Volunteer for the SBDC

Becoming an SBDC volunteer is a hugely rewarding experience. You get to help build the business community within San Diego and Imperial counties, which helps the local economy. Our biggest need is for volunteer advisors in finance, but if you have a background in marketing, management, international commerce, manufacturing, law, administration, human resources and office management, we can use your help as well.

As an advisor, you will meet with local business owners and entrepreneurs to help guide them through your areas of expertise. You never have to implement, just advise and counsel. You can also give workshops, attend fairs and trade shows, help out in the office as well as assist with SBDC marketing and planning.

Though the SBDC does not allow self-promotion, volunteering as an advisor helps you build credibility and authority within your field of work. To learn more about contributing your time to the SBDC, send an email to cholland@swccd.edu and let us know you’re interested. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

SBDC's Blog Post Link

Become a Guest Blogger

Are you a successful business professional in San Diego or Imperial counties? Do you enjoy helping others succeed? If so, the SBDC has opportunities for guest bloggers to contribute to the SBDC blog. Your posts will help hundreds of local entrepreneurs and business owners learn valuable lessons that will help them become successful.

What are the benefits of becoming a guest blogger?

Other than providing a great service to those who can use your help, guest blogging has other benefits as well. Since the SBDC is a nonprofit resource that has helped thousands of business owners across the country, your involvement will help establish credibility within your field. Others will recognize you as an authority for the topics on which you post.

Though the SBDC strictly prohibits self-promotion on its blog, you will receive a link from your author signature to a web profile of your choice. Most authors link back to their own website. Google and other search engines view such links favorably and your web property may benefit from it in search results.

What topics does the blog cover?

Simply put, you can write about any business related topic that provides benefit to the reader. Our readers are mostly entrepreneurs and other business owners. Topics may include sales & marketing, management & leadership, accounting & payroll, international commerce, web design, digital marketing, business planning, employee relations, economics, work/life balance and motivation.

All posts will be reviewed and approved by SBDC staff. Posts cannot contain hateful or offensive material nor can they be self-promoting or contain links to other web properties. They must be written with proper usage, grammar and sentence syntax and should be scanned by a spell checker. Posts must be at least 450 words and should not be more than 2000. All content posted on the SBDC blog must be unique and will be cross-referenced with a plagiarism checker.

How do I inquire about guest blogging with the SBDC?

Send an email to info@sbdcnetwork.org with the subject title: Guest Blogger. Submit a Bio and give us a few topics on which you would like to write. Please provide examples of your work if available.

Link to SBDC's Blog

How can the SBDC help me with my business?

The Small Business Development Center helps both start-ups and existing businesses in many ways. We’ve listed a few of those areas below, but if you don’t see what you’re looking for, contact us anyway. The SBDC assists and advises in all things business. If we don’t have the help you need, we’ll be able to point you in the right direction (though, we likely can provide you with the help you need).

Financial Assistance

One of the most common areas the SBDC helps with is financial assistance. Advisors from the SBDC will help you prepare everything you need to obtain a small business loan from the SBA, local bank or other institution. We’ll make sure your business plan contains all the right information and is crafted for lender approval. Many of our clients have been successful at getting the financing they need to take their business to the next level. And don’t forget, all counseling services from the SBDC are free to you.

Business Planning

Every business starts with an idea. A business plan takes that idea and puts it into a strategy that helps you achieve objectives. Think of it as a roadmap. You will need to set goals for your business. Those goals are your destination. Your business plan is the map that shows you how to get there. If you are going to need a business loan, then a business plan is absolutely necessary. Our advisors know how to craft effective business plans that not only help you get financing, but will help you achieve your business objectives as well.

