Category Archives: Uncategorized

Elementor #9768

Avoid COVID-19 scams!

Scammers are using the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) name to con small businesses and individuals during the COVID-19 crisis through phone calls, emails, text messages and letters.

Please note:

  • If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the SBA, suspect fraud.
  • Emails from SBA or other legitimate government agencies will always end in .gov.
  • There is no cost to apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan and SBA will never ask you to provide a credit card.
  • Do not release any private information (social security number, date of birth, etc.) or banking information in response to an unsolicited caller, letter, email, or text.
  • If you are in the process of applying for an SBA loan and receive email correspondence asking for PII, ensure that the referenced application number is consistent with your application number.
  • An SBA logo on an email or webpage does not guarantee the information is accurate or from the SBA.
  • Check for spelling and grammatical errors in an email and be wary of clicking on any links or attachments.
  • For help with applying for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, call 800-659-2955 or email You can also use a text telephone (TTY) by calling 1-800-877-8339.
  • For inquiries regarding support for small businesses, send an email to
  • Visit the Small Business Cybersecurity site to learn more about small Business Cybersecurity tips, common threats, training, and best practices.
  • Visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Infrastructure site for small business resources.
  • Trust your instincts! If something seems too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true.

Still have questions?  Request advising here.

Not Just a Pipe Dream

Starting a business is like cooking from scratch. So says Codie Cyrus, owner of C&C Piping and Fabrication. “It’s like not knowing how to cook,” says Cyrus. “Someone puts you in the kitchen and you say, ‘OK, where’s the recipe?’” Cyrus and her husband, Cody Hurd, have found their recipe for success: hard work, a sound business plan, and community support.

In October 2015, Cyrus and Hurd had an idea for a business that would capitalize on Hurd’s experience as a welder. Welding is both a trade and a talent, and Hurd is extremely good at it. He began welding when he was 12 years old and trained at a technical institute in Missouri. He has traveled all over the country working on welding projects. When the time was right, he and Cyrus decided to go into business for themselves. They would fill a need for mid-sized industrial projects. He would do the repair, maintenance, and design/ fabrication work; she would run the business.

Cyrus had a lot to learn. She researched a great deal on her own and then signed up for Pop-Up Altavista Program. The SBDC at Central Virginia Community College partnered with Altavista on Track, Altavista’s Main Street Program, to deliver a nine-week curriculum based on the GrowthWheel® methodology for start-ups and expanding businesses. Although Cyrus was aware that grants were available through the program, she didn’t intend to apply for one originally, as her business is outside the town limits. With encouragement from Nathan Kolb and Stephanie Keener at the SBDC, she applied for and won a $15,000 grant to expand the business. She and Hurd are currently looking for a suitable storefront location.

Cyrus notes that their expansion happened very quickly. They created a five-year plan and grew into it within the first year of business. And they are grateful for the community support they have received. “It’s all about the support system,” she says. That system has contributed to C&C’s success, helping them turn their dream into a reality.

Ten Reasons to Promote Small Business Saturday



Promote Small Business Saturday

  1. Shoppers who knew about Small Business Saturday spent $5.5 billion on that day last year and 77% say they plan to shop local again this year. Promote this event on your website, social media pages and in your store.
  2. 67% of businesses that participated last year offered discounts on that day or coupons for discounts in the future.
  3. If your customer uses American Express, they get $25 back when they spend at least $25 at a local store. The store must enroll on the Small Business Saturday site and meet a few qualifications. The deadline is November 18th.
  4. For every $100 spent locally, $69 stays in the county and is used for supporting the infrastructure. Only 14% stays local when the money is spent at a chain store.
  5. Sustain local jobs. When a Walmart opens in a county, it actually reduces jobs by an average of 150 implying that each Walmart employee replaces 1.4 retail workers.
  6. Stress the ease in which shopping in a small locally owned store offers. The owner typically has hand selected products that they know their customers will like. Add some personalized customer service, like knowing the person’s name and family members, and you have a customized holiday shopping experience tailored specifically for the shopper. Create gift lists with “prices under” sections to demonstrate the breadth of your assortment
  7. Prewrap some of your hottest items so that the “convenience shopper” has the easiest shopping experience ever.
  8. Avoid the madness of Black Friday at big shopping centers and mega-stores. Door buster deals are usually in very limited quantities and long lines turn some people off. Offer a great, comfortable experience for the customer.
  9. The customer trusts you. A Gallop poll earlier this year found American people rank small businesses second only to the U.S. Military when it comes to institutions that they have confidence in.
  10. Make sure you can easily Get Found on a Google search and extend your hours for Small Business Saturday and the entire holiday season. Be Open when your customers can shop!
Virginia SBDC