Published November 20, 2009

Take Advantage of Free Business Advice at Your Local SBDC

Small businesses today have a tremendous advantage. There are more business resources than ever before for an entrepreneur to find business advice on starting a new business, writing business plans, financing, hiring, and a myriad of other pertinent topics. If you are a small business owner, you can get valuable tips and advice from your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The best part is that the advice is free!

Local chapters of the SBDC are part of the Office of Small Business Development Centers sponsored by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBDC is a network of business professionals offering free business advice, business resources, business consulting, and low-cost training to entrepreneurs and small business owners. With about 1,000 service centers located throughout the country, you can find one in your area to get the help you need.

How can the SBDC offer free advice? SBDCs are funded largely by the SBA, who contributes over $100 million annually to the program. Other monies come from state grants, higher-education and universities, and the private sector.

Reality Can Sting

Small business owners have access to over 4,000 counselors nationwide who are active and successful business people themselves. Their business advice stems from business degrees and years of professional experience.

The SBDC advisors offer ways to improve your business plan, find start-up financing, marketing advice, and generally help small business owners find the help they need. Of course, sometimes that advice can sting.

No one wants to hear that their business idea will not work. However, the business advice from the SBDC can let you know if your idea is overly ambitious, and whether you might benefit from new business strategies.

It's not about squashing dreams and crushing ideas though! The SBDC advisors offer practical business advice that can point to new business resources and get a business idea off the ground.

Get Low-Cost Training

In addition to the invaluable free business advice offered through the SBDC, you can find low-cost training programs available to help you improve your skill set. Why not take a class on how to run QuickBooks for $35? Take a seminar on how to start a new business for $20. And even learn how to take your small business global by learning to export your business product around the world for under $100.

Free training is also available. You can check with your SBDC and the SBA website for possible free courses that can help you plan your business, market your product, learn about accounting and tax topics, business management, and much more.

There is no better time than now for someone to try their hand at running their own small business. With millions of workers being laid-off and unemployment remaining high, people are taking control of their futures and putting their careers in their own hands by starting new businesses and going freelance.

Get the help you need to make your small business a success. Find your local chapter of the SBDC and take advantage of free business advice, business resources, and business consulting today.