America’s SBDC Iowa: Who We Are, What We Do

America’s SBDC Iowa has been providing quality business counseling for small business owners and entrepreneurs since 1981. Still, many are unaware of the services we provide, and the benefits that clients experience. If you are unsure about receiving counseling from the Iowa SBDC, read on.

Our Mission

To support the collaborative economic development of Iowa by providing entrepreneurs and businesses with individual consultation and educational resources necessary to assist their businesses to succeed.

Brief history

The history of the SBDC can be traced back as far as the 1940’s, when some of the first University-based extension services were presented in legislation. However, it wasn’t until 1976 that the University Business Development Center, the first incarnation of the SBDC, was established at the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, CA. By 1979, the network had 16 participants, including universities in Minnesota, Nebraska, and Missouri. Then, in 1980, President Carter signed the SBDC network into law with the Small Business Development Act. The Iowa SBDC was established in 1981, as one of the first 20 centers added to the network.

For more on the history of the SBDC, click here

Overview of services

The Small Business Development Center was created to educate and support small business owners across the country through no-cost counseling. Because of the emphasis on client education, the SBDC program has been the largest and most successful technical assistance program the federal government has provided for small businesses. We provide consulting in the most vital areas of your business, including:

  • Business planning
  • Market research
  • Capital infusion
  • Legal requirements
  • Exit strategies

SBDC counselors bring years of experience in a variety of industries, and many of them have owned small businesses of their own. This helps them see things from the perspective of the business owner. Additionally, they can draw on their personal experience to help business owners and entrepreneurs avoid pitfalls that they may not see coming.

For more on the services provided by the Iowa SBDC, click here


The Iowa SBDC has consistently provided a significant positive impact on small business since 1981. In 2017, the SBDC impacted Iowa in the following way:

  • 293 New business starts
  • 1,845 Iowa jobs created
  • 4,044 clients counseled
  • $108,668,237 in capital infusion
  • $111,807,427 in increased sales

For more on the impact of the Iowa SBDC, click here



Clients have a lot to say about the SBDC. Here are some words of praise from Iowa small business owners just like yourself:

“Having access to the resources to help turn our idea into a business was a vital part that got us where we are today. How much interest the SBDC has in every business just goes to show how much they care and want us to succeed, which means a lot.” – Mikayla Sullivan, Kinosol SBC (Ames)

“We always met wherever and whenever. Communication was always great. They helped me with 3 year projections before I purchased the business. Within a short amount of time, they were able to help me with the foundation of the business. I don’t know if we would even be in business without the help of the SBDC.” – Theo Ramsey, Ramsey’s Market (Lenox)

“The SBDC is a great asset to rural communities that need help to build businesses in their communities.”- Jessica Kannegieter, Mud on Main Coffee Shop, Café & Roastery (Aurelia and Cherokee)

“The SBDC is a great resource to help put together a loan application and financial projections for securing a bank loan. They are there to answer questions and to bounce ideas off of, and are not afraid to ask you (the owner) tough questions to make you think about your business decisions.”- Terry Schnack, C.A.R.S. (West Burlington)

For success stories about the business above, and many, many more, click here

Whether you have a new business idea and don’t know where to start, or are an established business looking to grow, America’s SBDC Iowa has the expertise and resources you need to find success. Contact us today to schedule your first session, and just see how far you can go!

To request counseling from America’s SBDC Iowa, click here

GDSM Partnership to Host Pair of Events Focused On Business Funding



Sam Hoyle

(515) 286-4919



Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2017


GREATER DES MOINES, IA (Jan. 24, 2018) – Businesses looking to raise capital can attend one of a pair of events hosted by the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Small business owners, entrepreneurs and startups can begin the year with an injection of capital by attending either the Capital For Your Business Seminar or the Raising Capital Seminar.

The Capital For Your Business Seminar is on Feb. 22. This event is geared toward traditional businesses looking for bank financing types and expectations, alternate loans and grants and buying on contract. Types of businesses that may be interested in this event include restaurants, boutiques, medical practices, retailers, manufacturers and businesses in a trade industry. Businesses looking for working capital or capital to make large equipment purchases will benefit from this event. The Capital For Your Business Seminar will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Partnership’s office, 700 Locust St., Ste. 100, Des Moines.

