How to Start a Business Using the Kansas Small Business Development Center
2 Dec 2022
Starting and maintaining a business can feel overwhelming like you’re trying to find your way in the dark with nothing but a great idea and an empty survival pack. But you really don’t have to go it alone. The Kansas Small Business Development Center (KSSBDC) is an excellent resource for marketing, employee management, accounting, startup, strategic planning, and funding options. For the Junction City–Geary County region, the Small Business Development Center at Washburn University KSSBDC/WU is located in the Junction City Chamber of Commerce where you will meet Nadia Arbelo, Assistant Director of the NE Region for business assistance.
Nadia believes that supporting lifelong learning-by-doing develops the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit in every individual. “I am most excited about meeting clients right where they are and the networking opportunities that are created to help businesses grow and succeed,” said Arbelo.
“For example, when we have a client who is looking to start a business, we assist them from the start, helping them to develop a business plan, financial projections, and their marketing, and where to find funding options,” said Arbelo. “Funding is, of course, top of mind. Within KSSBDC, we have Capital Access which gets our clients fully prepared to go to a lender. My colleague, who is a former banker within Capital Access, Alan Eichelberger, and I assess the client’s fiscal soundness, and from that information, we work to create a package for lenders.”
An application package includes documents such as tax returns, LLC, EIN information, resumes, and the client’s business plan along with their financial projections. After a pre-flight conversation with the client we can reach out to appropriate members of our network of lending institutions with a call to introduce the package and explain why the business is fundable and bankable,” said Arbelo. “Our goal is to help our clients get the opportunity for funding. We like to start local, then regional, and if necessary we can reach out nationally.”
KSSBDC also assists with prototype development, manufacturing, and trademark or patent research. “I think what we can do for businesses technology-wise is often underutilized,” said Arbelo. “There are so many people who don't know all that we can do.”
Arbelo explained the ideal time to reach out to KSSBDC. “We like to see clients who are past the ideation stage where they're actually looking to start the business. And that start could be three to six months down the road, but they're looking to work on the business plan and the financials. They're at the stage where we can offer mentoring, and they're looking to take advantage of the many webinars, which is another underutilized resource I would like people to be aware of.”
However, Arbelo knows where entrepreneurs can find help to progress from the idea stage to action. “The webinars on the KSSBDC website are a fantastic place to start. We also encourage people to go and speak with other entrepreneurs. Most entrepreneurs are open to discussions, and they know how difficult and challenging it can be. These mentors help people still in that ideation stage of develop and can help them move along.”
Assistance is just a phone call or zoom meeting away. With the first call to KSSBDC, business owners are asked to sign up for services. “Most of my clients are excited because I send them away with actions to take,” said Arbelo. “I provide them with a business plan template and show them how to utilize it. We provide marketing information, and financial forecasting. Each step along the way we try to be there for our clients.”
Arbelo said in 2020, KSSBDS helped 28,251 businesses and created or sustained 32,537 jobs which amounted to about $823.3 million of capital infusion in the state of Kansas. “We have a 93.2 percent average satisfaction rate from the clients we survey.”
“The Junction City-Geary County Economic Development Commission is very proud to work with the KSSBDC,” said Mickey Dean, JC-GCEDC Director. “Their support provides us with additional tools to help develop our local small business and entrepreneurial startups. Nadia has such a passion for helping people, and it is indeed a pleasure to work with her and her team.”
“The teamwork, and support KSSBDC gets from the Junction City-Geary County Economic Development Commission is priceless,” said Arbelo. “Its not often you get full collaboration and mutual feelings of community spirit and service.”
Arbelo emphasized that KSSBDC services are not just for startups. “We help businesses grow or scale up, exit and transition. We cover the full gamut of business tools, such as hiring practices, etc. The SBDC network is the most comprehensive small business assistance in the United States. We work to help existing businesses and aspiring Kansas business owners to really achieve their goals, especially in really complex areas, be it local, regional, and even in a global marketplace.”
“The most exciting aspects of my daily job are networking and meeting clients, meeting them right where they are and knowing I'm going to be able to see some really good results for them,” said Arbelo. She believes her role, in cooperation with affiliate organizations and community resources, is to encourage and support small businesses, to put ideas into practice that fulfill individual dreams, and especially lift underserved urban and rural communities. “I'm the biggest cheerleader and the biggest fan of all of my clients. I’m with them all the way through their business process and after.”
Junction City-Geary County Economic Development Commission Can Assist
For more direction or help connecting with resources, reach out to JC-GCEDC today. The region is growing, the economy is booming, and there is room for additional businesses to expand here. Our strategic location, paired with skilled labor and an actively pro-business climate, are assets for any company, but especially for our target industries. Explore our full array of tools for site selectors here and contact us at 785-762-1976 or firstname.lastname@example.org.