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A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Nicholas Giraldo, WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz market researcher
“What can small business owners do to grow their business during an economic downturn?” Carl, Gillette
Bloomberg News recently declared Wyoming in recession. Wyoming legislators are grappling with shortfalls.
In uncertain financial times, small business owners offer the best hope. Small businesses drive economic growth. They create jobs, deliver vital goods and services, generate sales tax revenue, and contribute to the unique character and livability of neighborhoods. None of that changes during an economic downturn. However, in tight economic times, small business owners need all the resources and assistance they can get.
The National League of Cities released a report in 2010, outlining policies to promote small business growth. Here are some highlights:
Business fundamentals -- The League of Cities found small businesses fail when business owners lack certain management and business skills, such as general management training, financial advising and assistance with formulating a business plan.
Bottom line -- Resources that help small businesses with these fundamentals lay the groundwork for economic growth.
Access to capital -- Raising capital for startup costs, operating expenses and expansion financing helps small businesses succeed, but qualifying for financing can be a high hurdle.
Bottom line -- Loan assistance programs or alternative loan programs encourage small business growth.
Expand your marketing -- A lack of marketing resources and specialized marketing knowledge also contributed to small business failure.
Bottom line -- Resources like “shop local” campaigns and specialized marketing programs can be used to introduce small businesses to new markets and can aid small business growth.
Supportive culture -- The League of Cities found communities with a supportive business culture have higher levels of small business growth. For example, some cities create regional technology councils or forge partnerships between local government and private businesses.
Bottom line -- Does your community support a strong entrepreneurial culture?
So, where can Wyoming small businesses turn during a downturn? Local Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) often provide the best resources for small business owners, according to the League of Cities.
The Wyoming SBDC helps with business fundamentals, access to capital and expanding your market. Other resources include the Wyoming Business Council and its business resource network, which consists of about a dozen agencies. Those agencies have additional resources to help small businesses grow even in a struggling economy.
Visit www.wyen.biz to learn more about the Wyoming SBDC and the network of business resources available to Wyoming small businesses.
A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments are available at http://wyen.biz/blog1/.
The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email email@example.com, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.