Oregon SBDC Network Strategic Plan
SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER
1445 Willamette Street, Suite #5
Eugene, Oregon 97401
541.463.5250 (tel) 541.345.6006 (fax)
Table of Contents
From the State Director, Mark Gregory
The Oregon Small Business Development Center Network fills a critical role that contributes to Oregon’s economic health.
The Network, comprised of a Network (Lead) Office, 19 Service Centers, and the eSBDC (prominently known as Bizcenter.org), is the principal small business assistance resource sought out by entrepreneurs, small business owners, lenders, and agencies at the federal, state and local levels. It is valued by other providers and partners because of its statewide network and quality business assistance services that are available in a timely responsive, confidential, and affordable manner.
This role is critical for Oregon where the majority of businesses are small businesses, where most patents, Federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants and other indicators of economic innovation are created by small businesses, and where most new jobs created in Oregon are created by small businesses.
The development of the Oregon SBDC Network Strategic Plan began with a conversation with our partners and our employees. Through site visits to the individual SBDCs and a review of their local SBDC Work Plans, the Strategic Plan framework was created.
To further refine the mission, vision, values and key strategies, the Oregon SBDC Network leadership twice brought together all center Directors to review the plan and develop the SWOT and PEST analysis segments. The plan development also included individual phone interviews, professional research, meetings with funding partners, the utilization of electronic surveys, and several large and small group exercises facilitated by professionals.
The Oregon SBDC Network continues to develop and refine the Strategic Plan through the utilization of the Oregon SBDC Network Advisory Council and the individual SBDC advisory committees’ input.
The Oregon SBDC Network is Oregon’s preeminent provider of effective and innovative business advising and training services.
The Oregon SBDC Network helps small businesses in Oregon succeed by providing high-quality counseling. Our core competency is 1:1 counseling, augmented by online and classroom training and business assistance resources.
Our customers are Oregon-based entrepreneurs and small business owners. Through our primary strategies of collaboration and networking, we are building a Community of Interest and a Culture of Entrepreneurship.
Our services include advising and training customers as they start and grow their businesses. Our knowledgeable and experienced advisors comprise the essence of our service delivery.
Our website: www.BizCenter.org serves as a distribution center for the resources (collaboratively developed and compiled by professional staff across the Oregon SBDC Network) that can be delivered anywhere/anytime throughout our vast state. The website also provides professional development resources to our professional staff by providing just-in-time training materials and resources.
The benefits of our services to customers and the communities served include transforming lives through business ownership and improved business operations.
We embrace the following four key strategies as our way of doing business. They are stated here to guide us as we approach, deploy, and measure our service delivery.
High impact job creation and capital formation are assured for our communities with alignment of organizational plans and resources to best meet customer needs.
Primary understanding of customer needs comes from gathering customer feedback.
Additional understanding of customer needs comes from community partnerships and college/university hosts.
Customer needs guide organizational goal setting.
Objectives are set to meet goals.
Work plans are set to achieve objectives.
Resources, including teams of experts, are assigned to execute work plans with statewide collaboration.
We collaborate with our partners to ensure our best resources are deployed to our customers.
We create successful business ownership by partnering/collaborating with the Oregon Employment Department Self Employment Assistance Program (SEAP).
We collaborate among ourselves and with our partners, to assure our best resources are deployed to our customers.
We create successful contracting outcomes by partnering and collaborating with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).
We support the ODOT mentor-protégé program to provide successful business ownership training and bidding expertise to potential ODOT contractors.
We provide Oregon small businesses with procurement assistance and access to federal contracts by partnering with Oregon Economic Initiatives, which host the Government Contract Assistance Program.
We promote access to traditional and community capital resources for small businesses by partnering and collaborating with the Oregon Bankers Association and Springboard Innovation. We furnish research through the University of Oregon Finance and Securities Analysis Center for the 2014 Oregon Capital Scan.
