By Gina Redican
Hosted by Long Beach City College, the Long Beach Small Business Development Center (LBCC SBDC), provides business advising services to start ups, entrepreneurs, and growing small businesses at no cost. Its team of business professionals offer a range of consulting services and workshops aimed at helping small business owners learn best practices and make the most of local, regional, state, and federal programs and opportunities. One more time…at no cost!
The LBCC SBDC is part of the Los Angeles Regional SBDC network and is funded by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) and the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz.) Its local partners include organizations, such as the City of Long Beach and the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, that are committed to working together with the small business community to achieve long-term economic impact.
In addition to one-on-one consulting, LBCC SBDC advisors offer webinars and workshops on topics including:
-Finance & Accounting
-Business Loan Advice
-Management & Operations
-Web & E-Commerce Strategizing & Implementation
-Understanding Leases & much more
When I spoke with Brad Pollack, director of LBCC SBDC, we both agreed that the program is an underutilized tool that all small business owners should be exploiting. When asked how COVID impacted LBCC SBDC, Brad responded that “COVID has brought to the surface the reality that many small businesses could use a lot more help in understanding their financials … we can help them understand the importance of balance sheets, profit & loss statements, and cash flow statements. We focus on the fact that you don’t have to be an advanced mathematician to understand financial statements and the upside of understanding how to read such statements.”
Brad said many businesses failed to receive disaster relief during COVID because they couldn’t provide the basic financial documentation, and LBCC SBDC made it their mission to help these individuals. Many of their advisors voluntarily worked seven days a week to help people understand their financials and apply for loans.
Another topic that the LBCC SBDC gets a lot of requests for is help with online marketing. When I needed to quickly pivot to an online strategy during COVID, I immediately reached out and they connected me with Deborah Deras, CEO of Synergy Unlimited, published author, keynote speaker, and social media strategist. Deborah met with me via Zoom on multiple occasions for at least an hour each time to help me develop a marketing strategy directly related to my business. She also coached me on public speaking on and off camera. Her advice was invaluable, and it was all free.