Downsized with an idea? Free program could help

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is currently scheduling free one-on-one sessions with those currently doing business in New Castle County, or those interested in starting a business due to downsizing.

Qualified business counselors will meet with individual business owners (and new start-ups due to downsizing) on Wednesday, March 9 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the Blue Ball Barn, 1914 West Park Drive in Wilmington, or between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., on Thursday, March 10 at the University of Delaware Technology Park, One Innovation Way in Newark.

The one-hour sessions are free of charge.

“During this time of corporate downsizing,” said Bill Pfaff, D]director of the SBDC in Southern Delaware, “It’s never been more critical to address the resiliency issues that we see taking place in New Castle County.  “With DuPont downsizing and potential changes ahead for AstraZeneca, Johnson Controls and Capital One, now is the perfect time to reassess business strategy and the demographics of your customer base.” Businesses also need to prepare for weather impacts such as flooding, cybersecurity, loss of key personnel and changes in clientele.

Pfaff gave examples large and small:  Restaurants and caterers who depend on sales from downsized corporations may need to look elsewhere for new clients, as will drycleaners whose customers previously laundered business attire.  Changing weather patterns and the potential for flooding, as well as cybersecurity protection and insurances should be evaluated.

“We will help businesses identify and then get prepared for the changes in our business environment,” Pfaff said.  Information to be covered includes:

  • Assessing the resiliency of the business from downsizing, cybersecurity, weather-preparedness or staffing issues. Businesses  will receive afree Disaster Protection and Recovery Planning Toolkits.
  • Reevaluating current and future customer demographics
  • Solving a cash crisis by getting organized, setting priorities and critical business activities
  • Getting a handle on accounting processes and accounts receivables
  • Evaluating price increases and costs savings including possible reduction in staffing
  • Negotiating with creditors
  • Reducing inventory
  • Ensuring the business portrays a positive image
  • Reassessing the current marketing strategy to meet future needs

 “Whether you are concerned about the future of your business, or you are facing the dreaded pink slip,” Pfaff said, “There’s no better time to take a look at ways to stave off a potential downturn by planning for tomorrow now.”

To register for the free one-on-one sessions, contact the SBDC at 302-856-1555 or email Amy Tootle at stootle@udel.edu.  Space is limited.

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