Understanding Small Business Succession Planning

As a successful small business owner, you have poured tons of time, money, and commitment into your company. But there may come a day when you want to retire or focus on a new business venture, and what will happen to the business you’ve worked so hard to build? 

In addition to giving you a sound exit strategy when you’re ready to make your next career move, a business succession plan can also address unexpected life circumstances, such as illness, disability, or death.

Read on for some business succession planning tips from the Oregon SBDC. If you need more help, our knowledgeable advisers are available and ready to assist; click here to connect with us. 

What Is Business Succession Planning?

Business succession planning is an action plan around the logistical and financial aspects of your business, including who will take over and fill the key roles and responsibilities when you retire or need to exit. While succession plans are most commonly associated with the owner’s retirement, they also support the sale of a business and other circumstances that can take place throughout your business’s life span. 

If anything unexpected happens to you or a co-owner, including death or disability, having a succession plan in place provides peace of mind about the business you’ve worked so hard to build.

Why Create a Business Succession Plan?

Besides providing you peace of mind, a plan, and a goal to work toward, a business succession planning strategy ensures that there will be less disruption to your company’s operations, employee performance, and clients when you are no longer able to run the company or decide that you no longer want to run it yourself.

A good succession plan also addresses how your business would respond to unexpected events, including death, disability, divorce, or the decision to separate from partners; to whom the business’s ownership would be transferred; how you can maintain your lifestyle when you’re no longer working full time; and how your heirs would be provided for financially.

Your Business Needs a Succession Plan: Here Are the Basics

A business succession plan is put into writing to guide all participating parties through the change in ownership. It aims to benefit everyone involved, including departing small business owners, successors, employees, and the business itself.

Depending on the complexity of your succession and your business, you may develop the plan yourself or hire a professional to assist you through the succession planning process. Whichever method you choose, a well-crafted small business succession plan should include the following:

  • A succession timeline: This details the specific circumstances for when a succession would occur and, if applicable, the dates it would commence.
  • Potential successors: If the succession is not through a purchase of the business, you should choose three or more potential successor candidates, the order of consideration, and explain why they would make suitable successors based on their key positions, management roles, and skill sets.
  • Formalized standard operating procedures (SOPs): This includes the compilation of documents, procedures, employee handbooks, and training manuals.
  • Your business’s valuation: This should include the method for how the business was valued and should be updated on an ongoing basis.
  • How the succession will be funded: This part of the plan spells out if the succession will be funded through life insurance, a seller’s note, a business loan, or other financial options.

How Do You Create a Business Succession Plan?

This section contains a general outline of what a small business succession plan should cover and the steps to ensure a smooth transition when you leave the company.

1. Decide how the business’s ownership will be transferred.

These are the four ways to transfer business ownership:

  • Transfer the business to your heirs.
  • Sell your shares or ownership interests to your business partner(s) or co-owner(s).
  • Sell the company to an employee who now fills a leadership position or other critical role.
  • Sell the business to an outside buyer.

2. Conduct a business valuation.

Even if you don’t plan to sell your business, getting a business valuation is beneficial in many ways. It can help with your retirement income strategy, place a value on future owners’ shares, and ensure the purchase of adequate insurance for long-term protection. 

A business valuation is also used to attract potential buyers and investors, and to help qualify you or your potential successors for business loans.

3. Prepare for the transition.

The period of time when ownership of a business is being transferred can put the company in a vulnerable position. Therefore, your succession plan should include the details on how the transition will happen to ensure that there is minimal disruption to operations and a high potential for a seamless handoff to your successor.

4. Review your plan annually.

Once your plan is created, don’t just file it away and forget about it. Over time, potential successors could change due to employees in key roles leaving the company or family members losing interest in taking it over—or your own long-term plans for the future may shift. Therefore, review your succession plan annually to ensure that it stays aligned with your current and potential future circumstances. 

Some Final Thoughts

Creating a business succession plan can be complicated, which is why many small business owners choose to work with a professional third party to help them develop a succession plan that provides peace of mind. 

The Oregon SBDC Network offers guidance to support small business owners with effective succession planning. Locate a Center closest to you by visiting OregonSBDC.org.

Best Hiring Practices and Interview Questions

Bringing on new employees is a significant long-term investment for any small business, and finding, hiring, and retaining the right talent plays a pivotal role in your company’s success. Read on to learn the best practices for recruiting staff, making sure your interview practices comply with federal and state laws, and creating an inclusive recruiting and hiring process.

Craft an Effective Job Posting

The first step in the hiring process is sourcing qualified candidates. This can be done by creating a job posting on a popular job search platform like LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, or others. 

Many job boards offer screening services that parse resumes based on how well they meet a job’s criteria. To attract the best-matched candidates for any position, keep these tips in mind when you create the job post:

  • Make sure the job title is clear, direct, and specific. Many job-seekers apply based on the job title alone, without reading the full job description.
  • Write a job description that helps candidates visualize a typical day at work.
  • Put the salary range and employee perks and benefits on top, followed by the candidate requirements and qualifications needed for this job. 

It takes time to filter applicants, interview them, and train the right person. You can reduce the number of initial applicants by laying out some non-negotiable requirements and the preferred skills you’re seeking. Sending out screening questions to applicants can also help reduce the pool of candidates.

Interviewing Top Candidates

The more you learn about a candidate, the more you can make a confident hiring choice. Hold multiple interviews and invite other staff members to meet with job candidates before determining your final pick. 

The purpose of the interview is to ask questions that aren’t already answered on their resume and to get a sense of how the applicant thinks and performs. You can also get clues about their attitude, work style, adaptability, and problem-solving skills.

To give you a better idea of how a candidate might fare in these categories, below are some questions from Monster that you might consider asking. Of course, interview questions will vary based on your specific business and the position you’re looking to fill.

  • Explain a time when you didn’t know how to complete a task. How did you get the help you needed?
  • What personality types do you find particularly difficult to work with?
  • What are some of your non-work activities and hobbies, and what can they tell me about you?
  • How do you adapt to change? Can you give me an example from one of your past roles?
  • How would your past or current co-workers and managers describe you, both positive and negative?
  • Besides compensation, what else do you value in a job?
  • What were some of the opportunities for improvement listed in past performance reviews?
  • How do you define success? What are some of your greatest professional accomplishments so far?
  • Describe a workplace conflict in which you were involved and how you managed it. Were you able to get it resolved?