Sales and Marketing

Developing your idea into a business is exciting, but you won’t grow until you start making sales. The SBDC has sales and marketing advisors that will help you craft a marketing plan that achieves real results. From customer acquisition to effective sales techniques, our advisors will help you find your customer base, evaluate your competition and identify sales opportunities either in person or online. Speaking of online marketing…

Digital Marketing

According to Google, 88% of consumers use the Internet to research a product or service before purchasing. If you are not taking advantage of this opportunity to promote your business, you are leaving a lot of money on the table. Not only does the SBDC offer web design and web marketing workshops, but our advisors will meet with you one-on-one to discuss how you can drive more sales through internet marketing. From social media marketing and website optimization to pay-per-click and online customer reviews, our experienced advisors will help you identify your strongest online opportunities and craft a strategy to achieve your web marketing goals.

International Relations

Does your business work across borders? Do you sell internationally? SBDC advisors can help you with import/export situations as well as the unique challenges that you will face selling or buying internationally. We’ll provide resources and counselling to help your international business thrive.

Management and Operations

If you’ve never managed a business before, you’ll want to meet with one of our management advisors. They’ll help you prepare for potential problems and help you get through difficult situations, whether it has to do with employees or operations. Whatever the situation, it’s likely that our management advisors have either experienced it themselves or know how to address it.

Payroll and Accounting

Potentially one of the weakest areas for most entrepreneurs and business owners, accounting and payroll can ruin a business if accurate records are not kept current. If you need help setting up Quickbooks or other accounting software, our advisors can help get you through it. If you have tax problems, speak with one of our experts and we’ll help you find the right resources and assistance to address your issue properly and effectively.

General Business Matters

The SBDC has what we call Generalists; advisors that can help you with general matters relating to your business. These are usually the first people you will meet with at the SBDC and they will help guide you in the right direction. Have an idea and need feedback? Meet with one of our generalists and they’ll go through any scenario with you. Have questions, but don’t know where to go? Our generalists will either put you in touch with the right people or the right resources to get the answers you need.

These are just some of the areas with which SBDC advisors can help. If it has to do with starting or running a business, the SBDC either has the resources or will help guide you in the right direction. Again, our workshops and counselling sessions are free and you are welcome to use us as much and as often as you want. Get in touch with us today at our contact page here. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Welcome to the SBDC!

Welcome to the Small Business Development Center and our brand new website! This website is just the first of many new changes from the SBDC – all designed to help you, the small business owner or entrepreneur, build a successful and profitable business.

If you are unfamiliar with who we are, then this website was re-designed specifically for you. You’ll find all sorts of resources and tools to assist business owners in San Diego and Imperial Counties. We provide advisors and workshops to help you with business planning, management, marketing, financing, operations, web design, fulfillment, international trade, payroll and a whole lot more. The best part is that since our funding comes from the SBA, grants and private contributions, our services are offered at no cost to you.

Small business is the lifeblood of our economy and when small businesses grow and become successful, the entire region benefits. Everybody wins: the business community, the consumer and the region. The SBDC was set up to achieve that objective. Let us help you take your business to the next level.

Whether you have an existing business that needs help or are thinking of starting a new business, we’re here to help. We encourage you to contact us today to meet with one of our advisors. Your success is our success!

Elite Auto Collision

Conflicts in decision making are all too common for small family owned businesses like Elite Auto Collision. Between the mother, father, son, and daughter team, procedural methods were becoming blurred. Matriarch Sandra Baker-Assemi decided that to clear the air and ensure a successful future, she would reach out to her local SBDC for help.

Baker-Assemi met with SBDC consultant Michele Burkart in 2012 to discuss mitigating the internal strain within Elite Auto Collision and how to promote future growth. “She wanted to really restructure the company and realized that updating of her financial information was a key to accomplishing this.” Burkart noted.

With Burkart’s help, Elite Auto Collision created a plan to accomplish their goal. First they compiled a list of banks in the area, learning the eligibility rules for SBA loans. Burkart advised them on what business plan software to purchase in order to make financial presentations that ultimately secured the financing they needed.

Family-run small businesses have their own set of challenges, but Sandra Baker-Assemi and her fellow family co-owners have found a way to make it work. “We care deeply about the success of our enterprise and take pride in our joint accomplishments.” Baker-Assemi mused, adding, “Hanging around a bunch of loveable brainiacs is just plain fun!”

