Frequently Asked Questions
What does the SBDC do?
The SBDC assists existing and prospective business owners to start or grow a business by offering a wide variety of training, providing one-on-one advising, conducting economic development related market research, and providing technical assistance. The SBDC also offers expertise in international trade and specialty programs and advising for minority entrepreneurs. Working with a SBDC advisor improves chances for success. For more information, contact your local SBDC.
What can I expect when I meet with a SBDC advisor?
Most initial and follow up meetings generally last between one and two hours and are usually scheduled in advance. The initial meeting is important because it affords the SBDC 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 advisors to review and monitor the progress on recommendations and the plan of action developed during the initial meeting. Before each meeting it would be 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 advisors 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 have a nonprofit business. Can the SBDC help me?
No. Because the SBDC Network is an economic development arm of the state of Texas and relies on tax-supported state appropriations, it is mandated to work only with for-profit companies. For information on assistance for nonprofit companies, contact the Nonprofit Resource Center in Texas.
Does the SBDC offer classes for entrepreneurs?
The SBDC offers a wide variety of training programs to help educate and inform entrepreneurs at all stages of business development. We offer free online Webinars in 26 topics in English and 24 topics in Spanish. At this moment, we are in the planning stages to bring Profit Mastery to our program, which is an award-winning series of classes designed for the new business owner. For a comprehensive list of all classes, visit our website.
How do I meet with a SBDC advisor?
All meetings with SBDC advisors are by appointment. If you plan to start a new business, we highly recommend that you prepare yourself prior to meeting with an advisor. Compiling a list of questions and writing down your thoughts will help the advisor understand your business idea and how far along you are in the planning process. If you are already in business, contact your local SBDC to schedule an appointment with an advisor.
How much does SBDC charge for its services?
The SBDC provides confidential one-on-one business advising at no charge. Some services, such as classes, have a nominal fee.
How is the SBDC funded?
The SBDC is a state and federal partnership program. The Sul Ross Rio Grande College, UTSA and The Small Business Administration fund our program.
Are the SBDC and SBA the same thing?
No. The SBDC receives a portion of its funding from the US Small Business Administration and works closely with the agency in its delivery of services. For more information about the SBA, visit their web site at www.sba.gov.
I’m already in business. Can the SBDC help me?
Yes. The SBDC provides many services that can help existing businesses cope with growing pains, expand to new markets and plan for the future. Confidential advising sessions are available to small business owners covering all the basic business functions including business planning, loan proposals, marketing, financial analysis, recordkeeping and government procurement. Other special services available through our local offices include mystery shopping, website critique, Business Health Check and the facilitation of strategic planning sessions. Our local offices offer a myriad of training classes directed at helping businesses grow and improve their bottom line at every stage of the growth process. Specialized services are also available through our International Trade Center, Government Contracting Center and SBDCNet.
Is what I share with the 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.