Hurley takes over at Small Business Development Center

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Marcella Hurley is the new director of the Small Business Development Center at UCCS.

The Small Business Development Center is a partnership between the Small Business Administration and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. It offers educational services for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Hurely will work for the state’s Small Business Administration in developing private and public initiatives to increase and improve services to small businesses.

She’ll also work to develop relationships with economic development officials, SCORE and the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce.

She has more than six years of experience as a regional director for the SBDC office in South Dakota and has experience as a small business owner.

She started her new job May 16.

How has the economic downturn changed the landscape within which the SBDC operates, in terms of key issues facing small business?

The economic cycle we are in has caused businesses to look more closely at cash flow and balance sheet management. Returns must continue to cover the cost of capital in order to sustain businesses, create and maintain jobs and cover debt service.

SBDC continues to educate the small business entrepreneur to the fundamentals of business planning and management. Colorado Springs SBDC clients have a pool of more than 30 professional volunteers who give their time and expertise to mentor startup and existing businesses through all the steps from planning to action.

What, if anything, could the federal, state and local governments do to help businesses thrive?

SBA offers loan guarantee and education programs to ensure that local businesses sustain during economic downturns and to compete at any stage of the economic cycle.

UCCS, The Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, The Better Business Bureau and SCORE all offer programs and sponsor events to educate entrepreneurs on changing market conditions and the steps needed to be taken to compete and succeed in that marketplace. Education and relationship building are the key to businesses survival and success. We have a wonderful collaboration of resources available to us here.

What are some of the more common misconceptions you encounter with business owners?

Most entrepreneurs are undercapitalized. Businesses attempting to survive without sufficient cash flow often turn to unsecured debt to fund their cash needs. This cycle often drives the balance sheet into a position that is difficult to pull out of. The most common misconception is that borrowing more will solve the problem. Entrepreneurs who understand cash flow and balance sheet management also understand that they are positioning the business for future growth by best use of borrowed funds. To avoid these misconceptions, entrepreneurs should first dedicate time and effort to the planning stage. Get to know the counselors and mentors, ask the questions and set the stage for a lender relationship that will take their business to the next level.

With 21 SBDC offices in Colorado, what unique needs to you see in serving the SBDC clients here in El Paso and Teller Counties?

SBDC Colorado Springs is unique in that a large portion of the population served is military, veterans and government procurement. We are dedicated to serving the veteran entrepreneur, emerging and creative industries. We are able to do this through the extraordinary volunteer counselor pool of leading professionals throughout the community. Our clients are able to meet one-on-one with one or more of these professionals to get valuable guidance. We also have access to a wealth of information through library research available in our community including industry benchmark comparisons. Through financial analysis and projections we assist clients to understand current conditions and plan for future expansion.