Image courtesy of Prism Boutique.

In the course of offering business advice—through my local marketing and design firm, small business blog, and my new book “Sell Local, Think Global”—I am consistently amazed by how little local business owners utilize the resources in their own backyards.

One goldmine-next-door in particular stands out: The Small Business Development Center.  There are 900 SBDC sites nationwide, and two of the best are right here in Long Beach, hosted by Long Beach City College:

  • At 4900 E. Conant Street, Bldg. O2, Suite 108—in Councilwoman Stacy Mungo’s District 5
  • At 309 Pine Avenue— in Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez’s District 1

While typical business coaches can run hundreds of dollars per hour, the SBDC ‘s services are funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration as well as local corporate sponsors.  By offering low-cost training and no-cost advising, the Long Beach SBDC has helped hundreds of area business owners…including retail veteran and Long Beach local Dayna Mance, owner of Prism Boutique.  

Dayna knew she wanted to start her own fashion-focused retail store, but hadn’t previously owned a business. Luckily, the Long Beach SBDC was able to help her out with:

  • legal issues (such as hiring employees)
  • social marketing (on Facebook and Instagram)
  • licensing (by obtaining permits)
  • accounting (through QuickBooks training).

prism boutique long beach californiaMance confirmed that her SBDC advisor, Bruce Sparks, “helped me get over that jumping-off point of leaving a good corporate job with great benefits to start a business. It was scary, but he helped me with so much.”  Since opening, at 406 Termino Ave. (around the corner from 4th Street, near Freemont Elementary), Prism Boutique has exceeded initial sales projections, added employees, and built an ecommerce platform.

Along with the types of services Prism utilized, the SBDC also offers:

  • business planning,
  • tech education,
  • marketing advice,
  • help with government contracts,
  • legal information,
  • finance assistance,
  • best practices in human resources,
  • import/export ideas, and
  • confidential counseling.

Beyond that, the SBDC is in the know about a lot of local financial and educational resources, often hiding in plain sight.  For instance, the Director of the Long Beach SBDC, Mike Daniel, notes that the city of Long Beach itself also offers a host of assistance programs for local businesses, including:

If you’re a local small business owner who hasn’t been to the SBDC yet, or are looking to start a new business, I strongly encourage you to call (562) 938-5100 and set up an appointment today.

300-SellLocal-Thinkglobal-OlgaMizrahi-CoverHave a question for me?  Bring it on!  Every question posted in the comments, below, will be answered thoughtfully and, if it’s useful to others, may even be featured in an upcoming column or blog post.

Want even more?  Pre-order my new small business book, Sell Local, Think Global, packed with 50 invaluable tips that will take your business to the next level in no time.

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