We provide assistance to companies seeking crowd funding through the Reinvest in Oregon Project.
We create jobs, an environment of successful entrepreneurship, business growth and access to capital resources by contracting with the Oregon Business Development Department (OBDD).
We collaborate with the OBDD Regional Business Development Officers and attend the Regional Solutions Conferences as an active provider of resources.
We help build the best businesses in Oregon by contracting with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide multi-faceted business counseling, training and targeted resource deployment to small businesses.
We create access for small businesses to on-line markets by contracting with the Oregon Public Utilities Commission (OPUC).
Our customers will increase their utilization of broadband internet, business productivity software and access to online markets.
We establish sources of stable funding for our services by seeking additional funding partners.
We secured funding through multiple funding awards from US Bank and Evergreen Business Capital.
We secured increased public funding with supplemental grants for the OBDD Grow Oregon Program, four SBA Portable Grants, two USDA awards, multi-year funding from the Oregon Public Utilities Commission, Oregon Department of Transportation and the Oregon Employment Department.
We build and sustain customer satisfaction levels by measuring our customers’ satisfaction with value delivered, communicating results and taking appropriate action as mandated by performance measures and set goals.
We conduct the annual Chrisman research and act upon recommendations.
We collect client validated economic impacts and verify them at both the Center Director and Oregon SBDC Network level.
We conduct and analyze Center-by-Center customer satisfaction surveys for advising and training.
We participate in the Oregon Business Development Department impact validation through the Oregon Employment Department and third party surveys.
We participate in the SBA annual customer satisfaction surveys.
We promote business growth that generates economic independence and sustainability by deploying targeted resources.
We provide in-depth counseling and training through the Small Business Management (SBM) Program over a one to three year period. Businesses benefit from up to ten class sessions and twenty hours of advising per year.
We host the PCC SBDC Global Trade Center that offers statewide training and counseling on a variety of topics that include global business management, trade finance, international logistics, international marketing, legal and cultural issues.
We provide access to capital through the Oregon SBDC Network Capital Access Teams.
We create traded sector business job growth by providing strategic planning, market research, Growth Wheel™ analysis, and digital media assistance.
We expand access to new markets by providing advanced market research to customers.
We boost operational productivity of small businesses by assisting with technology improvements that boost operational productivity and access to new markets via e-commerce.
We establish alignment of our services with our small business customers’ needs by engaging in dialog with our key stakeholders.
We consistently meet or exceed performance measures set collaboratively with our funding partners.
We communicate success stories through video, in person and written testimonials that include mention of funding partners and host institutions.
We collaborate with host institutions at the SBDC level in the planning and assessment efforts.
We align center work plans and SBDC missions within the framework of the host institutions’ strategic plans.
We encourage SBDC constituent feedback to and from elected officials.
We leverage resources across numerous federal, state and local partnerships to enhance small business training and counseling outreach toward great economic impacts.
- Invest in Our Employees, including all contributors
We collaborate with our partners to develop, validate, and deploy effective and efficient performance measurement system that support our employees’ successes.
We negotiate achievable contractual performance benchmarks with the Small Business Administration, the Oregon Business Development Department, and multiple funding partners to support our employees’ successes.
We incorporate SBDC deliverables into each host institution’s service delivery goals.
We develop and deploy professional development activities that meet or exceed the Association of Small Business Development Centers’ national core competency standards.
We develop and deploy individual training plans for all Oregon SBDC Network employees.
We create and deploy training seminars on-line for all employees through the BizCenter.org website, including Business On-Line (BOL) training, and the Professional Development Modules.
We provide the Oregon SBDC Network expert teams with targeted webinars focused on technology, access to capital, market research and financial analysis and comparison.
We provide statewide training and licensing of Growth Wheel™, a professional coaching tool that provide simple, visual, and useful assessment/assistance tools to advance successful business ownership.
We measure the results of professional development activities with a focus on accountability for meeting SBDC performance measures.
