FALL RIVER

The World Wide Web, as big as it is, is also sneaky.

It moved itself, one small step at a time, into the center of commerce in this country. And small-business owners know they have to keep up or fall behind.

But there is help.

“We’ve given a lot of workshops over the past few years on these issues,” said Melinda Ailes, regional director of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network.

“Our mission is to help small businesses grow and thrive. Our bread and butter is offering one-on-one, no-cost advisory services.

“We couple that with workshops in areas we know have become critical to small-business success. Dealing with the challenges of the Internet is one critical area.”

The next workshop will be on Wednesday from 4 to 6:30 p.m. in the Cherry & Webb building, of UMass Dartmouth, 139 S. Main St. That workshop, teaching business operators how to use Google+, is sponsored by the Fall River Office of Economic Development.

It is one of several workshops that have been offered over the past year by FROED and the MSBDC.
“The topics are chosen based on what we hear from our clients on what they need,” Ailes said. “We respond to what they tell us they want to know.”

Workshops in the past year have been on the best ways to use email marketing, the capacities of Google for business and means for setting up contact lists.

In the next few months, there will be workshops on inbound marketing and sales from the Internet as well as ways businesses can use WordPress and advanced Google.

The MSBDC also works with the Southern New England Entrepreneurs Forum, a business group founded six years ago by MCBDC, Rockland Trust and UMass Dartmouth through the Charlton College of Business and the Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center, 151 Martine St.

That group extends through Bristol County and the surrounding area with a heavy concentration of business from the Fall River and Taunton area, organizers say.

SNEEF also offers workshops and classes, the next one slated for Nov. 14 at ATMC covering the ins and outs of crowdfunding.

Experts will be on hand to discuss the latest federal rules on raising money through the Internet.

“We will give an overview of the four types of crowdfunding and we’ll give success stories,” Ailes said. “We’ll also go over what is available, legally, through crowdfunding.”

For more information about all of this, go to the MSBDC website at www.msbdc.org/semass. You can find a list of its workshops, all of them free, and the Web addresses and telephone numbers needed to register for them.

There is a waiting list for Wednesday’s program.

For SNEEF programs, or to learn about membership in the organization, go to www.sneef.org.