By Jeremy Field and Doug Covey for the Idaho Business Review
September 1, 2020
Resilience has always been a pillar of small business and entrepreneurial prosperity, but these past few months have demonstrated that a company’s ability to adapt is critical to not only its success but its survival.
As businesses grapple with the challenges brought on by significant social and economic changes and hardships, most company leaders will need to rethink and strategize how their businesses operate to navigate these new norms. Creating a pivot plan is the first step in regaining a sense of control in an otherwise unpredictable time.
Facing these challenges and deciding on the best course of action may feel like a
daunting task to small business owners. With the responsibility of both keeping their businesses afloat and meeting the needs of their clients and employees, they may feel overwhelmed or simply do not know how to begin the process of transitioning their business.
The U.S. Small Business Administration and the Idaho Small Business Development Center want one message to ring clear for small businesses and entrepreneurs: you are not alone.
The SBDC network is the largest resource partner funded by the SBA and provides one-on-one business advising at no cost to entrepreneurs. Whether it’s creating a resiliency plan, navigating options for financing, reworking a marketing plan or establishing new operations systems, SBDC certified advisers walk business owners through all of their options so they can make well-informed decisions, especially when it comes to pivoting.
SBA and SBDC professionals advise small businesses to reevaluate these three fundamental questions within their model when deciding on effective pivot strategies:
- Value proposition: What value do you deliver with your service or products?
- Value networks: How do you deliver and monetize your service or products?
- Target customers: Who receives and benefits from what you provide?
SBDC advisers are actively helping Idaho businesses answer these three questions to create a custom pivot plan through their no-cost consulting service. More than 3,000 small businesses have already used and benefited from the professional advising offered by the Idaho SBDC since March.
In addition to strategic support, Idaho small businesses have been approved for more than $3.3 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans, SBA COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and EIDL Advances, thanks in part to help from SBDC advisers.
Working together with local partners, SBA staff and SBDC advisers educated small businesses about financing programs available to them, and they continue to guide businesses through the PPP forgiveness process and SBA Debt Relief programs, among other Coronavirus business support.
With additional funding from the CARES Act, the SBA provided the Idaho SBDC with monetary resources used to quickly increase capacity to help Idaho small businesses by hiring more staff and deploying assistance to Idaho companies.
These resources helped small businesses like Slant 3D in Nampa, a 3-D printer farm, pivot production to assist with the fight against COVID-19. It produced needed masks as well as devices that allowed for doors to open with elbows.
Shift Boutique in Boise is another recipient of these resources, and it is now able to serve its clients by offering virtual styling appointments. Bikes and Beans in Boise was also able to successfully pivot after working with the Idaho SBDC and implemented online ordering and pickup through its mobile van.
COVID-19 is not the first obstacle small businesses have had to face, and it will surely not be the last. But even through times of uncertainty, one constant is the SBA and the Idaho SBDC’s dedication to empowering small businesses and providing assistance through every stage of their lifecycle, just as we’ve done for decades.
Jeremy Field is the regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration Pacific Northwest Region, which serves Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. The SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small businesses with resources to start, grow, expand or recover.
Doug Covey is the state director of the Idaho Small Business Development Center, an SBA-funded Resource Partner. The SBDC network provides management and technical assistance to help Americans start, run and grow their own businesses.
See the article on the Idaho Business Review’s website here.