • Buying an existing business or franchise
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If you are ready to launch your business they can help with:

  • Picking a prime location
  • Choosing the right structure for your business
  • Chossing a name
  • Registering your business (every state, county and city has different regulations)
  • Obtaining federal and state tax ID numbers
  • Applying for necessary licenses and permits
  • Opening a business bank account
  • Getting business insurance
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To manage your business they can offer advice for:

  • Managing your finances
  • Hire and managing employees
  • Paying taxes
  • Staying legally compliant
  • Buying assets and equipment
  • Marketing and sales
  • Small business cybersecurity
  • Preparing for emergencies
  • Closing or selling your business if/when you are ready to move on

 

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Ready to grow? They can assist with:

  • Securing more funding
  • Expanding to new locations
  • Merging nad acquiring businesses
  • Becoming a federal contractor
  • Exporting products
  • Women-owned, Native American-owned, Veteran-owned and LGBT-owned businesses

I first found out about the SBDC when I was considering purchasing a local salon and spa from someone who was ready to sell and retire from the business. I spent a year going through the due diligence necessary to purchase a business. The counselor at the local SBDC office guided me through the process step-by-step. It was a long process with many bumps along the way, but it was a process I suggest everyone consider whether starting from scratch or purchasing an existing business.

Though I purchased the business and it didn’t turn out as I had hoped and dreamed, the lessons I learned from working with the SBDC and my own mistakes along were worth it! At the time they didn’t seem worth it, hindsight is a valuable tool. Being able to look back and reflect allows you to review everything you went through and consider what you could/would do differently given the opportunity to do it over. I know I made so many of my own mistakes, trying to make changes too fast and too soon. I spent some money where I shouldn’t have and made a few choices that the ‘me today’ wouldn’t make. All the while, though, the one thing that was consistent and helpful was working with the SBDC.

Have you ever worked with the SBDC? What advice do you have for anyone who is starting a business?