FAQ's of the SBDC
What is the Southeastern Iowa Small Business Development Center?
The Southeastern Iowa SBDC provides counseling, training and technical assistance in all areas of small business management. Through one-on-one counseling and classroom sessions, the SBDC assists small businesses with financial, tax, marketing, organization and planning.
Who pays for the SBDC program?
The Southeastern Iowa SBDC is part of a statewide network of colleges and universities that joint venture with the federal and state governments, including the US Small Business Administration, to provide financial support for the centers. Southeastern Community College and the Center for Business is the host of our SBDC. This support allows the center to provide consulting services free-of-charge to starting and expanding small businesses who cannot afford the services of a private consultant. There is a nominal charge for classroom training.
Where are you located and what are your hours?
The Southeastern Iowa SBDC is located at The Center for Business, River Park Place, 610 N. 4th Street, Burlington, Iowa, 52601. Office hours are 8:00AM to 4:30PM, Monday through Thursday.
I opened my business a few years ago. Can the Iowa SBDC help me?
The Iowa SBDC provides an array of services to established businesses, including consulting in business planning, marketing, financial analysis, accounting and preparation of loan application packages. These services are available to any business falling within the federal guidelines for a small business which generally is 500 employees or less, and a maximum of $10 million in annual sales.
What training programs do you offer?
Programs in business start-up and QuickBooks are our most popular courses. We also offer a variety of programs in accounting, bookkeeping, sales and income tax, marketing, customer service and courses designed to train employees of small businesses. We offer classroom as well as Internet based courses. In addition, we have the vast training resources of the Center for Business and Southeastern Community College. Virtually any training your business needs can be supplied by contacting the Iowa SBDC. View the latest small business class offerings.
Why do I need a business plan?
A business plan is the roadmap to success for your business. It will contain a description of the history and development of your business, an explanation of the products and services you offer, an analysis of your market and marketing strategy, your management team and your financial projections. If you need financing, you will almost certainly need one, but all small businesses, regardless of size, should have a business plan. Plans don't have to be complex, but they force you, as a business owner, to systematically think through and plan your business, understand your market, and organize!
I want to get started now. How long will it take to write a business plan?
Business plans don't have to be complicated, but they do take time. We suggest that you start by taking one of our 3 hour courses on business start-up or planning and completing the Business Plan Inventory(PDF) provided by the center. The plan has four basic sections:
A plan can take from a few weeks, to a few months to write, depending on the amount of time you have available to work on it. No matter how long it takes, there is no substitute for a good plan!
How do I arrange for a consulting session?
Call the Southeastern Center and speak with the Director regarding your needs. The Iowa SBDC does not place a limit on the number of sessions a client can request. Each client and situation is unique. Assistance is available to you as long as it is required. Please call (319) 208-5381 or (866) 722-4692 X5381 to schedule an appointment.
Can I get a loan at the Iowa SBDC?
The Iowa SBDC is not a lender. In order to secure financing, you must work with a bank of your choosing. The SBDC will, however, work with you and your banker to assist you in preparing SBA loan applications, formulating your business plan and providing whatever technical assistance may be necessary to help you secure financing.
What grants are available to new business owners?
The U.S. Small Business Administration does not offer grants to start or expand small businesses, although it does offer a wide variety of loan programs. Grants are generally intended to benefit humanitarian efforts of non-profit organizations and companies. In most cases grants are not to enrich an individual or individual business. Free business counseling through the SBDC is the only "gift" you should expect in opening your new business.