By Brad Bapst
Whether your business is just a budding idea or has been around for a few days or a few decades, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at The Ohio State University South Centers is ready to support you heading into 2022.
If 2020 was about the resolve and adaptability of the American small business owner, 2021 has been about the grit and determination to build back stronger than ever before. The economic recovery is well underway, and the SBDC remains ready to help prospective, new, and experienced business owners alike in the year ahead. 2022 is poised to be an exciting year, but it won’t be without its challenges.
The OSU South Centers SBDC has spent 2021 helping businesses survive and thrive. Many businesses are struggling due to high input costs and shortages in both supplies and staffing. Other businesses in our region have shifted their structure and are thriving. Some have moved to online sales, limited brick and mortar hours, varied menus, and a shift in products or services. Entrepreneurs have also seen 2021 as a time to start new ventures in the region as our team assisted with the opening of 14 new businesses.
The SBDC team has been a constant force for these businesses with regular updates on COVID-related funding opportunities throughout the past year as well as assisting with increased marketing efforts and review of financials. Training events were held in the areas of starting your own business and online marketing.
2022 will bring a new face to the SBDC team at the OSU South Centers. Melanie Sherman is our newest Business Development Specialist, and she will be meeting with clients and expanding visibility in our eastern counties. We will also be expanding our virtual and in-person training events, as well as continue to work closely with the chambers of commerce and economic development offices throughout the region.
Consider these tips when you are making your New Year’s business resolutions:
1. Write out your business plan. As a soon-to-be or emerging small business owner, the proper business plan can help you conceptualize your vision. It can also prove to lenders and investors that you have a solid foundation for your ideas. Need help structuring your business plan? The SBDC can assist you and mentor you through the process.
2. Explore your funding options. Figuring out how you are going to fund your business is often just as important as the concept behind the business itself. However, such a significant decision doesn’t have to be stressful. There are a variety of options for funding small businesses. There are many popular options such as business loans from local banks and local economic development programs. These are the most common forms of financing for small businesses in Southern Ohio. The SBA also offers many options from microloans to 7(a) and 504 loans. The SBA works closely with lenders, reducing risk and streamlining access to capital. That, in turn, makes it easier for small business owners to get the loans they need.
3. Create a marketing strategy. An effective marketing strategy will help get customers talking about your products or services. The SBDC offers business counseling services and training courses that are a great place to start. Topics covered include identifying target market, conducting market research, establishing a marketing plan, and the basics of social media marketing.
4. Get a second opinion from an expert. Navigating the startup process in the recovering economy can be tricky. That is why a business mentor from the SBDC is so valuable. The SBDC offers free business mentoring, counseling, and training — both remotely and in-person. Connect with your local SBDC resource partner today.