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Elevating Small Business in the Bay Area

Empowering Small Businesses in the East Bay: The Solano Napa SBDC's Journey of Support and Success

AI wrote this blog post based on an AI-generated transcript from the podcast, which contains errors; for the best content, listen to the podcast.

In the heart of the greater East Bay area, the Solano Napa Small Business Development Center (SBDC), led by Tim Murrill, stands as a testament to the robust support system available to entrepreneurs and small business owners. This remarkable network is dedicated to fostering small business success, offering services from entrepreneurial ideation to overcoming growth hurdles, including training and advisory services in critical areas such as marketing, capital acquisition, HR support, and employee retention.

Tim Murrill's journey from a high-flying career at FedEx to entrepreneurship and eventually to leading the Solano Napa SBDC is not just inspiring but reflective of the depth of experience he brings to the center. His venture into predictive analytics for retail locations, culminating in a successful exit, showcases the rigors and rewards of entrepreneurship and the challenges and triumphs of small business ownership.

The SBDC's commitment to empowering businesses is further evident in its innovative offerings, such as roundtable groups and mastermind sessions. These platforms facilitate peer learning and collective wisdom, enabling entrepreneurs to navigate the complex landscape of small business management effectively. Moreover, Murrill's dedication to community service shines through the SBDC's partnerships with local governments, colleges, and economic development entities, enhancing its reach and impact and ensuring that small businesses have the resources and support they need to thrive.

A recurring theme is the challenge of securing startup capital and managing growth. The SBDC's approach, emphasizing meticulous business planning and strategic advice, provides a beacon for entrepreneurs grappling with these hurdles. Murrill's insights into funding options and growth strategies offer valuable guidance for businesses at various stages of their journey.

Murrill's parting message is a powerful call to action for small business owners to seek out resources and support systems like the SBDC. His emphasis on the transformative impact of advisory services on business longevity and success is a compelling reminder of the value of collaboration and guidance in the entrepreneurial journey.

The Solano Napa SBDC, under Tim Murrill's leadership, embodies the spirit of service, innovation, and community. Its efforts to support small business success in the East Bay area highlight the vital role such organizations play in fostering economic growth and resilience. Entrepreneurs and small business owners in Solano and Napa counties have access to a valuable resource ready to help them navigate the challenges and seize the opportunities of the business world.

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BELOW IS AN AI-GENERATED TRANSCRIPT OF THE PODCAST it has not been checked for errors.

Jared: All right. Welcome to today's episode of the capstone conversation, where we are looking at exciting things that are happening in the greater East Bay area today. I am joined by Tim Murrill of the Solano Napa SBDC.

Jared: Tim, why don't you go ahead and tell us what is the SBDC? What does the organization do? And then tell us a little bit about your background.

Tim: Sure, Jared. Thank you very much for inviting me to be part of this. So the SBDC, it's short for Small Business Development Center. And actually, there are about 1000 of us around the country, the United States usually divided up by county. So in my case, my center serves and supports small businesses in Solano and Napa counties. And I guess the shortest definition I could give is that the SBDC is here to support the success of small businesses. Sometimes that can be someone, an entrepreneur, that has a good idea that they want to turn into a business. Other times, and this is probably the majority of where we do our work, it's with small businesses that are trying to get to the next level or are trying to overcome some obstacles. And I don't know of a small business owner who isn't trying to do that.

Tim: Basically, the way we deliver our services is in a couple of ways. We provide a lot of training for small businesses. We do between probably six and eight live trainings every month covering a number of topics pertinent to a small business, everything from marketing and how to go get clients to maybe needing some capital to help fund your growth or get you to the next level.

Tim: HR-related support is significant too, as the state of California tends to have lots of laws and lots of new laws regarding employment. So we help folks through some of those challenges and then, other issues that are very relevant right now. Like, how do I get and keep good people?

Tim: It's someone any of the small businesses that we work with. That's probably in the top 2 issues that they're dealing with right now in this environment. So anyway, so that's a little bit of what we do. To talk about my background, yeah, dive into it. I love your story.

Tim: You're an entrepreneur. You work for big companies along the way, and I think it tells a good story of how you're helping small businesses and your perspective. You, but so I was with FedEx for 16 years. That was my first, you know, real professional job. I guess I would say and was started in customer service for them.

