Do you have questions, problems or concerns with your small business? Don’t know where to turn?
Take heart. There’s help out there for through the Iowa Western Community College Small Business Development Center.
What is the SBDC, you ask? First, let’s examine why the organization exists.
According to Michael Mitilier, Assistant Director of the Iowa Western SBDC, in the USA there are over 28 million companies employing less than 500 people, otherwise known as “small businesses.”  Of that 28 million, 22 million of those businesses have only one employee.  
Despite their smaller number of employees, these businesses are responsible for employing 50 percent of the nation’s workforce.  
It’s no wonder, then, that the federal government allocates funding to each state to assist with the development of small businesses therein.
These Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provide their services to small businesses for free, but do collect information about the business in order to do their own reporting.  The Iowa Western SBDC, for example, is required to show that through its services it has:
Generated 2.5 million in capital per year for the region;
Generated employment;
Generated sales increases;
Attained new clients;
Helped long term clients (those receiving over five hours of counseling, and
Provided a certain number of counseling hours.
In order to fulfill their requirements, the SBDC offers services to help with starting or growing a business, or just answer questions about business, including:   
Business counseling;
Templates for business plans and other legal documents;
Free online training courses in starting a business, preparing financial documents and marketing;
Training events at different locations;
Providing a connection to interns through the college, and
Useful links to other organizations and government entities related to:
Environmental and occupational compliance and safety;
Government contracting/procurement, and
SBA, SCORE, Department of Labor, Iowa Secretary of State, etc.
The SBDC facilitates “Solopreneur Groups” who meet monthly and support and hold each other accountable for plans discussed.  The SBDC also hosts “Lunch and Learn” events in Council Bluffs every month, in which specific topics are covered and questions answered.  
Mitilier said the SBDC can also help entrepreneurs learn about marketing, accounting, preparing to get a loan, market research, internet security, pricing strategies and legal procedures among other things.  He said that one of his favorite quotes comes from Sue Pitts, Director and the other counselor at the IWCC SBDC, who said, “If it takes you 15 minutes to figure out how to do something, STOP, and call us.”
Mitilier stated assuredly, “if we don’t have the answer for you, we’ll research it or we’ll refer you to somebody who can help.”
The IWCC SBDC covers Fremont, Page, Harrison, Shelby, Mills, Pottawattamie and Cass counties.  They can help any business/potential business with under 500 employees.  They hold office hours every Tuesday in one of the counties they serve, and the schedule is on their website, under satellite office hours.
The SBDC office on the IWCC campus is located in Ashley Hall at 2700 College Road in Council Bluffs, and has six computers that are available for client use.  Mitilier said the SBDC counselors can counsel over the phone or on the internet if the client is unable to come to their Council Bluffs office, and he has even been known to do counseling sessions on Saturday if that is the only time available.  
“We try not to compete with other local small businesses,” Mitilier said, “for example, we won’t build a website for you because there are businesses that will do that.  We could help you pick a platform to build your own website, though, if that’s what you wanted to do.”
The IWCC SBDC is located on the Council Bluffs campus of IWCC.  Assistant Director Michael Mitilier can be reached at 712-256-7728, and the website is  Mitilier urges anyone who owns a small business or is thinking about starting one to contact them with their questions, and see what the SBDC can do for them.