Rod Davis, CEO, BBB Serving Southeast Florida and the Caribbean
Running a business can be lonely, challenging, and time consuming. Fortunately, there are resources available to help business owners and many are free. Whether you need help with a business plan, sourcing products, budgeting, or a marketing plan, there are resources in our community to help.
SBDC, the Small Business Development Centers, provide free face-to-face business consulting and at-cost training, on topics including business planning, accessing capital, marketing, regulatory compliance, technology development, international trade, and much more. Visit the SBDC site at www.AmericasSBDC.org and enter your location to find the center closest to you. While SBDC does not provide loans, they can also assist business owners in finding reputable funders to help provide loans to launch or expand your business.
SCORE, the Service Core of Retired Executives, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow, and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. SCORE is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and their volunteers provide mentoring in most areas of need to new business owners or those seeking to expand their businesses. SCORE also provides webinars and seminars throughout the country and we have many strong SCORE offices in Southeast Florida ready to work with you. Find your local SCORE office at www.SCORE.org.
The Jim Moran Institute provides great resources to business entrepreneurs ready to develop their skills to drive growth and total quality management. Operating from Florida State University, JMI has local offices throughout the major cities in Florida to deliver programming. JMI has offices in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach that provide a Small Business Executive Program and Nonprofit Executive Program. Both programs are geared to CEO/Presidents of businesses and nonprofit organizations that have been in operation for three years and have five or more employees (for nonprofits the number may include employees and volunteers).
Business executives learn the Business Model Canvas, a tool that can apply to and develop solutions challenging business owners. The goal is to prepare business owners to navigate the challenges each business owner will confront to optimize likely success. After completion of the program, training and networking opportunities continue to support business and nonprofit leaders.
The programs are provided at no cost, but individuals need to be accepted into the program. You can review the programs and other resources from JMI at www.JimMoranInstitute.FSU.edu.
Your Better Business Bureau is another resource for our business community. Our BBB has offices in Miami, West Palm Beach, and Stuart and hosts events, training, and networking opportunities for the business community. BBB’s goal is to provide the tools and information to help every business provide quality programs and services to their customers.
BBB provides online courses to BBB Accredited Businesses and shares some modules with all businesses. One of the biggest challenges for small businesses is managing reviews and their online brand. BBB encourages all businesses to take our free course (bit.ly/37bCfLO) and implement a program to manage online reviews.
Our BBB provides over 6 million reports on businesses in our area to consumers each year. Every business should claim their report and make sure it is accurate by claiming your report at www.BBB.org/SEFL. Having accurate and up to date information will help consumers searching on our site find you.
BBB works with industries and individual businesses to review marketplace trends and share practices to build trust with customers. BBB research provides a template for building a business with trust by following the Five Gestures of Trust. BBB provides seminars and training on the Five Gestures and every small business owner can download a copy at www.BBB.org/5Gestures.
All of the organizations mentioned are connected to other resources and if you need help that was not outlined in this article, please reach out to any of these groups. We are here to help you succeed.
On June 15-17, 2020, JMI, SBDC, and BBB will host the Small Business Leadership Conference (www.SBLConference.com) at the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes. The SBLC will put some of the best thinkers, leaders, and strategists for small business together at one event. So whether you are starting to put together a business plan for a new business, take your business to the next level, or just looking to continue to develop your business skills, there are plenty of opportunities for you.