It’s our job to help ensure your business succeeds

By Debra Martin, Director

Running a small business is not for the faint of heart. Underestimating the challenges is one of the biggest obstacles that entrepreneurs face.

Entrepreneurs are natural optimists and they may be experts in their fields, but no one should expect to do it alone. The West Virginia Small Business Development Center provides expert business coaching to help business owners navigate the challenging areas — from sales to finance to human resources to daily operations.

Every mistake in operating a small business has a price tag. In fact, only half of the small businesses that start each year will make it to their fifth anniversary. The vast majority fail for one of three reasons: lack of experience, lack of knowledge or lack of capital.

The WV SBDC provides services for all stages of the business life cycle. The pre-venture entrepreneurs typically have a great idea but need practical help with the planning and process to turn it into a business. Startups — in operation for a year or less — commonly need assistance with capital access, business plans and cash flow management.

Companies that survive beyond the first year have the greatest potential to grow and create new jobs. They look for guidance in areas such as strategic business plans, marketing, finance, human resources and expanded capital access.

Many of the WV SBDC business coaches who provide these services have professional certifications and first-hand experience running successful businesses themselves. The WV SBDC has a network of 14 business coaches based in centers around the state.

The business coaching process is unique to each client, one-on-one, confidential and tailored to the specific challenges or areas the specific business wants to work on. We evaluate the needs of each business and help that business owner develop a set of tools they can use to manage their business.

Business Coach Shannon Mitchell works with businesses in Nicholas, Webster, Fayette, Raleigh, Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties. Her work in this region has earned her recognition as WV SBDC’s 2019 “State Star.” Honorees are selected for exemplary performance, making significant contributions to the WV SBDC program and having a passion for and strong commitment to small businesses.

Shannon is working with several clients on the verge of starting new businesses in the area. She also works with established firms ready to move to the next level.

One is 3C Solutions Online, founded in 2012 by graphics and web developer Norvill Clark. He is developing a new app that will enhance his business offer. With the business plan Shannon helped him put together, he can approach potential funding sources, such as banks. With more funding, he can spend more time and resources on completing and marketing the app.

WV SBDC helps our clients get the right information at the right time to succeed in the short term and over the long haul. Our program offers streamlined services for entrepreneurs who are just getting started, as well as those who need specialized services in unique areas of challenge to businesses in the 21st century, such as cybersecurity and digital marketing.

Contact the WV SBDC at 888-WVA-SBDC or visit our website at to learn more.