Be transparent with candidates on your hiring process’s timeline and next steps to keep them informed and interested in the position until you’re ready to make an official offer. When you make your final selection and a candidate accepts the job, be sure to let the other candidates know that the position has been filled. (You can add that your company will keep them in mind for future opportunities.)

Federal and State Recruiting Laws

In addition to screening applicants based on their skills and whether they’re a good fit for your company culture, you must also make sure that your hiring process complies with federal and state laws. Otherwise, you could risk possible legal action against your business. 

Federal Hiring Rules

It is illegal to discriminate against a job applicant based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, or pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information. This ban on discrimination applies to various hiring practices you must observe through your company’s job postings, recruitment practices, and screening methods.

You can review the federal rules that apply to hiring best practices and some interview questions a hiring manager can and cannot ask on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website here

Oregon Recruiting Rules

The state of Oregon has its own requirements that impact recruiting and hiring. Below is a summary of the rules that Oregon businesses must follow

  • Ban the box: An employer cannot require an applicant to disclose a past conviction on an employment application or before a conditional job offer has been made.
  • Criminal checks: An employer must advise job applicants that criminal offender information will be sought and must confirm for the Department of State Police that the applicant has been advised and how they were advised. Oregon law prohibits the use of expunged juvenile records in making employment decisions.
  • Drug testing: Employers are allowed to conduct pre-employment drug tests but must follow state law in how the testing is done. Positive test results that will cause denial of employment must be confirmed by a clinical laboratory or an equivalent out-of-state facility before the result is released.
  • Credit checks: Employers are generally prohibited from obtaining or using credit history information for employment purposes unless such information is substantially related to the candidate’s job. Exceptions to this rule include federally insured banks or credit unions, law enforcement officers, and where state or federal law requires the use of credit information.
  • Salary history inquiry restrictions: Employers are prohibited from asking job applicants about their salary history or seeking such information from a current or former employer. However, an employer may ask a prospective employee for written authorization to confirm prior compensation after the employer makes a job offer that specifies compensation.

Where there may be overlap between federal, state, and/or local laws, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

How to Hire Inclusively

The inclusive hiring process actively recognizes the diversity and broad range of qualities and perspectives that candidates bring to their workplace. While there are laws to prevent discrimination, implementing inclusive hiring practices helps strengthen a business’s reputation, which in turn helps with talent acquisition in a competitive job market. 

Additionally, research has shown that having diversity within an organization leads to higher levels of productivity and innovation, and helps improve employee retention rates. You’ll want to make sure your business uses inclusive hiring practices to level the playing field for all applicants and eliminates recruitment bias and discrimination in any form.

Here are some best practices to ensure equity and inclusion in your hiring and recruitment process:

  • Craft inclusive job descriptions. Use inclusive language that invites candidates in. This means no gendered language, jargon, or idioms that can make potential candidates feel excluded. It’s also a good idea to state your company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion within the job description.

  • Ensure inclusive video interviews. Video call interviews, especially in the early stages of the interview process, have become the new norm in hiring people. But it’s important to note that candidates may not have access to the latest technology at home, or their living space could lack private or quiet areas. Remember that these factors do not impact how well a candidate could do the job.

  • Use the same questions for all candidates. Asking the same interview questions in the same order provides each candidate an equal opportunity to effectively showcase their fit for the role. Avoid questions that are superfluous or that could exacerbate bias.

  • Select questions that focus on capabilities. Your interview questions should focus on capabilities over direct work experience. This way your business can be inclusive of varying backgrounds and perspectives in the interview process.

  • Utilize work samples to assess skills. Requesting work samples or asking applicants to complete a skill test during the interview process allows employers to evaluate job candidates’ abilities objectively. Also, if two candidates are given the same test, they can be evaluated side by side based on their work and not the employer’s unconscious bias that may influence the hiring decision.

By following these best practices, you can be sure that your company is hiring people who are right for the job—and that the time, money, and resources spent on your recruiting process are being used effectively.

The Oregon SBDC Network is here to help small business owners. Find the SBDC closest to you to access the resources you need by visiting OregonSBDC.org.

The Pros and Cons of Owning a Franchise

Buying a franchise is a great way to start your own business, but before you decide to invest, it’s essential to do your due diligence. If you’re considering purchasing a franchise, we’ve outlined some of the pros and cons below, as well as how the Oregon Small Business Development Center (SBDC) can assist you.  

What Is a Franchise?

The International Franchise Association defines a franchise as a “method of distributing products or services involving a franchisor, who establishes the brand’s trademark or trade name and a business system, and a franchisee, who pays a royalty and often an initial fee for the right to do business under the franchisor’s name and system.” 

The franchisor allows the franchisee access to their brand’s proprietary knowledge, processes, and trademarks. So they are essentially the same company, but the franchisee runs their business independently.

As the franchisor lends its brand name to different franchises in various locations, the franchisor can rapidly expand the business. They do not need to raise the capital to open new stores or hire employees at each location. The franchisee handles everything at its own store location, while the franchisor can focus its efforts on creating great products, processes, and customer experiences.

Let’s explore the pros and cons for the franchisee, also referred to as the franchise owner.

The Pros of Owning a Franchise

  • The concept has proved successful: When buying a franchise, you are investing in a business that has already been successful. You’ll also be able to review data and insights from other franchisees who have experience operating the same business. 
  • Established brand awareness: Consumers trust brands they are familiar with. For instance, if you’re traveling and want to grab coffee, you know exactly what you’ll get from a Starbucks location.
  • Ability to enter a new industry: You can buy a franchise and enter into a whole new industry without going back to school. You can learn everything you need to know from the franchisor. 
  • Ongoing support: As a franchise owner, you’ll have continuous training and support from the franchisor. Some even offer call centers and administrative support.
  • Corporate partnerships: Franchisors negotiate contracts and create strategic partnerships with other businesses, which can help franchisees become approved vendors or take advantage of discounts on inventory and equipment. 
  • Lower risk: While there’s no guarantee that the franchisee’s business will be successful, just being part of a franchise system lowers the risk of failure. It comes with a loyal customer following and a proven business system already in place.
  • Being part of a network: Many franchisors host conferences and mastermind groups for their franchisees to come together to collaborate and share best practices.  

