Thinking of starting your own small business or just need access to small business resources and advice? Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) typically offer FREE advice, resources, consulting, and plans. Are you taking advantage of that? They assist small businesses and entrepreneurs with a variety of resources and services covering every stage from startup to business planning to marketing to finance, taxes and money. SBDCs offer free and confidential business counseling assistance to their clients, helping them to make the decisions necessary to succeed. SBDCs are funded in part by the Small Business Administration (SBA), state and local governments and private sector grants.
SBDC Consulting Services
Many entrepreneurs & small business owners know a lot about their trade or line of work but not so much when it comes to running a business. For example, a caterer may be a wizard in the kitchen but lack the expertise to make proper decisions regarding cash flow or capital investment. Some of the areas SBDC advisors help the entrepreneur are in market research, capital acquisition, rural business development, manufacturing, product development and engineering. They also assist women, veterans and minorities with issues that are specific to their situations as they may be eligible for grants or preferred status consideration when bidding on private or government contracts. SBDCs can an invaluable tool to businesses who engage in 8(a) Business Development Programs and HUBZone programs.
Small business assistance typically includes but is not limited to:
- How to start a small business
- Business plan consulting
- Small business banking, financing, loans, & funding
- Market Research
- Women’s Business Issues
- Small business grants
- Help with Small business marketing & advertising
- Business strategy
- Small business management
- Manufacturing assistance
- Procurement contracts
Where are Small Business Development Centers Located?
SBDCs are ubiquitous in scope, utilizing 63 networks with 900 hosts throughout all 50 states, the District of Columbia and American territories. In Texas there are 46 SBDCs – In Austin those include:
- Texas State University hosts one in Austin at Highland Mall
- Austin Score is located in West Austin
- City of Austin Small Business Development Program in Downtown Austin
Since 1990 the Small Business Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 1990 required that institutions of higher learning or women’s business development centers host all new lead SBDCs.
Most Popular Small Businesses Assisted by SBDC
According to SBDCNet, the businesses listed below are the ones that most frequently request SBDC advisors to share market research. Advisors use the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) to classify economic activity of North American businesses. By using a NAICS code, a small business owner can research industries, locate suppliers, analyze competitors, get loan assistance and much more. Many businesses pay consulting fees for these services but the local SBDC advisor provides this detailed market research for free.
- Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers (NAICS 71394)
- Full Service Restaurants (NAICS 72221)
- Homes for the Elderly (NAICS 62331)
- All Other Amusement and Recreation Industries (NAICS 71399)
- Used Merchandise Stores (NAICS 45331)
- Meat Processed from Carcasses (NAICS 31161)
- Landscape Architectural Services (NAICS 54132)
- Beauty Salons (NAICS 81211)
- Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Services (NAICS 56174)
- Child Day Care Service (NAICS 62441)