When a friend or family member asks what you do to help small businesses, what do you say? I say I work for the Small Business Administration and we are the best resource for someone starting or growing a business. Our SBA office partners with the SCORE Association and we have a counselor in our office every day between the hours of 9 and 3 who will sit down and listen to your idea and thoughts. I can mail you a free startup kit that contains valuable information for starting or developing a business. Here is my card, call me!
What’s your favorite thing about what the SBA does for small businesses? There are so many things, but first and foremost, is that we are THERE for the small business person. Whether it is a question about loan, lender or certification, we are there to help. I am proud that with seven people in our medium office that we answer the phone every day with a live person. If we cannot answer the question, we make sure we put them in touch with the proper resource, i.e. SCORE, SB&TDC, Veterans Business Resource Center or the Grace Hill Women’s Business Center.
Is there a particular small business “success story” that comes to mind when you think about how the SBA helps people? We recently held a National Encore Entrepreneur Event and it was very well attended. I had calls after that event with people upset they could not attend for one reason or another. I counseled with them, offered to send them our startup kit and put them in touch with a SCORE counselor. They have been most appreciative and had we not done the National Encore Entrepreneur Day, they might not have found us at SBA.
Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs and small business owners out there? Yes, stay away from the “free grants” and “pay for certifications and contracts”. SBA is a truly free resource. We succeed when our business owners succeed and we want businesses to know that SBA is the best resource for them.
Anything else to add? In my 36 years at SBA I have worked with as many as 50 in our office and yet today we are doing more with seven great coworkers so I like to think of us as the little office that could. I am proud to work at SBA and I am passionate about helping and seeing small businesses succeed.
Quick story, five years ago when my daughter got married, I told her we were only buying from a small business. We went to a bridal fair, and I drove her crazy because I asked every vendor if they were a small business or large and walked away from the large. Well, she got married and I was so proud that everyone we hired or bought from represented a small business and not a chain. I have six kids and six kids who prefer small business!!! I love it!!!