There are a lot of people that are happy to charge you for business advice, but when you’re just getting started or if you’re on a tight budget it’s hard to find the money to pay for this advice. Luckily, there are a ton of free resources for business advice.
Need business advice? Try these free resources:
Small Business Administration (SBA)
The Small Business Administration is “the only cabinet-level federal agency fully dedicated to small business and provides counseling, capital, and contracting expertise as the nation’s only go-to resource and voice for small businesses.” Basically, the SBA is your tax-payer dollars working to stimulate the economy through entrepreneurship. The great news is that they offer a ton of free resources for business free of charge. If you haven’t looked at their website, I’d highly recommend that you take a look and bookmark it now.
Some of the best areas for free business advice include their business guide section where you can get tons of information online about starting or growing a business, their events section where you can find free and low-cost events about starting and growing your business, and their videos section where you can find free videos related to starting and growing your business.
Have you ever heard of the power of a great mentor? SCORE is a non-profit associated with the SBA that matches you with a free business mentor. Their mentors have years of experience in business and a ton of knowledge. For more information or to find a free business mentor today, click here.
If you’re not ready for a mentor, you can take advantage of the free business advice they offer via their videos and recorded webinars here where they have literally hundreds of videos that you can watch for free.
Women’s Business Centers
Women’s Business Centers are affiliated with the SBA and offer free and low-cost assistance and advice to business owners in need. For example, they offer workshops as well as free one-on-one business counseling to new and experienced business owners. You may be wondering if men are able to use Women’s Business Centers, and the answer is yes! While the centers were created to address the needs of women in business because it is a governmental entity they will never turn someone away. For more information or to find a Women’s Business Center near you, click here.
Small Business Development Centers
In addition to all the amazing resources the SBA provides, they also have regional offices known as Small Business Development Centers. At these centers, you can get free one-on-one business coaching from experienced business owners and business consultants. For more information about Small Business Development Centers, and to find a regional center near you, simply click here.
I love podcasts and have found so much value in listening to them while I get ready in the morning. You can find podcasts about literally anything under the sun. For example, if you want general business advice you can search for that in the podcast app or on Spotify. However, what I’ve found even more useful is finding a podcast about specific business topics. For example, when I wanted to learn more about Pinterest marketing I found the Simple Pin Podcast. A quick keyword search for the business advice you are looking for in the podcast application you use should give you the results you are looking for. As I mentioned, the more specific you can be about the type of business advice you are looking for (Pinterest marketing vs. marketing) the better.
Have you ever run into a problem in your business and wished you had someone you could call to walk you through fixing it? This is exactly where YouTube comes in. For example, if you run into a small problem in your business and you search YouTube for the answer, nine times out of ten there will be a video showing you exactly how to solve your problem. This works incredibly well when it comes to small technical problems in your business like making a quick change to your website, or creating a new formula in Excel. That being said, do not underestimate the level of the problem that can be solved by searching for the answer on YouTube. Have a legal question, a good place to start is on YouTube.
While there are ample resources on YouTube, keep in mind that anyone can create a YouTube channel and information changes rapidly so check the background of the person who made the video as well as the date to make sure you trust the information they’re giving away especially if it relates to a major business decision.
Blogs are another great resource to find free business advice. In this case, Google is your friend. Simply Google the type of information you are looking for to see if a blog article has been written on the subject. As useful as blogs are, keep in mind that anyone can create a blog so they are not all created equally. Check the bio of the person writing the blog and also check the date from when the blog was written to make sure that the content is still relevant to you and your business. Before you make a major decision based on something you read in a blog it is best to consult with a trusted professional or business consultant. You can easily double-check the information with one of the free business consultants that you found from the resources listed above.
There are ample amounts of free business advice in the world and online. The hardest thing for a small business owner is knowing what questions to ask, and finding the time to leverage the resources that exist. One thing you can do is think strategically about the areas that you want to grow or develop in your business, and schedule time to work on your business instead of in your business. During these set times, you can watch a training video related to the area that you want to grow and/or meet with your business mentor or consultant.