Small Business Resources
Always being updated. Find useful resources for the small business here.
- Small Business Administration
Probably the most important resource for American small business owners or people just starting out on the path of small business. If you are having trouble or if you’re starting a business, we would definitely recommend you visit your local SBA office. The website can help you find your closest one–there’s many in every state. The SBA can help you find loans, understand business licenses, register your business, give you advice, and more. They are there to help. Let them.
- Association of Small Business Development Centers
A great resource network for small businesses. The ASBDC is an organization funded in part by the SBA, but also supported by private enterprises, universities, and other organizations. The ASBDC provides free/low cost training and consulting for small businesses. From their website: “Small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs can go to their local SBDCs for free, face-to-face business consulting and at-cost training on writing business plans, accessing capital, marketing, regulatory compliance, international trade and more.” Writing a business plan can be difficult without help, so this is a great resource for small businesses. Regulations are also a difficult subject for many small businesses, so these centers are great for that as well. Go to their website to find the closest center.
- The Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau can help you find other trustworthy businesses you can partner with. You can see if any potential partners have complaints filed against them or anything about their past. Granted, this shouldn’t be you only source of information, but it can help inform your decisions. Becoming accredited with the BBB can also help bolster the legitimacy and respect your business garners from both peers and customers.
SCORE provides mentors and advice for small businesses. It’s another nonprofit organization that’s partly funded by the SBA (they sure have many ways of helping, don’t they?) with hundreds of locations throughout America offering advice, mentoring, workshops, templates, and tools for small businesses. You can go in for some face-to-face help, email a local business mentor for some advice, or you can call to ask your business related questions. It’s a great resource and, if you’re feeling like giving back to other small business owners, you can even volunteer to become a SCORE mentor. Once you sign up, it’s extremely easy to ask questions to a local mentor through their online network.
- Chamber of Commerce
It’s always a good idea to check out your local chamber of commerce. Click on ‘Chambers’ then ‘Chamber Directory’ to find your local chamber of commerce. Chambers of commerce usually advocate to the government on behalf of local businesses, so it’s a great way of getting your concerns heard. They also put on networking mixers to meet other business people and other useful events.
- Small Business Resource Magazine
http://www.smallbusiness3.com/magazineGuides to starting and running your business tailored to each individual state in the US. “You’ll find information on Local Regulations, Government Loans, Training and Assistance, and Business Advocacy.” I don’t know of a better single starting reference for learning your local business environment, resources, and how to succeed in your state. It’s always good knowing the laws applicable to you in your state as well.
- Federal Business Opportunities
This site lists all the available opportunities for businesses to work with the government. The government can be a great source of revenue and new business, though the application process isn’t the easiest. Still, there are many benefits to be had from a federal work contract and even small businesses can serve them.
http://www.buzgate.org/A very well organized and helpful site that refers you to local small business assistance in your state. Buzgate can help a small business owner find resources for funding, networking, and more in their specific area.
Debt.org offers resources for small business finance and debt. They offer help for small businesses obtaining funding, financial guidance for skills like payroll and bill payment, and advice on small business taxes.
Marketing & Advertising
Creating and designing your own marketing materials can be difficult on the nonexistent budgets many small businesses have. This vector image search engine service purports to provide many great graphics you can use. Vector files are important design elements frequently used by designers everyday. They claim to have over 150,000 vector files.
Jigsaw was recently acquired by Salesforce for their Data.com service, but the Jigsaw service itself still remains free (as of this writing). Jigsaw is a huge business directory with hundreds of millions of contact information entries for professionals and companies. It’s free to sign up, but getting phone numbers/e-mails of specific people requires ‘points.’ You earn points by uploading contact information or improving existing contact information entries. It’s definitely a useful tool in getting leads for your salesforce or finding the contact information of that person you met at an event, but lost their card.
- Ask The Lawyers
Get free answers to simple legal questions from local law firms/lawyers. Sounds pretty great right? The organization is actually a network of many independent law firms across the country, so they should be able to find a local law firm that can help your business, should you need additional help. Simple inquiries should be free to get some advice, matters requiring lengthier discussion will warrant a face-to-face visit and the ever-present consultation fee. This site will help for the save some time though. They also have articles answering common legal questions in all sorts of categories.
- Check the Status of Any Corporation Online (US)
Through this site, you can check the status of any corporation online in any state in the United States. Information provided can include the name, date of incorporation, registered number or ID, and current standing.
- Trade Show News Network
Find any kind of trade show or expo for any industry. Trade shows are a great place to get exposure, network with other professionals, generate sales, keep up on the industry, and learn something new. You can search for events in your area right from the homepage.
- ASAE Center for Association Leadership
Looking for a specific industry association nearby? Try this association directory search. Over 11,000 trade associations in 50 countries are members of this association.
- Federation of International Trade Associations
FITA is an organization dedicated to international trade, importing, and exporting. From their website: “The FITA Global Trade Portal, is the source for international import export trade leads, events, and links to 8,000 international trade (export import) related Websites.” Their website has a member directory here that can help you find your local international trade association. Talking to other businesses who have done international business can be very useful if you plan on going into global trade.
- Export U
A joint venture by the US Export Assistance Center in Atlanta and the SBDC Development Center of Georgia, this website provides free educational webinars–online seminars–on starting an export business. The webinars can be watched at any time by anyone. It’s free to sign up. The webinars are short and cover a range of topics from market approach to payment terms.
- The Language Journal
Provides updates and news on language translation and interpreting. Also includes other noteworthy articles and writings about the world, technology, business, marketing, and other interesting subjects on the web.