Baker Assemi is a true believer in how SBDC helps small businesses. “We consider the SBDC to be a part of our success strategy.” By getting an outside opinion on their next steps, Elite Auto Collision refocused and reinvigorated the company. Elite Auto Collision continues to seek better ways to increase profitability and market share through innovative marketing initiatives, and the SBDC is at their side every step of the way.

National Escalator Cleaning La Mesa

Nancy Santangelo and her husband started National Escalator Cleaning, LLC in 2010, but this infant company was to hit enormous obstacles in its first few years. Not only did they face stifling competition and persistent solicitors, but Nancy’s business’ co-owner and husband died suddenly, leaving her without a partner or husband.

Santangelo approached the Small Business Development Center early in 2012 because her business was being flooded with competitors trying to buy her out. Professional business consultant Michelle Burkart began working with Santangelo, sharpening the focus of both the business and its owner.

“Michelle is wonderful,” said Santangelo. “Before I was swamped, but Michelle is helping me with a business plan and marketing.” Thanks to several sessions with SBDC consultants, Santangelo’s website is under construction and her client focus has never been sharper.
Since the death of Santagelo’s husband, Stephen Semaan became a company partner and he and Santangelo now have the equipment they need to continue growing National Escalator Cleaning, LLC. But the courage to be an entrepreneur is something Santangelo had all along.

“She overcame the loss of her husband and business partner.” said Burkart. “She obtained the investment capital needed to buy better equipment and restructured her company to expand and grow with the help of the SBDC. She is a real success story.”

Santangelo said she plans to continue using the resources of the SBDC to overcome the challenges her business faces and hopes one day to make her company national. “I want to make my business successful,” she said. “I want to take it to the next level.”

The Door and Window Consultants

From the House to a New Location – The Door and Window Consultants…

Finding an unmet need in a market is a time tested path to success, but capitalizing on the opportunity can be challenging. While working for various contractors and door installation companies, Randall Burger discovered one of these unmet needs. In an attempt to fill this niche, Burger created The Door & Window Consultants in 1980; a home-based business specializing in custom made door and window solutions.

Burger contacted the San Diego Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in February 2012 and met with business consultant, Michelle Burkhart. Burger’s focus at the time was to take his company to the next level. Burkhart’s past experience working with contractors, vendors, and employee related issues made her a perfect fit for The Door & Window Consultants. With so much information out there Burger credited Burkhart with being a, “walking encyclopedia of people who can help with websites, information, and a variety of things.”

As a single father, one of Burger’s top goals was a better quality business-life balance. With this in mind, Burkhart pointed out the benefits of moving from a home-based location to a new facility. “Of course, there were new financial concerns with new ongoing cost, but they were just not going to grow if they didn’t move,” Burkhart said.

With Burkhart’s help, The Door & Window Consultants underwent a major restructuring and rebranding effort, targeting a higher end market. This change has already delivered favorable results with the company landing larger contracts.

With growth and success stemming from his SBDC visits, Burger plans to continue to visit Burkart. “Michelle is a good listener and she helps us by setting specific dates to meet goals,” he said. Burkhart claims that Burger’s true reason for success is that he was ready and willing to “do the work” that is needed to grow.

The SBDC Growbiz Conference and Small Business Awards Luncheon targets San Diego!

San Diego, CA – Representatives from the San Diego and Imperial SBDC Network and the San Diego SBA District office will be present to speak at the upcoming GrowBiz Conference and SBA Awards Luncheon on Friday, August 17th from 8:00 am until 1:30 pm at the Double Tree Hotel in Mission Valley.  For more information and to reserve tickets please visit www.growmybiz.org. Early registration is $49 through August 10, 2012. After August 10, tickets will be $69. Table reservations are available.
Presenters were selected for their insights into social media, cloud computing, sales tactics, website development, business synergies, and new industry trends. Attendees will learn from the best of the best including: Darnell Holloway of YELP!; Rhonda Abrams of The Planning Shop; Eric Lund of CONVIS; Jenn Barber, Senior Social Media Strategist from SiteLab Interactive; Chris Murch from Captain Email, Tiffany Bromfield of the BID Council, Caz Taylor from BizVid Communications; and representatives from Jimdo; and Constant Contact. There will also be a procurement panel featuring San Diego Housing Authority, San Diego Unified School District and RQ Construction. Opportunities for business owners to schedule one-on-one appointments with buyers and small business advocates will be available.

