Small Business Support Center
Plymouth State University’s Small Business Support Center provides business counseling and support to current and prospective small business owners. The Center is an integral component of the local area economic development planning strategy.
We asked Craig Zamzow, MBA program coordinator and director of the SBSC, a few questions about the Center.
Craig, how has the local community responded to the services offered by the SBSC?
The local community has welcomed the services. We have been invited to contribute our expertise to Chamber of Commerce and Main Street workshops for their organization’s small businesses members. An example is the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce “Brown Bag” Luncheon series that kicked off on September 18 at the Pease Public Library in Plymouth. We have also participated in the Waterville Valley Region Chamber breakfast series.
The SBSC receives a steady stream of inquires for help from local businesses. This results from word-of-mouth among local businesses and referrals from local banks. The local commercial lending officers will often refer clients to the SBSC who need help with a “business plan” in order to obtain a loan. The business owners are very grateful and complimentary about the help we give them.
What type of commitment is required of the business owner?
We do not charge for our services and the resources required of the business owner depend on the nature of his or her needs. Operating and capital equipment financing is the most common need for help.
About how long does the strategic planning process normally take?
Strategic planning involves collecting, screening, and analyzing information about the business environment. The time commitment depends on the nature of the assistance needed. A one-on-one counseling session typically takes one hour and additional sessions usually follow with several weeks between meetings. A comprehensive Small Business Institute® project will typically require six to nine months from the establishment of the scope of work to the completion of the report.
The SBSC Business Advisors help with developing and updating business plans, identifying and applying for sources of capital, and creating marketing strategies to expand the business’s customer base. How do you identify business advisors? Can anyone participate?
Teaching assistant fellows are selected from a pool of applicants in PSU’s MBA degree program. We look for individuals with significant small business experience to be counselors in the SBSC. As the director, I participate in many of the counseling sessions and all SBI projects. A PSU faculty advisor oversees the project team and offers guidance as required.
Who should business owners or potential SBSC Business Advisors contact for additional information?