The Cons of Owning a Franchise

  • Franchise fees: According to the Federal Trade Commission, to be considered a franchise, the franchisor must charge an initial franchise fee. This fee gives the franchisee the right to use the company name for a specific number of years and assistance in starting the business. This fee varies but can average $35,000. It’s a major investment, but remember that you’re paying for all the hard work the franchisor put in to grow the brand.
  • Royalties: Most ongoing franchise royalties are based on a percentage of the franchise’s revenue, and typically range from 4% to 12%. Some franchises may charge fixed royalty fees. These cover ongoing support and other resources. Some franchisors may charge an additional fee for marketing/advertising. 
  • There’s less creative control: Franchisees need to follow the system provided by the franchisor. For instance, fast food franchise owners cannot change menu items or create their own advertising campaigns. 
  • Negative PR can impact your business: If there was a horrible experience at another location, or there was a corporate mishap, it can negatively impact your business. Even if you’ve done everything right, bad press can hurt the entire brand.

Is a Franchise a Good Idea as a Startup?

There will always be trade-offs in starting any type of business, and a franchise is no different. Some prospective franchisees like knowing that a franchise is a business model that’s been proven to work. For other business owners, the lack of creativity in the system can be constricting. But that depends on the franchise; when exploring any franchise opportunity, make sure you completely understand all the brand’s benefits and limitations. 

This is where the Oregon SBDC can help, as we can assist you in exploring the advantages and disadvantages of buying into a franchise. You can also request a free consultation from Frannet to help determine if franchise ownership is right for you.

Turning a Small Business into a Franchise

Have you heard of Dutch Bros.? In 1992, Dane and Travis Boersma started a pushcart selling coffee in downtown Grants Pass. When they decided to grow their business, they enrolled in a program offered by their local Oregon SBDC and learned how to set goals, hire employees, and turn their coffee business into a franchise. 

Today, Dutch Bros. is one of the Oregon SBDC’s greatest success stories. After raising more than $400 million in an IPO in 2021, Dutch Bros. is now a publicly traded company (NYSE: BROS). While they no longer offer the option to franchise, Dutch Bros. operates more than 470 locations in 11 states, employs 13,000 workers, and continues to expand its brand. To learn more about their story and business journey, click here.

The Oregon SBDC Network is committed to building Oregon’s best businesses. Our 20 regional Centers and Global Trade Center assist small businesses throughout Oregon with advising, classes, and access to the resources they need to be successful. Each center is backed by our statewide support network, helping small businesses access the proper assistance wherever they are in Oregon. 

If you have any questions, connect with your local SBDC at OregonSBDC.org.

Oregon Small Business Development Center: Training and Specialized Services 

Have you ever wondered how you can leverage the Oregon SBDC Network and our services to help launch and grow your small business? Whether you’re located in an urban center or rural Oregon, our 20 regional Centers and Global Trade Center assist entrepreneurs and small business owners throughout the state in all aspects of business. 

Each Center is backed by our statewide network of support to help you find the right solutions and strategies for the success of your business. Our services include:

  • Training
  • No-cost advising
  • Small Business Management Program
  • Succession planning
  • Capital access
  • Market research
  • Cybersecurity
  • Global Trade Center
  • Innovation

Training

Small business owners can take advantage of the array of in-person and online classes offered through the Oregon SBDC Network. Some of our most popular topics include how to start a business, QuickBooks essentials, marketing for your small business, Construction Contractor Board (CCB) test preparation, and much more. 

To browse classes near you, first find your Center.

No-Cost Advising

Each of our 20 regional Centers provides no-cost, confidential advising for small business owners at any stage of business. Whether you’re seeking some guidance on writing a business plan, analyzing your business’s financials, or growing your team of employees, our knowledgeable business advisers can provide expert advice and connect you to valuable resources.

Advising requires filling out our online intake form and, at some Centers, attending a free introductory workshop to see if advising is right for you.

Small Business Management (SBM) Program

The Oregon SBDC’s SBM Program has one goal: to make you and your business more successful! Grow your business through this unique training program, which combines one-on-one coaching from an experienced adviser with classroom learning and business networking with other entrepreneurs.

The result is a customized plan to help you streamline each aspect of your business, financials and human resources and financials to digital and traditional marketing. 

The program typically starts in the fall with classes following the host college’s schedule.

Succession Planning

When you own a business with employees, personnel changes are inevitable. Having a plan for that inevitability is a critical aspect of your business!

At the Oregon SBDC Network, our experienced advisers help small business owners with succession planning, which keeps your business moving forward even as changes occur. 

From assessing your current workforce and identifying your top performers to strategizing on how to preserve institutional knowledge when key employees leave, we can support you to create a succession plan that fits the unique needs of your business. 

Capital Access

Small businesses often struggle with access to funding and finding the right financing to meet their needs. If you need support as you seek funding for your business, the Oregon SBDC Network’s Capital Access Team (CAT) is here to help!

CAT’s highly specialized advisers provide expert advising, training, and support for small business owners seeking funding. All advising is confidential, and the CAT team works collaboratively with a local SBDC business adviser to help clients work toward their goal.

Market Research

Is your business ready for growth and job creation? Better information leads to better decisions at this critical point in your business. The Oregon SBDC Network’s Market Research Institute provides customized, data-based research reports and market intelligence for established businesses that anticipate growth. 

Reports encompass a wide range of topics and databases centered on your needs and goals that can help your business:

  • Identify opportunities
  • Better understand the competitive landscape
  • Refine business plans

Clients should connect with their business adviser to see if leveraging the Market Research Institute is the right next step for their growth.

Cybersecurity

Cybercrime poses an increasing threat in our interconnected world, yet many organizations do not have a comprehensive cybersecurity plan in place. The Oregon SBDC Network’s Cybersecurity program, located at the Mt. Hood SBDC, offers educational awareness, workshops, training, and no-cost advising for businesses to address their cybersecurity needs.

Through collaborative partnerships, the Mt. Hood SBDC cybersecurity program brings world-class expert presenters in the field of cybersecurity and cyber intelligence for events, training sessions, and webinars.

Click here to see upcoming events. 

Global Trade Center

The Oregon SBDC’s Global Trade Center, hosted at Portland Community College, has been supporting entrepreneurs in taking their businesses global since 2017.

As the only center in Oregon specialized in international trade, the Global Trade Center serves as a statewide resource, combining one-on-one, no-cost trade advising with programs taught by business experts.

If you’re interested in expanding your customer base to international markets or importing products from your global supply chain, the Global Trade Center can help at no cost to you.

