Start-up entrepreneurs are possessed with enthusiasm and confidence but too often are unaware of potentially fatal business potholes that lie before them. All it takes is a single mistake, one false step, and a business can be history.


The small business planning 101 workshop provides information on starting a small business and provides those attending where to begin and what steps to take.

This monthly workshop provides a general overview of the things to consider when starting a business such as: business licensing requirements, financing your business, business taxes you are required to pay, components of a business plan, legal forms of organization, and how to interact with customers.

Marketing your business

The marketing your product or service 101 workshop covers the principles of successfully marketing your business and growing in the right way.

This monthly workshop covers a broad view of marketing which includes market segmentation, product or service mix, promotion, pricing, location, branding and logos, defining who you are (i.e., what is the business), press releases, brochures and places to advertise.

The marketing your product or service 101 workshops are held on the second Tuesday of every month from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Cuesta College SBDC run by Bobbie-Jo Strong who has run a successful Brisbane North Physiotherapy clinic for the last 15 years.

Raising capital for your business

The access to capital 101 workshop provides entrepreneurs a good idea of where to begin and what steps to take in securing capital in the form of SBA 7(a) loans, venture capital, and other forms of financing. This monthly workshop is designed to help the current and potential business owner understand how the bank/lender determines the criteria for awarding a loan. Credit history is discussed and the importance it plays. Also discussed are the various programs available to the borrower, SBA loan guarantees to local funding programs, and the truth about government grants.

The Cuesta College SBDC provides one-on-one counseling to small business owners and budding entrepreneurs. These services are offered free of charge to Cuesta College SBDC clients.

Small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs discuss their business ventures and get expert advice from the Cuesta College SBDC Director and/or Cuesta College SBDC consultants. All client information is held in strict confidence and maintained by the Cuesta College SBDC.

The Cuesta College SBDC consulting staff includes experienced professionals, consultants, college and university professors, and experienced University MBA candidates. During the initial counseling session, the consultant identifies or defines the direction the client would like to pursue and/or the problem areas and determines the appropriate course of action to pursue.

Counseling sessions are arranged when small business owners or entrepreneurs contact the Cuesta College SBDC. The Director holds the initial counseling session and determines the initial scope of work and then assigns the client to the appropriate consultant.

Depending on your specific needs, you may also be referred to one of our resource partners through the E-Team.

Companies that offer business marketing services can help enterprises grow. They can help businesses of any size, whether they are small, mid-sized or very large. These services are valuable regardless of the businesses stage of development as well, even newly established businesses will find these services beneficial. The advice and assistance these services offer can be beneficial across a wide range of marketing, even business to business.

Most business marketing services will be primarily concerned with offering companies the training, support and resources they need in order to help them implement the particular business marketing strategies necessary to help them succeed and grow.

The type of help offered may be something as general as helping the business owners understand their customer base and identifying who their competitors are to more specific strategies such as direct marketing, sales lead generation and outsourcing. One strategy where many businesses often require some help is with writing proposals for projects, and part of a marketing consultant’s job is to provide the business with a helpful project proposal template.

The project proposal provides the framework or plan for a research project or business that is being considered. It is one of the essential elements of business communications. Anyone who faces the prospect of needing to come up with their first proposal will typically be worried about how it needs to be done, this is especially worrisome because if it is not done properly it can have serous consequences. The project proposal template gives a very detailed format not only for what needs to be included in the proposal, but also the order in which it should appear.

This is only one way that a marketing consultant can offer benefit to a business. Very few companies will be able to know with certainty that they can handle all aspects of the business without the help of business marketing services.

Everyone has their own set of individual financial goals. Yours may include funding a child’s college education, enjoying a comfortable retirement, purchasing a home, starting your own business, minimizing your tax costs or any combination thereof. But, no matter which financial goals you have chosen, developing a comprehensive financial plan is one of the most important steps you can take toward achieving them.

A comprehensive financial plan offers many significant benefits – 10 of the most important of which are listed below:

1. Americans are living longer, healthier and more active lives than ever before. Many of us will spend nearly as much time in our retirement as we did in our working careers. If you’re looking forward to a lengthy and rewarding retirement, it’s likely that you’ll need significant financial resources. Financial planning can help you make the most of the money you earn during your working years.

2. Higher education costs continue to outpace inflation at a time when the need for a higher education has never been more pronounced. According to the College Board, for the 2001-2002 school year average college tuition costs rose 5.5% to $17,123 at private institutions, and 7.7% to $3,754 at public institutions. By beginning to create your financial plan today, you’ll be better prepared for the educational expenses of tomorrow.

3. More and more Americans are being asked to take responsibility for their own health care. In fact, you may already be choosing your long-term care and disability coverage from a pre-established menu of options and funding all or a part of your health insurance on your own. A comprehensive financial plan can help you meet the increasing cost of medical insurance.

4. Estate taxes can possibly consume as much as 50% of your estate within nine months of your death. Financial planning can result in a larger legacy for your heirs by helping to minimize your estate tax bill.

5. A sound financial plan provides a complete assessment of your current financial status – including your net worth, cash flow and debt management practices. It can also help identify ways to improve your financial situation.

6. Financial planning helps you take a comprehensive look at your future financial needs and goals, such as cash flow and debt management and how to get the most out of your investment portfolio.

7. A comprehensive financial plan identifies specific strategies and opportunities to let you actively work towards meeting your financial objectives.

8. By examining the amounts and types of insurance that may be right for you, a financial plan can help protect your family, your business interests and your assets.

9. As you work to create your financial plan, you’ll be organizing your financial information, as well as your own personal network of professional legal, tax and investment professionals.

10. As changes occur in your financial and personal situation over time, a financial plan can help you measure the impact of these changes and help keep you on track toward reaching your goals.