Green Small Business Development Center Case
Green Small Business Development Center (GSBDC) is a non-profit effort to help aspiring
entrepreneurs gain insights into the business world and provide counseling hours to these
entrepreneurs as they seek to begin their business. While the organization has successfully
attracted clients, there are still ways in which they can improve. Through increasing longterm
counselling clients and total counseling hours, GSBDC can become a more effective
tool for new entrepreneurs. This can be done through stricter deadlines to ensure quality of
work before meetings, incentivizing total counseling hours by providing investor connections
and attracting additional counselors to allow for increased advising services.
Stricter Deadlines to Ensure Quality of Work Before Meetings
Currently, GSBDC is giving assignments to its clients to complete in an effort to get the
client to produce high-quality work before the meeting. However, GSBDC can take the next
step by increasing productivity and keeping the clients accountable. This can be achieved
by setting stricter deadlines for these assignments. It should be required that the clients
submit their assignments at least 24 hours prior to the next meeting in order for the
counselors to review their work and therefore be more productive during the counseling
sessions. Having stricter guidelines also acts as a filter to ensure that only dedicated clients
are receiving meetings.
Incentivizing Total Counseling Hours by Providing Investor Connections
All of these entrepreneurs have something in common: they are all chasing “success” in
some way, shape, or form. Though the businesses take on numerous, diverse contexts,
they can all reap the benefits of personal connections and investor connections. GSBDC
can create a program that rewards business with investor connections and meetings once
they reach a certain-amount of counseling hours. Not only does this encourage long term
counseling clients, but it also creates more successful business.
Getting More Customers
GSBDC has an issue of not having enough counselors for the cohort of small businesses
that need assistance. GSBDC could circumvent this problem by encouraging businesses
that have successfully received their services to become part-time counselors for small
businesses in the future. The commitment could not be extensive, but if they have a
multitude of counselors who are “alumni” of the program, it could help supplement their
challenges of not having enough experienced counselors.
In order to reach these increasing goals of long term counseling clients and total counseling
hours, we believe a combination of strict deadlines, incentives, and an increase in the
number of counselors are necessary. GSBDC has done a great job by requiring
assignments to be completed, but through our plan, we hope to increase long term clients
and total hours.
1. Using the Idea Model from the Straight Up Business Institute (Idea Model, n.d.), model
out two scenarios: (a) the GSBDC as of year 11; and (b) the GSBDC as of year 12. Your scenarios should discuss the changing customer and value proposition, highlighting scalability and customer reach in year 12 and the change in the value proposition to year 11.
2. Review the Value Proposition Wheel from the Straight Up Business Institute (Value Proposition Wheel, n.d.). Using this tool, pair up with another student and pitch an Idea Model for year 13 to your classmates.
3. Use the Authentic Critique Pad from the Straight Up Business Institute (Authentic Critique Pad, n.d.) to evaluate the Idea Model pitches based on impact and feasibility.
4. Picture yourself as a local entrepreneur. Research the SBA online and identify available resources. In small groups, discuss and highlight the various ways in which the US Government encourages entrepreneurship.
The U.S. Small Business Association is a great starting point for new business owners to find useful information on how to get a business started properly. They could improve by providing access to more specific opportunities, especially when it comes to funding, for example. The SBA will post some of their grants that they have available, but not provide specific information about how a business owner could tap into the right networks for funding. Furthermore, the SBA locations are quite sparse and generally centralized in major cities like New York City and Boston. With this in mind, it is clear that the SBA could do a much better job at supporting entrepreneurs in less populated areas but with high need.