FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — Resources from the Connecticut Small Business Development Center can show entrepreneurs in Danbury, Brookfield and Newtown how to grow larger, more profitable businesses.
The center, which offers services statewide, offers counseling at locations in Danbury, Brookfield and Newtown. Nelson Merchan, the counselor who works in those towns, said business counseling can open entrepreneurs up to new ideas.
“We can find opportunities to do things differently and hopefully make more money,” he told the Daily Voice.
His office provides free, confidential “soup-to-nuts” counseling to entrepreneurs and access to several programs to help entrepreneurs plan their businesses. Its counselors are given training and tools to “help business owners be prepared for the future,” Merchan said.
One tool, for example, allows counselors to help businesses compare their performance to companies in the same geographical area and industry. A company may be spending too much on a particular expense, for example.
Counselors can also help their clients improve their online presence, which can be a challenge for some entrepreneurs.
“Sometimes that is overlooked, but we make an effort to explain to the client how they can make some changes so the website can provide a better experience for the visitors,” he said.
Merchan also helps to promote his clients by working with the media to help their businesses gain exposure.
“We try to be very aggressive with the media and every opportunity we have to get one of our clients in the media,” he said.
While the center does not directly provide financing, Merchan also works with banks to help clients find the necessary capital.
“We try to identify the best fit for the customer,” he said. “Our preference is always to connect the business owner with the bank they’re doing banking with.”
Merchan also seeks an ongoing business relationship with his clients, who benefit from long-term counseling.
“Business advising is not a one-meeting deal,” he said. “It’s a process. When a client asks more, we can give them more.”
The center has locations at the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce, the Danbury Innovation Center, Newtown’s C.H. Booth Library, and the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce. It recently opened an office inside Norwalk city hall, the Daily Voice previously reported.
Small business owners looking to connect with Merchan can visit the center’s website here.
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