As a small business owner, you know you need to wear many hats. Areas of importance to any business include: inventory management, bookkeeping, financial analysis, financing, human resources, information technology…and the list goes on. The challenge is when you are a “one man/woman show.” Many of these areas are not our forte, but that does not mean that we, as small business owners, can ignore them. We need to learn what we can, to ensure a successful business venture.
Certainly, we can read books and search the world wide web for business information and training, and I utilize these resources regularly. However, sometimes, we just need to consult with a real human. And, no matter where you live, there is a wonderful resource in your area, offering a wealth of free and low-cost services, specifically for small businesses – brought to you by The Small Business Administration (SBA).
Small Business Development Centers
One of my favorite SBA resource is a result of partnerships between the SBA and local colleges and universities, called Small Business Development Centers (SBDC). If you have not yet made contact with your local SBDC, I strongly encourage you to do so. I regularly receive emails from my local SBDC, listing the workshops currently being offered to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. The topics range from Human Resources, to QuickBooks training, web development/marketing and business planning, to name a few. All workshops are very affordable, typically under $50 a class. Also, the SBDC advisors offer free business consultations.
Another great service of the SBA is SCORE. Instead of just one or two consultation visits, SCORE utilizes retired business mentors, who volunteer to assist you personally in your business venture. There are SCORE volunteers all across the country, from virtually every industry. In addition, SCORE offers webinar training.
SBA Guaranteed Loans
Furthermore, if your business needs financing, the SBA can assist with affordable, guaranteed small business loans through a local bank. The terms and rates are better than traditional loans, and they are specifically structured for small business growth.
These are just a few of the services that the SBA offers to small businesses, at little to no cost. Obviously, we cannot be experts in all aspects of our businesses, but with SBA’s assistance, we can learn t0 overcome those aspects that could hinder our business from being as successful as it can be.
Until next issue…Best wishes in your endeavors!
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