Take your sbdc online
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Take your sbdc online

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This presentation was given at the 2011 ASBDC conference in San Diego, CA this month. It covers information about how to integrate online counseling and training into your current SBDC program.

This presentation was given at the 2011 ASBDC conference in San Diego, CA this month. It covers information about how to integrate online counseling and training into your current SBDC program.

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  • Bonus to Host center is gaining reporting numbers for the extra administrative headache
  • Over 800 sessionsOver 390 hours (including contact & prep)
  • Technical - for communicating with database and computer supportpersonell

Transcript

  • 1. Take Your SBDC Online
    Tennessee’s story of adding an online counseling and training component
  • 2. Counseling
  • 3. Our Goals
    Comply with new SBA mandates
    Reach customers in remote counties/areas
    Extend our “availability” hours
    Cut costs in areas of travel and communications
    Streamline intake of clients
    Offer on-line, on-demand training
  • 4. Reaching the Clients
    USDA Grant
    Over 60 computers placed in rural counties
    High-speed internet connection
    Skype
    Microsoft Office
    Webcam
    Microphone/Headset
    Remote Access Software
    Handbooks for Chamber/Library contact
    Statewide Press Campaign
  • 5. Computer Locations
  • 6. Creating the Online Center
    Separate center in database
    Sub-center of “Host center” for SBA reporting
    Could be implemented as part of Lead Center or an autonomous center
    Director who handles all incoming RFCs
    Separate place on website for Online Center RFCs
    Developed new procedures specific to uniqueness of online clients
    Intake
    Screening
    Transfer
  • 7. Screenshots
  • 8. Intake Procedures
    Clients sorted into two categories
    Start-Up Businesses
    Existing Businesses
    Initial client email sent
    Email explains online counseling and requests client complete appropriate assessment
  • 9. Start-Up Assessment
    Over 60 questions
    8 sections
    Personality
    Skills & Training
    Prior Experience
    Marketing
    Competition
    Business Structure
    Financing
    Specific Business Questions
  • 10. Existing Business Assessment
    Over 30 questions
    7 Sections
    General Business Information
    Personnel Issues
    Marketing and Sales
    Pricing
    Accounting/Bookkeeping Procedures
    Financial Situation
    Specific Assistance
  • 11. Screening Procedures
    Existing and Start-Up Businesses
    Online training courses suggested based on client needs
    Start-Up Businesses
    Client basics required before transfer
    Business plan
    Cash flow projections
    Fill-in-the blank templates for ease
    Clients who were willing to complete these steps were transferred to counselors
  • 12. Transfer Procedures
    Clients requesting specialized help
    Network experts identified
    Assisted by online center
    Clients requesting general help
    Referred to the center who served the county business was located in
  • 13. Problems with Follow-up
    Delivered read receipts
    Copy to state director/deputy director
    Follow up times from Online Director
    Schedule of clients
    Receiving center must contact client within 2 business days
    Online Director should follow up with client if Center fails to make contact
  • 14. Online Counseling Tools
    Skype
    Video or audio conversations with clients
    Cut down on long-distance costs
    Procedures for counselor usernames
    Microsoft Office/Open Office
    Documents for common business needs
    Gmail
    Free, web-based email
    Procedures for usernames/passwords
  • 15. Pros
    Pros
    Clients can make contact when THEY have time
    Saves client and center travel costs
    Allows us to reach clients in remote areas more quickly
    Counselors have longer “lead time”
    Clients have more sense of autonomy
  • 16. Cons
    Cons
    Spam filters
    Protected or Incorrectly entered emails
    Extended periods with no contact from customers
    Overcoming the technology barrier
    Online center never “closes”
    Security concerns over giving information
  • 17. A Few Stats
  • 18. Clients Originating Online - 2010
  • 19. Clients Served Online
  • 20. Meeting SBA Program Requirements
    Level Four
    10% or more of total counseled clients originated with an online initial counseling session
    10% or more of training courses reported to SBA is available online
    10% or more of the training clients reported to SBA registered for online training
  • 21. Implementation
  • 22. Start slowly!
    Think about:
    Time
    Cost
    Gain support of
    Directors & counselors
    Database administrators
    Stakeholders
    Funding partners
    Start with small sample of clients
    Test online resources on traditional clients
  • 23. Identify Resources
    Funding
    Partner organizations who will benefit
    People
    Director
    Backup
    Support
    Equipment
  • 24. Director Criteria
    Required Skills
    Technical background
    Good netiquette skills
    Multi-tasking
    Computer skills
    Suggested Skills
    Marketing
    Good understanding of SBA reporting and database system used by your SBDC
  • 25. A K.I.S.S. for your Users
    Stay consistent!
    New procedures should be
    Easy to understand for new users
    Not affect existing users
  • 26. Above all….
    HAVE A PLAN!
  • 27. Online Training Component
    Started with Small Biz U
    Added testing component to facilitate DHS
    CEUs awarded for all completed DHS courses
  • 28. Online Training Attendees
  • 29. Supporting our DHS Partners
    Needs grew beyond current system
    Wanted to be able to customize
    Delivery system
    Content
    Enhance user experience
    Seamlessly move between courses
    Courses never “expire”
  • 30. Business Media Center
    Tennessee Tech University
    TSBDC Partner
  • 31. Business Media Center
    Full service marketing solution
    Content management
    Web
    Media
    Graphic design
    HD Video
  • 32. Business Media Center
    State-wide and national marketing & branding
    Implement emerging technologies
    Small businesses
    Government
    Education
    Industry
  • 33. Business Media Center
    Our involvement
    History with TSBDC & state director
    Web and video expertise
    The story behind the theme
  • 34. The Content
    Where theme is used
    The content
    What is covered
    Use case
  • 35. The Video
    Who was filmed?
    Why?
    Importance of the subjects chosen
  • 36. The Website
    Color coding
    Usability features
    Benefits via Drupal
  • 37.
  • 38. Drupal is…
    World class content management
    Web solution for small and large businesses
    Usable
    Search engine ready
  • 39. Drupal is…
    Extendable
    Customizable
    Themable
    Reliable
    Stable
  • 40. And best of all….
  • 41. FREE
  • 42. Drupal is open source
    Cost savings
    Large user base
    Well documented
    More stable than proprietary systems
    Faster development
  • 43. Drupal is secure
    Code is available to anyone
    Regular security patches
    Tested
  • 44. Drupal is easy
    End user
    Content managers
  • 45. Who uses Drupal?
    The White House
    Congress
    NASA
    Huffington Post
    Nike
    Havard
    MTV
    TSBDC
    Estimated over 2% of the web is Drupal based
  • 46. How we use Drupal
  • 47. Customizing Drupal
    Per organization
    Per state