Small businesses are the heart of our community. Many Murfreesboro consumers regularly shop and visit these unique, independent places that have been around for years, and others that are just beginning.
The Tennessee Small Business Development Center, located in the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce building, plays a part in the startup and success of many businesses in town. This grant-funded program, hosted by MTSU, is one of 15 such centers across the state that are available to assist current and hopeful business owners at no cost, teaching courses such as First Steps—Business Plan Construction.
In addition to business courses, the Center provides one-on-one consultations. The TSBDC can help aspiring entrepreneurs explore business ideas or talk about existing businesses and the struggles the owners may be facing.
According to Chris Swoner, director of the Murfreesboro location, new TSBDC clients will ideally come in before they open their business.
“We provide easy, free access that people in business don’t have and answer questions they don’t know to ask,” Swoner told the Pulse. “Come to us first—before you get into an entanglement.”
Advising services offered cover Research and Analysis, Marketing, Operations, Management, Financial, New Venture Creation and Training. When you sign up as a new client, you’re assigned a personal advisor who will be available to help you every step of the way.
The TSBDC is not here to tell business owners what to do with their companies, but they do want to provide guidance in unknown situations.
“We stop shy of telling you what to do,” Swoner said. “We want to create empowered business owners, not dependent business owners.”
Success or failure in a business is ultimately on the clients. The center teaches and advises, helping with technical expertise or acting as a sounding board, Swoner said. “We do a lot, but we’re removed from the success or failure.”
#ShopSmall Saturday Scavenger Hunt
One recent business success story is that of Missy Lay and her company, Wild Goose Chase, an event business that organizes personalized scavenger hunts.
“I went to the TSBDC to help start my business,” Lay said. “I’m also teaming up with them for a scavenger hunt for Small Business Saturday.”
Small Business Saturday, the day following Black Friday every November, is when communities rally to gather at Mom-and-Pop businesses to complete their Christmas shopping. This year, Wild Goose Chase is putting on a city-wide scavenger hunt in Murfreesboro for the occasion.
The event involves 60 local businesses. Each one will feature a special sale for the day and have a task to complete or an item to find. Even virtual businesses can participate by sharing something on their website or social media pages.
The hashtag for the event is #borobucketlist because all these businesses could be on your Murfreesboro bucket list.
“This is a great opportunity to get people in places they might not know exist,” Lay said.
The scavenger hunt will last from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 25, but participants are encouraged to get started no later than 2 p.m. in order to complete the hunt. Participants will have three starting locations to chose from, including the Chamber of Commerce, where the TSBDC is located, on Medical Center Parkway.
The Center is helping to market the event, provide giveaways for participants and help coordinate all the small businesses in the area.
For those looking to help small local businesses, the TSBDC is always open to volunteers and partnerships with anyone looking for a legitimate, philanthropic effort to make the community better. For more information on the Tennessee Small Business Development Center or to schedule a consultation for your business, call 615-898-2745 or visit tsbdc.org/mtsu.