BY BREANNA COLLINS, ENERGIZING ENTREPRENEURIAL COMMUNITIES VISTA, THE HUB
The WV Small Business Development Center serves businesses with fewer than 500 employees, including new ventures, growing companies and mature businesses. Their primary function is to be a resource to existing businesses that need information or assistance to become more innovative and competitive, and they also have resources and tools for those starting a new business.
One service provided through the SBDC is they offer free one-on-one business coaching services, which enable businesses owners to expand their companies, solve problems, improve management, develop new ideas for products or services, or investigate new business opportunities. They help the inexperienced businessperson to understand the requirements for going into business, assess business opportunities, determine financial needs and potential sources of financing, and offer guidelines on business planning and marketing. One important aspect of WV SBDC assistance is that they don’t actually do things for you so much as they try to equip you with information and resources to do things for yourself. The business coach will ask pertinent questions, listen to your needs and tailor the session around your specific experience and concerns. You will leave your first meeting with a list of to-do items to start you on your way.
The WV SBDC does not provide financing. Their assistance is technical and educational in nature. The WV SBDC can help you identify what financing you may need and discuss alternative lending sources. They can also advise you how to improve a loan application and business plan. They work with banks and other lending agencies and organizations to assist in putting together financial projections, but the actual financing comes from outside sources.
There are several ways to take advantage of WV SBDC resources. Their website, wvsbdc.com, has a wealth of information to assist you and answer questions. Take some time to check out their Training Calendar. If you are starting a business, consider attending one of our Business Fundamentals workshops. There you will learn about the start-up process, important considerations and decisions you should make before you start, the various regulations and registrations, and the fundamentals of a business plan. If you are already in business and would like one-on-one business coaching, contact them to set an appointment. They’ll ask that you complete an intake questionnaire and they’ll also suggest you bring financial information, marketing materials, etc. to your meeting to help them better understand your business.
Each WV county is assigned an SBDC Business Coach. The services of the WV SBDC are provided at no charge thanks to the support of the Small Business Administration and other local fiscal supporters. Nominal fees are often charged for training workshops. You can visit with business coaches a little or as much as is needed for your particular venture. If you are considering starting or growing your business ventre and are seeking technical or educational assistance we strongly suggest seeking out your SBDC Small Business Coach. You can simply search WVSBDC Business Coaches for WV or go to http://wvsbdc.com/business-coaches.html.