According to two recent surveys of America’s small businesses, business owners are as worried as ever about the economy and the impact it will have on their businesses. In response to the economic concerns and needs specific to Shenandoah Valley small businesses, the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center (SV SBDC) has assembled a group of local professional service providers to help expand access to the advice and resources businesses need to succeed.
The most recent Goldman Sachs small business survey released in September 2022 indicates that 90% of respondents feel that economic issues have had a negative impact on their business. When asked if the country is currently in a recession, 43% said yes. For those that didn’t believe we are currently in a recession, 62% believe it will happen within six months.
In the small urban population centers and rural areas that make up the Shenandoah Valley, business owners can face unique challenges their counterparts in more populated centers do not. A September 2022 survey released by SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, more than half (53%) of entrepreneurs surveyed say they feel somewhat or extremely negative about the economy and its impact on their business. The study also cites several barriers to sustainability and growth that may impact small businesses in less populated urban centers more severely than their counterparts in more populated regions. Some of those difficulties include limited access to capital and technology, smaller labor pools, and increased impacts from inflation and supply chain disruptions because of location.
The SV SBDC Advisory Council was formed in the summer of 2022 to facilitate and grow stronger connections between small businesses and the professional resources available in the region. The Advisory Council is made up of participating investors from the region’s banking, insurance, accounting, and legal industries. Advisory Council investors provide volunteer advising and enhanced services in their fields of expertise to SV SBDC clients, as well as professional development and collaborative input opportunities to SV SBDC advisors.
“We are very excited to bring SBDC clients and our team of Business Advisors a new level of connectivity with professional experts. By exchanging up-to-date information about what businesses need and the professional services available to meet those needs, the Advisory Council creates a targeted and accessible network to help boost resiliency and growth,” said Joyce Krech, SV SBDC Director.
The Advisory Council currently includes representatives from F&M Bank, Atlantic Union Bank, Blue Ridge Bank, BotkinRose PLC – Attorneys at Law, BrownEdwards – Certified Public Accountants, PBMares – CPAs and Consultants, Valley Marvel Tax & Accounting Services, Clark & Bradshaw Attorneys at Law, and LD&B Insurance and Financial Services.
Josiah M. Rider, Business Branch Manager at Atlantic Union Bank says, “AUB supports the Shenandoah Valley SBDC as they provide critical counseling, business plan assistance, and other resources that help our business customers and prospects be better prepared when they come to the Bank seeking a banking relationship and financial solutions.”
The Advisory Council is one of several business resiliency-building programs the SV SBDC has recently contributed leadership and resources to develop. The organization was a key partner in Virginia SBDC’s inaugural Food and Beverage Accelerator Program held in 2021; it has collaborated with Laural Ridge SBDC to lead two rounds of Small Business Resiliency Team deployments to provide expanded business support services and technical assistance in the areas of e-commerce, marketing, finance, and operational efficiencies to Shenandoah Valley businesses; and it is a primary partner in the Black- and Brown-owned Business Growth Program that delivers business support to underserved members of the community with the goal of increasing business acumen, building business networks, and distributing grant money to invest in their businesses.
About the SV SBDC. The SV SBDC is one of 27 Small Business Development Centers across Virginia providing no-fee, confidential advising, business training, and connections to resources for new and existing businesses. Formed in 1989, the organization is hosted by James Madison University in partnership with George Mason University and is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and local governments. The Virginia SBDC Network is the most extensive business development program in the Commonwealth and is part of America’s SBDC – the nation’s proven, cost-effective, and accredited infrastructure focused on small businesses – America’s job creators. Appointments with the SV SBDC are available in Harrisonburg, Lexington, Verona, and Page County, as well as by phone or video call.