The Raising Capital Seminar is being hosted by Square One DSM, an initiative of The Partnership, on March 8. This event is geared toward entrepreneurs and startup companies seeking strategic long-term investors often referred to as angel investors, seed investors or venture capitalists. Types of businesses that may be interested include software, technology, agtech, artificial intelligence and fast-growth businesses. Attendees that will benefit from this event are those that are looking to know how to pitch to investors, grow their business quickly and sell or exit the company in five-to-seven years. The Raising Capital Seminar will take place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the BrownWinick Law Firm, 666 Grand Ave #200, Des Moines.


To register for these events, click here.


About the Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 23 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,100 Regional Business Members and more than 320 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at


About Square One DSM
Square One DSM’s mission is to connect entrepreneurial needs with qualified community and state resources and to provide guided professional and business direction. Square One DSM helps entrepreneurs maximize their successes by helping them navigate resources, strengthen knowledge, improve skills, form strategic alliances and secure proper capitalization. Learn more at



Great Coaches, and What They Teach Us

Football. America’s most popular sport. Most of us who will watch the game on Sunday will look for big plays from stars like Rob Gronkowski, Fletcher Cox, and Tom Brady. However, we will pay little attention to the chess match occurring between the men roaming the sidelines. In our star-driven sports leagues, we often miss the valuable lessons that great coaching can teach us. The way a coach runs a team can be a great model for how a small business owner runs their organization. As Super Bowl LII approaches, let’s see what we can learn from three of the greatest masterminds in NFL history.

Vince Lombardi

“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Lombardi’s Packers dominated the NFL in the 1960s, going 98-30-4 and winning five championships in nine seasons. From day 1, Lombardi made his players commit to excellence. He established a culture of winning in Green Bay, bringing in veterans like Emlen Tunnell to provide the necessary leadership, and jettisoning players who didn’t fit his mold. He brought attention to detail, spending hours watching film to gain an advantage, and expecting his players to do the same. More than anything, he communicated to his team that he expected hard work, dedication, and discipline from them, and embodied all of those qualities himself. The success of his strategy is plain to see.

Lombardi’s success was built on a culture of hard work, determination, and “individual commitment to a group effort.” Your small business should be, too. There was nothing innovative about Vince Lombardi’s offense. It relied on a power run game and efficient passing, just like most offenses of that era. Your coffee shop relies on great coffee and a warm atmosphere, just like most coffee shops of today. So what will make you successful? Communicating your vision to your employees in a clear way. Being the type of worker you expect your employees to be. Creating buy-in by rewarding exceptional performance. In short, a winning culture.

Before becoming Green Bay’s head coach, Vince Lombardi was the offensive coordinator for the highly successful New York Giants. He won two championships with New York in four seasons. At his first team meeting as Packer’s head coach, Lombardi famously looked around at his players and told them “I have never been on a losing team, gentlemen, and I do not intend to start now.” Sure enough, the Packers would never have a losing season under Lombardi.

Chuck Noll

“Champions are not champions because they do anything extraordinary but because they do the ordinary things better than anyone else.”

In 1969, Chuck Noll became head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, a franchise that had been around for 36 seasons, and only had a winning record in eight of them. They had never won a championship. They had never even won a playoff game. However, over the course of four seasons, Noll turned the Steelers from losers into winners. He accomplished this by emphasizing fundamentals. He spent time in practice focusing on things like footwork, stances, and proper tackling, things you wouldn’t expect professional football players to need much brushing up on. He was famous for emphasizing that football is about blocking and tackling, and avoiding the media spotlight both during his career and after retirement. He also developed a defensive scheme that built the Steelers into 4-time Super Bowl champs in the 1970s. In all things, Chuck Noll was controlled, intellectual, and understated.

Noll brought a singularity of purpose to the Pittsburgh Steelers that the franchise had never known. In emphasizing the details, he focused his players on one goal: winning. Everything else he tuned out. This is a valuable lesson for small business owners. The best companies aren’t always the ones that are constantly innovating, or continuously pivoting to explore new opportunities. They capitalize on their current opportunities by focusing on fundamentals. Quality products. On-time deliveries. Customer service and retention. Consistency and efficiency. These are the things that make a business successful long-term.

There aren’t many quotes from Chuck Noll on the internet. As a coach, he wasn’t a motivator, and he wasn’t one for long-winded speeches. He didn’t give many interviews with the media. He let his work speak for itself. 23 years, 209 wins, and 4 Super Bowls later, he quietly rode into the sunset as one of the NFL’s all-time greats.

Bill Belichick

“If you sit back & spend too much time feeling good about what you did in the past, you’re going to come up short next time.”

