SBDC FAQs (by Kristin Slice, Business Analyst)

SBDC FAQs (by Kristin Slice, Business Analyst)

What is SBDC Counseling?

Many of our clients come to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) because they have a specific question or a challenge they are facing in their business. Whether that is building sales, hiring a bookkeeper, or just getting a grasp on their financial statements. However that’s just the start of most of our counseling relationships. SBDC counselors work with businesses long term and evolve our support based on the need of the business. Once we have addressed any immediate need in the business we identifying other opportunities for growth and the resources needed to make those opportunities a reality. As long as you are moving forward with your goals we were there with you.

Our business counselors work with hundreds of businesses a year in your community. We provide critical insight and time tested strategies, empowering you to leverage the experience of business owners in your community. As part of a national network our counselors have access to many business tools and resource to help support business owners including popular tools like the business model canvas, growth wheel, advance financial analysis, an in-depth market research. We have the ability to gather data from organizations across the country and give you an idea of how your business is performing and how you can improve your bottom-line!

How do you pay for the SBDC?

You already have! Our program is funded by the Small Business Administration in partnership with the Maricopa Community Colleges and other community funders. We are part of a nationwide network of Small Business Development Centers that have been around for over 40 years, you’ve just never heard of us. All of our business counseling is provided free of charge. Our mission is to help create local economic impact through entrepreneurs, including increased jobs, sales and access capital. After working with an SBDC counselor, if you create a job, access capital or increase your sales you report back that data through a simple one page form. We take that data, remove your personal information and report the aggregate of our economic impact in our local communities back to our funders. That allows us to continue serving small businesses like you.

Some of our more advanced trainings do have material with a nominal fee.

You’re a government agency right? So it’s hard to sign up…

Nope! Becoming a counseling client is simple. Visit our website and click on request for counseling or scroll through the specific bios of any of our business counselors and request counseling on their bio page. Once you have an established business idea a business counselor can provide you insight through one on one counseling. If you’re still working on your business idea a business counselor can often answer questions and direct you to a great training program.

What is the difference between a business counselor and a consultant?

Great question. To put it simply, a business counselor will teach you to fish they will never fish for you. We often work great with consultants. Every business needs a team of people working with them to reach their goals. Often we will work with businesses prior to hiring consultants to make sure they have a clear strategy, so when they hire a consultant the relationship is more effective. Our overall goal is to make sure that small businesses are using their limited resources wisely.

What is a business counselor? What is their background?

Most business counselors have been successful business owners themselves and are now certified professional business strategist. We have a diverse team who work together to address a wide variety of experiences and expertise. Below are just some of the areas that our team has specific experience in. Well businesses will often work with the lead counselor they feel comfortable with or are closest to their business we can bring in co-counsel hours to work on specific challenges

How to prepare a business for exporting.
Putting together paperwork and finding the right funding source.
Putting together an effective marketing strategy and determining what marketing tools work for their business.
Putting together internal processes for growth and scale.

Taking technology and turning it into a business model.

Plus, many MANY more!

Updated 01/18/17

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