Starting a business is a big challenge, but running a business is an even bigger challenge. For small business owners, finding the right resources can be the key to success. We will explore various resources including the Small Business Administration (SBA) and SmallBusiness.org are two great resources for entrepreneurs looking for guidance and support.
Note, the post is intended for businesses that have established revenue, rather than those with a business idea looking to get started. If you are a new business, we recommend looking at business incubators and accelerators, such as Y Cominbator and Techstars, whose programs provide early-stage startups with mentorship.
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Small Business Development Centers: Mentoring and Templates
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are a network of centers across the country that provide free or low-cost consulting, training, and mentoring services to small business owners. SBDCs can help you develop a business plan, create financial projections, and identify funding sources. They can also provide you with templates for business plans, marketing plans, and financial statements. You can find the nearest SBDC to you at the U.S. Small Business Administration website.
Free Resources: Social Media and Webinars
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are powerful tools for small businesses. They allow you to reach out to potential customers, build brand awareness, and engage with your audience. There are many free resources available online to help you learn how to use social media effectively. The SBA offers free webinars on a wide range of topics, including social media marketing.
Podcasts: Learn on the Go
Podcasts are a great way to learn about entrepreneurship and running a business while on the go. There are many podcasts available that cover a wide range of topics, including business strategy, marketing, and finance. Some popular podcasts for small business owners include the “Entrepreneur on Fire,” “The Tim Ferriss Show,” and “Smart Passive Income.”
Nonprofit and Chamber of Commerce: Community Resources
Nonprofit organizations and local chambers of commerce can also be valuable resources for small business owners. They often provide networking opportunities, access to funding sources, and resources for marketing and outreach. You can find local nonprofits and chambers of commerce through a quick search online or by contacting your local government office.
Federal Government: Resources and Lending Programs
The federal government offers a variety of resources and lending programs for small businesses. The SBA, for example, offers loans, grants, and training programs to help small businesses start and grow. The SBA also provides resources on their website on a variety of topics, including marketing, finance, and business planning. Additionally, the IRS has a small business and self-employed tax center, which provides guidance on tax laws and regulations.
Online Resources: Business Tools and Templates
There are many online resources available to small business owners. HubSpot, for example, offers free customer relationship management (CRM) software, email marketing tools, and SEO resources. Canva is a great tool for creating graphics and marketing materials. Mailchimp is a popular email marketing platform that offers free and paid plans. Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to manage your business’s online presence across Google, including search and maps.
Financial Resources: Cash Flow and Business Financing
Managing cash flow is a critical component of running a successful business. The SBA offers resources on managing cash flow, as well as information on business financing options. Lenders such as banks and credit unions can also be valuable resources for small business owners looking for funding. But don’t forget about alternative funding options too. Often, small business owners needs cash quickly to jump on an unexpected opportunity. That’s when a merchant cash advance is a good solution since providers like LCF can provide cash in as little as 24 hours.
Free Online Courses: Learn New Skills
There are many free online courses available that can help small business owners learn new skills. Some popular platforms for online learning include Coursera, edX, and Udemy. Many of these courses cover topics such as marketing, finance, and entrepreneurship.
Minority-Owned and Women-Owned Businesses
Minority-owned and women-owned businesses may face unique challenges when it comes to starting and growing a business. Fortunately, there are resources available specifically for these groups. The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) provides resources and support to minority-owned businesses, including access to funding and contracts. The SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership provides resources and support to women-owned businesses, including training programs, and networking events.
Ecommerce and Online Businesses
E-commerce Communities and Forums are a great way to learn from other online business owners, as well as be able to ask and get answers to very specific questions,. Forums like Shopify Community, Reddit’s E-commerce Community, and eCommerceFuel can provide businesses with access to valuable insights and resources, as well as opportunities for networking and collaboration.
Accounting Software: Manage Your Finances
Managing your finances is essential to the success of your business. Accounting software can help you keep track of your expenses, invoicing, and financial statements. Some popular accounting software options include QuickBooks, FreshBooks, and Wave. If you are a small business with assets under $10 million, be sure to check out the IRS Small Business.
Search Engine Optimization: Improve Your Online Presence
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of improving your website’s visibility in search engine results pages. This can help drive more traffic to your website and ultimately, more customers to your business. There are many resources available online to help you learn about SEO, including Moz, SEMrush, and Ahrefs.
Invoicing: Get Paid on Time
Getting paid on time is essential to maintaining cash flow and keeping your business running smoothly. Invoicing software can help you create professional-looking invoices and manage your billing process. Some popular invoicing software options include PayPal, Square, and Zoho Invoice.
In conclusion, being a small business owner can be a challenging and rewarding experience. While there are many small business resources available to help entrepreneurs start their businesses, it’s equally important to have resources available to help you grow and succeed. By taking advantage of the resources available, small business owners can gain the knowledge, skills, and tools they need to take their businesses to the next level. Whether you’re looking for mentoring, templates, financial resources, or marketing tools, there are many great resources available to help you achieve your business goals.