If you are starting a small business or in need of help to make an existing business grow, you should contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Locally on Long Island, there is an SBDC in Farmingdale with outreach locations in Brookville and Hempstead. There is also a center in StonyBrook with satellite offices in Great River and Calverton.
The SBDC is administered by the State University of New York (locations are usually campus-based) and funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and New York State. While the SBDC emphasizes counseling and training services to women, veterans, minorities and those with special needs, its programs and one-on-one counseling services are available to everyone.
All SBDCs offer free counseling by professional business advisors. Services range from answering startup and business structure questions to assisting with business plans, cash flow projections, marketing plans, and loan information.
Upcoming training courses at the Farmingdale center range from Business Basics ($15), How to Write a Business Plan ($15) to a 5-part series on setting up, navigating and tricky transactions for a Quickbooks account ($40 each or $150 for the entire series). I’m planning on attending the Quickbooks series, so if you’d like to meet me, sign up!
The StonyBrook center is offering a free 5-series Contract Readiness Program and an OSHA Construction Safety course ($30).
The Farmingdale center also offers two free publications, Business Basics and A Business Plan Guide through the website.
If you are not located on Long Island, there are SBDCs located throughout New York and the rest of the United States.