Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Transcript- Episode 88: How A Few Minutes At The Small Business Development Center Can Alter The Future Of Your Business With Don Loewel The Director Of Pasadena City College SBDC Episode 88

Feb 28, 2023

00:00:00 Don

Find a way to make just an hour a month, a couple of hours a quarter to work on your business, and come to see us and let us help you. The SBDCs are here to help you work on your business.

00:00:20 Christina

The workforce landscape is rapidly changing and educators and their institutions need to keep up. Preparing students before they enter the workforce to make our communities and businesses stronger is at the core of getting an education.

00:00:33 Christina

But we need to understand how to change and adjust so that we can begin to project where things are headed before we even get there. So, how do we begin to predict the future?

00:00:45 Salvatrice

Hi, I'm Salvatrice Cummo, Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development at Pasadena City College, and host of this podcast.

00:00:53 Christina

And I'm Christina Barsi, producer and co-host of this podcast.

00:00:57 Salvatrice

And we are starting the conversation about the future of work. We'll explore topics like how education can partner with industry, how to be more equitable, and how to attain one of our highest goals, more internships and PCC students in the workforce.

00:01:11 Salvatrice

We at Pasadena City College, want to lead the charge in closing the gap between what our students are learning and what the demands of the workforce will be once they enter. This is a conversation that impacts all of us. You, the employers, the policymakers, the educational institutions, and the community as a whole.

00:01:31 Christina

We believe change happens when we work together, and it all starts with having a conversation. I'm Christina Barsi.

00:01:38 Salvatrice

And I'm Salvatrice Cummo. And this is the Future of Work.

00:01:43 Christina

In this episode, we learn further how the SBDC supports the SBA from Don Loewel, the Director of the Pasadena City College Small Business Development Center, as they work together to create services and resources for small businesses in the San Gabriel Valley.

00:01:59 Christina

From workshops for restaurant owners to just game planning your next move, the SBDC is here to help free of cost. Here's Don.

00:02:11 Salvatrice

Hi, and welcome to PCC's Future of Work Podcast. I am your host, Salvatrice Cummo, Executive Director of Economic and Workforce Development for PCC. Here with me this morning is Mr. Donald Loewel, our Director at PCC's Small Business Development Center. Good morning.

00:02:28 Don

Good morning.

00:02:29 Salvatrice

I'm glad you could be here with us today. I know that you are really at the pulse of what is happening to our community, the workforce, and to have you present here is really truly a gift. I understand that your time is very taxid, and thank you so much for volunteering your time.

00:02:48 Salvatrice

Before we get started for our listeners out there, just to kind of set the stage for this conversation, we get asked all the time what is the difference between SBA and SBDC? For most, they're just acronyms and it's super hard to distinguish which one is which. Take a moment to kind of set the stage - what's the difference between SBA and SBDC, and how are they interrelated?

00:03:14 Don

Sure. So, happy to be here again. Thank you for having me. The SBDC (Small Business Development Center), we are a resource partner for the SBA, and as such, we provide technical assistance or one-on-one consulting for small business owners in the San Gabriel Valley.

00:03:40 Don

So, as a resource partner, our job is to interact with clients with small business owners face-to-face, either in consulting sessions and or workshops to help them grow. So, it includes several different areas: business planning, marketing, website development, financial analysis. We have a myriad of different advisors with different skill sets who are available at no cost to small business owners in the Valley.

00:04:22 Don

And so, we are a, let's call it a subset of the SBA. And other examples of resource partners like us would be the Women's Business Center, the Veterans Business Center, and an organization called SCORE. Some of which folks may have heard of.

00:04:46 Don

So, the SBA is a federal administration, a federal program, and we are resource partners that work in line with them to interface with small business owners and to help them grow.

00:05:03 Salvatrice

Thank you. You're really the technical assistance, the technical arm of the SBA in assisting businesses through a variety of different phases of their development. So, you do have access to experts in the field around an array of areas of expertise.