Tim: And then I went over into the sales and marketing area. FedEx was an awesome company to be with especially during the time I was there because of the growth curve that I saw you know, let's go through and just a really strong culture there. And so my last position with FedEx was the managing director of global sales.

Tim: And so I had about 300 salespeople, about a billion dollars of revenue responsibility, and all that was great. I learned a ton. I was proud to be with them. But it was a job that also had me on the road most of the time. I was away from home about three weeks out of every month for the last few years.

Tim: And I decided that wasn't the best thing for my life and my family. I have four kids and a wife at home. And so that that'll be I'm going to have to make a change. So, so I left there actually got recruited, did some things in electronic commerce with a technology company. And then I decided it was time to take some of my.

Tim: You know, things I've learned in, in those experiences and start my own company. So along with a couple of partners started a company called prediction analytics, and we developed what today, we would call them AI models at the time. You know, we just call them predictive models to help.

Tim: National chains retail chains and just retailers to figure out when, when they wanted to grow in a certain region of the country, we would help them identify the demographics, the psychographic patterns of their best. Performing locations, and then we would go find where those new locations should be that they should open up new, you know, new spots.

Tim: And so we were very, very accurate. And the sales forecasting that we did, we would be plus or minus 5 percent of going out about 3 years, which is really important. If you if you're about ready to write a check for a couple million dollars for a property and build something you want to know that you know, you're gonna get a return.

Tim: So it was really fun and exciting work. We built that company over. Well, we had it for about 4 years. I'll tell you how

 to end it in a moment. But along the way, I mean, we really built a great solution, a great team. We brought in McDonald's, Applebee's. The gap stores, Cracker Barrel number, a number of other restaurants and retailers along the way.

Tim: And the, actually, the demographic data that we used was from Experian Corporation. Most of us know them as the credit score people, but they're a huge data provider. And so anyway, Experian got very interested in how we were using that data to do the work that we did.

Tim: And long story short, they made us one of those offers you couldn't refuse. And so we sold. So that was just a wonderful journey to go from kind of an okay idea. What, what kind of solution do we need to provide? Build the team, grow it, and sell it all packaged up in about 4, 4.5 years. Now I told you the rosy side of that story. The other side of that story was that and in my career, that was the most difficult thing I had ever done. Career-wise. I had no idea. I figured that coming into this new business that I would know most of what I needed to know.

Tim: And I found out that I only knew about a fraction, a small fraction of what I needed to know. Because in my other jobs, like at FedEx, I mean, you know, I just had to run the sales and marketing piece. I didn't have to worry about, you know, things like funding and product development and finance and HR issues and things like that. I found out very quickly that there's a lot you need to know. And you know, it's the old saying that it's lonely at the top is very, very true. And I found that out firsthand. And so anyway, with that. Yeah. When I sold the business, I decided, you know, what, what am I going to do now?

Tim: I, well, I retired. And as it turns out, I retired for about two weeks. And then I sort of, I started, I was going to be doing some consulting and I stumbled one day on the SBDC office that at the time they were hosted by Solano Community College. And just kind of was walking my dog on the campus one day.

Tim: And I saw this SBDC. So I stopped in and talked with the director at the time. And you know, what do you guys do? And well, we, you know, we provide these services to our businesses and we don't charge anything for it. So you don't charge anything for this. Really? Where were you when I needed you?

Tim: I would have been all over this resource when I had my company. But anyway, I just love the concept. I mean, because we are a nonprofit, we get funding from the SBA, from the state of California, and from all of our cities that are in our counties. They all support us so that we can deliver those services at no cost.

Tim: And I just love that concept. And I said, All right, I'm in. I'll be an advisor and do this. And it was finally, even though, trust me, it was not a lot of money that wasn't the point. It was finally an opportunity for me to serve our community and help contribute to our economy and also that I wanted to spend the rest of my career helping small business owners because now I knew and I understood how challenging it was.

Tim: And that really is what got me into it. And then I did that and some other consulting and then a couple of years later the SBDCs, by the way, have hosts. So it was hosted by the college. And then that changed to the Workforce Development Board of Solano County. And they somehow got connected with me and said, Hey, we're hosting, would you be interested in being the director?

Tim: And I'm like, if I needed a full-time gig again, but yes, I believe in what we're doing. So I took that on and that was about five years ago. I have loved it. And so anyway, I just when we started, the SBDC here had been dormant for a couple of years and so I'm like, okay, where are we starting from?

