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Meet the SBA: Rita Williams, helping SBA manage its resources to jump-start entrepreneurs

Meet the SBA: Rita Williams, helping SBA manage its resources to jump-start entrepreneurs

By janied
Published: November 29, 2011 Updated: October 28, 2016

When a friend or family member asks what you do to help small businesses, what do you say?

I have worked with the SBA for thirty-two years and am very proud of my commitment. As a Program Assistant, I provide administrative support to the program offices within the Office of Performance Management and Chief Financial Officer to ensure efficient and effective management of Agency financial resources.  Small businesses are the backbone of the world’s economy, accounting for more than 99% of the businesses in the United States. Over the years, I have gained knowledge and information about the importance of supporting small businesses. Also, I provide referrals and information to my family and friends about special advertisements and promotions that are offered by small businesses.Therefore, the majority of my consumption of goods and services are purchased from small businesses in my community; at a young age I worked in my uncle’s convenient store and had an opportunity to know what it feels like to own a small business.

What’s your favorite thing about what the SBA does for small businesses?

Each year, SBA partners with the Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to host the National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week conference.  MED Week provides a platform for minority-owned businesses – large and small -- to learn about business growth strategies, receive premier training, and gain networking opportunities to help grow their businesses. The conference also offers business owners good information on weathering the current economic climate. To top it all off, some participants are recognized for their outstanding accomplishments and leadership with awards, including the Minority Small Business Person of the Year.

Is there a particular small business “success story” that comes to mind when you think about how the SBA helps people?

In the recession of the mid-1970s, Frederick Smith needed financing to start a national distribution system for air cargo. He was able to get $5.8 million through the SBA's Small Business Investment Company program. Today, that company is known as FedEx.  FedEx Express is now the world's largest express transportation company.

Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs and small business owners out there?

My main focus and objective in life is to be dedicated and loyal.  I like to make people happy and satisfied by providing excellent customer service and going the extra mile.   Good customer service is the lifeblood of any business.  Good customer service is all about bringing your customers back and keeping them happy.  The eight rules for good customer service is: 1) answer your phone; 2) Don’t make promises unless you will keep them; 3) Listen to your customers; 4) Deal with complaints; 5) Be helpful – even if there’s no immediate profit in it; 6) Train your staff to be always helpful, courteous and knowledgeable; 7) Take the extra step; 8) Throw in something extra. 

Anything else to add?

“The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.” – Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)

Meet the SBA is a series of features on SBA employees -- both in Washington, D.C., and around the U.S. -- who work every day to help small businesses grow and create jobs. Employees were nominated by their colleagues to be recognized during Public Service Recognition Week 2011.

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