Start Spreading the News
It’s time to shed SBRC's image
of ‘best-kept secret in town’
by David Zaslawsky
Steve Goldsby said the Small Business Resource Center (SBRC) is “the best-kept secret in town.” He will do everything he can to change that.
“We found that there are a lot of folks who don’t know about the Small Business Resource Center,” said Goldsby, who is president of the SBRC board of directors. “Given the number of small businesses in the region, we found a lot of people just weren’t aware of all the services that are available.”
The board launched an aggressive marketing campaign, including purchasing about 100 radio ads, according to Goldsby.
Goldsby, along with Douglas Jones, executive director of the SBRC and vice president, business services for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, have been promoting the SBRC to various groups including Kiwanis and Rotary clubs. Goldsby and Jones are getting additional exposure for the SBRC by being interviewed by radio and television personalities.
That’s the big push – get the word out about the SBRC and all the services it has to offer.
“Given the economic downturn and people being displaced from their jobs, we’re finding that there are a lot of folks who are at the decision point of possibly starting their own business,” Goldsby said.
Another goal is increasing the occupancy rate of the incubator program at the SBRC. There are currently five openings.
“We have improved our occupancy marginally, which is good, considering the amount of vacant office space in the town has gone through the roof,” Goldsby said. “We’ve held our ground and actually made a little progress while everybody else around us is losing significant ground.”
The SBRC hopes to fill its vacancies with an incentive program for both commercial Realtors and new clients. Commercial Realtors will receive an upfront commission equal to two months’ rent for referring a client who signs a lease for office space at the SBRC. Jones said that commission is $1,000.
The commercial Realtors would also receive a 5-percent commission of the annual rent up to two years for clients who renew their annual lease. The incentive for clients is two months free rent.
The Small Business Resource Center is providing some additional resources to clients there and other businesses in the River Region. Those resources include additional training events such as tax seminars, small business seminars and a seminar on contracting with local, state and federal government.
There are also plans next year for two, 12-week Entrepreneurial University sessions, which “moves participants much further down the timeline toward growing a viable business than one-hour seminars,” Goldsby said.
“When I was there (at the SBRC), the free services freed up a lot of capital to actually grow my business,” said Goldsby, who is chief executive officer of Integrated Computer Solutions Inc.
“Eighty percent of our costs are probably people. If we can save significant amounts of capital, we can reinvest that in our people in terms of training, salary and benefits.”