Home

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between CEDR and the SBDC BizCenter?

CEDR is a private organization that provides a variety of economic development services to businesses in Clatsop County, Oregon. CEDR receives funding from public and private organizations in order to provide entrepreneurs and business owners with resources to improve their businesses.

The SBDC BizCenter is funded through the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Oregon Economic & Community Development Department. The purpose of the BizCenter is to help grow Oregon businesses and the Oregon economy. BizCenters use a client-centered approach to deliver counseling, training, information and technical assistance in all aspects of small business management.

Does the SBDC BizCenter charge for its services?

The SBDC BizCenter offers free business advising and very affordable training seminars and workshops.

How can the SBDC BizCenter help my new business?

The SBDC BizCenter offers affordable training seminars on business topics for start-up and pre-venture entrepreneurs. BizCenter training seminars are designed to help broaden your business knowledge and are focused on basics that will help you make your business a success. SBDC BizCenter advisors help entrepreneurs assess their business idea and assist with the creation of a solid business plan at no cost.

How do I set up a free business counseling appointment?

Call the CEDR/SBDC BizCenter office in Seaside at 503.338.2402 or go to http://bizcenter.org/Advice and register as a client. You will be contacted by the staff at the BizCenter closest to you to determine your needs and develop an action plan for your "next steps."

How do I estimate my start up costs?

If you are planning to launch a business venture, it is vitally important to know that you will have enough money to keep it afloat. Every business is different, and has its own specific cash needs at different stages of development, so there is no universal method for estimating startup costs. Some businesses can be started on a shoestring budget, while others may require considerable investment in inventory or equipment.

To determine how much seed money you need to start, you must estimate the costs of doing business for at least the first several months. Some of these expenses will be one-time costs such as the fee for incorporating your business or the price of a sign for your building. Some will be ongoing, such as the cost of utilities, inventory, insurance, etc.

While identifying these costs, decide whether they are essential or optional. A realistic startup budget should only include things that are necessary to start that business. These essential expenses can then be divided into two separate categories: fixed and variable. Fixed expenses include rent, utilities, administrative costs, and insurance costs. Variable expenses include inventory, shipping and packaging costs, sales commissions, and other costs associated with the direct sale of a product or service.

How do I find new customers?

The first step in finding new customers is to specifically determine your target market. It may be broken down by age, gender, socioeconomic status, geographic region or any number of behaviors or lifestyles. Once a target market is identified, you can determine the best strategy for reaching it.

How much should I spend on advertising?

The amount you should spend on advertising will depend on the industry and your type of business. A general guideline is that small business owners should allocate from two to five percent of gross sales but as much as 10 to 15 percent of expected gross sales when launching a new product or service or when competing in the mass market. SBDC BizCenter advisors are available to help you with industry information, delivery vehicles and planning your advertising budget.

How do I grow my business?

The essence of marketing is to understand your customers' needs and develop a plan that surrounds those needs. You can increase growth in four different ways: acquire more customers; persuade each customer to buy more products; persuade each customer to buy more expensive products; persuade each customer to buy more profitable products.

Can the SBDC BizCenter review my legal paperwork?

SBDC BizCenter advisors do not provide legal advice. We encourage you to establish a relationship with an attorney who specializes in business issues to review your legal documents.

How do I find and retain quality employees?

Many small businesses hire individuals they know or those referred to them by friends and family members. To hire specialized employees, small businesses might work with a staffing agency, headhunter organization, online resume database or simply take out an ad in the classifieds.

Retaining employees after hire is very important because of the costs associated with turnover. Employees will stay at their jobs if they are adequately compensated and challenged by their work.

For more information on finding and retaining quality people, contact your local SBDC BizCenter.

How do I keep my existing customers?

The best way to keep customers is to give them quality service at competitive prices. A guideline to keep in mind is the 80/20 rule -- 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customers. It is important to focus marketing efforts on that valuable 20 percent.

Business owners must have a customer service plan in place and train all employees to maintain an excellent standard of service and strive to always meet customer expectations. The product or service should be the same every time.

It is important to remember that doing business with your company should be pleasurable and memorable for the customer. Problems should be taken care of quickly and completely.

My business has been established for some time. How can the SBDC BizCenter Network help me?

SBDC BizCenter advisors help business owners develop strategies, attract customers, increase sales and improve productivity and profitability, all at no cost. Our advisors have extensive, practical experience in varied fields, including marketing, finance, retail and management in addition to academic training in business.

What insurance should I have?

An important aspect of your business is a well-planned insurance program. Types of insurance you should consider are: property insurance, liability insurance, product liability insurance, automobile insurance, workers' compensation, disability insurance, business interruption insurance, health insurance and life insurance.

What legal structure should I choose?

Choosing the legal structure for your business depends on several factors including formation requirements, liability issues, tax and succession-related concerns. Common business entities are sole proprietorships, partnerships, C-corporations, S-corporations or limited liability companies (LLCs). For information on each type of organizational structure, visit the SBA (www.sba.gov) or Oregon's Corporate Division (www.filinginOregon.com). It is best to consult with an accountant and/or attorney to choose the appropriate legal entity for your business.

For more Frequently Asked Questions, see http://bizcenter.org/FAQs.

Register for this