Cassius Butts, a regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration, is responsible for delivering SBA programs in eight states, including North Carolina. Butts spoke with Shop Talk about how to get the most from the SBA’s services and products. Here are his five tips, edited for space and clarity:
• Don’t start or run a small business alone. The SBA has several resource partners that offer support for getting started, such as SCORE (score.org) and its partners, retired executives who will help entrepreneurs start and develop their business.
One of the most important things for small business owners to consider is finances. The SBA’s Small Business Development Centers provide services such as developing business plans, manufacturing assistance and financial packages. Small Business Development Centers also offer information on tracking expenses and planning where money should best be spent.
Small Business Centers at community colleges across the state work with the SBA, but aren’t directly affiliated with the administration, said Mike Ernandes, an SBA spokeman.
The SBA has a district office in Charlotte and satellite offices in Cary, Asheville and Wilmington.
• SBA loan products can assist with working capital, such as loans for special services, supporting economic development and veterans. SBA also offers micro-loans.
• Procurement Technical Assistance Centers provide assistance to businesses looking to sell products and services to federal, state and local governments.
It’s possible for small business owners to do business with the federal government. The United States buys over $400 billion of goods and services every year. You can get help and advice through the SBA’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center.
• Get help with the numbers. The SBA’s Small Business Development Centers can offer information on tracking expenses and planning where money should best be spent. • Become social media savvy. The SBA offers social media conferences and training programs.
For more details, go to sba.gov.