When I worked as a business advisor, I spent a lot of time connecting small business owners with the Small Business Administration. After spending countless hours on the phone with agents of the Small Business Administration, I learned many tips on how to take full advantage of the services that the SBA offers.
Get Over Any Reservations Early
Many small business owners have reservations about getting in contact with the Small Business Administration since they are a government agency. Remember that the SBA was set up to nurture, and sustain, small businesses in the US.
Visit the Small Business Association Website
While this might sound like a simple tip, you would be surprised on how much you can learn from the SBA website. If you want to take full advantage of the services that the Small Business Administration offers, you should spend time exploring their website to learn as much as you can before you talk to an agent. You might find that there are services that you are interested in learning more about that you did not know about before.
Keep a Running Notebook
If you want to take full advantage of the Small Business Administration services, keep a running notebook of everything that you learn. Refer back to this during every step of the process to make sure that you are not forgetting or missing anything that you need to know.
Have All the Numbers You Need
The Small Business Administration will need a lot of numbers from your business. Make sure that you have all of your income and expenditure figures ready when you make your first call. I was once told by a representative of the SBA that she could no longer count the number of times that applications had to be held up for one or two numbers that small business owners did not prepare for.
Remember the old phrase, “there is no such thing as a stupid question.” The agents of the SBA are there to help you. Chances are very good that there is not a question that you can ask that they are not prepared for, or have heard before. These agents know that you business is important to you and that you want to know as much as possible.
While there are few small business owners that might want to lie about their figures, there are some that will over-state, or under-state figures in the hope to avoid embarrassment. The Small Business Administration is there to help you when you are in trouble. They know that businesses sometimes fall on hard times, and that is why they are there.
Take Offered Classes
The SBA offers classes to help out small business owners so that they do not fall on hard times in the future. My final tip is to take full advantage of these classes in the hopes of keeping our small business strong in the future.
Small Business Administration Website