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One of the many reasons that Beaumont is a great place to live and work is the resources available to businesses. Entrepreneurs can take advantage of all that the Lamar University Small Business Development Center has to offer.

“The Small Business Administration has identified that small business is the backbone of an economy and the data strongly suggested that businesses that start with assistance from a Small Business Development Center typically stay in business longer,” said Dave Mulcahy, director of the Lamar University Small Business Development Center.

Lamar University hosts the Small Business Development Center and has done so for more than 25 years as part of a grant from the SBA and the state of Texas.

A Community Resource

Although the role of the Small Business Development Center is broad, it assists with business plan development, financial projects, loan proposals and business training. It goes deeper; after Hurricane Harvey the Small Business Development Center helped to deploy around 4,000 disaster loans and hosted an Small Business Administration Business and Disaster Recovery Center.

The Small Business Development Center offers a range of services, which help businesses large and small, as well as both start-ups and firmly established enterprises.

“There are many reasons why individuals come to our center, but the main reason they should come is to explore the what-ifs, the hows and the whys,” Mulcahy said.

The Small Business Development Center guides clients through doing intensive research. For start-ups those questions often revolve around pricing and market conditions. Some of the questions the Small Business Development Center helps their clients find answers to include:

  • How many customers will I have to serve per day to meet my financial obligations?
  • What does my pricing model need to look like to meet those obligations?
  • How do I show a profit that I can use to service any debt that I may have incurred?
  • How do I know if there is room for me and my concept in the local market or should I look at other markets?

For established businesses, the questions may be different, but are equally important to thriving and growing. For example, businesses may have brisk sales, but no profit. The Small Business Development Center may be able to help the business owner understand why. It’s also important for established businesses to know the worth of their business. The Small Business Development Center may be able to help them identify a value range, as well as to see how key performance indicators may affect that range.

Have the basics covered first

“A common misconception is that the Small Business Development Center will help a start-up find a grant. First, there are no grants that I have found, over 25 years, that will help a start-up,” Mulcahy said.

Before you begin a business, you need to make sure that your credit score is acceptable, that you have a good concept, knowledge or experience in the industry and that you’ve got some savings or collateral to get started. Once those things are in place, the Small Business Development Center has a variety of resources, including workshops and seminars, programs for learning to sell products and services to government agencies, internationally, and other specialty programs and a comprehensive business library.