Starting and running a small business can be difficult, but there is an abundance of resources available to help you become successful and you can connect to most of them through a Small Business Development Center.
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About Our Guest:
Interim Director of the Toledo Area Small Business Development Center
Jill Badger is the Interim Director of the Toledo Area Small Business Development Center. The Small Business Association is a national organization, free for any small business to utilize as a resource without having to become a member.
The Toledo Area section has been a part of the Toledo Chamber of Commerce since its founding, contributing to an expansion of resources and knowledge available without small businesses being required to join the Chamber itself.
Jill has been working with the Chamber and Center for almost 7 years and stepped into the Director position back in September, though she has long had an active hand in managing the center. Jill herself specializes in financial advising and utilizes a diverse team and network to bring her clients the best advice possible.
What is the Small Business Development Center?
The Small Business Association (SBA) is a national organization and a completely free resource for small businesses (according to Jill, this around 250 employees or less). Not only do they help small businesses, but they’re a resource to prospective new small business owners as well. In fact, it’s better to reach out to the SBA, sooner rather than later, for help answering all your questions.
There are centers located all over the country and they are assigned a region to work with. The Toledo Area Small Business Development Center covers Lucas and Wood County of Ohio, but if you’re from the area, you can find your own Smal Business Development Center here.
Have questions about financing your business or even laying out a financial plan? They can help. They can also help you grow into a brick and mortar by helping you learn the ins and outs of signing a lease (there’s more to it than just a good building and location and you really do need to know the rest that goes into having a physical location). SBA locations can also help you understand licensing, certifications, laws, and navigate best practices in your industry.
Another great thing? If your Small Business Development Center doesn’t have the answers, they almost always know who does or who can help you out. Ingrained in the communities they’re part of, their professionals know about outside resources and businesses that could be beneficial to you that you may not have even heard of. They also know where you can find those grants and financing during tough times or times of growth.
When Should You Reach Out
You don’t have to be a new or prospective business to reach out to your Small Business Development Center. They help any small business at any point during their life cycle. In fact, during COVID they have been busier than ever, even adding more marketing to their team to connect with more businesses that could need them.
If you have a question or curious about resources that could help you locally, don’t hesitate to reach out. It doesn’t cost you and they have a strong confidentiality agreement in place so that you can feel confident and comfortable going to them.
How to Get in Touch
There are several ways to get in touch with a local center. If you’re around the Toledo Area, you can visit this website or email Jill at Jill.Badger@ToledoChamber.com to get in touch. If you’re not from the Toledo Area, you can search for a center near you through Google or reach out to the main SBA in Washington, DC.
409 3rd Street, S.W. Suite 6400
Washington, DC 20416
If you’re not sure if you’re part of the Toledo Area center, feel free to reach out to the team and they can let you know for sure. If you’re not, they are able to connect you to the correct center easily.