It’s All Business and Numbers Here at On Hand
– By #MillerSD
Last week I had someone ask me, “What has On Hand Development done lately to help business here in Hand County?” It was a good question and I am so glad that he came to me first to ask. I explained to him that I can’t tell you who I am talking to or about what business, but I can tell you how many people I am talking to, because I keep a spreadsheet of all the conversations that I have with business owners and prospective business owners. I keep all of this information to myself because I need people to trust me with their business information. I would love to tell the world all of the good ideas I get to hear, all of the great success stories, but I need to keep information to myself to make sure people keep coming to On Hand. And looking at the number of people talking to On Hand, it is working.
The mission of On Hand Development Corporation (OHDC) is to maintain and assist in the expansion of existing businesses and support the growth of new businesses while striving to improve the economy of the Miller area.
As part of meeting our mission, I regularly meet with current business owners and prospective business owners in our area. This time last year, my number of visits was 151 business owners or prospective business owners. So far in 2021, I am at 172 visits. These meetings cover a wide range of services that OHDC has available and how they can be leveraged by current business owners and prospective business owners.
One of the services we offer is business planning assistance. In 2020 at this time, I assisted 11 people with business planning or connected them to a professional resource for free business planning. Business planning is a wide-ranging topic and can be simple or complex. In 2021, I assisted 15 people with their current or future business plans. This year, I focused more on current businesses and how a good plan might help them. As an example, with one business owner I simply discussed how business was over the past few months and then we brainstormed ways to improve their bottom line. In another case, I connected the prospective business owner with a professional business planner for free and they helped them create a business plan complete with projected sales figures, projected expenses, and available financing options.
Another service we provide is helping people find a location for their new business or a better location for their existing business. In 2020 at this time, we have visited with six people in identifying properties that would work for their business. 2021 we are hearing that more businesses want to move or new ones come in. We have visited with 15 to date.
One of the most significant programs that is available to new or existing businesses in our revolving loan fund. In 2020 at this time, we had seven loans out for over $607,000. We added a business in 2021 so our current loan fund is over $620,000 with eight businesses enrolled. These funds are used by the business owners to grow or expand their business. In many cases, this results in jobs being retained or created by the business. We have additional funds available if your business needs help with financing. Stop in and visit with me.
Hiring new employees can be a challenge in South Dakota due to our low unemployment rate. Over the years we have assisted our local business owners in this area and this year seems even hard. In 2020 at this time, we worked with 32 businesses by finding ways they can advertise for, recruit, and ultimately hire new employees. 2021 everyone felt the need to find more employees. To date in 2021, we have worked with and visited with 67 businesses to help. We have also created a new and improved Hand County Recruitment Program to help get employees to Hand County and fill full-time jobs. We have funds available for this program so if you need help finding help, contact me.
Here at On Hand we are all business and the number of people that we can help. These are just a few of the ways we have been assisting our local business owners and prospective business owners this year. We are involved in a multitude of other activities that impact our local economy. If you would like to inquire about any of these services or ask how OHDC can assist your business, please stop by the office or call 853-3098.