Three Keys to a Solid Business Plan

How long has it been since you took a good long look at your business plan?



For more on how to create a solid business plan, watch Rich and Jeff Sloan (and Rich’s dog, Max) as they do a deep dive on three key components of a solid business plan:

1.A clearly defined business model

2.A financing strategy that’s aligned with your growth needs

3.A milestone timeline to which you can hold yourself accountable


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A Message from the Small Business Administration


For more than fifty years, the SBA has helped entrepreneurs start, grow and succeed in their business ventures. For all kinds of business owners across the country – including in traditionally underserved communities – SBA provides resources and access to capital they need to flourish. Here’s how we help entrepreneurs and business owners who are:

  • Minorities: Interested in government contracting? The 8(a) Business Development Program helps small, disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace.
  • Women: From registering your business to hiring your first employee, we’re here to help you launch your small business.
  • Native Americans: We have opportunities and programs designed to help Native American entrepreneurs start and manage their businesses.
  • Veterans: From the military world to the business world, SBA has customized resources to help our veterans succeed.
  • 50+ Entrepreneurs: Are you nearing retirement and exploring new opportunities? We have information and tools to help “encore” entrepreneurs start and run their businesses.
  • People with Disabilities: Explore resources and links to help disabled people establish and manage small businesses.

Our online Learning Center also offers free, self-paced courses tailored to your business type and more, so you can get the online training you need, when you need it.

At SBA, we’re in the business of businesses – and in making sure our diverse entrepreneurs across the U.S. access the resources and capital they need to find success in their ventures.

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Did you know? More than 7.8 million U.S. women run their own small businesses—generating more than $1.2 trillion each year!

Lauren Little, JWBC Client and owner of Edible Arrangements

If you are one of these women, or are a woman looking to join this rising force in entrepreneurship, SBA is here to help.

From training resources to registering your business, The SBA has information and programs to help you start and grow your business. Here’s how:

> Check out the Resource Portal for Women Business Owners — It includes online guides, tools, and training that walk you through the steps of starting, growing, and financing your business. SBA can even connect you to a mentor and information about start-up accelerator programs tailored for women.

> SBA Programs that make a difference to women — From loan programs to financing your business growth to courses and opportunities that make it easier for women to compete in the government marketplace, SBA can help prepare you for success.

> Visit a Women’s Business Center — This national network of more than 100 educational centers assists women on all kinds of business issues.

> Access Online TrainingEducation is key for success, and it’s easier than ever with SBA’s Learning Center. Explore self-paced training courses, quick videos, web chats and more to help you understand the many aspects of business ownership.

> Join our Online Community — Discuss and explore your business challenges with experts and peers in our online community of 30,000+ members.

> Blogs and Articles — Hundreds of articles in the SBA Community offer tips for business success.

The SBA is here to help you take your business to the next level. Learn more today.

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SBA Extends Weekly Webinars for Women’s Small Business Federal Contract Program

SBA Extends Weekly Office Hours Webinars for Women Entrepreneurs on Small Business Administration, North Florida District OfficeWomen-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration has extended its free webinar series through July for women business owners to learn more about increasing opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the federal contracting arena. The Office Hours for Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program will be held each Tuesday and Thursday from July 8 through July 31 at 2 p.m. ET.

SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program presents an opportunity for small businesses to increase their presence in the federal marketplace. The federal government is the biggest buyer in the world and is a must-have customer for women-owned companies.

The hour-long webinars will be led by SBA officials, and will help to answer questions and give valuable insight to women entrepreneurs on doing business in the federal marketplace.

WHAT:  SBA Office Hours Webinars on Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program

WHEN:               July 8 – July 31, 2014, each Tuesday and Thursday:

  • Tuesday, July 8th, July 15th, July 22nd and July 29th
  • Thursday, July 10th, July 17th, July 24 and July 31st

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (ET)

HOW:                   Registration is free, but required. Please contact<> to sign up, and include the date you would like to participate. The webinars are repeated.

To learn more about the SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program, visit



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A Great Definition of Entrepreneur…

Definition of an Entrepreneur

Original Photo by Martin Eckert, July 2005

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Leadership Matters Opens for September 2014 Enrollment

The Jacksonville Women’s Business Center has opened nominations for the Leadership Matters program. The Fall 2014 session begins in September.

Do you wish you could be more successful, more influential, or more confident?

Leadership Matters is a transformational program that develops image, influence and  power among women leaders by delivering knowledge with mentoring support. In building upon these strengths, program graduates will grow their companies, improve their organizations and better their communities.

How it Works:

Leadership Matters focuses on accountability, mentoring and personal development skills MJ quotefor women business owners and key management members from women-owned businesses, local corporations and not-for-profit organizations.  Participants attend six workshops facilitated by Davis College of Business professor during a three-month period and are assigned a mentor to assist with specific developmental needs. Program
participants also prepare a personal development plan and receive a certificate upon completion of the program.  The three month program includes owners of second-stage
growth companies and women leaders from larger companies in the region.

You can find an example of the curriculum here.

Make a Nomination Today!

Nominations for the Fall 2014 Leadership Matters program are currently being accepted through July 31, 2014. Self nominations are accepted (and don’t forget to tell someone else about the program.)

Questions? Please contact
Pat Blanchard, Director
Email Pat

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Call for Applications: ATHENA PowerLink® Program

athenagroupApplication Deadline: May 31, 2014

maryfisherA Graduate’s Story: Mary Fisher, Mary Fisher Design

“At first, I was a bit hesitant to raise my hand and say, after 24 years in business, I could use a little help growing my company. You see, I own an advertising agency and we have seen a big change in my industry. Companies have shifted from printed brochures to web. They have also shifted from traditional advertising to social media. So, we expanded our business to include these new channels several years ago.

I understood we needed a niche market. So, after looking at our client base, I realized healthcare marketing had been a great niche for us and pursued that focus. Then, the Affordable Care Act came into place and the doctors slowed way down on their advertising. We were heading into a powerful combination of bad storms. And, we already were looking at a 20% decrease in revenues and profits.

I applied for the ATHENAPowerLink® program and I truly had the dream team of mentors who dedicated an entire year to my success. While my eight mentors worked hard with me, I was worried I would be the only failure in the ATHENA mentoring program. And then, finally, there was a light on the horizon. With the help of each of my mentors, I was able to show a 36% increase in net profit at the end of 2013.

You know sometimes, as a business owner, you can’t see the forest for the trees. Now I can see the forest and the trees. My mentors encouraged me to not only look at the details of
running a business, but to also step back and view the business from the clients’ or team members’ point of view.”

Is the ATHENAPowerLink® program for you?

Click here to find out more and download the application.

Questions? Please contact
Pat Blanchard, Director
Email Pat

The local ATHENAPowerLink® program is sponsored by



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