No need to for the small business owner to go it alone.
As a small business owner, sometimes you need a little assistance along the way. You may be going it alone, but you do not have to tackle every problem by yourself. Fortunately, there are people, organizations, and government entities that can help you out, including the following five places you can turn to when you need it.
Formerly known as the “Service Corps of Retired Executives,” SCORE is a nonprofit association composed of volunteers who help small businesses. These are individuals that have been where you are or can help you with their specialty, such as with your accounting, management or human resources needs.
SCORE chapters are located across the United States, matching entrepreneurs with mentors. SCORE is supported by the federal Small Business Administration and can, therefore, offer its services at a low cost or for free. Those services include consultations and business classes.
2. Small Business Administration
Besides its partnership with SCORE, the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers tools to help emerging businesses succeed. From starting and managing your business to guidance for contracting employees, the SBA is a helpful source for business operators.
The SBA also provides loans and grants to select businesses. Where loans are not provided directly, the SBA may back commercial loans from banks. Just as the federal government stands behind housing loans, it can support your business loan through the SBA.
3. Your Bank
Many banks have small business operators in mind, desiring to promote their success and expand their banking options. Your bank officer should have a number of resources to help your business achieve its goals.
Beyond the requisite small business checking account, your bank has credit lines and loans available for you. Some banks also provide payroll services, enabling you to transfer your handling of these accounts to the bank directly. Consider a business-friendly credit union too.
4. Chamber of Commerce
Most towns have a Chamber of Commerce, an association that protects and advances the interest of the local business community. Associations typically have local or regional chambers or chapters to serve businesses in a particular town, county or region.
The chamber can help your business navigate through labor law issues and may be able to provide discounted pricing on employees background checks. Chambers also provide credit card processing discounts and business brokerage services. Members can support each other through shared marketing and networking.
5. Your Community’s Business Development Administration
Not every community has one, but where available a business development administration can provide invaluable assistance to your company. Typically, these local government entities liaise with business owners to ensure that their needs are addressed.
You can contact your business development advocate if you are having problems with your physical location such as a broken street lamp, graffiti, uneven sidewalks or parking issues.
You can also find help from a locally organized Business Network International group, an association that provides members with networking and referral assistance. BNI is more inclusive than the Chamber of Commerce with lower member fees too.
See Also — Novars Group: Business Consulting Services