By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – Since mid-June, dozens of Canadian County small businesses have benefitted from no-cost, confidential advice to help them start, grow and succeed.
Emily Beesley is Canadian County’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) business advisor.
With her experience, Beesley helps provide businesses – no matter their size or stage – with the knowledge, tools and resources they need.
Oklahoma SBDC provides aid at no cost to anyone who wants to start a business or needs help improving or expanding their existing business.
The Canadian County SBDC program has an office at Canadian Valley Technology Center, 6505 E Hwy 66 in El Reno.
“My role is to the guide businesses, providing them with resources and information – but not do the work for them,” Beesley said.
“So, if someone needs a business plan, I walk them through the process. But I don’t create the business plan for them.”
Canadian County’s SBDC consortium features CV Tech and Redlands Community College.
“We’re stronger together,” said Angie Lewis, director of CV Tech’s Business & Industry Services. “You’ll see more and more of these partnerships between career techs and the colleges, just because of the scarcity of resources that we have.”
Beesley joined in March and completed an extensive training before starting to see clients about four months ago.
“I have helped with the business start-up process, business planning, financial projections, marketing, and social media,” she said. “Those are the ‘top five’ services that I have consulted with people about the most.”
Beesley is among 27 SBDC business advisors across Oklahoma helping current and prospective business owners with management, financial and technical support.
These advisors have experience in lending, health care administration, corporate management, financial management and analysis, QuickBooks, payroll processing, oil and gas drilling operations, e-commerce, insurance, food safety and quality management, and international trade.
Also, technology commercialization, DOT and trucking logistics, human resource management, rental property management, franchising, government contracting, agribusiness, tourism, marketing, and crisis and emergency incident preparedness.
“We’re there for the ‘life cycle’ of your business,” Beesley explained. “It is for start-ups, but it’s also for expansion.
“Or, if you’re in business and starting a new project, you might need working capital or marketing assistance to execute that project. I am able to help you through some strategic planning.”
MOST BUSINESSES CAN BENEFIT
Most companies will fall into the definition of a small business to receive services through the SBDC.
Depending on the industry, some companies can have up to 1,500 employees or $41.5 million maximum in annual sales.
The business may be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or any other legal form. To request advice, visit www.oksbdc.org.
No matter the size, Canadian County’s SBDC advisor has embraced the chance to work with local small business owners. Beesley enjoys coaching and guiding them along, while holding them accountable to what they’re trying to accomplish.
“A small business owner is one person; they’re wearing a lot of hats and there’s only such much they can do in one day,” she noted.
Beesley has been a small business owner for over a decade, designing and manufacturing home decor.
“I have a heart and passion for it,” she said. “I understand that constant daily hustle, daily grind, all of the tasks and ‘to-do’ lists.
“I can help make people’s dream come true.”
Beesley previously was the Piedmont Chamber of Commerce director and founded an economic development organization in Kansas.
The Canadian County SBDC consortium is primed for expansion with this county being among the five fastest growing in the U.S.
“It used to seem there was a ‘competition’ between community colleges and career techs,” Lewis said. “It shouldn’t be that way.
“We’re going for the same goal, to create a stronger, educated workforce. It’s win-win for economic development and four our communities.”
So much of economic development focuses on business attraction and expansion.
“It’s also about business creation,” said Scott Smith, assistant director of CV Tech’s Business & Industry Services. “We can work hard to take care of those who have that entrepreneurial ‘itch’ here in the area and help them to be the next Dell or Apple.”
Canadian Valley is helping redefine what the career tech school does for small businesses and entrepreneurs through this effort with Oklahoma SBDC, Smith added.
The SBDC program is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
In Oklahoma, a federal grant is matched by the state Department of Commerce and host institutions like CV Tech and Redlands.
Learn more by contacting the Canadian County SBDC at (405) 422-2271 or Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org