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Counseling Services

The Alameda County Small Business Development Center (ACSBDC) offers long-term, in-depth, no cost counseling for existing businesses and certain start-ups with the potential for above average job creation, revenue and profit growth and, new business development ideas which could stimulate economic development in Alameda County and beyond.

The performance of the ACSBDC is measured by the total economic impact of its clients. The specific criteria we are measured against include: increased revenue and profit, business loans received, equity investment or other capital raised, new jobs created, business plans completed and successful starts of normal business operations. Therefore, potential clients need to demonstrate the ability to achieve significant economic impact through the assistance and support of the ACSBDC business advisors and staff.

Request "free" one-on-one Counseling

 

How much does it Cost?

It is FREE! One-on-one counseling services are free of charge to the business owner. The sponsors of the Alameda County SBDC cover all of the costs associated with counseling services.

 

Who Qualifies?

Normally, clients should have been in business for more than one (1) year, have at least 5 employees, be profitable (cash flow positive) and able to grow sales and profits with ACSBDC assistance. Our clients could also include entrepreneurs, typically with experience in the industry in which they intend to start a business and the financial resources to get a new business up and running.

 

What if I don’t Qualify?

Potential clients who are more in the beginning (or ideation stage) should contact East Bay SCORE, www.eastbayscore.org (the Alameda/Contra Costa/Solano counties chapter of Service Corps of Retired Executives), for a meeting with one of their 40 counselors. People in need of improved credit scores (typically FICO scores less than 640) should seek assistance from Operation Hope, www.operationhope.org, which has credit counseling programs. Please see the More Local Resources section of the website that lists other resource partners in Alameda County for additional information.

In addition, ACSBDC offers a broad spectrum of Business Seminars in cities and towns across Alameda County and the Tri-Valley which are open to all attendees. ACSBDC strongly encourages entrepreneurs to take advantage of its Seminar Series before seeking one-on-one counseling services. 

 

How do I Request Services?

Please use the convenient Online Request for Services Form and complete the simple questionnaire. Someone from ACSBDC will contact you within 5 to 7 business days to discuss your situation. In addition, you can call Alameda County SBDC at 510-208-0410 for assistance in the signup process.
 


Counseling Fields

The Alameda County SBDC has business advisors who specialize in the following fields:

Business Plans
Instruction in creating business plans, as well as ongoing review, helps clients create a road map for a successful business. An effective business plan includes company history, demographics, operations, administration, financial, products/services, economic considerations and marketing sections. Clients learn to compare actual business results against projections on a regular basis to gain the business plan's full value.

Capital Sourcing
Knowledge relating to obtaining capital from private or institutional sources aids business owners in finding appropriate funding and helps clients assess their qualifications to obtain loans.

E-Commerce/Internet Marketing
Learn how to effectively utilize the internet to market products, sell to customers and then provide superior after-sales service and support.

Procurement
The ACSBDC offers information to assist small businesses through the procedures of selling to government agencies. Learn what is necessary to qualify and bid on government contracts.

Product Pricing
Review of the product pricing, product mix and gross margin contribution can assist business owners in focusing on their most profitable products to enhance their sales figures.

Marketing/Advertising/Public Relations
Creation of a cohesive marketing plan and knowledge of marketing techniques can lead to improvement and expansion of sales. Learn to promote your business using various media, advertising, and public relations techniques.

Restaurant Operations
Expertise in food services areas such as menus, equipment and pricing will aid the restaurant owner in a highly competitive field.

Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights & New Product Development
Information relating to intellectual property helps a business protect products, logos and business names with trademarks, copyrights and patents. New product development gives clients ways to transform their ideas into marketable products.

Human Resources
Experience and knowledge relating to the organization, recruitment and delegation of responsibility to employees will improve day-to-day business operations.

Business Start-Up/Home-Based Businesses
Start-up business ventures profit from information relating to the sound business practices necessary to begin a business, as well as such necessities as license and permit requirements.

Retail
Learn how to utilize merchandising techniques to target certain demographics and employ in-store marketing programs to support seasonal and promotional changes.

Supply Chain Management
Supply Chain Management (SCM) is the efficient movement of raw materials and finished goods. It requires great skill in managing relationships with both suppliers and customers, while simultaneously exploiting the latest technologies to effectively track material movement between trading partners. Mastering the nuances of SCM lets you provide superior service to your customers while driving down operational costs and gaining a competitive edge in your industry.

International Trade
Clients can gain an understanding of international trade, marketing and management techniques, as well as tools for cross-cultural communication. 

 

How do I become a client?

You can submit an online counseling request using the Online Request for Services Form.  If you have any questions you can call the center at (510) 208-0410.