In case you haven’t heard, the New England Patriots are in the Super Bowl again. This isn’t just the second time in two years. This is the eighth time since 2000, when Bill Belichick became their head coach. This was the 16th time in 18 seasons that the Patriots finished with double-digit wins. This nearly-unparalleled level of success can be attributed the Belichick’s simple, but profound philosophy: “No Days Off.” After winning his fifth title last year, Belichick pointed out that “as great as today is, in all honesty, we’re five weeks behind 30 teams in the league in preparing for the 2017 season.” Belichick wasn’t about to take time reveling in his massive success. He didn’t want to. He was ready to get back to work.

We all need time to rest. However, business owners simply can’t afford as much time as most people. To successfully build a company from the ground up, it takes a type of drive and work ethic that most of your friends might see as crazy. But to you, it may not even seem like work. “I don’t see this as work, this actually beats working,” says Belichick. The old adage goes something like “if you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Of course, even the most passionate of entrepreneurs have those days when running a business feels like a grind of epic proportions. But few would trade it for something else.

Belichick is preparing to coach in a Super Bowl for the eleventh time in his career, his eighth as a head coach. Over the course of his storied tenure, he has never taken his foot off the gas pedal. Most coaches would have retired by now, being satisfied with their millions of dollars and notoriety. But some live for the grind, and wouldn’t be happy doing anything else.


Owning a business isn’t always as clear-cut as coaching a football team. However, just like movies, sports are often a great metaphor for life. There are valuable lessons to be learned, both from playing, and from watching the great ones. For small business owners especially, many of the traits that win out in sports, win out in life. So as you watch on Sunday, don’t merely be a spectator; be a student. There’s plenty to learn out there.

The Value of Small Business

Where did you spend your time growing up? What are your favorite memories of your hometown? For many of you, the answers to these questions will involve a local business. I was fortunate enough to grow up working in a family coffee shop. I saw firsthand the benefits a small business can provide to a community, and they go far beyond your morning cup of coffee. They give your town personality, provide superior service, and make a greater economic impact than chain stores.



Small businesses are often the defining aspect of your community’s identity. Whether it’s the coffee shop where you and your friends meet every weekend, the bookstore where you buy your kids’ Christmas presents, or the thrift store where you design your wardrobe, local businesses create the environment that is your town. They give the community places to gather, they provide goods and services from trusted sources, and they probably gave you your first job. Almost every town has “their spot,” the place to which you immediately refer visitors to show them what your community is all about, and some lucky towns even have more than one. These businesses give their communities life, and occupy an important place in our hearts.


Personalized Service

In a similar vein, there is something special about supporting a business owner that you know. This is even more true when you know you are going to receive personal, sincere service, something that superstores and online outlets just can’t match. The tailor-made service you receive at a local business comes from real relationships forged between the owners and their customers. My parents used to sit down and talk with customers for extended periods of time, showing genuine concern for what was going on in their lives. The relationships they forged with their customers were irreplaceable. While this may violate one of Don Corleone’s most important rules (“It’s not personal. It’s strictly business.”), it ultimately means a better experience and a better product for the people in the community.


Local economic development

For every $100 spent at a local business, an average of $68 stay in your community, compared with $43 out of every $100 from non-local businesses. This local spending includes wages, local supplies and services, and community donations. Additionally, small businesses are likely to be the first job for many of the kids in your community. This gives the added benefit of providing work experience in what is likely to be a friendly environment. I remember working with a lot of my friends from high school at my family coffee shop. In addition to economic benefits from supplies and wages, small business owners are more likely to support local booster clubs and events, providing additional value for the community.


Small businesses and the people who run them are irreplaceable in a community. That’s why America’s SBDC Iowa’s mission is “to support the collaborative economic development of Iowa by providing entrepreneurs and businesses with individual consultation and educational resources necessary to assist their businesses to succeed.” If you need help growing your business, or have a new idea you want to test, let us know. Consultations are free, and we have 15 centers conveniently located throughout the state. Let us help get you off the ground.



Special Thanks: Leah Pitts

For the New Year

With 2017 eyeing the door, and 2018 knocking on it, many people will be taking this time to reflect on their previous year. They will look at what they were proud of, what they could do better, and areas where they will change. They will make resolutions, large resolutions, defining ways they will better themselves in the year to come. They will enter 2018 ready for action, prepared to keep their resolutions, no matter what…

…and ultimately will drop them within a week. Mark Twain put it this way: “New Year’s Day – Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”

As a small business owner, you may feel obligated to change something this year to make yourself more productive, more successful, or just to be able to handle the pressure of running a business better. Perhaps you’ve tried this before. And you may wonder why it hasn’t worked. The answer is fairly simple.

