Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is this Small Business Management (SBM) program?

SBM includes monthly interactive learning sessions with other experienced business owners on current and relevant subjects with professional experts in our communities. It also includes monthly one-on-one business coaching to meet your individual needs. The program lasts for nine months of the year but is designed in stages so that as you and your business develop, the program will continue to benefit you year after year. Click here to see the number of years participants spend with us in SBM, Strategic SBM and SBM Alumni.

What is the time commitment?

SBM is a nine-month program (September – May). Educational sessions are one morning per month from 8:50am to noon. The 1.5 hour monthly one-on-one coaching sessions are flexible around your busy schedule. We will meet with you at the Small Business Development Center, by video conferencing or occasionally at your business.

What is my financial investment to participate in SBM?

Chemeketa supports small business by contributing funds towards the cost of the SBM program, which is valued at $3,690. The investment by each business owner is only $750 per year. As an extra benefit to your business, a key person can join you for an additional $150. Payments are due upon application approval. Payments accepted by check or credit card through the Small Business Development Center at 503.399.5088.

What are some of the main topics of the program?

While the topics for the program vary from year to year and change based on needs of the business owners, a sampling of the topics you can expect to benefit from are: Goals, Financial Management, Human Resources & Employees, Marketing & Social Media, and Managing Risk.

How do I know if the program is right for me?

SBM is ideal for established small business owners (1-50 employees) who have been in business 2-35+ years throughout Marion, Polk, and Yamhill counties. Service, retail, contractors, professionals, and manufacturing businesses have all benefited from the SBM program over the past 35 years.

Take a look at what current and past participants say about the program. You are welcome to give one of them a call or schedule an informational session with the SBM Program Director, Lori Cegon.

Call Lori Cegon at 503.316.3237 or email her at

Time is precious, why would I spend it in the classroom?

Most business owners in our program started off by saying, “I do not have time for one more thing!” After their first year we repeatedly hear, “...I wish I would have done SBM years ago! I now have a life! Why wouldn’t every business owner participate in SBM?”

Also, classroom sessions are NOT a series of lectures. Sessions include critical updates from professionals such as employment attorneys, CPAs and many more. It is also a time for interactive learning with other business owners in the community, creating an environment for problem solving and growth.

I need to renew my CCB License; will this help meet any of my educational requirements?

SBM qualifies for the 5 hour electives portion of the CCB mandatory continuing education requirements.

How does the program measure success?

We collect statistics from the participants and roll them up into big exciting numbers to share. Like that in the 2015-2016 program year our 60 business increased their sales by $7.4 million. And that they grew to the point that they not only held on to the 406 employees they started with, but they added another 70 more to keep up with all that success.

What sort of help can I expect from a business coach?

Your SBM business coach has real world experience owning or operating a business. Our coaches are experienced in a variety of business topics including, but not limited to: marketing, performance management, social media, human resources, leadership development, financial analysis, budgeting, QuickBooks, legal, strategic planning, sales, business planning, access to capital and time management. They also understand the nature of starting and doing business in Oregon.

We will support you with valuable and relevant confidential coaching at every stage of your business.

I have a unique business. Will the program be able to address my specific industry questions?

The Small Business Management program does not focus on a specific type of business but on the common challenges and stresses that business owners face. This allows the program to benefit all types of business owners equally while the one-on-one business coaching allows for an individualized focus on you and your specific business needs.

There are also individualized focus groups for retail business owners and manufacturers that meet monthly to share resources, ideas, and education specific to their industry.

How long has the Chemeketa Small Business Management (SBM) Program been in existence and can I receive college credits?

The Chemeketa SBM began in 1981 and was one of the first programs in Oregon. The sessions are offered on a non-credit basis with a certificate of participation provided at the year-end celebration. The information is practical and can be immediately taken back and applied to your business.