Pictured from left are Paul Smith III, past chamber chairman; Francis Spruiell, current chamber chairwoman; and Brian McClain, director, Angelina SBDC; at the chamber’s May 2010 Fourth Friday Luncheon. (Photo by Kelly Daniel)
Be bold in new business
Local resources make expansion and start ups not so scary
by Kelly Daniel, Membership and Marketing Manager
Moving into the new year is a natural time to evaluate current conditions and contemplate new ideas. Those that possess entrepreneurial spirits may see 2011 as the time to launch a new business or expand an existing business.
Sixty-eight percent of Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce members participating in the chamber’s September poll claimed the overall outlook for 2011 for their businesses is “better than 2010.” With positive responses such as this, some may be planning for significant business growth this year.
“Business owners often act routinely, especially when things are going well,” said chamber President/CEO Bruce Partain. “But it’s a savvy business person who questions ‘what is good?’ then plans strategically to retain existing customers and start new ventures.”
For those who decide to invest “in themselves,” Nacogdoches and surrounding counties offer resources that can make the investment more of a calculated plan and less of a gamble.
The Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO) maintains a consulting contract with the Angelina College Small Business Development Center (SBDC) as part of NEDCO’s Entrepreneur Incubator Program to assist prospective entrepreneurs in developing a business plan that will improve their odds of launching a successful business.
SBDC offers consulting, training and other business development services to anyone in East Texas with business growth in mind. SBDC is part of the University of Houston Small Business Development Center Network, which serves 32 counties. Brian McClain is SBDC director.
“SBDC consultants deliver practical knowledge and business expertise to take a client from having an idea to developing an actionable business plan, financing, attracting customers, increasing sales and improving productivity and profitability,” said McClain. “The consulting we provide applies to a variety of industries and is in most cases no cost to the client.”
Austin Bank president, Nacogdoches branch, and current Chamber Chairwoman Francis Spruiell recommends the SBDC to Austin Bank’s clients seeking financing for new business start ups and expansions.
“They provide a wealth of information, and SBDC will help determine if a business idea is viable or not,” said Spruiell. “Brian and SBDC have helped many of my clients. They are familiar with what the bank needs in order to proceed with a loan request. As a subsidiary of the U.S. Small Business Administration, they are also familiar with the SBA documents should a government guaranty be required.”
According to downtown business owners Richard and Kimberly Wright, Dragonfly Nursery & Garden, and Susan Reents, Hotel Fredonia, the guidance they received from the SBDC is the reason they are in business.
The Wrights said that “the development of a business plan was completely invaluable, not to mention the help with obtaining financing. The entire experience was so educational and essential for our success.”
Reents said SBDC helped her with many of the directional issues and the SBA 504 financing. “I am so proud of reaching my goal of owning this landmark hotel and positioning us to be a part of advancing the tourism industry in Nacogdoches and East Texas,” she said.
The list of SBDC services also include business management training, instruction in pursuing international markets, assistance in accessing government contact opportunities and guidance in commercializing new products or services.
For more information about the SBDC, contact McClain by phone, 936-633-5400, or go to www.angelina.edu/SBDC.
Another resource for a new business launch or expansion in the county is Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO). Office location is in the historic Old Mize Factory building at 412 North Street, Ste. E. Bill King is NEDCO president/CEO, and Ed Pool is the current chairman of NEDCO’s officers.
Angelina College Small Business Development Center facts.
Sell to the government.
Research international markets.
Launch a new technology-based business.
Plan for and recover from business interruptions.
Access to library resources.
The Angelina College SBDC assisted 100 new business clients in 2010. Of those clients, 21 went on to create impact for the communities the center serves by starting businesses, creating jobs and enjoying the opportunity to strike out on their own as entrepreneurs and create an exciting the future for themselves and their families. SBDC assisted these individuals create 198 new jobs and helped them raise $136,081,000 in capital to start and expand their businesses.