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FAQs

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How can the SBDC help me?

The Small Business Development Center program provides no-cost business consulting and guidance as well as low-cost training in proven management fundamentals. This helps small business owners and potential owners make sound decisions for the successful operation of their business. The SBDC is part of a statewide network supported by the Small Business Administration and serves businesses in a five county area through individual, one-on-one, confidential counseling and group training. The Central Virginia SBDC sponsors numerous workshops and courses each year at various locations. Programs are nominally priced to serve the small-business community.

Do I have to be in business to use the services of the SBDC?

No. You only have to be considering the idea of opening a business or researching the feasibility of a proposed profit making venture.

What area does the Central Virginia SBDC serve?

The Central Virginia Small Business Development Center is located in Charlottesville and serves the City of Charlottesville and the counties of: Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Orange and Nelson.

Where are you located?

The Central Virginia Small Business Development Center is located at the Virginia Workforce Center, 2211 Hydraulic Road Suite 107, Charlottesville, VA 22901. Phone (434) 295-8198 to make an appointment.

Is the SBDC connected to SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)?

SCORE is a volunteer organization; Small Business Development Centers have paid staff to meet the needs of aspiring and existing entrepreneurs. Both organizations provide no-fee consultations and both are supported by the Small Business Administration.

What are your hours of operation?

The Central Virginia Small Business Development Center’s normal hours of operation are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday. Of course, you’re able to access our homepage and its resource applications 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Consulting sessions are primarily conducted on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Appointments may be made for other days of the week by special arrangement. To make an appointment, phone 434-295-8198 or e-mail sbdc@cvsbdc.org.

What are the basic skills you need to run a business?

The basic survival skills include a working knowledge of record-keeping; financial management; personnel management; market analysis; break-even analysis; product or service knowledge; federal, state and local tax knowledge; legal structures; and communication skills.

How do I get a business loan?

The kind of financing most entrepreneurs seek through commercial lenders is debt financing. Most banks provide debt financing for existing and start-up businesses. Banks vary substantially in their lending practices. While one bank may decline your loan application, another may be willing to take a higher risk or be interested in lending to small businesses. It is advisable to understand a bank’s lending guidelines before applying for a loan. The general guidelines that would enable a lending officer to at least make an informed decision regarding your loan proposal are as follows:

  1. Consideration of the business idea, usually explained in a business plan
  2. Collateral
  3. Down Payment (or equity in an ongoing business)
  4. Credit history and personal financial net worth
  5. Management ability
  6. Ability to repay the debt
  7. Conditions of the economy and/or market area

We recommend that you come see us to ensure that your loan proposal is complete. We can help you to put your best foot forward when meeting with your proposed lender for the first time.

Why do I need a business plan?

The reasons for writing a business plan are essentially for the benefits you receive in planning your business and later monitoring your progress and also for the benefit of banks and potential investors in your business. Preparing a Business Plan:

  • Prompts you to take an objective, critical and unemotional look at your business project and helps to determine how workable and desirable your venture is.
  • Helps you create a clear vision of your goals and objectives.
  • Provides insight into your ability to define and develop strategies for critical areas of the business such as marketing and financial planning that are imperative to your success.
  • You can use the business plan to troubleshoot and avoid costly mistakes.
  • It can provide you with a pathway to profit.
  • It is required if you are planning on applying for a bank loan (particularly as a start-up).
  • It is an important sales tool for raising capital from outside investors.
  • It’s an important management tool for monitoring the growth of your business and developing managerial skills.
  • It serves as a tool for critiquing the success of your business and making any necessary changes during critical stages of your business.
  • Planning is the most important step in starting your business. If you don’t plan for the success of your business, you will fail. It’s that simple.

How long will it take to write a business plan?

A well thought-out business plan generally takes anywhere from a few weeks to a year to complete, but it can be less depending on how committed you are to the business, and how much time you are willing to spend on writing your plan. The SBDC consultant will not write a business plan for you, but will review your plan as it progresses. The writing of the plan is an educational process in which you learn about your business and how you expect it to operate. It should reflect your goals, objectives, priorities and management style.

Are there any “grants” available for my start-up business?

Generally speaking, grants given to for-profit business start-ups are very, very rare.

Does the SBDC provide financing?

The Central Virginia SBDC does not provide financing. We help you to develop a winning loan or investment proposal to take to a lender/investor. We can also assist you in choosing the best financing alternatives for your business needs. We have helped our clients gain access to millions of dollars of capital over the years. Perhaps we can help you too.

What kind of registration and licenses are generally required to start my business?

Obviously, there are specific requirements in each state, county and locality, but it is possible to list the kinds of basic licenses and registrations a new business will need:

  • Local: A business license from city, town or county, depending on your location, will usually be necessary. In addition, you’ll have to meet zoning laws (especially if home-based), building codes, and similar regulations.
  • State: In most states, if your business isn’t a corporation and your full name isn’t in the name of the business, you’ll have to register under what’s called a Fictitious Name Registration. You should also file for a Sales and Use tax number if in retail. In some lines of business (like liquor stores, barber shops, real estate offices) specific licenses are needed.
  • Federal: You may need an Employer’s Identification Number (EIN). Even if you do not have employees, it may be beneficial to have a tax ID number for your business so you won’t have to use your social security number to transact business. It’s also a good idea to request the “Going Into Business Tax Kit, from the IRS.”

Contact Information

2211 Hydraulic Road, Charlottesville, VA 22901
Phone: 434-295-8198 | Fax: 434-979-4123 | Email: sbdc@cvsbdc.org
Business Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm

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