Supporting Small Business Success
Monday, July 08, 2019
Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. Nearly two out of three new jobs in the private sector from 2000-2017 were created by small firms, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Because small businesses have a big impact on both our economy and community, the City of Orem is invested in their success. We are fortunate to have a wealth of resources geared toward helping entrepreneurs and small business owners in our region, such as the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which is hosted at the Utah Valley Business Resource Center, (BRC) located near Utah Valley University (UVU).
The BRC was established through a combined effort between the City of Orem and Utah Valley University and receives support from the City of Orem. It helps entrepreneurs make connections and find the right resources to ensure business success. The BRC hosts various agencies and services, including an incubator program, which has been described as a “greenhouse where the seeds of economic activity are sown and nourished.”
The SBDC is a state and federal partnership that has been dedicated to helping entrepreneurs get started in business and helping small businesses grow for more than 30 years. Its consultants provide one-to-one, free consulting as well as advice on topics like developing a business plan, market research, and identifying financing.
Both of these entities are meant to streamline the process of starting and growing a business.
Camille Pendleton, SBDC regional director, notes that the idea is to help entrepreneurs, particularly “innovators and fast movers” make the best use out of their energy, ideas, time, talents, and money.
“Utah Valley is very entrepreneurial. People have a high desire to start and run their own businesses. These resources are here to help them succeed and avoid pitfalls that business owners sometimes fall into,” says Pendleton.
SBDC services are free. Three full-time consultants are on staff as well as UVU business students. They work with entrepreneurs from the initial business concept to planning, implementation, and operations.
RyLee Reid, founder and owner of Sandbar Hand Care, says the SBDC was vital in helping her through the startup process. "I was looking everywhere for help in developing, managing, and growing my business. The SBDC offered the insight and guidance I needed,” she says.
Reid has particular praise for mentor Shaun Wilson. “He is amazing and has helped me so much,” she says, noting that he helped her understand the order of operations in scaling and growing a business. “We started with cash flow analysis, pricing and supply chain management — and then moved to business strategy, negotiations, and understanding true profitability.”
Sandbar Hand Care is now taking advantage of the BRC incubator program. “It’s exciting to have RyLee in the building and to see her business growing,” says Pendleton.
Co-founder and CCO of Pura Scents Richie Stapler is another beneficiary of the business accelerator. "As a startup, being lean and scrappy is key. The BRC has been supportive in many ways, but to name a few, they have helped get us office space for a fraction of the price, access to market research databases, and help with state grants," he says.
SBDC doesn’t limit itself to serving startups; it works with businesses throughout their life cycle. Consultants can assist business owners that decide to sell their companies with issues like pricing and succession.
Area residents can also take advantage of SBDC educational events like monthly clinics that enlist experts to present on topics such as accounting, legal issues, intellectual property, and tax planning. A four-week “Simple Steps” course helps people create a foundation for their business by learning basics in marketing, operations, financing, and bookkeeping.
Regular training is also available on topics like QuickBooks, internet marketing and WordPress. For those who aren’t able to attend a particular course in person, online classes will soon be available for a small fee.
Since the SBDC and BRC are located in the same building, Utah Valley entrepreneurs can find all the support they need to establish, grow and expand their business in one place.
Pendleton credits the City of Orem for prioritizing small business support. “The BRC has been well supported by the City of Orem and has made a lot of this possible,” she says. “The SBDC benefits from being in the BRC. We’re grateful that Orem cares about and is investing in economic development.”