Frequently Asked Questions

 

Frequently Asked Questions

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“The TVCC BizCenter has been an awesome
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What does the Treasure Valley Community College (TVCC) Small Business Development Center (SBDC) do?

The TVCC SBDC helps existing and prospective business owners start or grow their business by offering a wide variety of services, including one-on-one advising with our Business Advisors, training, market research and technical assistance.  The SBDC network provides a strong conduit to business partners and resources, and offers statewide expertise in international trade, government contracting, risk management and sustainability.  Working with an SBDC Business Advisor will considerably improve your chance for success.

How do I meet with a SBDC Business Advisor?

All meetings with SBDC Business Advisors are by appointment.  If you plan to start a new business, we highly recommend that your take a “How to Start a Business” workshop prior to meeting with an Advisor.  This seminar is offered at our Center or online for maximum flexibility.  When you are ready to schedule your appointment, simply complete the “Register for Counseling” https://clients.bizcenter.org/reg.aspx?mode=counsel&center=2130&subloc=0

What can I expect when I meet with an SBDC Business Advisor?

A typical initial or follow-up meeting lasts between one-two hours and is scheduled in advance.  The initial meeting is important because it affords the SBDC Business Advisor the opportunity to obtain background information about your existing or proposed business, make specific recommendations and also develop a plan of action in terms of what will be required to meet your expectations.  Follow up meetings allow the Advisor to review and monitor the progress on recommendations and the plan of action developed during the initial meeting.  Before each meeting it is helpful to write down a list of concerns you want to discuss and goals that you hope to achieve.  In some cases you may have to provide your Advisor with information in advance.  There is generally no time limit in terms of time spent with an Advisor but it is equally important that you schedule your meeting based on need.  You will also have an opportunity to provide feedback about your SBDC experience.

I’m already in business.  Can the TVCC SBDC help me?

Yes. The TVCC SBDC provides many services that can help existing businesses cope with growing pains, expand to new markets and plan for the future.  Confidential consultations are available to small business owners covering all the basic business functions including business planning, loan proposals, marketing, financial analysis, bookkeeping and industry research.  Our Center offers a myriad of training directed at helping businesses grow and improve their bottom line at every stage of growth process.

Is what I share with the TVCC SBDC confidential?

Yes. The SBDC program operates under ethical practices similar to your attorney or your accountant.  Any information you share with us is held in strict confidence to the extent permitted by applicable law.

How much does the TVCC SBDC charge for its services?

The TVCC SBDC provides confidential one-on-one business advising at no charge.  Some services, such as classes, may have a nominal fee.

How often can a client meet with a Business Advisor?

There is no limit to the number of times that an Advisor can meet with a client provided that the meetings are productive.  Some of our client engagements are short term and others span many years.

I haven’t started a business, but I’d like to.  What should I do first?

One of the best things you can do if you are unsure about how to start a business, of what is needed, is to attend our "How to Start a Business" workshop or participate in an online version of this workshop offered by our partner organizations http://www.bizcenter.org/business-advice-courses/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=573:start-run-and-grow&catid=2:uncategorised or https://www.sba.gov/tools/sba-learning-center/search/training/starting-business.  While this is not a firm requirement, attending one of these workshops is highly recommended as they provide basic information and will answer many of your preliminary questions; making your individual advisory meeting that much more specific to your needs.

How do I finance my start-up business?

There are many different ways to finance a start-up.  However, most businesses are financed out of a combination of owner’s equity and a commercial loan.  For example, when an entrepreneur is seeking a commercial loan, a reasonable expectation is that the lending bank would expect at least 25 percent equity investment from the entrepreneur.  Our Business Advisors can help you determine the best ways to finance your business based on your specific circumstance. 

Can you help me obtain a loan?

We are NOT a source of funds.  Our team of Business Advisors is well versed on the multiple lending options available and will be happy to guide you through the loan process. We cannot advocate to a lender on your behalf; however, our Advisor can help you determine project feasibility, understand lender loan criteria and develop a well though-out business plan and financial projections. We can then link you with the appropriate lending sources for your needs.

How can I get an SBA loan?

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has several programs designed to encourage commercial lenders to make loans directly to business owners and entrepreneurs.  The SBDC and SBA do not make direct loans.  However, our staff of highly-trained Business Advisors is well versed on SBA loan requirements as well as requirements for commercial loans sand other sources of capital infusions.  Let us help walk you through the process of obtaining funding and link you with appropriate sources of capital for your business.  To find out more about SBA’s guaranteed loan programs visit their website at https://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/loans-grants.  

Are there grants available to help me start my business?

The SBA does NOT provide grants for starting and expanding a business.  More information regarding grants can be found here https://www.sba.gov/content/facts-about-government-grants.

Will the TVCC SBDC write my business plan for me?

Not directly but the TVCC SBDC will pair you with an experienced Business Advisor who will guide you through the ‘how-to’ of writing your business plan.  This guidance may take the form of introducing you to the business plan structure, projecting cash flow and capital requirements, or developing a marketing strategy, and is customized to your particular needs.  As a TVCC SBDC client, you will have access to a powerful online business planning tool,.  You will work one-on-one with as Business Advisor to get your business off the ground, and for as long as it takes you to accomplish your goals.

How long does it take to complete a business plan?

It depends on the complexity of your business and the time you have to dedicate to conducting the research and writing the plan.  A plan generally takes about 40 hours to prepare; however this does not include the time you invest in research.  Your Business Advisor will assist you with all stages of preparing your written business plan.

Why should you use our services?

There are multiple programs and services out there that can help you with your small business.  However, there are important attributes of the SBDC network that set us apart:

The expertise of our staff.  The TVCC SBDC team is comprised of professionals who are experts in the specialty fields they advise and teach. Our Business Advisors receive regular training on the latest tools and resources available to small business owners.  All of our Advisors have owned or currently own one or more businesses.

Our Network. Even with our highly trained local team, we cannot be experts in every conceivable area of assistance that might be needed by your business.  Therefore, we work closely with our large network of SBDC’s, federal, state and local agencies, local businesses and industry experts to help fill the gaps.  Our Advisors will gladly introduce you to the right person that can give you the help you need.  Put our well established network to work for you!

Market and Industry Research. Our SBDC has access to a number of large industry and market research databases that can help you better understand the trends and developments that shape your business environment.  Our staff can provide you with reports and the tools needed to take advantage of a constantly changing business environment. 

Long-term Focus. We want to see your business succeed in the long term.  We work with clients at every stage of the business and will keep working with you as long as the meetings are beneficial. 

Cost.  It’s free!  The TVCC SBDC business advisory services are at no direct cost to you.  You can’t find a better deal!

Who refers people to your services?

We received referrals from a wide variety of organizations: Loan Officers, Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development Departments, and most importantly, OUR CLIENTS!  If you know of a small business that could use our services, just send them our way.

How is the TVCC SBDC funded?

The TVCC SBDC is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Small Business Administration (SBA), the State of Oregon Business Development Department (OBDD), and Treasure Valley Community College (TVCC).

 

 

Our Partners

 Americas SBDC

The Oregon SBDC is an accredited
member of America's Small Business
Centers

Business Oregon Logo Funded in part by the Oregon
Business Development
Department
U.S. Small Business Administration Funded in part through a cooperative
agreement with the US Small Business
Administration