We recognize and reward our employee’s success through the following means: the Sandy Cutler Award, the Eldon Schaffer Award, selecting the annual ASBDC State Star, nominating Directors for the SBA Portland District’s annual Small Business Service Excellence and Innovation Award, and funding the travel expenses for the National ASBDC Conference.
We acknowledge excellent performance during monthly SBDC Directors’ meetings.
We increase efficiencies and elevate effectiveness by collaborating with our customers, stakeholders, and employees to leverage technology.
We deploy various video/webinar platforms for statewide director’s meetings and special project meetings.
We develop and deploy on-line training tools such as the Business On Line (BOL) classes and the Orientation Modules in BizCenter.org.
We continuously improve the BizCenter.org website to enhance the SBDC client and professional staff interface experience.
We use the BaseCamp™ tool for effective and efficient project management for all SBDCs.
The strength of the Oregon SBDC Network four key strategies is in our collaboration to assure our Vision is a shared with our customers, stakeholders, and with our employees. We adhere to our Values and integrate them in our collaboration as we deal with daily delivery of our quality services to our customers and our stakeholders.
The Oregon SBDC Network has well-established relationships with its principal federal resource partner, the US Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Oregon Business Development Department (OBDD).
Additionally, the Oregon SBDC Network has engaged in major projects funded in part by the Oregon Public Utility Commission, the Oregon Employment Department, and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). Most significantly, 16 host community colleges and 2 regional universities provide the majority of funds required to support the Oregon SBDCs.
The Oregon SBDC Network stakeholders include:
The host institutions who provide space, technology, personnel, operating budgets and other in-kind support
The Oregon Business Development Department
The Small Business Administration
The Oregon Public Utility Commission, who provides a targeted training grant.
The Oregon Employment Department who provides a targeted Self-Employment Assistance Grant.
The Oregon Department of Transportation who provides a targeted training grant.
The Oregon small business owners, who are state and federal taxpayers, thus providing funding through their successful operations.
Graphic provided by Dr. Eugene Haugen
(Based upon internal and external surveys conducted by 19 SBDC and the OREGON SBDC NETWORK office in the fall of 2013.)
|Strengths (Internal)||Weaknesses (Internal)|
|►Strong Leadership with hard working, committed network and center staff
►Strong financial support and relationships with host institutions
►Client-focused services reflected in high satisfaction surveys
►Increased work with high-growth, high-opportunity customers
►Deployment of Readytalk, Zoom, Basecamp and Growth Wheel tools
►State and National Branding and Marketing Tools
►Educated, experienced, informed and professional personnel
►Demonstrated return on investment to funders
►Banking/Financing Industry and funding partner relationships
►Willingness to innovate
►Compliant-driven contract deliverables
►Small Business Management Program and its history of success stories and FTE generation
|►Lack of predictable, stable and reliable state and federal funding sources
►Reduction in host institutions budgets and contributions to SBDC operations.
►Capacity limited to reach some rural customers
►Tight resources make it difficult to train staff and volunteers effectively
►Lack of comprehensive marketing plan
►Changing fields of smart technology creates training challenges
►Returning off-shore manufacturing to Oregon
►Increasing Latino Population Entrepreneurs
►Increasing Encore (Baby Boomer) Population starting well-funded businesses
►Emerging energy and 3D manufacturing technologies
►Supporting professional development of OREGON SBDC NETWORK personnel with self-directed instruction/learning modules
►Providing Marketing Research through SOU efforts
►Leverage the strength and coverage of our statewide network to create more funding partners.
►Increase public funding as a result of results-driven metrics.
►Collaborating within regions to extend service capacities of smaller SBDCs
►Recognizing the opportunity for increased funding based on performance record, opportunity to expand service and focus on existing and growing businesses
►Decreasing administrative burden of reporting requirements by deploying electronic reporting tools in Basecamp and CenterIC
►Funding /budget uncertainties from state, federal and host institution partners
►Bureaucracy and red tape (at the college) to report ROI
►Increased competition from other Economic Development Organizations, Chambers and Non-Profits (Oregon Entrepreneurs Network, Micro Enterprise Organizations, Chambers of Commerce, and Economic Development groups).
