For those that own a small business and are looking to start a new business one of the greatest resources that they can utilize is the Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC). They offer a no-cost, confidential counseling service to small businesses and potential business owners. Luckily, they happen to be a partner of the Moberly Area Chamber of Commerce and have a lot to offer the area. Michelle spoke with Central Regional Director, David Steffes about how they can help businesses in Moberly.
Yes, you read that correctly. The SBTDC offers no-cost counseling services to small businesses. Steffes explains about some of the services they can provide,
“That can be start-up assistance, which is typically helping them create their business plan and financial forecast,” he said.
He continued by saying they are there every step of the way,
“We can specifically go into any businesses industry and pull demographic data, competitor data, marketing information, sample financial statements from similar businesses all the way through marketing management, human resources, strategic planning and succession planning.”
The general public might think of a small business as being a few employees, but the United States has difference guidelines which benefits more business in the State of Missouri and in Moberly.
“For our standards a small business is anywhere from zero employees all the way up to 500 employees and it is anywhere from earning $1 in revenue to $75 million,” Steffes explains.
This year the SBTDC will help open around 280 new businesses this year, serve over 4,000 clients in turn this will lead to them helping maintain around 15,000 jobs in Missouri.
Another benefit is that these counseling services do not expire after a certain time, businesses can receive assistance as long as they think they need it or until they do not qualify as a small business by the standards listed above.
If the SBTDC cannot help a client they have a variety of resources to lead someone in the right direction and give a recommendation.
“If we don’t have the resource, we know where the resource is,” said Steffes.
They understand that starting a new business is challenging, but his advice is to have a plan in place,
“The business planning process is absolutely essential to someone starting, in business or even considering retiring,” he said.
It might be confusing at first to lay out a very detailed plan, but the SBTDC has a simple and easy online program that can walk an entrepreneur through the entire business model and financial statements to simplify this process. Also, having regular meetings with a staff member can help tremendously.
Besides planning, another important step of opening a business that someone should consider is having good credit.
No matter their situation, he said that every small business should reach out to them for assistance,
“A good first step is [to] go ahead and sign up as a client [online].”
Through this online sign-up it requires someone to fill out their business information and sign a confidentiality statement. Something that many businesses are worried about is confidentiality and that the something that the entire SBTDC staff takes very seriously. The next step after filling out the information online a staff member will contact that person to set up a meeting in person.
Many of their staff are very experienced in small businesses, as they own a business themselves. Some of the staff have been coaching the same clients for 10 or 20 years which shows their passion for Missouri business owners.
Though some of the staff have coached many of the same clients for years and they have a lot of success stories, Steffes is most proud about helping rural Missouri,
“In rural Missouri when you lose a small business, that community loses a tremendous resource. By working with those business, we are able to help the businesses come up with a succession plan that allows that business to continue beyond their ten year with the business which supports that community.”
The SBTDC is a huge asset that can be used to any small businesses advantage, we hope that our members will use them as an aid to grow, advance and start their business.