Tim: We had about well, I remember the number. We had 89 active clients that we were working with at the time. And we had like, you know, I think we had five advisors and two of them weren't working out. So we had three advisors then. And so I'm like, we. You know, we had to get the word out. I mean, this is a great resource.

Tim: We got to build this thing. So I just really, you know, put a plan together to

 focus on that and brought in some additional funding to allow us to grow the center and the support that we provided. And so you know, here we are 5 years later, we have about 2100 active small businesses that we're working with now.

Tim: And we have a team of 30 business advisors that worked, you know, one on one with these clients and you know, just have built a, you know, just a great team. And I am so happy about that. I just, you know, the how it's come together and, you know, we have been really blessed and that allows us to.

Tim: You know, just serve this community you know, as well as we can. And we're not done yet. We're, we're still doing lots of, lots of work and lots of new, new things ahead. And I could talk about some of that later if you want. But anyway, I'm sorry. That's a very long answer to your question, but that's, that's how I got here.

Jared: No, but that's a great story. And it also talks a little bit more about what you do and, and some of the challenges you did highlight for small businesses. You know, I'm a, I'm a one person shop and sometimes you just need to ask a question like. Hey, I have three clients that are paying me this month on, you know, within a week of me sending them an invoice, this company over here, there there's 60 days past due.

Jared: This one's 15 days past due. Okay. I'm not concerned about 15 days past due. I'm concerned about the one that's 60 days past due. How do I follow that up? What's the proper way? How can I speed them along next month? So it's not always 60 days. So they get into a cycle. You know, those are all questions or California.

Jared: Tax fees or how do I judge? Like, what is my return if I go to this networking event, right? I go to a lot of the local chambers their state of the city events that they host because it's good to be seen to meet the local politicians be seen in each community, but they add up. And as a solo entrepreneur that impacts, you know, my take home pay.

Jared: And those are all just questions that it's good to talk to somebody about. And so one of the things that I actually picked up from a previous introduction with you is, is a mastermind and I'm a big believer in accountability partners. And masterminds and so I know you, you have that as part of your coaching service.

Jared: Can you talk about that a little bit more?

Tim: Yeah, that's a great point. And I love those examples you gave Jared that, you know, like cashflow management, huge piece of this marketing. And, you know, there's, there's always like more opportunities. There, you know, you, we're just deluged with Hey, you know, you need to do this social media thing, or you need to come to these 12 events.

Tim: It's like, Wait a minute. I have so much time and so much money for marketing. What's really, what is, how do I be really smart and purposeful about how I, you know, how I spend both my time and money? And yes, a really cool part of what of the programming that we've added is what we call round table groups and we have actually 6 of them going currently.

Tim: And when we're getting requests for more as this grows, but what it is, is a group of usually between 10 and 15 small business owners that meet once a month for a couple of hours facilitated by one of our advisors. And you know, we go through, we do a little bit of best practice, you know, sharing or maybe some training or you know, programs that are available or grants or things like that at the beginning of it.

Tim: But then we get into the meat of it, which is talking about. You know, some of the wins and challenges that each, each small business has. And, and that opportunity as you referenced Jared to ask a question about, you know, like a client that's not paying. And you know, we don't, gosh, we don't have all the answers, but around that table.

Tim: Right the chances are that you've got someone that's that's had that same exact challenge and what they did. And you know, it's just that collective wisdom around the table to be able to get answers and help and. Sometimes encouragement too, right? Because again, it's, it's, this is tough, man. This the small business ownership stuff, it's a, it

's definitely an up and down situation.

Tim: So it, it, you know, it also kind of provides that, but I, but I think the, you know, the greatest value of it is, is just that you know, that, you know what'd you call it? Mind. Mastermind. Mastermind. Yeah. You call it a roundtable. Same, same concept. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. It's just, you know, there's a, there's a saying, someone smarter than I said none of us are as smart as all of us.

Tim: And that, that really comes true and you know, in these roundtables. So, yeah, that's that's something we, we will continue to, to, to provide and, and to grow. It's the, the. Official name Mastermind or the concept comes from the famous book by Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich, because he took that from the rich people like Andrew Carnegie and J.

