Frequently Asked Questions
Mason Small Business Development Center has individual guidance, educational programs and resources that can help both prospective entrepreneurs and existing business owners. Please find answers to several of our frequently-asked questions below.
Mason Small Business Development Center offers counseling services for small business owners at no cost to help them start, grow, or manage their company. Our core counseling areas are marketing, business strategy, and finance.
Yes, all our counseling sessions are by appointments only. Our sessions are normally during business hours on weekdays, expect holidays and our winter break.
We provide services at no cost, thanks to our sponsors, the U.S. Small Business Administration, George Mason University, and Virginia Small Business Development Center.
The Mason SBDC main office is located at MEC-Fairfax (Mason Enterprise Center – Fairfax), 4031 University Drive, Fairfax, Virginia 22030.
Counseling Services are offered by appointment at 3 locations:-
1) Fairfax (MEC- Fairfax)
4031 University Drive, Fairfax, Virginia 22030.
-Please note that Mason SBDC is NOT on the Fairfax Campus of George Mason University. The office is located about half a mile off-campus in historic Old Town Fairfax.
2) Manassas City – (CenterFuse)
9071 Center St, Manassas, VA 20110 – (CenterFuse)
14000 Crown Ct #205, woodbrige,VA, 22193
You can find more information about directions on the Contact Us page.
There is free parking behind our building for our clients. You may access the parking lot on South Street from University Drive or from Sager Avenue.
Mason Small Business Development Center hours of operation on business days are Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, except holidays and winter break. You may call or email us anytime during the hours of operations stated above.
We follow George Mason University’s closure schedule. If George Mason is closed, our office will be also be closed. Please check www.gmu.edu for closings during inclement weather. If your appointment is canceled due to inclement weather, we will contact you to reschedule your appointment.
Each form: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation, or Limited Liability Corporation has its advantages and disadvantages. The one you should pick depends on your circumstances, including your financial condition; the line of business you are entering; the number of employees; and the risk involved. To better assist you, please contact us to schedule a counseling schedule.
The SBDC Counselors will not write a business plan for you but will assist in the assessment of the plan. The counselors may offer recommendations to make it a viable business plan to gain financing through a lending institution. It can also be used as a guide for your business to make sure you stay on track with your goals and objectives. The writing of the plan is an educational process in which you learn about your business and how you expect it to operate. It should reflect your goals, objectives, priorities, and management style.
The SBDC and SBA do not provide financing. Mason SBDC provides counseling services to help you get ready and prepared for the financing process, such as improving your pitch deck, reviewing your financial projections, connecting you with the banks, etc..
We offer assistance to non-profit businesses, but the discussions are focused on the “business” side, such as adding a for-profit entity to the non-profit, strategic planning, marketing, social media, etc..
The SBDC provides an array of counseling services to established businesses to help you grow and manage your small business including business strategy, marketing and promotion, financial analysis, accounting and access to capital.
There are specific requirements in each state, county, and locality, but it is possible to list the kinds of basic licenses and registrations a new business will need:
Local—-A business license from city, town or county, depending on your location, will usually be necessary. In addition, you’ll have to meet zoning laws, building codes, and similar regulations.
State—-In most cases, if your business isn’t a corporation and your full name isn’t in the name of the business, you’ll have to register under what’s called the fictitious name law. You should also file for a sales and use tax number. In some lines of business, specific licenses are needed.
Federal–You will need to contact the IRS for an Employer’s Identification Number (EIN) and it is a good idea to request a “Going Into Business Tax Kit.
A small business is defined differently for each industry. According to the SBA “size standard,” small business is defined as a business that employs a maximum of 250 employees or earning a maximum of $38,000,000 in annual revenue. You can also check whether your business is small using the SBA Size Standards Tool.
Due to the high volume of requests for Mason SBDC services, we follow a 72-hours (business hours) cancellation policy.
As a courtesy to other business owners in need of services and on our wait-list, clients are to inform the center of an intention to cancel, any previously scheduled appointment, 3 (three) business days prior to the session.
Back-to-back cancellations will result in your account being flagged. Rescheduling of no-shows (see below) and serial cancellations will be at the discretion of the center and may be delayed for up to three months.
Please note this is to accommodate our wait-listed clients.
Extenuating circumstances for cancellation will be considered by the center and rescheduling in such cases will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
A “no show” is a client who misses an appointment without canceling in advance.
- No-shows inconvenience other clients, those that are waitlisted as well as the consultant/counselor.
- A failure to be present at a scheduled appointment will be noted on the client’s profile.
- Rescheduling will be at the discretion of the Center and may result in delays lasting up to six months.
For more information, please send us an email. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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