►Fear of borrowing by customers hindering business growth
►Changing technological savvy of our customers reducing the demand for classes (there are abundant no-cost online learning opportunities)
►Gradual decrease in program revenues as we are forced to lower our prices in some areas to compete with other online providers.
►Increasing costs of health insurance and other benefits for our own employees resulting in a reduction in services for our customers
►Keeping abreast of smart technology and other technology advances facing our business counselors
The external political, economic, social and technology factors that influence financial resources, organizational key success factors and client outcomes are as follows:
During the recession, the State of Oregon budget reductions overwhelmed the political climate. Legislators have new opportunities to determine where public funds have the greatest impact on vital core public services and in fostering economic growth as State revenues return to pre-recessionary levels.
Reduced funding for public sector business assistance providers resulted in considerable organizational change. Service providers collaborated to leverage resources and ensure survival. Accordingly, the Oregon SBDC Network and SBA, the Government Contract Assistance Program (GCAP), OBDD, USDA, ODOT and other business assistance providers collaborated extensively to build capacity and maintain statewide service delivery.
The Oregon SBDC Network aligns service delivery to meet the goals of the Oregon Business Development Department, the Governor’s Office and our Legislature. The Oregon Business Plan framework is a key effort in communicating the goals, vision, strategy and initiatives of the State of Oregon, as they relate to economic growth. The vision: “Innovative industries selling products and Services Outside of Oregon” (traded sector industries) is politically supported, and the plan seeks to provide traded sector industries with competitive advantage over other states and nations.
While the worst economic times are behind us, Oregon still faces serious challenges. Employment hasn’t returned to pre-recession levels in most parts of Oregon and our incomes remain stubbornly below the national average. Currently 17.2 percent of Oregonians live in poverty, up more than 4 percentage points from pre-recession levels. (EcoNorthwest, 2013)
Oregon’s heavy reliance on employment and capital gains taxes greatly impacted state revenues. The depleted “rainy day” budget reserves added to Oregon’s budgetary devastation (further exacerbated by long-time limitations on property taxes).
The Oregon Business Plan noted that Oregon’s growth industries are currently in the non-traded sector industries. A recent data analysis of the Oregon CenterIC Client Management Tool indicated the highest frequency of requests for counseling are in the Retail Trade Industry and the Professional Services Industries, both non-traded sector industries. This is an indicator that the Oregon SBDC Network is responding to the Oregon trends.
Social changes toward consumer pessimism amidst economic decline has reduced tourism while having limited larger purchases such as RV’s, boats, airplanes and luxury items. Consumer behavior plays a role in mass layoffs with RV, aircraft, and other manufacturers in Oregon. Oregon SBDC Network customers express interest in social media as a less expensive and innovative means of reaching their customers. A growing demand toward social networking in small business results in centers developing curriculum into Small Business Management course work. The Oregon SBDC Network hosts expert SBDC personnel on our statewide Business Online Learning (BOL) platform, in response to social interests and trends toward online training delivery.
The Oregon SBDC Network embraces innovative and efficient technology implementations. Zoom desktop/boardroom HD quality video/webinar technology, purchased under an OSBDCN enterprise license, allows the Oregon SBDC Network to archive recorded audio/video presentations from internal and external webinar discussions. This deployment provides a highly effective instructional delivery platform, in conjunction with the Oregon SBDC Network’s BizCenter web portal.
The Oregon SBDC Network utilizes statewide, monthly, peer-to-peer financial analysis training for advisors and instructors. The Oregon SBDC Network’s online learning management system BOL utilizes Moodle (an open source course development application) for sharing Oregon SBDC Network training resources statewide.
