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How to get free help as a small business

Posted at 1:31 PM, Jun 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-11 11:43:19-04

If the pandemic has affected your business, you might want to visit a Small Business Development Center.

We spoke with Jim Herrin, the director of Salt Lake Region Small Business Development Center to find out what they are, and how they help small businesses, especially amid this pandemic.

WHAT THEY ARE - "We are a program of the U.S. Small Business Administration. In Utah we also receive funding from the State of Utah and various colleges and universities that host us throughout the state. All we do is help small business owners and future entrepreneurs succeed by providing business counseling, training and other services at no cost. We are the 'boots on the ground', if you will, for direct, one-on-one small business assistance. I`m with the Salt Lake Region SBDC which is hosted by the Salt Lake Community College and located at the Miller Business Resource Center in Sandy. Our Salt Lake SBDC alone helps over 500 small business owners and future entrepreneurs every year."

HOW THEY HELP - "During this pandemic, we have been helping small business owners navigate this crisis by getting the word out on the funding programs available, helping them understand the qualifications and terms, as well as how apply for these programs, answering their many questions and providing whatever assistance we can. We have also been meeting virtually with many small business owners to address their specific individual needs."

"Many businesses now are concerned about getting as much of their Payroll Protection Program Loan forgiven as possible. There are numerous complicated calculations, so we developed a financial tool to help small businesses determine how much will be forgiven and the numbers to fill out the forgiveness application. Then, with the Miller Business Resource Center, we held a very successful webinar and have received hundreds of requests for this tool."

"Cash flow is the circulation system of each business and the economy. If it stops it will die. That`s why there was such a rush by the government to get funding to businesses as soon as possible. That helps short term, but businesses must get back to selling and making profits in order to stabilize and recover."

"The SBDC can be an important partner with small business in achieving the milestones they need to achieve in order to recover. Part of the Federal Care Act is providing additional funding to SBDCs to assist in business recovery. In Utah this will fund programs and people solely focused on business recovery. With the funds our Salt Lake SBDC has been allocated, we will be hiring three new positions to bring on specialists in finance, marketing and operations. These positions are currently posted on the Salt Lake Community College job board."

HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE - "This pandemic, with our earthquake` as its exclamation point, drilled into everyone the need to be prepared any possible crisis. There is much that business can do to prepare, and numerous crises they do need to be prepared for. In addition to nature, think cyber-security, fire, theft, economic changes, and preparing for the 'new normal', whatever that will be. So, besides helping businesses recover from this crisis, we will be providing assistance in planning for emergencies so they will not be blind-sided, regardless of the crisis."

Businesses can schedule one-on-one consultations and find more information at utahsbdc.org or at mbrcslcc.com.