Tim: P. Morgan, who always had a mastermind group to run, like, is this deal good, right? Yeah. And it's, I think it's growing out there for people and it could be for small businesses, but it could also be for employees who work for small businesses that want to get to the next level too and do that. You, you also mentioned in I want to I want to come to one issue because I know it also affects city government that you had mentioned is keeping in retaining employees and finding the talent.

Jared: Can you talk a little bit about what you're seeing out there for small businesses? Why is it still happening? We're post COVID now long enough.

Tim: Yeah, yeah, there is definitely this is a very tight labor market for sure. And, and if you just look at the demographics, the population demographics unfortunately, this is going to be.

Tim: With us for a very long time, because for quite a while now, there's been more people passing away than there have been new babies born and it and it, you know, those lines of crossing. Right? And so talent supply is a challenge. And I would just say that. That's how well a company does in this small business does in this area of attracting and retaining talent, I believe, is is the probably the biggest differentiator.

Tim: The small business can have if your business requires people right now, if you're sole proprietor, that's not to worry about that. But but if you want to grow and you know that that's part of your strategy, and you want This is something you, you know, you really do have to get right. If you want to maximize your potential to growth.

Tim: Right. And I just, so we're really starting. And I mentioned at the outset that 1 of the things we're doing was is. most of our time is actually with existing businesses. And this is an area, you know, helping our small business owners to do better at that to create a very positive culture where people want to come and they want to stay.

Tim: Is is really important. Like one of the things we're just we're gonna be offering this year in 2024. And I can't remember if we, if we talked about this earlier, Jared or not, but this program from the Gallup organization called Clifton strengths. And basically what that is, is a talent assessment tool that, you know, you answer some questions and it provides a report and gives you, it really will pinpoint.

Tim: What you are naturally good at. In fact, what's your natural naturally best at? What are your talents? And and they're all you know, all of us are unique, right? We have a different talent DNA if you will And so that helps to sort of understand what those things are. We all have you know, some ideas For sure of of what we do well, and we probably get feedback from other people, but it's still not as clear, maybe or a complete as we would like it.

Tim: And so this assessment provides that. And so, anyway, we're, I actually. Took the time last year to go through about a three month certification process to become a Gallup certified strengths coach. And now I'm training a couple of our advisors to help, you know to, to do that work as well. And so anyway, we're, that's what we're providing the, you know, the, the opportunity for individuals, whether you're a sole prop to just take this assessment and then do a coaching session to, to really talk about how do we, how do you really leverage what, you know, make the most of what you.

Tim: You know, what you have, you know, I, I, the, the tagline I, I think of is you know, the Capital One commercial, it says, you know

, what's in your wallet, what's in your wallet. That's what this is, right? It's knowing what's in your wallet and, and leveraging those and, you know, really maximizing you know, what those are.

Tim: Well, that's one way because what happens is if, if, if, if you know what, what your You know, talents are then you could spend more of your time using those and less time on those things that you're not great at that. You bang your head up against the wall and get frustrated with. It's like, no, let's find someone else to do that.

Tim: That stuff. If we can write, let's figure out how to minimize. You know, those spending time and effort on those things and, and then maximizing those things that, you know, that are my superpowers. And you know, so it helps a business owner, but it also helps if they have a team. It helps you understand how to how to, you know, fully maximize those employees and you know, what roles and what projects do you give them?

Tim: Because for 2 things, number 1, you're going to have better results, right? Revenue and profit growth. Chances are, if you do that, well, are going to be better. But, but the other piece is. If someone uses their strengths, they're going to be more engaged. More engaged means they like what they're doing, and they're not going to be spending time looking for other jobs, right?

Tim: Because they're happy. So it's a very practical thing, but it, but it's a very important thing, especially right now. We I just recorded an episode of the premiere before this, so listeners could hear it back on January 17th when we're talking about goal setting and that guest referenced that employers just often fail to realize that in addition to a little bit of money for employees, they want growth opportunities, right?

Tim: That lead to more money, but they want to have it. Most people want continued education, they want to network in their field and that companies aren't providing that, or, and for little perks like that, if you go above and beyond, you're going to retain people, and they don't realize retaining that worker will end up saving them more money than they would spend on any of the programs.

Tim: Just what you're saying reminds me of that, what that speaker said. That is absolutely true.

