If you’re planning to start your first business, there is at least one thing for certain: You don’t know everything you need to know. Learning by experience is the best way to learn but as they say in the investing world, “the stock market is an expensive place to learn how to invest.”
You would like to get some help with all of the steps to take in starting a small business but you can’t afford to hire consultants, attorneys, tax people, and industry experts so up until now, you’ve done what you can to learn as you go. Luckily, there are some resources available that can give you free, expert advice about the next steps.
Small Business Administration
The United States Small Business Administration is the Federal Government organization that exists to help small business owners. They can help with funding, logistical details, and even have education sessions around the country. Their SCORE program consists of 11,500 business professionals who offer free mentoring to small business owners in all stages of growth and development.
Colleges and Universities
If you live near a major college or university they may have a small business development center through their business school that offers assistance to entrepreneurs. These centers often receive state or federal funding that allows them to function as a community resource. You can start by calling the business school at a college or university near you and inquire. Of course, the larger the university, the more likely that this resource will be available.
The Small Business Administration has community resources available but local chambers of commerce also provide assistance. Some have mentoring available while many host free education sessions. These sessions are designed to raise awareness of the local chamber of commerce so understand that these sessions are designed with prospective members in mind. Chambers of commerce also work well as a place to make contacts with community members who may benefit from you.
The internet has a lot of information and some of it may be inaccurate or minimally useful but there are a lot of resources available that can help. For example, some websites have free contract templates that business owners can use to design forms for their business.
If you’re forming a business, you’re not alone. The government wants you to succeed and they’re putting a lot of work in to trying to help. This is also true of your community. Don’t miss out on taking advantage of these free and valuable resources.