Innovation

The Oregon SBDC Network is proud to partner with organizations across the state that help us in our mission to build Oregon’s best businesses.

One of those partners is VertueLab, a valued partner in innovation. Oregon SBCDs partner with VertueLab to help tech companies in Oregon navigate and apply for grants through federal funding opportunities.

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) are competitive federal grant programs that award funding to small businesses to engage in research and development with the potential to commercialize new technologies.

To be eligible, companies must have the following qualifications:

  • Ideas and concepts that address the needs identified in at least one SBIR/STTR solicitation
  • The skills and experience to fulfill SBIR/STTR solicitation requirements
  • Plans and capacities to commercialize technologies resulting from SBIR/STTR awards

If you are an entrepreneur or small business owner excited about making a difference in tackling climate change and competing for an SBIR or STTR grant, you can connect with your regional SBDC for more information.

Ready to Get Started?

Oregon’s small businesses are as unique as our state. Whether you’re preparing to launch a business or planning to exit one, the advice and tools needed to be successful starts with connecting with your closest Center.

Small Business Marketing Strategies for Oregon Businesses

Small Business Marketing Strategies for Oregon Businesses

Small business owners often don’t have big marketing budgets to work with, which can make promoting products or services a challenge. The good news is that there are many ways to market your company that cost little or nothing but can still significantly impact your bottom line.

Below are our top small business marketing strategies.

1. Set Up a Google My Business Listing

Having a Google Business profile is one of the most effective and free marketing strategies available for local businesses. This allows your business to show up on Google Maps, the local section of Google Search, and the right-side Knowledge Panel for branded searches. 

For your business profile to show up higher on Google Maps or local results, you’ll need to optimize it by claiming verified ownership—which can be done through your Google My Business account.

With a Google My Business profile, you can share details and photos of your business, including its location, contact information, and services and products offered. Whether you’re looking for foot traffic or web traffic, Google is the ultimate search referrer and helps people find your business when looking for products and services like yours in their area.

Your Google Business profile also allows customers to share reviews and ratings about their experience with your business, which helps attract potential customers through their Google search results. Be sure to share your Google My Business link with your customers and encourage them to leave reviews.

You can set up your Google My Business profile here

2. Make the Most of Social Media Marketing

Having a prominent social media presence is no longer optional for small businesses—it’s a marketing must. Social media helps define your image, promote your business, gain clientele, and build relationships.

It’s best to start with one or two social channels that cater to your target market and ideal audience instead of trying to master all the different platforms at once. Once you learn one and do it well, add another. Be sure to leverage the latest trends on your platforms, like posting Facebook Stories, Instagram Reels, etc.

Some ideas on what to post include promoting your blog posts to drive traffic to your website, running polls and requesting feedback, and sharing client testimonials. 

While it’s OK to post recycled content once in a while, be sure to publish original content, too, including your own videos and photos, and share valuable tips and information. 

Tagging your loyal customers, partners, and vendors on social networks can broaden your business’s organic reach to a new potential audience, help you grow your following, and potentially attract new customers. 

When creating the “About” section on your business social media pages, make sure you get it right. This means creating a compelling description and optimizing the text by utilizing keywords that boost its SEO rank.

Managing multiple social media accounts, creating engaging content, posting consistently, responding to user comments and questions, and keeping up with trends can be a full-time job. Consider hiring an experienced social media manager or outsourcing the work.

3. Engage Your Audience Via Email and Text Marketing

Sending messages about your products or services via email and text is a powerful way to turn leads into customers and foster loyalty. Building successful email/SMS marketing campaigns is critical for any company and is the most effective method for reaching people interested in what your business is offering.

As a small business owner, your email list, including current and prospective customers, is one of your most valuable assets. That’s why building a customer contact list should always be a top priority. 

For customers, it’s easy to click “Follow” on social media, but they aren’t always eager to give out their email address. To get more emails and phone numbers, offer an email/text opt-in on your website, start a monthly email newsletter, and offer discount codes in exchange for providing their contact information.

When it comes to email and SMS marketing, prioritize quality over quantity. An inbox flooded with promotional messages is likely to annoy a customer into unsubscribing, while a small number of messages with valuable content can boost engagement. One of the best ways to do this is to place a coupon in your messages.

Still, great content doesn’t guarantee that recipients will open your message. To improve audience engagement, open rates, and conversions, put thought and effort into the subject line, call to action, and the email’s design. 

Before sending out a marketing email, always send a test email to yourself to preview what it will look like from a customer’s perspective. This ensures that any formatting issues get caught and addressed before the email goes out to your entire list.

4. Deliver Promotions Through Direct Mail Campaigns

Direct mail may be more costly than email marketing, but if you have a targeted list and promote appealing offers, it can be very effective—and profitable. Direct mail also has a longer life span than email marketing, which has a life span of just a few seconds. RetailWire reports that direct mail’s average life span is 17 days.

Some marketing ideas for direct mail include sending a postcard or brochure promoting your business, discount coupons, a gift card, or small branded items with your company’s logo. People hang on to things they can use, so putting your logo on items like magnets, pens, notebooks, and stress balls means more exposure for your business.

You can also time your direct mail campaigns around your customers’ birthdays. Send them special coupons or promo codes to acknowledge their big day. You can send both email and direct mail birthday coupons and compare the results. You may get a better response from an email campaign, but promotional emails often get lost in people’s busy inboxes.

5. Reward Existing Customers and Create a Referral Program

Your current customers are your most valuable resource, especially as they are your primary source of referrals and reviews. A referral from a current customer is the best kind of lead you can get, and a positive review from that customer can pay dividends for years.

One of the best ways to source new leads is to tap your existing network. Reward your repeat customers with loyalty programs that incentivize referrals and discounts. 

To encourage current and past clients to refer you to their family, friends, and co-workers, offer them an incentive, like a gift card, free product or service, or another reward that will motivate them to send referrals your way. 

Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most trusted and powerful strategies for growing your small business.

The Oregon SBDC Network is here to help small business owners throughout the state. Visit OregonSBDC.org to locate a Center near you and access our no-cost advising services today!

Why You Need Small Business Insurance

Why You Need Small Business Insurance

Small business insurance, also commonly referred to as commercial insurance, is designed to protect the business you’ve invested your time, money, and effort into building. Having insurance assures small business owners that they’ll be safeguarded against claims and lawsuits.

