How does the Northern California SBDC work?
It starts with a simple application. You tell us about your company and your needs and we tell you how we can help. Then, we establish goals to work on (business loan, equity capital, etc.) and we work together to reach that goal. We will meet with you in-person, on the phone, over coffee – whatever works for your schedule. Think of it as having another confidential member on your team - someone who is specifically focused on the business goal you identified as most important - and at no cost to you.
What is the Northern California SBDC?
The Northern California Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a non-profit organization that provides confidential, no-cost business consulting and affordable training seminars to small and medium-sized business owners and managers. The Northern California SBDC will help you with every aspect of business creation, growth, management and operation. We are funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. There are 18 centers located in Northern California for your convenience. Find your local SBDC to start receiving consulting and low cost training.
How can the Northern California SBDC help someone just thinking of starting a business?
The Northern California SBDC offers seminars and workshops at each of our centers for individuals who want general information on starting a business, or who are in the initial start-up phase. SBDC consultants can then help you with the details of turning your plan into a successful reality.
Do you have to be in business to use the services of the Small Business Development Center?
No. You only have to be considering the idea of opening a business or researching the feasibility of a proposed profit-making venture.
Who are Northern California SBDC Business Advisors?
SBDC Business Advisors are individuals who have significant experience in the private sector, and many have extensive management and financial consulting backgrounds. Northern California SBDC Business Advisors can offer individual advice and guidance concerning the formation, management, financing and operation of your business. Consulting is provided at no charge to qualified businesses and is confidential. We realize you have choices when it comes to choosing advisors for your business and we urge you to carefully consider whom you want on your team. SBDC Business Advisors are in it for you and your success. They are experts in their field and are 100% focused on making your company work better and faster, with increasing profitability.
Are you open during this time?
Yes, we are here for your business! We are available for phone assistance, helping you navigate your business operations -- and recovery -- from impacts of COVID-19.
The SBDC Can Get You Started:
- Deciding – In person and online "First Step" courses help explore if opening a new business or buying an existing business or franchise is right for you.
- Moving Forward – SBDC consultants provide guidance on all aspects of your business launch, including your business plan, feasibility and financial analyses.
- Acquiring Capital – Receive referrals to investors and banks, review financial management practices, and discuss loan package preparation.
- Gaining Market Research – Utilize SBDC research tools to obtain market reports, financial models and industry meters to help launch your business.
- Targeting Your Market – Refine your industry analysis, identify your customer base and research your competitors.
- Certifying Your Business – Learn what opportunities are available to women, minority, or veteran-owned businesses along with certification requirements.
Growing a business involves multiple steps ranging from selecting a location, determining a marketing strategy, analyzing cash flow implications and obtaining financing. The Santa Cruz SBDC can assist you by conducting customized research for your business on a specific target geographic area or comparing market potential among different areas. This market research will not only be used to make better business decisions, it can also be used to demonstrate to a potential lender that your plans are reasonable as you seek financing. In addition, Santa Cruz SBDC staff can assist you in determining cash needs and developing your loan proposal and monthly financial projections.
Continuity and Survival
Starting a business is difficult work. But keeping it healthy and making sure it is sustainable in the long-term requires new ways of thinking. The Santa Cruz SBDC continuity and survival services available to small businesses include confidential consulting on topics such as:
- Creating, updating and refining business continuity plans
- Acquiring capital, before and after the event
- Using cloud-based alternatives for critical business operations, tools and infrastructure
- Developing mobile-ready strategies to prepare for employees working off-site when needed
- Expanding strategically through new markets online, abroad or with the government
- Finding ways to maintain connectivity during a business disruption
- Building an online presence including eCommerce to diversify sales streams
- Reviewing ways to optimize online performance through SEO and other website enhancements
- Discussing all available resources to your business including local, state and federal partners who provide disaster loans, disaster training and much more
The SBDC network has the experience and an excellent track record in responding across the state to help communities and businesses negatively impacted by external forces, such as natural disasters or economic dislocations.
The Santa Cruz SBDC offers free, individualized and confidential one-on-one advising for existing businesses and start-ups with the potential for job creation, revenue and profit growth, and new business development ideas which could stimulate economic development in Santa Cruz County and beyond.
Advising services are available by appointment to both existing and start-up business owners. It starts with a simple application. You tell us about your company and your needs and we give a truthful assessment of whether we think we can help. Then, we establish goals to work on (business loan, equity capital, etc.) and we work together to reach that goal. We will meet with you in-person, on the phone, over coffee – whatever works for your schedule. Think of it as having another confidential member on your team - someone who is specifically focused on the business goal you identified as most important - and at no cost to you.
Trainings and Workshops
The Santa Cruz SBDC conducts a wide variety of business seminars across Santa Cruz County on subjects including accessing capital, business planning, e-commerce and web marketing, human resource management, expansion and growth capital, legal and business issues and a variety of best practice programs designed to help small businesses use the best techniques possible to increase sales and profits.