Free Small Business Help and How to Get it
It’s okay to admit that you don’t know everything. It’s okay to admit that sometimes you don’t have all the answers. As a business owner you have to wear a lot of hats. Sales, marketing, biz-dev, psychologist etc. At the end of the day you have to have all the answers; you’re expected to know everything. The buck stops with you. Where do you turn when you need help and answers to questions you can’t answer?
Not many folks know this, but in addition to running a small business, I also advise businesses on digital marketing at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). What is the SBDC? I’m glad you asked!
The SBDC network is equipped to help business owners access capital, develop business and financial models, create and implement marketing strategies, connect to global markets, and grow their business online, among many other services. The SBDC Network is funded primarily by the U.S. Small Business Administration and places a strong emphasis on collaboration and leveraging local and federal resources to help small businesses succeed.
At the center I work at businesses can access tax and accounting help, assistance with gaining access to government contract information, as well as help with business plans and, of course, help with digital marketing and strategy.
Many of the services that the SBDC are free or low-cost and available to existing businesses, new businesses, or businesses that are considered “pre-venture.” Many major metropolitan areas have an SBDC functioning in their community. You can find a list of SBDC locations in your area here: SBDC Locations.
Providing direct access to me for free
Often, I’m approached by people who want my help and they often cannot afford my rate. I can’t typically accommodate the request. But now that I provide services out of the SBDC I can give my knowledge free of charge to someone and still get compensated. It’s a win-win for everyone.
I find the areas that people running a small business often need help with is direction. These folks usually breakdown in the following areas:
- They do not have a website and need help figuring out where to start
- They already DO have a website and still need help figuring out where to start
- They need help with content and strategy; they have a good looking functional site that doesn’t work for their business. It’s not that the site is broken, but it doesn’t serve their business. This can happen for a few reasons, many of which have to do with not knowing what to write.
- Refining keywords that matter to their business and committing to the basics of content marketing.
There’s no panacea, just a willingness to invest the necessary time to execute and do things the right way the first time around. For this reason we offer website audits that help focus purpose and intent to ensure an effective web presence is built from the start. Again, these are things that can be identified when working with a digital marketing strategist at the SBDC, although, not all centers may have a resource that does these things.
In any case, it behooves you to look to the Small Business Development Center in your area to see how they might help you take the next step toward leveling up your business.
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