Workshops will focus on growing brands, sales, profit, and business opportunities. The annual SBA Awards Luncheon featuring renown author and columnist, Rhonda Abrams, will follow the workshops recognizing successful businesses and outstanding business advocates within the region.

“The caliber of presenters and their willingness to help small businesses is outstanding as well as inspiring. Their participation will make the GrowBiz conference a success and an annual event,” said Debbie Trujillo, Regional Director of the San Diego and Imperial SBDC Regional Network. “We are excited to offer valuable industry tools while recognizing the accomplishments of small business in our region,” continued Trujillo.

The GrowBIz Conference and Small Business Awards Luncheon will encourage and educate small business owners, representatives from business organizations, executives, business service providers, sales and marketing directors and legislative representatives.

About the San Diego and Imperial Region Small Business Development Center Network:

The Mission of the SBDC is to provide superior business consulting and education that results in entrepreneurial success and economic growth and prosperity for California. Over the last five years the SBDC Network has assisted more than 12,000 businesses.

Under the guidance of professional advisers, clients have generated more than $41 million in capital infusion in the local economy. The SBDC offers guidance on how to reduce the cost of operations, increase sales and market share, financing, money management, exporting internationally, online marketing, patent and technology commercialization, and market research. Consulting is paid for by the SBA and other funding sources for businesses that are ready to grow and is available in a private setting at one of four full-service centers and six outreach locations. To learn more about how to grow a business go to,www.growmybiz.org or call 619.482.6388.

Get Onboard With Free Website Services Offered to local Small Businesses

San Diego, CA – The San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Regional Network reached a cooperative enterprise with SmallBizRocket, a joint initiative developed between Jimdo, and the California SBDCs.

As part of a new partnership, SBDC clients can receive a full free year of JimdoPro including domain name, email, e-commerce and an extensive array of customizable templates as well as access to Jimdo’s full customer service support team. At the 2012 GrowBiz Conference & Awards Luncheon, attendees were the first to hear about and take advantage of this great announcement.

Regional Director Debbie Trujillo said the SBDC understands how important it is for small businesses to have an operational and updated website.

“Our partnership with Jimdo will offer you that opportunity, and better yet at no cost,”said Trujillo. “Whether you have running website that needs updating, or this will be your first website, we at the SBDC will help you move forward with the right tools and resources to help you succeed in your endeavors.”

Since 2007, Jimdo’s award-winning website building tool facilitates any business to successfully create a website that reflects the ideologies of products and services offered.

Small businesses comprise 95 percent of all businesses in San Diego County and it is estimated that despite the tremendous growth of the Internet that 62 percent of small businesses still do not have a website to advertise their products and services.

No matter what stage your business is at, from start-up to medium sized, the San Diego and Imperial SBDC can help your business succeed with this new tool and its many other services.

Get On-board with Free Website Services Offered to Local Businesses

 Call the SBDC at (619) 482-6391 and schedule a session an SBDC marketing professional or register for the several social media and website workshops presently being offered. Learn how to build or update your business website, the message that your website should have and how to integrate social media and email into your online strategy.

About the San Diego and Imperial SBDC Network

The mission of San Diego & Imperial SBDC Regional Network is to provide superior business consulting and education that results in entrepreneurial success and economic growth and prosperity for California.

Over the last five years the Network has assisted more than 12,000 businesses. Under the guidance of professional advisers, clients have generated more than $41 million in capital infusion in the local economy.

