If you own or manage a business, you probably realize the impor- tance of getting good advice to help you along your journey. One of the best local resources for advice and business education is your COCC Small Business Development Center (BDC). BDCs offer one-stop assistance to individuals and small businesses by providing a wide variety of information and guidance. Assistance is provided to both current and potential small business owners. According to research conducted by Drs. James J. Chrisman and W. Ed McMullan, SBDC-counseled businesses survive longer than those that do not receive outside assistance.
Chrisman and McMullan uncovered a survival rate of 65 percent among pre-venture SBDC clients compared to a 47 percent rate among all start-up businesses. In addition, they found that counseling is a positive influence on the survival rate of small businesses. To greatly increase your chance of success, find out as much as you can before you expand, take your next step towards growth, or open your doors—wherever you are in developing your business. Talk to a BDC advisor and get a realistic understanding of the financial, emotional, and time-related resources necessary. Keep your eyes open – not to the possibility of failure, but to the very real demands of running your own business.
Small Business Management Program For those who have been in business for one year or more and are ready to take their business to the next level, the BDC offers the Small Business Management Program. This year-long program provides intensive training in financial management, marketing, and operational management. Confidential advising between training sessions ensures implementation of the concepts, as well as an opportunity to get one-on-one analysis of your business.
Business Advising The Business Development Center offers confidential business advising services to both established and start-up business throughout the Central Oregon area. Advisors can assist you with your questions about business start-up, marketing, planning, financing, and more. One-on-one advising services are free to the client and are underwritten by the Small Business Administration.
Educational Seminars The Business Development Center offers many seminars such as “Getting Down to Business.” This two-evening, hands-on class is full of practical advice and information for those ready to start on their business plan. “Planning for Business Success” teaches you how to clarify your goals, vision, values and mission. In addition, this course teaches you how to start developing your business plan.
Starting a Business If you are planning to start a business, make sure you attend the BDC’s two-hour “How to Start a Business” seminar. These seminars are held regularly in Redmond and Bend, and provide you with the basics of starting a business.
Planning for Success Regardless of whether you prepare a 120-page business plan document or a 4-page “Action Plan,” the point is, planning is essential to the successful growth and development of your business, your team, and your long-term future. The COCC Business Development Center can help you get started. Information: www.cocc.edu, www.sba.gov and www.bizcenter.org.
Beth Wickham (383-7290) is the director of the COCC Business Development Center. Paul Svendsen (389-4740) is a part-time instructor at COCC.