Resolutions are broad, sweeping, changes to habits or character. They are rarely practical, almost never clearly defined, and are not easy to track. You can write them down, but how do you measure how close you are to achieving them? If you want to improve the way you do things in 2018, don’t make resolutions: set goals.

The difference between a resolution and a goal: “Exercise” is a resolution. “I am going to exercise more this year,” said many, many liars over the course of time. It is broad, vague, and altogether too ambitious. “Lose two pounds this week” is a goal. It is clearly defined, easy to keep track of, and manageable. Furthermore, if you accomplish this goal, you can up the ante next week.

A good example that is more applicable to the small business owner: you may resolve to do more with social media this year. However, this leads to an unfocused approach to social media marketing that may very well do more harm than good for your brand. A better approach would be to set a goal. For example, increase Twitter followers by 10% this month. This gives you a clearly defined, trackable goal that then influences your marketing strategy.

The great thing about setting manageable, short-term goals is that they eventually develop habits. As you work to increase your Twitter followers, you’ll find that you develop good marketing habits, like posting every day, responding to customer comments, and sharing content. Overall, I think you’ll find that consistent goal setting is the best way to increase productivity, and build a better business.

IRDC Newsletter Article, Nov. 2017: IRDC Expanding Their Impact

Since 1992, the Iowa Rural Development Council (IRDC) has been engaging partners and assisting small towns.  And there are steps being taken to boost the work of the Council and expand its impact.

The IRDC was created as part of an Executive Order and ensuing Farm Bill in 1992.  It received federal funding for many years and was later housed in the Iowa Department of Economic Development.  But both state and federal funding dissolved and the group has operated informally without paid staff since 2005.

In 2016, the IRDC hosted the first-ever Iowa Rural Summit, bringing together 300 individuals from more than 60 rural communities.  That event sparked a resurgence in interest among rural advocates and convinced IRDC partners, who include federal and state agencies, Regents’ institutions and community colleges, utilities, non-profits and statewide associations, to revitalize the Council’s ability to support rural development.

“This is an organization that has impacted rural Iowa for a quarter century and is positioned now to do more,” said IRDC chair Sandy Ehrig, who runs the Iowa Farm Bureau’s “Renew Rural Iowa” program.  “Our rural summit in Jefferson last year was a big step and the Council is ready to build on that momentum.”

Beginning in 2018, IRDC will develop sponsorship levels open to partners, including for-profit businesses, seeking to support strategies and policies that benefit small towns and rural places.  And that will allow the Council to bring on a paid executive director, former USDA Rural Development state director Bill Menner.

Menner, who served at USDA from 2009-2017, was previously economic development director in Poweshiek County.  He will help the IRDC connect with new partners, resource providers and innovative rural communities who can provide successful case studies for other places.

“Rural Iowa has so much, from engaged residents to committed leaders and forward-thinking businesses,” Menner said.  “But many times they start from scratch when they work to develop new ideas or address community needs.  Instead they could be just looking down the road for direction and I think the IRDC can compile and share those best practices.”

The financial resources created through sponsors and engaged members will position the IRDC to launch new programs that address rural issues, build capacity with small towns, and capitalize on opportunities that exist to enhance the viability of rural communities.

Those opportunities may revolve around issues the IRDC sees as central to rural development, from housing to workforce to broadband to entrepreneurship.

For more information about the Iowa Rural Development Council or the 2018 Iowa Rural Summit, contact Bill Menner at or 641-990-4757.

Iowa Rural Development Council Leadership Team (left to right): Rand Fisher, Iowa Area Development Group; Mark Reinig, Iowa State University CIRAS; Bill Menner, IRDC Executive Director; Sandy Ehrig, Iowa Farm Bureau “Renew Rural Iowa”; Amy Kuhlers, Iowa Economic Development Authority; Jim Thompson, Iowa Economic Development Authority; James Hoelscher, University of Northern Iowa Institute for Decision Making; Gary Taylor, Iowa State University Extension.  Not pictured: Kathy Anderson, ABI; Sue Cosner, Iowa Area Development Group; Dave Duncan, Iowa Telecommunications Alliance; Zachary Mannheimer, McClure Engineering.

