According to the SBA website: “Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are partnerships between the government and colleges/universities administered by the Small Business Administration and aims at giving educational services for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.”
If you are a business owner and you have not worked with the SBDC in the past, then 2012 is your year. There are 5 key reasons that you need to develop a relationship with your local SBDC.
- It’s Free – When it comes to the service that SBDCs provide you just can’t beat their price. It is free to work with SBDC counselors because your tax dollars have already paid the cost. Usually the saying, “You get what you pay for” has a lot of truth to it, but when it comes to the SBDC the saying just doesn’t hold true. Most of the SBDC staff that I have met in the past are experienced business owners who exited their business, and now want to give back by helping other small business owners succeed.
- Bankers Love SBDC – If you are looking to secure a loan, or may need a loan in the future, working with your local SBDC is going to score you some major brownie points with the bank. Bankers like to take referrals from the SBDC because they know if the business owner is smart enough to work with an SBDC counselor, they are probably committed to the success of their business, and to the full repayment of a loan. The SBDC has a number of resources, and the know-how to help you put together a strong loan application that will impress your banker.
- Market Research – SBDC has access to some very powerful market research tools. For example the Indiana SBDC states on their website, ”The ISBDC has access to many nationally recognized market research databases. ISBDC Business Advisors can help you use these tools to locate accurate and relevant industry information. Find the information you need to know about your industry; including market trends, best practices, current conditions, industry leaders, and future industry-specific technology.”
- Accountability – When you develop a plan to grow your business who keeps you accountable? When you are the owner, sometimes it is easy to let goals and deadlines that you set for yourself slip by. One of the largest benefits of working with SBDC is a partner in your business who will keep you accountable. Your SBDC counselor is going to help you do things like get your books in order, keep you focused on your customer, and help you develop a board of directors. These are the tough things that you need to focus on now for the long term health of your business.
- No Ulterior Motives – When you work with private small business advisors and consultants, you never know if they have ulterior motives when providing advice. Are they really on your team, doing what is best for you? Or are they mostly concerned with growing their own consulting business? SBDC counselors are not paid more or less if you are successful, so there is little room for them to have ill motives when providing advice.
Look, if you are serious about growing your business in 2012, then check out the team and the resources at your local Small Business Development Center. The relationships, advice, and networking opportunities that you will have when working with a SBDC counselor may be exactly what you need to take your business to the next level this year.
About the Author: Adam Hoeksema is the Founder of ExecutivePlan which helps entrepreneurs write powerful business plan executive summaries in order to raise capital. Adam is also the author of the ebook – How to Write a Powerful Executive Summary which is now available on Amazon.