Pivoting Today for Opportunities Tomorrow Advice for Small Businesses during COVID-19

As locally, nationally and globally, people are utilizing practices such as physical distancing and staying in place, many small businesses are being disrupted. Whether it be because of industry shutdowns, employee inability to work, lack of access to customers, cancelled events and travel restrictions, supply chain interruptions, cash flow shortages or a variety of other factors, the way that small businesses do business has already undergone rapid changes and changes are certain to continue. For many, this means short-term or long-term pivoting in their business model to survive and to thrive moving into the future.

Here are 10 questions to help small business owners and their support teams think through options for change:

    1. What parts of your business model do you need to let go of for now?  
    2. What parts can you retain by making adjustments or being flexible? 
    3. How do you see your industry changing and what challenges and opportunities do those changes create locally, nationally or globally?
    4. What parts of your business model might you let go of permanently as your industry or your capacity changes?
    5. With what you are able and want to retain, is there new value that you can bring to your customers as their needs and wants are also changing?
    6. Are you able to identify needs and wants that you previously had not considered addressing but that you have – or could develop – the capacity to address?
    7. If you let go of particular parts of your business model, which of your needs go away?
    8. As you pivot your business model, what new needs do you pick up?
    9. Can you partner with other businesses – or take advantage of changes in other industries – to provide services and complete jobs that need to be done within your businesses and for your customers?
    10. What resources are available to assist you, ranging from financial assistance to advisory support to tools and online platforms for you to use?

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly every part of the small business community is thinking about what do we do now to get through this, for how long and what does the future hold?  In such times, it is vital to try to be proactive, analyzing and addressing not only challenges but also opportunities, to mitigate risks and to engage in hope for tomorrow’s successes.

For more resources to navigate during COVID-19, visit: www.iowasbdc.org/covid-19

 

About America’s SBDC Iowa & the Author

Dr. Laurie Pieper is Amercia’s SBDC Iowa Tech Director. She leads the Rural Iowa Development Initiative and works with clients and resource partners around the state to develop opportunities for the successful commercialization of business technologies, products and services. Originally trained as an analytical philosopher, she has a Ph.D. from UCLA and has held faculty appointments at University of Oregon and Kansas State University.  Dr. Pieper was a business owner for many years and enjoys using her background in education and in entrepreneurship to help small businesses set and reach their goals.

America’s SBDC Iowa is an outreach program of Iowa State University’s Ivy College of Business and the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations. Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, America’s SBDC Iowa has 15 regional assistance centers located strategically across the state. Since program inception in 1981, the SBDC has helped Iowa businesses and entrepreneurs through no fee, confidential, customized, professional business counseling and practical, affordable training workshops. 

For more information on America’s SBDC Iowa programs or services, call (515) 294-2030 or visit www.iowasbdc.org, https://www.facebook.com/AmericasSBDCIowa, or @IowaSBDC on Instagram and Twitter.

 

Director Spotlight: Todd Rausch, Veteran SBDC Advisor

In recognition of National Veterans Small Business Week, we interviewed Todd Rausch, to ask him about his experience as a veteran working for America’s SBDC Iowa. Todd is the Regional Director for the Western Iowa Tech SBDC.

“What inspired you to serve in the military and what exactly did you do/achieve over the course of your military service?”

“I was going into my junior year of college and was broke. The recruiter offered me $5,000 (which was a lot of money back then) to join in combat arms. I chose tanks. My first unit was a Cavalry Squadron patrolling the Iron Curtain. This was the Cold War and seeing communism up close and personal made me realize the importance of freedom. I served 7 years of active duty as an Enlisted Reaching NCO. I went to Kansas State University, and served in the Kansas State ROTC and was commissioned as an Armor Officer and spent 4 years in the Kansas Guard and 4 years in the Iowa Guard.”

“What made you want to become an SBDC director?”

“I was a business owner and adjunct business instructor when a colleague let me know a position had opened at Western Iowa Tech Community College that would suit me. I did not know about the SBDC at the time. I did some research and found out how awesome the SBDC is and the rest is history.”

“How many other veterans have you helped with starting their own businesses?”

“We have helped many veterans start their business, but also assisted in expanding or improving their business. Veterans by nature are risk-takers and go-getters. We are driven to succeed and do well with developing and executing plans. Veterans also understand the value of free enterprise and the amazing opportunities we have here in the United States.”

“What’s the most rewarding part about being an SBDC Director?”