Why Do You Need Small Business Insurance?

Business insurance is highly recommended for all businesses. In fact, it is required by law for certain professional fields, such as healthcare, which also requires professional liability coverage. This is also known as malpractice insurance. In other professions, a contract may require that businesses be insured.

Unfortunately, businesses can be sued for almost anything, even if they’ve done nothing wrong. For instance, if someone slips and falls in a place of business, or if a client feels that they were not provided the services committed to them, a business could find themselves facing an insurance claim or possible lawsuit.

Without the protection of insurance, a small business owner would likely have to pay out of pocket when facing insurance claims. Should your small business not have the resources to be self-insured or the capital to cover such claims, it could lead to business failure.

The good news is that business insurance may cover the majority of these expenses, including legal defense for the business owner. This is why small business insurance is an important and necessary investment to protect a business and its assets.

What Kind of Business Insurance Do You Need and How Much Does it Cost?

The business insurance a company needs depends on the type of business it is. Most businesses need general liability insurance. If you offer professional guidance, you may also need professional liability insurance. If you own equipment to operate your business, like computers or machinery, you may consider a business owner’s policy (BOP) which combines general liability with business property coverage. Small business insurance costs depend on the business type and size, the policy and coverages selected, and many other factors.

The 10 Most Common Types of Small Business Insurance

These are the top 10 types of insurance coverage to consider for your small business, some of which may be required by Oregon state law:

1. General liability insurance

General liability insurance helps protect businesses from claims relating to bodily injury or damage to someone else’s property. For example, if a customer gets injured in your store, this coverage may help to pay for their medical costs.

Many small business owners get a general liability policy that includes product liability insurance. This can protect your business against bodily injury or property damage claims caused by your company’s products.

2. Professional liability insurance

Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions insurance or E&O insurance, can cover claims on mistakes made in the professional services your business provides. Doctors, accountants, lawyers, and architects are often targets for these types of claims.

This is because the errors made by these professionals end up being quite expensive for their clients to resolve. If a client or customer sues your business, professional liability insurance can help cover your legal costs.

3. Business income coverage

Business income coverage, also known as business interruption insurance, can help replace lost income if your business becomes unable to operate due to property damage caused by a fire, storm, or theft. For example, a florist whose flowers die after their refrigerator malfunctions may be able to recoup lost income with this type of insurance.

4. Commercial property insurance

Commercial property insurance, also called hazard insurance, can cover your owned or rented business space and the equipment used to conduct your business. For instance, if someone breaks into your office and steals your business computers, commercial property insurance can help cover the costs to replace this equipment.

5. Workers’ compensation insurance

Many states, including Oregon, require businesses with full-time or part-time employees to have workers’ compensation insurance. This kind of insurance can cover medical bills for on-the-job injuries and work-related illnesses and provides disability benefits to employees. Many policies include employers liability insurance, which may help to cover costs when an employee blames their employer’s negligence as the cause of their injury.

For business owners who do not have employees, you may need to self-insure for worker’s compensation depending on your industry. Be sure to address your individual needs with an insurance professional.

6. Commercial auto insurance

In Oregon, all business-owned vehicles must have a commercial auto insurance policy, which covers the cost of accidents involving work vehicles. Oregon has minimum requirements for auto liability insurance, which include:

  • Bodily injury liability
  • Property damage liability
  • Uninsured motorist coverage
  • Personal injury protection

The minimum requirements may not suffice, though, so be sure to get the right amount of coverage for your individual business needs. Trucking companies may need additional coverage to comply with state regulations.

If a business owner or their employees use their personal vehicles for work purposes, you may also consider hired and non-owned auto (HNOA) insurance, as personal auto policies usually exclude business use. This coverage can be added to commercial general liability insurance or business owner’s policies (BOPs).

7. Data breach insurance

Data breach insurance, also called cyber liability insurance, can help your business respond to a breach of personally identifiable information getting lost or stolen. It helps cover costs for actions such as notifying impacted customers or clients, running a public relations campaign to repair your business’s reputation, and/or offering credit monitoring services.

8. Commercial umbrella insurance

Commercial umbrella insurance extends the limits of certain liability policies that your business already has. For instance, if a claim’s cost exceeds your policy’s limit, a commercial umbrella policy can help cover the difference.

9. Employment practices liability insurance

Employment practices liability insurance, also referred to as employers’ liability insurance, helps cover the costs resulting from employment-related claims, such as discrimination, sexual harassment, and wrongful termination.

10. Business owner’s policy

A business owner’s policy (BOP) is one of the most common types of business insurance. It combines general liability insurance, commercial property insurance, and business income insurance into one policy.

Do I Need Insurance for My Oregon Small Business?

The short answer is yes. Most small businesses may need some type of coverage that protects against:

  • Bodily injuries
  • Property damage
  • Car accidents
  • Lawsuits

Your home and your business are likely your largest investments, and having the right business insurance is just as important as protecting your home with homeowners insurance. Without insurance, you risk financial losses or even the shutdown of your business.

How to Get Small Business Insurance

The following steps can help you find an insurance policy that best meets the needs of your business:

1. Conduct a risk assessment.

Determine what kind of accidents, natural disasters, or lawsuits could damage your business. Once you assess your risks, it can help you determine what aspects of your business need the most protection.

2. Find a licensed insurance agent.

Commercial insurance agents can help you find the coverage that best matches your business’s needs. Remember that insurance agents receive a commission from insurance companies they sell policies for, so it’s essential to find a licensed agent who keeps your best interests in mind. It’s recommended that you meet with your insurance agent on an annual basis to review your policies and find the right coverage as your business continues to evolve and grow.

3. Shop around.

Insurance quotes can vary significantly from one insurance provider and policy to the next. You should always compare the rates, terms, and benefits of various policies from multiple agents. If you choose not to work with a licensed insurance agent, it’s recommended that you get at least three business insurance quotes to find the best rate for the coverage you’re seeking.

4. Reevaluate each year.

The more your business grows, the bigger your liabilities become. If you have purchased or replaced equipment or expanded your operations, you’ll need to inform your insurance agent of these changes and how they may affect your coverage and insurance costs. Be sure to include this as part of your annual business plan review!

Need More Advice?

