Advice For All Aspects
No matter what stage of development your business is in, access to capital is critical to your success and your survival. You will discuss both traditional and non-traditional funding options with your CTSBDC Business Advisor and will then connect you to lenders, angel investors, private equity, venture capital investors.
CTSBDC advisors will help you:
Review and refine your business pitch and supporting materials
Strategize the best terms for your investment
Prepare financials and supporting loan documentation
Developing Your Business Plan
Creating a business plan is the essential first step to getting your business off the ground. It is also a valuable roadmap as you seek to grow your business. Our advisors will aid you in crafting and refining your business plan or you may use our Business Plan Template. SBDC advisors leverage our proprietary tools to help our clients fully understand their markets.
There are a few aspects to consider when creating your business plan:
Who is your target audience?
How will you reach your audience?
Have you identified funding opportunities?
What is the market need for your product or service?
GrowthWheel: By signing up for no-cost advising with CTSBDC, you will have access to GrowthWheel's unique set of visual tools. Working with you business advisor, you can perform cash flow analysis, determine market feasibility, strengthen your sales process, and identify key stakeholders to your business. Contact an advisor today to get started.
Small businesses are statistically more likely to be targeted by cyber scams. Cyberattacks can target many aspects of your business so it is critical small business owners have a cybersecurity plan in place. CTSBDC advisors are able to help small business owners in a variety of areas, including
Establishing a cybersecurity plan
Assessing the need for cybersecurity insurance
Connect with cybersecurity experts for further guidance
This video from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can help you identify areas of cybersecurity that you should think about.
Analyzing Your Business Financials
Analyzing your bottom line will help you better manage your business and understand the key influences on your profit. As a CTSBDC client, we will discuss your financial strengths and weaknesses so you have the data to make effective decisions.
If you find yourself asking any of these questions, CTSBDC may be able to help:
Should I expand/limit my product offering?
What are my funding options to start a business?
What are the considerations I need to make in order to ensure a secure financial future?
How can I best manage my cash flow?
Taking your business international
You've created a successful business here in Connecticut and now you're ready to take it global. Trying to determine which geographic market to target? Strategizing about how to prepare for this operational extension? Need help securing the funds?
Connecticut Small Business Development Center has advisors who are certified global business professionals and can help you start exporting or reach new markets with your products. Our advisors can help whether you are new to exporting, expanding into new foreign markets, or importing.
If you are new to exporting, please check out our Import Starter Guide and our Export Readiness Assessment.
Euromonitor International: By signing up to receive one-on-one advising from CTSBDC, you will gain access to this international research tool that connects your goals with global opportunities. Research analysts around the world leverage knowledge of the local market, fluency in the local language and access to the best sources to bring you truly global research.
Connecticut Small Business Development Center works with our clients to help develop a complete marketing and sales strategy to drive more effective customer acquisition. CTSBDC business advisors work directly with you to better understand your goals and ensure your marketing efforts are aligned to strategically execute those goals. We work with you to create a strategy that ensures you're targeting the right people, with relevant content that appeals to them. This will include clear guidelines, division of roles, competitive position, understanding of customers, and sufficient allocation of resources-and in turn it builds a better business.
CTSBDC may help you evaluate:
Branding strategy: A well-defined and executed brand strategy leads to a consistent brand message, a strong emotional connection with customers, and higher brand equity. Is this in-line with your target audience?
Digital marketing: Your company’s framework for success. Are you utilizing digital platforms effectively? CTSBDC can help you build the right foundation, attract more traffic, generate more leads and grow your business.
E-commerce strategy: If your business is an online store which is selling products or services, you might be interested in helpful advice on how to reach more customers using E-commerce strategy. A strategy is a summary of how your store is planning to achieve its goals and improve its position in the market. This might include Google Ad Words, social media advertising, viral videos, influencers marketing, SEO, emails, coupons, blogs, data analysis and automation.
CTSBDC will guide you how to take a data-driven look at your industry peers and will help you develop a business plan that takes this information into account. Through working with your CTSBDC advisor, you will create an operational workflow which will help navigate strategic business decisions.
CTSBDC uses a number of tools to help small businesses including:
IBIS World: This cutting-edge tool provides industry research and specialized reporting to help you expand your business
IndustriusCFO: Get industry benchmarks to help you make strategic decisions
Esri Business Analyst Online: Providing location-based data, this powerful tool can help you identify new opportunities
Connecticut Small Business Development Center connects small businesses with resources to help reach their goals. CTSBDC can connect you with local economic and government officials and other technical resources within the small business community.
Those resources include our network of partners:
UConn Family Business Center
CT Department of Economic and Community Development
CT Department of Revenue Services
CT Department of Labor
CT Department of Consumer Protection
CT Secretary of State
Chambers of Commerce
Accelerators, Incubators, Maker Spaces, and Shared Work Spaces
Protecting your intellectual property as you start or expand your business in domestic and international markets may be critical to your business' future success. Connecticut Small Business Development Center can help you identify the type of protection best suited for you and how to obtain this protection. The CTSBDC will serve as an introduction to IP and introduce steps in developing an effective IP strategy. We can help you determine:
Why having an IP strategy is crucial & should be included in initial business plan to ensure alignment with a company’s short- and long-term business objectives.
What are patents and why they are important to protect ideas and inventions.
Discover how Federally Registered Trademarks protect words, symbols designs & slogans that are used to identify source of goods or services.
How copyrights are so vital for the protection of most valued creative works.
The importance of using a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) prior to meeting with manufacturers, investors, or buyers to protect a company’s proprietary information.
There are many valuable resources available to learn more about intellectual property protection, including:
United States Patent and Trademark Office: CTSBDC Business Advisors will work with you to prepare your patent application
Innovation and Technology Resources
The Connecticut Small Business Development Center links private enterprise, government, higher education, and local economic development organizations to provide high-quality training, confidential consulting, and market and industry research to Connecticut’s small businesses. CTSBDC provides specialized services to researchers, entrepreneurs and firms by assisting them to identify, develop, and commercialize their technologies. This includes individuals and firms engaged in engineering, biosciences, information technology, agriculture, and similar high tech areas whether it involves research and development or the innovation of existing technology to be applied in new ways. One-on-one counseling (at no cost to the client) is available to science and engineering oriented companies engaged in research and development, technology transfer, technology licensing and development, as well as companies seeking to pursue SBIR/STTR or other government contracts.
How can CTSBDC help you prepare for SBIR/STTR?
Receive personalized guidance on application and submission
Connect with our network of technology professionals to leverage their expertise
Access post-award resources for continued funding and grant management
For most, starting a business is unchartered territory. Let us help you go from concept to reality. By working with your dedicated CTSBDC Business Advisor, you will have access to expert knowledge and resources. In the last year, we helped over 150 businesses launch into a successful future. Our dedicated team of pre-venture business advisors can help you:
Identify the legal and tax considerations for conducting business in Connecticut
Determine the financial and market feasibility of your idea
Understand the Federal, state, and local requirements – paperwork and more
Prepare your business for securing financing
Meeting the Needs
Small Business Owners
Connecticut Small Business Development Center has a team of 19 Business Advisors with expertise covering a variety of topics including small business lending, entrepreneurship, technology innovation, exporting, market strategy, and more. These advisors are organized as teams dedicated to focusing on four key areas – assisting clients in the pre-venture stage, with capital access, with customer acquisition, and with operations and processes.
We are here to help. Reach out us today to get started with your no-cost, confidential advising plan.