“The most rewarding part of being an SBDC Director is helping people achieve their dreams! That is what we do whether they are starting up, expanding, or doing succession planning. It is part of the American dream.”

To read more about Todd’s time working with Veteran business owners, here’s a link to his article “The Gift of the Power to Choose”:

https://www.facebook.com/750441038399729/videos/the-gift-of-the-power-to-choose-as-i-write-this-it-is-small-business-week-and-we/317996422227596/

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

Impact

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

 

Testimonials

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

Iowa City Entrepreneurs are SBDC Award Winners

Contacts:
Tricia Janes, Iowa SBDC, (515) 294-5595, triciaj@iastate.edu
Paul Heath, University of Iowa SBDC, (319) 335-3742, heath@uiowa.edu

Iowa City, Iowa– The Iowa Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is pleased to announce that David Schwindt, owner of L8NT, Iowa City, is the winner of the SBDC’s Business of the Month Award.

Paul Heath, regional director of the University of Iowa’s SBDC, Iowa City, says the following about David, “He is an innovative entrepreneur who is an Iowa City police officer by day and a developer by night. He has developed a process for finding stolen cell phones, laptops, game consoles- any wi-fi enabled device.”

Schwindt’s software is designed to run “behind the scenes” on computer systems already installed in squad cars to detect signals of stolen devices within a few hundred feet away. “It’ll pop up on the screen notifying (officers) what the device is, what agency entered it, any notes on the case, and it’ll open up a Google Maps system where it will start plotting pins on the map.”

Due to Cloud technology, each department running the L8NT software has access to the database of known stolen items. Johnson Country Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek remarks, “Somebody could come here from Washington, D.C. that has a stolen device and all of a sudden we’ll see that it’s popping up in small town Iowa.”

The Iowa SBDC Business of the Month Award will be presented to David Schwindt in Iowa City by SBDC Regional Director Paul Heath. For more information on L8NT, visit their website at https://www.latentwireless.com.

The Iowa Small Business Development Center program is an outreach program of Iowa State University’s College of Business. Partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the organization has 15 regional assistance centers located strategically across the state. Since program inception in 1981, the Center has helped hundreds of thousands of Iowa businesses and entrepreneurs through no cost, confidential, customized, professional business counseling and practical, affordable training.

For more information on Iowa Small Business Development Center programs or services, call (515) 294-2030 or visit www.iowasbdc.org.

AMERICA’S SBDC IOWA ANNOUNCES NEW REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR ITS AMES CENTER Brian Tapp is the new regional director for the Iowa State University SBDC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

8/17/17

AMERICA’S SBDC IOWA ANNOUNCES NEW REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR ITS AMES CENTER Brian Tapp is the new regional director for the Iowa State University SBDC

AMES, Iowa – America’s SBDC Iowa (SBDC) is pleased to announce that Brian Tapp is the new Regional Director for the Iowa State University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Ames. He started his new position on August 1, 2017.

Tapp will be advising and training entrepreneurs and existing business owners in Boone, Marshall, and Story counties.

“America’s SBDC Iowa is pleased to add Brian Tapp to our team of knowledgeable, experienced, and professional business advisors,” says SBDC State Director Lisa Shimkat. “Brian has considerable business and counseling experience and will provide excellent service to the region’s clients and promoting economic growth in Central Iowa.”

Brian has a wealth of experience in economic development. Previously he worked at The Bank of Missouri as an SBA Loan Officer and Southeast Missouri State University focusing on the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Most recently he was in a shared position with the SBDC and the Value‐Added Agriculture program at Iowa State University.

America’s SBDC Iowa is an outreach program of Iowa State University’s College of Business and the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations. Iowa State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability, or status as a U.S. veteran. Inquiries regarding non‐discrimination policies may be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity, 3410 Beardshear Hall, 515 Morrill Road, Ames, Iowa 50011, Tel. 515‐294‐7612, email eooffice@iastate.edu.

Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, America’s SBDC Iowa has 15 regional assistance centers located strategically across the state. Since program inception in 1981, the SBDC has helped Iowa businesses and entrepreneurs through no fee, confidential, customized, professional business counseling and practical, affordable training workshops.

For more information on America’s SBDC Iowa programs or services, call (515) 294‐2030 or visit www.iowasbdc.org, https://www.facebook.com/AmericasSBDCIowa, or https://twitter.com/IowaSBDC.

Press Contacts:
Tricia Janes, America’s SBDC Iowa, 515‐294‐2030, triciaj@iastate.edu