Having small business insurance is a crucial aspect of protecting your business. Be sure to seek expert advice from your licensed insurance agent for any questions relating to your unique needs as a small business owner.
The Oregon Small Business Development Center Network is committed to building Oregon’s best businesses. Our 20 regional Centers and Global Trade Center assist small businesses throughout Oregon with advising, classes, and access to the resources they need to be successful. Each Center is backed by our statewide support network, helping small businesses access the proper assistance wherever they are in Oregon. Connect with your local SBDC at OregonSBDC.org.

How to Prepare Your Business for Capital Funding

How to Prepare Your Business for Capital Funding

Financial Literacy Month

By Noah Brockman, Oregon SBDC Network Capital Access Team

There are several steps small business owners seeking funding should take to prepare for acquiring capital. In this article, you’ll find a checklist of “to-dos” for accessing capital. If you have questions or need support, the Oregon SBDC Capital Access Team is here to help!

Revisit Your Household Budget

Consider your monthly income and expenses. Have there been any changes recently? Think about how business income contributes to your household income, and make sure to review your personal and business credit. With these factors in mind, consider whether your financial profile will be acceptable to prospective lenders.

Get Clear About Your Funding Needs

Having clarity about how much you need and how funds will be used is vital as you prepare for business funding. How much cash do you already have available, and will you have sufficient personal and/or business cash reserves after your cash injection? It’s also important to think about the time frame for funding.

Create a Startup Budget

If you’re just starting your business and need funding to launch, this to-do is for you! If you haven’t already, make a startup monthly budget that indicates all revenues, cost of sales, and expenses. It’s helpful to prepare a list of any new business assets you need to get started, such as inventory and equipment.

Create a Project Budget

For those who are already in business and require capital to grow, make a project budget to outline your funding request by asset type—such as inventory, equipment, tenant improvements, and/or permanent working capital.

Evaluate Your Current Situation

Already in business? Need cash for working capital? Take a look at your business to see where you might already have some cash tied up, such as A/R or inventory. Review your fixed overhead expenses to assess any cuts you can make to reduce your cash expenditures. You may also want to look at your gross profit margin to see if it’s on par with your industry average and determine if you need to make any adjustments to COGS or pricing.

Determine Your Financial Projections and Cash Flow

Whether you’re starting or growing your business, it’s a good idea to put together at least a 12-month financial projection/cash flow budget showing anticipated revenue, cost of sales, expenses, profits, owner draws, and debt service payments to share with funders. If possible, a 24-month projection is even better. Try to be conservative, and make a list of your underlying assumptions.

Understand the Types of Funding Available to You

Familiarize yourself with different types of funding and how they fit with different scenarios. For an overview of traditional and nontraditional funding, click here.

Assess Your Position for Debt or Equity

Are you in a position to borrow? What collateral will the lender use to secure the loan? How will you pay it back? Pull your credit report to ensure that there are no hidden surprises. Consider whether you have owner equity (cash) to put in. Having at least 10% is a great start.

If you’re already in business, is the business profitable? If you’re not interested in taking on debt, are you seeking an equity investment? Ask yourself what return on investment you can offer to investors.

Develop or Update Your Business Plan

Whether you are starting or growing your business, it’s vital to develop a business plan to share alongside your financial projections to help funders understand your vision. At the Oregon SBDC Network, our business advisers can help you create a comprehensive plan to move your business forward.

Organize Your Business Documents and Paperwork

For existing businesses, make sure your financial statements are up to date, and gather past year-end business financials, as well as personal and business tax returns. For new businesses, gather your organizing documents, any industry-specific licenses, and any insurance or lease documentation.

If you are seeking guidance on the best path forward, the Oregon SBDC Network can provide assistance. Connect with your local Center and register for confidential, no-cost advising on your funding options and in all areas of your small business.

How Small Businesses Can Leverage Social Media

How Small Businesses Can Leverage Social Media

Having a presence on social media can reap big rewards for your small business. Social networking sites allow you to reach your target audience in a cost-effective way while engaging current and past customers and attracting new business opportunities.

Social media users span all demographics, but the key is identifying which platforms your customers are using and how best to promote your product or service through those specific channels.

Let’s take a look at the benefits small business owners can gain through social media marketing and dive into the differences among the top sites, so you can determine which ones are the best fit for your company.

Top 3 Benefits of Using Social Media for Your Small Business

Social media offers free access to a vast audience of potential customers, providing endless opportunities to spread brand awareness, increase traffic to your business website, and generate sales.

If you’re a small business owner on a tight budget, or if your business is brand-new, having a presence on one or more social media platforms is a marketing tactic that makes sense. While there are many benefits to leveraging social media, we outline the top three benefits for small businesses below:

1. Boost Brand Awareness

When it comes to marketing, social media has a massive advantage over traditional media platforms like TV, radio, and print. With one social media post, you can immediately spread information about your business and potentially reach millions of people.

If you’re an online retailer or service-based business, you can expand your audience to people all over the country who could potentially be buyers of your product or services. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, you can target people who live in, or travel through, your specific Oregon location. There is no other form of advertising that can give you this type of reach for the cost.

2. Bring Traffic to Your Business Website

Another benefit of social media is that it’s easy to direct traffic to your own website by simply including a call to action in your posts, like “Visit our website to sign up now!” or “Get 10% off when you purchase online today!”

Encouraging social media followers to visit your website can improve the quality and quantity of your inbound traffic. Also, it’s an effective way to generate traffic without having to rely on SEO and Google Search.

3. Gain New Customers and Increase Sales

Another significant benefit for small businesses using social media is the ability to target your posts. You can take advantage of advertising tools that get your posts directly in front of your target audience and gain exposure to potential customers. With retargeting ads offered by most platforms, you can make sure your content is being seen by those who are most likely to patronize your business, based on demographics like age, gender, location, personal interests, and more.

Targeted posts are considered paid advertising on social media, but the good news is that on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, you can choose between CPC (cost-per-click) or CPM (cost-per-thousand-impressions) models and set your own daily budget. It’s a great tool to attract new clients and help grow your small business.

Social Media for Small Business: 5 Major Platforms

One of the struggles small businesses have with social media is figuring out which platforms are right for the business and will provide the most value. Not every social networking site is a good fit, and trying to master each one is too time-consuming. Instead, it’s best to consider which one your target audience uses and focus your efforts there.

Facebook

Facebook is the world’s largest social media network, with over 2.9 billion active monthly users in 2021. Having a presence on Facebook is a must for every small business, regardless of what products or services your company offers.