The Oregon SBDC Network offers phase zero (pre-proposal phase) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) assistance to customers, utilizing an expert SBIR consultant. We team with the Oregon Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network to assist technology innovation/transfer (from University of Oregon & Oregon State University). These partners continue to be integrated with the Oregon SBDC Network Strategic Plan.
Finally, the Oregon SBDC Network, in cooperation with USDA Rural Development Administration and other contributors, deploy high definition videoconferencing for service delivery to remote non-served/underserved communities.
Ongoing environmental scanning and needs assessment occurs in monthly statewide meetings (convened via Zoom) among Network leadership and the Center Directors that culminate with prioritization planning priorities at the spring Directors Meeting. Further input is gleaned from semi-annual Oregon SBDC Network State Advisory Council meetings, as well as continuous feedback to the State Director from individual members.
Moreover, the Oregon SBDC Network leadership reviews planning and assessment documents (surveys, for example) from key stakeholders, including the Oregon Small Business Advisory Board, the Oregon Business Development Department, the US Small Business Administration Portland District Office, and the host colleges/universities. These methods help ensure multilateral strategic alignment and comprehensive environmental scanning.
During the third and fourth quarters of 2013, the Oregon SBDC Network and the 19 SBDCs conducted a formal internal and external scan. The results of the scans were presented at the Fall Directors Meeting and further planning and actionable steps were recorded.
As a result of this work, the Oregon SBDC Network leadership and the 19 Centers have aligned their work to their funders, host institutions, and communities.
The results of the Internal and External Scan are provided in the appendix.
The Oregon SBDC Network provides statewide monthly performance analyses scorecards to all 19 centers. Additionally, each center has 24/7 access to their scorecards in Center IC management system. The State Advisory Council and other stakeholders receive these data quarterly.
Actual performance is compared with scorecard goals integrated within the Network’s Center IC management information system. The Network uses four economic development benchmarks to measure the impact of the SBDC on small business owners and their businesses:
- New Business Starts
- Jobs Created or Retained
- Debt and equity financing obtained by customers
- 4 (or more) year survival among Oregon SBDC Network-served businesses
- Long Term Clients: 5+ hours of contact during the SBA reporting year
- Extended Engagement : 5+ hours in prior years with any counseling in the reporting year
- Total Counseling Hours
- Number of Training Events
- Full Time Equivalent (FTE) student attendees generated from training
SBDCs that meet or exceed performance goals are recognized and offered additional funding projects and training opportunities.
SBDCs that do not meet performance goals are mentored to improve performance. If performance issues persist, the Oregon SBDC Network leadership works with the host institutions to make local SBDC leadership changes.
Return on Investment differs to some extent for each of Oregon SBDC Network’s key stakeholders. The SBA focuses contract deliverables on impacts that include capital formation and new business starts, as well as performance outputs that include long term clients. The State of Oregon contracts economic impact deliverables that include the SBA-contracted impacts, with the addition of job creation/retention and business survivability. Host colleges and universities institutions often focus key metrics on FTE students served, non-credit training outcomes, and public relations created from economic impacts and success stories in the local communities.
Segmenting the Oregon SBDC Network’s costs of generating key metrics is challenging, given each Center’s variable revenues and expenses. However, Oregon SBDC Network’s determines the overall/approximate return-on-investment by examining essential and relevant economic impacts (e.g., savings of unemployment insurance payments per total jobs created/retained, and capital formation totals. The Return on Investment indicates for every dollar invested in the Oregon SBDC Network by funders, $6.14 is returned.
The balanced scorecard requires that we view the organization from four perspectives:
- Learning and Growth Perspective
- Business Process Perspective
- Customer Perspective
- Financial Perspective
Learning and growth perspectives require our employees to be in continuous learning mode as rapid changes in technology and the economic marketplace provide both opportunities and changes in a highly competitive environment.
The Oregon SBDC Network embraces internal training through prior professional development certification and more recently the conversion of mission-critical modules (Orientation, Communication Skills) to online training modules. Oregon SBDC Center Directors develop individual training plans for their employees (based upon their core competencies, and monitor their progress through their work plans.)