00:05:22 Salvatrice

Can you share a little bit about, just real quickly about your team. What can one expect, what can a business expect coming to the Small Business Development center, what's the genetic makeup of your team?

00:05:36 Don

Sure. So, let me give you a little background on process. So, as business owners engage us, we will reach out to them and we'll do a few minutes of an intake process where we can learn more about what they'd like to get help with, but also a little bit of an understanding of their business so that we can direct them accordingly.

00:06:08 Don

My team, I have a dozen professional consultants. They all contract with us, and we have within our team of advisors, we have some folks who are generalists who can assess the overall needs of the business owner and help develop a plan moving forward that may be in a business plan, that may be a marketing plan.

00:06:40 Don

And those generalists, once they've assessed that client, will then determine if there are other needs that can be met within the team, and other folks would be marketing specialists. Within our marketing team, we have a couple folks who are website developers. They can assess your website, they can teach you about Google Analytics to make sure that you're monitoring your success online.

00:07:16 Don

They can teach you about e-commerce. And then we also have folks that would focus on social media, if that's a marketing strategy. I also have a financial analyst who used to be a banker, and then we have two attorneys on the team as well. One focuses on organizational aspects, C-corp, S-corp, LLC. The other one is an IP attorney and can provide feedback on that.

00:07:56 Don

The last thing I'll share is that we are one of nine SBDCs throughout the LA network, and so if we don't have the expertise, we will often refer clients to other locations. University of Laverne has some advisors with great skill sets, College of the Canyons, et cetera.

00:08:26 Don

So, we really do leverage it in addition to my team, the strengths throughout the network to do our best to help small business clients. The area that I'm trying to focus my team on with clients is preparation. You can never be too prepared as a small business owner, it is such a challenge to run a successful small business that you need to be prepared as much as possible. You need to be thinking about your business two quarters out, a year out, three years out.

00:09:09 Don

Now, could anyone have been prepared for COVID-19? No, of course not. But I do believe that what will come from this will be business owners who are much more diligent about looking down the road, not only for potential downturns or crises, but also opportunities.

00:09:36 Don

And that's where an SBDC can really, really help. Business owners are so busy, many times they do not think about spending time, planning for the future, planning their growth, planning for the good things, not just the downturns.

00:09:58 Salvatrice

And naturally, if businesses are prepared and really thinking long-term, as you mentioned just a moment ago, that would really prepare them for the new talent. The new talent that a community college or any other institution is producing and getting them ready for this new workforce coming through the pipeline.

00:10:20 Salvatrice

I really hope that our listeners take a moment to find out what SPDCs are all about. Specifically, Pasadena given you serve the San Gabriel Valley region, it's invaluable. It's completely invaluable.

00:10:35 Salvatrice

This has been really great, Don. Really appreciate your time. Anything else you wanna share with our listeners out there? Takeaways, resources, advice, anything that you'd like to say right now, please feel free to.

00:10:52 Don

Sure. And thank you again, Salvatrice, for having me on this podcast. I guess what I'd really like to share with small business owners is that we're here. You can email us at You may go to our website,, but find a way to make just an hour a month, couple of hours a quarter to work on your business and come to see us and let us help you. It's a hundred percent no cost and with no catch, as we like to say.

00:11:42 Don

So, you spend the vast majority of your time working in your business. The SBDCs are here to help you work on your business, and we really encourage you to contact us.

00:11:55 Salvatrice

Thank you so much. Best of luck to you and your operations. Keep doing what you're doing. The feedback is awesome. And again, we have been talking to Director Don, Mr. Don Loewel from Pasadena City College Small Business Development Center, and catch you on the next episode.

00:12:14 Salvatrice

Thank you for listening to the Future of Work Podcast. Make sure you subscribed on your favorite listening platform so you can easily get new episodes every Tuesday. You can reach out to us by clicking on the website link below in the show notes to collaborate, partner, or just chat about all things future of work. We'd love to connect with you.

00:12:36 Salvatrice

All of us here at the future of work and Pasadena City College wish you safety and wellness.