Starting a business can be hard, stressful, and overwhelming. If you begin to feel like you’re losing your way, a great way to get grounded again is to talk to someone that can offer advice and insight. Many small business owners overlook local organizations that offer small business resources and support and aren’t sure where to look to find them. This post introduces:
3 Local Small Business Resources You Should Use
We’ve included what each organization stands for, what they can do for you, and how you can get involved with them.
1. Small Business Administration (Your Small Business Advocate)
Created as an independent agency of the federal government, the SBA’s purpose is to:
- Assist and protect the interests of small business concerns
- Preserve free competitive enterprise
- Maintain and strengthen the overall economy
“The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U. S. Virgin Islands and Guam.”
Get Started with the SBA:
- Loan and grant information, the SBA offers resources for loan programs, preparing your loan for application, and grant assistance.
- SBA learning center offers a number of free online classes to help you navigate challenges including: starting, managing, financing, and marketing your small business.
- Local assistance is provided by SBA as well as many partner organizations, use this tool to locate a local resource.
2. U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Your Small Business Network)
On a national level the U.S. Chamber of Commerce represents the voice of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes in Washington D.C. Local chambers offer an opportunity for small businesses to network, learn, and access resources to help them grow their businesses.
“The Chamber’s mission is to advance human progress through an economic, political and social system based on individual freedom, incentive, initiative, opportunity and responsibility.”
Get Started with Your Local Chamber:
- Find your local chamber, and check out their schedule of events. Going to an event will give you a feel for the people you would be able to network with and the type of information you’ll have access to if you join.
- Chamber offerings vary by location and membership size but many provide: online training resources, networking events, workshops, and local small business news.
The Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award 2016 offers the chance to have you and your business recognized and win a $10,000 cash prize! Applications due February 1, 2016.
3. SCORE (Your Small Business Mentor)
Through the nation’s largest network of free expert business mentors, SCORE provides practical advice, education, and tools to help you start, establish, and grow your business. Local SCORE chapter offerings vary but many offer free mentoring, low-cost training and workshops, as well as business check-ups.
“Foster vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education.”
Get Started with SCORE:
- Locate the chapter near you to find out about local resources, workshops and events.
- Get a mentor through SCORE’s network of experienced entrepreneurs who volunteer their time to help small business owners like you grow their businesses.
- Watch a free webinar, covering topics from mistakes to avoid when setting up your business online, to tracking your business financials, to year-end tax planning. *Many SCORE webinars are offered in Spanish as well.
- Learn more about accepting payments from the payments center of excellence, sponsored by Community Merchants USA.
Entrepreneurship can feel lonely, but you don’t have to go it alone. Reach out to these local resources when you’re in need of motivation, information, support and guidance.
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