|Posted on May 17, 2013 at 10:45 AM|
So what is the best kept secret around? Sometimes I feel like it is the Small Business Development centers (SBDCs) that are scattered across the US. We provide FREE and confidential training to small business owners, and to those folks thinking about starting a business that may need some help planning or obtaining a loan. My office is located on the Newberry College campus at 1814 College Street, Newberry, SC.
Why are we a secret? Well, we aren't really a secret, but we are a non-profit organization so we don't have the budget for a huge marketing campaign. We funded by a federal grant with state and local funds. There are over 900 SBDC offices throughout the US, so odds are there is one near you. I run the Newberry Area SBDC, located at Newberry College, in Newberry, SC. We have come a long way though - with the assistance of a FREE website and Facebook Business page, you can now find my local office on the first page of Google. We make the most of our own FREE resources to help spread the word.
What do we do? So what does "small business counseling" consist of? We can help our clients write business plans, help them talk through some issues, work on pricing, marketing, internet marketing and social media, and so much more. We have established relationships with the bankers in our are - that means we can contact them for you and help you through the loan process. I always start by advising my clients to get a free credit report to check their score. To be quite honest, even the most fantastic business plan or business idea will not qualify for a loan if the person needing the loan has a poor credit score. Seriously - they won't even read the first page of your business plan.
If you are already in business, what can we do for you? In addition to free counseling sessions, we also offer workshops for on-going training, on any topic that the business community ask for. In my particular office, I present a "How to Make a Free Website for Your Small Business" workshop four times a year, and then a few weeks later I follow with "How to Market My Website" and that class is an introduction to online marketing and social media and search engine optimization (SEO). I teach a free Excel class that magically explained the basics of a very complex computer program in about an hour. I have topic experts present through out the year as well. We have a fantastic three part Quickbooks training class taught by a Certified Quickbooks Pro Advisor.
We can help with just about any facet of your business - since we are FREE, you have nothing to lose! After becoming one of my clients, I will keep you informed with business tips and upcoming local business events via email (only if you want to recieve them). This is great - as I learn new technology (like what is a QR code and how do I use it?), I can send it out to my list of 300 clients and share with them business tips that will help save them time, money, or stress. Or, as my HR pro says, it keeps Officer TEM away: Time Emotion Money... either way you look at it, the SBDC is here to help you.
SBDC offices are in every state - over 900 offices hosted by 63 universities or technical colleges. We are never too far away, and often times I can even help my clients via email.
Look for us! Google Us! Use your free resources - if you don't have time or want to learn how to do something, like create your website, then your SBDC counselor can recommend you to someone who can. (Like Carolina Web Design Services LLC - I created this business to help the clients that didn't have time to come to the SBDC. I saw a huge need for affordable business assistance, and I created an affordable solution).
Contact your local SBDC office for an appointment - just googe your location + SBDC, and you will find us!
Here is an example of an email I recently sent to my network of clients copied an pasted below. I send them out sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly, depending on what's happening. Not all SBDC Busness Advisors do this for thier clients, but I think it is important to share knowledge. If we help each other be more successful, then we are in turn helping ourselves.
If you would like to be included in my email distribution list, please send me an email at Nancy.Williamson@Newberry.edu.
Most recent network email:
SBDC Network: an update from Newberry Area SBDC
Please join one of our own: Daniel DeWine, owner of Bomb Island Auto Glass LLC has joined the Newberry Chamber of Commerce and will be celebrating a ribbon cutting at 1:00 today. If you are in the area, please stop by. Daniel does mobile auto glass replacement on vehicles and has actually changed one of my windshields in my office parking lot and one in my driveway at home. (I never wanted to take time out of my schedule to replace the cracks in my windshields - it was nice having Daniel make the phone calls and take care of the paperwork - it was no hassle at all). I've personally known Daniel for many years; we attend the same church and our sons are good friends. I'm happy that he has "taken the plunge" and joined the Chamber of Commerce. It shows that he is dedicated to his business and he is investing in his business's future. This is a great opportunity to network! Bring your business cards and come on out - the newspaper will be there interviewing and taking pictures and the media and press will be there too. I had planned on attending, but duty calls and I am going to be at school for my youngest child's parent's literature program this afternoon so I am bummed that I won't be there. Please come out and get YOUR picture in the paper today too! (and there is a rumor that he may be serving a great mid day snack)
Bomb Island Auto Glass LLC will host a ribbon cutting and grand opening on Friday, May 17 at 1:00pm.
1839 Wilson Road , Newberry, SC 29108, 803-944-7661 Click here to visit his FACEBOOK Business Page -
Please hit LIKE to help promote his business.
Another networking opportunity: The Newberry Business Alliance meeting is Monday, May 20th at 6:00pm. Arrive early to meet other local business owners, socialize from 5:30-6:00pm. This is always a great place to find out what's going on economically in our Newberry Community. You do not have to be a member to attend, you can come as my guest. I will be there. More details on that below.
TIP: Need another line for your fax? Or, want to CUT costs of $80 or more per month by canceling that second phone line for your fax machine? I learned about on-line faxing this week (from Daniel actually). There are several online companies out there that will give you a free fax number and you can send and receive faxes via your email. http://www.faxbetter.com/Options.aspx for $5.95 per month you can send and recieve up to 500 pages! I have never used this before, but some of the members in my Lake Murray Preferred Networking group have used these companies before and it has saved them a huge amount of money and time. Imagine receiving your faxes on your smartphone or ipad while you are out on job site? That could save you a tremendous amount of time and money! Don't have an ipad? Well if you save $80 a month, you could purchase one in a few short months with your savings, and that tablet could help you tremendously with your business.
Another TIP: Some of you don't have smartphones yet - Did you know you can get a smartphone that looks almost identical to an iPhone for only $79 at Walmart? And, you can sign up for Straight Talk and have unlimited talk, text, and internet for only $45 per month. THAT is probably way cheaper than many of you are paying per month now. If you want more information on that, you can call me. Don't think you can learn how to use a smartphone? Well, I just got this for my 73 year old momma, so I know if she can do it, YOU can do it! (of course she enjoys playing games on it, but you could use it to accept mobile payments; he also checks her emails, and is even texting. She even uses phrases like TY-thank you LOL-laugh out loud OMG - oh my gosh & ROTFLMBO- you can try to figure that one out...whoda thunk?) And, I'm ALWAYS FREE AT MY SBDC OFFICE if you need help!
Facebook business page - currently the NUMBER ONE way to promote your business, free marketing. Please make an appointment with me and I'll make one for you and teach you how to update it.
QUICKBOOKS class next week - Part 3 - sign up online. This class teaches how to put it all together; learn how to get the MOST of your quickbooks program. Register and Pay online: http://www.uscregionsbdc.com/newberry_seminars.php I have about 3 seats available.
Have a great weekend! -Nancy
If you would like to be removed from this email distribution list, please reply back “remove” in the subject line. I promise we will still be friends
If you think about it - that email alone could save each client over hundred dollars per month on smartphone and fax tips alone. Imagine what they could do for your business every month!