Wednesday, July 15, 2009

SBA offers advice during recession

"You have a partner, someone who has a vested interest in your success as a small business."

Greg Lopez, district director of the Colorado office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (right), wasn't talking about the government taking billion-dollar shares in GM or the national banks when he used those words to encourage local business owners to use SBA services Wednesday.

Lopez was assuring the business owners their government realizes an American economic recovery depends on them and their ability to survive the downturn.

Much of the advice given at a "Beating the Recession" business fair hosted by CBS4 News and the SBA Wednesday was just as straight forward.

"If you go out of business, it's not going to be because you're not making a profit," Joanna Rosenblum, a retired Hewlett-Packard executive told a seminar. "It's going to be because you have run out of cash." She urged the business owners to learn how to project cash flow, and follow those numbers religiously.

"You can't really survive a recession as long as this one by just cutting expenses," Rosenblum said. Instead, businesses have to find new revenue opportunities created by changing market conditions.

Then she told the story of a woman whose business was cleaning houses. As her private-home customers dropped off during the slowdown, she turned to bankers who needed foreclosed homes cleaned up before resales. That new market has become 90 percent of her sales during the recession.

Rosenblum is a volunteer with SCORE, a nationwide group of retired executives who counsel small business owners through SBA. She spent 24 years with Hewlett-Packard in California leading that company's print services for the Americas, so her advice is backed up by big-time business experience.

During the business fair, CBS4 News broadcast a one-hour special at 6 p.m. both from its studios and live from the site of the event at the Lowry Conference Center in Denver.

Go to or for more information or advice on how to solve recession-inspired business problems.

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