Facebook statistics:

  • 200 million small companies are on Facebook.
  • 63% of Americans over 12 say they have a Facebook account.
  • 78% of consumers have found a product through Facebook.

Creating a business profile page is free, and you can customize your page with images and list your website URL, contact information, hours of operation, and the products and services your company offers. Once your profile is set up, you can create posts that share information, photos, videos, infographics, company news, blogs, and more. And with a Facebook Business account, you’ll gain access to advertising tools and in-depth analytics.

Instagram

Instagram is incredibly popular, with around 1.1 billion active users in 2021. What sets Instagram apart from other social media sites is that it is a visual platform dominated by photo and video posts. Therefore, it’s best for small businesses that have appealing visual content to share. Just ensure that your images and video are high quality.

Instagram statistics:

  • More than half of the global Instagram population worldwide is age 34 or younger, and it is especially popular with teens.
  • Instagram is also one of the most influential advertising channels among female Gen Z users when making purchasing decisions.
  • 90% of people on Instagram follow a business account.

From Instagram Live to Instagram Stories, small businesses can use Instagram’s tools to promote their offerings. It’s important to note that this platform is almost entirely mobile. It doesn’t allow you to take photos or create new posts on the desktop version unless you use a special social media management tool.

Twitter

Twitter currently has 396.5 million users and is best for sharing brief updates, engaging with followers, and sharing links to blog posts. You can share tweets—which are posts containing 240 characters or fewer—photos, videos, links, and more. You can also interact with others on the platform by mentioning users in your posts and liking and retweeting tweets from other users.

Twitter statistics:

  • 206 million users access Twitter daily.
  • Twitter is most popular among users age 25 to 34.
  • Worldwide, men use Twitter more than women.

If you have engaging content to share and can voice that content in a captivating way, Twitter can be a valuable platform for quickly spreading the word about your business. To boost your tweets, you can use hashtags, and when users retweet your posts, your content could go viral. When using Twitter, it’s essential to strike a balance between sharing your own content and retweeting relevant content from other users.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has 260 million monthly users and is the prime platform for professional social networking. This is the best social media channel to find and recruit talent for your company, position yourself as an industry leader, and promote your business to other professionals.

LinkedIn statistics:

  • Women account for 43.1% of LinkedIn users, while 56.9% of LinkedIn users are men.
  • The age group with the most LinkedIn users is between 25 and 34 at 60.1%.
  • 50% of internet users with a college degree or higher use LinkedIn.

Users on LinkedIn create their own profiles that showcase their skills and professional experience, similar to a resume. Businesses can create a company profile that showcases their offerings. LinkedIn is effective for posting job openings, information about your company culture, blogs related to your industry, and other content that would interest professionals. You can also join industry-specific LinkedIn Groups, which can help with brand recognition and introduce others to your company profile and website.

TikTok

TikTok is relatively new to the social media arena. On this platform, its 100 million active users can create and share short videos. It is mainly dominated by Gen Z users, and as it skews toward a younger audience, it may not be the right fit for your small business.

TikTok statistics:

  • 53% of TikTok users are male; and 47% are female.
  • Roughly 50% of TikTok’s global audience is under 34, with 32.5% between 10 and 19 years old.
  • TikTok was the most downloaded app in 2021, with 656 million downloads.

TikTok is known for posting memes, dance challenges, and viral moments. It can be a successful marketing platform for small businesses, but only if used properly. The good thing about TikTok is that it doesn’t just show you videos from those you follow. Instead, it offers a continuous stream of content, including videos from people you don’t follow but that the app thinks you might like. This means potential customers can see your content without going directly to your profile.

Get Started with Social Media for Your Small Business

Learning how to leverage social media for your small business can set you up for success.

The Oregon SBDC Network is here to help small business owners. Find the SBDC closest to you to access the resources you need to help your Oregon small business grow and thrive by visiting OregonSBDC.org.

How to Prepare a Small-Business Marketing Plan (2022)

How to Prepare a Small-Business Marketing Plan (2022)

What a SWOT Analysis Is, and How Best to Utilize It When Creating Your Marketing Strategy

One of the most valuable tools for Oregon entrepreneurs is a comprehensive small-business marketing plan. Why is it so critical to your success? Because without potential customers having awareness of your offerings, even the best product or best service will languish.

An effective small business marketing plan is not about having a big marketing budget—it’s about determining the right marketing strategies for your business, understanding your competitive advantages, and developing tactics to support your visibility and marketing goals.

In this guide, we’ll share some tips on preparing your small-business marketing plan, including how to:

  • Evaluate your business by creating a SWOT analysis
  • Determine your small-business marketing budget
  • Identify the target audience for your small business
  • Set marketing goals and build your marketing strategies
  • Finalize your small-business marketing plan

Evaluate Your Business by Creating a SWOT Analysis

The first step to creating a small-business marketing plan is to understand where your business stands. An honest assessment of internal and external factors will help you put together a strategic direction for your business.

One way to begin is by creating a SWOT analysis, which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

For Strengths, consider what your business does well. What qualities separate you from others in your industry? What internal resources do you have that serve as an advantage? What tangible assets do you have, such as intellectual property, capital, or proprietary technologies?

Under Weaknesses, write down what challenges you have, whether they are something your company lacks, limitations in resources, or advantages your competitors have over you.

Identify Opportunities for your business, such as underserved markets for your products or services, favorable market trends for your products or services, and other external factors that may have a positive impact on your business and industry.

For Threats, take a look at what factors can negatively impact your business and industry, such as emerging competitors, changes to laws and regulations, and changes to customer sentiment.

Generally speaking, strengths and weaknesses should speak to internal circumstances, and opportunities and threats will focus on external factors that affect your small business.

Determine Your Small-Business Marketing Budget

Marketing costs money, so once you have a clear understanding of the circumstances of your small business from creating a SWOT analysis, it’s time to set a budget for your marketing plan.

As you begin to determine your marketing budget, be realistic about what you should invest. If you own a new business that is working to establish itself, you might consider allocating a higher percentage of your gross revenue as compared with an established business.

In addition to setting a monetary budget, consider the amount of time you plan to spend marketing your business each week. Oftentimes, busy entrepreneurs put their marketing efforts on the back burner as they get bogged down by day-to-day tasks. It’s crucial to apply enough time and resources in this area to move the needle for your business.