BETH MONTPAS TO SPEAK AT FIRST FRIDAY SERIES Owner of Beth Montpas Life Coaching to Present on Dec. 1

GREATER DES MOINES, IA (Nov. 21, 2017) – The Iowa Women’s Business Center and the Greater Des Moines Partnership will host their next First Friday event of 2017 on Dec. 1 at The Greater Des Moines Partnership office. The event will feature Beth Montpas, Owner of Beth Montpas Life Coaching.

The First Friday Series is an opportunity for savvy, successful business owners and entrepreneurs in Greater Des Moines (DSM) to share their stories. The First Friday series gives a chance for attendees to catch some words of wisdom from women who have experienced entrepreneurship first-hand. Past speakers include Katie Byers of HomeDitty, Rachel Eubank or Sticks, Tricia Rivas of Trixie’s Salon and Dream Catcher Foundation, Sue Horton of Central Iowa Compounding, Leng Vong Reiff of Akili Design and Marketing Services, Liz Lidgett of Adore Your Walls and Emma Walsmith of Tikly.

Sessions are free and open to the public from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the first Friday of each month. Locations rotate among The Iowa Center, the Greater Des Moines Partnership and Gravitate Valley Junction. The December event will be held at The Greater Des Moines Partnership, 700 Locust, Ste. 100 in Des Moines.

Beth Montpas is a recognized expert in the fields of sales, business and life coaching. She is seen regularly on the platform speaking at women’s events and conferences, as well as providing one-on-one coaching and mastermind courses for primarily women and women business owners. Born and raised in Iowa, Montpas lives in DSM with her husband Jonathan and three of their combined six kids.

Click here to register for the event or register via email by emailing


About Iowa Center for Economic Success

For more than 25 years, Iowa Center for Economic Success has been committed to empowering Iowans to pursue opportunities for financial success. Whether someone starts their relationship with us through our Education + Resources, Credit + Lending, or Advocacy + Networking programs, our commitment remains the same: empowering them to turn good ideas into strong plans that result in financial success. To learn more, visit:


About the Iowa’s Women’s Business Center (WBC)

Iowa’s WBC, a program of Iowa Center for Economic Success, is dedicated to helping Iowa women business owners as they launch and grow their businesses. The Iowa WBC provides classes, business seminars, networking opportunities, one-on-one coaching, and business counseling for women across the state of Iowa. In 2016, the WBC served over 1,000 clients. Iowa Center for Economic Success’ Women’s Business Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.


About the Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 23 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,000 Regional Business Members and 320 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at






COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER  p: (515) 286-4972  c: (641) 780-7337

700 Locust St., Ste. 100  |  Des Moines, Iowa 50309  |  USA |  Connect with us on social media.

3 Affordable Marketing Methods

Everyone knows marketing is essential for businesses, especially small businesses. Without the help of media exposure that larger firms experience, it can be difficult to spread the word about your business and your service. Also, it often seems that the price you pay isn’t worth the benefits you receive. Furthermore, marketing is a constantly evolving sector of the business world, making it hard to keep up with competitors. What every small business needs is an affordable way to stay relevant in their communities. Below, I will outline three ways you can spread the word about your business without breaking the bank.

Social Media

This is an obvious one. As a matter of fact, most if not all of you reading this now probably implement social media as a marketing channel. But aside from the bare minimum of occasional Facebook posts, how can you use social media to market your business?

  1. Ask for feedback: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all serve as direct lines of communication between you and your customers. Why not take advantage of that to see what they think? A simple “how are we doing?”-type question on one of these platforms lets customers know you’re interested in their opinions, and want to improve their experience as much as possible.
  2. Utilize hashtags: Hashtags help your posts show up in searches on social media sites and in Google. They are especially useful for Twitter and Instagram. Try to use phrases that are commonly searched. These can also be used to start a conversation about your business, or involving your business.
  3. Content, content, content: Jeffrey Hayzlett, former CMO at Kodak, writes in a 2016 article for Fortune that “Developing quality content should be the rule, not the exception, regardless of industry.” For small businesses, this means pictures and videos of your business, customer testimonials, blogging, and above all a consistent online presence. Being active, active, on social media is the easiest way to reach customers of all types in 2017.


In a 2015 article for Entrepreneur, Kabbage CMO Victoria Treyger advises making email a “heavy hitter.” “Not only is it effective,” she says, “it’s also desired. In study after study, consumers regularly say that email is their preferred channel for brand communications.” Emails can be used to inform customers of upcoming sales, new items in stock, or new plans for the businesses future. All of these things help keep your customers engaged.