The SBDC offers guidance on how to reduce the cost of operations, increase sales and market share, financing, money management, exporting internationally, online marketing, patent and technology commercialization, and market research. Consulting is complimentary to businesses that are ready to grow and is available in a private setting at one of four full-service centers and six outreach locations.

Kauffman FastTrac® Announces Courses to Equip U.S. Military Veterans with Skills in Entrepreneurship

San Diego, CA – The San Diego SBDC joins the Kaufman Foundation to deliver Kauffman FastTrac to U.S. military veterans interested in starting and growing their own companies online courses starting in June. The FastTrac® NewVenture™ course, developed by Kauffman FastTrac, is designed to help veterans transition into the civilian workforce by equipping aspiring entrepreneurs with the knowledge to launch a business. The course, a $700 value, is being offered free of charge to veterans.

Media contact:
Elizabeth Steinberg, Kauffman FastTrac
(816) 932-1136​

The veteran courses are made possible through a grant recently awarded Kauffman FastTrac to help equip veterans with the skills they need to re-enter the workforce. The grant includes training, implementation and development of supplemental course materials specific to veterans’ needs. FastTrac-certified instructors, who are both veterans and experienced entrepreneurs, will teach the courses.

The San Diego course is offered in addition to classes being held in cities across the United States, most are being delivered face-to-face in classroom settings in Dover, Del.; Fayetteville, N.C.; Houston; Jacksonville, N.C.; Kansas City, Mo.; San Diego; and Washington, while some are online. Each course, including those online, is 10 weeks in duration with one session per week.

The course will offer guidance in starting a successful business. Curriculum will include how to align new business ideas with marketplace realities, find target markets and competitive advantages, develop brands and will offer time to network with likeminded entrepreneurs and learn fundamental steps to running and growing a business.

“Through this initiative, Accenture and Kauffman FastTrac are equipping veterans with the skills to create their own jobs through entrepreneurship,” said Alana Muller, president of Kauffman FastTrac.“The skills and experience our veterans possess – leadership attributes as well as the ability to manage risk and build teams – are strong assets to create and build businesses.”
For more information about the FastTrac Veterans Initiative, please visit www.fasttrac.org/veterans.

Alex Galicia, an Iraq War Veteran, will serve as instructor for the San Diego program starting in August. Galicia, who took over the family plumbing business in 2005 and is now the CEO of BPI Plumbing, has plenty of experience.  He continues to serve as a Commissioned Officer (Major) in the Army National Guard and has received various degrees and trainings in business. Galicia has discovered how to create a successful and strategic business. “I find a lot of satisfaction in instructing other veterans on how to become successful in their business endeavors,” he said.

After the completion of the FastTrac® NewVentureTM for the Veteran Entrepreneur program, the San Diego and Imperial SBDC Network will continue to assist graduates through no cost consulting services in business areas such as finance, marketing, procurement, management, and much more.

About Kauffman FastTrac®

Kauffman FastTrac is the leading provider of learning curricula that equip aspiring and existing entrepreneurs with the business skills and insights, tools, resources, and network to start and grow successful businesses.  Kauffman FastTrac was created by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the largest foundation in the United States devoted to entrepreneurship. For more information about Kauffman FastTrac, visit www.fasttrac.org and follow the organization on Twitter at @fasttrac, like it on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kauffmanfasttrac and connect on LinkedIn at www.fasttrac.org/linkedin.

About the San Diego and Imperial SBDC Network:

Of the San Diego & Imperial SBDC Network is to provide superior business consulting and education that results in entrepreneurial success and economic growth and prosperity for California. Over the last five years the Network has assisted more than 12,000 businesses. Under the guidance of professional advisers, clients have generated more than $41 million in capital infusion in the local economy. The SBDC offers guidance on how to reduce the cost of operations, increase sales and market share, financing, money management, exporting internationally, online marketing, patent and technology commercialization, and market research. Consulting is complimentary to businesses that are ready to grow and is available in a private setting at one of four full-service centers and six outreach locations.

To learn more about how to grow your business go to, www.growmybiz.org or call 619.482.6388.