If marketing is not your forte and you don’t have time to focus on executing marketing strategies on your own (or don’t have a dedicated staff member to help you), your budget might include hiring specialists to assist with your marketing efforts.

Identify the Target Audience for Your Small Business

With your SWOT analysis complete and a marketing budget in mind, the next step in how to prepare your small-business marketing plan is to identify who you will target through your marketing efforts.

A small business’s target market is determined by many factors. You can consider specific demographics such as:

  • Geographic location
  • Business type
  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Marital or family status

You can also consider the psychographics of your target audience, which include:

  • Values
  • Interests and hobbies
  • Lifestyles
  • Behaviors

When you know who your target is, you can then determine which channels you will focus your marketing strategy on.

Set Marketing Goals and Determine Your Marketing Strategies

You’ve conducted a SWOT analysis. You know who your ideal customers are. Now it’s time to determine how you’ll reach them and set some benchmarks.

Some common examples of marketing goals include:

  • Increasing website traffic
  • Generating leads
  • Increasing social media followers
  • Growing an email list
  • Improving conversion rates

While setting specific goals is a vital aspect of the strategic planning process, it’s just as important to break down each objective into small, actionable steps to help you reach your goals.

Many small-business owners implement the SMART method (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based), which can clarify each goal, focus your efforts, and efficiently allocate time and resources.

Consider these questions as you create your goals:

  • What is the goal? Be Specific.
  • How can my progress be Measured?
  • Do I have the skills and resources for this goal to be Attainable?
  • Why is this goal Relevant to my business needs?
  • What is the Timeframe for achieving this goal?

Once you have your goals in place, you can determine the best channels and marketing tactics to reach your target audience and make progress toward reaching your goal.

Here’s an example of a SMART goal, and some marketing tactics that can be employed:

Goal:
Increase unique website visitors by 10% in 2022.

Marketing Tactics:

  • Create a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
  • Create a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign to drive new users to your website.
  • Implement a social media advertising campaign to create awareness and increase traffic.
  • Review progress on a monthly basis.
  • Finalize Your Small-Business Marketing Plan

The final task in the planning process of your small-business marketing plan is to prioritize the tasks you want to accomplish. Having a to-do list to reference takes the guesswork out of deploying your marketing initiatives while running your business.

As you finalize your plan, you may wish to have a mentor review your small-business marketing plan, particularly if you are a new business owner. The Oregon SBDC Network offers no-cost, confidential advising services in all areas of business to help Oregon entrepreneurs succeed.

For established businesses that anticipate growth, the network’s Market Research Institute provides customized, data-based reports to help business owners build a customized marketing plan based on their needs and goals at no direct cost.

Contact your local Center to get started!

How to Use SBDC Small-Business Mentoring to Start or Grow a Business

How to Use SBDC Small-Business Mentoring to Start or Grow a Business

Advising and mentorship at the Oregon Small Business Development Center Network

A business mentor is an experienced and trusted adviser who can provide support and advice when it’s needed. Whether they’re starting or growing your small business, entrepreneurs can benefit from small-business mentoring and can put a small business on the right track toward success.

Luckily, finding an experienced small-business mentor is as simple as connecting with the Oregon Small Business Development Center Network.

Free advising services

Our mission at the Oregon SBDC is to provide expert advice, training, and resources for small-business owners through 20 conveniently located centers throughout Oregon.

One of the many benefits of connecting with your local Small Business Development Center is the free advising services for business owners.

Tap into the insight of our knowledgeable team of advisers, and receive valuable small-business mentoring through this no-cost service.

Advising is confidential and can cover a variety of topics, including:

  • Strategic planning
  • Business support
  • Understanding and analyzing business financials
  • Hiring and scaling your operations
  • Intellectual property concerns

Our advisers understand how to start a small business in Oregon—and how to scale it when you’re ready. They can support you with individualized advice at every stage of your small-business venture.

Starting a company

It’s one thing to have a great business idea and another to actually start a business. Often, first-time entrepreneurs are unsure where to begin.

The Oregon SBDC has several tools available that help to streamline the process of creating and running your business, and one such tool is LivePlan.

This business planning software can simplify:

  • Creating your business plan
  • Budgeting and forecasting
  • Tracking performance

With customizable functions, hundreds of sample plans, and the ability to connect to other accounting software like QuickBooks, LivePlan can help you plan, fund, and grow your business.

As part of our small-business mentoring services, small-business owners can access this valuable software through their adviser.

Growing your business

If your small business is ready for growth, the Oregon SBDC can help guide you through the process of expanding it to the next stage.

GrowthWheel is a visual toolbox for decision-making and action planning for start-ups and small businesses, designed to build your business in a simple, action-oriented process that stays true to the way most entrepreneurs think and work.

It tackles the ongoing challenges that businesses across industries face in each stage of their life cycle and helps to map out business decisions.

The best part? It’s available at no cost to clients who work with our advisers as part of the benefits of small-business mentoring through the SBDC.

Understanding your market

When you work with a small-business mentor at the Oregon SBDC, their expertise in your local area will help you understand the market in which you operate.

For a more in-depth look, the Network’s Market Research Institute provides customized research reports and market intelligence for established businesses that anticipate growth.

Small-business owners will have access to data that will help them:

  • Identify opportunities
  • Better understand the competitive landscape
  • Refine business plans
  • Make smarter, more informed business decisions.

Based on your individual needs and goals, the institute’s market research report will encompass a range of topics and market analyses for a customized marketing plan with no direct cost to you!

Your adviser can help you understand and create a plan around your custom report, from industry trends and statistics to geographic analysis and supply chain information.

Finding and securing financing

When it comes to funding for your business, you want to ensure that any advice you receive is relevant to you and will help you succeed.

The Oregon SBDC’s Capital Access Team (CAT) is made up of specialized advisers located throughout the state who provide expert advice on accessing capital to foster economic growth and resilience.

When you connect with the CAT, you’ll be mentored by experts to help you:

  • Assess readiness for funding to determine next steps
  • Advise on business planning and projections to be “funder-ready”
  • Discuss and advise on different finance strategies
  • Provide financial analysis and feedback as needed
  • Advise on funding package documentation
  • Assist clients with funder relations and connections

The Capital Access Team has helped Oregon businesses successfully access more than $255 million in capital since its founding in 2010.

Small-business mentoring is available at each of our 20 Centers. To learn more about our network and how we can help you start a business or grow your existing small business, visit www.OregonSBDC.org.