When emailing customers, make sure your message is clear and concise. Just because people like email marketing doesn’t mean they want to read an essay. Make sure the design is clean, and add something interactive, such as a website or Facebook link. If you are promoting a deal on your website, something like an “Order Now” button would be appropriate.

Consider utilizing a marketing platform such as Campaigner for this tactic. These services are very affordable, and help you design email templates, automate the process, and maximize the effectiveness of your email campaigns. Considering the already heavy burden on small business owners, services such as these can add a lot of value to your marketing. 


Texting is a fast and easy way to reach customers, especially those in their teens and early twenties. In some cases, it can be even more effective than email marketing. Texts are easier to open, and take less time to read, making them an ideal marketing channel for young consumers.

A brief note before I can go on: spam texting can cause problems with the FCC. Minda Zetlin, in an article for, advises business owners to “make sure customers really do want your texts – and you can prove it.” In other words, make sure you have a record of customers who have opted to receive your marketing texts.

One of the biggest keys to successful text message marketing is to offer something of immediate value. KeySplash Creative CEO Susan Gunelius, in a 2012 article for Entrepreneur, advises that since “text messaging is an instantaneous medium, you should include real-time offers. Whether you’re providing information about a sale or a new product, the message should describe the benefits of acting now.” Gunelius also advises users to identify themselves when communicating with customers, to avoid “the spam treatment.”

Remember, marketing your business doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. There are plenty of ways to affordably communicate with consumers. Oftentimes, these are just as effective, even more effective, than other traditional marketing channels, such as radio or print ads. The tactics outlined above would mean more work for the owner, but would go a long way in freeing up capital to compensate employees, expand your business, or improve your products.


For further reading:

Best SMS Marketing Software –


6 Ways to Market Your Business for Less Than $100 – Entrepreneur


101 Small Business Marketing Ideas – The Balance


Cybersecurity, Part I

by Tyler Raymie

Why should a small business need to worry about cybersecurity? Sure, there are hackers and data thieves out there, but they only go after big corporations, right? Some of the numbers regarding the threat to small businesses may surprise you. While you shouldn’t let these statistics paralyze you, or shy away from the competitive advantage technology can provide, you need to be aware of the risks that exist. Let me outline for you why you need cybersecurity, and give you some numbers for perspective.

Organizations are relying more and more on cloud services. While this provides extra convenience, it is also a great target for potential hackers. Additionally, any device connected to the internet can be attacked. reports that “one-third of U.S. consumers experienced a computer virus, hacking incident or other cyber attack in [2016].” Clearly, attackers are more active now that they know the pool of potential victims is growing. Not only that, but they know that businesses are viable targets as well. On October 31 of last year, reported that “64% of companies have experienced web-based attacks.” Unfortunately, the increased convenience and capabilities that come with cloud storage, digital technology, and the like, also bring increased risk in the form of viruses, ransomware, and data breaches.

These attacks can damage your business in any one of a number of ways. The most prominent form of damage among small businesses, however, is financial. A 2015 report by estimated that “the average cost of a data breach…will exceed $150 million by 2020.” Now, this number is inflated by the cost of breaches to major corporations. Still, a recent Poneman Institute study revealed that small businesses (less than 1,000 employees) spent an average of $879,582 recovering from data breaches (between May 2015 and May 2016), because of theft or damage. Also, revenue losses among businesses breached averaged $955,429. This can be absolutely devastating for your business. According to the study, 60% of small businesses who experience these attacks go out of business within six months.

At this point, it may seem obvious that there is a serious threat to small businesses from cyber attackers and data thieves. According to, “43% of cyberattacks target small businesses.” That number is staggering, considering the number of large firms and individuals who could be targeted instead. In a June 2, 2017 article for Business News Daily, Sammi Caramela observed that “The…reason small businesses make such appealing targets is because hackers know these companies are less careful about security.” Most small business owners underestimate the threat to their businesses. As Caramela points out, “small businesses fall into hackers’ cybersecurity ‘sweet spot:’ They have more digital assets to target than an individual consumer has, but less security than a larger enterprise.”

You don’t have to live in fear of a cyberattack on your business. But you shouldn’t be naïve either. Next week, we’ll go over some valuable tools you can use to protect your business.

Also, be sure to get the Cybersecurity Workbook from your SBDC Adviser.