A business plan is just the first step to realizing a successful business. Successful entrepreneurs also need local resources, practical business knowledge (or access to it), and a network of colleagues to rely on. Our StartSMART class is more than just a business planning class, it delivers everything a new entrepreneur needs to build a strong, lasting business. But are you a good fit for the class?

Are you and entrepreneur who:

  1. Wants to start a new business and has never run one before?
  2. Has recently started a business (less than 3 years), but never really went through the planning process?
  3. Needs a detailed business plan to get funding for a business?

If you answered YES to any of the above questions, then the SBDC StartSMART class is designed specifically for you. The content of the class goes through the business plan outline, because it hits every aspect of a business including human resources, marketing, and finances, but this program is so much more than a class to write your business plan.

SBDC StartSMART teaches you the core business principles that you will need to get through the first {dreaded} 3-years, when most new businesses fail. The principals and steps you learn are immediately practical and usable in your business. The real, tangible value of taking this class comes from four different areas:

  1. The content of the class
  2. The expertise and experience of the consultants
  3. Learning from and meeting local industry experts
  4. Creating a network for advice and support from other entrepreneurs, just like you


The UGA SBDC has curated and created the content based on many years (and thousands of hours) of consulting with small business owners. The class is structured around 8 modules of content DOWNLOAD AN OUTLINE designed and organized to give entrepreneurs a solid foundation of business practices. You’ll learn the solutions to common pitfalls that many business owners encounter plus have notes, slides, and other materials to refer back to when you need a quick refresher of the material.


Experience of the UGA SBDC Business Consultants (Facilitators)

The program is facilitated by experienced UGA SBDC business consultants. Each consultant sees about 100 different small business owners each year, for about 800 hours total each year, encompassing almost every type of business and industry imaginable. They have seen what actually works and what doesn’t work first-hand. Combine that with their previous industry experience and expertise and you’ll have a LOT of knowledge to glean from.


Outside Industry Experts & Speakers

We bring in industry experts so that you can be armed with knowledge to make the right choices for your particular business. You get to hear their advice on issues that small business owners are currently facing and ask your burning questions on that subject. Plus, you walk away with a solid contact when the time comes that you need their expertise.

Here are some examples of topics that outside experts are brought in to speak on:

Legal Issues Facing Startups

Getting Funding for your Business

Marketing Your Business

Hiring and Managing Employees

Accounting & Finance

Advice from a Successful Local Business Owner


Building your network

You are surrounded by other entrepreneurs who are in the same stage of their business as you. Many entrepreneurs find business ownership very lonely…long hours, lots of decisions on a daily basis, and sometimes very little emotional support. Through the weeks of the class, you’ll get to know the other attendees, share experiences, and gain a network that can be relied on in the future for support and advice. We do our best to eliminate competitors (through the application process) so that each business can openly share their concept and strategies without fear that a competitor will steal them.


New entrepreneurs leave the StartSMART class with confidence about their business (or idea) because they have:

To find the nearest course to you, go to our SBDC StartSMART page. There is an application process to try to prevent your competitors from being in the same class. APPLY NOW Don’t forget to inquire about any early bird discounts that your local office may be offering.



(Source: Stacy Johnson, Program Coordinator, UGA SBDC in Athens)