Tim: It's kind of a hidden cost, but if you, you know, I think the data shows that depending on the type of role that it's, you know, it costs, and your other speaker may have, you know, talked about this, but You know, it basically, it can cost up to a, a, you know, the cost of a, of a year's salary, sometimes, depending on the role, because of the time it takes to recruit, to train, and get that person up to speed by the time they're really humming along and producing something.

Tim: You know, it takes it takes a very long lot of, a lot of time, not to mention all the institutional knowledge that walked out the door. Right. That when that person goes, that you'll, you may never get back. So, yeah, this is kind of like one of those. I guess one of the what you would call a soft thing that really is a hard thing, you know, most people, you know, a lot of business are like, oh, yeah, well, then I'll pay them and they'll work for me.

Tim: And, you know, they'll do what I say. And it's like, no, you know, that that environment has changed. It's not like that anymore. It used to be people were lining up to fill out applications to get jobs. And you know, that it's, it's, it's really not like that. You, you, you know, the, the role that it's, it's a, it's definitely a what would I call it?

Tim: A employee center. Yeah, it's an employee, you bet. The employees are the ones that yeah, have, have more power right now. And so anyway, that I absolutely agree with that. And it just. It's, it's a super important area to focus on. Well, and I know we're talking about it in context of small business, but I know a lot of the, the government related people who are listening, put it in perspective to your hiring needs, whether it's police officers or other talent in your teams, what we're talking about here.

Jared: I think it relates. I do want to pivot a minute though, and talk about. Your partnerships. Talk about your partnerships with the community college still that exists. And talk about

 partnerships with any other local government agencies, too.

Tim: Yeah, great question. That's been a real key. Those partnerships to, to, you know, us kind of building back up our local SBDC Center. So 1 of the things we did early on was was formed back back to the. The roundtable concept, I formed a roundtable with every economic development leader in, in our county and every, chamber of Commerce president just to bring them together to talk about what was needed.

Tim: You know, what, what, what do you, what are you hearing? I did. We didn't want to build this program in a vacuum. We wanted to understand, you know, where, if we were going to put on training programs, what, you know, what would be most helpful for, for their areas. And so that for that beginning of.

Tim: You know, just that process really has led to Really good partnership that if. You know, when we, when we do programs, or we're administering a grant program or something, man, these are, these folks are, are just awesome at, you know, getting the word out right to their network. And that's a big part of this is, you know, you know, you need that local you know, city by city, avenue to get the word out about about different programs. So, yeah, I mean, it's constant. And so, and then the other piece of that is that every city in this county contributes financially to our center every year. And that allows us to do what we do. I mean. You know, going from 89 clients to 2000 that costs some money to provide that kind of support.

Tim: So that's been pivotal. And so they, you know, they provided, you know, that piece, but a lot of different things you talked about that you asked about the college. We've, we've gone in and worked with the thing with like their cosmetology department you know, cosmology, something whenever, you know, you normally think of, but most of these folks going through their cosmetology.

Tim: Okay. Cosmetology program at the end of it. Many of them want to open up their own shops. Or maybe they're just going to rent space, but they don't know anything about how to manage the finances or what kind of licenses you know, in whatever city they're going to be in that, you know, do they need or insurance or how do you get clients and stuff?

Tim: So, so, like, we, we come in and do a program there to talk about the running, how to run the. Okay. The business part of cosmetology. That's been a really good thing. We've also, there's a child care certificate program through the college and we've, we've done the same thing with anyone that wants to open up a child care area.

Tim: And then with the county, it's been a great relationship. On a number of projects the 1 of the large funding acts that was enacted by Congress through the pandemic was called ARPA. It's the American rescue plan act. And that provided you know, lots of funding that came through the counties, our county, Solano county specific.

Tim: Well, Solano and Napa county actually. They both used a pretty good portion of those funds to support our small businesses because they knew how tough the pandemic was on them with the closures and, you know, all the people, all the you know, protect personal protective equipment that folks had to have.

Tim: It was a very difficult time to run a small business. And anyway, they, so they provided quite a bit of funding for us to to provide extra services and also do provide a number of grants that we administered to help folks to stay afloat during the pandemic especially those that had to close the door, especially the personal services related businesses who struggled the most.

