Growing a Healthy Business With Help From the SBDC - The University of La Verne Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
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Growing a Healthy Business With Help From the SBDC

Small Business Development Center hosted by El Camino College
Caban Resources – El Segundo, California

Before:
During college, Robert Caban’s summer job in health care quickly showed him that industry had more opportunity than the field he was studying. He got his credential in health information management, and in 2001, he and his wife, Christa, launched Caban Resources to provide health information management services. In 2003, Caban wanted to explore government contracting and visited the Small Business Development Center at El Camino College for help.

Best Advice:
Dr. Barbara Sweet and the other Business Advisors at the SBDC helped Caban fine-tune his business plan, develop a human resources plan and employee handbook, and resolve legal and contract issues. They also taught him to use Quickbooks and helped him get a business line of credit. Caban also received 8(a) certification and assistance developing a marketing plan to target government agencies.

Lessons Learned:

  • Manage your finances.Payroll for staffing-related businesses like Caban’s is complex. The SBDC showed Caban how Quickbooks could help with financial planning and cash flow.
  • Get certified. “I didn’t even know there was certification for government contracting,” recalls Caban, who took an 8(a) Certification Workshop and learned how certification could help capture government contracts.
  • Marketing matters. “Our advisor told us that to approach the government, you can’t hit every agency; you’ve got to develop a plan,” says Caban. “Networking is our primary marketing method, and we use all the technology out there, including social media.”
  • Keep it legal. “We made a long list of issues we had legal concerns about and asked our Advisor which ones we needed to pay an attorney to review and which we could figure out on our own,” explains Caban. Only a few issues needed legal review.
  • Take advantage of available resources. “I attended almost every seminar and workshop that [the SBDC] had to offer and met with all their advisors,” Caban recalls. “We take a lot of classes and go to events through the SBDC that we wouldn’t have known about without their help.”

After:
Today, Caban Resources provides a staffing and information management services to clients including major hospitals, medical centers and the U.S. Navy. Boasting 100 employees and consistent growth of 25 percent annually, the business Caban launched from his parents’ spare bedroom reached $5 million in sales in July 2011.

Future plans include a continued focus on government contracting, which currently makes up half of the company’s business. Caban also plans to expand Caban Resources’ presence outside California and, eventually, nationwide.

Along the way, he will continue getting guidance from the SBDC. “ “I encourage anyone starting a business to go to the SBDC,” says Caban. “There’s help out there. You don’t have to do it alone!”

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