Network-wide peer-to-peer learning occurs when Directors and Advisors share case analysis. Examples include sharing specialized service case analysis through efforts such as the Market Research Institute and Capital Access Team. The development of the Business on Line (BOL) webinars and the Professional Development Orientation Modules support the training needs of the SBDC Directors and advisors.
Business process perspectives improve the tracking of key metrics with annual goals input to score cards in the Oregon SBDC Network CenterIC™ client database. Annual work plans submitted by each center include negotiated key metric milestones, responsibility assignments, time line goals and status reporting. The Oregon SBDC Network work plan tracks the accomplishment of the business process strategic objectives. These processes and matrices combined with performance awards, training and technology tools, create a balanced scorecard that are the best practices of the Oregon SBDC Network.
Customer perspectives toward satisfaction and focused services are surveyed annually through the Oregon SBDC Network counseling and training surveys, and SBA survey analysis. Advisor counseling sessions are evaluated by the State and Associate State Director to ascertain how details of counseling are captured in reporting, the correlation of long term clients to one time clients, and assurance that adequate counseling resources are available to meet annual goals. Training diversity is also reviewed in conjunction with client surveys and attendance to ensure training focus and client satisfaction is met through local SBDC training workshops.
Regional communications using bi-monthly statewide director teleconference calls include a director’s choice discussion, where directors can share special customer focused counseling or training models. Webinar training and online Small Business Management training resources deployed from Centers of Excellence are now available for statewide offering between colleges. Revenue sharing of statewide training revenues pay for the originating colleges’ instruction, while the receiving institution’s SBDC will retain FTE.
Financial perspective is managed through full disclosure of each center funding sources and planned expenditures utilizing annual budget projections submitted from each Center. The shared communication of all funding sources and goals allows the Network Office to team efforts and regionalize grants to assist SBDCs in meeting financial budget goals. The Oregon SBDC Network leadership continues to provide opportunities for SBDCs to gain additional funding through submission of special projects funding for customer-focused needs in their regions.
Performance incentives include the recognition of excellence through various state, local and national awards. The Sandy Cutler Award, the State Star Award, the SBA awards for Excellence and Innovation, are but a few of the awards given to the SBDC Directors and Staff.
The Oregon SBDC Network provides full funding for the Oregon State Star to attend the National ASBDC Conference. Cost sharing opportunities exist for additional professional development opportunities.
The Oregon SBDC Network previously implemented financial performance awards under State funded subcontracts with Centers that attained a minimum of 800 counseling hours and 32 long term client engagements each year. Centers have generally exceeded these goals since. Future financial incentives via sub-contracts with Centers remain a consideration to encourage achievement.
- Funding: financial growth, financial management, adequate program income and foundation reserves maintained by the Network and all Centers to be successful.
- Impact: assisting new customers and existing customers result in job growth and other economic impacts.
- Customer satisfaction: Customers gain innovative and effective assistance to be successful and find value with Oregon SBDC Network services.
- Quality: The Oregon SBDC Network retains well-trained staff, who as knowledge workers, pursue ongoing training opportunities to meet the changing demands of the customers they serve. Oregon Small Business Development Centers services result in high quality technical assistance.
- Product or service development: Convenient counseling and training delivery utilizing webinars, online, and video conferencing technologies improve products. Integration of technology transfer, and innovative industry practices improve the content of services.
- Strategic relationships: Oregon SBDC Network fosters new relationships for grant funding, delivery of specialized services such as government contracting assistance, and shared advocacy. These tactics leverage scarce resources to offset diminishing public funding for business assistance.
- Employee attraction and retention: Employee attraction and retention is critical in assuring quality, continuity and diversity of service. The Oregon SBDC Network encourages the use of the ASBDC national website for leadership searches. Further recruitment efforts include the utilization of professional on-line networking services.