Strategies for Small Business Support Organizations to Meet Rising Demand For Their Services
In response to the economic impact of the COVID19 pandemic, small business support organizations such as SBDC's, MEP Centers, Chambers of Commerce, Workforce Development Boards, community colleges, trade schools, and incubators are stepping up their efforts to serve local businesses. Their work is critical to economic recovery in communities across the country. Below are strategies that organizations can take to meet the rising demand for their services in this new market environment.
Growing the capacity to provide core services that have been in place for some time may be the simplest strategy for meeting growing demand. This could be accomplished through the hiring of new people, repurposing of current staff, or using collaboration software or client management software to make current resources more efficient.
No single organization will be able to meet the demand for services in the community. Partnerships offer the best opportunity for helping as many businesses as possible. Small business support organizations should consider partnering with peers, government entities, and for-profit service providers (marketing, accounting, etc) to create referral networks and service models that get the most out of resources available in communities. Funders will expect this.
Offer New Services
Small business support organizations can provide support in a variety of ways:
- Sharing of information
- Group sessions for clients with common challenges
- Facilitating peer networks
- One-on-one consulting
- Connecting to other resources
This new environment may require new methods of delivery, for example more group sesssions to enable more efficient delivery of services. Organizations should consider adding new approaches to complement their core services.
Secure New Funding
Funding will be available for small businesses support organizations from government entities and philanthropic organizations. Organizations must submit strong proposals that demonstrate effective service modes, collaboration with partners, and strong systems for reporting and accountability.
Implement a Model for Client Selection
Small business support organizations cannot help everyone that inquires. For one, they may not have the expertise that is requested by an organization. In these cases, the best that they can do is to refer clients to other organizations. In other cases, the opportunity for the business to survive may be low. Given their limited resources and their mission to deliver impact in the community, an organization's ability pick the right clients to support will be key to having the most impact.
Cureo Will Improve Your Capacity to upport Small Businesses by 2-3X
Cureo’s innovative collaboration platform is a great tool for small business support organizations:
- Makes it easier to collaborate with colleagues, peers, and partner organizations in the provision of services, the development of grant proposals, and in the selection businesses to support.
- Gives staff members more capacity to manage one-on-one consulting work through better coordination, communication, and oversight.
- Enables your organization to be the facilitator of peer networks.
- Provides visibility into the organization's activities across different clients, to help with reporting to funders and enabling learning and continuous improvement within the organization.
Powerful: Tools include discussion groups, file sharing, shared calendars, task management, activity tracking, and many more.
Fast: Teams can start collaborating in minutes.
Affordable: FREE subscriptions are available with unlimited users and up to 3 channels and 2 admins. Paid subscriptions are typically $100-$200/month.
Easy: Most team members can collaborate using only their email account. No software to learn, no downloads or installs. It does not add load to your IT staff. Full support is available in free and paid accounts.
Flexible: Channels and admins can be easily added as circumstances change.