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August Networking Lunch Recap: Joel Nania, U.S. Small Business Administration

Joel Nania, Economic Development Officer with the U.S. Small Business Administration joined INBA for a very popular lunch last Wednesday (8/10/15) to share some invaluable resources for entrepreneurs and small business owners across the Inland Northwest.

Joel moved to Spokane in 1981 in order to start his own business, Buckaroo Bagels, after six years at the University of Wisconsin. Joel confesses that after six years in college, he still had no idea how to write a business plan, the first and most crucial step of any business. After taking an extension course, Joel found that his business plan was watertight and he had a thriving business on his hands.

Fast forward to 2016, and Joel has now been with the SBA for three years, coaching entrepreneurs and helping them decide whether to pursue those business ideas buzzing in their heads. The Inland Northwest branch of the SBA shares an office with Greater Spokane, Inc. on the fourth floor at 801 W. Riverside in downtown Spokane, and they love visitors!

Small Business Facts & Stats

In the first year, 55% of businesses don’t make a profit, and that’s ok! As long as you have projected a loss in the first year. Joel is quick to remind current or potential business owners that the roadmap to profit is a business plan. The groundwork for any successful business is completely dependent on the level of research and the underlying business strategy.

Key Factors to Success of a Small Business

  • A Business Plan
  • An experienced Mentor
  • Personal Industry-specific Experience
  • Hiring / Employee Management
  • Passion and Persistence

The 3 C’s of the SBA

The first C is capital. If you’re looking for a way to finance your growth, an SBA loan might be what you need. The SBA doesn’t actually make the loans. Instead, they guarantee a percentage of each loan made by partner lenders. Our guarantee reduces the risk, which means these SBA lending partners are more likely to help small businesses that can’t get access to conventional loans.

The second C is contracts. The federal government spends $500 billion a year in contracts. SBA works with all federal agencies to put at least 23 percent of that money in the hands of small businesses. They also work with small business directly, through training and business development programs, to help them compete for and win contracts.

The third C is counseling. SBA’s nationwide network includes 68 district offices, nearly 900 Small Business Development Centers, 110 Women’s Business Centers, and 350 chapters of SCORE. These business experts offer counseling and training (nearly always free) to over 1 million small business owners each year. If you don’t have a counselor or mentor, you should. Data shows that businesses that spend three hours or more with an SBA counselor have higher revenue and more employees as a result.


This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as SBA’s services and resources are concerned. Look forward to more INBA events coordinating with SBA including a series of small business tips and programs.Contact the Spokane SBA office for a personalized interview and a full list of resources available to you and your business.

Spokane Branch Office
801 W. Riverside Avenue, Suite 444
Spokane, WA  99201
509-353-2800

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