Tim: So, yeah, that's some examples, but that, it. It has been a really good partnership you know, environment with with our cities and county. So. Let's talk about budget. You're government funded. You supply your services for free, which is great. The governor has announced in January that the state is 37, 39 billion short this year and has to cut money.

Jared: I know the city of Benicia Is going through a March tax measure and they're looking at if it doesn't pass, they're going to have to cut several staff positions that that are essential positions that they're just. Can't afford anymore. Vallejo questionable if they go through another bankruptcy, how does that affect your funding?

Jared: Didn't mean to scare you if I did. But you got, you're providing great services to the community. So how does all of that impact your organization?

Tim: No

, that's a great point, Jared. I there's something that keeps me up at night. Right now, that's it because, you know, starting with California, which is we get about 30 percent of the funding, you know, that we need from them yeah, it's it, it, you know, the, the tide's turning in this state, and then the other piece is the funding we get from the SBA is actually closely tied to the population.

Tim: Well, what's happening in our state? Lots of folks moving out. So, so that funding is going down. So, and I absolutely the, the that is, is caused us to, you know, we, while most of our, all of our advising right now is, is no cost. I, I always say, No costs instead of free because it's really it might be free, but it's free to them, but it's not free right, we have to we have to pay our advisors and our staff to do what they do, but We are and have been working on Some some programs for some of our larger businesses By the way, the definition of a small business from the SBA is up to 500 employees.

Tim: So Some people think of the SBDC, if they do know about us, as being like the people that help startups or, you know, really small companies are just sole prop, you know, proprietors. That's not true. We, we work with several larger businesses as well. And. So we're, we actually have and are putting together more programs, the that we are going to charge for now.

Tim: It's probably gonna be less than what you're going to get in the open market, but it's still is going to be high value and, is that that funding that we get from charging for some of those services is going to go in the pot to help us continue to to provide the level of service we've been providing.

Tim: So, for example, going back to that I was talking about the clip and strengths assessment. We're going to charge for those assessments and that in that coaching. And it's not a lot. It's like going to be 99, you know, 100 bucks to do that. Probably the best 100 bucks. These business owners will make all all year.

Tim: To be honest with you. And then beyond that, if they have a team, we'll, we'll come in and do Either, you know, provide those those assessments for the entire organization and specifically work with the leaders, right? The key pivot point in a company, if you have employees and managers, is that manager role, right?

Tim: That that person is what makes the difference of whether someone is engaged and you know, productive and, you know, you retain them. And so so much we can do, you know, around. That so anyway, that's just 1 example of something. The another thing we're going to provide is there's something called the entrepreneurial operating system.

Tim: And it is a, it is a system. It's it's kind of based on a, on a book that was written maybe. I don't know, 15 years ago called traction. It's a, it's a, and it lays out an awesome process for a business. That's usually it's between 20 and 150 employees. And it's very helpful, especially for a business that's grown really rapidly over the last few years, maybe.

Tim: It's like, how do you keep track of what everyone's doing? Are we all on the same page? Are we all marching to the same drumbeat and going the same direction? And, and how do we make sure that that happens? And everyone knows what their role is on, on this bus, right? And so anyway, there's a whole process there.

Tim: And that's something that that we know is, is super valuable. That we're going to be offering in the second half of this year. Again, that'll be something we, we charge for, and that'll help supplement you know, some of our funding. Right. And I want to hopefully I won't keep you up at night now worrying about all of that, but I want to pivot to another type of funding, a startup, whether the startup is a tech startup, but particularly I think in the retail space for restaurants storefronts, their, their biggest cost is upfront.

Jared: Right. It's the buying. If you're a restaurant, you're buying tables, you're buying kitchen supplies, you're buying ovens forks, right? You don't have to buy forks every six months. You have to buy some food. You have ongoing costs, but it says upfront costs that take a lot to start a business. What advice do you have for those small businesses who are looking for that initial


Jared: How do they get it? And how do they manage that long term with that upfront cost? You don't have cash flow yet.

Tim: Yeah, absolutely. Jared. Yeah, that's pretty typical. You know, requests that we that we get you know, I have an idea. How do I make that work? And you know, the 1st thing we, we, we do with someone that comes to us with that is, is to really sit down and, help them assist them with developing a business plan. You know, a business plan is just that basic road map that says, okay, you're going to start a restaurant. Where are you guys? Where are you going to start it? You know, what, what area who are you going to serve? How much you're going to charge?

