Starting a small business is easier now than it has been in the past. There have been many organizations created that help small business owners get started and succeed. The introduction of the internet has also bridged the gap in education. You can find the answer to almost every question or obstacle that you may come across when trying to start your business.
There is so much information out there that finding the best and most useful resources can be difficult. Here are five amazing resources that any small business owner should know about.
SCORE is dedicated to helping foster small businesses through mentoring and education. The mentor program is a free service that will match you with a mentor that can help provide guidance and answer any questions you may have. Many of their mentors are successful business owners themselves so they have years of experience that can help you decide the best course of action for your business.
SCORE also provides many startup resources including online courses, webinars, and articles. They provide a business roadmap consisting of 12 courses that take you through each part of creating a business.
SCORE is a fantastic resource that can provide a wealth of knowledge and guidance. The free mentorship program is probably one of the most valuable resources you can utilize as a new business owner.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal agency created to help small business owners and entrepreneurs pursue the American dream. The SBA provides more resources than just loans for startup capital. There are many resources that small business users can utilize for free.
The SBA provides resources to help you write a business plan, including a very useful guide and some examples. They also provide a startup cost calculator to help you get your finances in order. The best resource the SBA has is the Learning Center. They have in-depth courses that have set objectives for you to follow. You can learn all the basics in these courses that a business owner would need to know. The courses include how to plan, launch, manage, market, and grow your business.
3. State’s Small Business Development Center
Each state has its own Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The SBDC’s mission is to help small businesses grow no matter what stage you are at, so if you want to grow an established business or start out, the SBDC is there to help. The SBDC provides many resources that any small business owner can utilize. They provide free business consulting, business planning, and training.
The SBDC also helps with technological development, including cyber and data protection training. You can learn how to protect your business through online education and virtual and in-person training. They also have partnered with Google to help train small businesses to become digitally ready.
4. Local Universities or Colleges
The local universities or colleges in your community are also great resources for small business owners. They are great for basic education if you are interested in learning a certain skill or trade for your business. You can also send employees there if you need them to learn certain aspects of the business.
Not only are they great for educational purposes, but also they are great for finding employees. You can contact your local schools and ask what their requirements are for internships. Interns are eager to learn and can work for free or for a very low rate. An intern is a great option to help with basic administrative tasks.
There are also many students getting ready to graduate that are looking for a great entry-level position. If you’re needing to find some entry-level employees check and see if you can get in contact with the career development center or if there is a career fair you can be a part of.
5. Online Courses and Education
If you need to learn how to do a very specific task for your business, such as filing taxes or basic bookkeeping, online education is a great option. You can utilize free resources such as Alison. Alison provides free online courses in a variety of areas, such as business, sales and marketing, IT, and personal development.
There are also many courses online that you can purchase. Online courses and education tend to be more cost-effective than college courses. They also tend to be specific and geared towards teaching you how to do a certain task or skill, whereas college classes tend to be more of a general overview of the material until you reach higher-level courses.