Every successful entrepreneur’s story includes a shout-out to someone or something that helped them along the way. If you’re just starting out and aren’t sure where to look for guidance or support as you work to grow your business, or whether you're looking to breathe new life into your vision, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is one of those resources you absolutely must turn to.
I recently spoke with Allen Gutierrez, the Associate Administrator of the Office of Entrepreneurial Development for the SBA. He got me in tune with what the SBA is working on now and what their plans are to provide even more tools and services for entrepreneurs and small business owners in the future.
To hear the whole interview, just click below, but make sure you keep reading for more great information.
The Small Business Administration: A Little-Known Secret Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know About
The SBA is, as Gutierrez puts it, only 65 years young. When you think about it in the grand scheme of this country’s governmental agencies, that isn’t a very long time and may be why many entrepreneurs aren’t familiar with it. That said, the organization continues to do more and more each year to help revitalize the entrepreneurial spirit.
In 2016 alone, the SBA provided counseling and training to over 1.5 million entrepreneurs and small businesses. A lot of this is, in part, thanks to the resource partners the SBA works with. There are three partners, specifically, that the SBA uses to support entrepreneurs in scaling and succeeding:
- Small business development centers, which can be found all over the U.S.
- Women’s business centers, over a hundred of which are located around the country.
- SCORE business mentors, a network of over 11,000 former executives that are now retired and volunteer their time to provide guidance to new entrepreneurs
The SBA is currently planning a big push for 2018 that will include:
- A reignite tour where they visit all 68 district director offices to find out what’s going on in their communities and what they need assistance with.
- A new regulations portal in order to hear directly from entrepreneurs about the challenges they’re facing.
- A review of how to reach the end user more efficiently and effectively on social media, through their website, and elsewhere.
As Gutierrez explained, “If we look at some of the studies done during the recession, small businesses were the engine that was carrying the economy. If it wasn’t for small businesses, some of the estimates suggest that unemployment would’ve been even higher.”
“If we look at some of the studies done during the recession, small businesses were the engine that was carrying the economy. If it wasn’t for small businesses, some of the estimates suggest that unemployment would’ve been even higher.”
This is why it’s absolutely vital for entrepreneurs to find the resources they need—and not be afraid to find those resources—in order to succeed.
Allen Gutierrez’s Tips for Entrepreneurial Success
Whether it’s from his years spent working in corporate America or the last decade he spent in the non-profit sector, Gutierrez has seen first-hand the challenges that entrepreneurs and small business owners face. Now heading up one of the most valuable resources available for entrepreneurs, Gutierrez has a wealth of information at his disposal to help guide and assist the entrepreneur in his or her daily challenges.
Here are some of the tips he asked to leave you with:
- Never be shy to ask for advice or help.
- There are resources available—with the SBA and elsewhere—that will help you get the answers to your questions, whether they’re related to capital, hiring contractors, or something else altogether.
- Don’t be afraid of new technology. If it makes your business run more effectively, go after it!
- Always be learning. If you’re not staying on top of trends in your market, you might be missing out on a big opportunity.
“We all have our peaks and valleys."
“We all have our peaks and valleys,” Gutierrez told me. And, as we have heard many times on this podcast, it’s okay to fail: it happens to everybody. It’s what you do after that failure that matters most. So long as you find the resources and support you need to start your business, grow your business, and pick it up after falling (if it should ever come to that), you’ll be alright in the long run.