Turning your dreams into working plans, as a soon-to-be or current small business owner, is attainable now more than ever with the support provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA works in conjunction with local partners to provide advice for overcoming some of the most common small business-related obstacles.
One such partner can be found as close as the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Here, economically or socially disadvantaged women and minority entrepreneurs and small business owners can find a wealth of valuable information, education, training resources to help them develop their business concept or improve the performance of an existing business.
Specific programs available to women and minorities
In addition to the vast SBDC resources, women qualify for access to Women’s Business Centers. With four such centers in Wisconsin and more than 100 nationally, women have easy access to comprehensive training aimed at “leveling the playing field” in business ownership and success.
Support through classes, conferences and mentorship offer women specialized opportunities to develop business skills that they would like to improve.
Outreach programs available to minorities are similar to those that help military veterans and Native Americans looking to delve into entrepreneurship. Minority-owned businesses have the opportunity for assistance covered by the 8(a) Business Development Program, and for low-interest loan programs that can provide startup financing. Support through most of the SBA programs continues even after businesses are launched.
The SBDC answers these commonly asked questions
- How can I get funding to start or support my business?
- How do I select a banker? Building maintenance contractor? Healthcare provider?
- Will I have access to additional funding if I start a business in a low socio-economic area?
- Can you match me with a mentor from another small business?
- What can I do to encourage customer loyalty?
- Do I have access to classes without being a student at a university?
Top Reasons for Small Business Failures
Businesses tend to fail based on a combination of factors. The SBDC designs its most popular courses to mitigate risks and avoid failures at the following pain points: lack of experience, insufficient capital, poor investment management, over-investment in fixed assets, personal use of business funds, competition and low sales.
If your small business or small business idea could benefit from the SBDC, check out the nearest Fox Valley locations at UW-Oshkosh or UW-Green Bay. When it’s time to help finance your business, the commercial lenders at your local FNB Fox Valley branch will help pave the right path to business success.