Greater Fort Dodge Entrepreneurs! SBDC Can Help You Succeed
6 Apr 2023
Starting a business can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to go it alone. North Central Iowa Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is an excellent resource for any entrepreneur with a great idea and the ambition to succeed.
North Central Iowa SBDC is a partnership program with Extension and Outreach, Farm Bureau, Iowa community colleges, regional economic development groups like Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, chambers, RECs, Councils of Government, local businesses, and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). North Central Iowa SBDC serves entrepreneurs and existing businesses in Audubon, Calhoun, Carroll, Greene, Guthrie, Hamilton, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Sac, Webster, and Buena Vista counties.
“America’s SBDC Iowa can help with any stage of business,’ said Justin Faiferlick, Regional Director for America's Small Business Development Centers. “Experienced counselors provide resources and information to individuals wanting to start a business, grow an existing business, or plan for a transition.”
SBDC professionals provide one-on-one counseling for business plan creation, marketing, management techniques, market research, accounting, strategic planning, funding options, and more. All services are confidential, no-cost, and available for start-ups and existing retail, wholesale, manufacturing, and service businesses. Webinars and workshops are also available.
Fort Dodge’s Entrepreneurial Climate
The Greater Fort Dodge region enjoys a business-friendly tax code and lower business costs, as well as a highly-skilled workforce. With low housing costs and unique recreational possibilities, Greater Fort Dodge boasts the opportunity for a small-town lifestyle with plenty of room to succeed, grow, and play.
“I believe we have an increased entrepreneurial ecosystem in Fort Dodge,” said Faiferlick. “The city has a strong agricultural economy, which has driven small businesses to be successful in the region.”
“Additionally, Iowa Central Community College, the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, Mainstreet, and other partners, are focused on helping businesses, creating jobs, and supporting the development of local businesses. Furthermore, Iowa Central Community College hosts the North Central Iowa region of the America’s SBDC. Overall, Fort Dodge has many resources and organizations to support the entrepreneurial community, making it a promising area to start a business.”
It All Starts With a Business Plan
From the first phone call or visit, North Central Iowa SBDC personnel will help entrepreneurs make strategic business plans and create financial projections. According to Harvard Business Review, entrepreneurs who write formal business plans are 16 percent more likely to achieve viability than otherwise identical non-planning entrepreneurs.
“The FREE counseling offered in all counties by the SBDC provides help with everything from business planning and financial analysis to market strategies, is often underutilized,” said Faiferlick.
Entrepreneurs can expect to receive a business plan template and access to much of the required data. North Central Iowa SBDC can provide step-by-step counseling, instructing about financial forecasts and how to find the numbers and values needed to reach the point of “Yes! I have a business plan!”
Funding Options Through SBA
Short-term credit matters for day-to-day cash flow management, while longer-term credit is essential for capital investments. Yet, the Federal Reserve reports that less than half of small businesses have their credit needs met. An entrepreneur working with North Central Iowa SBDC can swing the odds toward their favor by completing a loan application package. The goal is to open multiple streams of funding to entrepreneurs.
North Central Iowa SBDC maintains relationships with lenders for both general commercial loans, as well as Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. Available SBA loans can be found here. The benefits of SBA-guaranteed loans include competitive terms, counseling and education, and unique benefits such as lower down payments, flexible overhead requirements, and for some loans, no required collateral.
Entrepreneurship is Rising
The significance of entrepreneurs has never been greater. The Census Bureau released data confirming that the U.S. remains in the midst of a surge in entrepreneurship after decades of stagnation or decline. In 2022, five million new businesses were created, a 42 percent increase from pre-pandemic levels. Despite recessionary fears and labor market uncertainties, the numbers indicate many Americans still believe the time is right to start a business.
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate announced that Iowans registered the highest number of new business entities in state history during the 2022 fiscal year. Between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022, there were 33,331 new businesses registered with the Secretary of State’s Office, breaking the previous record of 33,260 set last year.
“The SBDC is here to help you with your business needs,” said Faiferlick. “America’s SBDC Iowa is the only nationally accredited entrepreneurial development organization in Iowa. We provide no fee, confidential, customized counseling through our 15 locations.”