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.

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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
  • Take your sbdc online

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