What to Expect

What to expect as an SBDC client and understanding
your rights and responsibilities.

Expert Guidance at No Cost:

As a client of the California Small Business Development Centers, you have the right to expect expert guidance and assistance at no cost. Consulting is provided to you at no charge thanks to funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the California Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development (GoBiz), host institutions, and other funders. However, SBDC capacity is limited, so business consultants can only work with a set number of clients at any one time.

Tailored Support for Your Business Needs

Request consulting with an SBDC consultant who will work to understand your needs and develop a customized work plan. SBDC consultants provide guidance, information, advice, and resources to help you successfully manage and grow your business, but they will not do the work for you.

Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure of Trade Secrets

All SBDC representatives agree to adhere to the California SBDC’s Code of Professional Conduct and keep the information you provide confidential. It will not be shared with parties outside of the California SBDC network without your prior approval. Additionally, sensitive trade secrets about your business will not be shared with other SBDC clients or representatives. It is your responsibility to inform the SBDC of any trade secrets.

Education and Professional Advice

The SBDC program is educational in nature and aims to help build your management skills and knowledge. It is your responsibility to accept and implement recommendations, but the SBDC will not negotiate on your behalf, write your business plan, or act as an employee of your business. SBDC staff are experienced business management advisors with advanced degrees and first-hand business experience, and they have helped thousands of small business owners launch and grow their businesses.

Client Responsibilities and Surveys

To ensure the quality and impact of services provided, the SBDC may ask you to participate in surveys and provide candid feedback. This helps the SBDC improve its services and is critical to its long-term success. You may also be asked to write to your legislators about your experience with the program to help sustain its funding. In exchange for SBDC services, you accept responsibility for the success or failure of your business and agree to waive any claims of damages against the California SBDC program, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, based on any advice or information provided by the SBDC.

What the California SBDC Doesn’t Offer

The California SBDC cannot loan money to businesses or start-ups, but it can provide information on financing options and help you develop a financing strategy. The SBDC also cannot act as an advocate on behalf of your business or intervene in disputes or legal issues. While it can provide information on legal and regulatory issues, it is your responsibility to seek legal representation if needed. The SBDC also cannot guarantee success for your business, but it can provide information, resources, and guidance to help you make informed decisions and take the necessary steps to succeed.

Policy on Intellectual Property

The California SBDC respects the intellectual property rights of its clients and expects the same in return. If you provide information or materials to the SBDC that are protected by intellectual property laws, you must have the legal right to share them and grant the SBDC permission to use them for the purposes of providing consulting services.

Limitation of Liability

The California SBDC, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development are not responsible for any errors or omissions in the information or resources provided by the SBDC. The SBDC is not responsible for the success or failure of your business, and it makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability of the information or resources provided. The SBDC will not be liable for any loss or damage, including but not limited to, indirect or consequential loss or damage, arising from the use of the information or resources provided.