PLATTSBURGH - Whenever a small business has been in need for the past 25 years, the North Country Small Business Development Center has been there.
The center, which was established in 1984, has continued to strive to provide information, technical assistance and training to help
small business owners grow their existing business and prospective small business owners to start a new business.
Rick Leibowitz, director of the North Country SBDC, said the organization has come far since its inception. The center was created as part of the New York State Small Business Development Center network, first operating out of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh's Technical Assistance Center.
"Now, [the NYSSBDC] has expanded to 24 centers across New York, with 200 counselors providing free and confidential business advice to small business owners and prospective ones," said Leibowitz.
As a past small business owner, Leibowitz said that kind of resource is a valuable one.
"A lot of small business owners have great ideas, have great business concepts, but they only have strengths in certain areas. Maybe they're strong in the operations of their business or maybe they know a lot about sales but they might be weak in other aspects of the business," he said. "What we do is we help compensate for their weaknesses. If they don't know about financial management, we can provide assistance with financial management. If they don't know how to market their business, we can provide assistance with marketing."
Other issues such as understanding labor laws, personnel management and other aspects of running a small business are ones that can also seem daunting to a new business owner. However, with the SBDC's assistance, even the most challenging issues can be made less difficult, said Leibowitz.
"What I find is there's a lot of people that just don't understand these services are available, and one of the reasons is we're not allowed to market our direct-counseling services," said Leibowitz. "We can market the training seminars we do ... but I'm not allowed to put an ad in the paper that says "come to the SBDC for counseling.'"