Have you met Jim Carroll?

Published 10:21 am Wednesday, December 31, 2014

We all come to those junctures in life, be it on a personal level or a professional level, where we wish we had someone to turn to for some solid, objective advice. Perhaps no one experiences this dilemma any more than the small business owner where, almost daily, critical decisions must be made. And, the impact of these decisions can be pivotal to the success or failure of that business.

At Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc. (FSEDI) and the Franklin Business Incubator (FBI), we are in the business of working with small start-up and emerging businesses. We strive to provide the best resources available to aid them in being successful in their endeavors. To that end, we are happy to be a supporting champion of the Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center (HRSBDC) whose mission is to contribute to the growth and development of the economy by providing management, technical and other assistance, and information needed to the regions’ small business community. They provide an array of services, both in person and on-line, that aid them in this process. The folks at HRSBDC take their mission very seriously and have been quite successful in what they do, which has earned them the 2014 Small Business Association’s coveted Excellence and Innovation Award. Jim Carroll, who is the executive director there, is one of the driving forces to the success of this program. And, he is available to help small businesses located in the City of Franklin and Southampton County at no cost. Yes… you heard that correctly: AT NO COST.

Whether you are thinking about starting a business, trying to grow a business or are looking to exit a business, Carroll is someone who is ready, willing and able to sit down and talk to you one-on-one and discuss some objective thoughts and strategies with you… possibly some that you may not have thought about, and likely some that will save you time and money. His areas of expertise include: how to write a viable business plan, one that you can take to the bank with you when looking to borrow money to help fund your business; suggestions for funding sources to consider; the professional licenses that are necessary to start a business in a particular area, as well as any zoning ordinances of which you will need to be aware; what to look for when selecting an accountant, an attorney, or an insurance agent for your business; suggestions to consider in what is the best way to set up your particular business model (i.e. partnership, LLC, corporation, etc.); thoughts to consider in purchasing versus leasing a venue and equipment; as well as a variety of classes and special training that are available at little-to-no cost. Carroll and the HRSBDC staff have assisted over 10,000 small business clients in the Hampton Roads area over the past several years. Their efforts have generated over $350 million in economic impact, while saving over 8,000 jobs in the Hampton Roads region. Most of Carroll’s small business clients are not only impressed by his breadth of knowledge, but also on the value of the suggestions and/or recommendations that he may offer. Clients like his very personal approach in talking to them, and his candidness in making any suggestions.

The HRSBC is centrally located in the Hampton Roads region in downtown Norfolk, Va. But, because the small business owner is often strapped for time, we know how difficult it can be for them to get there when they need help. So, we have made arrangements for Carroll to be in Franklin at least one day a month. (In most cases, this will be the third Thursday of each month.) Any potential entrepreneurs/business owners that are located within the City of Franklin or Southampton County can access the free services of meeting with Carroll for a one-on-one private consultation (that will last approximately one hour), by calling the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce at 562-4900 to schedule an appointment.

There’s a saying that “some of the best things in life are free”… and, we would certainly have to say that applies in this case! As a small business owner, you owe it to yourself to check out this opportunity provided at absolutely no cost to you by FSEDI, the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce, and the HRSBDC. Make it a new year’s resolution! You’ll be glad you did… it can promise to be some of the most valuable time you’ve spent on your business.

Jim Carroll is a graduate of Villanova University and served in the Navy for 21 years as a Commissioned Officer. During his career, he obtained various graduate degrees including his Masters in Business Administration, International Relations and National Security Affairs and Strategic Studies. Mr. Carroll has served as the executive director for the HRSBDC and Vice President for Small Business for the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce since 1997. He was formally recognized by the Small Business Association in 1999 for his actions to support recovery efforts in Franklin in the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd and again in 2008 and 2014, when his Center received the SBDC Innovation and Excellence Award.

NANCY PARRISH is the manager of the Franklin Business Incubator. She can be reached at nparrish@franklinsouthamptonva.com or at 562-1958 ext. 303.