Tim: What are the, what are all the startup costs and really put together a pro forma of how much you need up front. And then, you know, what your, what your cost flow needs to be. And, you know, a growth plan for your staff and equipment and all of, you know, that whole thing. So that's a big part of what we do is, is, you know, kind of get them started with that so that they know what they're getting into as well.

Tim: Right? Like, here's, you know, here's what's going to happen. It's not just a magical. You're going to go lease a building, put a sign up front and. Hire a few people and it just all works. You know, it's it's never easy. It's always harder than you think. So, so we try to do some, some planning and some realism.

Tim: But specifically to your question about the, about the startup capital we'll walk them through various options. There's so many different factors that we look at, you know, starting with things like your credit score and, and, and what is your previous experience. If you want to open a restaurant, Have you had experience managing in a restaurant?

Tim: Because you know, the bankers are going to want to know that, you know, What you're doing, right? They're betting on you is the is the horse, right? And so, we have to look at those things and then determine depending on what, what they, how much capital they need, what their experience is, credit score, all those variables who what, what financial institutions would be a, you know, a fit, or, or maybe we determine your, Okay.

Tim: You may not be fundable through through a bank. So, you know, you you may need to tap into friends and family. You may need to tap into, you know, your house. If you know, if you own it, you have equity in your house. You know, we'll just basically lay out the various options, but it's. You know, there's, there's no 2 startup situations that are the same, you know, they're all different.

Tim: And so we, that's, that's the work that our advisors do to, to really understand, you know, who they are, what they bring to the table, what they're trying to do and help them navigate a plan. Not only to get started, but also just to have that relationship to be with them through the journey as they grow and as they encounter challenges or what have you there, you know, a lot of people do ask.

Tim: I have to say this. If we get a lot of requests, you know, with all the especially through the pandemic, there's been so many different grant programs out there. Unfortunately, those grant programs. Almost I would say 99. 9 percent of them are for existing businesses. There aren't grants typically for startups.

Tim: I can only think of, like, maybe 2 over the last 4 years that you had and they weren't very large. But yeah, you, you kind of got to have, you have to do it the old fashioned way. And I wish there were more grants for that for startups, but that's just not how it's worked out.

Jared: Tim, anything else that our guests should know that I haven't asked?

Tim: No, I, I don't think so. This has been fun. I guess I would just encourage them that if, if they if you're a client of the SBDC, you're listening to this, I want to say thank you for trusting us and giving us a chance to help you. And if you're, if you're not I seriously encourage you to to check us out.

Tim: You know, you can go to in our case, go to Solano, Napa, sbdc. org. That's where you can go. And when you get

 to the home page, you click on a little button that says you know, apply to be a client and you'll answer a few questions and that will take you through the process of becoming a client.

Tim: And then, you know, you can get an advisor assigned to you. You know, take advantage of that. It's available to you. And you know, the statistics say that this is beneficial. Yeah, we probably have most of us have heard of of the data that says that only about 50 percent of small businesses make it past 5 years.

Tim: That's I hate that. That's statistic. I want to change that. We want to improve that. But the other piece of data that we should know is that businesses that work with an advisor or business coach, you know, that gets help. Maybe they're part of a mastermind group or what have you. That that will increase their chances of getting past five years by 50 percent.

Tim: 50 percent, right? That's a big number. And so I encourage you, whether you reach out to the SBDC, or you have a business coach, whatever, you don't have to have all the answers. Right. Again, none of us are as smart as all of us. So I encourage you to do that. I know I don't. I, like I said, when I had my business after even being responsible for a billion dollars a year at FedEx, Oh, my gosh, I needed help.

Tim: I, like I said, I would have been all over this resource. And so I encourage anyone that's, you know, feels like that would be, you know, helpful to, to reach out to us. Thank you very much, Jared. We'll put the link to your website in the show notes, as well as I'll try to gather up some of the other of your counterparts in the other counties in the greater East Bay.

Jared: So we can link to those too. And I want to end with a quote that you said early on in the beginning. And I wrote it down. You're here to support the success of small businesses. And you really told a good story about that today. So really appreciate all the work you do in the community shows you where tax dollars are going for good purposes to help our businesses grow and, and just your service in the community.

Jared: So thank you, Tim, for joining us.

Tim: It's my pleasure, Jared. Thank you.

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