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Pinpointing Opportunities for Growth.
Ours is a success story about how two organizations with aligned missions joined forces to innovate and improve how we meet the entrepreneurial training needs of small businesses. Two years ago Community Capital New York, an innovative small business lender, partnered with The Acceleration Project, a provider of strategic and tactical consulting to small businesses, to ask ourselves the hard question: How can we work together to more effectively pinpoint our clients’ challenges so we can deliver the right help at the right time and foster business growth? With the support of a transformational grant from JPMorgan Chase, we created Analyze & Advance, A Plan for Business Growth, an easy-to-use, data-driven diagnostic tool.
During this multi-year effort, our project team led focus groups, conducted interviews and sought input from other business training and CDFI colleagues to identify the key competencies necessary for successful business management and growth. The research informed the creation of six modules for loan officers and business education providers to use to assess a business’s strengths and challenges in 6 critical areas:
- Sales and Marketing
- Customer Satisfaction
Over the last year, we’ve been actively piloting Analyze & Advance with our respective clients and here’s what we’ve learned so far – having business owners take a few minutes to complete each module cuts down on the time it takes to zero in on where each business owner needs help most. Do they have realistic financial projections? Do they understand what it costs to acquire a new customer? Do they have good inventory management practices? By reviewing their answers, we can quickly identify and deliver the most impactful training and support, leading to improved business performance.
Our next steps include refining each module and assessing potential platforms. As firm believers in collective impact, our long-term goal is to make Analyze & Advance available to other CDFIs and business advisory service providers so we can build professional capacity throughout our industry. To learn more, contact Kim Meyers at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tracy Jaffe at email@example.com.
Kim Meyers, EVP Strategy & Development, Community Capital New York
Tracy Jaffe, COO, The Acceleration Project